Text: 2 Corinthians 12:7-9

All-Sufficient Grace of Christ (Full Sermon Manuscript)

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Background:

Paul wrote this letter in a more apologetic, argumentative, or lawyer-like tone addressing the false accusations against him by fake Christian leaders.

Thorn in the flesh: (1) Paul’s inner psychological struggles; (2) Paul’s opponents, who continued to persecute him; (3) some kind of physical affliction; or (4) some kind of demonic harassment.

Main Idea:

The thorn is a messenger from Satan designed to torment Paul. But God has a purpose for the thorn. What Satan intended for evil; God turned for good. *Like Joseph the Dreamer, in Genesis 50:19-21:

“But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

Jesus did not take away the thorn; Jesus gave Paul more of himself (v 9). Jesus said, “what you need is more of me”. Al Mohler commented, “God’s solution to earthly suffering is not to take away the trials to make earth a paradise. His answer to suffering is to give us more of himself and his all-sufficient grace so that we have enough to endure the trials.”

Application:

  1. Growing through Trials
  2. Grasping the all-sufficient Grace of Christ
  3. Glorifying God’s Power in Our Lives

Conclusion:

We need extraordinary measures in extraordinary times. We do not want a stagnant kind of life—no progress and is bound to fail. We ought to mitigate this situation both in our personal lives and communal life by depending on the grace of God by growing through trials, grasping Christ more, and glorifying God in all circumstances.

 

Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
May 1, 2022

 

This section is an excerpt only; download the full manuscript here.

 

 

Text: Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:4; 3:17-19

Habakkuk’s Objections and Response on Pain and Suffering (Sermon Manuscript)

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Introduction:

Pain is the ultimate teacher. (Roger Collier)

C.S. Lewis said, “We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told in Matthew ‘Blessed are they that mourn.’” Indeed, pain has been present since the beginning of life—mothers feel the pain of birth—and until the last moment of life—death.

Main Idea:

  • Habakkuk complained and lamented to God. He was questioning God. (1:1-4, 13)
  • God answered that he was already at work even before Habakkuk’s complaints. (1:5-11)
  • Perfect time – never delays. (2:3) Other people rely on their might, power, riches, and possession. (2:4a) – The kind of faith that Habakkuk describes, and that the NT authors promote, is continuing trust in God and clinging to God’s promises, even in the darkest days.
  • But Christians—the called out righteous ones—are to live by faith. (2:4b)

How did Christ respond?

Matthew 26:36-45: Jesus prayed three times – in this the same story, in Luke’s version, he said, “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground” (22:44).

Christ sympathizes with you, in Hebrews 4:15, “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.” Dane Ortlund explained that “In our pain, Jesus is pained…His human nature engages our troubles comprehensively. His is a love that cannot be held back when he sees his people in pain. Jesus is able to sympathize. He “co-suffers” with us.”

Conclusion:

Same with Jesus, Habakkuk’s response was prayer. As Christians, this is our default setting. NT Wright says, “That is our vocation: to be in prayer, perhaps wordless prayer, at the point where the world is in pain.” (the temptation to be pragmatic or solution-oriented).
Habakkuk 3:17-19, Rejoicing! Yet even amid suffering and loss, Habakkuk has learned that he can trust God, and with that trust comes great joy, not in circumstances but in God himself: yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. Yahweh has become Habakkuk’s strength.

 

Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
March 13, 2022

 

This section is an excerpt only; download the full manuscript here.