Summary: A sermon on 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 (Thanks to Joe Focht from Blue Letter Bible www.blueletterbible.org for ideas)
Sermon for 5/25/2008
Advice and instructions taken from actual military sources. Some of these guys must have had a sense of humor
"When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not our friend." --U.S. Marine Corps
"Cluster bombing from B-52s is very, very accurate. The bombs are guaranteed to always hit the ground." --USAF Ammo Troop
"Never tell the platoon sergeant you have nothing to do." --Unknown Marine Recruit
"Aim towards the enemy." --Instruction printed on U.S. Rocket Launcher
A. Talk about Memorial Day.
B. We often forget about those left behind. Clip from a League of their Own where a telegram is delivered to the Women’s Team and the coach goes down the line until he gets to the one who’s husband died in action.
C. Read Scriptures 2 Corinthians 1:3-11
F. we are talking about all separations (grief), trials, tribulations, sufferings, pains, broken dreams, physical and spiritual illness, miseries and heartaches. NIV- trouble.
G. When these things happen, many times we ask the question, “Why, God, Why?”
H. Here in vs. 3, that first word Praise be or Blessed be from the Greek is the same word where we get the English word, Eulogy. Now a eulogy is given at someone’s funeral. Now at a eulogy anything can be said about a person but generally we talk about that person’s character. We don’t say things like he was good at digging ditches, or he was good at laying down tile, or she was a good secretary. Usually we say things like he was tender, kind, an understanding father, a faithful mother, those kind of things. We say things that we would be embarrassed to say while that person was alive. Paul begins here talking about the nature of God, not what God does but His nature. He does this on purpose because what God does and God’s nature seem to be in opposition here. "Why do bad things happen to good people? Why did so and so have to die in battle?"
J. C. S. Lewis in his book a Grief Observed talks about watching his wife Joy die of cancer: What I feared most is not that I would become an unbeliever, but that I would believe that this is what God is like, that God is cruel.
I. Paul doesn’t get into the "why" stuff. He emphasizes God’s nature in introducing the issue of troubles. Father of compassion (mercies), God of all comfort (encouragement)
J. Instead of focusing on the why, let’s focus on how to deal with troubles.
K. People ask me how I get my sermon ideas. Many places! Tell story behind this. I was studying this text and having a hard time, I prayed, “Lord, I praise you for your comfort, your hope and your salvation.” I stopped and I had my outline…
Thesis: From this passage, let’s talk about God’s comfort, hope and salvation.
A. The word comfort here means more than just sympathy. It has the idea of strengthening, of helping, of making strong in the face of suffering. Another thought is bravery in the midst of suffering.
B. Remember when we fell down as children and skinned ourselves. Mother would come and kiss it and then we could go and play. We need much more as we grow up.
C. There is a beverage that calls itself Southern Comfort. Let me say that if we are looking for comfort in the things of the world we will not find any. Notice what vs. 3 says, “God of all comfort.” All comfort comes from God. How do people live without God and his comfort?
D. Vs. 4 Paul mentions that God comforts him so that, in turn, Paul has the ability to comfort others. God uses people many times to comfort others.
E. I saw a preacher friend of mine at Central Continuing Care. Met him at the door. We stood and talked for a few minutes and then without asking me how I was doing he shared things with me that were a great comfort. The Lord used him!
F. In my life I have experienced a move. In my life I have experienced my parent’s divorce. Take these things that have happened and tell others how you coped, how the Lord got you through. You understand, be used of God!
G. Jesus understands! He is a great comforter. Vs. 5. Jesus has suffered beyond anyone’s comprehension!
H. When we come to Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit comes into us and he is a great comforter. (John 16:7 KJV) Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.