TEEN TREE         OF LIFE

The God of All Comfort - Part 3

September 11, 2022

 

Before you begin, ask yourself a very important question: Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins? If you answered yes, you will need to be sure that you are filled with The Holy Spirit. How do you do this? You name your sins to God The Father in His Son’s Name. This is called Rebound. As a Christian, you must rebound any time you sin. This is taught in 1 JOH 1:9: If we confess [name] our sins [directly to God], He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins andto cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now, if you have never believed that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins, all you have to do is say to yourself that you believe in Him and you are saved! The Bible verse which teaches us this is ACTS 16:31: “Believe on The Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

 

As we experience and recognize God’s Comfort (which includes His Encouragement and Consolation), we will then be able to help others who may be going through something similar. Our own confidence in God, born out of those experiences, becomes an encouragement to them to stand firm and endure in the midst of their own testing of faith. This is described in JAM 1:2-4 (New International Reader’s Version): My brothers and sisters, you will face all kinds of trouble. When you do, think of it as pure joy. Your faith will be tested. You know that when this happens it will produce in you the strength to continue. And you must allow this strength to finish its work. Then you will be all you should be. You will have everything you need. In the same manner, the consolation we have received we can extend to them. Our arms and hands become The Arms and Hands of The Lord in giving practical emotional and physical support.

 

Now let’s look at practical application of these truths in how we should comfort one another. That must begin with the fundamental truth that God’s Love has been demonstrated for all time and eternity in such a way that it cannot be questioned even when we are confused or feel God is far away and that we are abandoned. How we feel is brought back to reality by this truth.

 

As a teenager with little life experience, confusion, and feelings of being abandoned by God may easily find their way into your life. That’s why being strong in faith by developing The Mind of Christ is so important. The more faith you have, the easier life’s trials will be and the more you will be able to help those around you who are going through difficult times.

 

Look at what the apostle Paul wrote in ROM 5:1–11 (New International Reader’s Version): We have been made right with God because of our faith. Now we have peace with him because of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through faith in Jesus we have received God’s grace. In that grace we stand. We are full of joy because we expect to share in God’s glory. And that’s not all. We are full of joy even when we suffer. We know that our suffering gives us the strength to go on. The strength to go on produces character. Character produces hope. And hope will never bring us shame. That’s because God’s love has been poured into our hearts. This happened through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. At just the right time Christ died for ungodly people. He died for us when we had no power of our own. It is unusual for anyone to die for a godly person. Maybe someone would be willing to die for a good person. But here is how God has shown his love for us. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. The blood of Christ has made us right with God. So we are even more sure that Jesus will save us from God’s anger. Once we were God’s enemies. But we have been brought back to him because his Son has died for us. Now that God has brought us back, we are even more secure. We know that we will be saved because Christ lives. And that is not all. We are full of joy in God because of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of him, God has brought us back to himself.

 

The key truth here is in these two sentences: But here is how God has shown his love for us. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God didn’t do this because there was anything good or worthy in us, because there wasn’t. We were ungodly, an enemy of God, and dead in our trespasses and sin as we learn in EPH 2:1 (New International Reader’s Version): You were living in your sins and lawless ways. But in fact you were dead.

 

Jesus Christ died for us because of His Own Great Love, exhibiting His Mercy and Grace. His proven love at The Cross gives confident assurance of the future. This is the definition of hope. Where there is hope to hold onto, your character can be proven as one who trusts God. Where there is trust in God, you can persevere in the midst of tribulation. When you can persevere in tribulation, you can rejoice even in those trials knowing that the end is already determined. You are saved by Jesus Christ’s Life, reconciled with God, and destined for Heaven. With this as an anchor, we can comfort those in need and help them overcome whatever fear of the future they may have.

 

Now we’ll look at some practical examples of our hope in Christ and how to bring practical comfort to others. Death: there are two areas in which comfort is needed when death calls. In general, the closer the relationship the person has to the deceased, the more they will need comfort. First is the grief felt over the loss of being able to experience life with the deceased. That grief is real – even for believers – because we miss the one that has departed from this life. The difference for believers is the Promises of God concerning death. First, a true Christian that dies is now absent from the body but at home with The Lord. Second, when Jesus Christs returns for His Church at the Rapture, the bodies of the deceased will be resurrected while those still alive will be transformed, and all believers will be caught up to meet Him in the air to be with Him forever! This is taught in 1 THESS 4:13-17 (New International Reader’s Version): Brothers and sisters, we want you to know what happens to those who die. We don’t want you to mourn, as other people do. They mourn because they don’t have any hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again. When he returns, many who believe in him will have died already. We believe that God will bring them back with Jesus. This agrees with what the Lord has said. When the Lord comes, many of us will still be alive. We tell you that we will certainly not go up before those who have died. The Lord himself will come down from heaven. We will hear a loud command. We will hear the voice of the leader of the angels. We will hear a blast from God’s trumpet. Many who believe in Christ will have died already. They will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them. We will be taken up in the clouds. We will meet the Lord in the air. And we will be with him forever. In 1 THESS 4:18 (New International Reader’s Version) we’re told specifically to comfort one another with this truth: So encourage one another with these words of comfort.

 

If the deceased is not a Christian or if it’s uncertain, we are comforted by God’s Character because He is not only Holy and Just, but also Loving. We are consoled knowing that God Himself will wipe away our tears: He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death. (Isaiah 25:8) And there will be no more sadness. There will be no more crying or pain. (REV 21:4 New International Reader’s Version)

 

There is also the fear of death for those who are facing their own mortality. For Christians, comfort comes from simple reminders of God’s Promises of Eternal Life and what Heaven will be like. For non-Christians, hope can be given with The Gospel of Jesus Christ. JOH 14:1-3 (New International Reader’s Version) is a perfect example of a Gospel Verse to share with those who are fearing death: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God. Believe in me also. There are many rooms in my Father’s house. If this were not true, would I have told you that I am going there? Would I have told you that I would prepare a place for you there? If I go and do that, I will come back. And I will take you to be with me. Then you will also be where I am.”

 

Those are all encouragements, but what about consolation? We console one another by showing empathy to those who are grieving. In practical terms, depending on the closeness of the relationship, it is simply being with the one grieving. You don’t have to even say anything. Your presence, a hug, holding their hand, and perhaps even weeping with them is an expression that you care and are there for them.

 

Even Job’s friends started off well by simply sitting with him for seven days. Look at JOB 2:11-13 (The Message Bible): Three of Job’s friends heard of all the trouble that had fallen on him. Each traveled from his own country—Eliphaz from Teman, Bildad from Shuhah, Zophar from Naamath—and went together to Job to keep him company and comfort him. When they first caught sight of him, they couldn’t believe what they saw—they hardly recognized him! They cried out in lament, ripped their robes, and dumped dirt on their heads as a sign of their grief. Then they sat with him on the ground. Seven days and nights they sat there without saying a word. They could see how rotten he felt, how deeply he was suffering. Their problem was that they became afraid that what happened to Job could happen to them, so they became desperate to find some flaw in Job and began attacking him instead of admitting their own confusion and lamenting.

 

If you are not as close or not sure of what to do, a simple phone call, message or note of some kind will do. It will help them to know that you would like to come and be there with them if they are up to it. At minimum, express your own sorrow and tell them that you are praying for them. Sending flowers in our culture is an act of kindness, as is bringing over food to help feed the mourners that may be gathering and making sure those grieving will eat since they will not feel like it and may easily neglect to take care of themselves. Other acts of practical service can also be meaningful, but that will vary according to your own spiritual gifts and how close you are or would like to be with those grieving.

{to be continued}

 

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