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HOPE Covenant Sermons

Thorn in the Flesh

November 17, 2013 Speaker: Series: Be Encouraged

Topic: 2 Corinthians Verse: 2 Corinthians 12:1–12:10

“Thorn in the Flesh”
Pastor Duane Cross | 11.17.2013


This boasting will do no good, but I must go on. I will reluctantly tell about visions and revelations from the Lord. Iwas caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I don’t know—only God knows. Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body. But I do know that I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell.

That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:1-10 (NLT)

I. What is the nature of the thorn?

II. What is the source of the thorn?

III. What is the purpose of the thorn?

  • To experience God’s grace.
  • To humble you.
  • That Jesus Christ be glorified


These questions are designed to help you go deeper with the sermon during your week – to take a closer look at the scripture and find fresh ways to live out the main points of the sermon. Going Deeper questions also are used in all of our Grow Groups.

Scripture Reading
2 Corinthians 12:1-10; Job 1-2; Hebrews 11

Getting Started

What do you believe is the source (sources) of pain and suffering in our world?

Have you ever experienced a thorn in the flesh? Describe. Did God remove it? Why or why not?

How does God show His grace to you? Be specific.

A Closer Look

Read 2 Corinthians 12:1-10

What does Paul say was the purpose of the thorn in his life?

Read Job 1-2. How is Paul’s circumstance similar to Job’s? How can God’s power to control evil be used for His own glory?

How does God use suffering to build godly character? (See Romans 5:1-5) How did He do this with Paul? How does He do this with us today?

Review 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. How is this a message of “sufficient” grace? (See also 2 Corinthians 3:4-6; 9:8; 12:9). How does knowing God’s grace is sufficient help us in times of suffering?

Digging Deeper

What practical lessons can we learn from Paul’s suffering?

When have you seen God’s “no” to a prayer bring about growth in character, like Paul’s “thorn” did?

In what ways do you yet need to be “humbled”?

How is Jesus Christ glorified in your weaknesses?


More in Be Encouraged

November 10, 2013

False Apostles

November 3, 2013


October 27, 2013

Heart To Heart