Tag Archives: forgiveness

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


A Testimony to God’s Faithfulness

Looking back over my fifty plus years, God’s faithfulness is clear. My Heavenly Father kept me until the Day of my Salvation and at the right moment, plucked me from darkness and transferred me into His Kingdom of Light. It is His doing, this quickening of heart and mind in response to the Glorious message of the Gospel. The Lord used both people and circumstances to bring His offer of redemption into sharp focus in my life, and I am thankful.

I did not grow up in a church-going family, but I did have parents who loved, cared, and provided for me. They were  instruments of God’s Grace and love. Every night, either Dad or Mom would tuck me in and say a prayer. “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” My parents could not give me a true picture of Christianity, they did not have one themselves. But the sliver of truth that they did possess, they gave. My mom has since become a strong Christian. That bond has been strengthened. I am eternally grateful for the parents the Lord gave me.

I am also thankful for all the neighborhood VBS clubs I attended as a child. In second grade I learned to sing the books of the Bible at one such club. To this day I sing through the books if I’m unsure of the location of a Scripture reference. Over the years, all those crafts and Bible Stories laid a good foundation for the future. I am blessed thinking about the people whose names I may have forgotten, but whose seeds planted in the mind and heart of a little girl for Christ’s sake still yield fruit.

During my middle school years a neighbor lady invited us to attend a summer outreach at a Baptist church in town. There was a group of college students from Texas who came to teach from the Bible, give their testimonies and preach the Gospel for several weeks. I responded to the Lord that summer and was even baptized. However, when school came around I stopped attending church and lost interest in the things of the Lord. Was I truly saved that summer? I don’t know. I plan to ask the Lord about it someday. I would not return to Christianity until much later in life.

My senior year in high school coincided with the “Jesus Movement”. Many of my friends became Christians and invited me to tent meetings that were being held at what would later become Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa. I refused their invitations. A girlfriend explained the Gospel to me many times. I always found an excuse and continued to live for myself. But, the truth was still there, and I knew it.

After high school I drifted farther and farther away from anything or anyone that bore any semblance to Christianity. I lived for myself. I indulged my flesh. I did what was right in my own eyes. Over the years, I became cynical bitter, even angry. I hated what my life had become. I felt hopeless, alone and lost.

At one point during this time, a girlfriend who I had not seen for a long time got in touch with me. She invited me to hear a Christian band at Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa. I liked the music, but after the band was finished playing a man got up to preach the Gospel. My heart was so hardened by this time that his words only made me angry. Although he spoke of God’s love, he also told the truth about what would happen to those who died without Christ. My attitude was: Who does this guy think he is telling me that I am headed for damnation if I refuse to turn to Christ for forgiveness and salvation?! I became so agitated that I actually got up in the middle of his sermon and exited the church in a huff, allowing the door to slam behind me.

It was two years later that the Lord would finally have His way with me. Hallelujah! By this time, my sister and her husband had become Christians. I watched the Lord heal their marriage. I noticed the love they shared with other Christians. I saw the joy that forgiveness and salvation bring. I realized there was a big difference between their lives and mine. I wanted what they had even though I wasn’t quite ready to admit it yet.

I began to attend a home Bible study held at their home. This little group of believers welcomed me. They loved me. They put up with my cynical attitude. I asked questions, dishonestly, only to see if I could trip them up. They answered my questions, honestly, with patience and transparency. In short, they wore me down with the love of Christ that was in them. I succumbed.

That was the summer of 1981. I don’t know exactly when it happened during that time period, but the Lord took hold of me. He loved me while yet a sinner, yes, even the chief of sinners! He washed me clean and made me a new creature. I was born again, saved. I have not been the same since.

The story of how the Lord has changed my life and blessed me since then would fill many more pages of this blog. I will save that for another time. I do not deserve all that the Lord has done for me. If left to my own devices, I would still be lost and a slave to sin. But God, rich in Grace and Mercy, loved me and gave Himself for me. He not only gave me hope for eternity, but also blessed me this side of heaven with a Godly husband and three beautiful children.

My point in writing all of this is two-fold. I need to remind myself how important it is to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, even when immediate fruit is not evident. I write also to encourage you to keep praying for that someone who refuses to respond to God’s offer of His Son. Trust the Lord for those little ones that come and go in your Sunday school classes and VBS clubs. Continue to preach the Gospel in word and deed, even to those whose hearts seem made of stone.

To God alone be the Glory! His Grace is sufficient. His Gospel is true.

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him in whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (Romans 10:13-15)  

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


What a Savior!

In this guest post, Ruby Kimble shares an entry from her journal as a glimpse of the daily blessings the Gospel brings.

Hallelujah! What a Savior! 
by Phillip Bliss

“Man of Sorrows!” what a name
For the Son of God who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
“Full atonement!” can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die;
“It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in Heav’n exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Mark it down! Yesterday–another one of those “worst days of sin and failure.” As I sit here this morning, I am sore from kicking myself over this. I had almost forgotten the three really cool things the Lord did yesterday–two of them were incredible heart changing moments in church. Then afterward, an act of God’s provision–a miracle, a wonderful afternoon ahead and then, BOOM–lest I be prideful, the thorn in my flesh appears…ME! I am that THORN! Ruined the day for everyone.

…Double-minded in church, I struggled to focus on the worship, then through the song, Hallelujah! What a Savior! (Devon Kauflin version), the Spirit performed a work in me that I could never have accomplished. As I sang the song and gazed at the Savior, the ugliness in my heart melted away. Conscious of this as it was happening, it was as if the Lord, in one instant put the two images, one of Himself and one of my sin, side by side and simply said, “Choose.” The simple and obvious, the joyful with no reservations choice was the One who came for me, who stood condemned in my place, He who sealed my pardon, the Spotless One! And again at the end of the service when my heart wandered away from perfect love to breaking with self-pity at a disappointment; through the music, the Holy Spirit reminded me, “I’m bigger than this seeming disappointment!” Out on the lawn after the service, the news of  answered prayer came from an unexpected source! With three such incredible moments in one morning, how could the day have ended so badly? Why did I let the little things that were to follow get on top of me? Because I am a sinner!

Thankfully, because I have this wonderful, merciful Savior I can be forgiven yet again for another “worst day of sin and failure.” I am reminded this morning of the  truth that though black and dark sin looks to me, and it is awful; something amazing is happening on the other side of glory–grace is abounding to me! Because Christ took the blame and guilt of my sin and bore God’s righteous wrath in my place, grace is reigning! The multitudes in the heavenly realms rejoice as the finished work of Christ holds firm yet again and declares Satan’s best efforts impotent. My feeble efforts at defeating so great a foe are not the focus of heavenly hosts. No, the attention of all is firmly fixed on the Victor! Jesus, Lamb of God, who reigns supreme, is the focus of celebration as He again presents a reconciled enemy, now spotless and free from accusation, before the throne of the Holy One. At no moment in time am I more a recipient of God’s Grace than when I am seeing my sin and confessing it. God’s Grace is abounding to me as He protects and maintains my justification and His grace is being lavished on me as He opens my blind eyes to see the truth. I have nothing to fear as I approach the throne, for I know that as I come to confess and repent and be cleansed that He will receive me–for He has sent for me, nay He has come and gotten me in His love, and His aim is to remove this bondage from my life. HALLELUJAH! What a Savior!

“Savior, You showed your love, defeated sin, poured out Your blood, so we praise You, Lamb that was slain, we offer our lives to proclaim, What a Savior!” (chorus by Devon Kauflin)

Scripture referenced: Colossians 1:15-22; Ephesians 1:20-23


But for Christ’s Blood

How oft do we condemn when Christ would not?
Is it more than repentance we require
as if the perfect work that He has wrought
suffices not to save us from the fire?

How is it that we refuse to forgive?
Dare we ask for more than His sacrifice?
Are we more righteous than He who would cleanse?
Yet, we cast the first stone, quick to chastise.

Why do we turn from the beauty of Him,
preferring darkness to One Right and Fair
and fixing our eyes on weakness and sin,
shamelessly feast on transgression laid bare?

Are we not sinners redeemed at great cost,
and but for Christ’s blood yet hopeless and lost?

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


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