Comforted That We Might Comfort

Comforted That We Might Comfort

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 Cor 1:3-4)
Our English word grief has roots that trace back to the Latin word gravis, which means “heavy.” Grief is a natural consequence of living in this post-Genesis-3 world.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. (Rom 8:20-22)
Thanks be to God that embedded within the gospel is mercy and comfort.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Rom 8:31-32)
One God-appointed avenue of divine comfort? The gift of each other.
But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. (2 Cor 7:6-7)
What should we keep in mind and practice in an effort to comfort as we have been comforted?

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“There is No God Besides Me”

Water to Blood The LORD said to Moses, “Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” (Exo 3:10) But Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go?” (Exo 5:2) The LORD said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh…” (Exo 6:1)

  • Water of the Nile to blood (Exo 7:14-25) - where was Khnum, “guardian of the Nile”?
  • Frogs (Exo 8:1-15) - where was Hapi, “god of the marshes”?
  • Gnats (Exo 8:16-19) - where was Set, “god of the desert”?
  • Flies (Exo 8:20-32) - where was Khepri, “god of the swarms”?
  • Death of livestock (Exo 9:1-7) - where was Apis, “god of the herds”?
  • Boils (Exo 9:8-12) - where was Imhotep, “god of medicine and healing”?
  • Hail (Exo 9:13-35) - where was Nut, “goddess of the sky”?
  • Locusts (Exo 10:1-20) - where was Renenutet, “goddess of the harvest”?
  • Darkness (Exo 10:21-29) - where was Ra, “god of the Sun”?
  • Death of the firstborn (Exo 11:1-12:32) - where was Meskhenet, "goddess of childbirth"? Or Isis, "protector of children"? Or Selket, "guardian of the Pharaohs"? Where was Pharaoh himself, "god with us"?
What did God want his people to understand?

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Does God Really Care About Who Gets Married?

Does God Really Care About Who Gets Married With marriage and its (re)definition in the headlines nearly everyday, this is a vital question. As of late October 2013, 1-in-5 Americans inhabit a state or jurisdiction wherein same-sex marriage is legal. Hebrews 12:25-13:6 serves as a fitting frame for the consideration of this question.

See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.

Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

Foundational Input from Our Creator
  • Manhood and womanhood was God's idea (Gen 1:27-28).
  • God linked his design for manhood and womanhood with marriage (Gen 2:23-24).
  • Jesus emphasized the link between creation, manhood and womanhood, and the true nature of a life-long covenant relationship wherein God does the joining together (Matt 19:1-6).
  • Paul reveals the deepest meaning of marriage as designed and defined by God (Eph 5:24-33).
All of which leads to this conclusion: God created male and female with distinctive masculine and feminine natures; he defined for them distinctive roles so that within the context of marriage as husband and wife they might multiply the human race, serve as a model of God’s covenant with his people, and uniquely display the relationship of Christ and his blood-bought church.

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“Things I Wish More Older Women Would Teach Younger Women”

Older Women Teaching Younger Women Titus 2:3-5 isn’t vague in reference to a God-given responsibility of older women.

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
Older women are to be influences of truth, wisdom, and experience in the lives of younger women. This is vitally important in a world wherein lies are constantly fed to women of all ages:
  • “The most important thing about you is your body's size, shape, and color.”
  • “The best way to draw attention to yourself is to flaunt and expose your body.”
  • “Your value is determined by where your body lives, the clothes you put on your body, and the luxuries by which your body is indulged.”
  • “The first remedy for unhappiness is more: square footage, clothes, and luxuries.”
  • “The second remedy for unhappiness is less: weight, responsibility, and expectation.”
In a culture full of lies, older women are to be teachers of what is good and true to younger women:
  • “You are so much more than a body.” (Gen 1:27)
  • “Your body has been given to you that you might glorify God.” (1 Cor 6:19-20)
  • “To live as if your value depends on stuff is to build your life on sand.” (Luke 12:23)
  • “The first key to true joy is MORE… of God.” (Psa 63:1-3)
  • “The second key to true joy is LESS… of self.” (Mark 8:34-37)

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When God Refers to Saints and Sinners

When God Refers to Saints and Sinners Throughout the New Testament, God’s people are referred to in a variety of ways: “Christians” (Acts 11:26), “children of God” (1 John 3:2), “faithful brothers” (Col 1:2), “beloved” (1 John 2:7), a “holy nation” (1 Pet 2:9), “elect exiles” (1 Pet 1:1). Most of all (61 times), they are called “saints.” A term that is completely out of harmony with the rest of the list? “Sinners.” Does this mean that Christians do not sin? Of course we do. The entire Christian life is a struggle between the new self and the old self, and the latter sometimes wins. The premise of this sermon is that when our true identities are rightly understood, it affects the way we view (and respond to) our sins. When God Refers to Sinners

  • The sinner is naturally, logically paired with the ungodly (1 Pet 4:18).
  • The sinner is sick (Mark 2:17).
  • The sinner is lost (Luke 19:10).
  • The sinner owes an enormous debt (Luke 7:41-43).
  • The sinner is spiritually dead as a child of disobedience (Eph 2:1-3).
  • The sinner’s greatest need is mercy from God (Luke 18:13).

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When the Bible Talks About Elders (2)

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. (1 Tim 3:1) Part 1 of this short series looked at various words from the original language of Scripture that enhance our understanding …

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When the Bible Talks About Elders (1)

When the Bible Talks About Elders

When [Paul and Barnabas] had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed. (Acts 14:21-23)

Who were these "elders"? What was their work? Why did it matter?

Part 1 of this short series looks at various words from the original language of Scripture that enhance our understanding of what elders are and what their work of service entails as revealed in the New Testament.

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When the Bible Talks About Deacons (2)

When the Bible Talks About Deacons In 1 Timothy 3:8-13, the apostle Paul instructed:

Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

Part 1 of this short series looked at various words from the original language of Scripture that enhance our understanding of what deacons are and how the role of service was developed throughout the New Testament. Part 2 examines the God-breathed qualities these men are to exhibit as servants of the chief Servant (John 13:12-17).

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