08/19/2012 Only Source of Real Comfort!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Friday, August 24, 2012 Under: Sermon

Text: 2 Corinthians 1:1-7 (NKJV)

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. 6 Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.

8 We are hard pressed (afflicted) on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed-- 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death is working in us, but life in you.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-12

Intro: Bad things happen to good people! Many people today question why bad things happen to good people. Because believers are redeemed sinners who live in a fallen world, bad things even happen to them. In fact, God allows those things to happen.

- God allows bad things to happen to His people to test the validity of their faith. Those whose faith is genuine will pass the tests God allows in their lives, bringing them assurance, confidence, and hope.
- God allows bad things to happen to His people to wean them from the world. Trials strip away the worldly resources that believers trust in, leaving them completely dependent on divine resources.
- God allows bad things to happen to His people to reveal to them what they really love. “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4
- God allows bad things to happen to His people to teach them obedience.
- God allows bad things to happen to His people so He can reveal His compassion to them.
- God allows bad things to happen to His people to strengthen them for greater usefulness. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4
- God allows bad things to happen to His people to enable them to comfort others in their trials. The only source of real comfort is through Jesus Christ and when you accomplish that you can’t help but help someone else!

1. The Person of Comfort: vs. 3

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” Thank you, the father of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the father of mercy, we praise your name and recognized you as the person of Comfort. When was the last time you thanked Him?

Jesus Christ is the person of Comfort; He came into this world for the soul purpose of giving Himself to mankind to give us hope peace and comfort. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” Colossians 1:15

“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Colossians 2:9

Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. It was “His great mercy [that] has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” In the New Testament Jesus promised, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” Paul had experienced much pain, suffering, and heartbreak, particularly because of the false teachers at Corinth. They slandered his character to discredit him in the minds of the people and, even more painful to the apostle, sought to deceive the Corinthian church with lies about the gospel. But in God’s merciful comforting of him he received the strength he needed to carry on. For that Paul was deeply grateful and blessed God.

Just as Paul was able to carry on! The Christian can also carry on.

2. The Promise of Comfort: vs.4a

“Who comforts us in all our tribulation.”

The NIV uses the word (Troubles) the NASB uses the word (Affliction). God promises us comfort from tribulation, troubles and or affliction what we need to understand is that He really does and we need to be patient! God comforts His people not only because He is by nature a merciful comforter but also because He has promised to comfort them.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:31-39

That is the promise, NOTHING can separate us!

3. The Purpose of Comfort: vs. 4b 6-7

“That we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 6 Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.”

Believers receive comfort as a trust or stewardship to be passed on to others. This purpose of comfort is to equip the comforted to be comforters.

Paul viewed himself as a conduit through which God’s comfort could flow to the Corinthians - a conduit widened by all the suffering he had endured. Those who experience the most suffering will receive the most comfort. And those who receive the most comfort are thereby most richly equipped to comfort others.

The scriptures remind us of the story of Peter who had faced a severe trial (he had denied his Lord). Having received divine comfort in his trial, Peter would then be able to draw from that to comfort and strengthen others. Have you denied your Lord? Have you asked for divine comfort? Why not?

The purpose of comfort and the receiving of comfort is so we can comfort others!

4. The Parameters of Comfort: vs. 5

“For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.”

Though God is the God of comfort who comforts His children, there is an important condition for receiving that comfort. God does not promise comfort to those who suffer for their unrepentant sin, but to those who suffer for Christ.

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.” 1 Peter 4:12-16

Believers will receive comfort in this life and rewards in eternity to the degree that they share the sufferings of Christ. When they are hated for the name of Christ, they are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God will strengthen and comfort them. The Christian who is in fellowship with Christ will suffer for the glory of God, that is the parameter!

Count it a privilege to share the sufferings of Christ.

Conclusion: Trouble is an inescapable reality in this fallen, evil world. Adding to the pain of trouble is the disturbing reality that God sometimes seems distant and unconcerned.

8 We are hard pressed (afflicted) on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed-- 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death is working in us, but life in you. 2 Corinthians 4:8-12

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