Summary: When the tough times come, our prayers must increase. Then, when the prayer increases – our faithfulness will also increase because we will rely more on God than ourselves.
Rejoicing even in the Pressure
- Today’s world is full of pressure. Everyday life …
- Paul wrote 2 Corinthians in response to the pressures he faced
-- Yet, while he detailed his stress points in 2 Corinthians
-- He also sounded a note of triumph
-- The first word in the body of the book is … Praise.
- The first sound out of our mouth needs to be PRAISE! (Pray)
- Read 2 Corinthians 1:1-11
∆ I - Pressure Leads to God’s Comfort (3)
- Can you honestly look to God tonight for comfort?
-- That is, are you able to rest in His promises knowing He is for you?
-- He is everything that we need; knows everything we are going through
-- Even in the tough times, He is the central figure providing comfort
- APP: When you are comforted, you should be able to comfort others!
-- No comfort? See verse 3-4 again! We’ve already received it from Him!
- As the pressure builds; it is then that we need to cry out to God
-- His comfort and closeness ought to drive us to seek Him earnestly!
∆ II - Pressure Equips Us to Comfort Others (4–5)
- When we understand what Christ did for us, we can comfort others
-- Paul knew this suffering; he was not ashamed to admit
-- He knew who he was, and the things he had done before Christ
- This pressure he felt allowed him to press forward
-- Challenge: Are we using our pressure to press forward as well?
- God’s deliverance, through Christ, ought to be fuel for our internal fire
-- It is not a trivial word; but it brings security in the trials that we face
∆ III - Pressure Produces Patient Endurance (6-7)
- Paul encourages us to work out salvation with fear/trembling
-- Phil 2:12, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling”
-- In that effort, here he confirms here that life’s pressure brings endurance
- “If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation”
-- Paul’s testimony is one of suffering for the gospel; and he knows this
-- Even in that work, he is rejoiced because from it others are saved
- For us today, we definitely learn from what we see
-- When we are comforted we need this to be able to comfort others
- IMP: God is moving us forward for His purpose … not ours
-- Expound on living: We live so that He may be glorified and exalted
- Our hope in living is because of what God has already done
-- He is the provider of comfort; and we all suffer alike for His sake
∆ IV - Pressure Teaches Us to Rely on God (8–9)
- God’s authority is supreme
-- No matter the issue we have assurance that He knows!
-- His authority is all-encompassing, even able to raise the dead
- Troubles in life drive us to the promises of God
-- But, only if we live as ones who focus on the promises our faith
-- From this, our faith grows stronger; which changes our life habits
- IMP: It is a cycle of growth
-- Without the pressure to change us we will not grow
- God knows this, and it’s exactly what Paul is driving home for us
-- He says (v9) that their troubles would force them to not rely on self
-- APP: What an incredible challenge for you and I today …
∆ V - Pressure Generates Prayer and Thanksgiving (10–11)
- It is on God that we set our hope! (There’s the word “hope” again)
-- Titus 2:11-14 says, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope - the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”
- When the tough times come; the prayer has to increase
-- When the prayer increases – our faithfulness has to increase as well
- Do you live in thanksgiving?
-- Are you faithful in little?
-- How is your pressure level?
∆ Big Idea
- What pressures have been weighing on you lately?
-- I challenge you to make them into a prayer list
-- Then, spend some time before the Lord in praise
- This praise will develop into trusting Him with the results
- APP: When we praise Him in the storm we are comforted all the more