#3 Prayer Brings Deliverance
“PRAYER BRINGS DELIVERANCE”
(A Sermon Series from 2 Corinthians)
Westgate Chapel 11-05-06 2 Corinthians 1:8-11
Proposition: When you are going through stuff, don’t hide it from God’s people, your deliverance will come, God helping you through the prayers of His people.
- THERE is a common assumption….it was present in the apostle Paul’s day and it is the same for us today…that if you are going through stuff, deep stuff, that there must be something very wrong with you.
* Maybe it is because you have sinned and God is punishing you?
* Maybe it is because you have missed God’s will with some decision you made along the way, and God is punishing you.
* Maybe it is because your faith is not strong enough, and bad things are happening to you.
- AND the net result of these kinds of attitudes, tragically within the Church towards people going through deep trials, is….
* Syrupy useless sympathy.
- HOW could anyone going through those kinds of trials have anything to contribute…much less be in a position of leadership?
- THAT was the attitude amongst many of the Corinthian Christians towards the apostle Paul….and in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11, characteristic for Paul, he tackles the subject head on.
- TURN to verse 8 with me please.
ii. don’t hide your stuff
- 2 CORINTHIANS 1:8,
“For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life….” (2 Corinthians 1:8)
- IN the verses we studied last Sunday, Paul talked about trials and suffering in general.
- IN this verse he gets very specific.
- THERE was an affliction which came to him in Asia.
- BIBLE scholars disagree somewhat about the nature of this particular suffering….and Paul doesn’t give us the specifics.
- MY personal feeling is that it is a combination of afflictions on different fronts at the same time.
- USUALLY, I can handle one battle on one front at a time.
- WHEN it goes to two….my stress level goes up more than twice.
- AND when it is three…I begin to feel like I am on overload.
- REMEMBER, when Paul writes to the Corinthian church in the second epistle, he is possibly in Philippi (Macedonia), having left Ephesus in the middle of an anti-Christian, anti-Paul all out riot.
* First of all, in every city where Paul planted churches the Jews incited hatred and riots against him….and Ephesus was no different.
“You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews…” (Acts 20:18-19)
* But Paul was also persecuted by the Greeks in Ephesus because he turned thousands away from the goddess Artemis and to Christ.
* In Acts 19:28 it says that Ephesus was filled with rage, stirred up by the silversmiths of the city….and almost rioted against Christianity and Paul. He had to be secreted out of town to stop them from killing him.
* In 1 Corinthians 15:32 Paul is defending his belief in the resurrection, and writes,
“If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” (1 Corinthians 15:32)
* But persecution was not new to Paul. Why was he now “despairing of life”?
* Why, in the next verse, does he tell us that “the sentence of death was within him”?
* Most of the Bible scholars I read on this passage believe that on top of the abuse that Paul suffered from the Jews and Greeks in Ephesus….and while he was on the run from the city…that he contracted some debilitating disease “within him” that almost killed him and slowed him down from that time on.
- HOW many of you know that when you are down physically….every other trial you are going through gets amplified?
- SO, on top of the Jews hating him and hunting him down wherever he went, and on top of the Greeks hating him for denouncing their gods, and being on the run all the time….he is now battling a physical illness that almost kills him.
- THAT is why he uses the phrases, “burdened excessively…beyond our strength” and “despaired of life” in verse 8, and “we had the sentence of death within ourselves” in verse 9.
- THIS is the lowest Paul ever got in any of his writings….including 2 Timothy, which he wrote right before he was executed in Rome.
- WHICH is why the first phrase of verse 8 just jumps out at me….
“…we do not want you to be unaware brethren of our affliction…” (2 Corinthians 1:8a)
- THE literal translation is, “we do not want you not to know…”
- IS Paul looking for sympathy?
- HE is the one who will write, just a few chapters later,
“I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)
- SO, why does Paul not want them to be ignorant of what he is going through?
1. He wants to teach them what God is doing in the middle of those trials that take you and me to the end of our strength and resources.
2. He wants them to know that trials are nothing to be ashamed of.
3. He wants them to know that when we allow others to know about what we are going through….they will be encouraged when they go through something similar.
4. He wants them to know that the humbling process that trials take us through is a good thing. The only people that God raises up are the humble.
5. He wants them to know that in God’s kingdom weakness is the pathway to strength. God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness.
6. He wants them to know that what you and I are willing to reveal about yourself others can then stand with you and pray about….and that is part of God’s pathway to deliverance.
- SO, Paul says, “I don’t want you to not know about what I am going through…”
- WHAT do we learn from this?
- DON’T hide your stuff from godly people in your life.