Summary: God comes by our side during times of crisis to give us comfort and hope
Searching for Comfort
September 16, 2001
This has been a long and difficult week. We have seen pain and suffering on a whole new scale in the United States. We were shocked to helplessly watch as airliners slammed into the towers of the WTC. We watched in despair as those towers fell down as rescue efforts were in progress. We were struck with fear as we heard news that the Pentagon was also attacked and on fire. We see grief on the faces of family and friends searching for missing loved ones. We are a nation united in anger, sorrow and resolve.
This week has been one of sweeping change:
Our false security has been shattered
Our hearts have been broken
Our hope has been challenged
The very fabric of our lives have been changed
We have seen powerful images of unity and strength:
Rescue workers and volunteers working non stop to do all that they can to find survivors
Hundreds of people giving blood and money to help New York
Democrats and Republicans singing God Bless America
President Bush quoting the Psalm 23 in his address to the nation
The most powerful image of this week was watching as a nation fell to her knees, not in defeat but in prayer. We are seeing people go to God like never before. Because we are a notion that is searching; some are searching for answers. Some are searching for help. Some are searching for healing. Some are searching for hope. Some are searching for comfort.
The Corinthian church was also in a search for comfort during difficult times. Today, we are going to look at the words of the Apostle Paul in our search for comfort.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
I. God’s Comfort is Complete
A. The Message of Comfort
1. The love of God
a.) Why would God want to comfort anyone? Because He loves everyone! He loves you and He loves me.
b.) God’s love is indeed real and it is powerful. The love of God can capture the wandering soul, change the worst of situations and empower the weakest of spirits
2. The presence of God
a.) God is with us! Here and now God is with us! Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
b.) God stands beside every person who calls to Him for help
c.) The presence of God brings peace to the troubled. The presence of God brings provision for tomorrow. The presence of God brings power for the weakened and the weary.
B. The Meaning of Comfort
1. The Greek Meaning
a.) The original meaning of this word we translate comfort literally means “to come alongside and help.
b.) Comfort dopes not remove our sufferings, our trials but rather it brings us the strength, encouragement and hope to deal with our difficulties
c.) Paul could not be clearer, when we go through trials, God comes by our side to give us strength
2. The Greek Context
a.) Paul was writing to the Corinthian church during a time of great distress. Paul’s message of encouragement literally told them that no matter what they faced in life, God would be by their side.
C. The Magnitude of Comfort
1. God’s comfort is absolute
a.) Romans 8:31: What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
b.) When God stands by our side there is help in time of need, healing in times of pain and hope in times of despair.
2. God’s promise is still true
a.) God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Even if the circumstances of life change, God remains the same
b.) Today this Truth has not changed. God is here with us and will come beside us to help us through these dark days ahead
II. God’s Comfort is Contagious
A. God is always there to comfort us
1. Paul’s all inclusive statement
a.) Paul says that God is the God of all comfort.
b.) Paul is saying that God is the source for comfort and help for every person in every situation. You can have not real comfort without God