Glorious Grace

November 5, 2017    

2 Corinthians 12: 1-10

The Bible teaches us that God’s grace is sufficient. We learn in life that there are up and down experiences where God grants us His grace and provisions to meet our every need.  This week we are going to look into the Paul’s glorious experience of entering the highest heaven. The Judaizers who worked against Paul’s ministry boasted about their letters of recommendation but Paul did not look for honor from men; he let God honor his ministry.

1.                  God Honored Paul through Visions and Revelations

Paul saw the glorified Christ on the day he was converted. (Acts 9 & 22:6-7) He saw a vision of Ananias coming to minister to him. (Acts 9:12) He had a vision from God when he was called to minister to the Gentiles. (Acts 22:17) Through a vision he was called to go to Macedonia. (Acts 16:9) He was encouraged by God through a vision while in Corinth. (Acts 18:9-10) He was again encouraged by a vision after being arrested in Jerusalem. (Acts 23:11) An angel appeared to him in a storm at sea and gave assurance of his safety as well as the others with him. (Acts 27:23) God gave Paul special insight through divine revelation which enabled him to carry out the will of God. (Ephesians 3:1-6) God’s hand was on Paul all through his life and ministry.

Does God defend and vindicate his faithful followers?

Do you trust God to lead you every day?

Do you believe God desires to honor you and your family?

Why not ask God to reveal himself more and more in your life?

2.                  God Honored Paul by taking him to Heaven

God not only allowed Paul to see the glory of heaven, He then sent him back to the earth to continue his ministry. This marvelous experience had taken place fourteen years before the writing of this letter, which would have been around 43 A.D. This would have been between his departure for Tarsus (Acts 9:30) and his visit from Barnabas. (Acts 11:25) There is quite a difference in being let down in a basket to save your life and being caught up into the glory of heaven. Paul affirmed the reality of heaven and God’s plans to take his children there. The interesting thing is that Paul kept quiet about this experience for fourteen years. If it were one of us we would have been on the national news and would have written a best seller worth millions. The Judaizers probably accused Paul that his thorn in the flesh was a punishment from God like Job’s friends did to him. Paul’s friends may have tried to encourage him by saying don’t worry Paul for one day you will be in heaven. Paul could have replied, “That is why I have this thorn in the flesh because I have been there. No matter the reason God had honored and encouraged Paul in his ministry.

How has God encouraged you?

Do you cherish His presence and His glory?

3.                  God Honored Paul by permitting him to hear “Unspeakable Things”

He overheard the divine secrets that are heard only in heaven. Could the Judaizers relate any experience to one like this? Moses met with God on top of a mountain; but Paul met with the Lord in Paradise, the place where His glory dwells. There is no doubt that this glorious experience was one of the motivational factors in Paul’s life and ministry. No matter where he was; in prison, in the ocean, in dangerous situations, Paul knew that God was with him and that all was well. You and I are not going to heaven until we die or the Lord returns. But we have marvelous encouragement that we share in God’s glory every day of our lives. (John 17:22) We are seated with Christ in heavenly places. (Ephesians 2:6) We have access and a position of victory (fellow citizens) through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. (Eph 2:18-22) Be encouraged and keep on honoring Him!

Listen carefully and God may allow you to hear glorious things!

May the Lord flood our souls with inexpressible joy!