TEXT: 2 Corinthians 1:3-6 (Read vv. 1-11)
READING: John 14:1-21
SUBJ: The biblical approach to comfort and the understanding thereof.
AIM: That we might know and experience the consoling and assuring presence of Christ in our lives.
INTR: The usual application of the thought of comfort is understood in the realm of fleshly things and does not look to the spiritual source of comfort.
1. We normally think of being comforted because of sickness, death, or some tragedy.
2. While it is good that we should pray for the comfort of others, we should acknowledge the cause (we are a sinful people and grief has come into the world because of sin) and that the comfort our Lord gives is more than merely making us feel better.
3. Real comfort is only enjoyed in the presence of the Lord, and it is an ongoing process. That is we are either in need of comfort or we are comforted from something.
THESIS: If indeed we think things are well, we should say, “I am comforted.” In fact, the need for comfort is in evidence at every turn in this present world.
I. Blessed be God -- stated for a reason (v. 3)
1. Compare the name “Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” with the name “Father of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” – All have to do with the fulfillment of promise.
2. He is further called the “Father of mercies.” See: Psalms 86:5 For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. AND Micah 7:18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. AND Daniel 9:9 To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him; …
3. We tend not to think of such things as the necessities of life as mercies and thus we take them for granted.
4. He is “the God of All Comfort.” -- Comfort is the function of the Holy Spirit!
1) The same word is used in John without reference to specific trials – the Holy Spirit is the comforter.
2) This tells us that God is sovereign over comfort – it is His to give as He wills.
3) It is the mandate for the Gospel: Isaiah 40:1 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. And S. A. 1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
5. We have need to be comforted because of sufferings, frustrations, failures, and especially about sin past present and future. Mercies is plural and certainly incorporates forgiveness from sin, but every benefit that God provides.
II. Blessed be God who comforts (v. 4)
1. This is Paul’s personal testimony to comfort (who comforteth us )
2. Consider that a noble purpose is set forth – that others may be comforted by us.
3. It is not just any comfort to which he refers, but “the comfort.” There is a definite article used there.
1) What is “the comfort” – we compare Luke 2:25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And note that the word for consolation here and comfort in our text are the same.
2) We understand the meaning here and in John 14 – 16 and in our text as implying a bringing or coming along side.
4. It was the presence of the risen Christ that was the comfort that Paul enjoyed. See 2 Timothy 4:17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
5. Paul was comforted in knowing that victory was sure over all that offends.
III. Blessed be God who comforts by the suffering of Christ (vv. 5-6)
1. The reference in verse 5 is not to suffering because of Christ; rather it refers to Christ’s own suffering. Of this, Paul was aware at all times and did not back away from suffering.
2. Thus, the abundance of the consolation comes from the knowledge that Christ has, for His people, conquered death, hell, and the grave.
3. The thoughts of our sin and our sins must surely press us down to hell except that Christ brings us along side as One who has come up from hell.
4. Personal sufferings are best endured when our thoughts take us to what Christ endured to bring salvation (comfort) to his people.
1) So, Paul went with the sentence of death in him – he neither expected nor desired an exemption from death since he deserved to die.
2) And this taught him not to trust himself but God Who raises the dead. (v. 9)
3) And S. F. 2 Corinthians 1:10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; …
5. Simeon saw the suffering Christ as the means of consolation, and we should sense that He is that to us as well.