October 25, 2023

October 25, 2023

Author: Pastor Gordon Cook
October 25, 2023

“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 affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

2 Corinthians 1:3,4

2 Corinthians 1:3,4 was the text that Pastor Jones used on that Saturday morning and stressed that, “If we are going to properly embrace our sufferings and our joys, we have to start with God.” That was an excellent way to begin, start with a proper theology. Secondly, he said, “We have to know who God is, we also have to know what he does.” But obviously from the text, who is God, 2 Corinthians 1 tells us, “He's the father of mercies and the God of all comforts.” It’s a wonderful description of God, “the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.” But as I said, he not only said that we must know who God is, but we must know what he does. And it's clear from our text that he comforts us. That's why he's called the God of Comfort.

But if I were to ask you exactly, “How does God comfort?” What would you say? I'm sure there's many things that we can all say, but I have four ways in which God comforts us and Pastor Jones alluded to some of these: He comforts by his Spirit; He comforts by his Word; He comforts by his people; He comforts by his gospel. Those are the four major ways in which God shows us that he's a God of all comfort.

If I wanted to prove those from my Bible, first of all by his spirit, we could go to John 14 where Jesus gives quite a description of the Holy Spirit's ministry and he speaks of the Holy Spirit using that very rich nuanced word: he's the Peraclete or the Councelor, he comes alongside to help us. A number of English translations actually translate that Greek word, the comforter. And so how does he comfort us? Well, in many different ways, but certainly he comforts us by his presence. He indwells us doesn't he? In Romans 8 that's stressed four or five times by the apostle Paul. The Holy Spirit indwells us in that he says, “He bears witness with our spirit,” Romans 8, “that we are the sons of God.” So he comforts us even by reminding us that we are the sons of God. That's a wonderful comfort to know in the midst of trials and sorrows of life, that you have a heavenly father, that you are a child of God.

The second major way in which he comforts us is by his word. The Bible is given to us to help us through our trials and tribulations. It's never called the book of comfort, but it does comfort us. Listen to what Paul says in Romans 15, “For whatever was written was written for our instruction, that through endurance and encouragement of the scripture, the Bible was not written to discourage us but to encourage us.” And who hasn't found comfort or encouragement when you read your Bible. Think of all the promises of God. Think of all the psalms that you can read and bring comfort; think even of the epistles and the wonderful truths that we have in terms of our relationship with Jesus Christ; think of the Bible biographies: David and Moses and Job and how many times has a downcast, depressed, discouraged saint come away from reading his Bible, reading Psalm 23, reading Romans 8, and they have found comfort. God is a God of all comfort. How does he comfort us? By His Spirit, by his word.

Thirdly, he comforts us by his people or by his church. If you go back to 2 Corinthians 1:4 that is even mentioned. Paul says, “Who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in who are in affliction.” Our trials are never wasted and they are to help us grow, but they are also to help others grow, to help others in the midst of their trials. Think of Joni Erickson Tada, she's been in a wheelchair for 50 plus years. Think of all the ways that woman has comforted others by her own trial. She has been able to tell others of where her hope is and who she clings to in the midst of her pain and suffering. She's been a wonderful example and a wonderful comforter.

How does God comfort? By his spirit, by his word, by his people, and then finally I would say by his gospel. What brings more pain or sorrow than any other thing in our life? Our sin. Jesus said, “Blessed are they that mourn,” I think he's talking here about mourning over our sin, “They shall be comforted.” How are we comforted? Well, we're comforted by the gospel. What brings the greatest comfort to the child of God when they sin? It’s knowing that you're forgiven, right? Isn't that the wonderful comfort of that doctrine of justification, there's no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus. All our sins have been forgiven.

There's a wonderful prayer by the Puritan Thomas Brooke, here are just a couple phrases, “Eternal Father, this is my comfort, the imputed righteousness of Christ. This answers all my fears, doubts and objections. How shall I have communion with you, a holy God? In the righteousness of Christ. How should I find acceptance with you? In the righteousness of Christ.” Then he goes on and on speaking of the comfort he has because of the righteousness of Christ. So there's no greater comfort, is there, knowing that all our sins have been forgiven, washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. As we go to the throne of grace, it's good to remind us that we have a father of comfort.