Comfort and Reconciliation

Welcome

Welcome to our journey in 2nd Corinthians on the topic of comfort and reconciliation.

2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
God Offers Comfort to All
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 5 For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. 6 Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. 7 We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.

It is true that the World works so differently to the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus stated that to be great in the Kingdom of Heaven, you need to be a servant of all. In fact, Jesus learnt a great deal about suffering and that qualifies Him to be our High Priest, supreme above all, in the order of Michezelich.

Not that God needed to suffer for us yet He can relate with all suffering that we go through yet without sin. Our victory is in the cross of Christ and Him crucified. There is nothing that God cannot do. That in itself carries the hope in our hearts that God will set us free from bondage, disease, physical and emotional distress. Without Christ in our lives, we really are in a very dark place with no hope.

So in the same way as Christ learnt from his suffering, we too can learn through our endeavors. By living through suffering and hardship, we become qualified, just like our Lord, to provide comfort and reconciliation to other people’s lives. So we are confident that as we share in our sufferings, we also will share in the comfort God provides.

Rely on God

2 Cor 1:8 8 We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 9 In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.

Paul is the prime example of one who suffered a great deal for Christ. Perhaps he refers to a deadly sickness, perhaps the riot in Ephesus or when he was stoned in Acts. Another possibility may have been associated with the heartache that Paul experienced leading to his harsh letter sent previous to the Corinthians. This is not clear but what is clear is Paul’s steady belief in God and Christ alone who raises the dead.

Paul was crushed and overwhelmed beyond his measure to endure yet expecting to die, he withstood adversity after adversity by his constant trust in the Lord. So people of God, if you are going through a harsh time at the moment, look up for your suffering is not in vain. God has setup your circumstances to test and challenge your faith, yet if you persevere through your trial, God will certainly make a way forward so that you have victory in Christ. Also, bear in mind, if you are victorious, you are now qualified to give comfort and love to those who also are hindered under such pressing moments.

To the Rescue

2 Cor 1:10 10 And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. 11 And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.

Paul emphasises that God always came through for him - previously and continuously through his great missionary journeys. Paul is consistently showing his appreciation for those who prayed for him.

Certainly prayer reminds God of our faith in Him to answer us. Prayer reminds God of our desires to see our missionaries succeed. He certainly answers prayer and we should pray for our leaders in the Church constantly that they will not come under adversity or trampled on by our old enemy.

Paul’s Change of Plans
2 Cor 1:12 12 We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have lived with a God-given holiness and sincerity in all our dealings. We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own human wisdom. That is how we have conducted ourselves before the world, and especially toward you.

The secret to our success in God’s mission in our lives is to have confidence in a clear conscience before God. We need to weed out sin so we live the Christian life with integrity and assurance before God. By no means do we listen to the Prince of this World as many have received God’s love, power and kindness yet moved away from God, often overtaken by the cares and riches of this World.

2 Cor 1:13 Our letters have been straightforward, and there is nothing written between the lines and nothing you can’t understand. I hope someday you will fully understand us, 14 even if you don’t understand us now. Then on the day when the Lord Jesus returns, you will be proud of us in the same way we are proud of you.

Paul always is commended as an Apostle that writes with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in a manner that we can all learn from and understand. In fact those inspired with the Holy Spirit can relate with other people with the Holy Spirit. Yet without the Holy Spirit, people are not likely to see the Kingdom of God.

That is why Paul states that we may not understand all of what he states now but when God reveals it to us, we will be wiser and continue to learn from God’s Kingdom. Upon the Lord’s 2nd coming, all will be revealed to us and we will admire the preaching that went before us.

Triumphal Procession

2 Cor 2:14 Ministers of the New Covenant 14 But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.

We should always work to be a bondservant of the Lord Jesus Christ. When we do this, we are captive to the Lord’s ways and therefore live the road to glory by triumphing with Christ over our old enemy. Hopefully, we will become natural advocates of the knowledge of Jesus Christ to the nations in a way that brings a sweet aroma in Christ.

Sweet Fragrance

2 Cor 2:15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?

Take heart Christian soldier - we are among those being saved before our God and maker Jesus Christ. Remember, we persevere to the end and work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Without perseverence between trials and tribulation, perhaps the thorns will get in the way or persecution will hinder our walk and we turn away. Do not allow yourself to fall on the wrong soil as we need to grasp the message of Christ and endure to the very end.

Take heart, our love for Christ causes us to shed light to a fallen race and by sharing the gospel, we can save people from a multitude of sin, leading them to forsake their lives for Christ and allow the truth to set them free.

Sincere Authority

2 Cor 2:17 You see, we are not like the many hucksters who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us.

We need to keep in mind that there are false apostles, prophets and teachers, all greedy for financial gain, pressing for the dollar rather than expressing the heart of the Bible. Paul did not press for money. In fact he was a professional, using the talents that were God given to produce tents.

God knows the intent of the heart and he is the one who should guide our giving. We need to be a generous people and one that gives cheerfully. However, the main thing is to be sincere in our intentions, allowing the truth of the Bible to direct our services.

Our Qualification

2 Cor 3:4
4 We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. 5 It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. 6 He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.

Be encouraged, what we are going through now will qualify us for future potential in the Kingdom of Heaven. The Lord knows our heart and the suffering we go through but remember we live for Christ and to to die is gain. God is the one who qualifies us - it is not of our own doing but by the cross.

2 Cor 3:8
8 Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? 9 If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! 10 In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. 11 So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!

When Jesus referenced John the Baptist, he stated that he was the most prominent prophet yet those who are least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he. In the Old Covenant, as good as the Old Testament is, those in the old would have lavished the opportunity to understand the new. However, Jesus’s visitation had not yet come.

We are so privileged to have received Jesus Christ into our lives. The Jews did not foresee the day of God’s visitation. They did not discern the times. Hence, Paul was raised up to reach the Gentiles.

Not Abandoned

2 Cor 4:8 8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. 11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. 12 So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.

We are not promised a rosy life but we do live a life worth living. The World will throw everything at us for being a Christian. In fact the World will love its own. We are told to carry our own cross and Satan will try his best to challenge our faith. However, if we persevere to the end, we will prove we are truly His and His alone.

God never abandons us. Through suffering, we share in the death of Christ but we also enter into His glory and resurrection. We should never live in fear to the World but fear Him who has the keys to life and death. The life of Jesus in us is what we need to display to a depraved World that is dying and without hope.

Patience and Encouragement

Rom 15:5-9
5 May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. 6 Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. 8 Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jews to show that God is true to the promises he made to their ancestors. 9 He also came so that the Gentiles might give glory to God for his mercies to them.

So let’s recap on what we started with. God’s comfort and reconciliation edifies us unto Christ. At this time in the New Year we have so much promise in the God that we serve. Let us lift our lives to the Saviour of the World, the one who begat His life for us so that we can know Him and the Father that sent Christ, learning the right way to live. It is fervently on the cross that we understand the depth of our sanctification and redemption from sin. Like Job, Christ allows the enemy to challenge our faith and if we persevere through trials, we become victors and worthy of the victors crown.

So be encouraged, this is the New Year and we have every reason to believe it will be a good one. Hopefully, everything will settle but do live with caution as the end is neigh and we do not want to be caught in sin at His coming because it will be at the twinkling of the eye, like a thief in the night. Are you ready for His coming? Are you interpreting the time of His seasons? Will we be worthy of the prize that He promises us? Will we understand the wisdom from His parables and His Pearls of great price? Be ready. Come Lord Jesus come. Yes, let Him come.

Closing Prayer

Help us to appreciate this excerpt from 2nd Corinthians. Yes you brought a firm rebuke to the Corinthians in your first letter, but it gave Paul much joy to address the Corinthians in this second epistle.

In this New Year period, we have great joy in commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ into His creation through the Holy Spirit through the Virgin Mary. Allow us to live a life that pleases you as we await our second festivity in Easter where we celebrate the crucifixion, death, resurrection and ascension of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Give us the comfort of the Father and allow us in the New Year to bring a fresh start in enacting the life that Jesus walked. Allow us to repent of our sins and be reconciled to God through the Holy Spirit.

For the love of God, we surrender afresh our lives to the cause of Christ in our World today. May we be enriched by your Word, that becomes life to us in this season, to bring Glory to our Maker, rejoicing in the works of our living Savior, the son of Man, the only one that can point us to the Father. May we be observant of the times and prepare us for what is to come. Teach us your ways so we can be better advocates of our God to a dying and depraved generation of people.

May your light shine through us for the glory of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. May you be magnified in all we say and do, bringing freedom to our nation. For the love of God, AMEN!

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