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THE GOD OF ALL COMFORT!

2nd CORINTHIANS 1:3-7

"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 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. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. 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. And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation."

 

 

 

 

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:15

 

 

 

 

LESSON 1, VERSE 3:

"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort." 

Thus reads Paul's great benediction in his second letter to the Believers at Corinth.  This is a God-ward benediction!

"Blessed" be God The Father!

The word used here, "eulogetos," means "good words!"

Paul wants to praise God the Father!

Why?

Because the Apostle, during a great time of hardship and suffering, has found the Lord to be his major Comfort!

And he wants to "brag" a bit on the Lord God Almighty!

Hence, "blessed" be His Name!

But notice the two other "names" Paul gives the Father here.

He is "the Father of mercies!"

The noun "mercies" (in Greek = "oiktirmos") comes from a root verb that means "to have pity" or "to show pity."  It is thought that our English word "pity" comes from a French word that indicates piety!  Godliness!

God provides grace for our guilt and mercy for our misery!

He helps us when we're hurting!

Then ... our Lord is the "God of all comfort!"

Not just some comfort mind you, all comfort!

"Pas" means every bit!

The noun "comfort" ("paraklesis") means help or encouragement.

These Corinthians, as well as Paul himself, have been enduring some hard times.

The Preacher just wants his people to know that their God, their Heavenly Father, can comfort them through it all!

Therefore the first few lines of this great New Testament Book accent God's great ability to bring peace and calm to the Christian's heart and soul.

Did you ever notice that Paul almost always emphasizes the Name and Trait of God that is most needed at a given time?

When finances were low, Paul called on the God Who could "supply every need!"

When sinners were around, it was the God Who saves lost souls!

When loved ones had been buried, it was the God who is coming again!

When folks were forsaking the faith, the faithful God was mentioned!

When loneliness had set in, the God Who never leaves nor forsakes is summoned!

And, here, when persecutions and pressures abound, the God of all Comfort is needed!

He is What we need!

"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want."  Psalm 23:1

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, VERSE 4:

What a verse we have today!

In essence Paul is about to tell us WHY God allows us to have troubles and trials!

At least one main reason why we do.

God sends us tribulation so that we might experience His great Comfort!

Then, having enjoyed His overflowing Grace and Help (Comfort) ... we can in turn encourage others who are going through trials and various kinds of hardship!

And how can we do that?

What is our resource?

The very Comfort of God left over in our lives!

God must comfort prodigally, lavishly, abundantly!

More than enough!

I might need a "quart" of comfort for my pressing problem.

Yet God gives me a "gallon" of it!

Therefore ... I have three "quarts" of comfort left ... to help my brothers and sisters in need!

Here's how Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, words it:  "God ... 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."  2nd Corinthians 1:4

The nouns "tribulation" and "trouble" are both derived from the same word. "Thlipsis" means "pressure," then distress and anguish!  To be under a burden! Have any of you ever been there?

And remember this.  God does not "waste" pressure!  He sends it for a reason! His children are too precious to Him to allow them any undue difficulty.

When we are having "tribulation" or pressure ... God "comforts" us!

This word, used three times in this verse, is in Greek "parakaleo" (the 2 verbs) or "paraklesis" (the noun).

It means "to be called" ("kaleo") alongside ("para") someone to uplift them in a time of weakness!  To exhort them!  To encourage them!  To love them!  To be a "cheerleader" for them! 

The Lord, when I am "down" and burdened and under manifold trials ... comes to me and walks with me and talks with me and tells me I am His Own!  He helps me!  He comforts me!  He becomes my Paraclete!  (Remember that Greek noun "paraklesis!")

What a Lord God is He!

And what a view of suffering in the life of a saint of God!

Why, these things being true, suffering and pressure and difficulty is but ... "ammunition" with which to fight the devil!

It's "future energy" with which to serve the Lord!

It's a new "opportunity" to help another Believer!

It's a "secret" to victory in an area where defeat often comes!

Praise the Lord!

James even took this truth so far as to tell us to be happy when trials come! Listen:  "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;  knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."  James 1:2-4

Again I say, "Praise the Lord!"

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, VERSE 5:

Here Paul writes:  "For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ."  2nd Corinthians 1:5

Put into everyday words ... the more a Christian suffers, the more he or she will be comforted by the Lord Jesus Christ!

The noun used here for "suffering" is "pathema" and means suffering, intense suffering!  And when anglicized (brought into English) it takes on the added meaning of being "diseased."

When Paul is living right, living for Jesus ... all his trials and hardships are identified with His Saviour's passion!  He once even worded it this way:  "the afflictions of Christ in my flesh!"  Colossians 1:24

Now here Paul attributes no redemptive value to his personal sufferings ... all that belongs to Jesus alone.  But Paul can't suffer at all (or do anything else for that matter) without somehow tying it to Jesus.  For the great Apostle, his very life can be summed up in one word:  CHRIST!   "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."  Philippians 1:21

What encouragement this verse would have been to the Corinthians!

As they suffered ... enduring their trials for Jesus' sake ... they would, in like measure, be blessed with the comfort of Christ!

Notice the verb Paul uses twice here:  "For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ."

"Abound" translates "perisseuo" and means to overflow!  To exceed a fixed measure!  To excel!

Overflowing suffering!

Then ... overflowing comfort!

Multiple problems!

Then ... manifold blessings ... in Christ Jesus!

Deep valleys!

Then ... high mountains!

The glorious noun "consolations" translates (as you might have thought) "parakelsis."  The word for Comforter ... the dear Holy Spirit ... in Scripture!

One Who has been called alongside to help in time of need!

To encourage!

To edify!

To uplift!

In the same measure that one suffers ... so will he or she be rewarded with Christ's consolation!

Here's another way of putting it:  "If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him." 2nd Timothy 2:12

One preacher said ... "Out of our frequent buffetings come many of our constant blessings!"

Compensation in the Christian life is both abundant and certain!

In one place Paul calls such suffering mere "light afflictions!"   He says:  "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."  2nd Corintians 4:17

That helps when one is hurting!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, VERSE 6:

The Apostle, continuing his double theme of "pain then comfort," writes:  "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."  2nd Corinthians 1:6

Paul, who had led these Greeks to Christ in the first place, says that he suffered much affliction ("thilpsis") or pressure in bringing the Gospel to Corinth, the very Gospel that introduced these people to Jesus as their Saviour!

Paul's suffering was "for" the Church's sake!  Paul gladly endured pain and agony to bring salvation (found only in Jesus and His shed Blood) to each city he visited!

It seems that some people ("false brethren" he calls them elsewhere) had infiltrated the Corinthian assembly and were demeaning Paul, belittling him for his many troubles and hardships!  "Real godly Preachers don't have THAT MUCH trouble," they would probably say! 

Paul is here reminding them that without his coming to them ... without his pain and bloodshed ... they would never have heard the Gospel and never have experienced salvation in Christ Jesus!

But Paul not only brought to the Corinthians salvation, but also "consolation!" This word, "parakelsis," means comfort or encouragement! 

Yet through much hardship did this godly Apostle share with these folks salvation and consolation!

Therefore ... they should not despise such suffering!

They should treasure it!

Then  Paul mentions the fact that the Corinthians' salvation and comfort is what keeps them going ("is effectual" = in Greek = "energeo," our word energizing) through their hard times too!

The noun "sufferings" and the corresponding verb "suffer" are both derived from "pascho," a word meaning severe pain!

Paul's acute difficulties, rather than being objects of ridicule, should be honored!

His afflictions helped bring about their very salvation!

Not in a redemptive way, mind you.  Only the Blood of Jesus can do that, can wash away sin!  But in a tactical way ... they had to have a preacher tell them the Gospel story!  And it COST that preacher (Paul) dearly to come and bring the Truth!

But, just like Paul's sufferings brought help to the Corinthian Church ... so will his consolations!  He continues: "Or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation." 

This verb, "parakaleo" again, pictures the Lord Jesus, via the Holy Spirit, coming right up beside Paul and putting that great Arm of omnipotence around him and loving him and encouraging him and exhorting him and comforting him no end!

Glory to God!

And such amazing comfort does not just stay with Paul either!

He passes it along to the Corinthians too!

It helps to secure their victory and fortitude to keep living for Jesus!

Here Paul is preaching ... and yet, to some degree, he is also defending his ministry against the detractors who have slithered into the church there.

Put it all together now:  "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."

Amen!

It seems the the Christians in this Greek port city also have been doing some of that dreaded suffering too!

And Paul's fine example of heroic stamina and bravery will help them face the enemy as well!

Here's how it goes:  God helps Paul.  Paul helps the Corinthians!  Later ... the Corinthians help Titus, a young preacher.  And Titus finding Paul and giving him a good report of the Corinthian Church, then comforts Paul!

It, this great "comfort," has now come full circle!

The spiritual equation looks something like this:  TROUBLES ALLOWED BY GOD ...  THEN COMES COMFORT FROM GOD ... THEN WE MUST SHARE THAT COMFORT WITH OTHERS WHO ARE THEMSELVES IN TROUBLE!

And thus do Christians exhort and uplift one another perpetually!

At least, that's God's plan.

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, VERSE 7:

The last verse of Paul's great "comfort" paragraph is framed this way:  "And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation."  2nd Corinthians 1:7

Paul the Spirit inspired psychologist is encouraging the saints at Corinth!

His "hope" of them is a reality.

He not about to give up on this group of Believers!

He will "fight" for their faith.

It disturbs the Apostle that their young faith has been shaken ... by a bunch of false teachers moving in ... so much so that Paul is "burning" in his heart! Listen to his rhetorical question later in this Epistle:  "Who is offended, and I burn not?"  Paul is pretty "hot" over the troubles that have developed in Corinth!

He is here reassuring the Believers there that he has "hope" in them ... hope that they will grow in grace and reach maturity in Christ Jesus.

Hope, "elpis" in Greek, means joyful expectation!  A bit of old-fashioned confidence!  Trust based upon the power of God!  This "hope" is not entirely hinging on the human beings themselves ... but on the God who can transform those Christians into "the image of His Son!" 

"Stedfast" translates "bebaios" which is an offspring of their word for "foundation."  Rock bottom!  That which is unmovable!  It is our word "basis."

"Knowing," a perfect participle, means Paul has for some time understood God's way of allowing suffering ... then flooding that hurting soul with comfort, much comfort!

Paul clearly perceives and understands such a fact.  Experientially so!

Hundreds of times He has suffered ... only to be "overflowed" with God's sweet consolation and love!

Yes, Paul has suffered such things as "stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness!"  And that's only a partial list from 2nd Corinthians 11.

And now he is informing the Corinthians that they too are "partakers" of such sufferings!

All Christians are to a lesser or greater degree!

Our verse again: "And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation."

The noun "partakers" is "koinonos" which means to be a partner or a companion in something!  To share in that thing with another!  "Koinos" is thought to mean that which is "common" in a group ... everyone having a part of it!  The noun is most often translated as fellowship or communion.

And "sufferings" is again "pathema" (from "pathos"), meaning to sense pain, usually severe pain!  The word usually has a subjective flavor ... personal pain! 

But if we suffer ...so shall we be blessed with God's great "consolation!"

It's "paraklesis" again.  The strength and comfort  and love God imparts to us when he comes alongside us and helps us and encourages us and uplifts us!  The New Testament word of Comforter, the Holy Spirit Himself, is "parakletos!"

It just like Paul says elsewhere:  "If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him!" 2nd Timothy 2:12

This paragraph of Scripture sure can put a whole new perspective on suffering and hardship and trials in the Christian life!

At least it did for Paul.  He could even say:  "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."  2nd Corinthians 12:9

Amen!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

OUR PRAYER IS THAT THESE FIVE LESSONS MIGHT HELP US ALL BETTER UNDERSTAND THE HARD TIMES THAT COME OUR WAY!

Paul came to the place where he truly could say:  "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."  2nd Corinthians 4:18

Now, that's consolation!

 

 

 

 

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