2 Corinthians 1:3-7 ( TNIV )
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
People often ask why God allows suffering.
· This is a tough question………..we will never be able to answer it fully.
More people than I can even count have also experienced the “comfort of God”.
· We can’t explain that either……..but we can experience that, can’t we?
If we are going to blame God for the suffering………then we need to also thank him for the comfort that we have received.
We praise God because He is the God of all comfort!
· These two Greek words, “paraklesis” [par-ak-lay-sis]……and….. parakaleo [par-ak-al-eh-o] are used 10 times in these 5 verses alone. That says something……. God is the God of all comfort!
· Both these words mean “comfort” or “consolation”……. as in consoling someone…..or being there for them……..helping them through the trouble.
Jesus is talking in John 14:16, listen:
John 14:16-18 ( TNIV )
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate [remember that word] to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth [this is the Holy Spirit]. [Now, Jesus goes on to say] The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. [Jesus is talking to believers here, to His disciples and says] But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
· This word, “advocate” is the Greek word……. parakletos [par-ak-lay-tos] ……… it comes from the same root as “paraklesis” [par-ak-lay-sis]……and….. parakaleo [par-ak-al-eh-o]………. and is often translated as “comforter”.
o An advocate is someone who supports….someone who defends….someone who pleads the cause of another. And this is what Jesus is talking about with God….God is the great comforter!
Okay….so let’s look deeper at this Scripture, let’s look at what Apostle Paul teaches us about “comfort”.
First let me set the stage here…….the book of 2 Corinthians is actually a letter that the Apostle Paul….who was probably in Ephesus (which is in Turkey) wrote to the church that he founded in Corinth….which is located in Greece…..not far from Athens.
He wrote this letter around 55 AD…..not long after the crucifiction of Jesus.
Corinth was a center of the trade routes passing through Greece……..and so ……… became very prosporous….and with that prosperity came….immorality.
In fact, the ancient phrase, “To live like a Corinthian”….. meant living a very immoral life.
So….the Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the church that he founded.
The church here was very diverse….men….women…rich…and poor.
Let’s look at a small part of what the Apostle Paul wrote to his brothers and sisters in Corinth.
o In these first passages……..he sought to explain that they would face “trouble”
o Paul writes as a man who knows trouble to those who are IN trouble.
o yet in these “troubles” the Apostle Paul sought to show that, like him, this is exactly why we need God’s “comfort”.
- God allows—troubles in our lives.
a. We often are party to our own troubles……… sometimes we are a recipient of someone elses actions….but the fact remains…God allows troubles in our lives.
· The troubles are not what defines us…..it is HOW WE CHOOSE TO REACT TO THOSE TROUBLES.
b. The Bible never promises a life without problems.
· I mean, the way some people act and talk you might think that the Scriptures…… that God…did make that promise………but He didn’t.
· Jesus did not promise a life without problems.
c. The Bible specifically states that we will face trouble.
ILLUSTRATION: Many times……when we face trouble……..we are prone to ask…….“Why me?” …….and that’s understandable.
§ But often……as we look deeper we can usually say…..“Why not me?”
· I have come to realize that it was me who spent the money on the wrong things…that’s why I’m broke.
· I have come to realize that if I put more into my relationships…or choose them wisely….that maybe they wouldn’t be so bad.
· I have come to realize that if I planned ahead in my life and made better choices…maybe I COULD hold a better job.
· And it goes on and on….and on…..doesn’t it?
2 Corinthians 1:3-4a ( TNIV )
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles,
AGAIN: The troubles are not what defines us…..it is HOW WE CHOOSE TO REACT TO THE TROUBLES.
- What God promises—comfort
a. While God doesn’t promise a trouble-free life…..he does promise that He will comfort us……. in all our troubles.
I have received comfort and compassion from God in so many ways.
o In my deliverance from the bondage of addiction
o In the relationships of my family after years of lonliness
o In may passion for the lost and the troubled when I was once totally lost and troubled
o In my knowledge of a new and everlasting lasting life when my father passed away……because I will be with him one day…and our last days were probably my best days with him because we were estranged most of my life.
b. God is described as the Father of all compassion. Any act of kindness is ultimately a reflection of His love for us.
2 Corinthians 1:3-7 ( TNIV )
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
c. He is the God of all comfort.
[SING] Psalms 46:1 (NIV)
- What God expects—caring (vv. 5-7).
2 Corinthians 1:5-7 ( TNIV )
5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ………. so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
6 If we are distressed……. it is for your comfort and salvation……….. if we are comforted……… it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.
7 And our hope for you is firm……. because we know that just as you share in our sufferings……. so also you share in our comfort.
a. The greatest result of this comfort…..is that we gain the power to comfort others who are going through troubles….because….we have walked their paths….we have walked in their shoes.
The Apostle Paul claims that the things that happened to him……being shiprecked……being put in jail……the beatings………and the comfort he received…..made him able to be a source of comfort to others.
c. In turn………….others will share comfort with us when we need it.
As we sew…….so shall we reap.
We set up a cycle of goodwill and blessing.
· Have you noticed the phenomenon of the support group?
· What is the theory behind it?
o It is hoped that those who have been through a problem (e.g. childlessness, cancer, phobias, addiction, etc.) can be of help to others going through the same problem.
· No one understands what you are going through like someone who has been there.
d. My question to you is……”Will you dare to become a part of the Comfort Connection?”
QUOTE: A great man once said, “God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters.”
· God has made a great provision for our lives.
· As followers of Christ….we need to be of help to other, especially to our Christian brothers and sister.
· We need to be a shining light….let God turn those “troubled” experiences into something positive….comfort for others……..they will then be in turn….further comfort to you.