1. Hello listening friends.
2. We are glad that you have joined us today.
3. We are in the middle of a series of messages entitled, “The Awesomeness of God’s Grace”.
4. And I want to begin today by telling you a story.
5. Back in 1973,
6. 2 young students were making a 600-mile trip from Sydney to Melbourne in Australia.
7. There were no highways back then,
8. only one lane traveling in each direction.
9. They were driving a very small and slow car.
10. For some time on the road to Melbourne, they were stuck behind a slow moving truck.
11. He began to make an effort to pass the slow moving truck.
12. But sure enough another car or truck would show up, heading straight at him.
13. So he would have to get back into his lane immediately behind the truck again.
14. That went on for a little longer than his patience would tolerate.
15. Finally, he got his chance!
16. There was enough straight road and no on-coming traffic that he could see!
17. So he pushed on the accelerator.
18. He was almost around the truck, when another truck popped over the ridge, heading right at them.
19. He put the car in second gear and pushed the gas pedal to the floor, like he had never done before.
20. They felt the car surging forward with a rush of reserved power that they did not know it had.
21. That rush of reserved power glided them safely back into safety.
22. In a spiritual sense, that is the promise of God, to the Apostle Paul in II Corinthians 12:9:
23. “My strength is made perfect for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.”
24. A rich reserve of spiritual and supernatural grace power is reserved for the time of spiritual emergency.
25. At some point in our lives each of us has known circumstances that felt like a truck coming right at us over the ridge.
26. And most likely, we were fearful and panicked.
27. At some point in our lives each of us experiences a time of pain, disappointment or loss.
28. At those times, most likely we feel desperate.
29. Whether that desperation is felt as a result of the loss of a loved one,
30. or the loss of hope,
31. or the loss of money,
32. or the loss of health,
33. or the deep betrayal by a friend,
34. or whatever other loss you may have experienced!
35. When these trucks in life come bearing down over the ridge, we can do one of 2 things.
36. We can either panic and get into a mess.
37. Or we can draw upon the grace of God, that is given to us and allow Him to pull us into safety.
38. If you have just tuned in, we are in the middle of a series of messages on the awesomeness of the grace of God.
39. We saw in the first broadcast the God of grace in the Garden of Eden.
40. We saw how graciously He dealt with Adam and Eve’s disobedience.
41. Then in Ephesians chapter 2,
42. we saw how we are saved by grace alone.
43. In our last broadcast,
44. we saw what it means to fall from grace.
45. Today I want to talk to you about the sufficiency of the grace of God.
46. And I’m going to ask you to bring your Bibles and turn to II Corinthians chapter 12,
47. and we are going to read the first 10 verses.
48. Are you ready?
49. Let’s read together.
50. Paul was facing some sort of a truck that showed up in the horizon of his life.
51. What kind of a truck was bearing down on him?
52. What was that thorn in the flesh that Satan sent to him to torment him?
53. We do not know.
54. No one knows.
55. There are lots of speculations as you can imagine.
56. Some people say that because he mentioned the flesh, it must be a weakness in his moral character.
57. Others have said that it was malaria that he picked up, in the mosquito-infested swamps of lower, coastal Asia Minor.
58. Still others suggested that Paul suffered from epilepsy.
59. Some scholars have said that it must have been a speech deficiency,
60. because he said in I. Corinthians 2:1, that he could not speak with eloquence.
61. Still others have said that Paul must have been inflicted with guilt over his fellow Jews, refusing to believe in the Messiah.
62. Probably one of the more plausible explanations is that he had a serious eye infection.
63. That eye infection restricted his sight and caused him a great deal of embarrassment.
64. He tells us in the letter to the Galatians chapter 6 verse 11,
65. that he was signing his name with “large letters”.
66. Whatever that thorn in the flesh was, we know one thing for sure.
67. It was no minor irritation.
68. It was no silly inconvenience.
69. It was not just missing something he felt that he needed.
70. This thorn caused the Apostle Paul physical torment and embarrassment.
71. I say that because of what he said in II Corinthians 11,
72. he tells us about some horrendous sufferings that he went through,
73. from being beaten to hunger, to the rest of it.
74. Yet Paul never asked to be delivered from any of these.
75. Yet he persisted in prayer regarding this “one thing” whatever it was.
76. It is no accident that God, the Holy Spirit who authored the scriptures did not tell us specifically what the problem was.
77. The Holy Spirit left that out deliberately.
79. So that all of those who go through any form of suffering,
80. can identify with the Apostle Paul’s affliction.
81. If the affliction was bad eyesight,
82. only those who suffer from bad eyesight would have identified with him.
83. If it was depression,
84. only those who suffer from depression would have been able to identify with him.
85. But this way we can all imagine him hurting with whatever hurts us.
86. This way we all can imagine him suffering with what makes us suffer.
87. This way we all can imagine him agonizing with whatever makes us agonize.
88. This Godly man quietly asked the Lord to intervene and deliver him quickly, just like you and I often do.
89. But I want you to look at God’s response.
90. “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”
91. My listening friends I want you to listen very carefully.
92. Whatever your hurt may be,
93. whatever your suffering is,
94. whatever your pain feels like,
95. whatever your grieving is that is crushing you,
96. God’s promise for you is the same.
97. “My grace is sufficient for you!”
98. “My grace will give you power to overcome.”
99. “My grace will give you strength to persevere.”
100. “My grace will give you sufficient weapons for victory.”
101. “My grace will buoy you up above the ragging waves.”
102. “My grace will propel you above the hurling winds.”
103. “My grace is sufficient for you!”
104. There are 3 things that I want to tell you about all of the thorns of the flesh,
105. and the sufficiency of the grace of God to overcome these thorns.
106. I will only give you the outline and in the next broadcast I will go through these points one by one.
107. Let me encourage you to tune in because I know you will be encouraged and uplifted.
108. Here is the outline.
109. #1 –
110. Satan is the manufacturer of all thorns.
111. #2 –
112. God’s grace is able to take away the sting.
113. #3 –
114. God’s grace brings roses out of thorns.
115. We will look at these three things in more detail in our next broadcast.
116. Be sure to join us then.
117. Until then, I wish you God’s richest blessing