Summary: We serve a God who loves us and cares for us enough that He will not leave us the way we are and wants to get involved in our lives.
The God of comfort and compassion
This is the apostle Paul, the writer of most of the New Testament to the church at Corinth.
He is bringing a message of hope to people who need to be encouraged.
Anyone this morning needing some encouragement. We all do!
On May 21st, The 911 Museum will open in New York.
It will list the names of 2963 people that lost their lives in that tragic event.
It is a tribute of remembrance to all those involved in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center site, Shanksville Pa. plane crash, the Pentagon, and the six people in the World Trade Center bombing of 1993.
How could God allow these things to happen?
We are dealing with that in our Bible study on Tuesday nights if you want to explore that more.
He understands injustice
He understood that the world is a painful place to live, but he also understood that God cares for and responds to His people.
A 73 year old women in England was getting a traffic ticket for driving south on a northbound lane of highway. She remarked to the policemen: I thought something was wrong. The traffic seemed to be coming the wrong way. Anyone else thinking that at times- the world seems to be going the wrong way
Someone else put it this way- “About the time you think we have everything in the bag, the bag burst.”
All of us experience ups and downs in life… the rich, the poor, the famous, the average, the Christians and the non-Christians.
We all experience the pains of life, but it is the Christians, the followers of Christ that have some promises that no other people have that they can hold unto.
Paul tells us that through our Lord Jesus Christ, that we have a heavenly Father of compassion and comfort.
(4) “Who comforts us in all of our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”
Don’t race through this verse or you will miss the character of God.
God comforts and has compassion and we are to give comfort to those we come in contact with.
Most when they go through a hard time hide from God, or mad at God, they cheat God out of money and time.
Isolate themselves from God’s people for a variety of reasons, but the main reason is there mad at God for allowing whatever happened to them.
God is a giver and we are to be givers!
God offers comfort and compassion and so are God’s people.
Comfort flows to believers when they suffer for Jesus sake and it equips them to comfort others who are in trouble. (repeat)
(5) “For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”
These are the words of God to us!
Being a Christian (believer) is hard, we cannot do it ourselves, but we expect others to do it for us.
We have no time or give little but expect other believers to help us. You talk about hypocrisy.
Apostle Paul tells us here that in ourselves it is impossible.
We need the help of the Holy Spirit of God working in our lives so we can accomplish what God wants.
Suffering for Jesus produces patience, and patience produces hope.
Things happen in our lives that should lead us to trust God (repeat)
There is something supernatural about suffering for Jesus that produces peace and comfort.
Don’t believe it?
How could Stephen have peace while being stoned to death for Jesus?
How could the disciples risk all and give their lives if it was not supernatural?
You cannot live for Jesus when you are living life in your own strength. It cannot be done, that is why so many struggle in their relationship with God.
Hard is not an excuse when Christ offers peace and comfort and the power of the Holy Spirit to be active in our lives.
We are comforted to be a comfort- God comforts us in our troubles, especially when we suffer for Jesus and His kingdom.
It is much easier to look to earthly things for comfort-
Money, alcohol, drugs, recreation, toys, other people.
These things are escapes, not true comfort.
God is the only source of security that will never run dry.
If we are to have the power of God working in our lives, that comfort must flow from us to others. It is not only for our benefit.
God comfort also gives us responsibility- to comfort others.
We must look for opportunities to comfort others.
I. God’s purpose for suffering- Trust God