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2 Corinthians 1:1-11 The God of all comfort
The God of all comfort
2 Corinthians 1:1-11

Scripture reading: 2 Corinthians 11:16-33, Matthew 10:1-36

In Isaiah 66:13 God says to his people - who were soon to go into exile- "As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you;"

With this wonderful picture of God in mind, I invite you to turn in your Bible to 2 Corinthians 1:1-11. In this passage, God is called "The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort"

Paul speaks of God in this fashion, having experienced many trials and hardships for the cause of Jesus- which he details throughout the Book of 2 Corinthians.

Let's read together 2 Corinthians 1:1-11,

Knowing Paul's situation: That he had experienced many instances of hardship and persecution for the cause of Christ, "What is Paul's attitude towards God and the trials he endured for the sake of Christ and the Gospel work"?

1
. He was full of praise for God v.3

a. For the help, strength, and comfort he received from God in his time of need

Philippians 4:19 says; "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."

2. Trust and faith v.10

Proverbs 3:5-6 says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."

3. He viewed God as a loving, compassionate, comforting Father


THOUGHTS ON GOD AS THE FATHER OF COMPASSION AND THE GOD OF ALL COMFORT

A. God's comfort is for His children- for those reconciled to Him by faith in Jesus Christ

It's hard to experience God's love and comfort if you are estranged from Him. Turn to Christ. If you not a follower of Jesus, be reconciled to God. Put your faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord. Obey and follow Him according to the teachings of the Scriptures.

B. We experience the comfort of God...

a. By drawing near to Him... in faith, with clean hands James 4:8
b. Through the Spirit of God-- the Comforter who indwells every believer

Note: The word for "comfort" is paraklesis which is related to the word "paraklete", being a reference to the Holy Spirit" Thus we have an answer as to one of the vehicles by which the Father comforts us: The inner working of the Holy Spirit who indwells every believer.

c. Through praise and by prayer

-He inhabits the praises of His people. Psalm 22:3
-He attends to the prayers of the saints. "Cast all your cares upon Him"

d. From the Scriptures
e. In unexpected ways--- knowing that His mercies are new every morning
f. From others- who have experienced trial and God's comfort v. 4-6.

We are to be "Wounded healers"- not "miserable comforters"

C. Invariably; trials, persecution, hardship, and difficulty, precede and attend our reception of God's Fatherly and tender comfort


D. The trials that precede and attend God's Fatherly and tender comfort...

a
. Are part of the Christian life

In John 15:18-20, Jesus says; "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also."


b. Are meant to produce in us patient endurance-that we might have the character of Christ. v.6.

In v.6 Paul speaks of patient endurance being a goal during trial and hardship. Patient endurance is a quality developed under duress-- it is also aided by the comfort received from others.

In James 1:2-4 it says; "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

In James 1:12, it says; "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."

c. Train us to be able comforters of others v.4-5

Again: We wounded healers who can draw on our own sufferings and God's comforts to us-- that we might be able to minister to others in their time of need

d. Have an ultimate end: The furtherance of Christ's kingdom v.6

Consider what Paul says in in Philippians 1:12-14 "Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly."

This corresponds directly with 2 Corinthians 1:6 "If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation...

e. Are meant to teach us to not rely upon ourselves but on God v.8-9

In v.8-9 Paul says; "We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead."

Charles Spurgeon, a famous preacher of the 1800's wrote of this point: "the tendency to trust in ourselves is a disease to which all people are liable"

Alan Redpath, another preacher of note, said "God has one great purpose for his people... It is destroy in us forever any possible confidence in the flesh; it is to bring us to the place where self confidence has passed and been exchanged for a confidence in God, who raises the dead."

We are not to rely on our strength, our knowledge, our wisdom, our money, our contacts, etc.

Sometimes God will send or allow things to come our way that will totally reduce us, with the effect that the only recourse we have left is to trust God. This is a lesson for all of us. In everything we are to begin with God. If not, such is pride.

f. Are to drive us to support and pray for others in their time of need v.10-11

When we hear or see a brother or sister in the Christ suffering, being persecuted, or experiencing hardship-- it ought to lead us to PRAY for them


CONCLUSION

If we are not careful, suffering, trial, hardship, and persecution can severely warp our perspective of God.

What's your view of God? Is He: cold, distant, cruel, uncaring, close, loving, involved?

Suffering, trial, hardship-- can severely warp a person's perspective of God. Even the great man of faith, Job-- who refused to turn from his faith in God--, in the midst of his sufferings came for a time to see God as being unjust and as his enemy

Cling to God, His Word, and your faith!

When our Heavenly Father sees us hard pressed, harried, and afflicted-- He does not stand idly by. He is the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. Look to Him. Wait upon Him. Trust Him. His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23). Give Him the praise that He is worthy of.




Psalm 94:19 When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.