Paul Revealed

17/05/2020 09:47

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Date: 13 May

Text: 2 Corinthians 12:

Title: Paul Revealed

 

Introduction:

 

I enjoy reading and getting to know men and woman whom God has used.

exp. Some of my favourites - 

Hudson Taylor - Spiritual Secrets

Darlene Diabler Rose - Evidence Not Seen

Jonathan Goforth - By My Spirit

 

Biographies/ Autobiography or journals - give incredible insight into someone's life.

 

The last couple of years - I read over 2000 pages about Thomas Chalmers compiled by his son in law - William Hanna

- Conversion as a C of S preacher - reading a book by MP William Wilberforce

- His love for nature - his garden, countryside rides, exploring caves

- Involved in ministering to the poor and educating their children (like John Knox)

- Becoming professor at Edinburgh University - teaching preachers

- Leading in the Disruption and establishment of the Free Church of Scotland.

(I feel like I got to know him as he was revealed through His writings.)

 

My wife feels this as well - reading Amy Carmichael and feeling like she is her friend.

 

There is a great man of God in the NT that stands out as an incredible figure in the early church.

 

His name was Saul of Tarsus - killer and persecutor of Christians - but he became the Apostle Paul.

 

Act 9:15  But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

 

We get to know him as we

read about His incredible ministry in lukes early church history - Acts 

and read from his inspired letters

- to the churches

- to his preacher boys - Timothy and Titus.

 

He was a man who when given a charge by God fulfilled it.

 

Act 14:26  And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled.

His final book - 2 Timothy - written in the mammertime pit prison in Rome - 2Ti 4:7  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

 

2 Corinthians is a book Paul wrote in defence of His apostleship. He was under attack and would defend what GOD HAD CALLED HIM TO DO. In doing so, he reveals himself, A MAN WHOM GOD HAD USED.

 

I want us to get to know Paul in this message as we look at 

THE PERSON WHOM GOD CAN USE.

Are you person like Paul whom God can use. A faithful man or woman who will fulfil God's calling?

 

text: 2 Corinthians 12

 

I. A Man who is Heaven bound. 

 ill. God wasn't using Thomas Chalmers as a preacher - until after his conversion. (John Wesley was the same - unconverted preacher - but then He got saved and God used him mightily.)

exp. Paul knew that he was heaven bound by faith AND by experience (His experience is unusual.) 

1  It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.

2  I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.

3  And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)

4  How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

5  Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.

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.

exp. Paul himself didn't know how God did this....by trance, or translation,....that he saw heaven is clear.

- caught up to paradise - the place of the departed who are saved. ie. Thief on the cross.

- Heard words of Heaven which are forbidden to be revealed.

- None of his hearers could say that God had graced them with a similar experience.

ill. One of my favourite questions as I speak with people about Jesus is, "Do you know for sure that if you died today, you would go to Heaven?"

exp.  People often wrongly think that you can't know. 

BUT YOU CAN KNOW BY FAITH AND EXPERIENCE. 

1Jn 5:13  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

note: If God has moved into your life - you ought to know by experience that He is present.

Rom 8:9  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Rom 8:16  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

app. Do you have the witness of God's Spirit? Have you experienced salvation by faith. The person whom God will use is a man who is Heaven Bound.

 

II. A man who is humbled by God.

7  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.

exp. Having been given such incredible revelation, Paul was open to strong temptation to pride. God helped Paul by humbling him with a thorn in the flesh.

ill. Katie's roomate in Bible college - son - serious fall - into brush - broke his arm - infection from thorn that went unnoticed and was festering. (Removed to get healing)

 exp. Paul had something festering that GOD WOULD NOT REMOVE LET PRIDE CAME IN.

ill. Jacob had an incredible experience from God and he also was given a thorn in his hip.

Genesis 32:24  And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.

25  And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.

26  And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.

27  And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.

28  And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

29  And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.

30  And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

31  And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.

Gen 32:32  Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank.

 app. Are you prepared to let God humble you so that He can use you? The greater our experience of God the great may be the need to humble us.

transition: God uses ....

- a man who is heaven bound.

- a man who is humbled by God.

 

III. A man yielded to God in prayer.

8  For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

9  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.

ill. Paul's record of this prayer is reminiscent of our Lord who also prayed 3 times in the garden of Gethsamane asking "If it be possible let this cup pass from me, nevertheless not as I will but as thou wilt." God the father didn't take it away but gave Jesus the grace and strength to face it.

exp. God answered Paul's prayer similarly - he didn't take away Paul's suffering - but he gave Paul grace to bear it.

 question: Are you content in prayer to yield to God if it be the will of God to meet your need with grace instead of taking away suffering?

 ill. Grew up listening to Darlene Diabler Rose's testimony - 45 minute ride to and from school. My wife found it online and we listened to it as a family. (Contact us and we'll send you a link - we'll put a link on facebook as well.)

- PNG missionaries - loved their people - separated from them by war.

- Young newly weds - separated from one another

- She never saw her husband again.

- She was a prisoner for 4 years - beaten and taken to her execution/ spared by God.

 exp. She said, "I wouldn't trade places with any of you." God gave her grace to go through it.

app. The person God will use is a man YIELDED TO GOD IN PRAYER.

transition: God uses ....

- a man who is heaven bound.

- a man who is humbled by God.

- a man yielded to God in prayer.

 

 

IV. A man who embraces trials.

10  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

ill. Remember Paul's conversion - Acts 9:16  For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.

 exp. Paul was shown by God that he would go through incredible suffering for Jesus. And he did suffer incredibly....

 ill. Paul was compelled by the Corinthians accusations to boast of what God was doing in his life. In the previous chapter (11) Paul has defended His apostleship by what he has suffered for Jesus.

23  Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.

24  Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.

25  Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;

26  In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

27  In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

28  Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

ill. Paul's testimony was to face trials.

- Acts 20:23  Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.

24  But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

exp. Paul embraced trials because GOD TAUGHT PAUL THAT HIS STRENGTH IS MADE PERFECT IN WEAKNESS. 

app. Paul would have us learn God's strength through weakness.

Act 14:22  Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

Do you take pleasure in infirmities, reproaches, necessities, in persecutions, in distresses FOR CHRIST'S SAKE - knowing that when you are weak, you are strong.

transition - The man who God uses is a man who embraces trials.

- a man who is heaven bound.

- a man who is humbled by God.

- a man yielded to God in prayer.

- a man who embraces trials.

 

V. A man who remembers his nothingness.

11  I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.

12  Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.

 exp. Paul was aware of the privilige position God had given Him in ministry. He was a premier apostle. (The chief Apostles are Peter and Paul.) But paul said, "Though I be nothing."

 song: If Paul had a modern hymn for his them song, It would be something like....

"I'm only a sinner, saved by grace."

1Ti 1:15  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

ill. Bob Jones University - quite well known in Christianity. For over 70 years it was led by the Jones family. Dr. Bob III was the president while I was in school. (Shakesperean Play - the Merchant of Venice) Dr. Bob signed my program with the verse - Psa 34:6  This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

 exp. I remember that today, because a "great man" had a humble regard for himself - like the King of Israel who wrote that Psalm.

app. Do you want to be used of God? - remember your nothingness.

transition - The man who God uses is ....

- a man who is heaven bound.

- a man who is humbled by God.

- a man yielded to God in prayer.

- a man who embraces trials.

- a man who remembers his nothingness.

 

VI. A man who carries his own weight.

ill. The golfer who was asked by his wife how his game went - "It was a horrible day - Jim died on the third whole." "That is terrible said his wife." "Yes" he said, "Every whole after that was hit the ball, drag Jim...." 

 exp. That is humurous, but it isn't funny in life when you have someone who doesn't carry their own weight. Paul was careful not to be a burden to those around him.

13  For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong.

ill. A tent maker - is a missionary who goes to the field and works to supplement his needs. We get that term from Paul.

Acts 18:

1  After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;

2  And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.

3  And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.

 note: Paul had other churches doing better than the Corinthians at helping Paul be free from all other work to give himself to ministry.

Philippians 4:15  Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.

16  For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.

17  Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

18  But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.

19  But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

app. Do you carry your weight in your church, family, neighbourhood? A person whom God uses carries his own weight.

transition - The man who God uses is ....

- a man who is heaven bound.

- a man who is humbled by God.

- a man yielded to God in prayer.

- a man who embraces trials.

- a man who remembers his nothingness.

- a man who carries his own weight.

 

VII. A man who willingly pays for those under his care.

14  Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.

15  And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.

exp. Paul viewed his ministry to the church in Corinth as a parent views his ministry to his children.

 ill. My wife and I were talking about parenting - we celebrate 20 years this summer - I was saying I can understand how people spoil their youngest, because I can see myself getting ready to transition to grandparent mode. (She said.... yes I see it in the things you buy Mac....he doesn't get paid a lot.)

exp. More importantly - when a child has a need - the parent supplies it. You don't expect your children to go get a job and pay your bills.

 app. Paul was ready to spend and be spent for the blessing of his spiritual family. Are you a person will to spend and be spent for God's family? Are you a man whom God uses?

transition - The man who God uses is ....

- a man who is heaven bound.

- a man who is humbled by God.

- a man yielded to God in prayer.

- a man who embraces trials.

- a man who remembers his nothingness.

- a man who carries his own weight.

- a man who willingly pays for those under his care.

 

 VIII. A man who isn't seeking personal financial gain.

16  But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile.

17  Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you?

 exp. Paul asks did my preacher boys rob you when they came.

18  I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps?

 note: Paul didn't fleece the sheep. He wasn't robbing God's heritage.

 ill. I can remember two distinct services where I saw a man in God's name fleecing the sheep. 

A preacher - held up a visa sign and strongly encouraged giving to him.

Another preacher - similarly - took up his own collection at a tent meeting.

note: Paul had taught Titus that a false teacher, teaches falsehood for personal gain.

Titus 1:9  Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

10  For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:

11  Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.

exp. Heaven will tell how many people were turned away from the truth by those who said they were coming in God's name who robbed God's people.

ill. Jesus got very upset at this in his day - cleansed the temple of the money changers.

Joh 2:16  And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.

exp. False religion is very lucrative preying off of peoples spiritual interests.

 app. This man God uses isn't seeking personal financial gain.

transition - The man who God uses is ....

- a man who is heaven bound.

- a man who is humbled by God.

- a man yielded to God in prayer.

- a man who embraces trials.

- a man who remembers his nothingness.

- a man who carries his own weight.

- a man who willingly pays for those under his care.

- a man who isn't seeking personal financial gain.

 

IX. A man who builds up the church - the ecclesia.

19  Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying.

 exp. Paul was humbly aware that He would give an account to God and lived in the fear of God. Everything Paul did "all things" were to build up God's church.

 note: It is a foolish wicked person that tears down God's church.

Pro 14:1  Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

 exp. There were people in the church at Corinth tearing at it with herecies about Paul. Everything Paul did was to build up God's church.

 note: Paul's instruction for worship to the Corinthians had taught them to only always build up.

1Co 14:26  Let all things be done unto edifying.

 app. No man is going to be used of God who brings herecy and destruction into a church. (Those who think by rejecting God's Word and appeasing the world - they are accomplishing anything for Jesus are deceived.) Are you building upon the church?

transition - The man who God uses is ....

- a man who is heaven bound.

- a man who is humbled by God.

- a man yielded to God in prayer.

- a man who embraces trials.

- a man who remembers his nothingness.

- a man who carries his own weight.

- a man who willingly pays for those under his care.

- a man who isn't seeking personal financial gain.

- A man who builds up the church.

 

X. A man who confronts lest the church fail.

20  For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:

21  And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.

 exp. Paul was writing a very tough letter - defending himself and his apostleship. He wasn't content to let the church in Corinth fail. 

- He would expose the herecy. It would have been easy to walk away.

- It is tough to confront the disobedient - but Paul would take a stand - lest the church fail.

3 John 1:4  I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

 ill. Spurgeon - Downgrace Controversy - diminishing the authority of the Bible - Spurgeon left the Baptist Union after having failed to turn the Baptist Union. He took a tough stand for the Lord and faced confrontation.

- his wife believed it led to his early death.

 app. Do you want to be used of God? Are you ready to face confrontation lest the church fail?

 

conclusion:

- You can get to know some great men and women of God by reading their writing.

- Paul has been revealed to us this morning as a man who God used.

 

We find in his testimony - the characteristics of the person whom God can use.

 

transition - The man who God uses is ....

- a man who is heaven bound. (Are you born again?)

- a man who is humbled by God. (Has God touched your life to humble you?)

- a man yielded to God in prayer. (If God gives you grace instead, will you take it?)

- a man who embraces trials. (Have you learned strength in weakness?)

- a man who remembers his nothingness. (Will you always be nothing in your eyes?)

- a man who carries his own weight. (Are you help to your church, home?)

- a man who willingly pays for those under his care. (Are you spening for others?)

- a man who isn't seeking personal financial gain. (Are you in it for gain or God?)

- A man who builds up the church. (Does what you are doing edify?)

- A man who confronts lest the church fail. (Will you stand when needed?)

WILL YOU BE A MAN WHOM GOD CAN USE?

Date: 13 May
Text: 2 Corinthians 12:
Title: Paul Revealed
Theme:
Proposition:
Rhetorical:
Introduction:
 
I enjoy reading and getting to know men and woman whom God has used.
exp. Some of my favourites - 
Hudson Taylor - Spiritual Secrets
Darlene Diabler Rose - Evidence Not Seen
Jonathan Goforth - By My Spirit
 
Biographies/ Autobiography or journals - give incredible insight into someone's life.
 
The last couple of years - I read over 2000 pages about Thomas Chalmers compiled by his son in law - William Hanna
- Conversion as a C of S preacher - reading a book by MP William Wilberforce
- His love for nature - his garden, countryside rides, exploring caves
- Involved in ministering to the poor and educating their children (like John Knox)
- Becoming professor at Edinburgh University - teaching preachers
- Leading in the Disruption and establishment of the Free Church of Scotland.
(I feel like I got to know him as he was revealed through His writings.)
 
My wife feels this as well - reading Amy Carmichael and feeling like she is her friend.
 
There is a great man of God in the NT that stands out as an incredible figure in the early church.
 
His name was Saul of Tarsus - killer and persecutor of Christians - but he became the Apostle Paul.
 
Act 9:15  But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
 
We get to know him as we
read about His incredible ministry in lukes early church history - Acts 
and read from his inspired letters
- to the churches
- to his preacher boys - Timothy and Titus.
 
He was a man who when given a charge by God fulfilled it.
 
Act 14:26  And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled.
His final book - 2 Timothy - written in the mammertime pit prison in Rome - 2Ti 4:7  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
 
2 Corinthians is a book Paul wrote in defence of His apostleship. He was under attack and would defend what GOD HAD CALLED HIM TO DO. In doing so, he reveals himself, A MAN WHOM GOD HAD USED.
 
I want us to get to know Paul in this message as we look at 
THE PERSON WHOM GOD CAN USE.
Are you person like Paul whom God can use. A faithful man or woman who will fulfil God's calling?
 
text: 2 Corinthians 12
 
I. A Man who is Heaven bound. 
 ill. God wasn't using Thomas Chalmers as a preacher - until after his conversion. (John Wesley was the same - unconverted preacher - but then He got saved and God used him mightily.)
exp. Paul knew that he was heaven bound by faith AND by experience (His experience is unusual.) 
1  It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
2  I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
3  And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
4  How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
5  Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.
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.
exp. Paul himself didn't know how God did this....by trance, or translation,....that he saw heaven is clear.
- caught up to paradise - the place of the departed who are saved. ie. Thief on the cross.
- Heard words of Heaven which are forbidden to be revealed.
- None of his hearers could say that God had graced them with a similar experience.
ill. One of my favourite questions as I speak with people about Jesus is, "Do you know for sure that if you died today, you would go to Heaven?"
exp.  People often wrongly think that you can't know. 
BUT YOU CAN KNOW BY FAITH AND EXPERIENCE. 
1Jn 5:13  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
note: If God has moved into your life - you ought to know by experience that He is present.
Rom 8:9  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Rom 8:16  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
app. Do you have the witness of God's Spirit? Have you experienced salvation by faith. The person whom God will use is a man who is Heaven Bound.
 
II. A man who is humbled by God.
7  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.
exp. Having been given such incredible revelation, Paul was open to strong temptation to pride. God helped Paul by humbling him with a thorn in the flesh.
ill. Katie's roomate in Bible college - son - serious fall - into brush - broke his arm - infection from thorn that went unnoticed and was festering. (Removed to get healing)
 exp. Paul had something festering that GOD WOULD NOT REMOVE LET PRIDE CAME IN.
ill. Jacob had an incredible experience from God and he also was given a thorn in his hip.
Genesis 32:24  And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.
25  And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.
26  And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
27  And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.
28  And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
29  And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.
30  And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
31  And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.
Gen 32:32  Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank.
 app. Are you prepared to let God humble you so that He can use you? The greater our experience of God the great may be the need to humble us.
transition: God uses ....
- a man who is heaven bound.
- a man who is humbled by God.
 
III. A man yielded to God in prayer.
8  For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9  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.
ill. Paul's record of this prayer is reminiscent of our Lord who also prayed 3 times in the garden of Gethsamane asking "If it be possible let this cup pass from me, nevertheless not as I will but as thou wilt." God the father didn't take it away but gave Jesus the grace and strength to face it.
exp. God answered Paul's prayer similarly - he didn't take away Paul's suffering - but he gave Paul grace to bear it.
 question: Are you content in prayer to yield to God if it be the will of God to meet your need with grace instead of taking away suffering?
 ill. Grew up listening to Darlene Diabler Rose's testimony - 45 minute ride to and from school. My wife found it online and we listened to it as a family. (Contact us and we'll send you a link - we'll put a link on facebook as well.)
- PNG missionaries - loved their people - separated from them by war.
- Young newly weds - separated from one another
- She never saw her husband again.
- She was a prisoner for 4 years - beaten and taken to her execution/ spared by God.
 exp. She said, "I wouldn't trade places with any of you." God gave her grace to go through it.
app. The person God will use is a man YIELDED TO GOD IN PRAYER.
transition: God uses ....
- a man who is heaven bound.
- a man who is humbled by God.
- a man yielded to God in prayer.
 
 
IV. A man who embraces trials.
10  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
ill. Remember Paul's conversion - Acts 9:16  For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.
 exp. Paul was shown by God that he would go through incredible suffering for Jesus. And he did suffer incredibly....
 ill. Paul was compelled by the Corinthians accusations to boast of what God was doing in his life. In the previous chapter (11) Paul has defended His apostleship by what he has suffered for Jesus.
23  Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
24  Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
25  Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
26  In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
27  In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
28  Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
ill. Paul's testimony was to face trials.
- Acts 20:23  Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.
24  But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
exp. Paul embraced trials because GOD TAUGHT PAUL THAT HIS STRENGTH IS MADE PERFECT IN WEAKNESS. 
app. Paul would have us learn God's strength through weakness.
Act 14:22  Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
Do you take pleasure in infirmities, reproaches, necessities, in persecutions, in distresses FOR CHRIST'S SAKE - knowing that when you are weak, you are strong.
transition - The man who God uses is a man who embraces trials.
- a man who is heaven bound.
- a man who is humbled by God.
- a man yielded to God in prayer.
- a man who embraces trials.
 
V. A man who remembers his nothingness.
11  I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.
12  Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.
 exp. Paul was aware of the privilige position God had given Him in ministry. He was a premier apostle. (The chief Apostles are Peter and Paul.) But paul said, "Though I be nothing."
 song: If Paul had a modern hymn for his them song, It would be something like....
"I'm only a sinner, saved by grace."
1Ti 1:15  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
ill. Bob Jones University - quite well known in Christianity. For over 70 years it was led by the Jones family. Dr. Bob III was the president while I was in school. (Shakesperean Play - the Merchant of Venice) Dr. Bob signed my program with the verse - Psa 34:6  This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
 exp. I remember that today, because a "great man" had a humble regard for himself - like the King of Israel who wrote that Psalm.
app. Do you want to be used of God? - remember your nothingness.
transition - The man who God uses is ....
- a man who is heaven bound.
- a man who is humbled by God.
- a man yielded to God in prayer.
- a man who embraces trials.
- a man who remembers his nothingness.
 
VI. A man who carries his own weight.
ill. The golfer who was asked by his wife how his game went - "It was a horrible day - Jim died on the third whole." "That is terrible said his wife." "Yes" he said, "Every whole after that was hit the ball, drag Jim...." 
 exp. That is humurous, but it isn't funny in life when you have someone who doesn't carry their own weight. Paul was careful not to be a burden to those around him.
13  For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong.
ill. A tent maker - is a missionary who goes to the field and works to supplement his needs. We get that term from Paul.
Acts 18:
1  After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;
2  And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.
3  And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.
 note: Paul had other churches doing better than the Corinthians at helping Paul be free from all other work to give himself to ministry.
Philippians 4:15  Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.
16  For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.
17  Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.
18  But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.
19  But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
app. Do you carry your weight in your church, family, neighbourhood? A person whom God uses carries his own weight.
transition - The man who God uses is ....
- a man who is heaven bound.
- a man who is humbled by God.
- a man yielded to God in prayer.
- a man who embraces trials.
- a man who remembers his nothingness.
- a man who carries his own weight.
 
VII. A man who willingly pays for those under his care.
14  Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.
15  And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.
exp. Paul viewed his ministry to the church in Corinth as a parent views his ministry to his children.
 ill. My wife and I were talking about parenting - we celebrate 20 years this summer - I was saying I can understand how people spoil their youngest, because I can see myself getting ready to transition to grandparent mode. (She said.... yes I see it in the things you buy Mac....he doesn't get paid a lot.)
exp. More importantly - when a child has a need - the parent supplies it. You don't expect your children to go get a job and pay your bills.
 app. Paul was ready to spend and be spent for the blessing of his spiritual family. Are you a person will to spend and be spent for God's family? Are you a man whom God uses?
transition - The man who God uses is ....
- a man who is heaven bound.
- a man who is humbled by God.
- a man yielded to God in prayer.
- a man who embraces trials.
- a man who remembers his nothingness.
- a man who carries his own weight.
- a man who willingly pays for those under his care.
 
 VIII. A man who isn't seeking personal financial gain.
16  But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile.
17  Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you?
 exp. Paul asks did my preacher boys rob you when they came.
18  I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps?
 note: Paul didn't fleece the sheep. He wasn't robbing God's heritage.
 ill. I can remember two distinct services where I saw a man in God's name fleecing the sheep. 
A preacher - held up a visa sign and strongly encouraged giving to him.
Another preacher - similarly - took up his own collection at a tent meeting.
note: Paul had taught Titus that a false teacher, teaches falsehood for personal gain.
Titus 1:9  Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
10  For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:
11  Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.
exp. Heaven will tell how many people were turned away from the truth by those who said they were coming in God's name who robbed God's people.
ill. Jesus got very upset at this in his day - cleansed the temple of the money changers.
Joh 2:16  And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.
exp. False religion is very lucrative preying off of peoples spiritual interests.
 app. This man God uses isn't seeking personal financial gain.
transition - The man who God uses is ....
- a man who is heaven bound.
- a man who is humbled by God.
- a man yielded to God in prayer.
- a man who embraces trials.
- a man who remembers his nothingness.
- a man who carries his own weight.
- a man who willingly pays for those under his care.
- a man who isn't seeking personal financial gain.
 
IX. A man who builds up the church - the ecclesia.
19  Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying.
 exp. Paul was humbly aware that He would give an account to God and lived in the fear of God. Everything Paul did "all things" were to build up God's church.
 note: It is a foolish wicked person that tears down God's church.
Pro 14:1  Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.
 exp. There were people in the church at Corinth tearing at it with herecies about Paul. Everything Paul did was to build up God's church.
 note: Paul's instruction for worship to the Corinthians had taught them to only always build up.
1Co 14:26  Let all things be done unto edifying.
 app. No man is going to be used of God who brings herecy and destruction into a church. (Those who think by rejecting God's Word and appeasing the world - they are accomplishing anything for Jesus are deceived.) Are you building upon the church?
transition - The man who God uses is ....
- a man who is heaven bound.
- a man who is humbled by God.
- a man yielded to God in prayer.
- a man who embraces trials.
- a man who remembers his nothingness.
- a man who carries his own weight.
- a man who willingly pays for those under his care.
- a man who isn't seeking personal financial gain.
- A man who builds up the church.
 
X. A man who confronts lest the church fail.
20  For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:
21  And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.
 exp. Paul was writing a very tough letter - defending himself and his apostleship. He wasn't content to let the church in Corinth fail. 
- He would expose the herecy. It would have been easy to walk away.
- It is tough to confront the disobedient - but Paul would take a stand - lest the church fail.
3 John 1:4  I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
 ill. Spurgeon - Downgrace Controversy - diminishing the authority of the Bible - Spurgeon left the Baptist Union after having failed to turn the Baptist Union. He took a tough stand for the Lord and faced confrontation.
- his wife believed it led to his early death.
 app. Do you want to be used of God? Are you ready to face confrontation lest the church fail?
 
conclusion:
- You can get to know some great men and women of God by reading their writing.
- Paul has been revealed to us this morning as a man who God used.
 
We find in his testimony - the characteristics of the person whom God can use.
 
transition - The man who God uses is ....
- a man who is heaven bound. (Are you born again?)
- a man who is humbled by God. (Has God touched your life to humble you?)
- a man yielded to God in prayer. (If God gives you grace instead, will you take it?)
- a man who embraces trials. (Have you learned strength in weakness?)
- a man who remembers his nothingness. (Will you always be nothing in your eyes?)
- a man who carries his own weight. (Are you help to your church, home?)
- a man who willingly pays for those under his care. (Are you spening for others?)
- a man who isn't seeking personal financial gain. (Are you in it for gain or God?)
- A man who builds up the church. (Does what you are doing edify?)
- A man who confronts lest the church fail. (Will you stand when needed?)
WILL YOU BE A MAN WHOM GOD CAN USE?