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Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, a Baptist minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.
However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.
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DOES ANYONE CARE?
August 3, 2014
SCRIPTURE: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11
INSIGHT FROM THE BIBLE: The following is a summary of chapters 1 and 2. This will be our Bible study for the next two Sundays.
· Paul’s vulnerability and openness are stunning, especially in view of the fact that he writes to a church where many openly oppose him.
After a brief salutation (2 Corinthians 1:1-2), Paul praises God for providing comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-7). The great apostle freely shares moments when he felt desperate and depressed (2 Corinthians 1:8-11).
· Paul also carefully explains the reasons for a delay in making a planned visit to Corinth (2 Corinthians 1:12-2:4).
One very positive consequence of Paul’s first letter to the church is the repentance of the brother there that was engaging in immorality (1 Corinthians 5:1-8). The Corinthians had followed Paul’s instructions and put the sinner out of the fellowship.
· Paul now urges them to show compassion and welcome him back (2 Corinthians 2:5-11).
With continuing humility Paul expresses again his own sense of personal inadequacy, for he is the agent of a Gospel with life and death impact (2 Corinthians 2:12-16). How could Paul trivialize such a Gospel by peddling God’s Word for profit, or failing to be utterly honest and sincere? (2 Corinthians 2:17).
INTRODUCTION: Few chapters in the New Testament reveal the heart of the Apostle Paul as does this one. We have here the great apostle admitting his failings and fears as he reveals the sufferings he had endured. The problem of pain has always puzzled thinking people. “Why must the righteous suffer?” is a question that is found in Scripture from the Book of Job to the Book of Revelation. In 2 Corinthians 1 (as Paul describes his personal experiences) he gives us the reasons why God permits His people to suffer.
I. SHARING SUFFERING AND COMFORT. (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)
A. We serve the God of all comfort.
(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;
The word “comfort” is used ten times in 2 Corinthians 1:1-7 (“consolation” in 5, 6, and 7) and literally means “to call to one’s side.” It is the same word Christ used in John 14:16 for the Holy Spirit, the Comforter (Paraclete).
What a blessing it is to know that the Lord stands at our side to help whenever we go through troubles. Every member of the Trinity is a comforter: God the Father (2 Corinthians 1:3), and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit (John 14:16). Our God is the God of all comfort, just as He is the God of all grace (1 Peter 5:10). We find comfort and grace for every situation!
The comfort that we receive from the Lord is not simply for our personal benefit; it is shared with us so that we might be able to help others. The Apostle Paul went through suffering so that he might be able to minister to others. The Lord prepares us for what He is preparing for us.
B. We have a sure comforter in times of trouble.
(2Corinthians 1:4) 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.
It is a very wonderful thing that we have a God who can comfort us in all our troubles. It is one thing to have comfort when the sun is shining and with someone patting us on the back. But, my friend, what we really need is comfort in the time of trouble.
We will see that Paul experienced that kind of comfort in his time of trouble. You see, we need the assurance of the presence of God in all the circumstances of life -- in the area of our greatest need, in our loneliness, in the desperate hour of life.
Christianity is just a theory to many people. It is merely a profession; it is like a garment to be put on for special occasions and then wear lightly. It is a stagnant ritual and an empty vocabulary. My friend, may I say to you that the proof of Christianity is how it walks in shoe leather. It wasn’t just a theory to the apostle Paul.
C. We have a godly example to follow.
(2Corinthians 1:5-7) 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.
Our God is the “God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3), and He will give you the grace you need at the appropriate time. As one man said, “Sufferings are not accidents; they are divine appointments, and your Father is in complete control.” We will find comfort in praying, in trusting the promises of the Bible (2 Corinthians 1:18–20), and in having deeper fellowship with our Lord.
We will find that Paul is going to talk a great deal about the trouble he had and was presently having and of God’s comfort through it all. While trying to serve the Lord, the Apostle Paul experienced suffering so severe that he was almost ready to give up (2 Corinthians 1:8–9).
The Lord does not hide His people from trials, not even gifted apostles who are doing God’s will. “Be kind,” one preacher has said, “for everyone you meet is fighting a battle.”
A Call To Comfort
By David C. McCasland
In their book Dear Mrs. Kennedy, Jay Mulvaney and Paul De Angelis note that during the weeks following the assassination of US President John Kennedy, his widow, Jacqueline, received nearly one million letters from people in every part of the world. Some came from heads of state, celebrities, and close friends. Others were sent by ordinary people who addressed them to “Madame Kennedy, Washington” and “Mrs. President, America.” All wrote to express their grief and sympathy for her great loss.
When people suffer and we long to help, it’s good to recall Paul’s word-picture of “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” as “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3). Our heavenly Father is the ultimate source of every tender mercy, kind word, and helpful act that brings encouragement and healing. Bible scholar W. E. Vine says that paraklesis -- the Greek word translated “comfort” -- means “a calling to one’s side.” The words comfort and consolation appear repeatedly in today’s Bible reading as a reminder that the Lord holds us close and invites us to cling to Him.
As the Lord wraps His loving arms around us, we are able to embrace others “with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:4).
thank You for letting us share with You
our worries and cares. We’re grateful that You
stand beside us to comfort and guide. Help us
to console others as You look out for Your own.
-- By David C. McCasland, Our Daily Bread, May 26, 2014
II. COMFORT AMIDST PERSECUTION. (2 Corinthians 1:8-11)
A. Comfort comes from trusting the Lord.
(2 Corinthians 1:8-9) 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:
It takes a great person to admit failure. The Apostle Paul bares his heart here and shares with the fellow Christians the troubles he endured in Asia. Paul wrote this not to win their sympathy, but to teach them the lesson he learned: trust the Lord alone.
We are not positive as to what trouble the apostle is referring to; probably it involved the riot in Ephesus (See, Acts 19:23-41 and 1 Corinthians 15:32) as well as the sad news of the troubles in the Corinthian church. In 2 Corinthians 7:5 said that he faced conflict from every direction, with battles on the outside and fear on the inside.
B. Comfort comes from an Almighty God.
(2 Corinthians 1:10) Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;
Whatever these troubles were, they were sufficient to crush the apostle and cause him to pass sentence on his life! He lost hope even of life itself! (It’s comforting to know that even the great saints of the Lord are still made of clay!) But the apostle learned the lesson the Lord had for him: he would not trust himself, but God alone. Take notice of the three tenses of the believer’s deliverance in 2 Corinthians 1:10, and compare it to Titus 2:11-15.
(2 Corinthians 1:10) Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;
(Titus 2:11-15) For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
Yet, Paul is swift to acknowledge the helpful prayer of his friends (2 Corinthians 1:11). The apostle states that his deliverance in answer to prayer will cause many to praise the Lord and give Him the glory that God deserves.
C. Comfort comes by living to please the Lord.
(2 Corinthians 1:11) 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 have come a long way in our Christian lives when we learn to put faith in the Lord alone and not in men, circumstances, or self.
Abraham took Lot with him, and his nephew left for Sodom.
Moses depended on Aaron’s help, and Aaron led the people into sin.
David’s skilled advisers deserted him.
Even the disciples forsook Jesus and fled!
The Christian who fears God and lives to please Him enjoys peace and confidence even in the middle of trouble. What a lesson to learn!
Precious Lord, Take My Hand
Thomas A. Dorsey knew what it meant to find God's presence even in the worst of times. Dorsey is the composer of the world's best-known Gospel song -- just one week after he experienced two personal tragedies.
In August 1932, Dorsey was scheduled to be the feature soloist at religious services in St. Louis. Because his wife Nettie was pregnant, Dorsey had reservations about leaving her behind. "Something was strongly telling me to stay," he recalls. Yet, commitments had been made and he knew people in St. Louis would be disappointed if he canceled. So Tom Dorsey left for the revival service. During the performance the next night in the steaming St. Louis heat, a messenger from Western Union approached Dorsey on the stage with a telegram. Puzzled, Dorsey opened the envelope and read the four devastating words: "Your wife just died." He rushed to a phone and called home, only to hear it confirmed: "Nettie is dead."
Dorsey quickly returned to Chicago. There he learned that just before his wife died she had given birth to a boy. Later that night, the baby died. Dorsey now had to deal with two losses, two funerals. "I buried Nettie and our boy in the same casket," he says. "Then I fell apart."
During this painful time, one of Dorsey's friends made arrangements for him to use a local music school's piano. There, alone with his thoughts and a piano, Dorsey describes what happened: "I sat down at the piano and my hands began to browse over the keys. Then something happened. I felt as though I could reach out and touch God. I found myself playing a melody, one I'd never heard or played before, and words came into my head -- they just seemed to fall into place: `Precious Lord, take my hand,/Lead me on, let me stand,/I am tired, I am weak, I am worn,/ Through the storm, through the night/Lead me on to the light,/Take my hand, precious Lord,/Lead me home.'"
Dorsey would recover from his losses. He would go on to write and compose more than 400 Gospel songs, including, "We Will Meet Him in the Sweet By and By," "Stand By Me," and "There'll Be Peace." But it was "Precious Lord" that established Tom Dorsey as the architect of Gospel music, and it endeared him to people around the globe. Tom Dorsey knew that God was with him -- even in the worst of times. – Pastor Jeffery Richards (Sr. Pastor at First Baptist Church of Potosi, Mo since June 2001), SermonCentral.com
CONCLUSION: The Lord’s comfort is not given; it is loaned, and we are expected to pass it on to others. The pain we experience now will help us encourage others in their trials. When we suffer, we must avoid self-pity, for self-pity will make us a reservoir instead of a channel. If we fail to share the Lord’s comfort with others, our experience of trials in the furnace will be wasted; and it is a tragic thing to waste our sufferings.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort." (2 Corinthians 1:3)
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “God comforts us so that we can comfort others.”
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REFERENCES: References used in the Bible study are the King James Bible (KJV), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network ( www.ttb.org ), Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, selected illustrations, and other references.
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