2 Corinthians 12:2
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of it I do not know, but God knows.
Sermons
A Man in ChristJ.R. Thomson 2 Corinthians 12:2
A Man in ChristD. Fraser 2 Corinthians 12:2
Seven Blessings of Being in ChristT. L. Cuyler, D. D.2 Corinthians 12:2
Visible Character, not Private Vision, the Christian MarkJohn Cordner.2 Corinthians 12:2
Apostolic Experiences in HeavenE. Hurndall 2 Corinthians 12:1-4
Supernatural Communications as Evidences of His ApostleshipC. Lipscomb 2 Corinthians 12:1-6
On Paul Being Caught Up to the Third HeavenF. W. Krummacher.2 Corinthians 12:1-10
Paul's VisionF. W. Robertson, M. A.2 Corinthians 12:1-10
St. Paul's Rapture and Thorn in the FleshJ. Leifchild, D. D.2 Corinthians 12:1-10
When we consider what man is, and who Christ is, the conjunction seems wonderful indeed. Yet, when apprehended, this union appears one fraught with richest blessings for him who is the inferior and dependent member. The thought was one familiar to the apostle; himself "a man in Christ," he spoke of others who were "in Christ before" himself, and he designated Christian societies, "Churches in Christ Jesus."

I. THE NATURE OF THE UNION THUS DESCRIBED.

1. The Christian is grafted "in Christ" as a graft in a tree, joined to him as a branch to a vine. The union is thus a vital union, and is to the Christian the means and the occasion of spiritual life.

2. The Christian is accepted "in Christ," i.e. in the Beloved. For Christ's sake the Christian is received into Divine favour. The Saviour is in this capacity a Representative, a Mediator, an Advocate.

3. The Christian is incorporated "in Christ" as the member in the body, and has a new function to discharge in consequence of this relationship.

4. The Christian is hidden "in Christ" as the traveller in the cleft of the rock, as the voyager in the ark, when "the Lord shut him in."

5. The Christian dwells "in Christ" as in a house, a home appointed for him by Divine wisdom and goodness.

II. THE IMPORTANCE AND ADVANTAGES OF THIS UNION.

1. As is apparent from considering the position of those who are out of Christ. For such, where is safety, where is a law of life, where is a prospect for immortality? For to be out of Christ is to be without God, and so without hope.

2. From considering what in this life they possess who have Christ and are in him. Whilst, so far as the bodily life is concerned, they are in the world, they are in spirit in the Lord, and thus partake a higher nature and existence than belong to earth and to time.

3. From considering the imperishable character of this union. To be "in Christ" now is to be "with Christ" forever. To those who are in him there is no condemnation now, and from him there shall be no separation hereafter. The visions which Paul beheld, and the declarations he heard when he was caught up into the third heaven, were to him, and may be to us, an earnest and promise of immortal union. Therefore "Abide in him." - T.







I knew a man in Christ.
I. DELIVERANCE FROM THE DEADLY CURSE WHICH SIN ENTAILS (Romans 8:1). In Noah's ark there was no deluge; in Christ Jesus there is no condemnation.

II. EVERLASTING LIFE. Of this Christ is the single source. Paul addresses the Church at Rome as "alive unto God in Christ Jesus our Lord." The Master said, "Because I live ye shall live also." "It is not I," said Paul, "but Christ that liveth in me." If the nurseryman inserts the graft of a golden pippin into an apple tree, that graft might say truly, It is not I that live, but the whole tree liveth in me. So Divine a thing is this life that it is described as —

III. A NEW CREATION. This word "new" signifies also what is fresh, and unimpaired, and unworn, like a bright garment from its maker's hand. How imperative is it that we keep this unspotted by the world! Not for ornament merely is it given, but for use.

IV. ACCEPTANCE IN THE BELOVED. If we are received into favour, it is solely for Christ's sake.

V. PEACE (Philippians 4:7).

VI. FULNESS OF SPIRITUAL SUPPLY (Colossians 2:10). "Ye are filled full in Christ." Why need I hunger when in my father's house and in my Saviour's heart are such wealth beyond a whole universe to drain?

VII. TRIUMPH "Thanks be unto God who always causeth us to triumph in Christ!" This is the believer's battle-cry and paean of victory. Jesus gives the victory, and will bring us off more than conquerors.

(T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)

I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be
That we may reach the apostle's meaning here it is needful to look at what he writes immediately before our text. The favour which certain false teachers had met with in the Church at Corinth had compelled Paul, out of regard for the safety of the believers there, to remind them, by direct assertion, of his own superior claim. Such self-assertion was not agreeable to his own feelings. Yet his was not the self-assertion of vainglory. First and last he gives God the praise. He rejoices not, nor glories, in his strength, but in his infirmities; for it is through his human infirmities that Divine grace and power become more clearly manifest. These very weaknesses are turned to highest account. As a ground of glorying and of claim to their regard, he might urge the "visions and revelations of the Lord" with which he had been favoured, but he forbears. Meantime, we must note the fact of these visions and revelations. They point to intimate spiritual communications — openings, so to speak, into the higher sphere of God's thought and presence, so bright as to cast into the shade, for the time being, all consciousness connected with the lower sphere of bodily existence. Any philosophy, or way of conceiving of things, which throws doubt on the spiritual contact of God with man, is fatal to spiritual life and growth. For such a way of thinking involves a partial dethronement of the universal God. Never in any age of the world does He shut Himself off from contact with His children. In dealing with claims to spiritual enlightenment and influence, it behoves us to consider them cautiously. And even when we feel sure of them it becomes us to be modest in the assertion thereof. If others assert such claims on their own behalf, we are in nowise bound either to admit or deny them. No man is authorised to demand from others respect for such claims except in so far as he can support them by outward evidence. It becomes us, then, to forbear as the Apostle Paul did. "Visions and revelations from the Lord" we may have — rapt and ecstatic states of mind — sweet and strengthening hours of devout meditation and prayer; but of these it becomes us not to speak in the way of mere assertion as ground of boasting or superiority. From whatever point we approach the matter we find that the last test of true religion is to be found in its manifestation in character and life. "By their fruits ye shall know them," said Jesus. This is the Christian mark. All divinely inspired prophets and apostles speak in the same strain. If the word revealed within is as the candle of the Lord shining there, lighting up truth, justice, and love clearly to our apprehension, it must be borne in mind that such a light has not been given for private and selfish use. If this be forgotten, the light within becomes darkness. The ambition which seeks the regard of others beyond that which its actual merits justify is the sure token of spiritual poverty and vanity. "I forbear," says the great apostle, "lest any man should think of me above which he seeth me to be." And so let every man forbear from boastful reference to his superior illumination and cherish that wholesome fear that he should be judged worthy beyond the measure which his actual life testifies. For to this end was such vision given — that its light should shine by its good works, and God our heavenly Father be glorified in the lives of His faithful children.

(John Cordner.)

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