Sunday School Material 8-3-14: Comfort in the Times of Trouble

Introduction:A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that God comforts us, so we can comfort others. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to comfort others with the comfort that God has given us. .

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Body:

Read II Corinthians 1:3-7

I. Reality of God’s Comfort. Paul talks about how God is praise worthy because of the comfort that He provides. He talks about how those who have been comforted are called to comfort others.

In our Sunday School material Paul talks about how suffering goes with being a believer, but there is also comfort through Christ.

Applications -

- Praising God. Notice in vs. 3 that God is to be praised because of His compassion and comfort. First, God is a God of compassion and comfort. God is not just a God of justice, rules, and regulations.

Somehow God is compassionate without being unjust. For this, we should be thankful, because justice alone would have wiped us out a long time ago.

Second, the proper response to the compassion and comfort of God is praise. There are too many people who have received so much compassion and comfort but give so little praise in return. Let’s work on praising God for His compassion and comfort.

- Comforting others. Notice in vss. 4-5 that God’s comforting us should be used to comfort others. First, God often comforts, even when we want deliverance.

“To comfort” means that God is keeping us in the midst of terrible situations, even when we want God to deliver us from the terrible situation.

Second, the more comfort we have received the more comfort we should share with others. We are blessed to be a blessing. We are not blessed just to keep our blessings to ourselves.

Third, as much as we may want to help others get delivered, sometimes all we can do is comfort them, as they wait on the Lord. This is a good word for those who minister to the sick and dying.

It is good word to those who minister to those who are grieving. Let’s work on comforting others with the comfort that God has shared with us.   

- Strengthening our family. Notice in vss. 6-7 of the Sunday School material that believers make up one body or family. God uses the suffering and comfort of one part to benefit the other parts.

First, we should be conscious of others. There are too many who suffer as if they are the center of the world. And others receive comfort, as if there is no one else on the planet. We are in this thing together.

Second, it is so important to stay in fellowship with a church. For some that means give more effort to improving relationships in their current church.

For others it means finding another church, where they can be in fellowship with liked minded disciples. It is so dangerous to be in a situation where you have no church home.

It is dangerous to have your name on a church roster, but you are doing nothing in the church and in relationship with the rest of the body. Let’s work on strengthening one another as one Christian family.

Read II Corinthians 1:8-11

II. Reliance on God’s Strength. Paul talks about how his company had suffered a great deal. However, the suffering was to show that God would deliver them. He talks about the power and value of prayer.

Applications -

- Sharing our challenges. Notice in vss. 8-9 of the Sunday School material that believers should be concerned with helping other believers understand how God is moving today. It is so misleading for anyone to suggest that being a Christian means that we will have no problems.

On the contrary, we become eligible for a new set of troubles, when we become a Christian.

However, in order for this material to really hit home, there is a need for those who are going through serious trouble (i.e., despaired of life and sentence of death) to share with others who have yet to experience such trouble.

For example, some junior saints need to hear that even senior saints experience some fear, when the doctor says that they have cancer, when jobs dry up, and when relationships fall apart. Let’s work on sharing with one another that being a Christian has its challenges.

- Relying on God, instead of self. Notice in vss. 9-10 that believers are called to rely on God and not themselves. First, we are too weak to put our confidence in. At our best, we are favored piles of dust. If God takes His part away, we would be nothing.

Second, God is able to do more than we could imagine. What He has done in the past (i.e., delivered us from life threatening situations) is a clue about what He can do today and tomorrow.

Let’s work on making sure that our reliance is on God and not ourselves. The truth of this matter is shown in how we deal with troubles that are too big for us to handle. When we rely on self, we panic. But when we rely on God, we trust Him to make away somehow.

- Prayer power. Notice in vs. 11 that our prayers can have a positive impact on those we pray for and those who hear about what happened to those we prayed for.

It would not take much to get the average church goer to say “amen” to the idea that there is power in prayer. But yet the reality is that most of them never come to Prayer Meeting. Let’s work on praying like we believe that there is power in prayer.

Conclusion: Let’s work on comforting others with the comfort that God has given us. God has much for those who obey His will.

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