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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:

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(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,


• 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.”

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