2 Corinthians 12:1-10

he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that lthe power of Christ may rest upon me.

Sermon Transcript:

I’ll tell you what, I would not suggest preaching on boasting in your weakness because the Lord just might allow you to be sick the whole week leading up to preaching. It’s like, okay, Lord, I get it. I will boast in my weakness in this as well. good morning. It’s really good to be with you guys. this morning.

It feels really strange to be in this room. Actually, last time I preached, I was on a very small stage in the gym and now the light’s beaming on me and yeah, it’s a little strange, but I’m, I’m, I’m glad to be here. if you don’t know who I am, my name is Jared and I’m the youth pastor. And I got an email this week, this past week, and I literally started like actually laughing out loud, not like LOLing, like actually laughing out loud.

And it’s from this, this youth ministry resource I use a lot for like a bunch of games. It’s called Download Youth Ministry. They send like weekly emails out and I get this email this past week and I just I had to start off with it It says this The week between Christmas and New Year’s the office is eerily quiet Emails vanish into a black hole of delayed responses and you find yourself doing odd weird jobs that you put off all year and eating a questionable amount of assorted fine cheeses and If you’re one of the chosen ones You’ve been tapped on the shoulder to participate in the Sacred Holiday National Youth Pastor Preaches and Main Service Weekend.

We salute all of you who celebrate. So, I’m one of the chosen ones this morning that gets tapped on the shoulder. No, I only share that as a joke. I’m very excited to share what the Lord’s put on my heart. honestly, this message has put on my heart for probably the past year or so. So, I’m very excited to say that, so.

I want to say Happy New Year’s to everyone and I wanted to start off and bring some fireworks on stage But I figured the sanctuary is still reeling from the wax from the Christmas Eve service. So sorry Tim if we messed it up But when I say New Year’s What comes to your mind? You can say it like New Year’s.

New Year’s resolutions. Who said that? Oh, hey, David. That’s my cousin. yes, New Year’s resolutions. I didn’t even place him there. He just knew the answer. See, I knew that. when I, New Year’s resolutions is always what comes to mind, right? And I love like all New Year’s resolutions. I love thinking about it and looking at them.

And I just did a quick. Google search. Maybe you’re one of those people that wants to start an annual Bible plan for your New Year’s resolutions And you’ll quit once you get to Leviticus, but you tried and like so good on you. It’s a tough book to get through I’ll be honest. Maybe you’re trying to do something some fitness goals or whatever But I kind of noticed thinking about New Year’s resolutions is The more I thought about them, the more I realized that most of them are really self centered.

They’re all about us. And I just did a quick Google search about New Year’s resolutions, and can you read that? Because I can’t read. Okay. You know, improve fitness, improve finances, improve mental health, lose weight, improve diet. I don’t know how those things are different. make more time for loved ones, stop smoking, learn a new skill, make more time for hobbies, improve work life balance, travel more, meditate regularly.

Drink less alcohol. Perform better at work. See how those three, those bottom three percent, that’s what they least care about? If you kind of just glance at the scale here, you kind of realize, like, all of these are about me, right? These aren’t my New Year’s resolutions, just to let you know. These are the most popular ones of 2024.

But they’re all about us, right? Improving me, improving how I might Perceived to someone else, how someone can see me. Wow, did you, have you been going to the gym? Wow, have you, have you lost weight? Wow, are you doing better at work? Have you improved your finances? I saw you got a new car or a new house.

It’s all about me and looking good. And I know some of these things aren’t necessarily bad, right? Like wanting to get healthy and lose some extra pounds. That’s not a bad thing, but if what, where are, where our heart is for it. Where, where’s our heart in that? Is it about us and, and wanting to get healthier?

Or is it about wanting to look a certain way because the world says it? And I know I’m guilty of this, right? I’m guilty of setting these own standards for myself. Well, this morning we’re going to be looking at someone that doesn’t boast or brag about the impressive things he does, but he actually does the opposite.

He boasts about the embarrassing weaknesses he has, even though the culture he was in was hyper focused on appearance and status. Would you turn with me to 2 Corinthians chapter 12, and me reading, in this passage. And I’ve just kind of been going through Corinthians in my own quiet time, the past couple months, and I just love these books.

They’re really fun.

2 Corinthians chapter 12, starting in verse 1, says this. I must go on boasting, though there is nothing to be gained by it. I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up into the third heaven. Whether in the body or out of the body, I do not know.

God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise, whether in the body or out of the body, I do not know. God knows. And he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. On behalf of this man, I will boast, but on my own behalf, I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. Though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth, but a refraining from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me.

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from being conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me, but he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

Therefore, I’ll boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. For the sake of Christ, then, I’m content with weaknesses. insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I’m strong. Would you pray with me this morning?

Lord, I thank you for who you are. God, I thank you that you’re a God who specializes in weakness.

Lord, and I just pray that you’d give me the strength and energy to get through this sermon. Lord, I pray that you’d open up our hearts. To your word, Lord, that you’d open up our hearts and minds, Lord, to your spirit to work through me, Lord. God, I pray that, uh, at the end of this, Lord, that you’d be glorified, Lord, and even in the midst of my own weakness that I feel, God, with my body right now, being sick, Lord, I just pray that you would, overcome that.

God, there’s nothing, special or catchy I could say that could change anyone’s hearts, Lord. It’s only by your spirit. And only by your word that these things are done, Lord. And I know if I was up here alone, Lord, it would just be noise. Lord, so I just ask that you’d come down, Lord. That you’d be with us and just reveal yourself this morning, God, and that your word would cut through our hearts.

Thank you for what this scripture has done in my own life, God. Thank you what it’s taught me and continues to teach me, Lord. We pray that you’d bless our time this morning. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.

Thank you. Yeah, when I preach, I forgot to, you guys can always talk like it’s like you want to shout something out. Don’t, don’t, don’t do anything crazy, Gene. Okay, I’m watching you. I also forgot to mention, I wanted to shout out Collinswood. So thank you, Collinswood for tuning in. We love you. We’re thinking about you.

but I love 1st and 2nd Corinthians. they’re great books. They’re one of my favorite epistles. There’s a couple of epistles that Paul writes that are like. are more, like, generalized, like they’re more, like, like I love Ephesians, that’s a great book, but it’s, it’s more, like, he’s not specifically, like, coming at the Ephesians for, like, specific things.

In Corinthians, like, it seems like he’s almost got, he’s got some beef with these people, like, and if you’re over 40, beef just means, like, he’s got conflict with them, you know what I mean? That’s all I mean, sorry. I did say I was a youth pastor, right? So he’s got like some like specific conflicts. He’s calling out like specific people’s sins.

Like I would love to like been in the house that they’re reading this letter in and Paul’s like yeah And such and such is doing what? Wait, with who and what? Like he’s calling out specific things, right? He had a he had a deep relationship with the Corinthian people. He mentioned specific problems in their church.

Sexual immorality, marriage, food sacrifice to idols, unity, generosity. boasting and weaknesses is what we’ll be looking at. but Paul was in Corinth. You go back to Acts chapter 18. He was there for a year and a half. He spent a long time there. he had a lasting relationship with the church in Corinth.

And he actually wrote more than the two letters that we have in our scripture. some of the letters were lost, so the letter we’re studying today most likely wasn’t actually the second letter. but it’s just categorized that way in our Bibles. But like in many of the places Paul went, there was a lot of growth, but also a lot of resistance.

In 1st Corinthians, Paul calls out the Corinthians for a myriad of sins that they are willfully committing. This letter was not received well by the church and many rejected the letter so Paul decided to go and visit him and actually in his letters he calls this the painful visit with much tears. And then we get to 2 Corinthians where he’ll be mainly looking, Paul writes this letter to assure the Corinthians of his love for them because most, most of them had repented of their sins, they’ve turned away.

And he’s kind of just, he’s affirming them of his love and commitment to them, but also kind of sharing up some of these people that still have not repented of their sins. And that’s where we kind of land. this morning, the last three chapters, Paul’s addressing this small group of individuals that still reject him.

They don’t respect him and his leadership or his right as an apostle. And this is kind of, when it gets messy. Paul’s addr addressing these self titled super apostles. It’s a pretty good name, you know, like it’d be pretty cool to be a super pastor. I don’t know what that looks like. I don’t, I don’t think I fit the bill, but you know, who knows.

But these were Jewish leaders that had come in and were preaching a false gospel. Paul makes that clear and to fully understand The city of Corinth. We kind of have to, understand what these apostles were doing and what they were like. Well, Corinth was a prominent city. it actually had two harbors.

So it had open waters on either side, which kind of made it a prominent trade and destination route. Corinth, Corinth was known for its educated speakers and philosophers. There were men known as sophists. which literally means wise ones. They were obsessed with rhetoric and would host events where speakers would debate one another.

They would actually charge people to come and listen to them and their speeches. They’d argue against one another and talk about different topics. And they had this whole, pride to them where they looked down on people who actually did, like, manual physical labor because they thought they weren’t educated enough to do what they could do.

And this is the culture Paul is entering in. Alright, people obsessed with education, status, appearance, intelligence, and wealth. So in the early stages of the church’s growth, they were lured away to these super apostles that were impressive in speech, and in conduct, and in their appearance. And they were preaching a false gospel that was attractive to these listeners.

We don’t know exactly the specifics of what that looked like, but we know it’s false because of what Paul says. And this is what Paul is up against in Corinth. And you wonder like, how does he handle this, right? Like he’s going into a city where these people are obsessed with intelligence and appearance and education and these people that are really wise and can speak really well.

Well, you’d think he’d go in and he’s like, Alright, I’m going to present my degrees. I’m going to let these people know, you know, I studied under Gamaliel. He’s the rabbi of rabbis. He’s the teacher of teachers. He’s that guy. He’s him. If you’re over 40 again, that means, like, he’s the top guy. You know, he’s really good.

Right? He might, so, he might say, well, I was a Pharisee. I have most of the Old Testament memorized. You know, says all these things. I’m a citizen of Rome. I have Jewish heritage. No, he doesn’t do any of these things. This is how Paul initially comes to the Corinthians. In 1st Corinthians 2, 1 through 5, he says this.

And when I came to you brothers, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and much trembling. And my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

I mean, think about this with me for a second. This is completely backwards to what me or you would have done. We would have shown our best hand, made ourselves look the best we could. Right? If I was going in and I knew these people were, were, were focused on speech and dialect, I would have came up with something crafty and, and, and so I could have a argument to all their arguments and, and win this debate.

No, Paul came in his weakness and fear and much trembling. This is how he came. This is how he wanted to come that I would know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. For the very purpose that they would not put their faith in man. But in God alone, and even when he does list some of his credentials to compare himself to these super apostles He states that those things are actually meaningless 2nd Corinthians 11 21 B through 30 says this right before our passage here.

It says but whatever anyone else dares to boast of I am speaking as a fool. I also dare to boast of that. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one. I am talking like a madman. With far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death.

Five times I received at the hands of the Jews, the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. A night and day I was adrift at sea on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers.

In toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure, and apart from other things, there is the daily pressure I feel from my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? If I must boast, I will boast of all the things that show my weakness.

I mean, man, that just says it all right there. Paul says he would, he’s a fool to even compare the things that he does to these super apostles because it’s all meaningless. Then he goes on to boast about the sufferings he has endured for Christ that really show not him to be strong or impressive or influential, but it shows him to be weak, vulnerable, and fragile.

And verse 30 sums up the whole thing. If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. He even admits in verse, 6 of chapter 11 that he’s not even a good speaker. He talks about, I’m, I’m, if I was gifted in speech, which I’m not, right? That is why this passage in chapter 12 is so powerful and so important for us to understand.

Paul’s character is attacked. His leadership skills, his appearance, his profession, his calling from God is all attacked. They basically say to Paul, you’re ugly, poor, unimpressive, a terrible leader, a terrible preacher, and you suck at your job. And the craziest part, Paul doesn’t defend himself. He says, yeah, you’re right about most of those things, but I have a God who told me that His grace is enough for me.

That His power is made perfect in my weakness. He doesn’t defend himself. He says, yeah, I’m gonna boast of my weakness so that the power of Christ may rest on me. So give me your best shot, hurl the insults, and bring the persecution. My God works best when I’m at my lowest. Amen. I hope you guys are getting this.

This is really good news for you and me. This is really good news. I was just up here with the worship team, and I’m like, man, aren’t you guys glad that God decides to use broken, messed up people like us? They’re like, yeah, dude, we’re so glad, especially for you. No, they didn’t say that.

This is really good news for us, and I just can’t help but think that this is so countercultural of what I would have done in Paul’s situation. I mean, it is like the, the last thing you would ever think to do as a leader. To go into a situation like this and you’re like, you know what? I’m gonna make myself look weak, and vulnerable, and fragile, and helpless.

That’ll, that’ll win hearts for people. Right? Like, who, who would even think to do that? Paul does. See, because he knew that God is willing to meet us in our weaknesses, in our brokenness. God is not requiring us to be impressive. He is requiring us to be reliant on Him. This is the way of Christ. It’s the way down.

It’s the path of humility. God uses common, ordinary people to do extraordinary things because He’s an extraordinary God. In chapter 4 of Acts, Peter and John are put on trial for healing a man. And if you remember from our study in Acts, they’re put on trial. They, they heal this man. And they’re, they’re kind of interrogating him.

And Peter’s just filled with the Holy Spirit. And he’s just like, just spitting like straight truth facts. And like, these, these guys are just like blown away. They’re like, what the heck is going on? Like, who are these? Like, we remember these guys. They weren’t nearly this impressive. And Acts 4, 13 says this.

When they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished, and they recognized that they had been with Jesus. Can

you imagine your, your Luke, like, your penance, and your, and Peter and John are like, You sure you want to keep the part about the common, uneducated? Like, I don’t, it may sound a little better if you just, you just scratch that part out, right? But the special part about Peter and John had nothing to do with them.

But everything to do with whom they had been with. All right. This is what our God does. He specializes in common, uneducated, weak, broken, fragile, trauma ridden. This is what he decides to make his specialty in.

I just want to ask us this question this morning. When people look at you, do they think of how talented you are? Or how intelligent you are? Or how attractive you are? How effective you are? Or do they look at you and see a broken person with a big God?

I don’t know if you can tell, but I, I know I’m not, I’m not being as excited as I normally am. I’m trying to conserve my strength, but I love this passage. I’ve, I think one of the first times I read this passage, I was 14 years old. I remember, like, it felt like scales were falling off my eyes, like, I was like, cause I was just getting, like, I had the gospel all wrong, like, I thought I had to do something for God.

Like, I had, I thought I had to, like, bring something for Him to use, you know, like give Him some investment and He’d give me, like, a return. And when I read this, I just remember, I mean, like, whoa, He actually works best in my weakness? That doesn’t, I don’t even know how to comprehend that, but I like it because I feel really weak right now.

This, this passage is so powerful and I think for so long I focus so much about the whole, weakness part and I think I left out the boasting in the weakness part because no one really does that, right? Like you don’t do that. People don’t actually do that. but I think in the past year or two, God has really drilled home what it looks like to boast in my weakness, um, and just really through that has really exposed some idols that I had in my life.

And I just want to share a couple. If you don’t mind, it’s kind of hard to talk about boasting your weaknesses and, and, and not boasting your weakness while you’re preaching on it. You know what I mean? That’s a joke, guys. It’s off crowd, I’ll tell you what. These lights are so bright. I’m so tired. Okay. I want to tell you guys a story.

So my senior, after my senior year of high school, after my, yeah, after my senior year of high school, I interned for the first time at FCC. And for some reason I let Pastor Mike shave my head. And I, I thought it would be like one less thing to worry about. I knew I was going to be like going to camps, like week after week.

So I was like, alright, if I, if I don’t have to worry about like washing my hair, like that’s one less thing I have to worry about. So I let Pastor Mike, shave my head. And I don’t know if he did something, like I’m not sure to this point, but my hair never grew back the same. Okay? I knew this was gonna happen.

I told JC this, I was like, I’m gonna tell this story, I’m gonna tell it as a joke. But it’s not a joke, it’s really embarrassing. can I sit down? Can the camera still see me if I sit down? I’m serious, I’m just a little tired. but, so, I shaved my head. And, my hair never grew back the same. So, I don’t know if you know anything about genetics and hair loss, but it goes from your mom’s dad.

And my mom’s dad started losing his hair at 17, so I was screwed from, like, the beginning of time. so, my hair never grew back the same, and kind of from that point on. It just started getting like less and less. They’re trying to figure out what to do with the lights. Sorry Randy I’m just gonna I’ll stand up eventually I will But yeah, where was I?

So yeah, so never grew back the same and over the next couple like many years It just kind of started getting thinner and thinner and you know that sayings like you don’t know like what you got until it’s gone That’s how I felt with my hair. I didn’t realize like that How much, like, I cared what my hair looked like until I started losing it.

And, oh, it’s, it sucked so bad. And, I thought it’s not funny, I’m being for real here. yeah, just, it really sucked. And, I, and, you know, the past year or two specifically. You know, working with teenagers is a nightmare sometimes because they, they will find your weaknesses and insecurities and exploit them.

And they could, they could care less and they don’t have the perspective to feel bad for you, even if you tell them. Anyway, Um, but so my, my high schoolers were absolutely ruthless with me. They’re like, call me Baldy and all this stuff. And I’m like, you know what happened to, you know, those kids who called Elijah Baldy, right?

The bears came out. I’m like,

If you know what I’m talking about, it’s funny. If you don’t, you’re like, what is going on? But basically a bunch of bears ate a bunch of kids. I love the Bible. but, yeah. So, and, but the worst, you know, the most embarrassing part about it was it’s like it genuinely like. Like I, like, killed me. Like it, like, I genuinely was insecure about it, and it hurt so bad.

But you can’t act like it hurts you, you like, then you’re like this weak dude, you know, that cares so much about his hair, and that’s like girly and feminine or whatever. I don’t know what it is, but it just sucked. And I remember, like, anytime I would like play soccer or do something like that, it would always get worse because my hair would get sweaty.

And I was coming home one night from playing soccer, and this kid, though he’s not here, he doesn’t go to our church or anything, I love, I love the kid, he’s a really good kid, he doesn’t mean anything, but he was, it’s really me bro, he was going in on me, and just, I was like, man, you better be careful, like, you know, like, you might lose your hair one day, like, I’m trying to be like, super calm, and act like it’s not bothering me, And he’s like, he’s like, nah, my genes are good, man.

My, my, my, my mom’s dad’s got a full head of hair. I’m like, okay, cool, good, good. And I remember driving home that day. I was like, so sad. And I was like, I was like, man, like, I was like, why does this bother me so much? Like, why does this affect me so much? And, and I remember God just like really putting a microscope on my heart.

It’s so hard when he does that. And he just, and I, I realized there’s, there’s idols in my life. And I, I realized that. I cared so much about my appearance. I cared so much about what people, like, thought of me. I wanted to be attractive, and I wanted to be young, actually. Like, I think I was idolizing my appearance and my youth.

You know, like, when you’re the youth pastor, and you’re young, and you’re on a staff that’s, like, triple your age, mostly, like, you kind of identify. Like, with your youth. Like, you, because you’re played into the youth guy already. Like, I’m the youth pastor. I’m young. My, my, my pants are tighter than theirs.

Like, I, like, I, it’s like, you get played into the role. So it’s like, I might as well play into the role. And I was just, like, I was struck with that. Like, I’m idolizing these things in my life. Like, it, it hurts so bad to realize this. And that God just really exposed my heart to That I was, I cared so much and I was just processing it with my wife and I just realized like this was something I needed to let go and to give to God and I was like soon after, I decided to like shave my head and just be like screw it, whatever, like I’m done paying for haircuts, you know, if it’s not gonna look good.

And then I started getting compared to my oldest brother Josh who’s eight years older than me, you know what I mean? So it’s just like doubled down on me. That was a joke actually, you can That one’s both. That’s a sad and a joke. all right, I’m gonna stand up now. but I wanted to share that this morning, um, because in the strangest way, I’m really thankful for my hair loss because without it, I don’t think I would have ever realized how vain I was.

It really was a hidden idol in my life and, um, I didn’t realize like how much it had a hold on me And I didn’t even want to share it this morning because It genuinely feels like pathetic and I want to like to I don’t want you guys to come up to me afterwards Please don’t do this because every time I share this to something they’re like Jared you look so handsome Like what you don’t need your hair.

I’m literally not looking for that. Like that’s not healthy Like I don’t want that I like so just tell my mom that if you want her to tell my wife that they’ll take it I don’t want to hear that

But I didn’t realize How much it had a hold on my heart until the Lord took that from me And I’m really grateful for that and because of God’s grace in my life verse 10 says this I never I never saw this before This point because there’s something about this is like a grown up thing when you when you have like size You’re like taller and bigger than most people.

Most people don’t say bad things about you. It just kind of works that way out. Like, I kind of was like blessed in that way. It’s like you’re taller than most. Most people aren’t going to insult you because there’s a, there’s a taller, shorter thing going on. But I never realized in verse 10, it says this, you know, I’ll be content.

Hold on, I’m gonna read it again. You know, it says for the sake of Christ and I’m content with weaknesses. Right after it says, it says insults, and I never picked that up until this, this period of my life. But because of God’s grace in my life, I actually can be content in insults. Like, I actually, like, like, they don’t have to hurt me.

Like, I don’t have to feel insecure about it. I don’t, like, because I know what God has done for me. I know who Jesus is in my life, and I have this crazy idea. That like, the uglier I get, like, the more I look like Jesus, right? And I might almost sound like blasphemous, but like, stay with me. Like, like, my desire to be young and attractive or care about my appearance was not from Jesus at all.

You know, actually in Isaiah 53, 2, it says, for he grew up before him like a young plant. And like a root out of dry ground, He had no form of majesty that we should look at Him. And no beauty that we should desire Him. I love the Chosen, but that guy is way too attractive to be Jesus. Like, I’m sorry, the luscious locks and everything, I don’t think that’s what Jesus looked like.

I think He looked like an ordinary dude. You wouldn’t have been able to choose Him from a crowd. And I just realized that the less attractive I am, the more people will see Christ in me. The less they’ll want to be around me because I’m funny, or good looking, or charming, or whatever like that. Not that I had any of those things before.

But, the more they’ll see Christ in me. And I think Paul really understood this. And, and what I hope, and I’m getting to understand this, and I hope I continue to understand this, that the weaker and more pathetic I look, the more Christ can shine through me. Because people aren’t going to look at me and say, Wow, Jared has this gift, or wow, Jared’s impressive in this way.

They’re going to say, Wow, God had a lot of mercy on Jared’s life. And that’s what Paul wanted these Corinthians to understand. That it’s not me who’s impressive. It’s not me who’s talented. Or even the gifts I have come from the gift giver. It’s Him. It’s Him. It’s all about Him. Christ be magnified, not me.

And one of the most beautiful things about boasting your weakness is that you are constantly reminded of God’s grace in your life. And how much you need it. Christian, Christian communities should be known for being open and honest about our weaknesses. About our sins and about our idols. We’ve been reading a book together as a staff called Lead by Paul Tripp.

And I can honestly say like, I love this book. Like, this book is one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s literally changed my life. And it talks about leaders in the church and how a lot of them have fallen and different things. And, just the epidemic of that, of spiritual falls for pastors and leaders in the church.

And it talks about how we can stop this, and it’s about how it’s not just the leader, it’s the leadership community that surrounds them, right? Like, what if these leaders had people around them that cared for them, and that they were willing to be honest and open with, and, and, and complied in? What, what would the difference be?

And it’s an incredible book. You don’t even have to be in leadership to read it. I think you should just read it. But, um, one of the quotes here I love. It says this, I write convinced that we, the community of believers, can be the most honest community on earth. Because there’s nothing that could be known, revealed, or exposed about us that hasn’t atoning work.

That’s pretty powerful, right? Like, what if we lived our lives like that? Like, we’re the worst at doing this, Christians. Like, we love putting on masks. We love pretending like we’re, we’re okay. That we’re not struggling with sin. That we’re not struggling in our families. Like, what if we actually realized that the atoning work of Christ covered anything and everything in our lives?

What if our conversations were guided by this principle? What if our community groups Instead of saying, yeah, I need accountability for reading the Bible more. What if it was like, something real?

What if it was like, man, yeah, I actually need accountability when I go on my phone at night. What if it was like, yeah, I actually need accountability of how I’m speaking to my co workers. Yeah, what if it was like, man, I just yelled at my wife last week. And I just wanted to confess that to you. What if our conversations looked like that?

And this is why we can be comfortable in our weaknesses and be willing to boast in it because of what Jesus has accomplished for us. His perfect atoning work. It’s got the five minute warning. Look, not from people, it’s just like a timer back there if you want to look. I like bringing you guys in, you know.

Alright, I think on the notes page you guys have a spot for like warnings and takeaways. Yes? Okay. Yeah, okay, cool. We’re entering into that phase now. I want to start with the warnings. There’s one warning, but it has like two, like an A and B, if you’re taking notes. First warning is just don’t be like the Corinthians, and it has A and B.

A is Don’t be like the Corinthians in the way that they desired the things of this world. Fame, appearance, talents, intelligence, money, sex. Have you ever read the book of Ecclesiastes? It’s one of my favorite books in the Bible. Has this repeated phrase, chasing after the wind, vanity of vanity, meaningless, meaningless.

It’s pretty depressing. Maybe that’s why I like it. I don’t know. But it talks about the idea of, you know, this guy in Ecclesiastes. He’s chasing after everything the world could offer him. All these things, hard work, money. He has like a thousand different wives, you know, all these things. And he just comes up short every single time, meaningless, meaningless, vapored.

The word is actually used, hevel. It just means smoke, vapor. It’s like, here, here, there, and gone. And that’s what the Corinthians are after, and this is honestly what we prioritize a lot. That’s the culture Paul was going to, and this is our culture. We want to elevate these things, and we think that if we somehow attain them, right, if we just get that raised, if we just get this car, if we just get that, if we just have that person to marry, or that person, or whatever, that somehow we’d feel rest.

But Paul really plays into this hand when he starts boasting about the things that he’s done. But he says it’s utter foolishness. The things that he’s accomplished that the world would think is impressive is foolishness, actually. So don’t be like the Corinthians in the way that they desire the things of this world.

Secondly, don’t be like the Corinthians in how they wanted a leader. They wanted the best and brightest and the most talent and the most attractive and the most famous. Sound familiar? This is the same sin of the Israelites in 1 Samuel chapter 8. They asked God, they said, God we want a king to be like the nations.

So God gave him a king like the nations. They got Saul. He was taller than everyone else. He was more attractive than anyone else. He was a great war leader. You know what sucked about Saul? His heart. His heart was far from the Lord. They wanted a king like the nations and they got one. It wasn’t until David, a man after God’s own heart, where they got a king like God intended.

But we do this exact same thing with our leaders. We want our celebrity pastors on the, on the bright stages, and they look good, and they dress cool, and they’re whatever. But we could care less of their heart. We could care less about their relationships. As long as they just give a good sermon, I’ll listen, and I’ll walk out happy.

Now for the

takeaways. Two takeaways. First, God’s grace is enough for you. No matter where you’re at, no matter what your weaknesses are, or what the thorn in your flesh is, God’s grace is sufficient for you. And that word sufficient is actually, the Greek is archeo. Sounds sufficient like it’s just enough, like it’s just like barely enough.

That word literally means to be possessed of unfailing strength. It’s not just barely enough, it’s overabundant of all that you need enough. So no matter what you’re dealing with, whatever hardships or difficulties or sin you have in your life, God’s grace truly is enough for you, I believe that. And I, I believe there’s a reason why Paul doesn’t name the thorn in his flesh.

Because we’d probably be like, I don’t have that! So, God’s grace is not sufficient in me. Right? But he leaves it open, I think, because so we can identify what the Lord has placed in our lives to remind us of our, Dependability on him and our weaknesses secondly because of Christ you can be content in weaknesses insults hardships Persecutions and calamities see preaching is not that hard.

I’m just I’m just rewriting the verse It’s just and this is the verse that we’ve studied the whole time. That’s my point. It’s pretty easy because of Christ You can be content in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. This is the promise this passage gives us, that we can be content people.

I’m running out of time, but I have this quick story. We’re on, my work site on Sun Servants Missions Trip, and we have all of these different students from different churches and stuff like that, and I had a student I won’t name her, but I, I, you have like, the Holy Spirit gives you this sense as a youth pastor, like when you see like a troubled kid, you’re like, okay, what’s going on?

And I knew she was on my worksite, and I just, like, she had loads, like buckets of attitude, like buckets of them she just had, like stored up. And I was like, yo, I was, I just straight up asked her, I’m like, are we gonna get along this week? I just, like, are we gonna get along this week? And she, like, started, like, going at me and, like, insulting me, and I just straight up was like, I want to let you know, you can’t hurt my feelings.

She’s like looking at me like, what do you mean I can’t? I’m like, I’m like, I know who I am. I know what Christ has called me to be, who He is and who He says I am. She’s like, what are you talking about? Like that doesn’t even make any sense. But this is the reality of God’s promise to us that we can be content people and insults and hardships and persecutions.

There’s nothing people can say about us if we really know who Jesus is, if we know who he’s called us to be, and we know that he’s interceding with us, we can be content people. We can. One of my favorite declarations of Jesus is when he’s talking to Peter at the Last Supper, and Peter’s trying to convince him that he’s not gonna betray him, and Jesus knows he’s gonna betray him, and Jesus stops him and says this in Luke 22, says, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demandeth to have you, that he might sift you like wheat.

But I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers. What an incredible idea that Jesus is fighting for us because of what we can be content. And because of that, we can be content in weaknesses, and insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.

Jesus is our go before. He goes before us to the Father, is interceding for us, fighting for us. I just want to give us the last minute or so here. It goes back to thinking about our New Year’s resolutions. And I just, you have some space on your notes, and I just want you to jot down maybe like one. Maybe you have a couple of New Year’s resolutions that are really good.

But maybe just jot down one or two. And just, instead of thinking about something that can make you look really good, think about something that could practice boosting your weakness. Alright, so maybe it’s, you know, go out of the way to boast of your weaknesses to your coworkers this year. Or maybe it’s, you know, give ample time to confess to your family and friends of sin.

Or maybe it’s, uh, directly exposing idols in your life and laying them at the feet of Jesus. Or maybe it’s intentionally looking for spaces in your life that are outside of your comfort zone, or, or outside of your strengths, so that you can rely on the Lord. take some time to jot it down, and we’re gonna pray.

Lord, I thank you so much for who you are, and your goodness. And I thank you for giving me the strength to, preach that sermon, Lord. I just pray that your word would seep deep into our hearts. I pray that you would minister to us, and that you’d give us strength. And, Lord, that you’d speak to us even now, Lord, as we go before you in worship and song and praise.

God, I thank you for your specialty in working in people of weakness, Lord. Namely me. And I thank you for your love. That covers a multitude of sins, Lord, we pray. In Jesus name, amen.