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2 Corinthians 1:1-10

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2 Corinthians 1:1–11 ESV
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 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. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. 8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.
-11
SLIDE 2
1 Corinthians 1:1–3 ESV
1 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, 2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:1–3 ESV
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
2 COR 1
++
SLIDE 3
2 Corinthians 1:4–6 ESV
4 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. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.
2 COR 1
++
SLIDE 4
2 Corinthians 1:7–11 ESV
7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. 8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.
++
Intro:
Tribulations. Difficulties. Hardships. Trials.
We are all too familiar with these things. Maybe we think of them as if they are viruses that infest life..
++
They creep in and upset the harmonies that we are attempting to create. ++
For some, there is greater familiarity with chaos, than with peace.
For some of us, we are more acquainted with difficulty, than we are with ease. ++
At a glance, this world that we live in can be described as beautiful..
Stunning, bountiful, full of opportunity..
And yet, despite it’s beauty.. despite the opportunity..
It is, at the same time... hard.. broken.. violent.. and lacking mercy. ++
I believe, some of the most beautiful parts of our world.. are found.. right under the surface of the water.
Many years ago I had to opportunity to go snorkeling in the Caribbean.
I was able to go snorkeling.. in the beautiful blue waters of the Western Caribbean.
Just off the coast of Roatan, Honduras.. lies some of the most stunning landscape that the eyes can see… ++
Thousands of colorful fish…
Mountains of coral.. urchins.. sting rays and sea turtles.
And yet.. as we swam.. I noticed.. that I began to feel a repeated stinging sensation.
.. it wasn’t bad.. but, just.. annoying. ++
Our guide told us.. they were baby jelly-fish..
And that the sting is harmless and short-lived.. ++
As a side note… snorkeling, or being in a boat… is the only way I want to be in the ocean. I always get stung by jelly fish when I go in the ocean…
… and when it happens…
With those little stings..
There come a reminder..
That in this ocean..
There are things that can sting you..
Poison you..
Bite you..
It’s dangerous… ++
And.. even in the water itself..
There’s always the possibility of drowning..
In times like that.. there’s always a little fear..
There’s always a little anxiety.. ++
On one hand.. it’s beautiful.. it’s an amazing experience..
But, on the other hand..
There is also danger.. ++
And whether we are in the water, or out of the water..
Whether we are in the jungle, or in the city..
Whether we are on the street, or in our home..
Whether we are with strangers, or with our friends..
The same scenario exists. ++
This life..
Is beautiful..
Yet.. in the midst of that beauty… things can easily be upset… and it can become dangerous.
++
We all have, do, and will experience… tribulation.. hardship.. trial.. and difficulty.
In times like this.. our hearts search diligently for one thing.. ++
When it’s hard..
We want comfort.
And because mankind is perpetually facing tribulation..
He is also, perpetually seeking comfort.. ++
Humans seek it in so many ways..
But today’s passage gives the one true answer..
It’s not found in alcohol.. it’s not found in money.. it’s not even found in one another..
True, satisfying.. gratifying.. quality comfort..
Is found.. only… in God…
++
And yet… saying that, is not enough. It’s not found in the idea of God, or the acknowledgment that there is a God… It’s not found in the god that we create in our own image… it’s not found in the evoking of His name or in the ceremonial methods we go through to make us feel like we are close to God.
++
It’s only found in knowing who God is, and what God is like.
++
I often come back to this reality when studying and teaching the Bible. Some of the biggest problems we have, as Christians… stems back to the reality that we are thinking wrongly about who God is.
++
Paul wants his readers to know what God is like… so that they can experience… the unique work that God can do in their lives. ++
SLIDE 5
2 Corinthians 1:1–4 ESV
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 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.
++
After the greeting.. the very first topic that Paul brings to light..
is the comfort that God gives.. to those who are in tribulation. ++
We’re going to consider this in depth, momentarily..
But.. first, let’s look at this greeting..
In vs. 1.. Paul again restates his position.. and his calling.. ++
In the previous letter ()..
He said: “by the grace of God, I am what I am”
This time.. it’s by “the will of God”… ++
Most commentators say that Paul was always defending his apostleship for the sake of those who doubted his authority..
And I agree.. that this is probably the main reason he so often emphasized his title.. ++
But when I personalize these scriptures..
I see something differently. Yes, Paul was letting them know who he was… but every time he said it, he was reminded of whom he was.
++
For me, if people have a problem with my position..
I’m generally fine with it. ++
If my position doesn’t mean anything to you… then fine. It’s probably best that you find another church where you can respect the position of the pastor, or the elders…
… but it doesn’t jab at my pride any..
++
If people want to see me as being disqualified..
That’s their prerogative.
They have a right to that opinion.
And it’s not hurtful, unless… it’s coming from someone who was.. very close to me. ++
For me.. the biggest problem is not what other people think..
For me, the biggest problem, is what I think. ++
When I’m faced with my errors and my inadequacies..
.. which are many..
I am the one who … in my mind and in my heart… is questioning my qualification.
I am the one.. who is proclaiming in my mind..
“That I’ve messed things up.. “ ++
But if I’ve lost trust.. and led people in a wrong direction.. or I’m re
And so I say, in my heart..
Maybe it’s time to find another career.
And when my heart is in that dark and difficult place..
I see the defenses of Paul in a different light. ++
Sure, I might find temporary relief from my trial..
By giving up.
But… I won’t find comfort. ++
We all know.. that there’s a big difference between temporary relief.. and comfort..
The promises of scripture aren’t intended to give temporary relief… they are intended to give longstanding comfort.
++
so… when things are dark and difficult…- When we question who and what we are… - we can find comfort… not in the idea of God… or in the acknowledgement of His existence… - BUT RATHER… IN KNOWING WHO HE IS, AND WHAT HE IS REALLY LIKE..
++
or.. as I often say, in thinking rightly about God. ++
When things are hard… when we question ourselves.. when there is tribulation… we too can say: by the grace of God.. I am what I am..
By the will of God… I get to serve Him in this capacity.. ++
If I couldn’t say and believe that phrase: “by the grace of God”..
I’d be a mess. ++
Why do I get to be a father, a husband, a pastor a friend?
Why?
Because I deserve it? Because I’m so good at it?
Absolutely not.. ++
It’s only because God is gracious..
Maybe some of you are like me..
When something goes sour.. or, it’s just not turning out the way you expected it..
I just want to crumple it up.. and throw it away…
Start fresh. A clean slate. ++
I like to tie flies… for fishing. I rarely go fishing, but I sure tie a lot of flies… and when they aren’t good, they would still catch fish… but instead, because they are not quite right, I prefer to throw them away.
I’ve done it with sermons that I’ve put together..
I’ve done it with songs I’ve written..
I’ve done it with wood working projects.. ++
But.. there are many things.. that we can’t employ this mentality with..
We can’t employ this mentality with our marriage.
We can’t employ this mentality our children..
We can’t employ this mentality with our calling.. ++
And more than anything..
We can’t employ this mentality.. in our relationship with God. ++
When these things don’t meet our expectations or or standards… we can’t crumple them up and throw them away. ++
Maybe, some of you have been there.. maybe, this is where you are right now..
You’ve become disappointed in your faith.. ++
It’s just not working out the way you thought it would..
You thought you’d grow up to be a mighty Xtain who is victorious over sin..
And here you are.. still struggling..
.. still fighting.. still sliding back into those places of darkness and difficulty.. ++
Here you are.. and you’re not Billy Graham yet.
And where does this disenchantment lead us?
Oh.. we think.. “We are disqualified to be a Xtain.”
We can’t hang out w/other believers… because they are growing..
And we are not.. ++
They are victorious..
And we are not..
So what happens???? . ++
Out there.. today.. even here in our own city..
There are hundreds and hundreds of believers..
Who are downcast and dejected in their faith.. ++
They don’t even try, because they have given up on trying… because trying has not produced the outcome that they wanted.. - It hasn’t fulfilled their expectation, so they’ve crumpled it up and thrown it aside. ++
In all this… they have failed to realize.. When it comes to their place with God…
.. that it’s not a matter of their merit..
It’s not a matter of their qualification..
It’s not a matter of their success rate..
Or.. their measurable growth.. ++
No.. it’s not by the qualifications of personal merit..
It’s only by.. the grace of God.. and the will of God.. ++
For it’s God’s grace that helps us move forward when we feel disqualified..
And it’s the “will of God”..
That moves us forward.. when we’re lacking heart and feeling. ++
Sure, Paul was defending his call..to others..
But I’ll just bet.. there was a part of him, every time he said, “I”m an apostle of Jesus”..
That was defending the call.. to himself. ++
After the defense..
He moves on to the actual greeting..
Grace and peace! ++
These are things that he is desiring for his readers to experience..
Grace.. which was indicative of the common gentile greeting..
And “Peace”.. which is how the Jews greeted each other.. ++
And by this greeting, Paul was saying..
“This has been my prayer to God.. that you would experience.. grace and peace.” ++
You know.. David expressed quite the opposite desire, when he prayed to the Lord, concerning his enemies.. (in )
Lord, Break their teeth in their mouth! ++
This was his desire, for those, in that day, who opposed him..
Yet, at the same time, as a young man who served Saul..
There were times.. where this King attempted to Kill David..
Even as he played the harp for him, King Saul would rise to his feet, take his spear, and throw it at David.. ++
Yet, in those days.. David wasn’t looking for revenge.
As a matter of fact.. David extended grace.. and peace to his King..
Passing up opportunities for revenge..
.. out of love and respect.. ++
I mention David.. because, to a degree, Paul was facing something similar..
He had written a hard letter to this church, previously..
And, before he wrote this current letter, he found out, from Titus.. that the hard corrective letter was received well by the majority of people.. ++
However.. amongst the Corinthians.. there was still great dissent.
There were still enemies who opposed Paul.
There were still those who sought to undermine him.. and discredit him.. ++
And you know how it is.. even when the majority is in your favor..
Even if your opposition is in small numbers..
When there is dissent.. that’s generally where your mind is..
And when you think about Paul’s greeting..
A man whose mind was upon those who were against him..
He didn’t wish, that God would break their teeth.. ++
No, even unto those who counted him to be a fool..
Paul extended this greeting..
Grace.. and Peace.. ++
This was Paul’s heart for the church..
But here.. we see his heart for the church..
A heart of compassion.. forgiveness.. and love.
From here.. Paul enters into this all too familiar topic: ++
Tribulation.. hardship.. trials.. difficulty.
++
And how does Paul combat these difficulties? By diving straight into, a real… a solid… a true explanation of what God is like.
First off.. our God.. is the God of “all” comfort.
Notice that word “all” ++
As always.. in the Greek.. the word all means: “all” ++
It’s an exclusionary term that doesn’t leave room for comfort to be gained elsewhere..
God has the corner on this market..
He holds the monopoly on comfort.. ++
If that’s what you truly want.. and what you truly need..
Then temporary relief isn’t going to cut it for you any more.. ++
God is the one.. the keeper.. of “all” comfort..
What does he do w/that comfort?
He grants it to us.. in the midst of our tribulation.. ++
Now.. here’s where some of us.. may have a problem.
We say, “I’ve had tribulation.. and there wasn’t comfort.”
Yes, this is true for all of us… we’ve pushed through hardship without the experience of comfort. ++
However, on faith, I believe God’s Word.. and I believe He does make it available to us..
The place where we break-down..
Is… in our perception, or our expectation.. of what that comfort should be! ++
People call us regularly.. looking for help w/their bills.
We ask these people to fill out an application.. that will be reviewed and prayed over..
Unfortunately, very few people are willing to go through this process..
They have it set in their mind.. that they should get a set amount of money..
Immediately… ++
For many who ask… that’s the only option.
In their mind.. they see comfort as being one thing.. ++
But Bod has innumerable ways of bringing comfort..
God doesn’t have to pay our bills, for us to receive it, or experience it..
We get it set in our mind.. that comfort will only be.. in healing.. in finances.. in a better job.. in a better church.. in a better car.. whatever.. ++
And when we don’t get the exact thing we’re looking for.. when our expectations aren’t ment..
We read vs. 4.. and say.. “No He doesn’t. He doesn’t bring comfort to our tribulation.” ++
Why? Because we had a single minded view of what that comfort should be.
We get single minded ideas.. of how these problems should be solved.
We get single minded ideas.. of how our health should be restored..
We get single minded ideas.. of how God should deliver us. ++
It’s like, fishing in a tide pool..
I love tide pools. They are fascinating..
I remember some tide pools in the Caribbean…
And in those pools.. there were strange little things swimming around..
But, if God intends to put a Grouper on my line..
And I’m fishing in a tide pool that has 2 minnows and a crab..
Then I’m sorely missing out.. ++
The topic of tribulation makes me think something else about the church in Corinth..
Paul is encouraging them.. in this topic.. right away.. - It’s the first thing he has to say in this letter.. ++
Think about this for a moment..
Was the church of Corinth.. bound to face.. tribulation?
When we think about the condition of the church in Paul’s first letter… they were a mess. If they suffered hardship, it was probably an issue of consequence. But they weren’t prime candidates for spiritual warfare. ++
We sometimes will say, that a little tribulation, is usually a sign that we’re doing something right..
If there’s opposition.. then there must be a reason for that opposition..
We must be doing something profitable for the Kingdom..
And now, the devil sees us as a threat. ++
But, what about the church of Corinth?
I don’t think.. In that… they were divided, fighting, and pretty innefective for the Kingdom… they were not bound to face much spiritual opposition. They were doing a fine job at bringing themselves down w/o the help of any powers and principalities. ++
No.. they were the free and easy.. open minded church..
The pagan folks said.. “They’re cool Christians.. they’re not all hung up on the Bible and narrow minded morality.”
But here it is, a year later.. and they’ve responded to Paul’s correction..
And they are starting to do things right..
They are raising the bar.. they are tightening up the ship..
And as a result.. they are facing trials.. ++
You know.. you don’t have to be doing things all right, to face opposition..
You just have to take a step or two in the right direction..
You just have to make a move towards a life.. that is profitable for the kingdom..
If that happens.. you can expect a little hardship.. a little opposition.. and maybe even, a little tribulation..
This is a church.. that is moving in the right direction..
And apparently.. they are beginning to experience a little buffeting. ++
Now.. here’s where we move deeper into this topic..
Because Paul takes the topic of tribulation to the next level..
It’s one thing, to come through it w/comfort..
It’s another thing.. to realize.. that this experience.. can now.. be useful to someone else…. ++
SLIDE 6
2 Corinthians 1:5–7 ESV
5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
++
Consider this: Whatever is happening in our lives..SHOULD produce for us.. an experience w/the Lord..
Why?
Well, if I’m walking w/the Lord.. praying regularly..
Recognizing the Lord’s presence in every aspect of my life..
.. then.. I’m going to involve Him in every situation..
Especially.. the bad situations. ++
When are we most prone to cry out to the Lord in supplication?
When we are kicking back in comfort w/a bowl of popcorn in our lap watching a good movie?
No.. it’s when we are un-happy and suffering.. ++
I don’t know how it is for you… but when I am sick… miserable, puking sick… I am constantly crying out the Lord..
++
I am desperate to feel better… I am desperate to have the pain and the sickness leave me. My thoughts are constantly on God… crying out, “Lord, help me please.” ++
Believe me.. I was there.. crying out.. “Oh Lord!.. please get this over with.. get me through this.. help me feel better.. I’m dying!”
So this is what we do.. in tribulation.. we go to the God of all comfort..
Why? Because His Word promises.. that He will give comfort in our tribulation.. ++
And when we have experienced that comfort..
It may not have come the way we expected it..
But it came.. none the less.. ++
And there we stand.. as one who came through.. the tribulation..
As one.. who was being delivered..
Probably not “from the tribulation”.. but..
We were delivered “through the tribulation”
And what does that leave us with? ++
A great tool..
That leaves us with.. a testimony.
What is the purpose of a testimony? ++
Is it a plaque that we put up on the wall in our office?
Is it a trophy, that we put on our night stand?
Is it a photo, that we put in our photo album?
No way.. it becomes for us.. a tool..
A tool of encouragement for others..
We went through hardship… and we have been comforted.. ++
And now.. we can comfort others w/our experience..
We can get together w/someone who’s in a trial.. share our similar experience.. share how the Lord brought comfort..
and in that .. the other person, will find comfort and encouragement.. ++
Unfortunately.. when we are in difficulty, our nature doesn’t always drive us to find encouragement and comfort..
Instead… we seek others with whom we can commiserate..
++
Commiserate… think about the etymology of that word. The prefix ‘co’ speaks of something we do together. What is being done together in the word commiserate? Misery. - People love to get together and share their misery.
And instead of seeking a fellowship which brings healing..
We seek those who are in the same boat we’re in..
We’re in a sinking boat..
So we look for others in sinking boats..
And talk about how bad the sinking boat is..
And instead of finding healing.. ++
As a result, we become more hopeless.. more bitter.. more focused on the sinking boat..
Boy, this sinking boat is bad.. isn’t it..
Yes.. it’s bad.. and it’s just gonna keep on sinking..
Yep.. it’s pretty hopeless isn’t it?
Yes.. our socks are wet now.. but real soon, our pants will be wet.. then our shirts.. then..
.. we’re just gonna be swimming.. ++
Then.. we’re gonna get eaten by a shark..
Yep.. hey, there’s another guy in a sinking boat.. let’s talk to him..
Yea.. that’s a great idea..
“Hey buddy.. I see you’re in a sinking boat.”
Yep.. and my socks are wet.. ++
What is your trial? What is your hardship? What is your trouble?
All around you.. there are people who have experienced the same thing.. or something similar..
And they found comfort in God..
That’s who we need to be talking to.
Otherwise.. our outlooks become grim.. and we resign ourselves.. to the sharks. ++
God has healed you.. God has given you joy.. God has restored your heart.. God has empowered you to overcome.. God has helped you forgive.. God has used you in your feelings of inadequacy.
Remember? Think back for a moment..
Do you remember? Can you recall when He did this ? ++
He moved you through difficult point A.. to victorious point B..
Now.. pick up that powerful testimony..
And look for your brothers.. and your sisters.. who are now in difficult point A..
They need comfort. They want comfort. Their lives require it..
And you.. Wow.. think about it.. You have been equipped to bring it. ++
SLIDE 7
2 Corinthians 1:8–11 ESV
8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.
++
There is a mysterious transaction.. between the prayers of the saints.. and the hand of God..
I don’t know how it works. I do know.. that God desires to bless His children..
.. and by involving our hearts in prayer.. ++
He’s essentially.. making us a part.. of the work He intends to do.
God desired to deliver Paul.. from this despairing circumstance in Ephesus..
And yet.. because He loves His children.. and wants them to be involved in the things He does..
He burdened their hearts to pray.. ++
He made them a part of the work.
He put them on the team, and engaged their hearts..
And in the end, Paul was delivered from the direst of circumstances.. ++
God could have, and most likely would have done it on His own..
But instead.. He brought the hearts of His children into the process..
An involvement that Paul recognizes.. with thanksgiving.. ++
Whatever this trial was.. it had brought Paul to the end of his personal resources..
it appeared to Paul, that this trial.. was definitely going to end in death.
It was a trouble.. that could not be managed.. ++
All of us have manageable trouble…
We do what we need to do.. to keep the trouble at bay..
But here.. Paul.. was beyond this. ++
I remember, nearly 18 years ago… visiting my firend Roger Vaus in the hospital..
It was just a couple weeks before the Lord took him home..
It was one of the last days, he was still conscience and able to talk..
He smiled big through his breathing mask.. ++
And said.. “This is an awesome place to be. The doctors can’t help me.. I am totally in the hands of God.” ++
I have been so encouraged by that attitude…
Wishing, that I could believe this, whole heartedly of myself..
.. even here, in my health..
Because.. what Roger said.. is always true..
We are always in that place.. where we are totally.. and completely..
In the hands of God.. ++
It’s just.. hard to recognize.. when we perceive..
That it’s us.. that it’s me.. who is managing my trial..
But.. sometimes.. we are brought to the end of our means..
some folks have never been there..
But, of those who have..
For those.. who had no other choice, but to trust God..
There is, on the other side.. usually, a noticeable difference in their walk.
There is a powerful testimony of comfort..
A tool of consolation.. that can be extended to someone else in their time of need.
Sometimes.. we get through the tribulation.. w/resources.. tools that God provides and leads us to..
We engage these things by our wills.. and we overcome..
But.. what about those times..
Those rare occasions of desperation..
Where there is no resource provided.. other than faith?
Does our hope lessen any?
Absolutely not..
So what if the doctors don’t have an answer to your health problem..
So what if there is no feasible solution to your financial problem..
So what if you see no way through that marital strife.. ++
Those wayward children.. are still.. way out of your reach..
Is there hope when it seems like the relationship is dead.. the career is dead.. the finances are dead?
Is there hope? ++
Well, what kind of God does Paul say that we have?
vs. 9 /
the “God who raises the dead” ++
This trial is hopeless.. it’s a dead deal!
Oh yea. Well I serve the God.. who raises the dead… ++
And vs. 9 encourages me to :
“not trust in myself.. but trust in Him.”
Why?
Look at vs. 10..
He has delivered us..
He is delivering us..
And.. He will still deliver us again. ++
Has.. Is.. and Will!!!!
Is this our experience w/the Lord?
“In the past, I had a great experience w/ God.. but now, it’s different.”
I am guilty of this one.. ++
When I was in bible school.. I prayed so much.. I fasted one day a week every week.. I was on fire in way that I don’t experience now..
And when I catch myself thinking this way..
I’m sure if we look beyond our current situations… we will see how God has delivered us. And if we are willing, that would be encouragement for how he is about to deliver us… and that will serve as a hope… for how He’s going to continue to do so in the future. ++
I say to myself..
“Chad.. shame on you.”
Because here’s what I’m doing..
I’m saying.. that He was a different kind of God to me back then, than He is now..
Shame on me.
Has God given up on us?
Folks.. He is the God who has delivered us..
We ride those experiences of the past..
And quietly wonder.. why it’s not like that now.
Folks.. He is the God who has delivered us..
and that’s exciting.. We can look back and ride that past experience.. and encourage others w/it..
But we can’t leave it there..
He is also.. the God who is delivering us now..
And don’t loose hope..
He’s the God.. who is going to continue.. to deliver us…
Conclusion..
As we close.. it’s my hope..
that the Lord has touched your heart today..
That He has taken the words of 2 Cor..
And turned the light on…
And right now.. maybe you’re seeing things in your life..
That need attention..
If so.. I’d like to encourage you to take a valuable step..
If the Lord is speaking to you..
I encourage you.. come up, as we sing.. share what the Lord has revealed to you..
And ask us to pray for you..
If you need encouragement..
Look again, at vs. 11..
The prayers of the saints.. were involved… in his deliverance..
Let it be the same for you today..
CLOSE!
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