SERMON NOTES-Pastor Milton Vincent
November 11, 2012-Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church
Rejoice with those who rejoice… Romans 12:15a
A failure to rejoice with those who rejoice will ruin you and reduce you to a spiritual invalid. You will never be a consistently happy person until you learn to rejoice with those who rejoice.
“Rejoicing with others (even if we are deprived of their joy)…requires a selflessness which only the power of the Gospel can bestow.” -James Edwards
FOUR THINGS YOU WILL WANT TO DO IN ORDER TO LIVE OUT THE ETHIC OF ROMANS 12:15 AND REJOICE WITH THOSE WHO REJOICE:
1. Understand that there are limits as to what you are to rejoice in.
-1 Cor. 13:6; Rom. 12:9
-Agape love knows what is good and what is evil and hates evil.
-In our world there is rejoicing in evil, calling evil good.
-The path of love is not to rejoice in evil. In fact, the most loving thing you can do is not rejoice in evil.
-Includes rejoicing when someone is rejoicing over any genuine good that God has brought into their life. (James 1:17)
2. Rejoice with others when it is natural and easy to do so.
-Many times it is natural and easy to do so.
-Rejoice when you share in whatever it is that they are rejoicing about.
-We don’t even need to ponder what to do in these kinds of situations. Rejoicing comes easy.
3. Rejoice with others when it is difficult or seemingly impossible to do so.
-Sometimes it is costly to rejoice with others.
-At times, rejoicing with others takes a denial of self.
-Maybe the person has received something that you have wanted.
-Includes rejoicing over a blessing that God has given to another and not to you.
-Includes when someone who (in your mind) is less deserving than you has received some blessing greater than you or even equal to you. (See Matt. 20:1-15)
-Includes when someone is rejoicing in the achievements or ministry of another person instead of you. (See 1 Cor. 12:26)
-Includes when someone is rejoicing in something that does not interest or affect you at all.
-Includes when someone is rejoicing during a season in which you find yourself grieving, even if the area they are rejoicing in is the very area in which you are grieving.
-Includes when someone is rejoicing in some blessing that you think is not as impressive as what you are rejoicing in.
“Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next person.” -C.S. Lewis
-Includes when someone is granted an opportunity beyond what has been given to you. (Phil. 1:17-18)
-Includes when someone is rejoicing in God’s forgiveness of their sins which they have committed against you. It’s easy for the wounded person to begrudge the joy of forgiveness given to the one who has wounded them.
Sometimes it takes a heroic Gospel effort to step out and rejoice with other people. We see that Paul’s call to rejoice with those who rejoice is humanly impossible. Therefore:
4. Let the Gospel motivate and shape your rejoicing with those who rejoice.
-Reason from the Gospel. (Romans 12:1-15)
-If you want to rejoice with those who rejoice, you must plumb the depths of the Gospel to do so.
-Remember the judgment you deserve. Not to stay there, but to use as a backdrop to see clearly the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Romans 1-3)
-Think what God has done for you in Christ! (Rom. 3:20-11:36)
-Understand God gives you everything needful. (Rom. 8:32)
-Even what we lack is a gift from God and He is working toward our good through what we lack.
-Understand that God works everything out for good. (Rom. 8:28)
-Remember that you are destined for glory. (Rom. 8:30)
-Make use of the privilege of prayer. (Rom. 8:26) Prayer is a Gospel blessing. Even when we don’t know what to pray the Spirit is interceding.
When you are challenged to rejoice with those who rejoice, know that such moments are tailored for you by God to bring us to the foot of the cross. Go there!
Note from Terrie: I have glossed over this Bible verse many times and never thought too much about what rejoicing with those who rejoice really means. Pastor Milton was correct when he announced at the beginning of his sermon that this verse would give us a good scrubbing on the inside. Point 3 was very convicting for me. But, thanks be to God for the Gospel and for our pastor who never fails to bring the good news to bear on the many ways God’s word makes us aware of our failings and sins against God. Without point 4, we would be hopeless, indeed! What hope we have in the Gospel!
By His Grace and for the Gospel,