The God of All Comfort

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Passion for Compassion  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  30:51
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Do you remember the last time you were discouraged? I’m not talking about a minor disappointment or frustration. This kind of discouragement is not about your favorite sports team experiencing an unexpected loss. I’m talking about a deep, personal pain.
The discouragement I am talking about you and a friend have a falling out; or, the promotion you were looking for is given to another; or, your adult child making a poor life choice. You feel like life has sucker-punched you.
Such is the discouragement that a man by the name of Paul, a Christian leader, experienced while serving God in ministry. He is doing the work God called him to do, and it seems that one of the results in obedience is painful discouragement.
In describing this feeling, Paul said:
2 Corinthians 1:8 ESV
For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.
I don’t think you can get much lower than what Paul was feeling: “we despaired of life itself.”
There are times in life when we will experience the heavy weight of discouragement, that we entertain the thought: God, please take me home.”
Now, if that’s you, you’re not alone. In fact, one of the giants of the faith in the Old Testament—Elijah, asked of God just that:
1 Kings 19:4 ESV
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”
For Paul, even facing such difficult hardship, there was an answer! The answer was not death! The answer brings life, hope, and joy.
So, what was Paul’s answer to discouragement? What do we need to overcome despair and experience renewal of our heart and mind?
The Word of God gives us the answer. What appears to be a simple pleasantry, or a mindless greeting—is in fact the answer that lifts us out of the pit. Paul writes a letter to the church in Corinth—it is his second letter to this church. And, in verse two of chapter one, he writes:
2 Corinthians 1:2 ESV
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The answer to our pain, our discouragement, is the Grace and Peace of God.

Remember God’s Grace and Peace

These twin gifts from God Himself, transforms our lives, our attitudes, and our character.
Grace—God’s unmerited favor—captures the true reality that salvation in Christ alone, received by faith (complete trust in God through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ), gives to us the right perspective on life and adversity. Spiritual salvation, the forgiveness of sins, relationship with God is what we need to navigate through life.
Here is the problem: we tend to think that what we need is fame and fortune. Receiving the applause of people and possessing stuff (money, homes, cars, health, popularity, and power) will bring us happiness and contentment. But, the reality is, it doesn’t.
But the grace of God brings true joy and unexplainable peace—even during hardship.
When Paul was going through another hardship of life, God spoke to him these words:
2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
God’s free gift of grace is sufficient for you—no matter what you are going through. And, this amazing truth of God’s amazing grace reminds us of His amazing peace.
We are reminded of God’s truth about His peace:
Philippians 4:7 ESV
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
When our hearts and minds are guarded by God’s peace, brought about by God’s grace, the result is experiencing the truth and presence of God. And, what is the natural thing to do when a believer in Christ is ushered into the presence of God?
2 Corinthians 1:3–4 ESV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
When the people of God experience God’s grace and God’s peace, they will remember who God is and what God has done.

Remember What God is to You

When Paul writes “Blessed,” he is using a word exclusive to God in the New Testament. It means praise. It is a declaration of worship and adoration.
The late pastor and scholar, Warren Wiersbe, put it this way: “Paul had learned that praise is an important factor in achieving victory over discouragement and depression. “Praise changes things” just as much as “Prayer changes things.”
Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 628.
As I reflect on all that God does for us, I am reminded of the Psalmist who rightly declared:
Psalm 16:11 ESV
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
When we experience the blessings and the presence of God, we see God as He intends to be seen.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ...”
2 Corinthians 1:3 ESV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
We know God because of Jesus Christ, His Son. It is Jesus, who reveals the Father to us. It is Jesus, who provided the way to God. It is Jesus, who took our place in death, so we can have life, and life to the full.
So we praise God for who His is! But, we also praise God for what he has done and is doing in our lives.

Remember What God has Done for You

“God is the Father of mercies and God of all comfort...”
2 Corinthians 1:3 ESV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
God in His grace gives us what we do not deserve, and in His mercy He does not give us what we do deserve. We deserve punishment, divine wrath, eternal separation. In God’s holiness, this is what we deserve. But, in God’s love and compassion, He extends to us His mercy.
And, it is in light of His mercy that we are reminded that He is the “God of all comfort...”
The words comfort or consolation are repeated ten times in this passage (2 Cor 1:1-11).
This word, comfort, means “to come alongside and help.” It is from the same root word used for the Holy Spirit (“the Comforter”).
God’s comfort is a comfort of assurance.
God’s comfort is a comfort of empowerment.
God’s comfort is a comfort of His presence.
God’s comfort is a comfort of His guidance.
As a believer in Jesus Christ, no matter what you are going through, you can know with full confidence that God will comfort you: he will assure you of your relationship with Him. He will empower you to fulfill His purpose. He will be with you—nothing will separate you from Him. And, He will guide you—your every step—fulfilling His purpose that He has implanted within you.
So, what is holding you down and holding you back? Don’t let discouragement rob you of experiencing God’s love. Let God hold you up by His grace and peace, with His mercies and comfort.
For the believer in Christ:
Remember His grace and peace.
Remember God is to you.
Remember what God has done for you.
And, when you remember, what else can you do, but...
Psalm 103:1–5 ESV
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Presentation of the Gospel
But, what if you do not have this “relationship” with God that I have been talking about? However, you are here this morning—and it is not by accident. You were ment to hear this message about God and His love for you. Don’t dismiss this moment, but consider this invitation: God loves you; He wants to forgive you; and He wants you to trust in Him.
You may ask, “What must I do?”
Romans 3:23 ESV
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 6:23 ESV
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 10:9 ESV
because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
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