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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#1046. The Father comforts us so we can comfort others (1/5/24)

On Sunday we had Dale Barlow, from the New Ground leadership team speaking on The Holy Spirit. This week’s devotionals are loosely based upon his message. Today we reflect upon how the Holy Spirit brings comfort to us and through us. 

‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.’ (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) 

Lesson: The Father comforts us so we can comfort others


To listen to this devotional, go to:



The Father comforts us

Recently I spoke on The Lord’s Prayer from Luke 11. We saw that when Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He taught that to begin our prayers with praise and worship: ‘“Father, hallowed be your name”’; Our worship is to be informed by God’s revelation of Himself in the Bible. Here, at the beginning of 2 Corinthians, we see an example of Paul praising God as ‘the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles…’ This is such a rich truth that sustained Paul in his great difficulties that He goes on to outline:

‘We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.  Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.’ (2 Corinthians 1:8-9)

Paul could say that his severe trials has taught Him the deep lesson of reliance on God and His resurrection power. It often takes great storms to teach us the most precious lessons about God. We come to know God as ‘The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort’ through great pressure and despair. Like a person trapped underground comes to appreciate sunlight in a new way, so coming to the end of ourselves teaches us to appreciate God in a new way. 


God, by the presence of the Spirit, wants to bring comfort to us. There is no valley too dark for His sustaining and comforting presence to reach. Here, I’d like to share an inspiring example of the Spirit flooding the heart and bringing comfort in suffering; it is from a letter of Henry Venn, a church leader, after the death of his wife in 1767 leaving him a widower with five young children.

‘Did I not know the Lord to be mine; were I not certain His heart feels even more love for me than I am able to conceive; were this evident to me, not by deduction and argument, but by consciousness, by His own light shining in my soul, as the sun’s doth upon my bodily eyes, into what a deplorable condition should I have been now cast! I have lost all that I could have wished for myself, in the partner of my joys and my cares…Nevertheless, I can say, “All is well, Hallelujah, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth; at all times, and in all things, let Him do with me as seemeth Him good.” Were there no Holy Ghost now to strengthen me mightily; were there nothing more than a dependence on the word of promise, without an Almighty Power to explain, impress and apply it, how would my hands hang down, and my knees be so feeble, that I should faint and fail under the weight of the cross! But, on the contrary, I abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost given unto me. I rejoice in tribulation, from the experience I now have, more than I possibly could in a less severe trial.’

The Father comforts us so we can comfort others

I find it interesting to notice that, in our text, Paul speaks of God comforting us in two ways; firstly, there is the direct comfort that comes by the presence of the Spirit filling us much as we saw in yesterday’s devotional from Romans 5, where he speaks of:

‘God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.’ 

However, secondly, we are taught that God’s comfort is passed on by us:

‘Who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.’ 

It’s important that we don’t miss the, ‘so that…’! What God gives is to be shared. God comforts us through our church family. As we counsel, pray and support, the Spirit of God works through each of us to bring His comfort to one another. 


Response

The Father comforts us so we can comfort others. Who can you comfort today with the love of God? If you feel that you need God’s comfort, ask Him to help you and reach out to a friend or church leader. 


The word ‘comfort’ used here of God is paráklēsis, which is same idea used of the Holy Spirit when He is described by Jesus as ‘another advocate’ (John 14:16). Here, Jesus tells us:

‘…I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate (paráklētos) to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth….’ (John 14:16-17) 

The Holy Spirit wants to come alongside you to comfort you, He also wants to fill you and move you to come alongside others to comfort them.

 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY


1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Please ensure that the members of your group are aware and familiar with using the daily devotionals, which are accessed in Church News, the Teaching button on the website and are now available on the major podcast platforms. 


2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you? 


3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.


4. Study and pray together

Our message on Sunday from Dale Barlow, was on The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has been promised to us. By His power, we are enabled to believe on Jesus. He causes us to be Born again and receive a new heart and outlook. He wants to fill, empower and impart His hope and comfort every day. 

Dale used a number of stories and texts to talk about the Holy Spirit. I suggest that you choose one or two texts from below from which to discuss and pray together: 

  • Did God speak to you about anything specifically from Sunday’s message?

  • John 14:16-20, 16:7, 7:37-39: What has Jesus promised us? How do we enter into and are we entering into His promise? 

  • What does Romans 5:1-5: What is our hope and how does the Holy Spirit help us to rejoice in it in all circumstances? 

  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-4: How does God teach us in suffering and what does this lead to?

  • Romans 15:13: What does the Holy Spirit enable us to do?

  • Romans 14:17: What are the attributes that mark out those who are in the Kingdom? 

  • SIV - How does the Holy Spirit lead and empower us into His mission? 

  • SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ recently?

  • Let’s pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to ‘SIV’; and pray for anything else that's come out of our time in God’s Word.

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