Power in Weakness Series – Part 1

God’s Comfort Through Our Pain

Preached by Andrew Smellie, February 3, 2008

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Communion Shared by Pedro and Deb Ramirez, February 3, 2008

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God can rescue anyone willing to come into the light!

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“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” – C.S. Lewis

We are all in such great need for God’s love, forgiveness and patience; however, many people do not see their need to be saved, and therefore forfeit the grace that could be theirs! Lifeguards have said that unless a person wants to be saved or allows themselves to be saved, it is almost impossible to rescue them!

As we study out the theme “Power in Weakness” in 2 Corinthians, we see Paul’s vulnerability in how he shares his innermost struggles, shortcomings and sorrows. This took great faith because no small part of his sorrows were actually caused by the Corinthians own refusal to trust that God was working in Paul’s ministry–therefore, they held back their hearts from Paul and others, not wanting to feel the pain of relational conflict or the pain stemming from their own unrepentant hearts.

What courage Paul showed as he laid his heart bare before the struggling and oft critical disciples–but even more inspiring is the total faith he had in how God would help them to return wholeheartedly and bring them all together to be with Him in heaven one day. (2 Corinthians 1:7, 21-22; 2 Corinthians 2:3, 14-15; 2 Corinthians 4:13-15) None of this reconciliation would have been possible if not for Paul’s shining example of relying on God’s power in his weakness and pain. We have so much to imitate in this brother’s life!

Well, God has worked powerfully in our dear friend, Maoti Gborkorquellie’s life recently, to rescue him from the darkness of hypocrisy and deceit. After almost a year of trying to find the peace of God without fully coming into the light with some areas of his life when he first made the decision to be a disciple of Jesus, Maoti made the courageous decision to get honest, get open and get right with his God! Instead of pleasing men and trying to act the part, he has decided to fight the real fight of faith and trust in God’s unconditional kindness that He will continually purify him of ALL unrighteousness as he walks in the same light Jesus walked in. (1 John 1:5-7) Maoti’s full testimonial will be posted soon, but let’s all re-affirm our love for this brother, as we are not unaware of Satan’s schemes.

“God’s Comfort Through Our Pain”
Preached by Andrew Smellie on Sunday, February 3, 2008

2 Corinthians 1:3-8

1. Pain humbles you and causes you to acknowledge your weakness before God.
Question: Do you really see your need for God?
Question: Why does God allow you to experience pain in your life?

Ecclesiastes 3:20
• No matter how much technology is available nowadays, it is not going to stop death.
• God is a God of comfort for those who recognize their need for Him.
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” – C.S. Lewis
• If people do not see their need to be saved, then they cannot be saved.
• People are drowning because of the sinful lives that they are living, but in their pride they do not see their need for God.

Psalm 10:4
• The world experiences pain but instead of turning to God, they turn to selfishness.
• There are so many destructive things that people in the world turn to.
• Everyone is looking for comfort, but they are not looking for it from God.
• Drowning analogy:
-Spiritually, people are holding their spiritual breath thinking that they do not need faith in God until they start to choke on the sin of the world.
• As a disciple of Jesus Christ, you are called to be a spiritual lifeguard.
• God allows you to feel pain so that you wake up.
• Satan wants to dull you to sleep in the sin in your life.
• You need faith in His Word to stay alive.
• God humbles you to see your need for Him.
• You need to know the comfort that God will provide in your life.
• People do not want to deal with the pain.
• You got to deal with the pain.
• God wants to give you the comfort to endure.

Luke 22:42-44
Question: Do you think about that when you pray?
• Through your pain, God wants you to receive His comfort.
• Get connected to your God.
• God sends you pain to show you that despite your pride, you are not in control, He is.
• If you surrender your will to God, then He will give you the comfort that you need.

2. Pain can lead to either spiritual growth or worldly bitterness.
• To the world, suffering is a stumbling block.
• Without faith and trusting God, you can get hopeless, pessimistic and despondent.
• God allows pain to see where you are at spiritually.
• You may not be perfect, but if you stay focused when it counts, then you will win.

Philippians 3:12-21

Philippians 4:1
• Please God.
• If you get past the trials, then you will make it to the end.
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.” – Helen Keller
Question: What are you living for?

1 Peter 1:6-7
• You do not see how much a person loves you until you see the pain that he goes through.

Romans 5:3-7
• Without personal trials and suffering, you cannot grow spiritually.

Hebrews 12:7-11
• Pain trains you to be righteous.
“I hated every minute of training, but I said: ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’ ” – Muhammad Ali
• The rewards of suffering for God are eternal.
• The rewards of suffering for the world are temporary
Question: Are you fired up for Jesus’ dream to win the world?
Question: What is going to be your focus today?
• God’s agenda ought to be your agenda.
• Your spiritual maturity is exposed by what you are fired up about.
• Decide to live up to what God has called you to do.
• If you have bitterness in your heart, then it will eat at your heart.
Question: What does God have to do in your life to wake you up?
Question: What does God have to bring to your life to wake you up?
Question: Don’t you deceive yourself and end up with bitterness in your heart?
• You got to deal with your pain instead of stuffing it away.

3. Pain enables you to administer and to comfort others.
• God wants you to help someone else.
• God wants you to help others.
“Grief knits two hearts in closer bonds than happiness ever can, and common suffering is a far stronger link than common joy.” – Alphonse de Lamartine
Question: Are your bonds closer together than those in the world?
• You are in a spiritual war.
• There is no other suffering imaginable than giving your life to someone else.

Hebrews 2:9-18
• God does understand your pain.
• You exist by and you exist for God.
Question: Do you exist for God?
Question: How different would your reliance on God be if you saw your faith in God as your source of life?
• Jesus was glorified through suffering.
• Jesus had to suffer so that He could help those who suffer. (2 Corinthians 1:6-7)
• Your sin makes you deserve suffering.
Question: Why does suffering happen to you?
Question: Why do you sin?
• Jesus had no sin, but look at the way He responded to suffering.
• There is no reason to be bitter and angry with God.
• You need to be indignant about your sin.

4. Pain gets you from your agenda to God’s agenda.
2 Corinthians 1:8
• Paul felt like he was looking at the face of death.
• But it takes extremes to see your need for God.
• Experiences are giving you a conviction about what is important in life.
• God’s agenda is the only one that is eternal.
Question: What is God’s agenda?

Matthew 22:37-39

Matthew 28:18-20
Question: Is that your agenda?

Philippians 4:11-13
• Suffering or pain is the learning experience used to refine you.
• In Greek, the word worldly means the absence of spiritual thinking when making decisions.

James 4:4
• Suffering either makes you worldlier or more spiritual.
• Practical steps for dealing with pain.
i. Stop denying it and accept that you are hurt and that you need help.
ii. Do not try to deal with it yourself – confess your sin and let God and other people help you deal with it.
iii. Learn the lessons that God is trying to teach you.
iv. Forgive yourself and forgive others. Go a step further and forget it.