Paul’s thorn in the flesh taught by Pastor Don Moore
My notes from Bible study on Friday, November 23, 2011
The Spirit of God straightens out all places that are not in agreement with Scripture. God is not coming to support traditions but to support the truth. Many church traditions are not supported by the text, but people preach and believe it for eons.
2 Corinthians 11:25-28 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.
Paul has deep concern for all the churches. He suffered many things in his work for the Kingdom like being robbed, beatings, stoned, shipwrecked, etc.
2 Corinthians 11:29-30 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity.
We looked at how other translations showed verse 30.
NIV – If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
KJV – If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.
NASB- If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things that concern my weakness.
AMP – If I must boast, I will boast of the things that [show] my infirmity [of the things by which I am made weak and contemptible in the eyes of my opponents].
Traditionally people have said the infirmity is a weakness and we use it to justify physical illness. Bible translations are made by people of certain denominations and traditions. They pick the particular word that fits their denominational tradition.
You can’t rightly divide the Word without studying. Does what you are inferring line up with what the Word of God says? The Bible was not written with chapter and verse. People assume that Paul is talking about weakness and lack of ability, but Paul’s greatest weakness was his concern for the church. It’s not Paul’s church; it’s God’s church. Paul sinned by worrying about God’s church.
Verse 30 has nothing to do with physical weakness.
2 Corinthians 11:31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.
As we get closer to God, we see coincidences are not lacking, it is divine opportunity that lets circumstances put us in position to help someone.
Put it on hold when you don’t think you understand what God is doing, before I get angry, disappointed, or mad at God. If we latch on to a negative emotion of disappointment, anger or rage, the only healing salve is forgiveness. If we hold a person in anger or rage for a long time, the only one you are hurting is yourself.
Pastor Don had us say, “We’ll understand in the by and by.”
In chapter 11 Paul is boasting about what he has gone through.
2 Corinthians 12:1 Boasting is necessary, though it is not profitable; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 12:2-4 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows— was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.
Paul speaks about himself in the third person and he is boasting some more about his experiences in the third heaven, Paradise, and what he saw and heard.
2 Corinthians 12:5 On behalf of such a man I will boast; but on my own behalf I will not boast, except in regard to my weaknesses.
Paul tries to get out of boasting, by only focusing on weakness. We are not to suffer nicely no matter what infirmity comes our way. The only suffering that has merit is if we are suffering for God – our persecution and challenges only have merit if they are in the service of God. Not every time we are sick are we suffering for God. Unless we are actively doing God’s work, our suffering could just be suffering.
Paul left his body and returned. He would have gone and stayed in Heaven, except for his concern for the believers. Pastor Don asked a question, Is it the body dies and the spirit leaves or does our spirit leave and then the body dies? We are so concerned about our physical life that we shy away from death – but when our spirit leaves – to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. It is our spirit leaves and our body dies. Jesus dismissed His Spirit when he was on the cross.
2 Corinthians 12:6 For if I do wish to boast I will not be foolish, for I will be speaking the truth; but I refrain from this, so that no one will credit me with more than he sees in me or hears from me.
We have to laugh. Here he’s saying he’s not boasting, but guess what? He’s boasting.
2 Corinthians 12:7 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!
Here is the mention of the thorn in the flesh – LOL to keep him from boasting and exalting himself.
2 Corinthians 12:8-9 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.
2 Corinthians 12:10-13 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. I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should have been commended by you, for in no respect was I inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody. The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles. For in what respect were you treated as inferior to the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not become a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong!
Paul admits to boasting. The people in Corinth dissed Paul and did not give him honor. People have misinterpreted this passage to imply illness and inability to operate in signs and wonders.
Pastor Don says we have to love the sheep. Who knows, the one who is sinning the most at the present time, may be the one who will take the Church to the next level.
Human will is given to us by God. Sometimes our will is so strong we use it to reject God and worship the devil. We can be a willful idiot. Even a possessed person can get to Jesus (remember the demoniac of the Gadarenes). We can justify and find excuses for our actions and beliefs that are not pleasing to God. We can be unbelievably strong.
In Timothy, Paul tells us that God has delivered him out of ALL. It is not that God is suffering with us and we have to go through our challenges.
God has a revelation for us at the time we’re ready to receive it, but He won’t override our will.
In all cases Jesus suffered, he got the victory over the suffering. We must believe that God will give us the victory over all.
Pastor Don told us to say, I don’t care what the obstacle is, I’m victorious.
Faith is the step you take after you take the first step when you can’t see where you’re stepping.
Hoping you’re having a wonderful day.