Sermon Notes for 2 Corinthians by Chuck Smith
These are in all cases in themselves utterly inadequate and disproportionate to the results to be obtained. The treasure is in earthly vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God. This is why Paul urged us to seek something better than glory—if we seek glory directly by hoarding power, money, or fame, then we will never get it.
Frank Matera, then, offers this important clarification to what Paul is teaching us:. In drawing out this paradox, Paul is not saying that weakness is power. Rather, weakness becomes the place or the occasion for Christ to manifest power, just as the weakness of the cross was the occasion for God to manifest power in Christ. We then, with Paul, may be content for the sake of Christ with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities 2 Cor.
2 Corinthians: Power in Weakness (Preaching the Word)
This is the thing that is better than glory. This is the reason that Paul refused to boast about his visions and revelations, and instead insisted upon pointing at his weaknesses—because Christ was glorified more in his weaknesses, and because he experienced the power of Christ most perfectly there.
This theology ought to transform our outlook on life fundamentally. Rather than living in fear of weakness, or rather than nursing bitterness over our lot in life, this gives us a theology to understand at least the tip of the iceberg into why God entrusts suffering to us. Rather, he brings us into weakness and suffering that our frailty might be the thin tentskins where the shekinah glory of Jesus himself rests in our lives.
Rejoice in Your Weakness 2 Cor.
2 Corinthians: When I Am Weak, I Am Strong
The Grace of Jesus is Sufficient for You After Paul pleads three times for Jesus for his thorn in the flesh to leave him, Jesus responds—but not to say that he will remove the weakness from Paul. In contrast, the verb in v. Charles Hodge writes this: The word is episkeose, may pitch its tent upon me ; i. Frank Matera, then, offers this important clarification to what Paul is teaching us: In drawing out this paradox, Paul is not saying that weakness is power.
Search for:. Learn how to live fruitfully and faithfully in the kingdom of Jesus. Download my free eBook now. Pin It on Pinterest. He thought the thorn in the flesh was an earache or a headache. For when I am weak, then I am strong. And He said to me : God had a response for Paul. The answer was not what Paul initially hoped for or expected, but God still had a response for Paul.
We often close our ears to God if He responds in a way we did not hope for or expect. The grace God gave Paul was sufficient to meet his every need. Paul was desperate in his desire to find relief from this burden, but there are two ways of relief. It can come by removing the load or by strengthening the shoulder that bears the load.
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For many of us, especially in American culture, this is a huge obstacle. If you never feel inward conflicts and sinking of soul, you do not know much of the upholding power of God; but if you go down, down, into the depths of soul-anguish till the deep threatens to shut her mouth upon you, and then the Lord rides upon a cherub and does fly, yea, rides upon the wings of the wind and delivers your soul, and catches you away to the third heaven of delight, then you perceive the majesty of divine grace.
Oh, there must be the weakness of man, felt, recognized, and mourned over, or else the strength of the Son of God will never be perfected in us. Grace means that God likes us, that He is favorably disposed towards us and that we have His approval and promise of care. When we come to God by faith through the blood of Jesus, His grace is ever ready to meet us and to minister to our insufficiencies.
So much of the power of this world is expressed in things that can only bring harm and destruction, but God loves to show His power through His goodness and grace. Sometimes we associate goodness with cowardice or timidity. Grace is not weak or wimpy. Instead, it is the power of God to fulfill what we lack.
My grace is sufficient for you : You may emphasize any aspect of this you please. It means He loves us and is pleased by us. Can you hear it from God? It is the grace of Jesus. What will Jesus fail at?
Remember too that Jesus suffered thorns, so He cares and He knows. Not that it will be some day, but right now, at this moment, His grace is sufficient. You thought something had to change before His grace would be enough. Believer, it is now that grace is sufficient: even at this moment it is enough for thee.
His grace sufficient for little me! How absurd to think that it could ever be any different! As if a little fish could swim in the ocean and fear lest it might drink it dry! The grace of our crucified, risen, exalted, triumphant Saviour, the Lord of all glory, is surely sufficient for me! Do you not think it is rather modest of the Lord to say sufficient?
But God made it broad enough.
Are you beyond it? Are you so different? Of course not.
2 Corinthians: Power in Weakness (Preaching the Word)
This sufficient grace is for you. Let me retract my speech: I am glad that it cannot be put into words, for if so it would be finite, but since we never can express it, glory be to God it is inexhaustible, and our demands upon it can never be too great. Here let me press upon you the pleasing duty of taking home the promise personally at this moment, for no believer here need be under any fear, since for him also, at this very instant, the grace of the Lord Jesus is sufficient. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me : Through his infirmities , God made Paul completely dependent on His grace and on His strength , but it was all for good.
Many people see God as a parent that we outgrow. In this pattern, some of us treat God the same way we treat our parents. We give Him a measure of respect, we give Him His due — but we no longer feel we really have to obey Him any more. In our hearts, we have moved out of the house. That day is an illusion. If the Apostle Paul himself constantly experienced weakness, who are we to think that we will surpass him?
In fact, the illusion of strength and independence actually leaves someone in a weaker place.
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities : In the end, Paul does not resign himself to his fate; he welcomes it. Paul was at such a level of spiritual strength and maturity that God had to deliberately introduce a thorn in the flesh. Most of us provide our own thorns, and an honest look shows us enough weakness to make us constantly and totally rely on the grace and strength of Jesus. Here is something to depend on Me for. For when I am weak, then I am strong : What triumph!
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What can the world do to such a man so firm in the grip of Jesus? God did not allow this thorn in the flesh to punish Paul or to keep him weak for the sake of weakness. God allowed it to show a divine strength in Paul. Think about this man Paul. Was he a weak or strong man?
The man who traveled the ancient world spreading the gospel of Jesus despite the fiercest persecutions, who endured shipwrecks and imprisonment, who preached to kings and slaves, who established strong churches and trained up their leaders was not a weak man. In light of his life and accomplishments, we would say that Paul was a very strong man.
If we want lives of such strength, we also must understand and admit our weakness and look to God alone for the grace that will strengthen us for any task. The worst form of trial may, nevertheless, be our best present portion. But Paul knew, so he rejoiced even in his thorn in the flesh. Of course, the greatest example of the principle Paul communicates here was lived by Jesus Himself. Yet, we should never think that in our lives, the mere presence of a thorn means the glory and strength of Jesus would shine in us and through us. In many people, their thorn in the flesh does not appear to have fulfilled any admirable design at all; it has created another vice, instead of removing a temptation.
I have become a fool in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing.
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Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.