Bible Study – Prepare to Minister to Others –
November 30, 2014
This is a single lesson focused on our relationship
and unity with CHRIST carrying us through the difficult times as a teaching
experience. The comfort we receive from CHRIST during these difficult times
prepares us to help others when they go through similar times in their lives. We will begin a six week study entitled "Strom Shelter: Psalms of GOD'S Embrace" December 7, 2014.
The focus scripture is 2 Corinthians 1:1-7.
Let’s read 2 Corinthians 1:1-2:
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will,
and Timothy our brother: To God’s church at Corinth, with all the • saints who
are throughout Achaia. 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the
Lord Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul wrote several letters to the
Christians in Corinth. Two of his letters are included in the Bible. Paul’s
first letter was lost as recorded in 1 Corinthians 5:9-11:
9 I wrote to you in a letter not to associate
with sexually immoral people. 10 I did not mean the immoral people of this
• world or the greedy and swindlers or idolaters; otherwise you would have to
leave the world. 11 But now I am writing you not to associate with anyone
who claims to be a believer who is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or
verbally abusive, a drunkard or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person.
Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians is what we
know as First Corinthians. His third letter was lost and his fourth letter is
what we know as Second Corinthians.
First Corinthians addresses a number of issues such
as - divisions in the church, intellectual pride, immorality, freedom of
choice, disorder in worship, resurrection of CHRIST. Paul had planned to visit
Corinth for a third time but he delayed his visit. Instead he wrote his letter
that we know as Second Corinthians. Paul did visit Corinth once more after he
wrote his letter we know as Second Corinthians.
Paul opened his second letter to the Corinthians with
a positive greeting. The Corinthians had encountered a number of issues and in
dealing with them had gained valuable experience. Dealing with these various
issues equipped them to minister to fellow Christians experiencing the same
type of issues.
Paul began his letter by establishing his authority
as an apostle of CHRIST. His title as an apostle of CHRIST was not self imposed
but his title was given to him by the will of GOD. He authenticated Timothy as
a fellow Christian and a co-laborer with him.
His letter was directed to fellow Christians
throughout the large area of Greece and Macedonia called Achaia. The city of
Corinth was the capital of Achaia, the southern half of present-day Greece. Paul intended for his letter to be circulated
among the Christian groups\churches throughout that area. Paul indentified
Christians as saints. Saints are set aside to obediently serve GOD as HE leads
them by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Christians are saints. Paul greeted them
with a blessing, grace and peace, from GOD and CHRIST. Even though they had
their issues, Paul was embracing them in unity as fellow Christians.
Let’s read 2 Corinthians 1:3-5:
3 Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in
all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind
of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For as the
sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so through Christ our comfort also
When troubling times come into our lives, physical
comfort does little to bring about true comfort to our inner being. Some people
try meditation, medication, alcohol, drugs, etc. which mask the problem. True
comfort flows from GOD Who ministers to our inner being. When GOD, through our
relationship with CHRIST, brings peace and comfort it satisfies. Christians
know that HE has the power to bring about the best which can come from our
circumstances. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:28:
28 We know that all things work together for
the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.
GOD is in all things working to bring about the best
result for HIS children.
Physical satisfaction is temporary but Spiritual
satisfaction remains. When Christians trust GOD in circumstances they have
placed their cares upon HIM and trust Him to bring matters to a satisfactory
conclusion. That does not mean Christians can park their brains but to be
obedient to that which GOD reveals to them that they can do.
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the
mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all
your care on Him, because He cares about you.
Satan’s desire is for GOD’S children to be miserable
and to try to bring satisfaction through food, drink, drugs, sex, gambling and
all sorts of things that can become addictive. These things simply mask the core
issues in our lives.
As Christians, GOD’S comfort flows like a gentle
stream from HIM through us to bring healing to us first and then to others. The
comfort we receive from HIM is available to flow to others who are encountering
similar or the same problems. Ground zero is a personal relationship with GOD
through faith in CHRIST. Our faith grows as we trust HIM more.
Our relationship with CHRIST does not make our
troubles go away but because of our relationship with CHRIST, HE helps us to
endure them. This earthly life is not our destination. The destination of all
humans is eternity.
GOD has revealed HIS plan for all humans to be with
HIM for eternity which is for each person to place his or her in HIS only Son
JESUS. That choice is for each person to make. Being a Christian does not mean
that the troubles of this world will go away, it just means GOD will come to
our aid during times of trouble.
The scope of trouble covers health, mental and
physical, addictions, financial, relationships, natural disasters, war,
accidents, death of a loved one and the list goes on. When Christians go
through such issues, they are equipped to help others who are going through
them. Often, we can help others just by listening and being a friend. Wise
counsel is always good. Seek fellow Christians who have the gift of wise
counsel. Trust GOD to lead you in how you can help others.
Let’s read 2 Corinthians 1:6-7:
6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and
salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is experienced in
your endurance of the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is
firm, because we know that as you share in the sufferings, so you will share in
We just completed the study of the life journey of
Joseph. His faith in GOD resulted in him seeing the hand of GOD at work in his
life. His faith and trust in GOD built a strong relationship with GOD which
resulted in his ability to forgive his brothers. His journey created in him a
tender and humble heart. Joseph in his teen years was self-centered but GOD had
a plan for his life and molded him into the person and leader HE desired for
him to become.
The Apostle Paul made it clear that the things we go
through in life equip us to help others in their journey through life.
Alcoholics Anonymous is successful because
alcoholics speak to other alcoholics. Narcotics Anonymous operates the same
way. Instructors of various types train others because they have first learned
or experienced the things they are instructing.
When fellow humans have gone through issues in life,
they are often equipped to help others in the same or similar circumstances.
The Apostle Paul was admonishing fellow Christians not
to become discouraged when they encounter various issues in life but know that
GOD is preparing them for possible ministry to others. Their faith is being
perfected, which pertains to the person. Consider 1 Peter 1:3-9:
3 Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living
hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead 4 and into an
inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for
you. 5 You are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation
that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 You rejoice in this,
though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials
7 so that the genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which
perishes though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the
revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 You love Him, though you have not seen
Him. And though not seeing Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with
inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 because you are receiving the goal of
your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Joseph was serving GOD yet he was physically in
prison but not Spiritually. Joseph was a slave for 13 years before he was
elevated to second in command in Egypt. GOD placed him in that position. His
life’s journey prepared him for leadership and to bring glory to the one true
GOD of the Israelites. GOD used Joseph to preserve HIS chosen until HE raised
another leader to lead them from Egypt to the Promised Land and to reveal
Himself to them. The Israelites learned of the one true GOD as HE revealed
Himself to them and taught them as they journeyed to the Promised Land.
We are all on a journey to eternity. Our life upon
earth is but a passage to eternity. Will our destination be the Promised Land
of Heaven to be with GOD for eternity or to eternity without GOD? The choice is
ours to make. Placing your faith in CHRIST guarntees your place in heaven and
your rejection of CHRIST will mean eternity outside the gates of heaven. Ask
CHRIST to forgive you for your sins and for HIM to come into your life now.
Eternity is but a heartbeat away.
Next week, we will begin another six week study
entitled “Strom Shelter: Psalms of GOD’S Embrace.” Blessings!!!