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Sermon Outline - The Rapture of Paul, 2 Corinthians ch.12 vv.1-10

Date18/01/2004
Time18:30
PreacherRev. Maurice Roberts, Inverness
Sermon TitleThe Rapture of Paul
Text2 Corinthians ch.12 vv.1-10
Sermon ID746

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INTRODUCTION

Importance of talking about God's blessing with us personally. So Paul does so often: Testimony. Here - a 2-fold experience.

FIRST EXPERIENCE

  1. THE RAPTURE:

    v.4

    1. The reason why he tells us this (12:11) - the false apostles who misled the church and who promoted themselves proudly.
    2. The manner in which Paul informs us of this:
      1. embarrassment: v.11 - "a fool". Explain = only tells believers the church's good is at stake.
      2. after a very long time: v.2: "14 years". Something which was too sacred to tell.
      3. in the 3rd person (v.2 - But clearly it was the apostle himself. See v.7)

      OBSERVE: The more we trust in God, the less we shall boast in ourselves. Yet it is lawful to "boast" if the church's good needs it.

    3. The nature of it: v.2-4:
      1. in the body or not - could not say (Explain)
      2. v.2: "third heaven" (with v.4: "paradise") 2 views = one rapture or two? I believe only one.
      3. "3rd heaven" - Explain.
      4. "Caught up" - supernatural experience
      5. "unspeakable words" (v.4). Explain.
      6. v.1: "visions...". He may also have seen as well as heard.
    4. Why did Paul have this experience?
      1. a special token of favour from Christ
      2. it was for him alone - not for us to expect.
        OBSERVE: Paul had many revelations for us - "mysteries":
        EXX: godliness/iniquity/gentiles/Jews/Church as Bride of Christ..
      3. We have the benefit indirectly: the courage, zeal, example of Paul in all his sufferings.
        OBSERVE: Importance of experiences of God in secret.
        EXX: Dr. Lloyd-Jones: David Morgan
        APPLICATION: Pray that preachers will get experiences of God.
  2. A BALANCING EXPERIENCE

    1. The danger of spiritual experiences: "exalted..."
      OBSERVE: How little we can be trusted!
    2. This SECOND experience:
      1. "thorn in the flesh" = physical Disability - deliberately not defined
      2. sent by Satan - to buffet him.
        OBSERVE: How sent by God and Satan?
      3. He prayed for its removal 3 times. But not to be removed. God said, 'No!'
        OBSERVE: We are better for some of our troubles.
        Explain. Mr. MacSween: "Donkey."
      4. Another word from the Lord: v.9 - very different in kind: "My grace..weakness."
      5. Paul's conclusion: v.9-10
        OBSERVE: He rather gloried in this weakness.
  3. LESSONS

    1. The Bible is our perfect rule on earth but it is not all there is to know: "unspeakable words" - so much more!
      ILLUSTRATION: "Farewell Bible!"
      But while here, the Bible is our only light. We must look for no other.
    2. How blessed to be in this Paradise! What they saw! What they heard!
      DUTY: to think often about Paradise
      ILLUSTRATION: Baxter's practice good.
    3. See how careful of our soul Christ is: now good/now evil - in balances.
      OBSERVE: We need faith to see this and to live by it.
      DOCTRINE: You and I need all our trials to keep us right.
      ILLUSTRATION: A hydrogen-filled balloon must be tied down to earth with ropes. So "knowledge puffeth up" but "thorn in the flesh".

CONCLUSION

Have we learnt to glory in our infirmities?

  • "If only I had better health..."
  • "If only I could speak better..."
BUT we are all best as we are.
ILLUSTRATION: Whitefield's ASTHMA!

All is well if we get to heaven safely.


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