Pastor preached an excellent sermon at the closing service, you really should listen to it and not just read my sermon notes. A difficult service, but a great sermon.
A mighty fortress
Guide me, o my great redeemer
Oh Lord my God.
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 text vv8-10
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 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. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.
My Sermon Notes:
Today we come to close the Bethel Reformed Church in Exeter.
It's easy to struggle with the question of why, why did God let this happen?
Sometimes it's easy to see things that didn't go as they should have, but when push comes to shove, it's all in God's providence, and we can't always know why.
In our reading today, Paul writes to the Corinthian church talking to them about the suffering he has gone through. And not always knowing the why, but being able to see the result.
Paul writes to them ...letting them know that he suffers. Suffering was him. Beaten, accused, misrepresented, imprisoned, sometimes nigh unto to death. It was not easy for him.
Paul suffered....and in that suffering was comforted.
And through that comfort is now able to comfort others.
Paul didn't say what his suffering in Asia was, just that it was beyond them, it was so bad they wanted to die. They were so burdened and suffering that death was welcome. It seemed the end was right there waiting.
But God delivered them.
Many now struggle. Some with the church closing. Loss of community hurts and burdens.
See like Paul did. God was working.
God was teaching them to rely on him, he the God who raises the dead. Rely on me God says.
He pushed Paul to see who he should really rely on.
And this is the God who raises the dead.
The God who brought Christ back from the dead.
God brought them through that time of difficulty.
God can bring any of us through this.
It teaches us to rely on him more.
So that we can set our hopes on him, knowing he will deliver us again.
The God we rely on.....is the God that raises the dead.
This God will not abandon us. In our sufferings he will always be with us.
So ask yourself this.
Just who do you rely on?
For those who answer their reliance is on God.
Know that God's work in you has not ended.
God's work in the church has not ended.
He will do things we can't even imagine as of yet.