Summary: Motivational sermon on how God uses trials (Thorns) in lives of His children to make us more productive for His service
II Cor. 12:7-10
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
· As I address you today, I do so with the power of God on my life, and the Word of God on my tongue.
· As I address you today, I do so with full understanding that the words I speak, one day will be my judge.
· As I address you today, I do so voluntarily; freely. Not for personal or professional gain. Not for the accolades of men or angels. But for honor. Honor that is given by the Lord Jesus Christ, to His faithful servants.
Yet, as I address you today, I do so, a changed man. Different than I was even a year ago. I have a different mindset. Different goals. Different temperament; made different from the inside out, through the Divine hand of God. Changed, because I needed to be changed.
For you see, there was once a time when
· William Noel perceived that he was an agent of change, rather than the instrument of God.
· William Noel thought that building a church was like building a house; although difficult, it could be accomplished by a steady hand and determined mind.
· William Noel focused on building the church instead of building the person.
Yes, I address you as a changed man.
As I stand before you today, I see widows, single moms, and fatherless children. I see men, struggling to be who God created them to be. I see young adults having to make decisions that will affect their lives forever. I see children being drained of hope itself.
What man, in and of himself, could address the needs of such a people?
As a changed man, I stand before you today to do just that. To share a word from the Lord on the subject of ‘Thorns’. For you see, among us today I also see preachers, and preachers’ wives, missionaries and Christian authors, musicians and singers. And, the only thing standing between what they ARE, and what they WILL BE, are ‘Thorns’.
Your pastor is not blind to the suffering that that his flock is enduring.
· He can see it in your eyes; how that life has slowly and steadily beaten you down.
· He has heard it in your prayers, how you, in generalities speak of yourself, hushing the specifics of your situation.
· He can sense in you’re your service. How you, against the will of the flesh, choose to give what you cannot afford, in the hope of aiding someone suffering less than yourself.
You look not for pity, but for patience; patience to be faithful one more day. Patience to be found faithful when Jesus returns for His church.
The Apostle Paul experienced some of your plight, and he, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, penned one such experience in II Cor. 12. It is here that Paul speaks regarding his personal life. His personal experience. The words of this chapter are stirring to the careful readers. For, it is here that we learn about the man of God AFTER his Damascus Road experience. We learn about the man of God AFTER his missionary journeys. We learn about the man of God AFTER much of his public ministry.
Here we learn about Paul’s ‘thorn’; his ‘thorn in the flesh’, that made him such a powerful servant of God.
Verse 7 reads, ‘And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.’
The first point I want you to consider this morning is, ‘Thorns Remove Pride’. Two times in this verse, Paul tells us why thorns are necessary. Without thorns, we would become ‘Proud’
And, all it takes is one! One thorn, placed in the right place, at the right time. One thorn, like that of the Apostle Paul, can change a man or woman, to the glory of God.
You see, although Paul was saved and right with God…and although God had used Paul in the past, God knew there was a part of Paul that would not come out apart for the presence of thorns. And by ‘thorns’, I don’t mean the physical sticky things you see on a rose, or a bush.