COMFORT IN TRIBULATION
2 Corinthians 1:3 ¶ Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 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. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. 6 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.
2 Corinthians 1:7 ¶ And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.
One of the amazing things concerning the Apostle Paul is the instruction the Lord gave to Ananias regarding the emphasis of Paul’s ministry. Here are the Lord’s words as recorded in Acts 9:15, 16: “Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”
Because of the Lord’s assignment of suffering to the Apostle Paul, we have these wonderful, encouraging words of our text. And his sufferings point us all back to our Lord Jesus as our example to follow in the heartaches, trials, and reverses exacted on the believer. Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
For it is the earmark of every true believer to enter into the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings. Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. 1 Thessalonians 1:3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; 4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. 5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. 6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: 7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.
And the Hebrew believers were encouraged to endure to the end after their submission to their afflictions had assured them of their spiritual standing with the Lord. Hebrews 10:32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; 33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. 34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. 35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. 36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
In writing the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the Apostle John identified himself to the church as a “companion in tribulation.” Revelation 1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
And in our text the Apostle Paul reveals to us that the way believers are trained to comfort others going through soul tribulations is by the experience of their own. For in each believers own tribulations they are attended by the comfort of the very God of all comfort. Then we must take careful notice of the two phrases in our 2 Corinthians 1:7 verse. Those phrases are, “THE sufferings,” and “THE consolation.” For the specific, personal sufferings of every believer are attended by the specific comfort and consolations of the Holy Spirit. Both of these are provided for every believer throughout the world! They are those ordained, but limited sufferings which God carefully prescribes to each of his children. 1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Remember our previously quoted Hebrews 12:6 verse: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. It is an evident token of the Lord’s love for each one personally.
Let us also take note of the Apostle Peter’s experiential instructions concerning our tribulations. He addresses the most difficult trial of “suffering wrongfully.” None can endure such a tribulation without the example of our Lord before our eyes, and without the Holy Spirit’s enablement within our hearts.
1 Peter 2:18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
But, as he concludes, this type of tribulation is that which is acceptable with God. For it not only draws God’s attention to us, but also draws the Spirit’s comforting enablements for us. For no present trial can be anything but grievous to our souls. And without the Spirit’s purpose and the Lord’s example they could not be endured. Hebrews 12:9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. 12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.
And again, we take notice in those verses twelve and thirteen, (just quoted), that others are to be considered, as tribulation endurance is a strong example for fellow believers. For in 1 Peter 2:21 we read that we were “called” to endure tribulation by following Christ as our example of the Perfect Sufferer. Therefore we also are examples to younger believers in their tribulations, offering “the consolation” which the Spirit provided us in “the sufferings” which we endured. Therefore the continued gospel pathway of the church goes “from faith to faith.” Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
And the Apostle Peter also believed it necessary to continue to remind the church of these matters again in this same letter. 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. 16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. 17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? 19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
I would not think these verses required any extensive comments, as they are glorious in themselves, as we meditate carefully upon their content. For even “fiery trials” are not strange for the believers. They are positive proofs of our salvation. Therefore we can rejoice that being in fellowship with His sufferings, we have the spirit of God’s glory to rest upon us. And that nineteenth verse is a most precious assurance of God’s tender care of ourselves personally.
Remember one is considered “Blessed” who “mourns.” For he has the promise of the Lord Jesus Himself, “they shall be comforted.” (Matt. 5:4) And those who experience hunger and thirst “shall be filled.” (Matt. 5:6) And it is those who show mercy to others who obtain mercy from the Lord. Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Consider the Apostle Paul’s experiential knowledge into the mystery of these great matters of suffering tribulation. 2 Corinthians 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
He begins this passage by stating a most needful fact: We are still in fleshly bodies, with fleshly influences derived from them. 2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. Therefore, in the flesh we are aware of the trouble. But in the heavenly treasure (the indwelling Holy Spirit), we are “not in despair.” In the fleshly man, our “earthen vessel,” we feel the persecution. But in our heavenly treasure, we know we are “not forsaken.” We, therefore, always bear about in our earthen vessel the awareness of the daily dying required in being in the Lord Jesus. But we are made aware that it is so in order that Jesus may be seen to live our lives in us. We must make sure that our old, natural man does never manifest himself, in order that only the Lord Jesus may be seen to live in and through us.
One of the hardest verses which the suffering believer may have presented to them in the time of their tribulation is Isaiah 53:10. For in that they learn that it is the Father’s pleasure to bruise them. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Isaiah 53:11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
For these matters of personal mortification (dying to the influences of the natural man) please the Father! It was the Father who “put him to grief.” It was not the Jews. That would have only been an assassination, and there would have been no atoning value in that! It was not the Romans. That would have only been an execution, and again, nothing of atonement for sin in that! It was the Father, for it was a sacrifice, which alone could atone for all the sins of all the Lord’s people throughout the world! 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. Colossians 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
God did use the “wicked hands” of both the Romans and the Jews. But it was only by his own determinate counsel! Therefore it was only God who could raise him up! Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
Pastor Gene Breed
June 03, 2020