Pennsville Baptist Church
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  • Pennsville Baptist Church
    3298 Richey Rd, Mt Pleasant, PA 15666, USA
    Sunday 9:45 AM
II Corinthians 12:1-10
Lest ‘I’ Should Be Exalted

Introduction
1. What stops God from working? What frees God to work?
2. II Cor. 12:1-10 Paul tells us:
I. THAT WHICH RESTRICTS GOD’S WORK 12:1-6 PRIDE
II. THAT WHICH RELEASES GOD’S WORK 12:7-10 POVERTY

What stops God from working?
I. THAT WHICH RESTRICTS GOD’S WORK 12:1-6 PRIDE
Lest “I” should be exalted (v. 7) He says this twice.
Paul had reason (as we all do) for pride. ‘Self’ stands up:
A.“I” Have Seen What Few Have Seen 1
I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
1.As an apostle: He say the glorified Christ on the road to Damascus. He saw Anaias coming in a vision to minister unto him. He had a vision when he was called to minister to the Gentiles…a man from Macedonia “Come over and help us.”
2.God gave Paul a profound understanding of the plan of God for this present age. He had insight into the future. (I Cor. 15; I Thes. 4; II Thes. 2)
3.Everyone today is seeing something. Paul implies in the early church only Apostles were given visions, revelations and special privileges. It was the exception not the rule.
4.“I” have seen what few have seen can lead to Pride!
B.“I” Have Been Where Few Have Been 2,3
1.God honored Paul by taking him to heaven and back again.
2.I knew a man…that man was Paul (v. 7) In Christ means he was a believer. Jewish rabbis were accustomed to speaking about themselves in the third person. Paul adopted this approach.
3.14 years ago…Paul kept quiet for 14 years! 14 years prior to the writing of this letter. He was on a preaching tour in Galatia, Antioch, Iconium, Derbe, Lystra. While in Lystra (Acts 14:19 read) Paul was stoned, drug out of the city supposing him to be dead. Howbeit, as the disciples stood about him (his body) he rose up and came into the city.
4.Caught up to the third heaven. There are 3 heavens in the Bible: 1)The lower atmosphere with birds, clouds, rain, etc. 2) The upper atmosphere which is space, stars, planets, etc. 3) The third heaven is paradise where God dwells.
5.In the body or out of the body I do not know. A person does not require a body to be conscious. The body was not transported (the disciples stood by him). The body was in Lystra. The person was in ‘paradise.’
6.Paradise was a Persian word written in Greek… ‘a royal garden’. Death releases us from the body and places us in the presence of Christ…to be absent from the body and present with the Lord. This release is immediate and instantaneous. There is no purgatory, no unconsciousness in the grave. We are moved from Death to Life!
7.Was Paul dead? To be in a coma was unlikely. Modern science says there are two kinds of death: Reversible Death…the person’s heart stops beating, but the person is brought back to life. Irreversible Death…the heart and brain wave stops never to be revived. Paul was reversible where he experienced all the sensations.
C.“I” Heard What Few Have Heard 4-6
1.Paul heard things to wonderful to put into words or divine secrets that are shared only ‘in heaven’. He tells no one!
2.These things could only be spoken by God and heavenly beings, but they could not be spoken by man.
3.Notice the word ‘I’ in vss. 5, 6. Paul had every human reason for pride Yet I myself will not glory. SELF…what ‘I’ accomplished. That is ‘foolishness’. He would glory in ‘infirmities’, in ‘weakness’ so God could take such a weak vessel and use it!
4.We are so caught up with ourselves: Seeing what we have seen…Been where we have been…Hearing what we have heard. Doing what we have done, accomplishing what we have accomplished. We are really something! How Foolish! We live with little or no thought of God and His part in who we are or what we have accomplished. We get the credit!
5.PRIDE…Restricts the work of God! How about it Christian? You are so full of “I”: the whole world revolves around you. You can’t be honest with God.


What frees God to work?
II. THAT WHICH RELEASES GOD’S WORK 12:7-10 POVERTY
“Brokenness” The treasure of the life of Jesus is contained in earthen vessels. But the
treasure cannot be released as long as the vessel remains unbroken. It is at the point of
‘brokenness’ that God can build.
Lest I should be exalted
A. The Agent Of Brokenness 7
Given a thorn in the flesh.
1.We don’t know exactly what it was, but it was in the body or body related. If I were to
choose I would refer to (Galatians 4:14, 15) You see with what large letters I have written with my own hand. (Gal. 6:11)
2.Thorn in the flesh was painful. It was not a little splinter. It was a stake as used by Nero to impale Christian to light his garden. Buffet was to beat or strike with a hand or fist.
3.The pain’s source: the messenger of Satan. It was to ignite self…to rebel against God’s will. It was an opportunity to destroy. Satan is the source of evil. His principalities and powers are permitted to touch us in the natural course of life…only by the permissive will of God!
4.When this thing hit Paul was absolutely convinced it was the most restrictive thing that could happen to his ministry! After 14 years: a gift…a stake in the flesh…the messenger of Satan…14 years and the thorn remained!
B. The Agony Of Brokenness 8
1. I asked thrice…Paul did not merely ask three times for the thorn to be removed. Three
fold denotes completeness and importance. Paul kept asking. (Kittel Theological
Dictionary)
2. Paul Asked In Prayer. This was the normal and natural reaction to pain. He prayed for
relief! Paul asked God for its removal. Paul prayed for healing! We forget the purpose
of prayer. It is not to coax God into getting what we want. It is to help us find out what
the will of God is for us.
3. Paul Asked In Faith. Faith is not something that forces God to do what we want. It is
that which unites us with the Eternal.
4.Paul Asked With Persistence. For 14 years his prayer was not answered as he would
have wished. If the purpose of prayer is to discover God’s will. There is a higher purpose than getting well!
5. It’s Not The End. If… (name something that is destroying you). It’s not the end!
C. The Axiom Of Brokenness 9,10
Axiom Is a proposition regarded as self-evident truth. God does answer. He always
answers. Paul came to the end of himself in brokenness (v. 9) and God answers. God
answered, but not according to Paul’s expressed desire, but according to God’s will. God’s
answer was not to take away Paul’s pain, but the supply of God’s grace.
My Grace is Sufficient.
1.Grace is God’s adequacy for my inadequacy. God does it we can’t! Sufficient is enough.
2.For is the reason. My strength (dunimos we got our word dynamite) is made complete in weakness. When weakness, personal insufficiency and utter inability are felt, realized and known…then the power of God and His purpose for the thorn have been fulfilled!
3.Therefore, in verse 9 and the beginning of verse 10 Therefore I will glory (reflect on who He is) in infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
4.Therefore, in verse 10 I take pleasure in…Here is the secret, the key to suffering and pain…attitude! Infirmities was a means to something greater! Come to the end of yourself that the power of Christ may rest upon you! In infirmities (Physical)…In Reproaches (mental)…In necessities (financial and economic) …In Persecutions (social)…In distresses (emotional)… Notice: they are all plural!
5.For when I am weak (I come to the end of myself) then am I strong. There is no such thing as painless power!

God affords us opportunity after opportunity to come to the end of ourselves…
THEN HE CAN DO THE WORK!



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