At Gateway Church in Austin, we continued our series leading up to Christmas. The God You Need looks at key passages from the prophet Isaiah. Today John Burke shared at South Campus on The God Of Comfort. He shared the same message at the McNeil campus last week. You can watch the message at www.gatewaychurch.com/podcast or listen to his message at South Campus below:
John shared some of the following thoughts:
“For many people the holidays are a lonely time. When we are in crisis what we need more than anything is having others going through it with us.
Listen to how we should respond to crises.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
No one should stand alone whether in the highs or in the lows of life.
Consider how God views those who follow Him:
For he said, “Surely they are my people,
children who will not deal falsely.
And he became their Savior.
In all their affliction he was afflicted,
and the angel of his presence saved them;
in his love and in his pity he redeemed them;
he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.
But they rebelled
and grieved his Holy Spirit;
therefore he turned to be their enemy,
and himself fought against them.
God reveals Himself as personal and wants us to be in an intimate relationship with Him.
God reveals His character and His identity in this passage as Father, Son, and Spirit.
Father – “Surely they are my people, children who will be true to me” (Isaiah 63:8)
We are born to trust! We begin this life 100% dependent on others to even survive. We learn to distrust others due to our broken world.
The dark and mean thoughts in our head need to be replaced by God’s voice! God can heal our wounds!
We can pass along a little more of God’s blessing and a little less of the curse of this broken world. Too often the opposite is true. We are wounded by our parents and pass those wounds inadvertently to our kids.
God wants to be our good and loving Father.
Jesus – “… He became their Savior”
When we are hurt, He is hurt!
God’s heart for us is more loving than we could ever imagine!
“In his love and mercy, he redeemed us….” – Isaiah 63:9
When we turn to Him in our distress, He carries us!
If this 70 years is all there is, life would be quite horrific! God’s perspective is eternal!
Consider this passage on God’s love for all people and His plans for eternity:
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
And he will swallow up on this mountain
the covering that is cast over all peoples,
the veil that is spread over all nations.
He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
“Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”<
An analogy to help us understand why God allows us to suffer now – John had to hold his daughter down for a shot that could save her life. As a 5 year old, Ashley begged her dad to stop, but it was because she couldn’t understand the bigger perspective as a little girl.
The Spirit of God – “Yet they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit”
The Spirit of God lives within us when we fully surrender our lives to Him! He does not leave us alone. He does not leave us without His guidance – if we want Him.
Jesus grieves over the rejection of the people and grieves the consequences they must face as a result. (Luke 19:41-44; 21:24)
How do we know these promises are true for us?
He proved Himself in history!
The nation of Israel was born overnight in 1948 as foretold by Isaiah the prophet in 680 B.C. (Isaiah 66:8, 20).
God comforts us so we can comfort others!