Comfort One Another (I Thessalonians 4:18) – PART 1
I Thessalonians 4:18, “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
The comforting words mentioned in the passage of our text is that Christ will return and take us home to Heaven. In our world of trouble, sickness, and heartache, we should be a comfort to one another. Vance Havner: “No journey is complete that does not lead through some dark valleys. We can properly comfort others only with the comfort wherewith we ourselves have been comforted of God.” Vance Havner: “He who becomes a brother to the bruised, a doctor to the despairing, a comforter to the crushed may not actually say much. What he has to offer is often beyond the power of speech to convey. But the weary sense it and it is a balm of Gilead to the soul.” One reason a dog is such a comfort when you're downcast is that he doesn't ask to know why. Oswald Chambers: “Why does God bring thunderclouds and disasters when we want green pastures and still waters? Bit by bit we find, behind the clouds, the Father's feet; behind the lightning, an abiding day that has no night; behind the thunder, a still, small voice that comforts with a comfort that is unspeakable.” Joni Eareckson Tada: “You don't have to be alone in your hurt! Comfort is yours. Joy is an option. And it's all been made possible by your Saviour. He went without comfort so that you might have it. He postponed joy so that you might share in it. He willingly chose isolation so that you might never be alone in your hurt and sorrow.”
We should look to give strength and support to those experiencing distress, difficulties, dangers, or infirmities. We can be a comfort by our presence, a kind deed, or a good word. II Corinthians 7:6, “Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus…” Just as God “comforteth those that are cast down” so should we comfort others (II Corinthians 7:6). John Henry Jowett: “God doesn’t comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters”.
We can receive comfort from:
1. The Holy Spirit (Acts 9:31)
Acts 9:31, “Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.”
2. The Scriptures (Romans 15:4)
Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
3. God (II Corinthians 1:3)
II Corinthians 1:3, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; God is the God of all consolation and encouragement.”
4. Saints (II Corinthians 1:4)
II Corinthians 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.”
We are to "comfort" or exhort and encourage each other. Comfort means to call to one's side, to call to one's aid, to comfort and exhort. This word means to strengthen someone by our words. Paul is telling the church that what he has told them they are to tell others. As he has sought to comfort the Thessalonians with these words, the church should also comfort one another.
He exhorts them to comfort themselves together by considering and rejoicing in all that they have in the Lord. Life is difficult, at best, but this is not all there is for the child of God. We are a people of hope. We have the assurance of our salvation based upon the finished work of Calvary and the empty tomb. We can take comfort even in the most difficult of times. Paul says we should comfort one another because of all that we know about the coming of the Lord. The reason many are falling away and giving up on the Lord is because they have lost hope. I Corinthians 15:19-20, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.”
Paul gives two words to the church to continue to do. The believer is to minister by comforting and edifying others. God is the God of all consolation, comfort, and encouragement. Therefore, to be like God by encouraging one another, we must comfort one another, and build up one another. The ministry of encouragement should be a part of every believer's life. Jesus Himself loved the church so much that He gave Himself for it. May you and I love the churches members as an extension of the love of Christ for His church. As you enter a weekend of ministry in the local church, don’t be guilty of not noticing people. Look for people you can encourage and do it!
The church should:
1) Comfort them that are down.
2) Encourage them that are discouraged.
3) Lift up those that have fallen.
4) Warn those that are faithless with the intent of seeing others live like Jesus can come today.
Prayer, Lord God, thank You for enabling me to trust You with every occurrence in life, even those that feel beyond my ability to endure. Help me place my hope where Your Word tells me to place it, in You and Your promise of an abundant future with You forever. My hope is found in the promise that You are coming back for me! On those days when I struggle, it’s such an encouragement that this life is not all there is. Help me to be always ready for Your return. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.