Summary: Paul’s life example ought to give us incredible encouragement to God’s power. We must submit under the GRACE of Christ before we can ever really live and must see ourselves for who we are before we can experience freedom.
- This morning, I’d like to discuss a word that is used often in church
- It is a word that has several meanings to several, but the same beginnings
- Jesus suffered and died to bring this entire creation the GRACE of God
- For the believer, GRACE is the reason you can smile when life is difficult
- For the seeker, GRACE is the reason you are still able to look for answers
- For the unbeliever, GRACE is the reason you can still deny who God is
- FACT: Because of the GRACE that God has shown us we can truly live
- The Bible tells us that we are all sinners; that none of us have “arrived”
- D.L. Moody writes, “A man can no more take a supply of grace for the future - than he can eat enough today to last him for the next six months; or take sufficient air into his lungs to sustain life for a week to come. We must draw upon God's boundless stores for grace from day to day, as we need it.”
- Read 2 Corinthians 12:1-10
Point 1 – Who is Paul?
- Let’s remember who we are talking about; his life challenges exemplified here
- Paul, formerly Saul of Tarsus, was a chief persecutor of followers of “The Way”
- APP: For us … we can gain strength from what Paul tells us about himself
- He tells Timothy in 1 Tim 1:13-15 who he truly is and what is at his core:
“Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” (“am” … present tense)
- Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians focus on recognizing who we are vs. who God is
- The calling of the church now is to see our place in relationship to Christ
- We must understand that not only is grace needed … it is ALL we have!
- Let’s face it: Each of us has problems, concerns, troubles, sin, etc.
- If we were to be really honest, we’d be willing to admit who we really are
- What we see here is Paul confessing who he is, so others may learn from it
- V1 – There is nothing I can gain from boasting … except Jesus Christ
-- Nothing comes from promoting myself, except that I must boast about Jesus
- We must acknowledge that GRACE is unmerited, unearned, and undeserved
- We live, or do not live, because God has allowed us to live; even in weakness
- V2 – V5 shows us the intimacy that Paul experienced with people of faith
- He was able to know a man, & how he experienced his testimony living for Jesus
- His experience with him now leads him to promote their testimony
- Paul is able to communicate to boast about them because of what God has done
- He rejoices in their experience, and celebrates how they lived for Christ
- APP: What we must see is that this should be us; if we understand GRACE