White Oak Baptist Church

The Prayer of Grace and Weakness Part 2


The Prayers of Paul                            

The Prayer of Grace and Weakness Part 2 

2 Corinthians 12:7-9



*             Recap last message

*             I.  Through Grace, We Learn How God Allows Pain
to Happen for His Glory and Our Good: (v. 7)  
                                                     (Pride vs. Humility)                       

*          To keep Paul from becoming prideful we
saw God doing something we don’t normally see I scripture.        We
see God using evil, pain and suffering to keep Paul living a life of humility and

*          Sometimes God will allow things to
happen to us (physically and spiritually) that we don’t understand   and sometimes question God why, and this
happens for His glory and our own good-even if that means       suffering and possibly lose. 

*             Illus.
anyone say they have lost as much as Job at one time?  Can anyone say they have had       their whole livelihood and family taken
from them in a single moment?  Yet, we did
not hear Job   questioning God, running
from God or see his faith wavering, no, we saw just the opposite; we saw Job             fall on his knees and worship and
say, “The LORD gave and the LORD has
taken away; may the name   of the LORD be
If taking Job’s livelihood
and family wasn’t enough, we even saw Satan             striking
Job with boils and physical pain and yet, we do not hear Job questioning God,
running from      God or see his faith
wavering, no, we saw just the opposite; we hear Job say, “Shall we accept good          from
God, and not trouble

*          Illus. Joseph:  Joseph was thrown into a pit by his brother’s
jealousy to die, only to be rescued and sold                into
slavery in Egypt.  After many years
Joseph rose up to be the second highest ranking person in                         Egypt.  Joseph could have had all of his brothers
killed, yet, we do not hear Joseph questioning God,           running from God, taking revenge or see his faith wavering,
no, we see just the opposite; we hear Joseph     say
to his brothers, “You intended to harm
me, but God intended it for good.”

*          If
we’re going through something beyond our ability to endure or even to understand,
we can learn from         these great
men.  We can learn no
to question God, we can learn not to run from God or allow our faith             to waver.  We can learn that through grace God allows
pain to happen for His glory and our good. 

II.        Through
Grace, We Learn it’s Better to Pray for Pains Transformation Rather Than its
Removal:     (vv.8-9a)         (Substitution
vs. Transformation)

            *          We see Paul pleading for the removal
of his “thorn in the flesh” and the Lord’s response was                          “My
grace is sufficient.”
  I’m sure that’s
not what Paul wanted to hear.  Paul
wanted to hear                          something
to the effect, “O.k., Paul I’ll remove
your pain, I’ll take away all your problems.”

            *          Illus. Emperor Moth.  The man thought he was being gracious to the
moth by clipping the                                    cocoon
and removing its struggle.  It was
through the struggle that forced the fluid out of his                                body into its wings.

            *          Have we ever thought- what if God
answered our prayers according to our wants and wills?                                 What
type of people would we become?  We would
be like the moth.  Maybe it’s better for
us to                                  pray
for pains transformation rather than its removal.  Amen?

            *          When we pray for pains transformation
we become what the Lord wants us to be, when we pray                          for pains removal we become what we want to

            *          The Lord’s answer to Paul’s prayer was
“My grace is sufficient.”  “Grace” is the Greek word                          “charis” (khar-ece, Gr.
5485) which means “unmerited favor, loving kindness; a benefit.”


            *          Grace is a favor done without
expectation of return.  Grace is
obtaining and experiencing                                            something
you don’t deserve. 
My grace is
sufficient is to say my grace is enough.


            *          Three times we saw Paul pleading to
the Lord.  The word “plead” meant Paul
was imploring,                            beseeching,
begging; it is a word that is speaking about calling out for aid, help, and


            *          Pleading is an action that goes beyond
general praying and asking.  This prayer wasn’t
an                                average
prayer; this was a prayer of desperation! 
Have you had any of those prayers in your life?                 If
not, hang on-you will.


            *          There are three aspects of grace:  saving, justifying and sanctifying. 


            *          What if the Lord did answer Paul what
would He have said.  Please allow me to
elaborate on                             what
I think the conversation could have been like if the Lord were to give Paul a
longer answer.


            *          First plea:  We can hear Paul crying out for relief, help
and comfort for the removal of the thorn                          but
we hear the Lord say-my “saving”
grace is sufficient for you Paul.


was as if the Lord was saying, “Paul you
don’t deserve to be saved but the fact I did save you                                    is enough.  Your pain is not worth mentioning when
compared to what I suffered on the cross for                                    your salvation.  I suffered verbally, falsely and physically
to give you salvation.  Get your mind                             off
of your suffering and remember mine!  My saving
grace is sufficient.”


it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God— who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not
because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.  This grace was given us in Christ Jesus
before the beginning of time”
(Eph. 2:8, 1 Tim.

            *          Second Plea:  We can hear Paul crying out for relief, help and comfort for the
removal of the                             thorn
but we hear the Lord say- my “justifying”
grace is sufficient for you Paul.

was as if the Lord was saying, “Paul you
don’t deserve to be justified-declared righteous, but                                  the fact I have justified you is
enough.  You persecuted Me, my church and
even saw my servant                                  Stephen
stoned to death.  You were a violent,
blasphemous and a persecuting man that doesn’t                             deserve to be made righteous; get your
mind off of your pain and remember I have declared you                           righteous! 
My justifying grace is sufficient.”

For all have sinned and fall short
of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the
redemption that came by Christ Jesus. . . so that, having been justified by his
grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life”

(Rom. 3:23-24, Titus 3:7).    

            *          Third Plea:  We can hear Paul crying out for relief, help
and comfort for the removal of the                             thorn
but we hear the Lord say- my “sanctifying”
grace is sufficient for you Paul.

was as if the Lord was saying, “Paul you
don’t deserve to be sanctified but the fact I have                              sanctified you-set you apart for my
glory and your good is enough.  I am
transforming you day                                   by
day to be more like Me that I can accomplish my will through your life.  Get your mind off of                                  your
pain and remember what I am making you! My sanctifying grace is sufficient.

                        But by the grace of God I am what I
am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all                                of them—yet not
I, but the grace of God that was with me”
(1 Cor. 15:10, read
1 Tim. 1:12-17). 

            *          We
can see through these three petitions the Lord was turning Paul’s focus to His
grace and off                             of

            *          When God declared to Paul in answer to
his prayer, “My grace is sufficient for you,” He                                        affirmed the total sufficiency
of His grace for every need in life—to believe the gospel; to                                   understand and
apply the Word to all the issues of life; to overcome sin and temptation; to                                     endure
suffering, disappointment, and pain; to obey God; to serve Him effectively; and
to                                  worship Him.

            *          God's
grace was sufficient for the deepest pain Paul (or any other believer) could
ever                                           experience.  See, when we have nothing left but God
then we become aware that God grace is                               enough.

*          Through
grace, we learn how God allows pain to happen for His glory and our good,
through grace,                         we
learn it’s better to pray for pains transformation rather than its removal, and
lastly, through grace, we learn how God’s
power is made perfect through our weaknesses.

III.       Through
Grace, We Learn God’s Power is Made Perfect through Our Weaknesses:  (vv.9b-10)       (Weakness
vs. Power)

            *          God
not only wanted to display His grace in Paul's life, but also His power; He not
only wanted                            the
apostle to be humble, but also strong. Because “power is perfected in weakness,” it was                              necessary for the fires of suffering to
burn away the dross of pride and self-confidence.

            *          Paul
had lost all ability, humanly speaking, to deal with the situation at Corinth.
He had visited                                  there,
sent others there, and written the Corinthians letters. But he could not
completely fix the                              situation.
He was at the point when he had to trust totally in God's will and power.

            *          It is
when believers are out of answers, confidence, and strength, with nowhere else
to turn but to                 God that
they are in a position to be most effective. 
For when we are weak we are strong.

            *          No one in
the kingdom of God is too weak to experience God's power, but many are too                                       confident
in their own strength. Physical suffering, mental anguish, disappointment,                                           unfulfillment,
and failure squeeze the impurities out of our life, making them pure vessels                            through which God's
power can flow.

            *          Paul's
weakness was not self-induced or artificial; it was not a superficial
psychological self-                             esteem
game he played with himself. It was real and God-given. He did not love the
pain caused                          by
the thorn in the flesh, yet he embraced it as the means by which God released
His power                                   through


*          (vv. 7-10 The Message)  
Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn't get
a big head, I was given the             gift
of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel
did his best to get me down; what he in fact    did
was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At
first I didn't think of it as a gift, and   begged
God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, My grace is
enough; it's all you need.  My strength                comes into its own in your
weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on
the handicap and       began appreciating
the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I
take limitations in stride, and            with
good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents,
opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take               over!
And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

*          Whatever we are going through today, whatever pains, sufferings
and inconveniences we might have,         however
desperate our plea to God is for the removal of them, we just might hear the
words-my grace is sufficient for you-my
grace is enough, my grace is all you need.

*          Everyone one here today deserve the judgment of hell due to
our sins, but we have received mercy           because
Christ took our sins as judgment upon Himself on the cross.  For those who will call upon His       name can be saved and experience His grace
(Eph. 2:8). 

*          What does this mean? 
It means if judgment opens the doors of hell, then mercy closes doors of
hell and          grace opens the doors of

*          Let us pray today the prayer to help us understand God’s
saving grace, His justifying grace, His   sanctifying
grace is enough for our lives in Christ.


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