Summary: This shows how God gives Grace and More Grace in our times of need...
GOD’S GRACE IS SUFFICIENT
2 Corinthians 12:1-10 W. Max Alderman
INTRODUCTION: Paul greatly illustrates the wonderful, sufficient grace of God. God has the help that we need in times of our need. What makes it so great is that it is sufficient grace. The Lord certainly knows what we need, and this study should show this to be true. May we look at Paul as he prayed for the Lord to remove the “thorn in the flesh”.
I. NOTICE PAUL’S HIGH PRIVILEGE. (Vv. 12:1-6)
1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.
6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.
Paul described an event that took place fourteen years earlier that would forever change him. Paul is telling of the great privilege that he had to see the heavenly. He tells how he would be required to have a thorn in the flesh to keep him from being exalted above measure…
A. Paul Had The Privilege of Seeing the Unseen. (V. 1)
Paul had the privilege and the responsibility of seeing things that had previously been unseen by the human eye. The Lord revealed much to him that became a part of the canon of Truth. The Lord allowed Paul to write about the church in ways that were previously only a mystery. Paul is going to describe an experience and vision that may have taken place after he was stoned while in Lystria. Visions were rather common in the New Testament as these examples will show:
i. Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, had a vision of an angel (Luke 1:8-23).
ii. Jesus’ transfiguration is described as a vision for the disciples (Matthew 17:9).
iii. The women who came to visit Jesus’ tomb had a vision of angels (Luke 24:22-24).
iv. Stephen saw a vision of Jesus at his death (Acts 7:55-56).
v. Ananias experienced a vision telling him to go to Saul (Acts 9:10).
vi. Peter had a vision of the clean and unclean animals (Acts 10:17-19 and 11:5).
vii. Peter had a vision of an angel at his release from prison (Acts 12:9).
viii. John had many visions on Patmos (Revelation 1:1).
ix. Paul had a revelation of Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 22:6-11 and 26:12-20).
x. Paul had vision of a man from Macedonia, asking him to come to that region to help (Acts 16:9-10).
xi. Paul had an encouraging vision while in Corinth (Acts 18:9-11).
xii. Paul had a vision of an angel on the ship that was about to be wrecked (Acts 27:23-25).
Before we had the completed Bible, the Lord saw fit to reveal Himself by the use of visions or the supernatural experiences. Now that we have the Canon of Truth, there are no further revelations.
B. Paul Had The Privilege of Hearing the Unheard. (Vv. 2-4).
Can we but imagine what heaven sounds like? Every once in a while the Lord allows us to get “a touch of heaven”. Paul got HEAVEN… He could not even utter the words of heaven. Perhaps the words spoken in heaven are so perfect, without the curse being upon them, that it is a language that we cannot even comprehend while here upon this earth…
Also, the Lord did not give Paul permission to talk of the heavenly economy. Much about heaven will only be revealed upon one’s arrival. I wonder about people who have had their “outer body experiences’. Most of these people want to talk continuously about their experiences, with Paul waiting over fourteen years to talk about his experience and then only reluctantly. He then said that it was not lawful for him to talk about what he had seen except in just general terms…
C. Paul Had The Privilege of Experiencing the Indescribable. (Vv. 4b.-6)
Then, how would you come back and really describe heaven? How would you word what you saw? I think of what it will one day be like when we look and the veil is removed and we no longer “see through a glass darkly”. Praise God, one day we shall experience all the glories of Heaven…