August 9, 2010

Building Strong Friendships in Christ

Comforting One Another Today

“Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

1 Thessalonians 4:18

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Eternal Life

      When is the last time someone tried to comfort you?  Many people have no one who cares enough about them to comfort them.  When you last tried to comfort someone about death and dying, what did you tell them?  For many people, they have no idea what to say and feel awkward just talking about the subject.  Apparently, lots of people have never really given much thought to the command of Christ regarding comforting people about death and dying.

       In 1 Thessalonians 4:18, Paul commands us to comfort other believers with very specific instructions.  I have heard believers say a lot of things about death and dying that stand absolutely contrary to the Bible.  For example, how many times have you heard someone say that Joe or Mary is now in heaven, when you know that person adamantly refused to accept Jesus as Savior?  If we believe the Bible, then we should use it as our guide.  Jesus wanted each of us to rest in comfort regarding our eternal future with Him.  Let me summarize the basics of how we comfort one another regarding death and dying.

        First, we grieve for our loved ones who have died, but we do not grieve as those unbelievers who have no hope.  We have the revelation of God that our believing friends are already spiritually at home with Jesus now, and will receive a glorified body when He returns with them in the clouds.

       Second, we know that if we are alive and remain until the Clouds Resurrection, then we will be caught up to the clouds to join Jesus there, with all the saints who have gone home before us.  In that same twinkling of an eye, we will receive our glorified bodies by resurrection.

      From these great promises and revelations of the future, we should all rejoice that we will be at home with the Lord for an eternity.  We will not have a moment of separation from our Lord Jesus.  Absent from the body means at home with the Lord.  Furthermore, Jesus will return to the clouds to resurrect our bodies so that we will all have glorified bodies, like His.  Those bodies will be imperishable, and immortal.

       Our comfort comes directly from God.  He cares for us and wants us to know about death and dying.  We will always be with Jesus, forever and ever.  Our bodies may decay and finally fail, but Jesus will resurrect us and we will forever be with Him.  Even now, every saint who has died now lives with Jesus forever.  Jesus said each of us has a ministry of comfort based upon His words.  Notice that He commanded us to comfort one another.  Now you know what to say and what passage to read to your grieving friends, who mourn the loss of their loved one in Christ.

           So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.

     ●  Strong bonds of friendship form when we trust Jesus to provide comfort to our grieving friends.

     ●  Strong bonds of friendship grow when we comfort our friends with the knowledge that we do not have to grieve like the Gentiles who have no hope; we know that our loved ones in Christ are with Him immediately after death, and we shall all receive new bodies at the Clouds Resurrection.  

     ●  We harm our bonds of friendship when we fail to comfort our grieving and ignorant friends with the words of Jesus concerning the death of our loved ones in Christ.     

Application for Today

        Today, I want to comfort my friends with the words of Jesus regarding death and resurrection.  What will you use to comfort grieving friends today?


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