Summary: A real vision of Jesus catapults a person toward constant transformation.What do we do about suffering? Draw close to the God of all comfort. Draw close to those who are in need of God's comfort.
Being Jesus to the Overwhelmed
November 6, 2016
A real vision of Jesus catapults a person toward constant transformation.
What do we do about suffering?
1. Draw close to the God of all comfort. vv.3-4a
Being a Christ-follower does not insulate us from suffering.
Being a Christ-follower does grant us access to the mercy and comfort of God.
Opening story of helping an overwhelmed individual
Turn to 1 Corinthians 1:3-5 Last week we dug down into the universal truth that A real vision of Jesus catapults a person toward constant transformation. There’s no, “Yea, I guess I am a Christian” There’s no showing up to church when it’s convenient. There’s no half-hearted worship when you are in church. If you really know Jesus, you’re never the same. It changes everything about you.
And one of the changes that takes place in a genuine Christ-follower is that compassion for the hurts and needs of others is a strong and powerful part of your life. You don’t see people like you used to. Like Jesus, you look beyond their fault and you see their need. At seeing people as Jesus sees people compels us to be involved in relieving their suffering.
There are different kinds of human suffering. There is a suffering brought on by sickness, illness, & disease. There is a suffering brought on by a lack of ample food & water & shelter. Of course there is eternal suffering brought on those who die outside of Christ.
But one of the most difficult types of suffering is the emotional/mental suffering brought on my the brokenness of humanity: the suffering of an empty or failed marriage, the suffering over the loss of a loved one, suffering from physical/mental/sexual abuse, suffering from depression and anxiety. These soul wounds are deep and in my experience, some of the most difficult suffering to relieve.
So if those of us in this room are truly transformed by our relationship with Jesus the Messiah, how does it impact our view of human suffering?
Let’s dig into the text together.
“Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so through Christ our comfort also overflows.” 1 Corinthians 1:3-5
So as we are transformed by our relationship with Jesus, What do we do about suffering?
1. Draw close to the God of all comfort. vv.3-4a (on screen)
You’ll notice in v.3 that Paul begins by praising the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Here we have reference to 2/3 of the Trinity. The Father and the Son. This is not just any father/son relationship. This Father sent His Son to earth to become one of us. This Father did not withhold suffering from His own Son. This Father loved humanity so much that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believed on Him would not perish, would not live in ruin forever, but have abundant and eternal life.
Remember our study of Romans 8 back in August? 8:32 “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32 So this Heavenly Father is more acquainted with suffering than we could ever imagine…and He is perfectly able to comfort any kind of suffering. He is the God of all comfort.
Being a Christ-follower does not insulate us from suffering. In fact, the Scripture is clear that this side of heaven, Christ-followers can expect affliction and suffering. Again in Romans 8:16-17 “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” Philippians 3:10 “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and cthe fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”
Let me say it again: being a Christ-follower does not insulate us from suffering, I don’t care what Joel Osteen and Benny Hinn say.
But Being a Christ-follower does grant us access to the mercy and comfort of God. Look at v.3 again. He is the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction. So what do we do when WE suffer? Draw close to the God of all comfort.
You know what most people do when they’re suffering soul pain? They draw close the god of alcohol or prescription drugs because it makes them feel better for awhile. They draw close to the material god that makes them feel better for awhile when they purchase something. They draw close to comfort god, not the God of all comfort, because if they falsely believe if they make their lives more comfortable on the outside, they’ll be comfortable on the inside. But these are false gods: the promise comfort but they deliver pain and emptiness and even more suffering.