2 Corinthians 1. Forum Discussion

Suffering and comfort

Paul is writing to the people of Corinth who have for the most part turned away and repented from the sins he addressed in his first letter.  Although many have repented, some continue to live in sin. 

As we study 2 Corinthians, it will be interesting to look at the human side of Paul.  Paul will talk about his sufferings and he will defend his reputation.  Paul suffered greatly while serving the Lord, as chronicled in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28:

“Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death.  Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes.  Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep.  I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren;  I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.  Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.”

We know that suffering and persecution come with the territory for Christians.

“Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” – 2 Timothy 3:12 

We also know that whatever suffering we go through will be worth it if we do not quit.

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:18 

“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” – Galatians 6:9 

God allows us to be tested and He disciplines those that He loves (Hebrews 12:6).  The difficult times in our lives are where we grow the most. 

Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans:

“But we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:3-5 

Our character will be formed not so much by the events of our lives as it will by how we react to those events. 

The more we turn to God, the more we will be comforted.

“For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 1:5 

If we turn away from God, He will turn away from us.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”

When we pray to God during our times of affliction, He comforts us (2 Corinthians 1:4).  As we are comforted, we learn how to comfort others.

The key is to submit to God’s will and not fight against it.

John Calvin wrote, “We are not brought to real submission until we have been laid low by the crushing hand of God.”

When we submit to God and put our trust in Him, He will protect and strengthen us:

“But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” - 2 Thessalonians 3:3 

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” - Psalm 46:1 

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” - Psalm 34:19 

In good times and in bad, putting God first and obeying His commands is what we are called to do.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” – Mathew 6:33 

Thank you for joining us today. Please join us again tomorrow as we look at 2 Corinthians 2. Our study will focus on forgiveness. May God’s blessings be upon you until then. Amen

Comments

Virtual Bible Study

It is a blessing to see others sharing their thoughts on God's word to use in their collective efforts to spread the Gospel. Thank you! To God be the glory!

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John

Amen!

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Drexel Deal

These two scriptures below really stand out for me:
“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 tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2nd Corinthians 1: 3 & 4 NKJV.

The above scriptures help us to appreciate that God empowers us, He comfort us and He strengthens us so we can do the same for others.

When we as Christians begin to take a sincere interest in those around us, the entire Body of Christ is better from such care and attention. It takes nothing away from us to offer an encouraging word, a smile or to just sit in for someone who really needs a break. Yet, from these simple acts of kindness we benefit ourselves, as James Keller stated;
“A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”

This simple truth from the above quotation helps us to understand, that the light from one candle doesn’t go dim from lighting another candle. More importantly, with the additional candle being lit the illumination from both candles will cast a brighter light; enabling all to see better and further into the dark. It is impossible to be a blessing to someone in need, without walking away better from that simple act of giving. I conclude my comments by quoting Dhiraj Raj who stated;
“If you light the others life with love, happiness and peace then God is there to light your life with divine gifts and blessings.”

Reply
Michael
Drexel Deal

Great comments Drexel. Reminds me of a co-worker that always would say, "If it is to be . . . . it's up to me."

We are the foot soldiers of Christ.

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Virtual Bible Study

In what ways does God comfort us?

Reply
Steve
Virtual Bible Study

Thanks for the virtual Bible Study. As a pastor/counselor I frequently use these verses for counseling. First, God comforts us through His Word. For example, many people seeking counsel are "crushed and overwhelmed beyond" their ability to endure and think they cannot live through their current circumstance. Some even wonder if they are going to die (see NLT version of 2 Co 1:8-9), but instead their circumstance is an opportunity to learn to rely on God. And they need to remember that God can create something out of nothing and bring the dead back to life (Ro 4:17). God can resurrect a dead marriage, a shattered career, an alcoholic, an addict, and a felon. It matters not because God can transform us and make us new (2 Co 5:17).

Second, God comforts us with His faithfulness. For this principle I frequently turn to 1 Co 10:13. As horrible as an individual's situation may seem, others have gone through similar trials. Moreover, God is faithful. He is there with us no matter where we are. He is always just a prayer away. He will not allow our circumstances to be more than we can bear (even though we feel crushed and overwhelmed). The fact we are talking to someone about it proves we are still bearing up. Moreover, He will show us a way out. This may not be an easy out. It is probably like an uphill climb when you are deep in a cave. At times it will be dark. At times the path will be slippery. At times we must be careful not to stray off the path lest we fall farther. But if we stay on the path God sets out for us we will find the light (Christ) at the end of our uphill climb. It should go without saying that the Holy Spirit is part of the comfort from God that a believer receives (Ro 8:1-2).

Third, God comforts us through the counsel of the church in general and fellow believers in particular (2 Co 1:4-5). I often pair an individual struggling with alcoholism with a recovered alcoholic. Or, a man struggling with pornography issues with a man who has recovered from such addiction. I will pair a woman with depression with a woman who has overcome similar struggles. It is good to know someone who has been there, done that, and by God's grace overcame such problem. Our church regularly invests in training its members on how to use God's Word to counsel others. The Association of Biblical Counselors (biblicalcounseling.com) and Faith Church in Lafayette, Indiana (https://www.faithlafayette.org/biblical-counseling-training-conference) are just two of many resources that provide excellent counseling training for lay leaders for gently and humbly helping individuals back onto the right path (Ga 6:1).

I could go on, but will add just one more item: love. There are exceptions, but more than anything else those who come for counseling do not feel loved. They do not feel God's love nor the love of others. By teaching the above principles of Godly comfort to such individuals as I listen to them, care for them, and love them, helps them to feel loved.

Reply
Drexel Deal
Steve

Pastor Steve, your three points are appreciated, and I even copied them down for later use. You can rest assure, I'll give you credit once... Blessings.

Reply
Michael
Virtual Bible Study

God comforts us by knowing that He has a plan (Jeremiah 29:11). He also can make us "feel" His comfort through the Holy Spirit. That is the whole idea behind the "Footprints in the sand" poem that most of us have read. In our most difficult times, He carries us through them.

One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."

He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."

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