On Sunday, August 25, 2019, Guest Pastor Josh Earl from Wilmington preached the message, “The Gift of Weakness” as a short break from our current series, Living with the End in View from 1 Corinthians 12:1-10. See below for projection from the message as well as a few discussion questions for Community Group or personal study this week. To listen to other messages in our archives, visit our Audio Resources page.
Projection from the message:
“The pressure is on us constantly to appear very strong and have everything under control. What Paul is saying here about weakness is the very antithesis of twenty-first century evangelicalism, and it is one of the reasons we have so little to say to a suffering community. To be met head on by this great triumphalistic mass of humanity walking out of the average evangelical church, carrying fat bibles, with fat, smug faces, we offer no prospect for those who know themselves to be the least and the last and the left out. And they’re saying, ‘There’s no real point in me approaching these individuals because clearly they know nothing of what I know.’” – Alistair Begg
“God brought the elated Paul down to earth and pinned him there with a thorn. But the thorn also kept Paul pinned to the Lord.” – Paul Barnett
- What was Paul’s reflection in this passage? How do we see Paul’s humility displayed? How do you see pride limiting the reach of the American church at large?
- Similarly, what areas in your life lead you to pride and self-exultation, thus hindering your reach to others as well? Are there any blind spots that have come to mind since hearing this message? What small, daily steps can you take to fight those things?
- What was Paul’s affliction in this passage? Explain the concept of the thorn that he describes. Can you identify with such suffering? What is the purpose of these thorns when God allows them?
- Josh taught about how the paradox of the Christian life is that when we are at our weakest, Christ is at His strongest. How are God’s greatest graces displayed in glimpses of our weakness and periods of our suffering?