Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sermon Outline: We may be able to give comfort...

We may be able to give comfort...

2Co 1:4 Who gives us comfort in all our troubles, so that we may be able to give comfort to others who are in trouble, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

As Christians, we are to comfort one another. It is the fulfillment of the law of Christ (Gal 6:2) The Bible tells us it is important that we comfort and encourage one another in faith so that we may strengthen each other against sin, to strengthen one another in the service of our Lord , to strengthen one another in helping carry one another's burdens, to strengthen one another in carrying one's own burdens, and to strengthen one another in worship.

I. Comfort and encouragement comes from God.

We cannot comfort another if the spirit of God is not in us. Yes, we can say good words but more or else it is simply flattering if it is motivated by the love of God. We begin with the acknowledgment that its is God who provides comfort. That it is our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father who had love for us, has given us eternal comfort and good hope through grace. It is God who gives us comfort and strength in everything we do. (2 Th 2:16-17)

But before we can encourage others, we must first be filled with the encouragement of Christ, through his grace.

II. Encouraging others requires praying.

The first step in encouraging others is to offer the persons that we want to encourage in prayer to our Lord. Paul wrote to James: Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. St. paul also wrote many times the churches asking for their prayers, for their prayers for the saints in the churches is what sustained Paul in his missions to the gentiles. "Now I make request to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the love of the Spirit, that you will be working together with me in your prayers to God for me (Rom 15:30 )."

Who do you think needs comfort, a friend, a family? Mention their names in your prayers. Ask God first for help. A friend in grief, mention his/her name in your prayers. A family with a heavy load, mention his/her name in your prayers. Words of prayer are more powerful than comforting words. "The prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." (Jas 5:15)

III. Encourage others by how we live our lives.

Even if we recognize that comfort and encouragement come from God, even if we pray without ceasing, but if the grace of God is not evident in our lives, how can we comfort others. We cannot. We must, in our lives, show that we have the grace of God. That we are assured. That we have confidence in God. This does not mean that we have to be loud or "over religious". It simply means living a life that reflects God's serenity. That we reflect hope and assurance in God's promises. Paul in his letter James tells us:

But be doers of the word, and not only hearers of it, blinding yourselves with false ideas. Because if any man is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his natural face in a glass; For after looking at himself he goes away, and in a short time he has no memory of what he was like. (Jas. 1: 22 ff.)

Paul also tells us;

I have been put to death on the cross with Christ; still I am living; no longer I, but Christ is living in me; and that life which I now am living in the flesh I am living by faith, the faith of the Son of God, who in love for me, gave himself up for me. (Gal. 2:20).

To be a comfort to others, we must have a comfortable relationship with God.

4. The comfort of God overflow through us.

We are a source of encouragement for others. As Christians, God encourages us to share burdens. (Gal 6:2)

We can comfort others through words of affirmations. Words that can uplift saddened hearts. Words that can remind that God cares and that we too, cares.

We can comfort others through our charity. Christian giving is guided by love. It is not an act of compulsion nor is it an act of impulse but rather it is an act that comes from desire to share blessings especially if God has given so much for us, in material things, talent, or spiritual gift, or faith (remember the beggar who gave her last cent!). The Bible tells us that through this work of giving, they see what you are, they give glory to God for the way in which you have given yourselves to the good news of Christ, and for the wealth of your giving to them and to all (1 Cor. 9:12)

We can comfort others by how, through our faith, we face problems and trial with the confidence and serenity that only God can give. We can give comfort to others by showing that it is only God's grace through our faith that give us strength! How many times have we been inspired by the stories of Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, Paul, the prophets...We can be, in our own little way, live the life of confidence in God's grace that may prove inspiring to others. God gives us comfort in all our troubles, so that we may be able to give comfort to others who are in trouble, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Cor 1:4).

And finally, we can be a comfort to others through our worship. God encourages us to worship for our edification through our fellowship with the triune God and with the brethren. Paul tells us Not to give up our meetings, as is the way of some, but to keep one another strong in faith; and all the more because you see the day coming near. (Heb 10:25)

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