July 6, 2008 --

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

INTRO: Last week studied Godís truly amazing grace. Very simply stated: Godís grace is Godís undeserved love. In our wickedness and in our rebellion we deserve only eternal punishment and separation from God. But does God treat us as our sins deserve? No! This is Godís grace Ė Godís undeserved love. ďFor it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boastĒ(EPHESIANS 2:8,9). In todayís text we hear about Paul boast-ing. Now Paul is not boasting about saving himself but about Godís saving grace. Godís assurance to Paul in our text is our theme.

I. In weakness is Godís strength.
II. In weakness is godly boasting.


A. Chapter 12 of 2 Corinthians opens describing a man who is given a wondrous vision of heaven.
1. Paul was not describing just another man but himself in those opening verses of chapter 12.
2. Verse 7a. Paul had seen and experienced a multitude of great revelations from God.

B. God did not want Paul to become proud or arrogant. Verse 7b speaks of the thorn in Paulís flesh.
1. This thorn is not identified. At first, Paul considers the thorn ďa messenger of SatanĒ.
2. Paul does not want to be tormented. It could have been a physical or spiritual thorn.

C. Paulís solution to dealing with this thorn is prayer, verse 8. Paul pleads at least three times with God.
1. Godís answer came very clearly to Paul, no. Verse 9. Godís power is perfected in weakness.
2. The original has ďsufficient for you is graceĒ. Godís undeserved love would satisfy Paul.

D. Now isnít it really the very same for each one of us? In the weak things of this world there is found Godís great power. We are reminded that faith as small as a mustard seed is able to move mountains. God says something so small and weak can move that which is much bigger and sturdier. Such is the power of God. The gospels remind believers that to have a faith like a child is to possess saving faith. This childlike faith is true faith that is trusting and sure and bold. The smallness of a child-like faith is Godís strength. "O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avengerĒ(PSALM 8:2). From the lips of infants and children come the praises that are able to silence the enemies of God. In this seeming weakness is Godís great strength!

E. In our own weaknesses we experience the Lordís strength. Each one of us may recall a time when we were weak yet the Lord was strong. We may have been physically sick and not so inspired to let our light shine with the joy of our salvation. Or may be