Mat 4:1-11; When Are the Weak Strong? (part 2)

Class Outline:

Wednesday January 31, 2024

Idea: The weak are strong when they recognize humanity is weak and God’s strength flows through those who trust and obey His will.


2CO 11:30

If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness.


Paul here summarizes what came before (chapter 11) and gives us the interpretation of what is to come in chapter 12. He glories in his weakness, what in human standards should cause him shame.


2CO 12:7-9

Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me — to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me [spread like a tent on me].


“I will rather glory in my weakness, so that the power of Christ may spread like a tent upon me.”


Weakness is humanity.

It is those who do not think they’re weak that err.


Result of knowing my weakness and faith, trust, and obedience:

Strength of the divine type. 


It is imperative that we understand what this strength is.


It is the divine strength available to all people who have absolute trust in God and absolute obedience to His will, as found in His Word.


Strength of the human type cannot do, stop, add, remove, or overcome anything of real substance.


Psa 11 For the choir director. A Psalm of David.

In the Lord I take refuge;

How can you say to my soul, "Flee as a bird to your mountain;

2 For, behold, the wicked bend the bow,

They make ready their arrow upon the string

To shoot in darkness at the upright in heart.

3 If the foundations are destroyed,

What can the righteous do?"


4 The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord's throne is in heaven;

His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.

5 The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked,

And the one who loves violence His soul hates.

6 Upon the wicked He will rain snares;

Fire and brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup.

7 For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness;

The upright will behold His face.


Jesus could stop anything, but He chose not to. We, on the other hand, cannot stop anything significant.


2CO 12:10

Therefore I am well content [eudokeo] with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.


Let’s look at these difficult things and then ask again, what is weak and strong in the right way.


Weakness speaks for itself. It can mean sickness.


“insults” - hubris = experiences of insolence, shame, insult, mistreatment.

Insult is a little narrow. Shame from someone (Paul is a liar, Jesus is a drunkard, etc.)


“distresses” - anagke = necessity, pressure, compulsion by forcible means.

Inevitable problems that force you to go, do, change, etc.


“persecutions” - diogmos = persecution, a program or process designed to harass or oppress someone.

Parable of the sower - shallow soil.

Persecution arises because of the word and immediately falls away.


“difficulties” - stenochopia - a set of distressful circumstances, anguish, trouble, difficulty.

ROM 8:35, will not separate us from the love of God.


“For Christ’s sake… I am well pleased with them.”

What does this mean?


His boasting of Christ and his own weakness (inability to do anything good apart from Christ) made his shame, pressure to do, persecution, and distressful circumstances all of a glorious nature. What the world considers shameful, Paul saw as glorious. These things stood in the way of his calling from God, and by God overcoming the in Paul, he could not help but see and feel God’s strength to him. In fact, it is the only strength available to man.


MAT 6:25-33

"For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  26 "Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?  27 "And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?  28 "And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,  29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.  30 "But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!  31 "Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?'  32 "For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.