Against the Flow of Success

2 Corinthians 12:1-10

Sermon on October 8, 2017
Opening question:

Can you think of a time in your life that you feel truly successful? What were the reasons for your sense of success?

  1. Begin your time together by reading together Psalm 1. From this psalm, what is a key to success?

  2. Before reading today’s passage, take a minute to scan Paul’s description of his experiences in 11:23-30. Why must he boast in the things that show his weakness?

  3. Why do you think that Paul said, “I know a man,” when describing the vision that was obviously his? Why did he speak in the third person?

  4. In giving “testimonies” at church, do you think we often buy into a human expectation of success? In what ways do you see this?

  5. Reflect on the words in verse 6: “so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me.”

  6. Though we do not know exactly what was Paul’s “thorn in the flesh,” what was its purpose? What are some thorns in the flesh that will remind us of our weakness?

  7. What is meant by the words, “my power is made perfect in weakness” (12:9)?

  8. What are some ways that Christians today seek worldly success as the expense of kingdom success?

  9. In the booklet, Looking Unto Jesus, Theodore Monod writes, “Looking unto Jesus and to the apparent success of our efforts. The apparent success is not the measure of real success; and besides, God has not told us to succeed, but to work; it is of our work that He requires and account, and not of our success, -- why then concern ourselves with it?” How do you respond to these words?

  10. From today’s study of 2 Corinthians, how should we assess success in family, work, education and church?

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