Summary: Thorns and Grace – 2 Corinthians chapter 12 verses 1-21 – sermon by Gordon Curley. PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(1). His Revelations From Christ (vs 1-6).
(2). His Thorn in His Flesh (vs 7-10).
(3). His Apostolic Signs (vs 11-18).
(4). His Courage in Dealing With Sin (vs 19-21).
• The photographer for a national magazine;
• Was assigned to get photos of a great forest fire.
• Smoke at the scene hampered him;
• And so he asked his organisation to hire a plane.
• Arrangements were made and he was told to go at once to a nearby airport,
• Where the plane would be waiting.
• When he arrived at the airport, a plane was warming up near the runway.
• He jumped in with his equipment and yelled, "Let’s go! Let’s go!"
• The pilot swung the plane into the wind and they soon were in the air.
• "Fly over the north side of the fire," yelled the photographer,
• "and make three or four low level passes."
• "Why would I want to do that?" asked the pilot.
• "Because I’m going to take pictures," cried the photographer.
• "I’m a photographer and photographers take pictures!"
• After a few minutes pause, the pilot said,
• "You mean you’re not my instructor?"
• TRANSITION: You are in big trouble in a plane with no pilot or no instructor.
• And likewise a Church is in big trouble when it has the wrong people leading it!
• Now if you were here last couple of weeks;
• You will know that the apostle Paul had experienced hostility.
• Opposition from within this Church at Corinth.
• A junior school teacher said to her class,
• "Boys and girls, I want you to follow the wonderful example of the ant.
• Every day the ant goes to work and works all day.
• Every day the ant is busy.
• And in the end, what happens?"
• Little Johnny shouted out,
• "SOMEONE STEPS ON HIM."
• TRANSITION: The apostle Paul must have thought someone had stamped on him;
• He had invest years of his life into starting and caring for the Church at Corinth
• And shortly after he left to plant a new Church elsewhere;
• Some other people had joined the Church;
• These others were really false leaders;
• Their motives and their teaching would show itself to be wrong in so many ways.
• Because they were new comers to the Church at Corinth;
• They did not know the apostle Paul and so they had no loyalty to him;
• Instead of recognising his authority and his apostleship,
• They just found fault in him and they found fault in his message.
• In the previous chapter the apostle Paul was boasting about his weaknesses;
• In this chapter the apostle Paul gives four proofs of his apostleship;
• Four proof to remind the Corinthian Church that he is God’s man.
(1). His Revelations From Christ (vs 1-6).
“I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know – God knows. 3 And I know that this man – whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows – 4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations.”
• Love him or hate him we now have Donald John Trump in The White House!
• He was recently elected the 45th President of the United States.
• The story is told of one of his predecessors Franklin Roosevelt.
• Commonly known as FDR (the 32nd President of the United States).
• At official functions at the White House;
• He often endured long receiving lines and he found this tiresome and boring.
• He complained that no one really paid any attention to what was said.
• So one day, during a reception, he decided to try an experiment.
• To each person who passed down the line and shook his hand,
• He murmured, "I murdered my grandmother this morning."
• The guests responded with phrases like,
• "Marvellous! Keep up the good work. We are proud of you. God bless you, sir."