Posted by: The Simple Guy | December 1, 2009

The God of all Comfort

Last Sunday I preached on 2 Cor 1:1-11.

Here is the text:

2 Corinthians 1:1-11 MKJV
(1)  Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia.
(2)  Grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
(3)  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort,
(4)  He comforting us in all our trouble, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in every trouble, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
(5)  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds by Christ.
(6)  And if we are troubled, it is for your consolation and salvation, being worked out in the endurance of the same sufferings which we also suffer; if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
(7)  And our hope of you is certain, knowing that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also of the consolation.
(8)  For, brothers, we would not have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength; so much so that we despaired even of life.
(9)  But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, so that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead;
(10)  who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver; in whom we trust that He will yet deliver us,
(11)  with you also helping together by prayer for us, so that the gracious gift by many persons be the cause of thanksgiving through many for us.

We just finished teaching through 1 Cor, so there was not much introduction needed except to say that this book probably coincides with Acts 20, or late 19.  Paul was in Ephesus when he wrote 1 Cor, and he stayed there for about 2 years.  During this time, God was doing a mighty work in the area of Ephesus, to the point that people would take handkerchiefs and aprons that had been touched by Paul to the sick and they were healed.  The church grew rapidly in the area, to the point that those who made idols noticed a drastic drop off in their business.  The last part of Acts 19 tells of a riot in Ephesus where the people would have killed Paul if they could have found him, but he is rushed out of the city by his followers.  He then went through Macedonia toward Corinth and visited many of the churches he had planted on his second missionary journey.   He may have visited Corinth, and then he went back through Macedonia on his way to take a gift to Jerusalem.  This is where we find him as he writes this book.

As I said, God had been doing a mighty work through Paul.  One would think he would have been very excited and perhaps this would be considered a “mountain top experience.”  However, notice in verses 8 – 11 Paul says they despaired even of life, and that they felt they had the sentence of death on them.   I find that sometimes those engrossed in the work of the Lord will be exceedingly  exhausted.  (Remember Elijah after Mount Carmel?)

It is in this context that Paul writes this book.  He begins by introducing us to God with this verse:

(3)  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort

Notice the two descriptive phrases here:  the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.

I have noticed 3 words or concepts emphasised in this context:

The first word or concept is: “Comfort”: (παράκλησις paraklēsis par-ak’-lay-s)  This word is a picture of a ship that comes alongside of a vessel in distress and rescues those on board)

The second word (actually three words), but one overall concept: “Tribulation”, “affliction”, or “suffering” (there are three words used here, I think the first – tribulation – describes the overall situation.  The second describes the outward situation that causes the third – suffering.

The third concept emphasized here is the word “all”  (The God of all comfort, who comforts us in all of our afflictions, so we can comfort those in any – same Greek word –  affliction.)

So, here is what I see,

God is the Father of mercy (our Father who shows us mercy) – by driving these tribulations that drive us to the God who rescues us – the God of all comfort.  Without the affliction, we would stay on the doomed ship of our lost state.  Then our comfort would be an illusion.

The next thing I noticed is the phrase “partakers of the sufferings” in verse 7.  This is the exact same Greek phrase as is used in Phil 3:10 when Paul says he wants to know Christ and the power of His resurrection, the fellowship in his suffering.  You see, this fellowship in Christ’s suffering is not a solitary thing, it is something we share not only with Christ, but with each other.  This is so that we can share in His glory.

The theme of this passage is that we are to find our comfort in Christ in our tribulations, so that we can share God’s comfort with each other, and with those who are without.

Have you met my Jesus?  He is the God who came alongside of me in my struggles and rescued me from who I am.  This does not mean my trouble went away, it means that HE is greater than my trouble.  (the stormy sea around me did not calm, but I am now in a ship that will not sink)

Finally, let’s look again at Paul’s description of his mindset leading up to this book in his own words:

(8)  For, brothers, we would not have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength; so much so that we despaired even of life.
(9)  But we had the sentence of death in ourselves,

notice his reaction:

so that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead;
(10)  who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver; in whom we trust that He will yet deliver us,

and he shares this suffering with the Corinthians so that they can share in the victory as well:

(11)  with you also helping together by prayer for us, so that the gracious gift by many persons be the cause of thanksgiving through many for us.

Are you in trouble?  Have you met the Rescuer?

I have.

Craig

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Responses

  1. Beautiful post. Praise the Lord!

  2. I enjoyed hearing the message. 🙂

  3. Craig,

    It’s wonderful to know that the children of God that we read about in the scriptures were not “paper saints”, but were instead, real flesh and blood sinners saved by grace. I recall various instances where Paul mentions the “comfort” that he received from other believers.
    This serves to remind me that even the Apostles needed the other members of the Body!
    If they needed this fellowship, I know without doubt, that I do!

  4. I agree, Tom.

    We think of “comfort” as a nice cozy chair. But what really struck me was that this Comfort is one who comes alongside and rescues me. And in so doing He lets me partake in the rescue of others. I come along side in the same way He came alongside of me. And I need others to
    come alongside of me as well.
    Craig

  5. […] 2.  Craig has a wonderful (and somewhat related to Bobby Grow’s situation) post which introduces us to the God of all Comfort. […]

  6. […] Is our “worship” self centered, or are we sharing the God of all comfort? […]

  7. […] At that same time, we as a church were starting our study of 2 Cor, and I preached on the first few verses of the first chapter.  (the God of all comfort) […]

  8. […] in chapter 1.  So the last half of chapter 5 is a more detailed explanation of what “the God of all Comfort” looks like in […]


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