Summary: Pentecost 8(B) - Our loving Lord declares: "My grace is sufficient for you." Believers learn that in weakness is God’s strength and in weakness is godly boasting.
“MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU” (Outline)
July 6, 2008 --
PENTECOST 8 --
INTRO: Last week studied God’s truly amazing grace. Very simply stated: God’s grace is God’s undeserved love. In our wickedness and in our rebellion we deserve only eternal punishment and separation from God. But does God treat us as our sins deserve? No! This is God’s grace – God’s undeserved love. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast”(EPHESIANS 2:8,9). In today’s text we hear about Paul boast-ing. Now Paul is not boasting about saving himself but about God’s saving grace. God’s assurance to Paul in our text is our theme.
“MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU”.
I. In weakness is God’s strength.
II. In weakness is godly boasting.
I. IN WEAKNESS IS GOD’S STRENGTH
A. Chapter 12 of 2 Corinthians opens describing a man who is given a wondrous vision of heaven.
1. Paul was not describing just another man but himself in those opening verses of chapter 12.
2. Verse 7a. Paul had seen and experienced a multitude of great revelations from God.
B. God did not want Paul to become proud or arrogant. Verse 7b speaks of the thorn in Paul’s flesh.
1. This thorn is not identified. At first, Paul considers the thorn “a messenger of Satan”.
2. Paul does not want to be tormented. It could have been a physical or spiritual thorn.
C. Paul’s solution to dealing with this thorn is prayer, verse 8. Paul pleads at least three times with God.
1. God’s answer came very clearly to Paul, no. Verse 9. God’s power is perfected in weakness.
2. The original has “sufficient for you is grace”. God’s undeserved love would satisfy Paul.
D. Now isn’t it really the very same for each one of us? In the weak things of this world there is found God’s great power. We are reminded that faith as small as a mustard seed is able to move mountains. God says something so small and weak can move that which is much bigger and sturdier. Such is the power of God. The gospels remind believers that to have a faith like a child is to possess saving faith. This childlike faith is true faith that is trusting and sure and bold. The smallness of a child-like faith is God’s strength. "O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger”(PSALM 8:2). From the lips of infants and children come the praises that are able to silence the enemies of God. In this seeming weakness is God’s great strength!
E. In our own weaknesses we experience the Lord’s strength. Each one of us may recall a time when we were weak yet the Lord was strong. We may have been physically sick and not so inspired to let our light shine with the joy of our salvation. Or may be there was a time of spiritual weakness when the devil came and tormented us with doubt and wondering. At the depth of our weaknesses we come to realize that there is no one who is able to help us and strengthen except God. In our weakness we discover God’s strength. We learn that we cannot help ourselves. “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength”(ISAIAH 40:29-30a). Everyone who hopes in the Lord will be strengthened by the power of God. This strength is God’s gift, at times physical but always spiritual.
F. In weakness there is God’s strength. The greatest weakness we have is that we are sinners. We cannot save ourselves. Eternal salvation is far too important to be trusted to our choice or our decision. No dif-ferent than our first parents, Adam and Eve, we would most certainly make the wrong choice. Thank God that he does not desert us in our weakness. “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly”(ROMANS 5:5,6). In our weakness Christ died for us. Sufficient for us is the grace of God. God’s undeserved love saves us.
“MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU”.
In our weakness is God’s divine, saving strength.
II. IN WEAKNESS IS GODLY BOASTING
A. You may recall that the apostle Paul led a very vigorous mission-oriented life.