Advent | Comfort in Affliction

Comfort in Affliction | Listen to Sermon Audio

Sermon Synopsis

II Corinthians 1:3-7

Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians contains a plethora of verses for us during seasons of suffering. Time after time in this letter, Paul encourages the struggling Corinthians by reminding them of what Christ has accomplished on their behalf through his death and resurrection. The following is my top ten list of truths from 2 Corinthians, with the chapter and verse references for each in parentheses:

  1. We share in the triumph of Christ over sin and death (2:14-15)

  2. We can bring life to others because of Christ’s life in us through the Spirit (3:5-6)

  3. We have power through Christ to live for God despite being “afflicted in every way” (4:7-10)

  4. We are controlled by the love of Christ so that we might live for him (5:14-15)

  5. We are a new creation in Christ, having been reconciled to God through him (5:17-18)

  6. We are the righteousness of God through Christ, because he took our sin upon himself (5:20-21)

  7. We receive salvation from Christ as godly grief produces repentance in our lives (7:9-10)

  8. We have received God’s gift of grace through Christ, so that we can now give cheerfully (9:6-8)

  9. We have divine power through Christ to overcome spiritual opposition (10:3-5)

  10. We possess the power and strength of Christ in the midst of our weaknesses (12:7-10)

May these truths from God’s word strengthen us as we encounter all manner of suffering and hardships!

Advent | Comfort In Salvation

Comfort in Salvation | Listen to Sermon Audio

Sermon Synopsis

Isaiah 12

Following the exhortation of the author of Hebrews to not neglect our great salvation, we would do well to remember the following truths concerning our salvation in Christ:

  1. Salvation satisfies the wrath of God: the wrath of God was fully poured out on Christ, so that those whose faith is in Christ experience deliverance from the sin that separates us from God

  2. Salvation is personal and communal: every person must receive Christ individually, but our personal relationship with Christ can only be developed as we are in relationship with others

  3. Salvation is complete and continuous: those who are in Christ are fully forgiven and accepted by God, but our faith is deepened as we learn to trust the Lord through seasons of dryness

  4. Salvation produces joy: God becomes our greatest delight as we learn to worship him both in good and bad times

  5. Salvation produces proclamation: as the good news of the gospel gets into us deeply, our lives our meant to become a message that points others to Christ

Questions for Personal or Family Devotions

  1. Reflect and/or share when, where, how you came to faith in Christ. What was your life like before Christ? How is your life now different because of Christ?

  2. When is a time you experienced joy in the Lord as a result of clearly recognizing him at work in your life? Express your thanksgiving to him for this today.

  3. As mentioned in the sermon, we have each been given a unique piece of earth in which to make the Lord known. Think through your week this week. Where will you be and who will you be around? How can you demonstrate the love of Christ to those in your path this week?

A prayer to pray in a season of dryness (adapted from “Valley of Vision”)

Oh Lord you know that I am at a loss to know what you would have me do. You know that I feel deserted by you and sense little of your presence. Help my soul to breath after holiness, after devotion to you, after growth in grace more abundantly every day. Help me to hold out until the hour of deliverance comes. I look to you and lean upon you and need you at all times to assist me and lead me. May all my distresses and apprehensions prove to be the school of Christ, teaching me the great lesson of humility, that I might be greater fit for serving you and others.

Advent | Comfort in God's Word

Sermon Synopsis 

Psalm 119:49-56

We have the opportunity to relate to the Lord through his words that have been written down for us in the Bible. These words are made alive to us by the Holy Spirit (our comforter), who consistently points us back to Christ, the living Word. V.49-56 provide us with three specific comforts from God’s word:

  1. God’s word produces hope in our hardships: though we are guaranteed affliction in following Christ, the scriptures provide refreshment and life-giving sustenance to our souls.

  2. God’s word produces commitment in our contending: when we struggle to trust in God’s goodness, the scriptures provide stability and language for us to express our struggle.

  3. God’s word produces songs in our sojourning: when we feel the “eternal ache” of being sojourners in a world that is not our home, the scriptures become songs that soothe us.

 

Ideas for Engaging God’s Word 

  1. Pick a specific time and place to read, whether it’s in your favorite chair early in the morning or on your porch while your kids are napping or on a park bench during your lunch break.

  2. Start small and simple. Shoot for 10 minutes each day.

  3. Have a reading plan. Potential options include:

    1. reading through the Gospel of John

    2. reading one chapter a day from the Old Testament and New Testament

    3. reading one psalm each day

    4. picking a verse or passage to memorize and reading it once a day for an entire week.

  4. Chew on what you read by asking these questions:

    1. what in this passage is new to me? 

    2. what questions do I have about this passage?

    3. what does this passage teach me about God and about myself?

    4. how does this passage point me to Christ?

    5. how does this passage help me to love God and love others?

  5. Use a good study Bible to dig deeper. My favorites are:

  6. For children, check out either of the following...

  7. Commit to attending Sunday School regularly to learn and discuss the scriptures with others!

Advent | The God of All Comfort

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Sermon Synopsis

In Luke 2 Simeon provides us with a model for the Advent season. Specifically, his life is one characterized by waiting for comfort for the Lord. And this comfort is connected to four vehicles:

  1. God’s Word: a primary way we are reminded of God’s comfort is through his Word

  2. Salvation: though the world offers a variety of temporary comforts, true comfort is only found when we experience rescue from the sin which separates us from God

  3. Affliction: just like Jesus’ death paved the way for us to experience God’s comfort through affliction, the Lord desires to use our afflictions so that we can be a source of comfort to others

  4. Endurance: God’s faithfulness to us is a comfort that creates endurance in our faith

Loving God and Others | “worshipers in community engaged in ministry”, “disciples making disciples”

  • May we spend time this week considering how we have experienced God’s comfort recently (through the Scriptures or an answer to prayer or a kind word or action from someone). May our remembering invoke praise and thanksgiving within us that we express to the Lord.

  • Is there anything coming up that is creating worry and anxiety within us? Is there anything that is causing us to doubt God’s goodness? May we bring these things to the Lord this week and wait on him for comfort.

  • How can we be a comfort to someone this week? In our homes? In our workplaces? To someone in my shepherding group? When I’m out in the community? To someone less fortunate? To an un-churched friend?

Family Devotion


Read Luke 2:25-35 together as a family and use the following questions for discussion:

  1. What are some things we learn about Simeon? What is one way you would like to be like him?

  2. God answered the prayer of Simeon. When is a time God has answered on of your prayers?

  3. Simeon encouraged Mary and Joseph. Who can you encourage this week?


Further Scriptures on Comfort

Psalm 23, Isaiah 40:1-8, Matthew 5:3-12, 2 Cor.13:11-14

Advent Booklet

View our Advent Booklet to guide you through the season.

Advent Booklet | Devotions for the Advent Season

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Advent Devotions

Download your copy of our Advent Booklet

How To Use This Booklet

This booklet is arranged around the theme The God of All Comfort, and each week we will look at a different aspect of God’s comfort as it is revealed through Scripture.

You are encouraged to set aside a specific and regular time each day to spend with the Lord. You will need a few things with you each day besides this booklet – a Bible, a pen, and perhaps a journal or notebook to record your thoughts – or you can write in the booklet itself. There are blank pages inserted after each week’s devotional thoughts where you can jot down notes. Plan for at least 15 minutes of uninterrupted time. If you have the opportunity for more, all the better.

Every week, this booklet will guide you through a theme that correlates to the sermon text each Sunday in Advent. On each Monday, you will be guided through thoughts related to the passage used for that week’s sermon. The next three days you will look at Scriptures that help you focus on the three different comings of Christ into our world – past, future, and present.

On Fridays, you will be invited to interact with Scripture using a very ancient prayer practice called Lectio Divina – Latin for “divine reading.” This is a slow and contemplative way of praying God’s Word involving reading of a single passage, listening for the direction of the Holy Spirit, and meditating on how God is speaking to you. You will find instructions for this simple practice in the Friday entries. Finally, each Saturday, you will have the opportunity to reflect over the lessons and events of the previous week using a set of questions tailored to that week’s theme. This is a form of prayer and purposefulness modeled after another ancient prayer practice, called Examen.

There isn’t a specific “right” way to use this booklet. Let the Holy Spirit be your guide as you seek the God of All Comfort through the pages of His Word and these times apart with Him this Advent season.