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Summary: When you are afflicted, receive God’s comfort through the Spirit. And then comfort others who are also afflicted. I would be delighted if you could rate this sermon and give brief feedback.

INTRODUCTION (SECURE ATTENTION) & BACKGROUND OF THE PASSAGE:

PRAY before starting the sermon.

ILLUSTRATION: {On July 10, 2018, there was a report in the Economic Times website with the headline: ‘89 percent of India's population suffering from stress.’

That’s about 9 out of 10 Indians!

The global average is 86%.

Also, about 75% of the people suffering from stress don’t feel comfortable to take medical help.

The main reasons for stress among Indians are work and finances.

Source: //economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/64926633.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst}

While some people require the professional help of a counselor, much of our stress will be cured if only we come to God and receive his comfort and strength.

Today’s text tells us that our God is the God of all comfort.

Would you take God’s Word and turn your Bibles with me to 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 & John 14:16?

I have entitled today’s sermon as: “GOD OF ALL COMFORT.”

CENTRAL PROPOSITION OF THE TEXT: In this passage (2 Cor. 1:3-4), Paul praises God for comforting him and others so that they can comfort others.

FALLEN CONDITION FOCUS: Already dealt with.

THE PURPOSE BRIDGE: To encourage the members of EAGC to receive God’s comfort through the Holy Spirit when they are afflicted.

CENTRAL PROPOSITION OF THE SERMON: When you are afflicted, receive God’s comfort which is mediated through the Spirit.

I. GOD COMFORTS US IN ALL OUR AFFLICTION.

Refer 2 Cor. 1:3-4.

Generally, Paul begins his letters with a salutation followed by thanksgiving.

However, in this letter, after the salutation, he praises God for comforting him.

Read 2 Cor. 1:3.

He blesses (ESV) or praises (NIV) “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Even in the midst of difficult circumstances, Apostle Paul praised God for his character.

Paul’s circumstances were not good, but he understood that the Lord who is control of Paul’s circumstances was good.

Thus, he praised God!

Here, Paul refers to the Father as “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

When Jesus became a human, the Father became Jesus’ God.

We find this in John 20:17 (refer) and Mk 15:34 (refer) too.

However, from eternity, God has always been Jesus’ Father.

Once, we were enemies of God.

But when we receive Christ as our Lord, God becomes our Father too!

Paul goes on to emphasize two attributes of God, namely, God’s mercy/compassion (read Ps. 145:9—compassion in NIV; read Micah 7:19) and God’s comfort (quote Isa. 66:13).

The phrase “the Father of mercies” has two meanings.

One, it means that God is the Originator of mercies.

Mercy or compassion flows from God himself.

Secondly, it simply means that our God is a merciful Father.

Paul personally experienced acute affliction (read 2 Cor. 1:8-9), but he also experienced God’s comfort.

Some think that God is always angry and ready to punish us as soon as we make a mistake.

However, the Bible presents God of the universe as a gracious, compassionate, and merciful God.

In our text, Paul says that God is the “God of all comfort.”

So, when Paul says that the Father is the “God of all comfort,” he is talking about God from his personal experience.

The Lord gave him comfort when he was afflicted due to some difficult situation.

In this case, Titus’ coming to Paul and his positive report about the Corinthians gave him comfort (refer 2 Cor. 7:4-7).

One of the paradoxes of the Christian life is that we experience the grace of God when we are afflicted and are weak (refer 2 Cor. 12:9).

Our God is the “God of all comfort.”

Read 2 Cor. 1:4.

The Greek word that Paul uses for ‘affliction’ is ‘thlipsis’ which literally means pressure or burden.

Read Matthew 11:28.

Paul says that God comforts us in all our affliction.

No matter what affliction we face and no matter how severe our afflictions are, God can comfort us in all our afflictions.

The phrase “comforts us in all our affliction” is in the present continuous tense.

That means that God continually comforts us in our afflictions.

People may comfort us for a certain period of time, but the Lord keeps comforting us until we are strengthened.

The noun ‘comfort’ or the verb ‘to comfort’ appears 10 times in 2 Cor. 1:3-7 (refer).

This word is derived from the Greek word, ‘paraklesis.’

It doesn’t mean mere sympathy.

Rather, it communicates the idea of a person who is called (‘kaleo’) alongside (‘para’) his friend and the one encourages his friend.

The same root word is used to describe the Holy Spirit as well (refer Jn 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7).

Even Jesus is referred to as our ‘Paraclete’ (read 1 Jn 2:1).

There are several Scriptures which emphasizes how God comforts us.

For the next few minutes, I want us to feast on the awesome promises in God’s Word.

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