02/12/12 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
Leader: Pastor Biebert
Meeting Time: 8:00 AM & 10:15 AM
DON’T WASTE YOUR SADNESS
2 Corinthians 1:3-7
Second Corinthians is an intensely personal letter. In it Paul shares his inner feelings in an attempt to help his readers understand principles God wants us to use as we work with each other. This is important. Paul’s whole approach to God’s Work was to live among the members of a new group as a completely transparent man. He freely and openly expressed his motives, his feelings, his values—everything. Paul loved his converts so much that he readily shared with them not only the Gospel but his own self as well.
Why call the Almighty “the God and Father” of Jesus (1:3; John 20:17; Ephesians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3)?
To Jewish people, the phrase “father of” means “originator of.” Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44) because lies originated with him. God is the father of compassion. Grace is when God gives us what we don’t deserve. Compassion is when He doesn’t give us what we do deserve. He also gives “comfort.” “Comfort” or “encouragement” (same root word in the Greek) repeat nine times in verses 3–7. The Greek word means “to come alongside and help.” It’s the same word John 14–16 uses for the Holy Spirit (“the Comforter”). Don’t think “comfort” means “sympathy.” God doesn’t pat us on the head and give us a piece of candy or a toy to distract us from our troubles. No, He gives us strength to face our problems and cope with them. Our English word “comfort” comes from two Latin words meaning “with strength.”
What gives God expertise at soothing and calming hurting humans (1:3)?
When we’re hurting, most of us think only of ourselves and forget others. We become cisterns instead of channels. Yet one reason for pain and problems is so we learn to be channels of blessing for other people. We don’t need to experience exactly the same tragedies to be able to share God’s encouragement. If we’ve experienced God’s comfort, we can “comfort them which are in any trouble” (1:4b). Suffering can be an asset. It can help us identify with other people and reach out to them. Suffering allows other believers to reach out to us.
Why can’t our personal pain be a good excuse for cocooning and selfishness (1:4)?
One of our links to Jesus is suffering. As a real person he had to deal with real issues each day.
List some of the frailties and limitations Jesus lived with in day-to-day life (1:5)
When tough times get the best of you, it’s easy to look at yourself and your feelings, or to focus on the problems you face. A better way is to look up. “I look up to the mountains – does my help come from there? My help comes from the LORD, who created the universe and the earth” (Psalm 121:1–2).
5. What kind of emotional battles did Jesus fight (1:5)?
If “fate” or “chance” causes suffering, we might as well give up. Fate or chance is out of our control. If we try to control things ourselves, the situation is just as hopeless. If God’s the one in control, and we trust Him, He can help us deal with circumstances.
6. Mention any personal tragedies Jesus did not experience. Why is this significant for us individually (1:5; Hebrews 4:15)?
God gives us an overflowing amount of comfort for the hurts in life, way more than we need (1:5). Paul communicated with his groups in different metro areas the challenges he was facing. Look up 7:5-7; Acts 19:23-41. They, in turn, let him know what they were going through.
7. How do we discover the needs of individual church family members (1:6)?
One of the many ironies of Christian living is that God’s grace is most evident not in the best but in what seem to be the worst of times.
8. What reaction is Paul trying to solicit from the Christian group in Corinth (1:6-11)?
Christians may go through some tough times. But they should not have to go through them alone. We have a support network that God has set up. Intense pressures lead us to spend on God all the more. Christians need to make conscious efforts to be there for each other.
1. How does this section connect to Mark 1:40-45? What’s the connection to 2 Kings 5:1-14?
How can we do a better job of being there for each other?
What kinds of obstacles hamper communication and support among church families?