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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.

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Experiencing Grace

2 Corinthians 12:1-10

Introduction

- 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

- Pray

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

- V6 – He confesses that even if he boasts, it is for the reasons that exalt Christ

- He would be speaking the truth, and in that there is no selfishness to be found

- Because of what God has done, his rejoicing pushes him to testify more

- What we gain from living a life devoted to Jesus is … God’s GRACE (needed)

-- But we also gain the ability to celebrate all that God has done (required)

Point 2 – God’s Grace is Sufficient

- Let’s look at the sufficiency of GRACE in living color (therefore…)

- V7 – Paul has been given an affliction of some sort which plagues him

- APP: Believe it is given as a reminder of his own frailty and need for GRACE

- V8 – Paul’s pleading with the Lord is consistent, repetitive, and faithful

- He understands that it is not something he can remove from himself

- What he has experienced in Christ keeps him coming back and praying

- Like we’ve seen in the Psalms, he cries out for what only God can do

- BIG APP: If you are plagued with something only God can remove it

- This includes your secret sin that you refuse to lay down; you can’t control it

- V9 is a critical verse for us to understand, highlight, memorize for our lives

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