2 CORINTHIANS 12:9 - Berean Lamp Memory Verses - (Oct 17-24)
The Berean Lamp Memory Verse for this week is:
“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
SERIES INTRO: This is the 5th part in a new series looking at the concept of Grace. What is it? Grace in Christian theology is “the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings” (Google dictionary). Grace is a hard word for us to understand. However, no word in the Bible is perhaps more important for us to understand. It is the foundation that underpins our understanding of how Salvation works and how God interacts with Believers. Let's spend some time trying to understand God's wonderful grace.
THIS WEEK: Last time, we discussed two common experiences of grace that Believers encounter in their lives (physical blessings in life AND spiritual blessings of strength and joy during physical hardships). But for many people, there is a third type of grace experienced in our walk in this world that we need to look at. Sometimes, God deems the grace He has given you in your circumstances sufficient, when you don’t feel it is. This is so clearly true of Old Testament folks like Job and Jeremiah who felt they could not bear what God had allowed to happen to them. They did endure, but not without moments of despair in their suffering and the "silence" they felt from God. One of our best New Testament examples is the great Apostle Paul, who suffered a "thorn" in his flesh, which tormented him. Three times, Paul asked God to remove it from him, but God would not. Finally, God did respond to Paul, but it wasn't what he was expecting. God told Paul that He would not remove the problem, and His "grace" was sufficient for Paul to keep enduring it. This would be hard to hear if you had been begging God to heal you from something or remove something that was tormenting you, as it was here. Suffering greatly with grace that God deems sufficient, but which you feel is insufficient is a very difficult road to walk. Despite this, Paul learned to glory in God's "sufficient" grace, for in Paul's weakness, God would be shown to be strong. Let's look more this week at the very difficult topic of "sufficient grace" in the life of a Believer.
May we praise our God for a Savior like Jesus, Who knows the difficulties we go through in this life! Even so, Amen.
Other verses to consider:
“Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore 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 12:7-10).
WHEN IT DOESN'T FEEL LIKE GOD IS GIVING YOU GRACE IN YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES
“He has driven me and made me walk in darkness and not in light. Surely against me He has turned His hand repeatedly all the day” (Lamentations 3:2-3 NASB).
“Know then that God has wronged me and has closed His net around me. Behold, I cry, ‘Violence!’ but I get no answer; I shout for help, but there is no justice. He has walled up my way so that I cannot pass, and He has put darkness on my paths. He has stripped my honor from me and removed the crown from my head. He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone; And He has uprooted my hope like a tree. He has also kindled His anger against me and considered me as His enemy. His troops come together, and build up their way against me and camp around my tent” (Job 19:6-12).
“Therefore I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. Am I the sea, or the sea monster, that You set a guard over me? If I say, ‘My bed will comfort me, My couch will ease my complaint,’ then You frighten me with dreams and terrify me by visions; So that my soul would choose suffocation, death rather than my pains. I waste away; I will not live forever. Leave me alone, for my days are but a breath” (Job 7:11-16).
GOD'S GRACE EMPOWERS US TO WAIT FOR HIS SALVATION
“Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man that he should bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone and be silent since He has laid it on him. Let him put his mouth in the dust, perhaps there is hope. Let him give his cheek to the smiter, let him be filled with reproach. For the Lord will not reject forever, for if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness. For He does not afflict willingly or grieve the sons of men” (Lamentations 3:19-33).
“Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions” (Colossians 1:24).
ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD FOR THOSE IN JESUS
“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God; Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes will see and not another. My heart faints within me!” (Job 19:25-27)
“I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me.’ I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You; Therefore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:2-6)
“But it is still my consolation, and I rejoice in unsparing pain, that I have not denied the words of the Holy One” (Job 6:10).
“As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful” (Job 5:10-11).
SUFFERING DOES NOT COMPARE TO OUR HOPE
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).
“For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:5).
“More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:8-11).
JESUS EXPERIENCED ALL THINGS - HE KNOWS
“He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:3-4).
“Then He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me’” (Matthew 26:38).
“About the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’” (Matthew 27:46)
“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).