Summary: Sometimes we need to be comforted and sometimes we need to comfort.
1. A little boy stopped by the super market and asked the cashier where he could find a box of Tide… he said it was for washing his cat. The lady was quick to tell him that he shouldn’t wash his cat with Tide but she couldn’t change his mind. Later the boy came back to the store and told the cashier his cat had died. The lady said, ‘Well son, I warned you not to wash your cat with Tide detergent.” “Naw,” the boy said, “He didn’t die from the Tide, it was the spin cycle that got him.” Perhaps the “spin cycle” describes life.
2. “The role of the Minister is twofold: to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.” ~ Vance Havner Today let’s focus on Comfort.
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare[a] is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins. 3 A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. 5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
a. Judah survived the onslaught of the Assyrians
b. Needed comforting from God
4. Two questions with the same answer: Who Needs Comforting? Who Needs to Comfort? WE DO!
I. Who Needs Comforting? – We Do!
[Age stage riddle – What walks on 4 legs then two and then 3? A person as a baby; an adult; and as an older person with a cane.
1. Children/Babies need comfort at times
b. Dry Diapers – “The only one who likes change is a wet baby.” ~ Mark Twain
c. Someone to hold them in fears or to sleep
2. Babes in Christ Need Comfort, too. – 1 Peter 2:2 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation
a. Challenging to be In Christ
b. Food – clothing – shelter and rest
1. Physical ailments – require patience and determination
2. Emotional – Sorrow; Stress; Fear; Guilt – Promise of Peace
3. Spiritual – Isaiah 40:1-2 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare[a] is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins.
1. No energy for challenges
2. Focus on the journey ahead
3. What will be left behind?
4. Same is true of Churches – about 100 year life cycle (some more, some less)
a. Where are NT churches today?
b. In heaven with God
c. They died but planted churches for the future
II. Who Needs to Comfort? – We Do!
A. We Can Comfort After We Have Been Comforted – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
B. We Can Comfort by Trusting God – 2 Corinthians 1:8-11
8 We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 9 In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. 10 And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. 11 And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.
1. Focus on Obstacles and Challenges
2. OR See New Beginnings with a God that is greater
3. Our Comfort Comes with Preparation – Isaiah 40:3 3 A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
1. We Serve a Comforting God – especially as the Holy Spirit – John 14:15-17
15 “If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate [or Helper; Encourager; Comforter], who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.