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A Message of Comfort to a Concerned Congregation

Author
Category Articles
Date October 3, 2002

by Dr Fred Malone

[For my wife Debbie in the trial of cancer]

Introduction

A time of suffering is a personal privilege with so many prayers and concerns. We appreciate it and feel it.

But Debbie and I feel so many of you have and are going though greater trials than we have yet to face trials of illness, family sorrows, children sorrows, etc. It has been a great comfort to us now to have watched many of you face those trials with faith and perseverance and comfort in the gospel. Now you are comforting us. We are thankful and grateful to God for His undeserved mercies.

For the past few weeks, Debbie and I have had to reset our minds on what we believe. I thought it appropriate to interrupt my series on the Gospel Home to bring to you some of the Scriptures and truths which have stood out to us in terms of comfort, hoping to comfort you as well.

How does the Christian face trial and find comfort, anyway? Well, the answer is: by faith in the simple truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and in the Word of God. God’s Spirit comforts our hearts through the understanding of the mind in God’s Truth. So, God’s Word has to be the foundation of finding comfort. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ.

Now there are several established truths in the Bible which have comforted us in the past few weeks. I would like to bring several of them to you this morning.

1] First, the Bible doctrine of sin tells us that we all deserve much worse than we have received.

When Adam, our freewill representative, committed just one sin in the garden and broke God’s law, he brought the judgement and curse of God upon Himself and all His children. Rom. 5:12 says that through one man sin entered the world and death spread to all men, because all sinned in Adam’s sin. This is why sickness and death are in this fallen world. “The wages of sin is death” says Paul. Yet, God let Adam live in order to find repentance, salvation and eternal life. God has put up with so much sin and rebellion in mankind in order to offer redemption and salvation. He sends the rain to fall on the righteous and the unrighteous, He is patience, giving all men life and breath and provision, calling condemned and rebellious men to repent and find salvation before the Final Judgement. We all deserve much worse in life, instant death and eternal hell. We have all broken His laws, yet He mercifully lets us live to find grace and forgiveness and victory over death and hell in His own Son’s bloody death and atonement. We all deserve much worse than we have received.

So God has not dealt with any one of us who are still alive according to our sins, what we deserve, either by the gifts He has graciously given or by the dark providences He has allowed. Think of King David, the Lord’s anointed man. He committed adultery, then murder, yet God let David live to find renewed forgiveness and mercy, Psa 51. He did not deal with him according to his sins. Then He sent His own perfect Son to die for David’s envious, covetous, adulterous and murderous thoughts and deeds to take the punishment of righteous wrath and judgement which David deserved. He did not deal with David or with any of us according to our sins. He let him live to find forgiveness and eternal life.

Things should be worse than they are. In Adam all die. Instead of asking why God sends and allows dark circumstances to enter our lives, we should be asking “why not? Why has He had such mercy and patience and kindness to us up to now? Why has He let us live in our sins and let us hear of redemption and forgiveness and eternal life and a new life of grace and love in this lifein view of our sins?

Several Scriptures have come to our minds in the past few weeks which have humbled us and helped us to see God’s kindness and mercy in this dark providence. Lam 3:31-40 Psa. 103:8-18

So, when dark providences enter our lives, if we understand the greatness of our sins against a Holy and Good God, we must remind ourselves that, in view of our sins, every day is a day of mercy and grace. He has never dealt with us according to our sins. Our struggle against these trials is that we have somehow thought we deserved better. But God will not allow us to live in merit or self-righteousness, so He humbles us in trial to value His undeserved love, His unmerited grace, forgiveness, eternal life as more important than any earthly pleasure or blessing. And to be thankful for every morsel of bread, every breath of life, and more importantly, to be thankful and grateful for sending His dear Son to rescue us from sadness, death, and hell, and to bring Him honor and glory in the way we overcome sickness, trial, and death by faith in Him as a witness to Him to others around us. We have no right or reason to complain against God in view of our sins. Rather, every day is a day of mercy to praise Him for any blessing or every good thing He brings our way.

Do you believe this in your daily trials? Do you keep yourself reminded that you are surrounded by God’s kindness in the midst of your sins? Does this truth cause you to praise Him and love Him? Or is your mind still full of doubt and bitterness that God is unfair and harsh in His Providences? Until you believe that He has never dealt with you according to your sins, you will not find peace of mind and joy in this life or the next. Quit fighting God’s undeserved kindness to you in the circumstances of life. Come to the Cross of Christ and see what you really deserve for your sins. Then you will find a peace that passes understanding in the circumstances of your life. What right has any man to complain in view of his sins?

2] A second truth which has comforted us is this: not only has God never dealt with a living soul according to their sins in this life, but He has a good purpose in every trial which He sends and allows to enter our lives.

1] First, I will not spend time this morning detailing the life of Job. But it is clear that God is sovereign and Almighty and purposeful in sending our trials, either directly by His hand or in permitting Satan to test us and to tempt us to deny God. Some people face trials and say to themselves: “God has nothing to do with it.” I find no comfort in such a statement. If God is not in our trials, then there is no hope of purpose or deliverance in them. It makes God Satan’s catchup boy, trying to do the best He can in a world which is out of His sovereign control. On the contrary, Satan had to ask permission from God to tempt Job with the destruction of His wealth, the death of his children, and the decline of his health. Satan is on the leash of God’s purpose and power. He can do nothing to the Christian without God’s permission for a greater purpose. Have we forgotten the words of Joseph to his evil brothers: “You meant it evil against me, But God meant it for good, to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”

The Bible is very clear about the purpose of trials in the life of the Christian. In the non-Christian, every trial is designed to humble you and to show you that you are a sinner and deserve no better from God. Indeed you deserve much worse and will receive much worse in Judgement if you do not turn to God in repentance and a life of faith and submission to Almighty God in this life. But in the life of the Christian, we can know that there is a good purpose in everything that comes our way. That God is Almighty, all Knowing, all Wise, and perfect in His plan for each of our lives. Nothing can enter our life without His permission and Good purpose.

1 Peter 1:3-9. Every trial is meant to sift us from depending upon ourselves, or others, or worldly pleasures for our happiness, and to cause us to value deliverance from our sins, and to purify our simple faith in God alone in this life and the next. There is no great secret her in the purpose of our trials. They are to cause us to value the love of God in the atoning Cross, the hopeful Resurrection of Christ, the assurance of His daily rule and care over our lives, and the greater value of eternal rest and joy in His presence. He sifts our worldly dependence on things that perish in order to value the eternal things that never perish. This enables us to face each trial with peace, hope, confidence, comfort, and even joy. Do you believe this? Your reaction to your trials tells you what you really believe. They are God’s call to faith and trust and a greater joy than this world can ever give. To respond in fear, worry, bitterness, anger, and doubt of God’s goodness is to deny the work of Jesus on the Cross and the hope found in His conquering death, sin, and fear in His resurrection. The only solution to trial is a trustful submission to the perfect wisdom of God who plans our life with purpose and mercy. Every trial is a wakeup call to faith and a deeper commitment to live as a Christian in this world.

2] Second. Which brings me to a second truth about God’s purpose in trial. They are all predestined before the foundation of the world and specifically designed for each one of His people. There is a time to be born, and a time to die, a time for every purpose under heaven.

Eph. 1:3-11 What does this mean except this: That if you have become a Christian, God has chosen you and predestined you to find Christ in this life, including all the means that He has used to show you your sin, to show you your need of atonement and forgiveness, to show you the Cross of Christ as a sufficient atonement even for you, and all the means that He has used to bring you to see your need of Him. This also means that everything that happens to us has been planned and predestined for a good purpose. He works all things after the counsel of His eternal will. His Almighty Power, His perfect Wisdom, His infinite Goodness, His undeserved mercy, all are at work in the circumstances of our life to bring us to His salvation and to comfort us in our trials.

Do we not say all the time: “And we know that causes all things to work together for Good to those who love God … to those who are called according to His purpose?” Then, in the time of trial, we are to see God’s hand, God’s goodness, God’s wisdom, God’s purpose, and to life by faith in His faithfulness.

3] Third. This brings me to a third truth about God’s purpose in trial. We can know that each trial is not just for ourselves, but for those we love around us. 2 Cor. 1:3-11

If you ever have a question about God’s purpose in your trial, you can always know that one of His purposes is for others. To develop sympathy and empathy and compassion, to cause others to think about their life and to quit living worldly lives, to provide an example to family, friends, and children how to face trial in faith and hope. People are watching you, children are watching you. They notice anger, hopelessness, despair, bitterness, impatience. They learn one thing or the other from you in trial. They learn if God is faithful, if Christ is sufficient, if the Gospel of Jesus is true.

I sincerely believe that God’s design is to use trials to show the world the victory of our faith in Christ. But that always begins in our own hearts on whether or not we believe the truths of Christ and the words of Christ are true. Do you remember that others are learning faith or doubt from you? That failing to guard your own heart may be hurting the faith of those around you?

If we really believe that we deserve no better because of our sins, if we really believe that our sins are so great against a Holy God that we have never received what they deserve, if we really believe that God is all Wise and that His design for our life is both best and predestined for good, then our trial becomes a wonderful opportunity to bless others around us. It stimulates their prayer life, it gives them opportunity to serve Christ by serving us, and it causes them to purify their own faith in the trials they face each day. If we are comforted in our trials, we are enabled to comfort others in theirs. All true comfort comes from God, the God of all comfort. Only as we believe that He desires to comfort us through faith in Him, will we feel comforted. So we are constantly driven back in trial to what we believe about God, and Christ, and the Holy Spirit, the great Comforter.

Conclusion

God has given us unmerited sovereign grace, mercy, and love in Jesus Christ. That is our greatest comfort in life and death.

All trials have been predestined by a loving God. That is a great comfort : John 9. 2 Cor. 1, 2 Thess. 2:16-17, Psa 119

All trials are designed to drive us back to believing in and living by the simple and beautiful Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. His Cross is the place of God’s infinite wisdom, goodness, faithfulness, justice, and love. None of us have suffered in this life more than Jesus suffered because of our sins for us on the Cross. He endured the infinite wrath of God to atone for our sins. All trials now come to the Christ through His pierced hands, designed to make us love Him more for His eternal love and blessings.

His Resurrection is the hope of eternal life and of the infinite, omnipotent, power of God to answer prayer, to heal the sick, to raise the dead, and to bring us to a place where there is no more sickness, pain, crying, or tears..

His Ascended Glory is the comfort of wise Providence in every moment and time and dispenses trial. For He rules the universe to build His church and to shepherd His sheep with love and wisdom.

His Glorious Return is the promise of healing, it is just a matter of time, and of comfort above and beyond our sorrows and trials, and of the rewards for faithfulness which every trial offers.

All fear, anger, bitterness, despair, worry, and hopelessness are resolved as we fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the Cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility of sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart. For you have not yet shed blood in your striving against sin.

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.” 2 Thess. 2:16-17

Every day, come to Christ risen, reigning, and returningand you will find rest for your souls.

God is a God of comfort, do not look anywhere else for comfort, expect comfort from God., 17-18

How very unworthy of comfort are we, not expect comfort unless see this, not allow us to have any merit before him, 19 , not allow self to have a suspicious attitude toward God, 21 , not expect Satan to have any good thing without being molested by him.27

God is generous, God not keep goodness to Himself, all things in Christ, 51 , never suffered pain more than Christ, God can be glorified in how you deal with pain. , never useless, God put in position to be useful., 48-49

God’s plan is always the best plan for me because it comes through infinite wisdom, goodness, power, and love

God’s purpose in others lives, rewards others who minister to us,

God meant us to live by the day, daily bread, daily comfort. Not allow you to be overloaded, no meaningless trial, every trial will fill up a need in our soul, has promised comfort,
, fear of dishonoring God in trial, faith is a gift of God, why take it from us in trial? Keep us from falling. , immortal till time appointed by God, going to a place of rest and comfort.

Dr Fred Malone

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