Summary: To rely on God’s Sustaining Grace




Humphrey United Methodist Church

Sunday AM – 08/7/2005

Pastor George E Crumbly


Saw a good friend that went to church with me 6 years ago, he was in a service Sunday night. He got himself in trouble with a lady from the church a few years ago; she had the baby & wouldn’t have anything to do with him anymore. She married another fellow in the church and he can’t see his son. He has been thru a ton of hurt & heartache over this.

Sunday night he sang a Ray Boltz song “The Anchor Holds”…What a POWERFUL song. This guy went to church with me over 2 years, after the service Sunday night he opened up to me & shared the HURT, absolute HURT that he feels & is reminded of every church service. He told me he said “There’s one thing I remember you use to say often MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU…….

II CORINTHIANS 12: verses 6-10

GRACE: Favor or kindness shown without regard to the worth or merit of the one who receives it and in spite of what that same person deserves.

JUSTICE: “When we get what WE DESERVE.”

MERCY: “When we do not get what we deserve.”

GRACE: “When we get what we do not deserve.”

Grace has a two-fold effect. GRACE SAVES us yet it also SUSTAINS us.

(SUSTAIN: Maintain, continue, endure, support)

This morning we aren’t going to talk about the SAVING end of GRACE.

Ephesians 2:8

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—

God’s GRACE is a GIFT…..This is how we are SAVED & the ONLY way by God’s GRACE. This morning I want to talk about the SUSTAINING part of GRACE.

What an example we have this morning the Apostle Paul. When I think of God’s SUSTAINING GRACE I think of Paul. Paul was part of the Sanhedrin; he went about persecuting Christians, persecuting the church. As a matter of fact Paul was on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians when he received God’s SAVING GRACE. But if you look at Paul’s life, you will see that he relied on God’s SUSTAINING GRACE.

Look at the persecution that Paul went thru:

(II Corinthians 11: 23-27) READ

He was took 195 licks. He was shipwrecked-floating in the water a day & a night (w/o USCG approved floating devices). He was stoned once. Robbed, persecuted, suffered from the weather, his own countrymen and from the heathen.

Not one time do you read where Paul gripped…or complained about what he was going thru? (Look at the time that he got on the ship & the Lord spoke to him telling him that they were going to be in a storm but nobody would die.)

The ship is going to be destroyed but no flesh would be harmed. Man what Faith Paul had. Paul knew that God was going to take care of him. He had no doubt.

One night while in prison, what did he do at midnight? HE SANG PRAISES!!

(God has never told me that it would be easy or simple. He just promised me that He would be with me all the way to the end)

When you study this problem (READ Verse 7 again) it doesn’t say what the “Thorn” is.

It could have been physical: a physical infirmity a sickness or something that was dragging Paul down to the point it was affecting his Ministry. (Some say it might have possibly been a problem with his eyes).

It could have been spiritual: could have been something in the church he was dealing with, maybe from a church member causing him a problem.

It could have been opposition from his adversaries. Whatever it was it was a TOOL OF SATAN…

We don’t know, but whatever it was Paul was seeking God for help in this matter. He prayed 3 times asking God to help him. (If I were on a committee that God consulted before answering prayer I would vote FOR God to help Paul)

(I Corinthians 10:13) “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

Look at the words of Paul:

A.) Temptation is not a sin. We are tempted all the time. Someone once said “Temptation is the devil looking thru the keyhole – Sin is when we open the door”.

B.) GOD IS FAITHFUL!! You can take this to the bank.

C.) He knows you inside & out – He knows what we can stand. He will not let us take more than what we can actually handle. Whatever you are going thru – God knows how much you can stand!!

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