“Be of good comfort…and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11
This admonition and promise, at first glance, seem to be backwards. It seems as though Paul should first give the promise of God’s presence with us, followed by the admonition to therefore be comforted. But he doesn’t.
Paul actually says for us to be comforted and then promises – subsequently – that the God of love and peace will be with us. The clear implication is that the love and peace of God will only be felt by us after we follow the admonition to “be of good comfort.” Why?
The fact is that Paul is exhorting us to be comforted. We are to allow the transcendent promises of God to flood our hearts; we are commanded to receive the marvelous truths of the gospel and hold on to them and believe them. It is only when we allow ourselves to be comforted, when we give in to the reality of goodness and joy and pleasure in all that God promises to us and purposes for us — it is onlythen that we can feel the love and peace of God with us. It cannot be in any other order!
We may often wonder why God has not sent comfort our way, why we do not feel the presence of God with us. But the truth is that God has sent countless comforts our way, in His Word, but we have not believed them, have not received them, have not allowed them to infiltrate our doubting and discouraged and deflated hearts.
It is only when we allow ourselves to be comforted by the truth of all that God has promised us that we will then feel the love and peace of God with us. So, believer, be comforted.
Isaiah declared, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and with His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). His death was not in vain. He bore the heavy burden of sin being put upon Him but since the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6), the sin-debt owed by His people is fully paid.
“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name” (Matthew 6:9).
Our theme for this anniversary month is, “Give Glory to God.” All the messages this month on both the Sunday and daily programs are connected with that theme. In today’s message we are looking at the model prayer. What a blessing that we are invited to address, “our Father.” We are not speaking to one who is indifferent to our situation but to our heavenly Father who loves us.
We are to pray, “Hallowed be thy name.” Our prayer and desire should be for God’s name to be honored. If that is our desire we will avoid praying unacceptable, selfish prayers, and pray that God’s name will be glorified, that His kingdom will be expanded and that his will be done in us as earthen vessels and throughout the earth.All Sermons by Lasserre Bradley, Jr.