Tag Archives: Epistle to the Romans

Grieving With Those Who Grieve

SERMON NOTES – PASTOR MILTON VINCENT
November 25, 2012 – Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church

Rejoice with those who rejoice, grieve with those who grieve. Romans 12:15

This verse is a description of how to love one another. Love expresses itself by rejoicing with those who rejoice and grieving with those who grieve. This is a call to relationship with one another. In this way, we render ourselves vulnerable to the joys and griefs of others.

FIVE THINGS YOU WILL WANT TO DO IN ORDER TO LIVE OUT THE ETHIC OF ROMANS 12:15 AND GRIEVE WITH THOSE WHO GRIEVE:

1. Appreciate the fact that the capacity to grieve with those who grieve is a precious gift.
A. An inability to grieve with those who grieve is one key characteristic of a psychopath.
-Even the unsaved have the capacity through God’s common Grace to grieve with those who grieve.
B. The capacity to grieve with those who grieve protects us from many evils.
-The ability to empathize with others and thought of the grief we would bring loved ones if we were to sin against them can keep us from sin.
-Grieving with those who grieve is a key to relationship, friendship, ministry, counseling, and the overall health of the church.

If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 1 Cor. 12:26

2. Realize all that you are being called to inside of this instruction to grieve with those who grieve.

Includes:
A. Grieving with a person who is grieving over a sorrow that God has allowed in both of your lives. Grieving together.
B. Grieving with a person who is grieving where God has allowed  a sorrow into their life and not yours.
-Paul calls us here to step outside of ourselves and make ourselves vulnerable to the grief of others.
C. Grieving with a person who is grieving during a season in which you find yourself rejoicing (or grieving).
-Setting aside your own grief (or joy) to grieve (or rejoice) with others.
D. Grieving with a person who is grieving over a sorrow not as great as the sorrow that you yourself are grieving over.
-Humbling yourself to enter into the lesser grief of others.
E. Grieving with a person who is grieving over a sorrow they have brought on themselves.
-Luke 15:20 (story of prodigal son).
-Not rejoicing over “what they had coming to them”.
-We can look at them and their sin and say, “That’s me and Jesus came to me!”
-No “I told you so” attitude.
F. Grieving with a person who is grieving over a sorrow that you know will be short-lived.
-John 11:33-35 (the resurrection of Lazarus).
-Jesus was moved with compassion and wept with them even though He knew that Lazarus would be raised from the dead.
G. Grieving with a person who is grieving over hurts that you have caused.
-When you sin against someone, make a true apology which includes grieving with the person you have hurt and sinned against.
-Owning and entering into the hurt you have caused.

Apologies are moral events that have real power to heal. -Susannah Meadows

H. Grieving with a person who is grieving before you impart wisdom to them.
-Paul does not say preach or lecture with those who are grieving.
-You may really have wise words for the person who is grieving but if you skip grieving with them your wise words will only be an irritant.
-Don’t stay safely outside the other’s circle of grief and try to lob truths into it. Enter into their pain first.
-Words of wisdom are more effective when we first enter into the other person’s circle of pain.
I. Grieving with a person who is grieving even though they are grieving in a way you think is inappropriate.
-i.e. longer, more intensely, hurtfully than you deem appropriate.
-Especially when it is grief over a hurt you have caused.
-Sometimes people may even grieve in ways that hurt you–i.e. acting out, etc.
J. Grieving with a person who is grieving even though they are grieving in a way that is different than how you express your grief.
-People are different and grieve in different ways.

3. Let the compassion of God revealed in the Gospel shape and move you to grieve with those who grieve.
-Romans 12:1; “by the mercies of God”.
-God has great compassion for us.
-God sent Jesus to save us because He was moved to do so.
-Rather than moving away from us, God moves toward us in the Gospel.
-The Gospel radically changes us into compassionate people.
-Isaiah 53:3; Jesus despised, a man of sorrows…
-Emmanuel = God with us. Jesus entered into our griefs and sorrows.
-In the Gospel we have the ultimate empathetic friend.

4. Let the ongoing sympathy of God revealed in the Gospel shape and move you to grieve with those who grieve.
-Romans 8:22-23
-The Spirit helps us in our weakness (Romans 8:26).
-God groans with us in our brokenness.
-We always have the Spirit to express our griefs and groaning to God when we don’t know how.
-Hebrews 4:15; …we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses…
-Grieving with those who grieve reveals the heart of God to others.

5. Let the hope of the Gospel shape and free you to grieve with those who grieve.
-Romans 8:28; Knowing that for those who love God all things work together for good.
-When we grieve with others, we guarantee that joy, when it does come, will be our joy too.
-When we go through our own grief, God is deepening our ability and capacity to grieve with others.

Paul calls us here into something rich and deep–the essence of our community with one another. In this we display the heart of God to others. Rejoice with those who rejoice and grieve with those who grieve.


Rejoicing With Those Who Rejoice

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,
Terrie


Always Transforming

Sermon Notes: Pastor Milton Vincent
July 22, 2012-Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar. Shot in Aucklan...

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar. Shot in Auckland, New Zealand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We ask the question, “What then, shall we do with the Gospel truths we have learned previously in the book of Romans?”

Implications of the command to “be transformed” in Romans 12:2:

You’re not perfect yet.
Yes, you are saved, forgiven, clothed with righteousness, secure in eternity, etc. But we still need to grow.

You need to change.
Not just others need to change, not just circumstances, but, you.

Transformation is possible.
Implied in every command of God is the promise that God will empower you to do it. For example, in Matthew 14 when Peter wants to walk on water he says to Jesus, “Lord…command me to come to you on the water.” When Jesus tells Peter to come, Peter knows that he will be able to walk on the water.

Transformation is never finished in this life.
The command to be transformed is in the present tense. Be continuously being transformed. In every stage of Christian life, be transformed. Don’t think you’ve been changed enough. God is never done changing and transforming you.

Don’t make your changing conditional. “I’ll change if…” It’s not Jesus +…. in order to be transformed.

You cannot transform yourself.
Only God can transform you. God stands at the ready to empower you to transform.

Transformation is something you must choose.
Paul is appealing to our will. God will change you to the degree that you choose to allow him to. It’s deeper than mere behavior modification. It’s a process of deep transformation that often happens very slowly and is not observable on the outside.

How can I position myself to allow God to most effectively transform me?

Monarch male showing its wings to attract a mate

Monarch male showing its wings to attract a mate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SIX STEPS TO TRANSFORMATION

1. Embrace the fact that the purpose of all things (including you) is to glorify God. (Rom. 11:36)
-Get away from the idea that everything revolves around you.
-God is bigger and greater than you. Open your eyes to the big picture.
-Seek His glory and our circumstances become less about us and more about Him.
-We conform to Him, not Him to us.

2. Surrender everything you are and have to God.
-We no longer belong to ourselves.
-Fully surrender yourself and be transformed.
-Transformation happens most deeply on the other side of surrender.
-Just as when someone goes into surgery they fully surrender themselves to the surgeon, surrender yourself to the Great Surgeon!
-It’s not, “Lord I want to be good!” but, “Lord, I want to be Christ-like.”

3. Consciously resist the influence of the world every day.
-The world system seeks to press us into its mold.
-Don’t go along with the world’s flow.
-We flatter the things we conform to. What has the world done to deserve such flattery?
-Steel yourself against the influence of the world.

4. Be continually engaging in the task of renewing your mind.
-Transformation comes through the mind.
-The battle is fought and won or lost in the mind.
-Even as saved people, sometimes we have wrong thinking.
-Renew your mind with Gospel truth. Learn Gospel truth, unlearn anything contrary to the Gospel.
-Be intentional. Read, memorize, meditate, wrap your mind around truth and envision how you can apply truth and walk in it.

5. Make it your daily ambition to discover and demonstrate that God’s will is exceedingly good.
-Get up every morning with the attitude to prove that God’s will is beneficial to you.
-God’s will is well-pleasing.
-Discern the experience that God’s will is perfect and good.
-God’s will is most satisfying.

6. Live in community with your brothers and sisters in Christ. (Romans 12:36)
-Transformation is a community project.
-More to come on this!


How People Get Saved

Sermon Notes-Pastor Milton Vincent
July 1, 2012-Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church

Text: Romans 10:9-15

The Essence of Salvation: God gives a person righteousness, deliverance, and satisfaction in Jesus. (See Romans 10:9-11)

Righteousness: Salvation is God giving to a poor, lost sinner, righteousness. His record of sin is wiped clean and he is clothed in the perfect righteousness of Christ.

Deliverance: God saves from something, from sin’s guilt and power, condemnation, wrath, hell, and a meaningless and hopeless life.

Satisfaction: We are sure to be let down if we put our confidence in things and people. God promises that when He is done doing what He wants to do in us through His Son, we will not be ashamed that we have put our trust in Jesus.

A FIVE-FOLD EXPLANATION AS TO HOW IT IS THAT HIS SALVATION GETS TO PARTICULAR PEOPLE

1. This salvation comes to those who call upon Christ.
…for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing His riches on all who call on Him. For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. (Rom. 10:12-13)
-We don’t just wake up one day saved, delivered, justified.
-It is people who cry out to Jesus who get saved.
-Salvation does not come from within, but from without and only through Jesus.
-Salvation is for those who stop calling upon anything or anyone else besides Jesus.

2. Those who call upon Christ do so because they believe in Christ.
How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed?… (Rom. 10:14)
-Calling on Christ without believing would be meaningless.
-Belief is the fuel that drives the prayer of calling upon the Lord.
-Belief in Jesus is more than a bare believing of facts about Him.
-It is seeing a need for the Savior and withdrawing trust from themselves, anything or anyone else and putting trust in Jesus.
-It is believing and trusting that Jesus has the power and desire to save.

3. Those who believe in Christ do so because they have heard the gospel of Christ.
…And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard?… (Rom. 10:14)
-This is God’s plan- through hearing.
-See Acts 11:14; 1 Cor. 1:21
-Hearing words, a message, is the means God uses to bring people to belief in His Son.
-Not a list of do’s and don’t’s, but a piece of news that comes to us about Jesus.

“Faith indeed comes of hearing. Do not imagine men will be saved any other way.” -Newell

4. Those who hear the gospel of Christ do so because someone preached it to them.
…And how are they to hear without someone preaching? (Rom. 10:14)
-Preacher=Heralder, someone who announces a public message.
-Herald: someone who acts as a messenger of a king or commander.
-“…the herald announces no word more or less than he is bidden to announce and alters and changes nothing.” -Lenski
-There are many who don’t like certain parts of Scripture. but it’s not our luxury to pick and choose and preach only the parts that we like.

“The essence of other religions is advice; Christianity is essentially news.” -Tim Keller, The King’s Cross

5. Someone preaches the gospel to them because he is commissioned by God to do so.
And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Rom. 10:15)
-The sovereign God who is utterly sovereign in salvation has so structured things that He uses people to preach the Good News.
-God is the sending agent. He is behind it all!
-How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news! This comes from Isaiah 52. The Jews imagining the heralds running over the mountains to make the announcement that their Babylonian captivity is over. The dusty feet of the heralds would be beautiful to them.
-The idea is, how beautiful are the goings of those who bring the good news of the Gospel.
-We go to bring the Good News of salvation because we are sent by God.
-See Mark 16 and Matt. 28.


What Shall We Say To These Things?

Sermon Notes – Pastor Milton Vincent
Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church – March 4, 2012

A bible from 1859.

Image via Wikipedia

We will give an account of every word, every idea we communicate. Words are important.

Paul asks the question, “What shall we say?” (Rom 6:1; 7:7; 9:14; 9:30, 8:31)

Paul is expressing that these Gospel truths (Rom 8:31-39) should cause us to say something and that what we say should be informed by the Gospel. In today’s message we will cover v.31-32. Reasoning from Gospel truth is not just thinking about Gospel truths, but using them as a jumping off point, making inferences from them and applying them to all areas of our lives. Observe, draw conclusions from, and apply Gospel truth.

FIVE THINGS WE SHOULD SAY IN RESPONSE TO THE GOSPEL TRUTHS PRESENTED IN ROMANS

1. God is for us.
-See Romans 5:8; 8:27, 28, 31, 32, 34. God is FOR us.
-“God is for us,” a summary of the Gospel in four words, the most concise definition of grace in the Bible.” -James Edwards

2. No one and nothing is against us.
-Who can bring charges? (Rom. 8:33)
-Who can condemn us? (Rom. 8:34)
-Who can separate us? Persecution, tribulation, distress? Principalities and powers? (Rom. 8:35)
-Obviously not saying that nothing is ever against us, BUT:
-No one of any account compared to God is against us. (Is.40:15-17)
-If this Mighty God is for us, everyone and everything else is nothing compared to Him.
-No one can successfully prevail against us in the ultimate sense. (Is. 54:17)
-Anything that is done against us will be turned into something good. We see this in Scripture:
Acts 4:25-28 (Crucifixion)
Phil. 1:12 (Paul’s imprisonment)
Gen. 50:20 (Joseph’s brothers)
Acts 8:1-4 (Persecution of the Church)

3. God did not spare His own Son when carrying out His plan to save us.
-Rom. 8:32, spare=spare from suffering.
-God did not just decide to save us, He gave up His Son.
-God did not diminish or mitigate the wrath poured out on Jesus.
-At no point did God intervene to lessen Christ’s suffering. He did that for you and for me.

“There was no mitigation, judgment was dispensed upon the Son in its unrelieved intensity.” -Murray

4. God delivered over His Son for us to be saved.
-“Delivered over” is a powerful statement.
-We deserved to be delivered over for judgment, but instead God delivered over His own Son. (Rom. 4:25)

5. God will graciously give us all things needful for our ultimate and eternal good. (Rom. 8:32)
-Freely given, “charizomai” is the verb form of grace.
-If God already gave His Son, what could we ever ask for that is too much for God?

We know these things because we have reasoned from the Gospel. We can bring this confidence to our prayer life and to bear upon our circumstances. In His infinite wisdom, God is always and at all times giving us what is good for our ultimate and eternal good.


INDICATIONS THAT GOD IS FOR US

Sermon Notes-February 5, 2012
Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church-Pastor Milton Vincent

Romans 8:28-31 = God is FOR us.

English: The Apostle Paul

Image via Wikipedia

If you can learn and internalize these verses, you will never doubt that God is FOR you. Know it in moments of failure. Realize we don’t deserve for God to be for us even on our best day. Not based on our performance, but on Jesus’ performance.

FOUR INDICATIONS THAT GOD IS FOR US WHO ARE HIS PEOPLE

1. God works all things together for our good.
-The Gospel isn’t just a piece of good news that you make fit into the bad parts of your life.
-Because of the Gospel, we can know that God works all circumstances, even evil, to work for good in your life.
-We don’t call evil good, just know that God makes evil serve his purposes for our good.
-We know with absolute certainty, every wound, every hurt; your past, present and future circumstances, He weaves for good.
-God used the worst sin in human history (His Son on the cross) to accomplish the most good in human history.
-Think about how God used Paul’s frustrating circumstances. Paul was prevented from seeing the believers in Rome (Rom 1:13) and because of that, Paul wrote the book of Romans. Think of all the people this letter to the Romans has blessed over the last 2,000 years. The book of Romans itself is an illustration of Romans 8:28!

2. God intentionally knew us long before we knew Him.
-Remember when you read v. 29 that you are coming alongside a man in worship as Paul gives voice to deep theological truths.        
-Before we knew Him, God chose us. (Eph 1:4)
-The choice according to foreknowledge (1 Peter 1:1-2)
-God knew us before the world began.
-The word foreknowledge is a relational term. (Greek, pro + ginosko).
-Foreknowledge means that God knew people, not just things about people, i.e. like looking forward to see who would choose Him.
-He knew us, we as people, persons.
-Know=Relationship i.e. Matt 7:23; 1 Cor 8:3; Hos 13:5 and Amos 3:2 (translated as the Greek word ginosko in Septuagint); also Rom 11:2
-proginosko=set one’s regard upon in advance, to determine to enter into a loving relationship. Another way to put it is, those whom he fore-loved.

The story of your conversion technically begins before the world was created!

Do you think that God would invest in us from before the foundation of the world just to leave us hanging in our present circumstances? Be encouraged in this!

3. God predestined us to transformation into Christ-likeness.
-Look at Christ in all His Glory. God says to you, “This is your destiny. When I’m done with you, that is what you are going to look like!”
-Even when we are hurting, God is working to bring to fruition your destiny to look like His beloved Son.

Note from Terrie: I’m sure that this message is to be continued. There is so much more to think about and learn from these verses. I for one, can’t wait!

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


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