Introduction

Opening Scripture
Hebrews 4:9 “There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.”

I was planning on speaking on praise and “the joy of the Lord” being our strength during times of Sabbath.

–  Sabbath for the Jewish people has always been marked by joyful celebrations.

–  We’ve followed that pattern by emphasizing fellowship and rejoicing during our own Sabbath celebration.

Yesterday, I heard the Holy Spirit say to me that…joy and rejoicing are things that we give to God. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, our praise is a blessing to God and the Bible is filled with the recorded praises of the people of God.
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Congregational Reading: Psalm 92

But here is what I sensed from the Lord – joy and rejoicing are the things you give to Me, but Sabbath is about Me giving and providing for you.

Remember Jesus’ words?
Come to Me and I will give you rest.” And so, I believe that today God wants to give us comfort.

Are you alone?
Today, He wants to be with you.

Are you scared or fearful?
He wants to be with you in the storm.

Are you feeling guilty or ashamed?
He is your advocate and helper before the throne of God.

Are you feeling angry and unable to forgive?
He’s more interested in your pain that you have suffered
than you following a quick fix formula to get over your
stuff.

Are you sad and depressed?
His comfort is especially for you today.
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II Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

This is the great book of comfort; nine times the word “comfort” is used.

Three scriptural regulations about comfort:
1.  (vs.3) “The God of all comfort” – He owns it all!
2.  “Comforts us in all our affliction” – God’s comfort is always available.

Even in the midst of your sin…
Even at the height of Godly discipline…
Even in the darkest of trails…
His comfort is always available.

3. John 14:26 (KJV) But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

NASB uses “Helper” for Comforter. The word is “parakletos” meaning one called alongside, an advocate, intercessor, helper, and counselor. The very ministry of the Holy Spirit sent by the Father at the request of Jesus is to comfort you and I!
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(vs. 3-4) And the outcome is that we, the body of Christ, will be equipped to comfort others “in every affliction” with the comfort we have received.

What does it mean “to comfort?”

Most of the time, the church confuses comfort with:
–  solving problems
–  giving advise
–  stating the obvious

But comfort means:
–  to come alongside
–  to enter into another’s pain
–  to empathize

Comfort is doing to others what the Holy Spirit has done for us.
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Illustration: The story of Elijah

Read I Kings 19

–  A great spiritual victory – Elijah against the prophets of Baal.
–  But, he succumbs to fear and runs for his life.
–  And not just a little ways, 90 miles south and then another day’s journey by himself into the wilderness.

That is where we find him in vs.4. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.

He lays down to sleep and an angel comes to feed him. Then he runs for 40 days to Mt. Sinai, over 200 more miles plus climbing a 7,000 foot mountain.

All of that…and God asks him one question in vs.9.
What are you doing here?
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We want comfort!
We want our pain validated!
We want to know someone is with us in the battle!
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What happens next is so like God:
–  A mighty wind – We want God to blow away our troubles.
–  An earthquake – We want God to shatter the obstacles in our lives.
–  A gentle blowing – The Comforter shows up as the breath of God!

God does 3 things:
1.  (vs.15) He restores Elijah’s ministry – “Go and anoint”
2.  (vs. 16) He provides Elijah a legacy that will follow – “Anoint Elisha”
3.  (vs. 18) He provides stability to go forward – “I will leave 7,000 in Israel”

God’s comfort, the comfort of the Holy Spirit will provide…
–  ministry restored
–  a legacy
–  stability for the future

Elijah’s life was changed because he received God’s comfort.
–  Not because God answered his request
–  Not because he got what he wanted
–  But, because “He is the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our affliction.”

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Close

II Corinthians 7:5-6 For even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within. 6 But God, who comforts the [a]depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus;

And how does He do it? “By the coming of Titus.”

God, in the church age, determined that we would be His body, His hands and feet. One of our many responsibilities is to comfort one another…
–  Not advise
–  Not correct
–  Not challenge
–  Not minimize
–  Not talk someone to death
–  Not be the Holy Spirit and convict
–  Not tell someone what to do

But “comfort,” “empathize” and pray that hearts would be soothed.

And that is what we want to do today – allow the Holy Spirit to come and comfort His people through us.

Isaiah 40: 1-5
“Comfort, O comfort My people,” says your God.
2
“Speak kindly to Jerusalem;
 And call out to her, that her warfare has ended, 
That her iniquity has been removed, 
That she has received of the Lord’s hand
, Double for all her sins.”
3
A voice is calling,
 “Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; 
Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.
4
“Let every valley be lifted up, 
And every mountain and hill be made low;
And let the rough ground become a plain, 
And the rugged terrain a broad valley;
5
Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
 And all flesh will see it together; 
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Discussion:
What ways have you received comfort from other believers or the Holy Spirit?

What are some practical ways we can show each other comfort?

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