2 Corinthians 12:7-10
I. ESTABLISH THE PRINCIPLE. “”My strength is made perfect in your weakness.” To be strong in the Lord, we must become weak in ourselves.
II. EXAMINE THE PROCESS. “There was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet (lit., beat with fists) me.”
III. EXPLORE THE POSSIBILITIES. 1. Door of usefulness open to all — even the weak. 2. Victory is midst of suffering is possible. 3. Power of Christ available — “That the power of Christ may rest upon me. “Rest”: like a tent spread over the ground.
IV. ENTER INTO THE PROVISION. “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities. . . . Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ sake; for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
©Ron Dunn, LifeStyle Ministries, 2001
2 Cor. 7:10, NEB
INTRO: The difference between people isn’t the ABSENCE of trouble, but their ATTITUDE towards it…. WHAT YOU DO WITH IT.
There are two things you can do with it:
(1) Bear it God’s Way
(2) Bear it the World’s Way – death, bitterness, resentment, etc.
HOW TO BEAR IT GOD’S WAY:
(1) Realize it is the SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST. (1:5)
(2) Realize God is up to something, has a purpose. This is the tool God is using to perfect his plan in your life.
I. THAT WE MIGHT EXPERIENCE THE COMFORT OF GOD.
(1:3-5) Paul is uniquely qualified to speak on this subject.
1. COMFORT – a rich word, same as Matt. 5:4, “standing beside a person in time of need to strengthen and encourage, to defend his cause, to make it his own.”
2. “THE GOD OF ALL COMFORT”.
(1) Emphasizes the complete adequacy of God’s comfort.
(2) Excludes any other source of comfort. If He is the God of all comfort, there is no real comfort anywhere else. If we turn from God in time of trouble, become bitter, etc., then there is absolutely no comfort.
3. PRESENT TENSE VERB– God’s Comfort is:
(1) Complete – “All” for every need. II Cor. is Paul’s testimony to this, 7:4; 6:10; 4:16 NEB.
(2) Continual – Present tense verb, not occasional and spasmodic, but continual–as long as there’s a need, a trouble, there is comfort.
(3) Conquering – God’s comfort enables the Christian not merely to ENDURE the trouble, but to REJOICE in it! 7:4, 6:10; 4:16.
(4) Christ’s Comfort – Notice in vs. 5, the sufferings are CHRIST’S. Not suffering FOR Christ, but the SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST. Christ’s suffering through us, But notice also, the CONSOLATION, like the SUFFERING, is Christ’s! The same comfort that came to Jesus, comes to us. We are comforted with the same comfort that Jesus was comforted with. (1:3-5)
CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT IT MUST HAVE BEEN LIKE WHEN JESUS STEPPED BACK INTO GLORY?
“I wonder sometimes what God thought
I wonder if tears filled His eyes
When Jesus came walking through glory,
With blood stains from dark Calvary.
When Jesus came walking through Glory
With bloodstains from dark Calvary,
I wonder if angels cried Holy,
Or bowed down and wept at His feet.”
LESSON – All of us want to experience God’s comfort. Look at the prerequisite–Trouble. Matt. 5:4. Before we can be comforted, we must first mourn
II. THAT WE MAY BE EQUIPPED TO MINISTER TO OTHERS.
1:4 -“in order that” , a purpose clause. A tremendous revelation.
“in every kind of trouble” – We are equipped to minister to those “in every kind of trouble.”
2. One of the main principles of Christianity: the Christian receives that he may pass it on to others; he is blessed that he might be a blessing.
(1) We become the channel through which God minister to others.
(2) God never wastes time or experience. It isn’t a HOSPITAL, it’s a SEMINARY.
(3) We comfort with the same comfort we were comforted with. (v.5) It overflows the banks of your life. When God comforts you He give you enough to pass on..
©Ron Dunn, LifeStyle Ministries, 2003