2 Corinthians 12 GRACE IS SUFFICIENT
2 Corinthians 12:7-12:10
The Sufficiency of God’s Grace
“What makes Christianity different from all the other religions of the world? Years ago that very question was discussed at a conference. Some of the participants argued that Christianity is unique in teaching that God became man. But someone objected, saying that other religions teach similar doctrines. What about the resurrection? No, it was argued, other faiths believe that the dead rise again. The discussion grew heated.
C. S. Lewis, a strong defender of Christianity, came in late, sat down, and asked, ‘What’s the rumpus about?’ When he learned that it was a debate about the uniqueness of Christianity, he immediately commented, ‘Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.’”
Author unknown. “C.S. Lewis.” Bible.org. Date unknown. August 8, 2006. http://www.bible.org/illus.asp?topic_id=666
Grace is at the foundation of Christianity. By grace the lost are found. By grace God’s children stand in confidence. This morning, I want to remind you of the sufficiency of God’s grace in every part of your life.
The Definition of God’s Grace
Grace according to Merriam-Webster is “an act…of kindness, courtesy, or clemency.”
“Grace is the power of God made available to meet all our needs.” - Joyce Meyer
The power of God is made available to you! If you are struggling this morning with the issues of life, God’s power is made available because His grace is sufficient.
The Sufficiency of God’s Grace
II Corinthians 12:7-10 says, “…a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so I would not exalt myself. 8 Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me. 9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 10 So because of Christ, I am pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in catastrophes, in persecutions, and in pressures. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I like this verse because it reminds me that my weakness is a good thing. When I am too weak to do what needs to be done, then God’s power is made perfect in my life. I am forced to rely on him. This is why His grace is so important.
1. God’s Grace Is Sufficient in Supply
How many gallons of water are in the ocean?
Answer: 3.612 x 10²º gallons of sea water in the ocean. That is 3.612 x 1 with 21 zeros.
How many stars are in the known universe?
Answer: 70 sextillion (7 followed by 22 zeros) was calculated by a team of stargazers based at the Australian National University.
How many grains of sand are in the world?
Answer: 7,500,000,000,000,000,000, or seven quintillion five hundred quadrillion grains of sand.
Even if these answers are incorrect, here is my point: God’s grace is bigger than all these numbers!
You could empty the oceans and beaches of water and sand and pluck every star from the sky, and God’s grace has only begun!
“A large sum of money was given to [a man named] Rowland Hill to dispense to a poor pastor. Thinking that the amount was too much to send all at once, Hill forwarded just a portion along with a note that said simply, ‘More to follow.’ In a few days the man received another envelope containing the same amount and with the same message, ‘More to follow.’ At regular intervals, there came a third, and a fourth. In fact, they continued, along with those cheering words, until the entire sum had been received.
C. H. Spurgeon…said: ‘When God forgives our sins, there’s more forgiveness to follow. He justifies us in the righteousness of Christ, but there’s more to follow. He adopts us into His family, but there’s more to follow. He prepares us for heaven, but there’s more to follow. He gives us grace, but there’s more to follow. He helps us to old age, but there’s still more to follow…Even when we arrive in the world to come, there will still be more to follow.’”
Author unknown. “More to Follow.” Bible.org. Publication date unknown. August 8, 2006.
Ephesians 2:6-7 says, “He also raised us up…so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace in [His] kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”
2. God’s Grace Is Sufficient in Salvation
I Timothy 1:15-16 says, “This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them. 16 But I received mercy because of this, so that in me, the worst [of them], Christ Jesus might demonstrate the utmost patience as an example to those who would believe in Him for eternal life.”
ILLUST: Nicky Cruz was the leader of the toughest gang in New York City.
His Satanist parents abused him brutally, so he grew up a hardened man void of love and full of hate.
“I wanted to do to others what my mother did to me,” Nicky says. “I used to feel good when I hurt some people.”
But privately, he didn’t feel good.
“Privately. When I was alone, loneliness became like a seductive woman that crawled inside my chest and [ate] me. I was there twisting and fighting; I felt so lost.”
Only two people saw the desperate condition of Nicky’s heart. One was a psychologist.
“He told me about five times. ‘There’s a dark side in your life that nobody can penetrate. Nicky, you are walking straight to jail, the electric chair, and hell. There’s no hope.’”
The other was a pastor named David Wilkerson. He risked his life to tell Nicky there was hope.
“I heard his voice: ‘God has the power to change your life.’ I started cursing loud,” says Nicky. “I spit in his face, and I hit him. I told him, ‘I don’t believe in what you say and you get out of here.’”
Nicky never expected what he heard Wilkerson say next.
Wilkerson replied, “You could cut me up into a 1000 pieces and lay them in the street. Every piece will still love you.”
Nicky says, “It did damage. Good [damage] in my brain and in my heart. I began to question, and for two weeks I could not sleep thinking about love.”
Nicky and his gang showed up at one of Wilkerson’s rallies. One by one, they gave their lives to Christ. It was the crucifixion – Jesus’ death on the cross -- that grabbed Nicky.
“I was choked up with pain, and my eyes were fighting and tears became to come down and more tears and I was fighting and then I surrendered,” says Nicky. “I let Jesus hug me, and I let my head rest on His chest. I said I’m sorry. Forgive me, and for the first time, I told somebody I love you.”
The love Nicky got in return radically changed his life.
“When I had opened my eyes, I got a new heart. I’d been born again. I’m a child of the Lord.”
3. God’s Grace Is Sufficient in Suffering
I Peter 5:10 says, “Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little.”
Notice the four things the “God of all grace” will personally do:
a. God Will Restore
If your life is falling apart, God can restore it!
If your marriage is falling apart, God can restore it!
Some of you look at the mess you are in and wonder how you will ever get back. I want you to know that God restores lives in the midst of suffering.
b. God Will Establish
When I think of God establishing me, I immediately think of the house on the rock. No matter what comes against you, you can be established because of God’s grace and His power.
c. God Will Strengthen
d. God Will Support
Something I want you to notice before we continue: “Suffered a little” can also be translated to say “a little while,” or “a small extent.” This is important because our focus is not on the temporary; our focus is on the eternal. Remember, God works in and for eternity. If you don’t feel like God is answering your prayers, be patient. One day, all your suffering will be gone. Our rock foundation is in the hope of heaven.
4. God’s Grace Is Sufficient in Sin
Grace is greater than all our sin!
Romans 5:20 says, “…where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more…”
You can’t out-sin God’s grace. You may have as many sins as sand on the beaches or stars in the sky or gallons of water in the ocean, but God’s grace exceeds your sin.
You say, but you don’t understand. I have cheated on my husband. I have abused my wife and children. I have stolen. I have cursed God. I have murdered. Listen, “where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.”
5. God’s Grace is Sufficient in Service
II Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.”
It does not matter where He places me or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me. For the easiest positions, He must give grace; and in the most difficult, His grace is sufficient. So, if God places me in great perplexity, must He not give me much guidance? In positions of great difficulty, much grace? In circumstances of great pressure and trial, much strength? As to work, mine was never so plentiful, so responsible, or so difficult; but the weight and strain are all gone. His resources are mine, for He is mine! -- - J. Hudson Taylor
Living in God’s Grace
1. Surrender Absolutely
2. Walk Accordingly
a. Walk in the light
b. Have grace towards others
3. Respond Appreciatively
a. Praise God for His grace
4. Preach Incessantly