2 Corinthians 12:7-10
July 6, 2014
Grace…what is it?
Amazing Grace how sweet the sound…” “Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt…” Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus, deeper than the mighty rolling sea; higher than the mountain, sparkling like a fountain, all sufficient grace for even me. Broader than the scope of my transgressions, greater far than all my sin and shame…”
We live in a world that has a hard time with grace. “Do the crime you do the time.” “You make your bed , you lie in it.”
Then we are confronted with this profound statement from the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12… “My grace is sufficient for you.”
Can this really be true? Can God’s grace see me through my times of trial? Can God’s grace me comfort when comfort is needed? Can God take care of my financial needs? Is God’s grace greater than all my sins? Is God’s grace sufficient to meet all my needs?
The answer is yes! Yes, praise God his grace is sufficient! He can and will take care of our every need. He has for thousands of years taken care of His children’s needs. You don’t believe me, then ask. Millions could testify of the great things that God has done for them.
Is God’s grace sufficient? Ask a man named Saul in Acts 9. Saul was traveling on the road to Damascus when he was struck by a blinding light and there he met the Savior Jesus Christ. Here was a man who was persecuting Christians, putting them to death for their belief in Jesus Christ. He called himself, “the chief of sinners." But he encountered the living Christ and his life was transformed. God’s grace is sufficient for salvation.
Did Paul deserve it? No. Had he done anything to merit God’s mercy and grace? No. Do we deserve it? No. Can we do anything to earn God’s mercy and grace? No. It is by grace that we are saved and that is through faith.
The truth of the matter is, we are blessed to not get what we deserve. God makes this point crystal clear through the work of his Son, Jesus Christ. We deserve to be condemned, but God’s grace has declared us to be his forgiven, innocent children. We deserve to be forsaken and rejected by God, but God’s grace has promised us that we are his children who have an everlasting home with him in the realm of his inexpressible glory. God has declared us to be holy – pure and innocent in his eyes.
Once there was a young boy wadding at the edge of a river, his mother sat at a picnic table gathering the leftovers from the table when she heard the boy screaming for help. Help! Help me I’m drowning. A man standing on the bank took off his shirt and stood there until the boy cried Help and wend down for the last time. At that the man jumped in the water and swam out and rescued the boy. After getting back to shore, the mother frantically looked at the man who had saved her son, and asked; "Why did you wait so long before you saved my boy?" To which he answered; "Had I gone to rescue him any sooner, while he was still struggling, we would have both drowned, but when he gave up, then I could rescue him."
People are like that too. They try every means possible to get salvation in there own struggles, but it is when one gives up all self hope and truly puts their faith and trust in Jesus Christ that they are saved. God’s grace is sufficient for salvation.
Is God’s grace sufficient? Ask the children of Israel. They wandered in the wilderness for forty years. They needed no shoes, clothes, food, not water for forty years. God’s grace was sufficient. Ask Elijah. After a long grueling battle with the false prophets of baal he was fed by an angel. God’s grace is sufficient for our physical and material needs.
Yet how often do we waste time and energy worrying, fretting. God’s promise to us today is found in Matthew 6:25, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you shall wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well."
God’s grace is sufficient for our material needs?
Is God’s grace sufficient? Again ask the children of Israel. In Exodus 14 they find their backs against the wall. Literally their backs are against the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s chariots are breathing down their necks. But God through his servant Moses made a way. He delivered his people through the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army was washed away.
Peter walking on the water. He stepped out of the boat and began to walk on the water until he looked at the waves around him, then he began to sink, his cry was, "Lord save me." Jesus immediately reached out and saved Peter from a watery death. God sees the wind and the waves in your life and he will take care of you when you are trusting in Him.
God’s grace is sufficient in times of trouble.
Is God’s grace sufficient? Ask the apostle Paul. In 2 Corinthians 12 we read about what he describes as a thorn in his flesh. What this thorn in his life was, we’re not certain. Some claim it was a form of epilepsy. Others claim it was a recurring bout with Malaria, severe migraine headaches, or even a speech impediment. We just don’t know. Whatever it was, it was chaffing Paul, it was under his skin, and it was bothering him to no end. Three times it said he pleaded to God that it be taken away. And what was God’s response, “My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” God’s grace is sufficient in times of trial and tribulation.
2 Corinthians 12:9, says, "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."
Don’t be deceived by the world or by your own ideals. If you live for Christ it isn’t going to be a cakewalk. We will experience very difficult times. We will experience trials, and hardships, just like every other person on earth.
God is sufficient in times of testing and trials in one’s life, Yes, He is an "ALL SUFFICIENT GOD!
We live in a world of instant self-gratification, and that idea has seeped into the church. Some churches even promote this attitude. They teach that you deserve to be healthy and wealthy, and free of pain. But such thinking sets people up for a fall. When we have expectations of the kind of life we feel we deserve, then what happens when things don’t the way we expect? We feel betrayed, that somehow God has let us down.
Don’t be deceived by the world or by your own ideals. If you live for Christ it isn’t going to be a cakewalk. We will experience very difficult times. We will experience trials, and hardships, just like every other person on earth. But we cannot believe the misconception of the world, that true happiness is found in getting what you feel you deserve.
God’s primary purpose for you in this life is not to make you happy, but to make you holy.
God will place a “thorn” or two under our skin. A thorn in the flesh in modern terms might be called “a pain in the neck.” God’s thorns come in all shapes and sizes: migraine headaches, bad backs, arthritis, depression, anxiety spells, cancer, an impossible boss, a rebellious child, and on and on. Though thorns vary in length and severity, most of us have at least one at any given time. God’s thorn might cause pain or frustration, but the whole purpose is to keep us from relying on ourselves and becoming arrogant, proud people.
In fact, that is why God often gives us thorns, to show us the power of his grace. It is made perfect in our weakness. When we are weak, when we have trials, when the ailments of life tear us down, it becomes obvious just how much we need God, and his grace shines.
So this morning I ask you, what is your need. Do you need salvation and forgiveness? God’s grace is sufficient.
Are you worried about some material problem? God’s grace is sufficient.
Are you facing a time of trial and tribulation? God’s grace is sufficient.
Are you dealing with a thorn? God’s grace is sufficient.
Thank God for his thorns! They remind us that we are weak. And when we know we are weak, then we can be strong because we grow to trust God’s all-sufficient grace shown to us in Christ.