REFLECTIONS FOR LIFE
Power in Weakness
2 Corinthians Series: PERFECTION IN WEAKNESS
2 Corinthians 12:1-13
Pastor Lou Gallo
January 10, 2020
What does weakness look like in your life?
What is the effect of your weakness?
What is your ‘so that?’ Examples: Loving others more than yourself, so that they experience Christ’s love through you? Generous financial giving, so that others can experience God’s generosity through you? Encouraging others, so that they would be built up in Christ? Etc… Think deeply about this and then ask, where would you like to grow?
“I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows.3 And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— 4 and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. 5 On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses— 6 though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. 7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 11 I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I was not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing. 12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works. 13 For in what were you less favored than the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not burden you? Forgive me this wrong!”
Paul is sharing this fantastic vision in order to let the Corinthians know the results of the vision – Paul’s thorn in his flesh. A messenger of Satan to keep him humble. It’s not so important as to what this thorn is but rather the effect on Paul. In fact not knowing exactly what Paul’s thorn is leaves room for us to identify our own thorn in the flesh.
For Paul, the thorn highlighted his weakness. It was a constant reminder of God’s grace AND God’s power, working through him.
Verse 9 says, “But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
He ends this unit by illuminating the theological significance of his weaknesses (12:9b–10).
Here’s the heavenly equation.
Our Weakness + Christ’s Power = Christ’s Power in Us.
Weakness means “dependent humility.”
Weakness is true dependence on God. Weakness is true, biblical humility.
Our Dependence on Christ
Our Lack of Control When We’re in Christ
Our Ability to do Great Things for Christ
1. Our Dependence on Christ–grace is sufficient.
a. To do things that are beyond our natural ability – so that the power of Christ might be revealed. What will you do for Christ that requires you to rely on His power?
b. When we find ourselves spiritually weak, weary, 힘들다. COVID weariness.
c. Desperation. Some of the most effective prayers in the Bible are those cried out in desperation. Desperation is weakness. It creates the room for God to move in power!
2. Our Lack of Control When We’re in Christ
a. Other People – when we are attacked by other people. When we are powerless against those who persecute us for our faith. Listen to Jehoshaphat as his enemies were planning to attack him. Listen to Jehoshaphat’s humility in 2 Chronicles 20:5-12; It’s a bit long but carefully listen to the attitude of his heart towards God.
“And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court,6 and said, "O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.7 Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?8 And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying,9 'If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you-for your name is in this house-and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.'10 And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy-11 behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit.12 O our God, will you not execute judgment on them?
2 Chronicles 20:5-12
b. The Future
The future is uncertain. Period. We have no idea what will happen and we certainly can not control the future. It is out of our control.
When we are experiencing hope and faith for the future, we’re being empowered by Christ to hope in the future. It’s out of our control. We have no idea what the future holds.
3. Our Ability to do Great Things for Christ
a. Weakness is being aware that God uses us even though we are sinful. God uses us even though we are imperfect. Being aware of our weakness drives us to Christ and the shelter of the gospel.
b. It places the ability to produce fruit solely in Christ working through us.
Paul uses the phrase throughout 2 Corinthians. He means that he lives his life in such a way ‘so that’ Christ will be exalted, others will be built up in Christ.
c. God has called us to walk in humility doing great things in Christ, through Christ, and for Christ.
d. What has God given for you to do? What impossible thing does He have for you to do? If all you do for Christ is what you can do on your own – then where’s the room for Christ to display His Power in your life.
e. Weakness means we need wisdom we don’t possess. God has made a way for us to gain God’s wisdom. (James)
f. Weakness is our need for power to serve God. ( 1 Peter), we must serve with the strength God supplies.
Weakness drives us to Christ. Weakness compels us to give glory to Christ. Weakness magnifies our dependence on Christ.
Weakness is so that – the power of Christ may rest upon me.
It looks like dependence. It looks like humility. It looks like acknowledging that everything we have has come from His hand.
2 Peter 1:3 says, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to[a] his own glory and excellence.”
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We pray that this exercise will strengthen your relationship with the Lord as you draw near with confidence.