Summary: This morning we are going to talk about boasting and weaknesses and thorns. The question we can ask is ‘How can the power of Christ be made available in my life?’ What is God’s avenue for making me usable in His kingdom?
This morning we are going to talk about boasting and weaknesses and thorns. The question we can ask is ‘How can the power of Christ be made available in my life?’ What is God’s avenue for making me usable in His kingdom?
What would you talk about if someone asked you about what you were most proud of regarding your life? If you were a boastful person or were given a ‘get out of humility free’ card in the game of life? What would you tell the world about?
When I was 12 years old I played on a 14 and under baseball team. I could have played with a younger team but my dad coached my brother on the older team. It was easier to just have me move up to the older since my brother could not move down. Our team ended up going to the Oklahoma Little League State Tournament and coming in second but one of our toughest games was in winning our own local league. We had to play a team called Westport for the championship game in our league. Westport had a kid named Alan Huff. Alan Huff had hair on his legs. He might have even had sideburns as a 14 year old. He always hit the ball hard. In the championship game we came down to the last inning and the last out.
Alan Huff stepped up to bat. I was in center field. If Alan got any kind of hit they would win and we would lose. Alan hit the ball as hard as I have ever seen. It was like a straight shot right into center field and right at me. I took one step to my left and stuck my glove in the air. Something hit it and stayed there. My whole team and all the fans from our side converged upon center field. We were headed to the playoffs. One after another people congratulated me for ‘the catch’.
Afterward I got in the car with my Mom and two of my friends we were giving a ride home. Westport was 30 minutes from out town and so I had a captive audience for a half hour. Since everyone else had talked about ‘the catch’ I figured it was now my turn. I described the moment and my thoughts and reactions and contemplated how amazing it really was over and over. About 15 minutes into the drive home and my unending speech I remember seeing the look on my Mom’s face. It was a look of frustration and she was probably entertaining thoughts of whether I could walk the rest of the way from here or not.
Boasting is only the favorite pastime of the boaster and not of those having to listen to it. Paul says in verse 1: Boasting is necessary, though it is not profitable
The situation with the false teachers in Corinth had pushed Paul to where he felt he had to communicate some things he otherwise might not have. Although in another setting it might come across as boasting Paul knew that the church in Corinth needed to understand how God had truly worked in Paul’s life.
Paul was not an ‘apostle come lately’ but was someone in whose life God had dramatically worked to call him to a life of service and a specific position of authority in the Body of Christ.
Even as Paul shares some dramatic things he is still so uncomfortable with the boasting aspect of it that he presents the story in a third person format.
AN AMAZING SUPERNATURAL EVENT:
Paul describes an unbelievable personal experience in his life. You might have thought that the Damascus Road experience would be enough to make Paul’s point but he speaks of something that even blows that event out of the water.
1 Boasting is necessary, though it is not profitable; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. False teacher love the sensational claim.
Why is Paul considered to be the person we see him as in the history of the church. Why is he and his teachings the foundation and inspiration that we consider them to be. God worked in his life in an amazing way to prepare him as the vessel that could be the primary resource of unbelievable New Testament truths.
These were not things Paul spoke of when he first met people. Remember that this is Paul’s 4th letter to this church and that he is only now sharing this experience at the end of the letter and because of a unique situation with the damage false teachers were causing.
Television, book stores and speaking circuits are filled with the continual stories of God supposedly doing off the chart things in the lives of certain Christian celebrities. They make various claims that often are not able to be proven and are sometimes in direct contradiction with Scriptural truths. Although Paul could have done the same in a big, big way yet he chose not to unless he was left with no other option.