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A Thorn in the Flesh

A Thorn in the Flesh

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10/09/2010 TEXT: SUBJECT: TOPIC: OUTLINE: 2 Corinthians 12:7 (King James Version) And lest I should be exalted above measure

through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. • • • What was the thorn? Who gave it? Why was it given?
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2nd Corinthians 12:1- 10 (5 – 10) Thorn A Thorn In The Flesh

2 Corinthians 12:8-9 (King James Version)
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For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
• • My Grace is sufficient o My strength is made perfect in weakness Glory in my infirmities (for Christ’s sake) o Our response to sufferings should be o Result of, reason for

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10/09/2010 WHAT WAS THE THORN Definition of the word Thorn – Literally ( G4647 – σκό λοψ – skolops - skol'-ops) A thorn is a pointed piece of wood, a pale, a stake, a sharp stake, or splinter1. – Figuratively A thorn is a bodily annoyance or disability2 . – Idiom Thorn in one's side / flesh, a source of continual irritation or suffering: That child is a thorn in the teacher's side3. In verse 7 of the text, A Thorn In The Flesh is an idiom, in terms of the figure of speech; in short, it is a phrase that has a figurative meaning; the definition of, in context, is a, Source Of Continual Sufferings. That source was stated in the text, which we will look at a bit further in the study. Objective Of, A Thorn In The Flesh For us to better understand what, A Thorn In The Flesh was, we have to understand what, A Thorn In The Flesh does. In the same verse of the text (2nd Cor. 12:7), the purpose of it was to buffet the Apostle; it was to contend against him, as in battle, it was to cause him sufferings, and not just sufferings for awhile, but continual sufferings. There is a purpose for the sufferings, but I want to first look at the, Source Of Continual Sufferings. Now for us to find the source of the Apostle’s sufferings we must first seek to find what is it about the Apostle that causes him to undergo this suffering; what is it about the Apostle that makes him a target of this source; who was the Apostle; from whose perspective was he writing. Was he writing as a citizen of Rome; was he writing as a Pharisee; or was he writing as a tentmaker. The 2 nd epistle to the Corinthians was written to followers of Christ; it was written to Christians, from a fellow Christian. The Apostle was a follower of Christ; he was a Christian, writing to fellow Christians from a
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http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/skolops.html

2

‘Strong’s Concordance and Bible Dictionary’
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/thorn

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10/09/2010 Christian’s perspective. Therefore what made the Apostle a target of this Source Of Continual Sufferings was who he was, in terms of who he followed; he was a follower of Christ and hence a Christian. (Php 1:29) For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; 2Th 1:4-5 (4) So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: (5) Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: (2Ti 2:12) If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: The objective of the thorn is to cause us as Christians, followers of Christ, continual sufferings, not by whatever means necessary, but continual sufferings by the mediums through which it was given the power/authority to do so. Mediums Of Continual Sufferings To suffer means: - to undergo a difficult situation or circumstance that causes physical and/or psychological pain and/or discomfort. In verse 10 of the text (2nd Cor. 12) the Apostle listed five (5) mediums through which we experience continual suffering. They are as follows:1. Infirmities – physically or morally weak. Examples of, a. Physical sicknesses - blindness, cancer, diabetes, etc. b. Moral weaknesses – adultery, stealing, idolatry etc. 2. Reproaches – insolence - victim of contemptuously rude or impertinent behaviour or speech. Any act or speech which seeks to discredit, insult, disrespect etc. example of, a. Behaviour – Jesus’ accusers, spit in His face, buffeted Him, and others smote Him with the palm of their hands (Mat. 26:67).

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10/09/2010 b. Speech – Pharisees ridiculing Jesus, saying others he saved, but himself he can’t. (Mat. 27:42) 3. Necessities - constraint - imposed repression (suppression) of natural feelings and impulses as a result of our circumstances or situations. Examples of suppressions of , a. Natural feelings – not being able to satisfy hunger due to ones financial difficulties, or because one is in a position where they are not able to move, e.g. cripple or in chains etc. b. Natural impulses – not being able to express ones anger or love etc. base on the environment etc. 4. Persecutions - a program or campaign to exterminate, drive away, or subjugate a people because of their religion, race, or beliefs: a. The persecutions of Christians by Saul the Roman. b. Any act or instance that oppresses or causes us to be ill-treated as a result of our Christianity. 5. Distresses – dire calamity - An event that brings terrible loss, or severe affliction; a disaster: example of, a. A hurricane would be a calamity for this low-lying coastal region. b. Death of a loved one. The conclusion can therefore be drawn, that if these are the Mediums Of Continual Sufferings, if these are what cause us to undergo sufferings; then these, five (5) mediums, are under the power/authority of the, Source Of Continual Sufferings. In other words, that thing or being/person, which causes us as Christians to suffer, has the power/authority, or, has been invested with or given the power/authority, through the one who gave it, to determine/create these circumstances and situations by which we suffer. If this is so, then that person or thing, that Source Of Continual Sufferings, through the one whom gave it its power, can create the circumstances and/or situations that causes us to be, • • • Blind, deft, dumb or diabetic etc. An adulterer, a thief, an idolater etc. Discredited, insulted, disrespected, whether by speech or an action.

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10/09/2010 • • • • Unable to satisfy hunger due to our financial difficulties etc. Unable to express our anger or love etc. base on the environment etc. Persecuted, oppress or ill-treated because of our belief, because we are a Christian. Experiencing a freak storm or a natural disaster (I’m not saying that natural disasters are controlled or created by this source, but that some disasters, {hurricanes, storms, earth quakes, etc.} did not naturally occurred, but was caused to occurred by the Source Of Continual Sufferings), and an example will be given further in the study. • AMEN Now according to verse 7 of the text (2nd Cor. 12), this thorn; this Source Of Continual Sufferings, was given to the Apostle. It was given with a specific objective. Its objective was to cause continual sufferings to the Apostle. It (the thorn) was not just given a specific objective but, its power/authority to carryout its objective was also given. The thorns power/authority to cause the Apostle continual suffering was not of itself; meaning - the thorn could not use the given power/authority to cause sufferings on whomever it chooses, whenever it chooses, however it chooses and wherever it chooses; it was only able to do so within the boundaries/limits of the power/authority that it was given. Source Of Continual Sufferings Now, not to wear you out any longer, regarding who or what is the, Source of Continual Sufferings. Who or what was, A Thorn In The Flesh, to the Apostle Paul. But, before I give my revelation of whom or what the thorn was, I will first make mention of the interpretations of some others. Many interpretations have been given of Paul's meaning; I will now give a summary of, which was taken from ‘WIKIPEDIA The Free Encyclopaedia’4:
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Experiencing the lost of a loved one.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorn_in_the_flesh

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10/09/2010 1. Some Roman Catholic writers think that it denotes suggestions to impiety5. 2. Martin Luther, John Calvin, and other Reformers interpret the expression as denoting temptation to unbelief. 3. Others suppose the expression refers to "a pain in the ear or head," epileptic fits, or, in general, to some severe physical infirmity, which was a hindrance to the apostle in his work (comp. 1 Cor. 2:3; 2 Cor. 10:10; 11:30; Gal. 4:13, 14; 6:17). It has been suggested that his malady was a defect of sight caused the dazzling light which shone around him at his conversion. This would account for the statements in Gal. 4:14; 2 Cor. 10:10; also Acts 23:5, and for his generally making use of the help of an amanuensis (comp. Rom. 16:22, etc.). 4. Another view which has been maintained is that this "thorn" consisted in an infirmity of temper, to which he occasionally gave way, and which interfered with his success (comp. Acts 15:39; 23:2-5). If we consider the fact, "which the experience of God's saints in all ages has conclusively established, of the difficulty of subduing an infirmity of temper, as well as the pain, remorse, and humiliation such an infirmity is wont to cause to those who groan under it, we may be inclined to believe that not the least probable hypothesis concerning the 'thorn' or 'stake' in the flesh is that the loving heart of the apostle bewailed as his sorest trial the misfortune that, by impatience in word, he had often wounded those for whom he would willingly have given his life" (Lias's Second Cor., Introd.). 5. A highly controversial theory has been proposed by Bishop Spong in his book Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism (ISBN 0-06-067518-7) which suggests that it refers to homosexual desires. Paul strongly condemned acting on such desires in his other writings. (Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, and 1 Timothy 1:10) 6. A meaning accepted by many christians was that Paul had a person in his life that annoyed him. Paul would then sin (in what way it is unknown, probably acting out in anger). This would show him he is man and fallible, still in need of Christ. It kept him from getting a big head from being shown by God God's mysteries. This article incorporates text from Easton's Bible Dictionary (1897), a publication now in the public domain.

My interpretation of the thorn however, is according to the reference, found in verse 7 (2nd Cor. 12), “the messenger of Satan”. Before I get in depth on whom or what is this messenger, I just want to make a clear distinction between the thorn and the mediums used by the thorn to cause continual sufferings. What the Apostle was asking God to take away, wasn’t the weaknesses or infirmities; he wanted what caused these
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lack of piety; lack of reverence for god or sacred things; irreverence. (Dictionary.com,

LLC. Copyright © 2010. All rights reserved.)

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10/09/2010 weaknesses/infirmities, to be removed, that was the thorn that was given, he wanted the root, or more so the source, to be removed. What some other interpreters, interpret the thorn to be, are actually the effects or results or mediums through which the thorn causes us continual sufferings, but not what the actual thorn was. This is what I seek to do, understand what or who exactly, was the thorn that the Apostle was making reference to. Point to note, the Apostle did not use a possessive pronoun, when making mention of the thorn. Although it was given to him, he did not consider it has his own. He used pronouns like “‘A’ thorn”, and, “that ‘It’ might depart”; but when speaking about infirmities and weaknesses, he said “‘my’, infirmities,” and “when I am weak.” The conclusion is therefore that his weaknesses and infirmities was not the thorn, but they were as a result of, or cause by, the thorn. Generally speaking, the Source Of Continual Sufferings is referred to as A Thorn In The Flesh, but specifically it is referred to as, The Messenger Of Satan.

The Messenger Of Satan The definition for the word messenger (G32 - ἄ γγελος – aggelos - ang'-el-os) in the original context is, “a messenger, envoy, one who is sent, an angel, a messenger from God6”. The messenger according to the Apostles was given, and the word that was used for, “there was given,” (G1325 – δίδωμι - didō mi - did'-o-mee) in context means to commission – which means to order.7 From the definition of those two words it is concluded that the thorn was an angel of Satan (a fallen angel, a demon); although, “of Satan,” but was not, “from Satan”, but was given to the Apostle from some other source. The thorn in Paul’s flesh was therefore not an infirmity, whether physically or morally; but was a demonic influence/force in the life of the Apostle that caused him to suffer, by way of infirmities, reproaches, necessities, persecutions and/or distresses. Some biblical examples of the messenger of Satan causing continual sufferings through the five different Mediums Of Continual Sufferings are:
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http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/aggelos.html http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/didomi.html

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10/09/2010 1. Through physical sickness (Mark 9:17 – 27) - a son that was possessed with a demonic spirit from birth, that caused him to be deft and dumb. 2. Moral weakness (Luke 22:3 – 4) – Satan entering Judas influencing him to betray Jesus. 3. Reproaches (for e.g. please see item 2 page 4 []) (2nd Corinthian 11) 4. Distresses – (read Job chapters 1 & 2) – Satan was given the authority/power to take away Job’s substance (wealth) through robbery and the “fire of God fallen from heaven; to kill his children by a wind from the wilderness that caused their house to fall on them; by smiting Job with leprosy; and by causing his friends and his wife to speak against him. The book of Job has given us some very insightful revelations to take us into the next section of this study, who gave the thorn and why was it given.

WHO GAVE IT According to verse 7 of the text (2nd Cor. 12) the Apostle said he was given A Thorn In The Flesh. In my attempt to reveal who gave the thorn, let me take you back to some things that were already established. It was established that the thorn in the Apostle’s flesh was a reference made to a demonic influence/power, although of Satan, but was not sent from Satan, but from some other source. I wish to establish another fundamental truth from the following scriptures; (Job 1:10) Hast not thou made an hedge {to entwine, that is, shut in for protection} about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. (Isa 54:16) Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy. (Isa 54:17) No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD. N. A. Walters - A Forever Slave Of The Master (Jesus Christ) 8

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(Psa 91:9-12) Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; (10) There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. (11) For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. (12) They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. (Deu 32:30) How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up?

In the scriptures stated, it should be understood that God has placed a protection around His people, their family, their substance and their health on every side; this hedge is the mighty angels of God that encamped round about them that fear God. He stated that He, God, created the creators of every weapon; and that every weapon created and whoever uses them are under His authority, therefore no weapon that is formed against His people shall prosper and every tongue that rises up against them in judgement shall be condemned. He went further to state that the only way that one enemy of His people could chase a thousand and two put ten thousands of His people to flight, would be because He, God, has given them over into the hands of their enemies to do has He pleases. The enemy of God’s people has no power/authority over God’s people, their family, their substance, and their health unless God gives them that power/authority. Another fundamental truth I want to bring out is found in Job1:8 and 2:3. It was God who initiated the conversation with Satan about His servant Job. It was God who brought Job to Satan’s attention, for His own purpose. According to Job 2:3 and 42:11, the evil that came upon Job was from the Lord; it was the fire of God from heaven and the wind of God; Satan was only able to smote Job with sore boils, from the sole of his foot to his crown, because according to Job 2:5 God has put forth His hand and touched Job’s bone and his flesh. To further confirm that The Messenger Of Satan was sent from God, we will go to the book of 1st Samuel 16:14 – 16, (1st Sa 16:14-16) N. A. Walters - A Forever Slave Of The Master (Jesus Christ) 9

10/09/2010 But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him. (15) And Saul's servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee. (16) Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well. (1st Sa 19:9-10) And the evil spirit from the LORD was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand. (10) And Saul sought to smite David even to the wall with the javelin; but he slipped away out of Saul's presence, and he smote the javelin into the wall: and David fled, and escaped that night. This is an Old Testament occurrence of an evil spirit from the Lord upon an individual. This text shows us that our power/authority to serve is from the Lord and likewise or judgement/punishment and correction is from the Lord through the medium of the enemy. According to the text found in Habakkuk 1:12 God has ordained our enemies for our judgement and has established them for our correction. Every powers that be were ordained by God, whether good or evil (Romans 13:1 – 4); every power/authority to do harm or good, especially to the saints of the Most High, was given by God for His sole purpose and plan. For example in the text; (Joh 19:10-12) Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? (11) Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. (12) And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. Pilate was told of Jesus that the power that he had over Him, Jesus, to crucify or release Him, was given him from above, from God, the Father. It can therefore be concluded that, A Thorn In The Flesh, The Messenger Of Satan, was given to the Apostle by God. Believers the devil has no power over God’s people to do has he wishes or pleases, he can only do to us what God has given him the power/authority to do. And be rest assured that all things work together for good to those who love God and who are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28), the enemy may meant it for harm, but God meant it for good (Gen. 50:20). N. A. Walters - A Forever Slave Of The Master (Jesus Christ) 10

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WHY WAS IT GIVEN Just a brief recap; it was concluded that, A Thorn In The Flesh, was, The Messenger Of Satan, a devil/demon, and it was given to the Apostle by God to buffet him, meaning; it was given to contend against him, as in battle, it was to cause him sufferings, and not just sufferings for awhile, but continual sufferings. The first question that was asked was What Was The Thorn? Followed by Who Gave It? And now finally Why Was It Given? We already established the objective of the thorn; we are now going to look at why it was given. Its objective, purpose/function is different from the reason for which it was given. Its objective was what it was given to do; while its reason for being given is God’s objective for giving. So we are now going to look at God’s objective for giving a devil the power/authority to cause the Apostle continual sufferings. In verse 7 of the text (2nd Cor. 12), the Apostle stated, “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations;” the phrase, “exalted above measure,” means the same as, “to think of himself more highly than he ought to think.” (Rom 12:3) For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. It means to ascribe ones success/achievement to ones own strength and ability or power and authority. The Apostle wanted to address the issue of exalting or boasting ones self; which he started to address from chapters 10 of 2nd Corinthians. Apparently there were some persons within the Corinthian’s congregation whom according to 2nd Cor. 10:10, belittled the Apostle and thought themselves, that they were of a higher power/authority than that of the Apostle; they thought that they were above the Apostle’s power/authority. In chapters 12 of 2nd Corinthians, he explained to them that he had a far more better reason than they to boast or exalt himself; because unto him was given an abundance of revelations from God that the other Apostles did not get; of which the Apostle Peter had to comment on according to 2nd Peter 3:14 – 16, that …

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10/09/2010 “our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; (16) As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” Majority of the New Testament writings is ascribed to the Apostle Paul, and for this, indeed, he could have boasted or exalted himself. He however went further and explained to them in verse 6 of the text (2nd Cor. 12) his personal reason for not boasting or exalting himself, which was because he did not want any man to think of him above that which he sees him to be, or hears of him to be. (2Co 12:6) For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. But apart from his personal reason, not to boast, there was also given to him, A Thorn In The Flesh, The Messenger Of Satan To Buffet Him, lest he should be exalted above measure; lest he should think of himself more highly than he ought to. Brothers and sisters, God’s objective for given the Apostle, A Thorn In The Flesh, was to keep him from boasting or exalting himself, because of his achievement in ministry or otherwise. I will now give a summary in brief of all that was said before; what was the thorn, who gave it and why was it given, has to keep us on track. The thorn was the messenger of Satan given to the Apostle by God to buffet him, in order to keep him, the Apostle from boasting or exalting himself above measure, due to the abundance of revelation given to him.

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10/09/2010 MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR THEE For us to better understand and appreciate the importance of not boasting or exalting our self above measure, I will now go a bit further in the study. The issue is not to think of our self, but to think of our self above that which we ought to think; given to self, credit that is due to God. The exalting of our self is call pride and the opposite of pride is humility. According to James 4:6 and 1st Peter 5:5, God said that he resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble. Just to bring things into a bit more focus, I will now seek to state the purpose of the Apostle’s writing to the Corinthians in chapters 10 – 12; and also to make the connection between the thorn, humility and grace. One of the main revelation, I believe, that the Apostle wanted the Corinthians to grasp, understand and be able to live by, was that they should not boast in successes or achievements but rather in sufferings; why should this be done instead of the other; and how was it possible to do so. How can we boast and rejoice and count it all joy and exalt our selves in sufferings. The Grace Of God The grace of God is God’s unmerited favour towards us, especially His people; and this was ultimately demonstrated through the act of Salvation. According to Eph. 2:8 we were saved by grace through faith, it is/was a gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. We were justified freely, by the grace of God, through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ (Rom 3:24); and as a result were reconciled to God; we were brought back in sweet fellowship and communion with God through grace. We were brought back in right standing with God through grace. We were made joint-heir with Jesus Christ through grace. This grace wherein we stand was bestowed upon us only because of what Jesus Christ did for us. The mercies of God, withholds from us what we deserve, eternal damnation, separation from God; but the grace of God gives unto us what we don’t deserve, life abundant and eternal with Christ Jesus. A lot more could be said about the grace of God, but in context of the text (2nd Cor. 12:9) God wanted to demonstrate and make known to us, the sufficiency of His grace towards us, His people. The grace of God, the unmerited favour of God, did not just begun a good work in us, but will also perform it, carry it out until the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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10/09/2010 (Php 1:6) Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: He did not just call us, but he has also justified us and will also glorify us (Rom 8:30); for He is the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2). He demonstrated the sufficiency of His grace through our sufferings. The sufficiency of His grace is manifested in the continual outpouring of His acts of kindness towards us in our sufferings. We will forever experience the grace of God in our lives, for He, God has so designed it to be that way. When we were lost in sin without God or His son, through grace God reached down His mighty hand and snatch us as a branch from the burning. When we undergo sufferings by what ever means, whether through infirmities, reproaches, necessities, persecutions and/or distresses, God through His grace, through His unmerited favour towards us, forgives or sins, heal our bodies, provides for us, protects us, comforts, strengthens and keeps us in our sufferings and brings us out victoriously. The sufficiency of God’s grace is made to manifest when the enemy of our souls, buffets us; when the thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan, contends against us, in battle, when it causes us sufferings, and not just sufferings for awhile, but sufferings continually, God said that my grace is sufficient. When we sin, He’s our saviour; when we are sick he’s our Healing, when we are in need he’s our provider; when we are reviled and buffeted, he’s our defender, when we are persecuted he’s our protector; when we are in distress he’s our comfort and strength. His strength is made perfect; his strength is made to manifest in our weaknesses, in our sufferings. The connection between the thorn, humility and the grace of God is: the thorn was given to make us and keep us humble; and although grace is freely given, it is only given to the humbled, as stated, God resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.

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10/09/2010 GLORY IN MY INFIRMITIES (FOR CHRIST’S SAKE) (Psa 34:1-2) A Psalm of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed. I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. (2) My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. What does it mean to glory in my infirmities? When we glory or boast in our infirmities, the object of our boasting is switched from us to God or Christ; when we boast in our infirmities, we exalt God for what He has and will do for us; we exalt Him for His deliverance in sufferings. We rejoice and glory in infirmities or sufferings, because we understand that through our sufferings God’s strength is made perfect in us. We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that the trying of our faith produces patience, and if we should continue in patience, we will be mature and complete wanting nothing. (Jas 1:2-4) My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; (3) Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. (4) But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. To take us a bit deeper I will now look at the text 2nd Co 4:7. (2nd Co 4:7-10) But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. (8) We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; (9) Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; (10) Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. There is a deeper objective of the thorn that the Apostle wanted the Corinthians to know. The thorn was given to humble us so that we can be given or experience the grace of God. But within this truth there is a deeper objective which I will now seek to reveal. The text above states that we have this treasure in earthen vessels, this treasure was in reference to what Gal 2:20 stated, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not

N. A. Walters - A Forever Slave Of The Master (Jesus Christ)

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10/09/2010 I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me (Gal 2:20).” it should be understood from the following scriptures, that we have within, Jesus Christ, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; and the Christ within us is made to manifest or life out His life through us, when we undergo sufferings. The thorn may cause sufferings, but the sufferings according to (2Co 4:17) “… our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;” we know and therefore rejoice in our sufferings because through our sufferings the life of Christ, within, is made to manifest in our bodies.

CONCLUSION In this one text so many fundamental truth has been reveal, which I will now summarise and conclude on. The finality of it all; the final objective of this thorn given, was to bring out of the Apostle the Life of Christ that was within him, including both His (Jesus’) character and ministry through him. Through the sufferings caused by the thorn, the characters of Christ are cultivated, develop and manifested in our lives. It is through the continual sufferings caused by the thorn that our ministries are also realized, maintained and carried out. When through the thorn in the flesh we are tempted to hate, it is within this setting that we are challenged to love, or more so, it is within this setting that the love of Christ within gets the opportunity to manifest. When through the thorn in the flesh, we are tempted to give up and let go due to the circumstances or situations, it is within this setting that the patience of Christ within is made to come alive and manifest. When through the thorn in the flesh, we are tormented night and day by demonic attacks, it is within this setting that your ministry of deliverance is being cultivated and develop. When through the thorn in the flesh, you are thrown in pits, sold into slavery, lied on thrown into prison; whether you are like Joseph or whether you are like David, who was left to tend to sheep while his brothers go to war; it is within this setting that you are being prepared for your ministry, it is within this setting that you are being trained to fight and rule. So my brothers count it all joy, so my sisters glory in your infirmities, knowing that the power of Christ is made to rest upon you through your sufferings. And

N. A. Walters - A Forever Slave Of The Master (Jesus Christ)

16

10/09/2010 finally, the thorn helps us to understand our position in relation to God; we are weak but He is strong and mighty; we are sinners but He’s our saviour. The thorn will remain in our flesh and cause us continual sufferings until we drop and rise, until we depart this world, until we are transformed. The thorn was given to bring out the character of Christ and our ministry from within and its continuity was so designed to keep us fighting, to keep us striving.

N. A. Walters - A Forever Slave Of The Master (Jesus Christ)

17

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