Summary: Exactly like our physical body our spiritual body consists of individuals and relationships carrying out specific functions! Our survival depends on our ability to maintain and at times restore our internal environment.
Pt. 3 - Carry/Comfort
God formed each of us and according to Jeremiah He knew us before we were ever formed. He formed our natural bodies by by establishing biological systems that carry out specific functions. These systems are necessary for everyday living. Our physical body survives by maintaining or restoring its internal environment. His creation of the human body was so perfect that when God needed an illustration of how the entity that He sent and sacrificed His only Son to establish (the church) He resorted to the body as the visual representative. And exactly like our physical body our spiritual body consists of individuals and relationships carrying out specific functions! Our survival depends on our ability to maintain and at times restore our internal environment.
Paul tells us this in 1 Corinthians 12:25 - The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t.
So in our attempt to continue to confront and combat the principality of isolation that is so deadly and disruptive in the body's ability to function we have talked about being connected. Our survival and significance is directly tied to our connectedness. We need each other. So we have called you to become connected and to enter a covenant relationship with someone in the body! This connection and covenant are absolutely essential for the body to function properly. Most of us on our own have expectations regarding the function of the body. However, we cannot place covenant expectations on relationships of convenience and frustrate and become frustrated. Covenant bears fruit and enables us to function properly as the body.
When we are truly connected and in covenant relationship that Paul is addressing in 1 Corinthians 12:25 then and only then are we are able to fulfill (SLIDES 4) 1 Corinthians 12:26 . . . If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.
So Paul is explaining to us that if we are connected to each other at the level that we are called to then we will come to this place where when you hurt I am not immune but rather I feel your pain. Likewise, when you are blessed/successful/experience favor I am not jealous or envious I become your #1 cheerleader and rejoice with you. When we get to this level we can then move into Paul's further instructions!
TEXT: 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
So did you catch what Paul said? Comfort is a two way street! Too many of us receive comfort but we also consume comfort. We want comfort but never turn and comfort someone else. We are so self consumed that we are only concerned about getting out of our own trouble and we never stop to consider that We have been comforted so that we can become a comforter. There is a reason Jesus comforts us and allows us to get over what would have stopped someone else. He didn't let it stop you so that you can help it not to stop someone else. Too many of us show up year after year looking to be ministered to and comforted but it is time to realize that you are also commanded to be a comforter to someone else. Maybe we are waiting for the Holy Spirit to live up to His name while He is waiting on us to live up to our calling.
In fact, Paul goes so far as to say that when we comfort someone else we are literally fulfilling the law of Christ. What was the law of Christ? Remember when He was asked the greatest commandment He chose love the Lord your God and then to love your neighbor as yourself. We reveal our love for God by our willingness to comfort and carry our neighbor. Otherwise our claims of loving God are simply empty talk!