Palms Baptist Church
Grace Breakthrough
February 13, 2022

Grace Breakthrough

February 13, 2022

The song, “Amazing Grace” was written by a former slave trader named John Newton. His life was changed when his ship was caught in a storm off the coast of Ireland. About to sink, Newton prayed. The cargo miraculously shifted and filled the hole in the ships hull. The vessel drifted to safety and Newton was moved to faith. He became a pastor and an advocate against slavery. He wrote a booklet titled, “Thoughts upon the salve trade.” Newton said, “It will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me, that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders.”

Newton often wrote a hymn to go with his sermon. Working on a New Years sermon from 1 Chronicles 17, Newton was overcome with God’s grace. He wrote, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.” On his deathbed, he said, “My memory is nearly gone. But I do remember these two things. That I am a great sinner. And Christ is a great savior.”

I like these lines from the song Amazing Grace, “Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come, ‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.”

Newton was clear, grace was not a one time thing from his past; it was something that gave him present strength. God doesn’t just give saving grace, he gives sustaining grace.

Text: 2 Corinthians 12:2-14

When did Paul see heaven? 2 Suggestions (but these are only suggestions.)

  • Galatians 1:17, when he was newly converted, Paul says he went to Arabia and learned by direct revelation from the Lord. He later says that Mount Sinai is in Arabia, suggesting he went to the Mountain where Moses saw the Lord and encountered something similar. (Exodus 24:10)
  • Acts 14, Paul came to Lystra and healed a cripple. The people declared that Barnabas was Zeus and Paul they thought was Hermes because he talked for Barnabas. (It was like Phineas and Ferb.) The town stoned Paul, but after the disciples gathered around him, he stood up and walked away. Many scholars suggest that it was during this event the Paul actually died and saw heaven, only to be raised up again.

The breakthrough in grace is when we realize that God’s grace helps us now. Grace changes everything. It changes every relationship; it changes our past and future. It changes our attitude.

1. Because of grace, I can expect to be blessed beyond by goodness. (2 Corinthians 12:3-4)

  • Psalm 23:5-6.
  • God’s goodness is not just for physical and earthly things. We are blessed to have the opportunity to engage in spiritual things. Reading the Bible, prayer, looking forward to heaven.

2. Because of grace, I can get through difficult trials.

  • 2 Corinthians 12:7, Paul describes a “skolops” (thorn) that was given to him.
  • What was the thorn? We don’t know. Here are a few suggestions:
  • Tertullain said it was a pain in his ear.
  • Medieval commentators suggested the thorn was lust.
  • Some have thought it was stammering speech.
  • Sir William Ramsey thought it was epilepsy.
  • Tommy Nelson at Denton Bible Church noted that “thorn” is an Old Testament term for a Canaanite you coexist with. This “messenger of Satan” then would be a pagan that was opposed to Paul and persecuted him
  • Many think it was Paul’s eyesight. (See Galatians 4:15 and Galatians 6:11)
  • Sufficient grace means is like God saying, “What I have is enough or you.”

3. Because of grace, my weakness is my strength.

  • 2 Corinthians 12:9
  • God doesn’t waste pain.

4. Because of grace, I see how God wants me to treat others.

  • 2 Corinthians 12:11-14
  • Don’t just receive grace, give grace.
  • Reflect: What relationship do you need to show grace in?
  • Maybe your deepest pain can only be healed by grace.
  • Rodger Spradlin, Pastor of Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield tells of forgiving the woman who killed his daughter. ( see the 26:21 mark


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