Let's read the word of God together from 2 Corinthians. I want to take a break today from the Sermon on the Mount - it's very taxing, the Sermon on the Mount, not only to preach, but I'm sure to listen to. It's very demanding for you as a believer, and I think maybe even one week taking each part of the Sermon on the Mount is nearly too much, because there's so much to try and grapple with and implement into our lives. I think many of you who are believers longer than the most of us here, the elder brethren in the assembly, would say that they have been struggling with these things all their life to try and implement them. But I do believe, it was in the prayer meeting here on Wednesday evening, that the Lord impressed upon my heart through one brother that prayed a verse of Scripture, and I felt that the Lord wanted me to bring it to you today.
Second Corinthians and chapter 1 and verse 1: "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia: Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ". This is the verse I want you to notice specifically: "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf".
We know that the Lord will bless the reading of His own truth. Let's read again just verse 3, and it's this phrase that impressed itself upon my heart: 'The God of all comfort'. "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort".
Let's take a moments prayer: Our Father, we thank Thee for this time together. We thank Thee, as Fanny Crosby could say, here from the world we turn, Jesus to seek, here may His loving voice graciously speak. Lord, He is our dearest friend, He is the lover of our soul, He is the darling of our bosom. Lord, we pray now that as we come to His word, that He may minister to our hearts. Lord, I'm thinking of hearts that are broken, hearts that are tired, hearts that are sick, hearts that mourn, hearts that are not saved and under the burden of guilt and care. We pray, Lord, that you would be the God of all comfort to all of us here today. Fill with Thy Spirit, we pray, this gathering and preacher and people alike. To Christ's glory we pray, Amen.
If you cast your eye down to verse 8 of this chapter, I believe we have the backdrop to the words that Paul speaks when he said: 'God is the God of all comfort'. Paul, you know, is known right throughout his epistles for his great doxologies. We remember, when we were studying the book of Ephesians not so long ago on Monday evenings, we saw that God was blessed because He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. But here in 2 Corinthians we have another blessing: 'Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort'. But, as I said, we get the context of this in verse 8 if you look at it with me - Paul says: 'We would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead'.
Now Paul, in Corinthians and indeed throughout the New Testament, doesn't give us the troubles - he doesn't lineate them, or list them for us - that he had as he went into Asia. We don't know what they were specifically, but I think perhaps they may have been what he describes in chapter 11 verses 23 to 26, where he says that as a missionary for the Lord Jesus Christ he was: 'in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths often. Of the Jews five times he received forty stripes except one. Thrice - three times - was he beaten with rods, once he was stoned, three times he suffered shipwreck, he spent a night and a day in the perils of the deep; in journeyings he was often, in perils of waters he found himself almost drowning, theft from robbers, perils from his own countrymen the Jews, in perils of the heathen the Gentiles, in perils of the city, in perils of the wilderness, in perils of the sea, in perils among false brethren'. So you can see, at least in chapter 11 of 2 Corinthians, the many trials and tribulations that Paul had to face in his ministry.
It may have been those things that Paul speaks of in this chapter, I don't know. It may have been what Luke speaks of and records of Paul in Acts chapter 19, of the riot that happened in the city of Ephesus. Remember that a man called Demetrius was converted by the grace of God, and Demetrius' trade was making little gods of the goddess Diana, worshipping them, idols. And because this man was converted, and because other people in the city were being converted, their trade and livelihood was at stake - and the Trade Union, if you like, of Ephesus rose up in a great riot against Paul and he suffered many things in that city. It may have been that, it may be what we find in 1 Corinthians 15:32 where he said: 'I have fought with beasts at Ephesus'. I don't know what those beasts were, whether those were the false prophets, or indeed whether they were real live beasts along his missionary journeys across Asia.
But do you know something? Whatever Paul had to face, whatever his trials and tribulations were that he speaks of, he tells us that there was something that threatened him to the end of his life, and ultimately was threatening his ministry. There was something that was coming along his life's path that was bringing him near to death, and was going to finish the service that he was giving to God. You know, I think it's a good thing that we don't really know what it was, because that means you and I can look at this portion of Scripture - and I'm sure like me, and like everybody on the face of the earth, you have trials, you have tribulations, you have problems - and perhaps if Paul was more specific you would say: 'Och, well, he's not talking about my problem'. But you know the Holy Spirit is wonderfully conclusive when He leaves out this problem, so that we may say to us today, in your situation, where you are at this moment: God can be the God of all comfort to you!
A man was once called the greatest preacher in the English-speaking world. He was a man by the name of Dr John Henry Jowett, and many of you have perhaps read his books or his sermons, or heard him quoted - but I'm sure that you've never heard this quote by him. He pastored a leading church, and he preached to huge congregations, he wrote many books that were bestsellers - but listen to what this great man of God said: 'You seem to imagine that I have no ups and no downs, but just a level and lofty stretch of spiritual attainment with unbroken joy and equanimity - but by no means is this is the case! I am so often perfectly wretched, and everything appears most murky much of the time'. A man who was once called the greatest preacher in the English-speaking world. Then, if you want to go to another great preacher, who was named the prince of preachers - C.H. Spurgeon - listen to what he said: 'I am the subject of depressions of spirit so fearful that I hope none of you ever get to such extremes of wretchedness as I go to'. Great men of God who experienced great lows in their lifetime, and that tells me at least that discouragement is no respecter of persons - and sometimes in the spiritual realm the higher you go the greater is your fall.
Now, if we look at this man Paul we can see that very clearly. If you look at verse 8 for me you can see four things that he says about his situation and his trouble. The first thing is this, he says: 'I was pressed without measure' - pressed out of measure. That literally means: 'I was under great pressure. I was weighed down exceedingly'. What Paul is doing is he's using the beast of burden as an illustration, like the donkey, or the camel, weighed down with all its cargo travelling along the road. He had a heavy load, and that heavy load gave him great pressure. Have you ever felt like that? You had a heavy load, you're under great pressure, and if you could say it to God - you maybe haven't got the guts, because you think it's maybe blasphemous or sacrilegious - but if you could say it, and bring yourself to say it, you would nearly say: 'Lord, You don't know what you're doing, You're pressing me out of measure, this is too much!'.
The second thing he says is that he was pressed out of measure, above strength. Above strength! In other words, he's saying: 'The Lord came to me, and this thing that the Lord let me go through, I was thinking it was far beyond my ability to endure. It felt like it was just too much for me to bear, I couldn't handle it!'. Then thirdly, if you look at the verse, he says in verse 9 this time that he despaired even of life. He despaired of life! Now, you see that Greek word 'despair', do you know what it literally can be translated as? 'No passage, no exit' - in other words, in life he felt there was no way out! He despaired of his life. He wasn't at this moment, in this description, fearing death - but he was fearing what most people fear: life! That's why so many folk are drugged up, why so many folk find their solace in drink and tranquillisers and all sorts of vices and sins - because they're not afraid of dying, they're afraid of living! The apostle Paul went through an experience whereby he could say: 'At this moment, for me, I felt that there was no way out' - the great apostle.
Then fourthly he says in verse 9: 'in our hearts we felt the sentence of death'. 'If it wasn't enough that we couldn't live in life, we felt that death had actually come into our lives, that we were walking corpses. In our hearts we felt there was a death sentence upon us'. As J. B. Phillips translates this verse: 'We were completely overwhelmed, the burden was more than we could bear - in fact we told ourselves that this was the end!'. Have you ever felt like that? I guarantee that most of you here have felt like that at some part of your life, and if you haven't you will - that you're completely overwhelmed, that the burden is more than you can bear, in fact that you've told yourself: 'This is the end, I can't go on!'.
You could be here, and you have suffering solidarity with the great apostle. You can identify with what he is talking about: being pressed beyond strength, despairing of your life, and having death in you. Well, what I want to say to you - well, I shouldn't say it's me, because it's not me, because I couldn't say this to you. The great apostle Paul couldn't, in his life, get rid of these feelings - I certainly can't, and you can't. But I'll tell you what he could do in all of those times of despair, I'll tell you what the word of God testifies that he did do. It says in verse 3 that it is possible to praise God in the midst of pain, it is possible to praise God in the midst of pain! Now you've seen the backdrop to everything that Paul suffered, yet in this verse 3 he says: 'Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort'.
This is unintelligible - I mean, this is ridiculous! This does not make sense! Billy Bray, the Cornish evangelist, used to say: 'If they were to put me in a barrel I would shout glory to God through the bung-hole!'. He also said, when poverty stared him in the face: 'If the meal barrel is empty, I will put my head in the meal barrel and praise the Lord'. That wasn't just talk, he did it. I read of one occasion this week where his wife came to him and said: 'There's nothing in the meal barrel', she says, 'Now it's time for you to put your talking into action'. So the both of them went to the meal barrel, stuck their heads in, praised the Lord, took their heads out covered in flour, and they went around the house praising the Lord! Now that sounds humorous, it maybe even sounds absolutely idiotic, but do you know something? There is a spiritual walk with God that Paul the apostle had, that Billy Bray had, and that you can have - where you're in the very midst of all sorts of trials and tribulations, yet you can say: 'Blessed be God!'.
It's a great thing to be able to bless the Lord whatever your circumstances are. David was like that - I mean, as a king he had to suffer some circumstances, in his family he had to suffer some circumstances, in his marriages he suffered some circumstances, but he said with his hands high to the Lord and his knees bowed before Him: 'I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth'. What about that? What about Job? It's not a Sunday School story, this is a real man who lost his children, lost his houses and his outhouses, and his cattle and all his livestock, lost his land, lost his riches, lost his reputation, lost his health, lost the confidence of a wife, lost the confiding of friends - this is a man who lost everything, and is sitting in sackcloth and ashes, the dogs licking his flesh, and he says: 'The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord'.
It's fascinating, and I would say it's mind-boggling to the flesh and to carnality. You have to see it in the Spirit, you have to see that there is a God behind these men and women. If you're not saved today, that's the only explanation - it doesn't make sense! Unless there's a God, unless there's a Holy Spirit in the life of these men and these women, unless God was on their side they would perish! During the horrors of the Thirty Years War a man called Pastor Martin Rinkart served his people in the province of Saxony. I thought I was bad, but this man conducted as many as 40 funerals a day. We're told that over the space of his ministry he conducted a total of 4000 funerals in all of the Thirty Years War. A devastating experience - and anybody that preaches knows that when you preach at a funeral, and when you try and comfort those who are mourning, you take a bit of that home with you, you don't leave it there. When you're praying for them, and when you're preaching with them, you take some of that burden. This man took 40 burdens a day, 4000 over his life! Out of that devastating experience he wrote a table grace, something that you would give thanks at the table with, for his children. We have sung it already today, do you know what he wrote?
'Now thank we all our God,
With heart, and hand, and voices.
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom His world rejoices'.
That's a man in the middle of absolute turmoil, and he can rejoice, he can bless God! Now how is that possible? Because he knew his God, that's how it's possible. Who was his God? Verse 3: 'The Father of mercies, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ' - don't miss that, whatever you do, because that's why He's the Father of mercies, because He's the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that what Paul, perhaps, has in mind at this moment is what he said in Romans chapter 8:32, this God, this Father of mercies is 'He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?'. Do you see what he's saying? This Father of mercies that is your God, if you're saved, listen: don't worry! This is the God that sent His Son from glory into earth, this is the God that sent the Lord Jesus Christ into human flesh and allowed Him to live the life of a pauper, and allowed Him to be pinned to a piece of wood and be rebuked and blasphemed, and be mocked and spat upon. This is the God that poured upon Him all His wrath, in order that you would be free, in order that you would be cleansed and forgiven. 'Wait till I tell you', Paul says, 'if that is what God has done for you then, what will He do for you now?'. Shall He not give you everything? In fact, I would say Paul is saying He has given you everything!
Oh, what a Father of mercies. You know, in Judaism that expression 'Father of' speaks of the originator of it, not simply just a family relationship. When the Lord Jesus talks about the devil as 'the Father of lies', He's talking about him as the author and originator of lies. What the Lord is saying here through His word is that the Father of compassions is the originator of all compassion. That's why David could say: 'Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever', why? Because the Lord was his shepherd, the Father of mercies.
How can you praise God in the midst of such disaster? Because He's the God of all comfort. Oh, my friend, I don't want to say anything more if you've missed this, because this is what God has impressed upon my heart. God is the God of all comfort to you. I don't care who you are, I know nothing about you, but I can say that because God's word says it! Because Paul, who went through a lot more than what you're going through at this moment in time, he could say it, he could praise God in the midst of pain because God was a God of all comfort. In verses 1 to 11, about ten times you find this word 'comfort'.
Now there are two things that the Bible speaks of God having a monopoly of. The first is that God is the God of all grace. Now we know, if we're saved, that that's wonderful. You know that, don't you? You came to a point in your life - and if you haven't, you have to - where you can't get help anywhere, or any help you can get is only fleeting for a moment. You realise that there's nothing that you can do to save your soul, you realise you can't get to heaven through going to church, through being confirmed or baptised, or through being moral or something like that. You say, as the hymnwriter:
'Nothing in my hands I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling.
Naked come to Thee for dress,
Weary come to Thee for rest.
Foul I to the fountain fly,
Wash me Saviour or I die'.
In other words: 'If You don't save me, there's no hope for me!' - that's the God of all grace. What does it mean? If you're to get grace you have to go to God to get it, that's the only place to get grace. He has a monopoly of grace, but here's the second thing: He has a monopoly of comfort. Do you see the parallel? God is the God of all comfort, all the comfort you need. The same way as if you're seeking to be saved you go to the God of all grace; if you're seeking to be comforted, if your heart is broken, if you're burdened down with trial, you go to only one place - the God of all comfort.
Now think of what we do, what do we do? Whenever we suffer a great loss, maybe it's a husband, or a wife, or a family member, we say to ourselves in our moments of contemplation: 'If only, if only he didn't die. If only she didn't leave me. If only the child didn't run out on the road. If only I didn't lose my job'. It's all 'if only, if only, if only' - and what that presupposes in our mind is, we're saying psychologically, subconsciously: 'If I had that person back, if I had these things back in my life, I would be comforted'. But God is saying: 'I am the God of all comfort, my child. If you are to be comforted don't be 'if onlying', come to Me for I am the place where you find comfort. Just as you can't find salvation in any other save in me, you're not going to find comfort in any other way'. You're not going to find it reminiscing, you're not going to find it wishing that God had another plan for your life, you'll only find it in the God of all comfort.
That word 'comfort' is the word 'paraklete' (sp?) that you get in John chapter 14, and it's simply a picture of one who comes alongside to help. A beautiful picture of it, I think, is the little old lady standing at the side of the road, and a big strong man comes along and takes her by the arm and helps her across. One who comes alongside to help - and it doesn't mean 'comfort' as we think of it, like the stuff you put in the washing machine and it's soft and it's easy, and it speaks to us of sympathy and luxury, that's not what the New Testament means when it talks of comfort. It's the combination of two Latin words to mean 'strength', that's what it means! A sympathetic strength, for sympathy can weaken us, can't it? Sympathy can weaken us: you get a pat on the head and told to go on, but God doesn't help you - that's not comfort is it? Comfort is when God sympathises with you, but God actually gives you the strength that you need.
Paul is saying: 'In the midst of my trials, in the midst of my burdens, God came into the middle of them and God strengthened me to such an extent that I was enabled to praise God'. Oh, that's wonderful. The disciples looked at the Lord Jesus as He sat with them in the Upper Room, and they said: 'This is it, He's telling us He's going to die. What's this all about? We thought that He would be the one that would deliver us. We thought He would be the one that would free us. We thought He would be the one who would lead us into that promised kingdom of blessing and power upon the earth, but He says He's going! Our security is going!'. Have you ever been in that experience? Where someone, or something, or some place, or some circumstance in your life was going, and you were just longing to hold onto it. 'It's going, it's going, and I can't stand it', and death comes into your heart and you despair of living. 'If that goes from me, or that person disappears, I can't go on'.
That's the way the disciples were, and do you know what the Lord Jesus said to them? 'If I go I will come again', that's wonderful, but we're still waiting on Him coming again. That's not much good for tomorrow, 'but if I go I will send another comforter'. 'I have strengthened you', He's saying, 'but if I go your strength will go, but I'll not leave you an orphan. I will come to you and I will strengthen you, I will send another comforter, the Holy Spirit'.
Now look, I want to spend just a bit of time, because this is the phrase that has gripped hold of my heart. You need the comfort of forgiveness, that's what you need. The God of all comfort is a God who can give you forgiveness. You're not saved, you've come into this gathering, I know nothing about you - who you are, or what you've done, or what you live like - but I don't care, because it doesn't matter, because we all need forgiveness. We all need the guilt of sin to be blotted out, we all need it whether a believer or an unbeliever. You can live with the guilt of sin as a believer, if you're hiding your sin and it's not confessed - but, oh what a wonder to have the God of all comfort, to have a God who we can come to. John the apostle says: 'If any man sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous'. Do you know what that 'advocate' means? It's the same meaning as you find in John chapter 14 when the Lord says: 'I'll send another comforter to you. I'll send another advocate. I'll send one who will strengthen you, one who will represent you'.
You know, when you read in the Gospels you read of a wee woman - for 12 years she had run to the doctor, she had run to family I'm sure, she had run maybe to the synagogue praying and fasting, asking help for she had this issue of blood and it ran like a waterfall all through her life, there was nothing that she could do to stop it. There was one day, do you know what happened to her? I'll tell you: there was no exit. She despaired of this thing! Her back was against the wall, no-one could help her. She pushed into the middle of a crowd, and Jesus Christ the Great Healer and Physician was there - and she reached out and she touched the hem of His garment. Do you know what the Lord said to her? 'Daughter, be of good comfort, thy faith hath made thee whole'.
Do you have that comfort? Do you have the comfort of sins forgiven? Do you have the comfort of peace with God, and a relationship with God as your Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour and your Master? Oh, I say to you today: there is nothing, nothing like the comfort of divine forgiveness - nothing to touch it! Oh, that you would taste and see that this is good! Oh, you're searching for something, your life has been empty, there's no peace, there's no joy, you can't get satisfaction in your life - and the reason is God wants you to find satisfaction in Him, because He is the God of all comfort! He is the only one in whom comfort can be found.
He said to old Israel in Isaiah chapter 40: 'Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins'. Do you know what that means? 'Comfort ye, comfort ye Israel, for God's going to forgive you - and when He forgives you He'll give you double forgiveness for all your sin'. Oh, I love that song, that gospel song that's often sung on Sunday evenings:
'Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that is greater than all my sin!'
Greater! Whatever your sin is, the God of all comfort can meet your need. But you need the comfort of the indwelling presence of Christ for your trial as well as your sin. We all know that as believers, that it's not just about being forgiven - and there's this myth that once you're forgiven and become saved, that everything is going to be alright. It's not going to be alright. Oh yes, it'll be alright in eternity and you'll have a joy and a peace that you never had before, and you'll have life abundant - but let me tell you this: you'll now be on the devil's hit list! Things don't get easy when you become a Christian, your sins - oh, they're away, and they're the hardest thing to bear; for the transgression, it's hard - but, my friend, we go through trials like other human beings. And let me tell you this: some of us go through more than other human beings.
I want to leave you with a verse, and I want you to turn to it because it's so wonderful that I want your eyes to be fixed on it and your heart to get it - Isaiah 66 and verse 13. Now, before you read it: if you are hurting today, if you need comfort, grab hold of this verse - verse 13: 'As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem'. Do you see that word 'comfort'? 'As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you', do you know what it really means? The root meaning of that that word is 'to sigh', to sigh. 'As one whom his mother sighs with, so I the Lord will sigh with you' - now that's comfort! You remember when you were a wee lad or a wee girl, you were running too quickly for the ground under you, and you tripped. You scratched your knee and the blood was trickling down, you thought it needed amputation, and you ran to your mother. Your mother lifted you up onto her knee, and she just went: 'Och, now, now, it'll be alright'. That's what this verse is saying - 'As you sigh, I'll sigh with you. As a mother sighs with her child, I the Lord will sigh with you'. Like a mother's open arms and her kisses make the knee better of a broken, bruised child; God can take you in His arms like a mother, and nurse you, and tell you it's alright! What a help! What a help!
I don't know how people believe that God is some kind of distant, untouched, indifferent spectator of life. 'From a distance God is watching us', have you ever heard such nonsense in all your life? 'From a distance everything's in harmony' - is it? It's not in harmony to God, it breaks God's heart! Your pain, God is empathising with it. Let me show you another verse, I want to take time on this and then we'll finish, and I'll carry it on next week. Isaiah 51 and verse 3: 'The Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody'. How is God going to comfort Zion? He says the waste places, God will make the wilderness of your life into the garden of Eden! The garden of Eden was luscious, it was well watered in the great plain that it was in, it was sustained, it was fed, it was blessed. It had the beauty of the anointing of communion of God in it, and the fellowship, and Adam could walk with God in the garden. There they were together, and that is what God wants to give to you my friend - whether you're saved or not, God wants to come into your wilderness, into your barrenness, into your brokenness, and He wants to make Eden. Oh, He wants to hear the voice of thanksgiving in your life again, He wants to hear the voice of melody. As He says in verse 12 of this chapter, if you look down at it: 'I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass'. What are you afraid of? What are you afraid of, man? Woman, what are you afraid of? God is your God, and He is the God who comforts!
I don't know your problem. Are you crippled with pains? Do you have an illness that you carry about in your body and it weighs down your mind? Maybe you have experienced a great loss in your life that has left a black hole in your heart, an aching void that you think nothing can replace. Child of God, listen: the Father of mercies, and the God of all compassion, is looking down today and He is sighing with you. He is saying in your affliction: 'I am afflicted', that's what He's saying. He's saying: 'Look up, for you have one in glory who is not a High Priest who can't be touched with the feelings of your infirmities, but He, the Lord Jesus, was in all points tested like as we are apart from sin'. Now, if you're in your sin and your sin's causing you trouble, you needn't seek the comforting of God, you need repentance and you need to be done with it. But trials that you're going through now, tribulations that are apart from sin, the Lord Jesus has walked that road before you.
You see, we labour on Christ's death - and that's only right that we should do so, but let me tell you this: Christ's life was equally as important. For God sent Christ to this earth to live a life of righteousness, to go through temptation, to go through testing, to go through trials and tribulation, to come through it that we might look to Him and have the power to go through it too! Oh, my friend, you name the pain or the loss or the grief that you feel at this moment, and I will promise you that Christ endured it infinitely more than you could ever do. You even look at the Gospels, He stood at the grave of a best friend and He wept. He knew what the emptiness of desertion was, in the home His family laughed at Him, they thought that He was mad. He went through life taking on the chin the blows of abuse and ridicule from His neighbours, and from His countrymen, and His family and friends. But, oh, that I would direct your eyes to Calvary today as we close our meeting - to see the loneliness of Calvary's dark forsaken hours! There's nothing that you could go through that is like that! But He came through it, and do you know what He says to you today in verse 4? As the one who came through Calvary rose and ascended for you, listen: 'I am the one who comforts you in all your tribulation'. That word 'tribulation', do you know what it means? It means what we began our meeting with today: 'crushing pressure'. In all of Paul's life and ministry he had crushing pressure, but in all of his life he had the God of all comfort. Hallelujah, what a Saviour He is.
Let's bow our heads together. I know that with many of you there are hurts and pains that are deep wounds in your heart. But whether you're saved or not there's one thing you're going to have to do, you're going to have to let go of it. What we can do is we can make pets out of our hurts and our pains, and we find that when we go to let go of it we can't because we're that used to it. It becomes a crutch to us, or maybe even a god. My friend, whatever you're going through, even if you have to go through it the Lord wants you to let go of it and surrender it to Him - for He is the God of all comfort. Sinner, will you surrender your sin this morning and take the cleansing that is in the precious blood of Christ? Christian, will you let go and let your High Priest comfort you and carry you?
Oh, Father, thank you for the Lord Jesus, thank you for such a Saviour. We thank you that He meets all our needs. Lord, we pray that He will made every need in this place today, to His glory. Amen.
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the first tape in his 'The God Of All Comfort' series, titled "The God Of All Comfort" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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