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July 6, 2021 8:00 am
Everyone lives with personal deficiencies and handicaps. These internal trials affect us continually and often painfully coming up on the Bible study our Dr. James Boyce explores the ways that God's grace helps us and reaches us in our individual limitations and hurts welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically the Christian life has its thorn.
Anyone can see that Paul had been so do you and I yet will see today from second Corinthians 12 at these unfortunate circumstances are also the work of God and bats. The greater truth.
Our last study we looked at a number of verses in a brief introductory way have to do with the second meaning of the word writers normally when we think about Raceway Rice referring to God's unmerited favor toward us in the death of Christ on our behalf. Four cents right because that's the dominant idea is also true that in the New Testament, particularly many times were grace is used not to refer necessarily so that primary revelation. Demonstration of the grace of God to provide. Refer to that kind of how God gives us when we needed we were looking a bit about last week we were studying second Timothy and we saw there that Timothy was in danger of quitting God-given injustice. We are often tempted to quit tasks that we've been given a number of problems he faced a face ridicule and hardship and then sin in the church been particularly discouraging not only to him all and what Paul says to him as a base to stand in the grace that God supplies God will give them the strength to do it, even though what he was being asked to do is difficult. We come the second Corinthians 12 nine day and we come to that same idea but with step further in its development.
Things we were looking out last week may have been difficult hardships sit in the church ridicule about their all in a certain sense outside of us that is there in the world or in the church are not really things that necessarily touches personally, at least in an internal sense of what we come to light in this text is something that is internal sensitive deals with individual deficiencies or personal handicaps or humiliating limitations that point of the taxes and God's grace will help us even in this area, we will explore that because people who have these limitations and hurts everybody lives with them in some way or another.
But let me begin this way. JI Packer in his book. Knowing God has a chapter called these inward trials in which he begins by talking about a certain kind of fool Christian teaching.
It's a kind of teaching that says that Jesus Christ died to save us from the punishment to our sentence but from all kinds of calamities that might come into our lives are all kinds of hardships and that it is his will for us that we be delivered about cruel. Although it's well-meaning because Christians do go through hard times and when that happens, what they are told. According to this kind of teaching is that they just don't have enough faith in God or if they do have enough faith in God, it's because I just have an exam in their own lives deeply enough I have that just looked down into their lives and find some sin causing this calamity, they only admit that confesses get right with God again about the problem would go away. That's a very cruel kind of thing that case, of course, Christians don't send late. They do send when we sin, we do need to confess the sin find the fellowship that we have the Lord restored again but that is not the chief explanation for many trials to come into our lives. Many reasons for those trials, but some are not revealed to us some more. Find reasons in Scripture for the kind of things that come and it's only in some cases that it's directly related to our sin. This kind of teaching produces Christians who do one of two things.
Either they stick their head in the sand is that Warren pretend that the kind of things that are coming to their lives aren't really evil things.
I just ignore the trouble go on with the saccharine kind of smile is nothing really bothering them pretending it's all right.
RSA acknowledgments really happening frankly but then because they've been taught the way they are getting very disheartened about the Christian faith somehow break down spiritually.
Some experience a certain kind of Christian hysteria and some for a time, it would seem intent to lose their faith.
Now Packers point is that we have a lot of this kind of teaching to Diane that we have to get away from it because it is dreadfully misleading and terribly harmful proper name for it is triumphalism.
The idea that somehow we are entitled to have everything go perfectly in our lives. If only we are following likely effigies. Christ, I start that way because there were people like this family's chapters toward the end of second Indians are dealing with that kind of problem in those people. Paul had gone to the city of Corinth found the church there in a second missionary journey is a bustling commercial kind of city located on the isthmus between northern Greece is dominated by Athens and southern Greece was dominated by Sparta had an independent existence of its own and as I said it was a very thriving city and when it he went there. People responded to the gospel and pretty soon you had a very thriving church. The church with all kinds of problems. Among the problems I had were these people who were teaching some kind of triumphalist Christianity centered in themselves. They claim to be apostles Paul refers to them that way. Ironically, chapter 11. He says that they were super apostles and understand it's ironic because what he says a little bit later in the same chapter as they went apostles at all what they actually were were false apostles, deceitful workmen masquerading as apostles, verse 13. One thing that most of them out and there triumphalism was there God-given visions and revelations set them apart. Of course it made them awesome says tends to do with people who claim that kind of special revelation today. Somebody says to you today. While God told me to do something so if you have any sensitivity at all. Thank you back just a little bit all say God will do so and so you can't really argue with that kind of a statement saying well I don't believe it, but if it's true. Well then it self authenticating kind of a claim bowls you over.
Well, these people were like that and they would probably have pointed Paul on these lines, we have to read a little bit between the lines judging what they said from Paul's response must've been saying things like this must've said God gives me revelations all the time. As a matter fact he just gave me one this morning.
He told me what I'm supposed to be saying to you now about Paul and one of the things she wants me to say to you is that Paul apparently doesn't have many special revelation last time you heard Paul talking about a special revelation. All I know he had that conversion experience back there on the way to Damascus, but many many years ago almost 2 decades ago. What has God done for Paul lately and they would have begun to say that sort of thing that is. Furthermore, if you look at his life. You can hardly say that life successful and we are meant to be successful. If you just place. Honestly, the kind of things that have happened to him as he moved around the country trying to establish churches any sober assessment would say that just been one disaster after the ask him about these things are really disasters responded that really does a marvelous way and if we don't learn anything else you learn how he deals with criticism and several things here let me point out to before we actually get to our text. First of all the points to what the tractors must've been pointing to his failures and he acknowledges them and actually says these are the things about which is going to boast things like the stoning list for the shipwrecks of the beatings he says to them you want me to boast about what your forcing me to write out most, but I not going to boast about my special revelation. My vision not a lot boast about all boast about the things that have happened to make the sufferings I've endured in Christ service so the end of the 11th chapter he begins to list the Ménière's waypoint that you understand is not something he would choose to do on himself is doing it because of the criticisms of the been made in the desert over against the claims of these triumphalist equipment he said are they servants of Christ.
I'm out of my mind to be talking like this.
Not the kind of thing apostles would be doing that, but they have forced me to their service of Christ.
I am more I am work harder.
I've been in prison more frequently and flog more severely, I've been exposed to death again and again five times I received from the Jews the 40 lashes -13 times I was beaten with rods, once I missed on three times I was shipwrecked.
I spent a night and day in the open sea. I have been constantly on the move.
I have been in danger from rivers, danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles in danger in the city, in danger in the country in danger at sea and in danger from Paul's brothers. I have labored and toiled often gone without food. I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily pressure of my concern for all churches, concludes in verse 30 of that chapter. If I must post. I will most of the things that show my weakness.
See what a tremendous contrast that is the attitude of those people that he calls false prophets in the second thing you guys and this gets us into the passage that I read earlier right as he does mention the vision which the Lord gave now is with great restraint is obviously uneasy doing. He would much rather not be doing these forced to buy the situation at Corinth and in the final analysis concern. Most of all for the spiritual well-being in the health of the Christians at currently has to deal with this problem.
We know that Paul had had many patients because a story and that is given is the book of acts tells us about you go through the book of acts you find at least six times that Paul had a special vision from God know the remarkable thing. If you read as S said he almost never mentions never directly mentioned the special revelation he received although occasionally is a phrase that might be interpreted that way. This didn't do that you say to yourself, why didn't even after all revelations or something you think he talked about the explanation here it's right at the beginning of chapter 12. I must go on boasting and then he's going to say. I will go on divisions of revelations, but before he does that, he says, although there is nothing to be gay.
Reason he doesn't boast about his revelations or talk about is revelations is that it wouldn't benefit the Corinthians that we may say so kind boasting we have like people who think along these lines today does not benefit the people. What benefits certain secular way. The people who were claiming to have the revelations taken provide a great deal of clout for their teaching if I can say God told me so and so and perhaps among the gullible Christians are money on them while they get a certain excavation of respect but it doesn't do any lasting true spiritual benefit is what Paul says here at the beginning, but he talks about anyway. Still UC earlier when the apostles were boasting about their successes. Paul says, by contrast, what I boast about our my failures that we talked about all the things that happened to them. The beatings in the shipwrecks and so forth. That's a very effective, I want a cold way of responding is a now he's dealing with the matter of the visions themselves in the camp do the opposite. Ironically, because what is the opposite of the vision.
The opposite of the vision is no vision, and he can't claim that first of all because it wouldn't be true had had visions, and secondly, it would play in the hands of his accusers so he backs and then a rather indirect way. He doesn't so indirectly that some scholars been puzzled at the point of saying I don't really know what he's talking about. He says I'll tell you about a man in Christ who 14 years ago was caught up to the third heaven in the Paradise and the experience these things about which it's not even lawful for speak people upset about losing talking about their man in Christ somebody new great St. somewhere in the desert so indirectly that is confusing as you read on it's clear that he's actually talking about himself because notice verse seven. Keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations get to that point very evident that what he say he say want to talk about visions and revelations. Let me tell you about this one was so glorious I received so much instruction that that wasn't even lawful for me to speak about what he suggested there courses that if the falls apostles that is opposing it actually received visions he would expect that their reaction to it should have been the same of his all into the Client about because it would've been things that that was not lawful for them to speak so he's criticizing them for what they claim what he saying courses of the way administration be vindicated and established is bought by a claim to special revelation, but by faithfulness, teaching the word of God is remember he was an apostle Holy Spirit to guide his writings of anybody had a claim special revelation. It was Paul. We don't but he did. Yet that is what he claim 20 claims, the practice was faithfulness in teaching the word of God brings us to the point of this message, because having spoken about vision that he did have, having been provoked to do instance desires quickly once the balance that off as something else and so he speaks about something that was literally as well as figuratively. Very painful at this point in the flesh that he mentions in verse seven is that thorn in the flesh wound tell the truth about it.
Nobody really knows a lot of gases like that thorn in the flesh might be some people of said well he talks about the flesh and the flesh often refers his writings as well as other passages of the New Testament to our fleshly desires part of the work of the Holy Spirit. So maybe he's talking about the temptations come to him from his moral nature. John Calvin was one of this year.
We thought that's what Paul meant.
William Ramsey was a great story and an investigator of Paul's travels is done marvelous studies of Paul that really help clarify the objectives of his missionary strategies traveled all of Asia minor, tracing the roots of Paul, and Ramsey suggested that what Paul had contracted was malaria when he was down in the mosquito infested swamps of southern Asia minor on the coastal plain getting either in his first or second missionary journey and so he was overcome with bouts of malaria from time to time.
Some people suggested epilepsy. Best thing that can be said about epilepsy as it certainly would have been embarrassing understand why he might've called thorn in the flesh, but as far as I know there's nothing else to suggest some of suggested speech defect because when he is writing to the same Corinthians in his first letter he said that he didn't, among them with great eloquence of speech have to argue a long way from that kind of reference to say that Paul actually was tongue-tied or Stoddard or some such thing! Appeals most of day.
I don't know whether it's true or not, has a major justification is that he must've been suffering from a serious eye infection affected his site to really see well. Perhaps something that was disfiguring the argument behind this is that when he writes to the Galatians of the last chapter, something interesting. He says now I'm anything office letter my own handwriting and about us, and I'm writing it with my customarily large letters that might mean that he had bad eyesight letters purporting to be from Paul were circulating counterfeit letters and so maybe what he did was, sign his name in the end validate somebody had to sign with, large characters that may well be.
It might also however only mean that he did not write with the trait careful handling professional scribe so that's hardly conclusive.
Some people have insisted that Paul was afflicted with guilt over his failure to convert his fellow Jews are that the thorn in the flesh was the persecution experience from the Jews on the one hand from the Gentiles, on the other. Not only can really say is that we don't know what is thorn once probably say that it was physical because it seems to be the literal meaning of in my flesh and certainly cause for great physical torment and embarrassment and as I'm saying here and was it was no minor affliction because you see the man who is experienced all the things he has written about in chapter 11 beatings in the shipwrecks danger and all of that sort of thing. No food in all my complaining all glories in it because it's what Jesus is given him to suffer for his sake, a man that is in doing all that without complaining is not going to be complaining and praying to God to remove a minor flexion so this is something serious even though we don't know what it is. The significant thing of course is that God didn't remove it.
I don't think that it was an oversight on God's part that we haven't been told, Paul's affliction wants to satisfy our curiosity to know what it was like that like to be left with questions in our Bible study, but if it had been spelled out what it was. Sit with a much less value than it has proven itself to be over the course of the centuries, the people within the church suppose it really was and I affliction him and people where my afflictions would come to that passage and say is not encouraging to know that even the great apostle had bad eyesight. I suppose I can put up with my bad eyesight. If he did, by the course. All the rest of us, it would mean anything to us all.
We don't have bad eyesight to say because it's not mention is not explained. We don't know what it is.
It stands purposefully the kind of hurts and limitations that every single one of us have and what the text tells us is that that is not a mistake. God knows what he's doing and he has provided grace for us to live for him in spite of the limitations say that people do have hurt some emphasize that just a bit reason I want emphasize that it is that we have enough triumphalism in the evangelical church. People don't want to admit their problems we all want to put on the smiley face and then were doing just great in the Christian life. We don't have any problem will do have problems pastors especially find out about them because from time to time, the pain executed not for people with after talk it over with somebody and lesser paying psychiatrist to listen to them the come to pastor because a pastor listen to them free, and then sometimes I must say, to be honest, they are also seeking spiritual help, I get an unusually large number of such things, not so much because of my pastoral work here for many other pastors on the staff also deal with people and deal with them. Generally, with more time than I hang out but because I am the speaker on the Bible study our people all across the country, thousands of them every week. The radio left by the teaching and then they write in and tell us about some of the things that are experiencing, and asked us to pray for them now and there is no substitute for church we say again and again on the radio you need to find a church need to be part of the church after the part of a real genuine Christian fellowship. But there are often reasons why people can't do that sometimes her bedroom again church.
Sometimes it is really not an evangelical church around so all kinds of problems and so they write. Pray for the mouth is this week I thought I would look through some of the mail that come just recently to show some of the things that listeners written to us about just tell you about a few somebody writes from a town in Iowa family and what they have explained in their letter is that their daughter was diagnosed as having viral encephalitis when she was only weeks old is expected to die quickly because when you have that particular affliction. Your body is not able to control the body's temperature with the child lived in and out of hospitals many times but is now 11 years old and 11 years. That kind of problem is that all father suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with limits the amount of work is able to do cleans offices part-time can't do it full time. His wife helps us by working part-time in a school cafeteria and their other problem. Now that's not a form that's all for yet and I complaining. Here's what that wife writes please ask God to strengthen us to fill our hearts with love for him and for one another and for our fellow humans and to meet these challenges with love, courage, strength and wisdom. Somebody writes to us from city in Virginia wife. She asked us to pray that God would work in the life of her husband to bring them back home Kansas without lives on the pension of less than $1000 a month and was lived in her own home for 30 years right that she's about to be evicted because of a lawsuit. Please remember me.
She says I am so afraid for Michigan. Another visually handicapped Christian woman is about to be evicted per resident. She can't drive because she can't see has no family. She has nowhere to go right from a small town in California, Miami 61 years old. He just lost his job frightening lose your job, especially at that age, but he doesn't even ask for prayer specifically is letter is actually a testimony says I know that things are going to be okay God has supplied the supply all my needs and I know that he always will.
People write about things like that. They write about their children. Unsaved children grieve over them or a wife writing about an unsaved husband husband about it.
Unsaved wife or I write it like physical illness.
Lots of suffering listener from Montana is dying of cancer, writes and says she likes the radio because it's the one device that she's able to control from her bed. Even though she cannot sit up is always lying down. Now I could go on listing that sort of thing indefinitely. That's just what we have to live in one week. A couple weeks in the prayer box that we choose prayer request from the Bible study.
Our next point.
You see, I think it's clear enough Christians do suffer God frequently leads even his choices people through deep waters. The Christian life does have its forms is all we can say because what Paul says in this text right promise of the taxes of the grace of God is sufficient for us. When such things, my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. That's a text all of us, especially for someone who was aware of their suffering.
Some painful in the next capable born taken a lot of time to establish the context I think the context is important to come back to that matter. Triumphalism at the end and I talked about the nature of the foreign of the fact that is deliberately vague in order that we can identify with it what I want to do now is strong.
What lessons are to be had from the passage of especially from the text I think are at least five of them and let me share them with you. This way, here's the first Paul's thorn was from Satan says it's from Satan. I was also true, but it's a work of God. That's the greater truth were going to come back to map of the fact that God is his destiny and has ordered all the details of his life does not make the work of Satan. Satan evil is still evil. God is in charge. Suffering is still suffering. I suppose that one of the cruelest things that are done. The Christians were suffering apart from the fact that many people approach it like Job's comforters blame them. Their sin not getting after you because you simply might not of done anything bad at all. Suppose, for the exception of that to scroll one of the cruelest things we do is to make light of the suffering site well can't be all that bad but put a smile on your face and endure it well that's easy to do if you're not suffering the you're speaking to somebody that's in a wheelchair and you say well you must be able around all right and that thankful such things as wheelchairs and using the wheelchair only recent invention, specially motorized wheelchairs. You approach it that way.
That's fine as long as you don't have to sit in a wheelchair or you speak to somebody was blind and you say well you have your other faculties and that's good. Certainly God is good and true God is good is it is easy to say that you're not blind at all the other affliction that were things we can do is pretend that evil is not able to suffering is not suffering that is not Christianity is a rather hard-nosed at that point affair realistically should be.
We acknowledge that is not a perfect world, is a sinful world not understand why things happen the way they do. Certainly Satan is a great deal of damage. So we face that squarely you are not from the text.
Here's the second lesson. Although Satan was directly responsible for this for Paul's thorn was nevertheless also simultaneously gone.
See he makes that point in several ways. First, it uses passive attempts to say this thorn was given me. I was obviously God given it to and that's what he is saying and then secondly says that he prayed to the Lord taken away from them and I would only make sense of the Lord was in control and allow them to come to them in the first place. Paul is very clear, indicating that it nevertheless was also at the same time from God.
Now that is something that only Christians can understand and can understand that. Well sometimes and understand that evil is evil.
Sometimes the world does what super silly.
As Christians go itself. In that respect and takes on an air of false optimism, but the world when it thinks Craig can see evil is evil pointed out is evil. But what the world cannot do is understand the same time God can actually be in charge and be bringing good out of the evil that just dilutes the thinking of the world entirely by you say how do Christians therefore no say what we do say when we say that God charge. The reason we say that is because we know it's true.
And we know it's true. Even though you can't always explain it because we have the example of what happened in the case of Jesus Christ all the evil things that have ever been done in this world blatantly maliciously evil, certainly she was the murderer of the very son of God holy son of God. Many passages in the Bible that say that says in acts two. Satan had plotted the destruction of Jesus with the help of wicked man. Even Jesus himself called at the hour when darkness rained out of all that was an evil day, Satan released his way of thinking of triumph when he saw the Jesus kill the same time taught in the Scripture that this was something God had planned from before the foundation of the world done it with a good purpose to achieve our redemption.
See Peter was talking about the crucifixion of Pentecost in the very same sentence in which he placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of those who had plotted to have Jesus killed. He said this man was handed over to you by God sent purpose and all agent unless they miss the point.
He quoted text of the Old Testament the show. God set in advance if this was what was going to happen because God planned it that way that's very important point.
We acknowledge that evil is evil and suffering, and suffering.
We don't see anything good somebody being blind for blindness itself or for cancer itself for being paralyzed itself the same time we say God is in charge of all those things and he knows what it's doing, we can understand that we can see the ways of God. But we believe it because God reveals himself to be a kind of a God.
That's why the Westminster confession of faith says classical language. I was referring to some Sundays ago God from all eternity.
Did by his most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeable. He or day whatever comes to pass.
So that's the second point is the fire because Paul's thorn was simultaneously from God as well as from Satan and had a divine purpose and that purpose was good. By definition, is a good God of God had a purpose and then God's purpose was good is whether good purpose. Once this case he knew what God was doing what he says in verse one it was to keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations was abandoned was caught up to the third heaven. The paradise he received things that I wasn't able to talk about.
I could go to one's head by just that God speaking to me personally in a quiet little voice telling me what the weather was each morning I would go to my head. Here he had this glorious revelation, but he said he had the thorn in the flesh to keep them home and worked because seriously, if you ever had a chance of the apostle blowing is cool and responding in kind to those who were provoking them because of the false teaching of the church. Upon certainly would've done here. It is the revelation. Let me tell you about my revelation that all that's not the tone chapters 3 and steady approach is a very humble way. And the thing you boasting about weakness on say how about you and your affliction, whatever that may be I don't know what it is, in some cases I do. But mostly I don't. Probably other people don't as well.
What's God's purpose in not necessarily the same thing as what the apostle Paul endured God gave him his going to keep him humble. Most of us don't have much to boast about their easy to be on. Maybe that's not because you because with me but may well be causes. It may be, for example, the gun is constant lectured in your life and sort of that in an indirect way he might do good to other people. Case in point, Joseph young boy sold into slavery by his brothers hated him carried off each of the foreign country. Another language young persecuted in chain sold in the household of Potiphar by diligent work of integrity rises to a position of prominence within. No sooner does he emerge slightly above the heads and shoulders of the other slaves was falsely accused by Potiphar's wife back in prison again. The languages there prison for two years. Only after the time. God eventually raises them up out of prison is in a position second only to Pharaoh in Egypt is able to save people time rate and prolonged family come to the end of the story and always use not only save lives to save the life of his family brings about Egypt but is actually instrumental God in bringing these brothers of his or so hardened in their sin to repent. He was the instrument of salvation in their lives become to the end of act and using the brothers are still afraid they know what they've done in their are so afraid that Joseph now is going to reconnect kind of Sheri's revenge upon you know what he says. He says don't be afraid I'm not in the place of God you intended behind me see there's at Frank facing of evil once again he knows what they did and pretending that it wasn't said it was they were trying to doing.
He said, but God's hand was over at all. God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Maybe God is doing that what you're suffering or again it may just be for the glory of God, raised purpose of all human suffering among the people of God as they suffer for the glory of God. Job was a case in point, Job didn't even understand what was going on.
You get to the end of the book of Job. I don't find the God explained to them what was going on. It simply lost his possessions lost his family. It's true that in the end I gave them possessions back again and abundant measure and gave him a new family but that didn't eradicate philosophy to experience the pain endured was no explanation but nevertheless it was for the glory of God and we read that book today. We glorify God because what you went one another example you have. The man was born blindness story is told in John nine to begin the question about God's purpose in human suffering.
Disciples wanted to know they made that kind of a fast easy association between sin and something and they said the man is suffering send it wasn't him. It must've been his barren who was Jesus explained, wasn't that a lawyer entirely off the practice happen to them simply that God might be glorified. Anyone since Jesus healed well, let me say that is something you and I very much need to learn. We may not understand exactly what God is doing we doing need to understand that is doing something he does have a purpose, whatever it may be, there's 1/4 point is really the most important.
That's the chief point of the text's the thing. God himself said that my grace is sufficient for you, God's grace was sufficient for the thorn. I find it interesting upon this great apostle didn't even pray for the grace, always praying for is that the thorn might be removed thinking of raising my grace to live with the thorn he wanted the thorn to be removed. That's what he was asking God for. But even though we didn't ask for raise not given grace anyway and he provided all the grace he needed to live for God triumphantly in spite of the affliction, whatever kind of grace that you need. That's what God will provide you with sufficient grace to give you sufficient grace, you need some grace you're confronted with a crisis hardly know what to do, God will by the sudden any daily grace they something morning by morning as you get up and go to the same problem job in your failure to be locked in 20 years, hardly faces going to the office gonna give you daily grace. What you need is persevering race persevering difficulty give you that overcoming grace to give you that whatever you need. I like that him how firm a foundation primarily for its middle stances a great first dance and a great last one but the middle stances go like this when through the deep waters. I called Lee to go the rivers of wall shall launch the overflow.
I will be with the eye troubles to blast and sanctify to the night when through fiery trials like pathway shall live my race all sufficient shall be thy supply flame shall not hurt the I only designed by Ross to consume my goal refine even download a all my people shall prove my sovereign, eternal, unchangeable live in for a hair show their temples adorn like lambs facial still to my keyboard is even Job in the midst of his sufferings could say Job 2310 and he knows the way that I take when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold is are for great lesson one more.
The last the fifth in Spall's last point, although it grows directly out of Paul's special relation to God's special revelation to him. God said my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. What that means is that grace provides the power as seen in us, not when we are strong. But when we are weak and that is so Paul says in the concluding section, verses of the section that I've read than what I'm going to do is boast in my weakness going to delight in my weaknesses in my insults and hardships and persecutions and difficulties because you see is what I'm week.
I am strong. I said I was going to come back to this matter of triumphalism and let me conclude that way.
You see how different that is from triumphalism of the Christian zoning victories Christian life say we do have victories. As our faith in the midst of such things, but what Paul is ascribing here is the very opposite of the kind of triumphalism that says you have it easy and you will laugh if you really only trusting God. Paul is saying that all yes what is best thing about this is weakness it's it's ironically saying I I'm boasting about the things that most people why because my weakness, my strength of the Lord Jesus Christ be seen asked the question in the personal way.
Who is it that you want to glorify. Who is it that you want to have praised. If you want to praise yourself. You want to have other people praise you, then tell us what a wonderful Christian you are about your clients that you victories tell us about your visions about your revelations will hear them and will think 01 a wonderful person.
This is how things work God to treat them that way. But you see events not your object. If you want to glorify Jesus Christ rather than yourself. If you want other people to praise him, then do what mature believers in Christ always done they don't point to themselves. They point Jesus Christ they tell others about his grace. Tell others about his power. They tell others about his Majesty's sufficiency, his glory when they come into the picture at all. They confess only that they are sinners saved by grace if they are called upon to suffer Christians often are and do suffer they cannot do it by some great force of character in them, but by the grace and power of Jesus Christ to endured even greater suffering on their behalf. They might not says is this he says my grace is sufficient for you. Question is sufficient great privilege to be able to show other people. This praise of the glory of Jesus Christ prayer. Father, we thank you for the teaching of Paul here is great 12th chapter of second Corinthians were especially thankful because he speaks as honestly as he does about his own suffering. The thorn in his flesh that plagued him all the many many years was never removed.
We see in his suffering. Some of the things that we endure, and because your grace is sufficient for him. We are encourage to believe in no that it is sufficient for us as well. Help us to go on for mind to that great insight with which the great apostle Athens insight in which he says rather than glorying in the things that would bring the glory that is before others, I want the glory and the things that are actually weak because there power of Jesus Christ to say, help us to do that to do it in such a way our great Lord and Savior is lifted up before man ran by your grace, that we might see a psychic counted as such a privilege to be so used. We pray in the name for the sake of Jesus Christ our Savior. You are listening to Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals.
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