How God’s consolation encourages us to do good works
Do churches make people unhappy so that they can comfort them afterwards? That’s a stupid allegation, the Chief Apostle says, for life certainly serves up enough suffering. On the contrary, faith brings consolation and even gives strength to do what is good and right.
The subject of the divine service the Chief Apostle held on 21 October 2018 in Warsaw (Poland) was comfort. The sermon was based on 2 Thessalonians 2: 16–17: “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.”
Situations in which God comforts
“Here are five reasons why we need comfort,” Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider said.
- So many people are sick, in pain, or in grief. They feel misunderstood, neglected, and abandoned.
- We have caused disappointment because we have promised somebody something we cannot keep. We mean well, and yet we always hurt those whom we love.
- When we see or hear about what other people have to go through, it does not leave us unaffected. It pains us when we see the suffering of our fellow human beings.
- If we are not completely self-centred, we worry about what will become of our children, the Church, our congregation, humanity, and the planet.
- We long to be with God eternally, to be very close to Him, and to have fellowship with Him. However, we are still here.
How God’s comfort works
“This helps us to better understand what Paul says here: God wants to comfort your hearts and establish you,” the Chief Apostle said. “How does God do that? He grants us comfort through the Holy Spirit.”
- Thanks to the Holy Spirit we can recognise the presence of God and experience Him. That means: “We are in divine service. We hear God’s word. We celebrate Holy Communion.” Or we recognise: “That was a small intervention by God in daily life.”
- “God grants us grace and forgiveness. He tells us, ‘Your fault, your sin has not affected My love for you. I have erased your debt.’”
- “He gives us courage and hope for the day of the Lord. ‘The path on which I have placed you leads to Me. Stay on that path.’”
- “He assures us that He loves our neighbours and helps them as much as he helps us. ‘Even if you cannot see it, even if your neighbour cannot see it, I am working on his salvation.’”
- “The Holy Spirit promises us that God will intervene in the history of humanity in a very specific way”—with the return of Christ, the kingdom of peace, and the new creation.
The effects of God’s comfort
“You are now to make something of the comfort and goodness you have received,” the Chief Apostle said. “You must do good works.”
- The first good work that God expects from us is that we continue to believe. That’s the most important thing. Simply believe because we trust in God. Without faith one cannot enter the kingdom of God.
- The second good work is to persevere in our fight against evil. Respond to evil with good. This is the good work of faith.
- It is the mission of the Church to prepare the soul for the return of Jesus Christ. Let us support the Apostles in their task. The good work we can do here is to become involved and help along in the congregation.
- Let us do good to all human beings, but we need to start in our own congregation. To do good means to step out of your comfort zone truly share in your neighbour’s suffering.
- We are aware of our responsibility towards society today and future generations.
In conclusion, the Chief Apostle said, “We have been given a divine promise: whoever strives to do good in the spirit of God until the end will receive the greatest treasure: eternal fellowship with God.”