Comfort In Suffering
Book of 2 Corinthians Chapter 1
In this epistle we get to see some of the personal side of the Apostle Paul. Paul may have been the greatest Christian that ever lived but Paul was just a human and a servant of the Lord.
Paul underwent the strain and the stress of his ministry just as every minister of the “faith”.
Troubles within any of the churches troubled the Apostle Paul and the troubles in this church at Corinth nearly crushed him.
The message of this wonderful book of the Bible is to endure the trials and tribulations of being a Christian and proclaim the Lord Jesus Christ even more than before!
So lets begin:
*****2Co 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:
2Co 1:2 Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
It’s important for us to realize that God has a will and a purpose for each of us. Therefore God has an intelligent and free personality.
God’s will is the “Force” behind all forces.
God’s will is the “Law” behind all laws.
God has a will in relation to each of us and it is on an individual level!
In other words God has a purpose in relation to our existence!
God has a purpose in relation to our mission in life!
God has a purpose in relation to our conduct in this life!
It is God’s will that we live without immorality in our lives!
We must consider that immorality is anything that goes against the commandments of our Holy God.
Injustice, dishonesty, fraud, slander, intemperance(which is due restraint), lewdness(which is indulgence in lust; fornication or adultery and other such things), idolatry and all crimes are immoralities!
We also see that God is the source of the believer’s call!
Joh 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
Joh 15:17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.
Paul was called to be an Apostle (messenger) sent from God.
Paul was called to be an ambassador, a witness, a teacher, a preacher, a missionary, a minister of the Word of God.
We as believers do not serve because we choose to serve the Lord.
We serve God when we answer His call, then God will provide us with the necessary tools for His purpose to be fulfilled!
God is the source of all things and God is the source of our brotherhood and sisterhood in the Church because He is our Abba Father!
We should also clearly understand that the call of God does not make us superior to any other person, lost or saved, it just makes us “one who has answered the call “of God!
We serve not because we are better persons, we serve simply because God has a work for us to do. If He did not have this work then He would take us all home the moment that He saved us!
God gives us opportunities, to reach out to our loved ones, our friends, and anyone who crosses our paths!
This is because of His “Amazing Grace”!
So then God is the source of the Church!
It is brothers and sisters, all called of God, all on equal standing, all with individual gifts of God’s choosing, all called the “Saints” of God, who make up the Church!
Because it is only God who is the source of “Grace” and “Peace”!
1Co 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;
1Co 1:5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;
It is this wonderful God of Grace, that we owe our blessings!
*****2Co 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
2Co 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
You see God does not just call us and provide the things we need to serve but God knows being a Christian is not always an easy thing to do.
God then is also the “Father” of Mercy, and Compassion, and the God of Comfort!
These are the Scriptures from which we get the title of our lesson today.
We should understand the gifts and the tools God gives us for His service are not a one time thing and if we use those things wisely God will continue to provide.
Our blessings come from the Ones we bless!
After all, a stream flows from the fountain!
A beam of light, emits from the Sun.
Our blessings, come from the One who is our Blessor!
Mat 13:12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
God is the “Father of Mercies” because His nature toward us is as a “Father” and not as a God!
And mercies is plural because God’s mercies will be continuous throughout all our lives.
God is truly the God of “Comfort”.
In our Scripture the Greek word used for “comfort” is “parakleseos”.
In Bible Study we know that the Holy Spirit(Holy Ghost) is the “paraklete” which is the same word as “parakleseos”.
What does the Lord Jesus say to us?
Joh 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
Joh 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; “whom the world cannot receive”, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
Joh 14:18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
Here we have the Lord Jesus speaking of the Father, and the Comforter which is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Trinity is always involved in our comfort.
Joh 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
This is why He is the God of Comfort!
From the “Comforter” comes the strength, the relief, the support, the solace, the consolation, and the encouragement, among all the power of a Holy God.
How do we know these things are true?
Joh 3:16 For God “so loved” the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Rom 5:8 But God “commendeth his love toward us”, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Rom 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
God gave His Son to die for His enemies, no greater sign of mercy is known to man!
It is God’s nature to be as a “Father” more than a God!
The word “tribulation” means to be weighed down and eventually pressed and crushed.
This is a picture of a burden being much to heavy for us to carry.
God knows all these things and as Creator, The Holy Spirit can create “Comfort” out of nothing!
God does not ever ask us to bear His burden alone!
God does not keep us from “tribulation” but He comforts us in that tribulation!
God is never off in the distance, or some place far from us, but is actually walking along side of us as we go through this life, if we will walk with Him!
Here again we have Jesus Christ as our example!
*****2Co 1:5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
Many people read this Scripture and do not take it very serious!
The truth is there is no one that suffered more than Jesus Christ. Some may suffered some things the same but no one has suffered all the things that Jesus suffered in His short life time.
What we know about Jesus?
**Jesus was born to an unwed mother who never one time thought about aborting Him, even though she was uncertain about her future husband.
**Jesus was born in a smelly stable, in unsanitary conditions.
**Jesus was born to parents who where very poor.
**Just as soon as Jesus was born, an evil government searched for Him to destroy Him.
**Because baby Jesus escaped by His parents, babies in a whole region were slaughtered, He had mental anguish all His life beginning with this thing.
**Jesus could not be settled in a safe home until there was a change in the leaders of government.
**Jesus was finally raised in a place that the entire world despised.
**Jesus lost His earthly adopting father at an early age and was raised by a single mother.
**Jesus had to support his entire family until they grew able to support themselves.
**Jesus began His ministry having no home, not even a place to lay His head.
**Jesus was hated and opposed by all religionist.
**Jesus was considered insane.
**Jesus was considered to be demon possessed.
**Jesus was opposed by His own family.
**Jesus was rejected, hated, and opposed by most all who heard His message.
**Jesus was betrayed by a friend.
**Jesus was forsaken by all His friends.
**Jesus was tried and convicted of treason even though He was innocent of all charges.
**Jesus was executed by crucifixion, the worst possible death.
**How about the mental anguish of know all these things would happen to Him all His days.
These are just some of the things we know about!
Jesus Christ knows exactly how we feel at any given moment because He personally experienced every situation!
The cross we bear in this life cannot compare to the cross that Jesus bore yet we are still to bear our own cross.
The sufferings we suffer are not the same as Christ’s, yet we will certainly suffer.
God takes great pains in teaching us His salvation plan.
We truly do not have a careless Father!
The truth is, in the Book of Ephesians God tells us to put on our armor. Having once been a soldier I know that when I put on my armor I am preparing for war!
Before we buckle on our Christian armor, we need to understand some of the things we will face.
Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, “that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil”.
Eph 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, “that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day”, and having done all, to stand.
The Lord Jesus Christ designed the armor we are to wear and without it we will fall to the enemy!
*****2Co 1:6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
We must remember we carry the most important message that this world needs to hear and the enemies of God will do all they can to stop us from doing this!
This is not for our own good but for theirs!
AND, God has a specific purpose for allowing our suffering.
In this Scripture we see that suffering and being comforted serve the same purpose. They are both for consolation and salvation!
God uses these things because they work, they are effective in the work that God has called us to do!
Salvation is freely given and only requires our faith. Even that faith is provided by the Lord!
Just as Jesus Christ suffered and died to be raised to new life, then we must realize we will go through some of these same things.
Being “Born Again” also means we will suffer in many of the same ways Jesus suffered.
Paul also wrote:
Php 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Certainly it will bring some fear to see how our Lord suffer and knowing we will also, but the benefits of our salvation far out weigh our suffering.
Remember it is because God is working in us for His own pleasure!
Paul explains that he also has suffered.
*****2Co 1:7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.
2Co 1:8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:
As Christians we will not go through the 7 year Tribulation Period but that does not mean we will not suffer some tribulation in our own life time.
We should clearly understand God uses our suffering to see if we have made a real confession of faith!
Our suffering unites us in fellowship with all other Saints of God who are also suffering.
Our suffering will mold us more and more into the character of Christ Jesus.
Our suffering will stir up other believers.
Our suffering will encourage other believers who are also suffering.
The Apostle Paul explained this to the Philippians:
Php 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
Php 1:30 Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
God uses our suffering to stir up “consolation”!
We as Christians certainly cannot bless God for our salvation and then curse God when things are going against us.
As true believers, we must “trust” the Lord no matter our circumstances!
Jesus said part of the work of the Holy Spirit(Holy Ghost) was for our “consolation”.
It is the Holy Spirit that brings “spiritual refreshment” when it is needed!
Rom 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
God will never forsake us, He will be with us in good times and bad times!
He will be with us in our suffering and in good health.
He will be with us when we are rejected and when we are accepted.
He will be with us through our tribulations as well as when we are honored.
Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
Rom 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
When others see us endure our suffering it can be a great encouragement to them!
When all these things are considered, God insist that we suffer with the right attitude.
As the “Body of Christ” we are all to be busy in sharing God’s comfort with each other
Php 2:1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
Php 2:2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
What is a lifetime of suffering compared to an eternity of joy!
And we should understand, when our pastor just cannot seem to be everywhere we think he needs to be, we should understand that it is not really his fault, as like Paul, he is sometimes “pressed out of measure”.
The Apostle Paul suffered even times thinking he would die before his work was finished.
*****2Co 1:9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:
2Co 1:10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;
We know that God is not the cause of our suffering but sometimes God does allow great suffering but never more than we can handle or He will provide a means of escape.
There truly are some great missionaries today and we have been blessed by those that come from our own church but the Apostle Paul was also a great missionary.
BUT, It is wrong for us to measure greatness as only God would know such things!
When we look at the life of the Apostle Paul we see a man who suffered greatly just because he preached the Word of God!
We may ask why does God allow these things to happen but one thing is sure. When we understand the need of salvation we also understand that we cannot save ourselves.
Suffering is the proof of that. None of us would suffer if we could somehow avoid it but we cannot!
Suffering teaches us all that we are helpless to save ourselves!
Just as Paul said, we all have the sentence of death within ourselves because “the wages of sin is death” and there is only death when we trust only in ourselves for our salvation!
We must have the presence and the help of God if we want to conquer our sufferings. God has already given us the victory!
The Lord Jesus proved that He and only He, had the power to raise the dead. If we think back to the time of Abraham and Isaac, this is the only reason that Abraham even considered killing his own son because God had made such a promise that He would have had to raise Isaac from the dead to fulfill that promise. Isaac was Abraham’s only son.
Gen 15:3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
Gen 15:4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.
Gen 15:5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
Gen 15:6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
You see if we do not have the “faith” of Abraham then we will worry to much about our own suffering and be useless to God, but knowing that even if we perish in our suffering our God has the power to raise us back to new life our suffering can be overcome!
You our suffering allows us to trust daily in God’s deliverance!
Read again verse 10:
2Co 1:10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;
There is another great thing that our suffering accomplishes.
It shows our need to pray for each other!
*****2Co 1:11 Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.
There is no doubt that our “closet prayers” in “faith” are the most powerful tools we have as Christians but the second most powerful tool maybe “corporate prayer”.
Corporate prayer is when the “Body Of Christ” is united in prayer!
The Apostle Paul stated “by the means of many persons” thanks may be given on our behalf.
God is well pleased when He sees His church praying but He is also well pleased when He sees those that have received His help acknowledge that fact.
The greatest result of all these things is the fact that the message of God continues to be preached in our world!
*****2Co 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
We should remember that the Apostle had been criticized and accused of many things and he will address most of those things in this and the following Scriptures.
Many had said that Paul was not an Apostle at all.
Many had said that Paul damaged the image of the church to much to be a part of the church.
Many had said that Paul only preached for money.
There are a long list of accusations of the Apostle Paul.
BUT, Paul said because of all these things, he could rejoice!
The Apostle Paul had kept the “Gospel” simple!
He had preached the “Gospel” in sincerity and not as some Bible scholar, even though Paul possessed much knowledge for he was also a Bible scholar!
He had preached the “Gospel” consistently no matter where he had been.
Paul had preached the whole council of God and not some butchered up version of the “Gospel”!
There can be no doubt that Jesus Christ had chosen Paul to be an example for all those that would follow him in the ministry!
Jesus explained these things to another servant Ananias.
Act 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
Act 9:16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
What is the truth of all those that are called into the ministry of the Lord?
They are called by the “Grace” of God.
They should realize to be in the ministry, is their duty.
They can live the happiest of life above all others in this world.
They must never be afraid to do their duty in serving the Lord.
They are to realize that God is well aware of their shortcomings and imperfections!
They should know that they will be hated, and accused by most of this world.
Who are those who are called?
1Pe 2:3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
1Pe 2:4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
1Pe 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
These things are all our duty!
Ecc 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
Ecc 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
And Paul continues:
*****2Co 1:13 For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end;
2Co 1:14 As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.
The Apostle Paul had a pure conscience.
The Apostle Paul was not nagged by the guilt of sin.
Paul lived a simple life, he was not a hypocrite.
Paul wrote the truth of God and not some fable nor some made up doctrine.
Paul was just as much an Apostle as the other 11.
Paul knew it was by the “Grace” of God that we are saved and then shown how we must live righteously!
God’s Word teaches us how to live!
God sent His Son, Christ Jesus, to show us a living example of how we are to live!
Paul lived by these things and Paul knew all our joy would be fully realized at the return of Jesus Christ!
*****2Co 1:15 And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit;
2Co 1:16 And to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judaea.
2Co 1:17 When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay?
Paul did not say one thing and mean another. Paul had written a harsh letter to answer some questions in what we call 1 Corinthians.
Paul had intended to go to Corinth to appear in person rather than write 2 Corinthians but as we all know God by the Holy Spirit is to be our Guide and Paul spent more than 2 years in Ephesus.
We should clearly understand, we must guard against making promises that we cannot keep. When we do not do what we say we will do, we will be looked upon as being indecisive, wavering, and untrustworthy which will certainly harm our testimony.
James wrote: “Jas 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways”.
This is the way the world will look upon us when we do not do as we say or as the Word of God says.
This may be the one of the main faults of Christianity today, we do not walk the talk!
*****2Co 1:18 But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay.
2Co 1:19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.
2Co 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
None of us can do everything we say! We say things in the flesh, meaning well but we do not know what tomorrow will bring.
The one thing Paul was most consistent in, was his preaching and in God’s message.
This is an absolute must for us all!
The truth is the Lord Jesus Christ was always consistent throughout His life time on this earth.
Joh 19:6 When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.
The Word of God is consistent through it’s entirety!
Rom 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
The Lord Jesus Christ was and is the absolute truth!
All the promises of God are sure!
All the promises of God are “Amen” because “Amen” glorifies God! Amen means “yes indeed”!
Paul was just as much in Christ as all the other Apostles!
*****2Co 1:21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
2Co 1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
2Co 1:23 Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.
2Co 1:24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.
What are the facts?
1) We are “saved” by God’s Grace!
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
2) We are also “established” by God’s Grace!
Php_1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
The truth is we are saved by “faith” and we must live everyday in “faith” because we must depend on God for protection and strength,
God accomplishes this when we fills and seals us with His Holy Spirit!
In most every case an anointing means consecrated with oil, set apart for God’s use.
The Book of Revelation speaks of those that wear the number 666 but once saved, we will wear the seal of the Holy Spirit and that seal can never change!
The oil used in the Temple was set apart for God’s use!
Pure olive oil was used in the lamps of the Temple and it was obtained by “beating” the oil out of the olives.
BUT, The Holy Spirit can be grieved:
Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
AND, The Holy Spirit can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities:
Heb 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
AND, The Holy Spirit can be vexed by our rebellion:
Isa 63:10 But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.
BUT, the Holy Spirit will always remain the Oil of our own light!
Exo 27:20 And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always.
The Holy Spirit is our anointing and He will guide us in this life and He will always lead us to Jesus!
Joh 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, “and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you”.
That word “earnest” means this is our guarantee, our down payment, our security deposit, our first installment, on the promises of God!
The Holy Spirit, (Holy Ghost), they are the same, is our personal guarantee from God of eternal life!
Paul had been under a personal attack by this church and he was the center of the controversy that had been going on in this church.
It had broken Paul’s heart to inflict such censure to this church so he knew he stood no chance of ministering to this church in person and instead wrote this great epistle.
You see a good preacher is a helper of people and not a lord over them. He is also not a substitute for their pain!
You see it must be the Church, “the Body of Christ” that must be the enforcer of God’s discipline but only according to the Word of God.
This church was not to take a stand because of Paul, they were to take a stand by their “faith” in the Word of God!
Paul was saying unless this Church stood firm in the “faith” then he could not be a minister to this church.
No pastor or preacher can do their job in a church that ignores the Word of God!
We as Christians are to seek the “joy of the Lord”!
1Th 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
Our Pastor is our “helper of joy” not our helper in salvation!
Jesus Christ is the only Savior and He does not allow helpers!
Pastors are helpers in the application of salvation and helpers of our joy in Jesus Christ, by unfolding the Word of God to us all!
Rom 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
Rom 9:23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
Rom 9:24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?