5th July 2019

Comfort and Encourage My People

“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly…”
Isaiah 40:1-2 (NIV)

Many people in the world and some of our brothers and sisters in the church are broken, in pain, hurting and are in need of tender comfort. A Greek word often used for ‘comfort’ is Parakelin. It also has the meaning ‘to encourage’, ‘to make people capable to stand on their own two feet and meet life undefeated’. It embraces the posture and position of being alongside to comfort and encourage, rather than preaching fire and brimstone, or being over and above and lauding it over people. That seems to me what Spirit [Paraclete]-filled preaching is about.

Preaching must comfort. As Paul wrote, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). People need comfort in sorrow because those sorrows can be turned into joy by His comfort. Preaching must also encourage. Speaking of the resurrection Paul also said, “encourage one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18). The resurrection gives us comfort and encouragement for the future.

The Christian message is one of comfort and encouragement, for we do not have an angry God who is out to get us. God loves all humanity so much that he sent his Son to die so that we can be united with him. The good, comforting and encouraging news is: We are all included. No one is left out of Christ’s saving work. Whatever trials, hardships and pain we are experiencing in this life, we are all included in God’s plan for a glorious future where there will be “no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4). The gospel is that “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans10:13). We just have to recognise that God has already shed his grace upon us and accept it.

How will people come to this faith? Again Paul says, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?…Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:14, 17). Tenderly preaching the good news of salvation in Christ will bring comfort and encouragement to those who are hurting. Tenderly sharing our faith in circumstances other than formal church situations will have the same result. So let’s come alongside people as we have opportunity and bring comfort and encouragement as we re-tell the ‘old, old story of Jesus and his love’.

Father, help me to tenderly spread the message about Jesus and may it bring comfort and encouragement to all who hear.

Study by Barry Robinson

About the Author:
Barry Robinson is an Elder and part of the National Ministry Team directing Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. He is also a pastoral worker in the South of England, particularly the Camberwell and North London congregations of Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion International Camberwell
The Salvation Army Hall
105 Lomond Grove

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11 am

Barry Robinson
Email: camberwell@gracecom.church

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