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Sunday English Service - 05 Jun 2016 - Walking in Love

Transcript

Please turn with me to Romans 12. Let me read to you from verse 15-16. ‘Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion’.
As you know we have been teaching on love, particularly about walking in love for the last several weeks and I want to continue for just a little while on this until we complete this chapter here which has some wonderful passages concerning walking in love.
Romans is really wonderful. The first 11 chapters are about the doctrine of Salvation, how man is a sinner, God sends a Savior and how God takes the sinner and justifies him and makes him righteous before his sight. How God saves the man, that’s the subject from chapter 1 to chapter 11. Chapter 12 is the beginning of the practical teaching. Christian teaching is always like this. There is doctrine and there is practice. You never teach doctrine for the sake of doctrine. You always teach doctrine in order that it may lead to practice. So you will find this trend in all the epistles particularly Apostle Paul, where there is both doctrine and practice. Christianity is not about some doctrine, it is about a doctrine, a conviction that leads to a way of life. So, chapter 12 begins with the practical side of things. And we have been studying from verse 9 onwards and when it comes to chapter 12 and the practical side, Paul is covering two things here in this passage, from verse 9 all the way to the end of the chapter. Two things are covered – our actions and our reactions.
If you take a look at life, it’s made up of actions and reactions. We are either acting or we are reacting. We are doing something or we are doing something in return to the something that is done to us, in our relationship with people, with circumstances, you know, this is so important. What we do is important, our actions are important, our reactions are important and Paul deals with it here. It’s amazing to me that the Bible is about leading us into success. Not only saving us from sin and power of Satan and delivering us, but also leading us on to live in the way God has intended for us to live so that nothing holds us back from achieving what God wants us to achieve. So the Bible is about that. Never doubt the fact that the Bible is there to lead you to success. I always say this is a success book. It’s a winnersmanual. I really believe it. God is not just interested in saving us from our sins and Satan. Why does he save us? Because we must be set free to be and become what God wants us to be. So if we don’t become what God has intended for you to be, then Salvation has no meaning at all. Salvation is done with the purpose of leading us on to that purpose. So that is why you have these passages, where its talking about our actions and our reactions. Now why are these things so important? It is because in the world you know interpersonal relationships are so important. That can lead you to success or failure. No matter how much a person is educated, if he cannot deal with people, and if he cannot react to people and situations in the right way the person cannot succeed in this world. Sointerpersonal relationship is the key to success – one of the great keys to success.
Now, as I said, Bible is about success, we are interested in success because God is interestedin our success, God has saved us so that we may be successful, so that God’s purposes can be fulfilled. This is so important for us to realize. So as we teach on love, you shouldn’t look upon it as some kind of a teaching where a particular subject to taught so that you can understand certain things. No, the understandingis so that it can make you successful in this life. That’s why the apostle Paul and others here say the things that they say with the purpose of leading you to success and to victory in life. With that in mind, I want you to look at these two verses and I want you to understand what these two verses is saying because it is talking about our reactions to circumstances. Verse 9 to the end of the chapter is about actions and reactions. 9-13 is about our actions. And 14 to the end is our reactions to what is done to us. Remember we studied Verse 14 where it’s talking about persecution. It says –bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse. Teaching us to have the right reaction to the problem of persecution. Persecution will always be there as long as there is a world, as long there is a devil that is active, as long as thereare people under his hold, persecution is a reality. So how do you react to persecution? When people persecute you what do you do? He says bless and do not curse. And we talked about that. How to bless? To bless means to speak good words. Now I showed you particularly to speak good words means to speak good words in prayer to God. Because somebody is doing something to you, what its saying is – Go to God, speak good words about that person. How do you speak good words in prayer to God? What do you pray? You pray asking God to forgive him, be gracious to him, to be merciful to him, to save him, to change him, to transform him, to help him, that’s the way you bless. You bless him by prayer. Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, says – pray for those who persecute you. He actually says that.
If blessing is to speak good words to God in prayer then cursing is to call the wrath of God upon that person saying – let the fire of God fall on that guy because of what he has done to me. That’s a wrong reaction. He says – do not curse. Do not call God’s wrath upon that person, don’t be praying for God to come down on that person and cut him off. Don’t pray that kind of prayer. Some people are good at praying that kind of prayer, he says – pray this kind of prayer. Pray for God to be merciful to him, kind to him, forgive him, change him and not hold this sin against him to his charge. So that is one verse we already studied.
Let’s look at verse 15. Here is a very interesting verse. It says, ‘rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep’. Now, two three things here to understand this verse properly. I have said a few things here and there about this verse often. Because it is one of the most interesting verses in the Bible. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. The order is important. First, rejoicing with those rejoice. Next weeping with those who weep. Why the order is important? The order is deliberately given here in order to give an emphasis. The emphasis is this that rejoicing with those who rejoice is more difficult than weeping with those who weep and therefore rejoicing with those who rejoice becomes more of a test of your profession of the Christian faith, even more than weeping with those who weep. Hope you got that. Let’s deal with this. Rejoicing with those who rejoice is more difficult than weeping with those who weep.
But if you ask people generally they think otherwise. They think weeping is difficult. They will say - brother, to go to a birthday party, cut the cake, clap your hands and share the gifts and eat the biriyani is easy. That’s a good time that you have there. Meet your friends, laugh and talk and sing and do all kinds of thing. So that is easy. Anybody can do that. But to go to a house where there is sorrow, where there is weeping, where a person is going through some difficulty, some distress and partake with them in that and to weep with them is more difficult they think. Now, it may sound right if you are just thinking superficially. That’s why Christians must be deep thinkers not just superficial thinkers. You must go beyond the surface and think even more deeply. If you consider the issue more deeply you will find that rejoicing with those who rejoice is more difficult than weeping with those who weep. Why do I say that? because when a person is in distress, when a person is going through some problem, weeping with that person, suppose there is a death, something terrible has happened, a person is going through a great difficulty, weeping and feeling sorry with that person is something that comes to all of us naturally as natural men and women. We don’t have to say, we don’t have to be very spiritual, we don’t have to have a great deal of maturity even. Very ordinary people that are not even mature, can feel some kind of a sadness with another person who is going through some death issue or something like that, who is weeping in other words. Somebody dies, terrible death, got small children, immediately you feel sorry, compassion is welling up with in you. And no matter who you are, you may not be a great mature person, you still feel sorry. You feel terrible and even you shed a few tears. Because it is natural, it’s easy, its naturally coming to you to weep. But, when a person was down but he is now on top of the world, he is going up, he is doing well, he is built a house, he has got a nice job, he was way down there at the bottom, now he is rising very high in status, doing really very well, that he calls you to celebrate it with him, doesn’t come naturally to go there and enjoy that event with him. I am not just talking about some people having difficulty with it, I think all people have difficulty with it. The reason is this – by nature, we are all tainted by sin and sins… full face… I would say, the real face of sin is in this fact, that a person becomes self oriented, self centered. Self begins to rule. That’s what sin is. That’s the real face of sin. Self. Me. I. Me first. I must succeed, I must be prosperous, I must be victorious, I must make it, more than him, more than anybody else, nobody could go beyond me, they can all come up but upto this, not level with me and if they go beyond me, that’s bad. I can’t take it. That’s the way we are all made. Sin has made us like that. you were not made by God like that but sin has tainted us, and changed us so much, this self has become such a bug issue in our life, self rules and we only look for self benefit, self interest, self centeredness, if you see any relationship, any family, any marriage, any relationship – that is where the difficulty comes, self. Self interest. You shut up, I will talk. I decide you simply follow. You have no right, I have the right to decide. It’s my money, my labour, my sweat and my say. That’s what self is all about. That self makes life very difficult. It’s horrible to live with a person like that where self is ruling. In Christianity when we say sinner, we don’t mean a person who robs a bank and killed somebody or something like that. Sinner means this kind of person who is interested in self, self rules above everything. More than anybody else, he is interested in self. He is not sacrificial by nature, he is not giving by nature. He has got this self interest. Even when he gives he gives because of self interest many times. Natural man is like that. Wants to get some fame, name, some appreciation, some applause, something like that, there is a wrong motive there, self. You will find self everywhere, self is found everywhere.
I think I told you a story sometime ago about C.S. Lewis his book on four loves, talks about a lady who dies, several children and she used to really work for the family so much. In the morning, everybody will answer to her. Have you brushed your teeth, have you taken shower, have you done this, and have you ironed your shirt? She will be just up and going and working so hard to do everything for the family and so thorough with it, every detail of it, be behind everybody, pushing them to do this, do that, get ready, go. One day she died it seems, they went and buried her and everybody came back and they seemed to let out a sigh of relief that she has gone. He tells the story, this is not my story. Everybody lets out a sigh of relief, coming to find out that that lady wanted everybody to go around her. That’s why she was going around. She was working so hard, not because she wanted to do something, because of this self interest, that everything must revolve around herself, that she must dictate everything, she must rule everything, she must have her hand in everything. Self. Even in a mother’s love, which is the highest kind of human love there is. There is that self. That’s what sin has done. It has tainted even the wonderful thing called mother’s love. There’s nothing like the mother’s love. But even that is tainted, so that self comes in there, somewhere. That is why some young people have a problem after their marriage, because their mother is the problem. Because the mother doesn’t want to stop being the mother. The mother wants to tell the daughter-in-law what she must do, the mother wants to tell – you must have the mother’s permission for everything. The boy must be a mamma’s boy till his death. That self. You can never reach a point where you can say – no, he now belongs to another person. I lose him, let him go, live his life happily. That kind of thing is not there. Even in mother’s love, that self interest comes in. So self, that’s the real problem. And because of the self, there is self pride, self is hurt. When somebody comes up and you can’t come up, because at the core of man’s heart, this self is ruling. It is difficult to accept another man’s success and prosperity and blessing so that when another person is down, it is easier to sympathize with such a person and weep with a person than when a person who is down is going up, to rejoice with that person. You would rather him be down so that you can sympathize with him, than have him go up so that you can rejoice with him. Rejoicing with him becomes more difficult. Because of the self, pride, jealousy comes in. Competition comes in, making rejoicing more difficult. Self is the first thing that is affected when the fall happened. And since then we have been having this problem. So it is easier to weep with those who weep because that person is down and out and he is in distress. No problem. Even a natural, ordinary man can weep, but you got to be an extraordinary, spiritual person, mature person with some great understanding in order to appreciate another person’s success and rejoice with him and celebrate another person’s success and be joyful over that. It takes a lot. It’s more difficult. That’s why Paul puts it first.
Why does he put it first? Deliberately he puts it first because this is more of a test of the profession of your faith than weeping with those who weep. Weeping with those who weep is also important. You must partake in their suffering. Because when one suffers, we all suffer, we are all part of the body. But rejoicing with those who rejoice, becomes more of a test of our profession as Christians than weeping with those who weep. That’s why he puts it first.
Now the second thing is – look at the way Paul puts it. He says – rejoice with those who rejoice. He could have said – don’t feel jealous. Don’t feel competitive about this person who is having great success. No. Stop being jealous. Stop envying. You should stop envying – that kind of subject is dealt with elsewhere, but look at how he puts it here. Instead of saying – stop being envious, stop being jealous, he says – rejoice. So I say to you that the Bible demands a positive reaction to a situation like that. Positive reaction. Anything other than rejoicing with those who rejoice in their success is not a positive reaction. It’s a negative reaction. Now some people think in the world that if you can stop envying and stop being jealous, that is itself a great achievement. Some people think even that is very difficult. So they think that the height of spirituality is that you learn how to stop envying and stop being jealous, if you can somehow stop envying and stop being jealous, you are a very great, mature, spiritual person they think. To stop envying, to stop being jealous is good. Certainly there is a great deal of growth in that person if he has done that. But according to the Bible, more is required. That is not enough. According to the Bible, it is not enough to stop envying and stop feeling some jealousy. It is important to go one step more. This step is very difficult. One step more is rejoice.
Now, this is very important to notice this. That’s the way the Bible puts it. Rejoice with those who rejoice. Not a note to stop envying, stop feeling jealous. Rejoice. Got to come to this level of rejoicing. Now, lot of people have many ways. In the world, we have learned our own ways. In the sinful world, with our sinful nature we have learnt a lot of ways to deal with such issues. One of the ways people deal with this is, they don’t want to be seen to be jealous. They don’t want to be showing and displaying their jealousy or envy. So people have ways to deal with this where they can cover their jealousy and their envy, so you will have people like this. Show all their teeth and shake hands and say – Oh! I am so happy for you, but in the inside they are burning. Inside they are waiting for a chance to topple you, to destroy you, to bring you as low as possible, and they wish that you get destroyed, they wish that you are gone, they wish that you suffer but outwardly they don’t show that. They are very clever because they want to be seen as very decent, cultured, they know how to behave in public. Public behavior is more important. And what is going on inside is not important. And they think there’s nothing wrong about it. As long as you don’t show it out, as long as you don’t act ugly, as long as you don’t look like a mean person and show yourjealousy and envy you are alright. Showing jealousy and envy is indecent. Keep it inside. Don’t show it. That’s the way they deal with it. Well, when you do that, then you look good on the outside. That’s what you call hypocrisy. That’s why in verse 9 when we began Paul says, that let love be without hypocrisy. That’s where he begins this passage. That’s hypocritical. You have one thing inside, you have another thing outside. Now some of us are thinking about politicians in our country, in other countries. Well, they are like that brother. They will laugh and talk and they will do this and they are against one another. Well, I say to you – not politicians, everybody in every field, in every profession, even among Christians, you see things like this. Because politicians are men and women and we are also men and women. We are all from the same basic, sinful nature background,therefore there is a likeness there.
So don’t just look at one group or the other and say they are like that. And these people are like that. Human beings are like that. That’s the way things are with human beings. They hide it inside. They don’t show it outside. They think they have successfully now dealt with this whole issue. But it’s not. It may make you look good outside, but it’s very harmful to you inside. Why? Because all that jealousy and that envy and that burning that you have now stored up like a dam inside, is going to literally kill you, destroy you. I was hearing a little talk by a doctor the other day on the internet talking about certain chronic illnesses. He said – many of the chronic illnesses has to do with this kind of a thing. This jealousy and envy and bitterness and all these animosity and everything that is not let out, that is not released, that is kept inside, that is maintained over a long period of time, that is what is aggravating that kind of illness and really one of the causes of that illness. So he says unless you deal with it, you really treat it. Just giving some medication is not treatment he says. Usually medication is given because a doctor finds sometimes that he cannot deal with their tension. So a person comes, he says – I got this problem, the doctor may say something like – are you already constantly under some kind of tension, you are all tensed up or something like that, are you in some kind of stress, you need to relieve yourself of that but they can’t tell you how to relieve yourself out of that. Things get worse, they may put you on sedation or something like that and make you sleep. So you don’t even think. But they cannot do anything about it. so what they do is they prescribe some medicines. You go take half a tablet of this and half a tablet of that, it still doesn’t come down to one. No problem. Then we have also come to the conclusion if half doesn’t work let’s go to one. If one doesn’t work, let’s go to one and a half. Doesn’t matter. Take more and more so it will keep it down. Well, it’s good to keep it down because otherwise it will kill you. So go ahead and take it but the real place where the problem can be dealt with is the church. So, while you are taking the half tablet, come over here with your Bible. Because this is where the real healing is. Thank God for the doctors. They are doing whatever they can, they are dealing with it from one angle. Thank God they are saving many of our lives. That’s what I will say. Otherwise half of the population will be dead today. Thank God they are doing anything and everything to save and prolong our life in the midst of all this mess. But you need to do something to fix the problem on a permanent basis. You need to get rid of all these things that are causing this inside. Where do you learn that? How do you deal with that? That is why the Gospel is so important. That is why the Bible is so important. That is why the Salvation that we preach is so important. Because Salvation deals with these things. Salvation deals with this problem of self. With this problem of selfish pride and jealousy and envy and all of these things. By dealing with the self, self is the cause of jealousy and envy and pride and all of these things. So when you come to Christ, when salvation happens, something happens inside of you. Where self was ruling before now Christ begins to rule. That’s what salvation is, that is why Salvation is called a new creation. That’s why it says if anyone be in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away, all things have become new. There is a tremendous change, a radical change that happens. It’s called new birth. It is called regeneration. A person is literally regenerated. That means made all over again. Old is destroyed, regenerated literally. Salvation is the most amazing thing. Something happens to a person where he becomes a new creation, born again, he is regenerated and not only that he begins to change his mind about many things, transformed.
That’s why when we study Romans 12, we must remember – it begins with verses 1 and 2. What does verses 1 and 2 say? Verse 1 says – I beseech your therefore brethren by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God which is your reasonable service. Then verse 2 says – be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may prove what is the good, acceptable and perfect will of God. Be transformed. Don’t be conformed to this world, don’t be like the rest of the world. Be transformed. What does it mean? Become another man, become a totally different person. Transformation means becoming a totally different person. That’s what salvation is all about. So when salvation happens, something wonderful happens. And therefore when salvation happens to a person it works like this. It relieves him from his self, the destroying force called self, self interest, is now subdued, Jesus begins to rule, Jesus begins to be the Lord of his life, and another thing happens. He is now joined to a family. The old is gone, self is gone, self is literally put down, Jesus now rules. But then he is brought into a family. Now, this family concept is very important. Bible teaches that God is a father. We all belong to the same family. Now in a family you can’t be selfish. Now these days people have only one or two children. I remember back in those days, they said – we are two, ours is two. Now they say – we two, ours one. Tomorrow I think they are going to say – we two, ours nil. Zero. So we have just one or two children now. Now, you tell children that are born in a home where there’s one child, many times its very difficult for them to comprehend what this means. But I come from a family of nine. I am the oldest. Now whenever we sat down to eat, my mother would make big idlis because how many idlis can you make for all the people? 9 children, mother and father, then one or two of my uncles were there with us, then some friends will come, my father was a pastor, there would always be somebody to eat there. So 10-15 people would be eating every meal. So mother would make idlis and those idlis would be real big and believe me in those days, I could put away half a dozen of them. Each idli is worth about 2 or 3 in size. Big ones. So, I was the oldest one. I remember when we sat down to eat, my mother will say – Sam, remember there are so many more to come. Not so many idlis but so many people are coming. So don’t finish it all yourself. Remember, you still have 3 more brothers to eat or 3 more sisters to eat or 3 more people to eat. So when I sat down to eat, when I pour that sambhar into my plate, I have to remember how many more are there. I cannot just live by selfish interest, I just cannot be selfish. I got to constantly always think about others. Has so and so eaten? How many more are there to eat? How much should I leave behind? How much can I have? I always must adjust according to that. It makes you live with a consciousness.
Now, becoming a Christian is like that. Before we were Christians, we were all about self. Me. The whole world is about us. The whole world revolves around us. We thought we are the only ones in the world. Nothing else mattered than our success, our happiness, our joy, our wish, our will. What we want, that’s the way we were. Salvation does something. You become a new creation, you have new birth, you are regenerated, you are transformed by the renewing of your mind by the Word of God, you become a changed person and that change shows up in these real ways. You are now not living thinking only about yourself, you are thinking about others. You are in a family, now the New Testament teaches it in so many different ways. Another one is that he is the head and we are the body and when it’s talking about the body it says, that we are all different members of one body. Body has so many members and Paul says in Romans 12, so many members but making up one body. If one member suffers, then all suffer. When one is honored, everyone is honored. Some look like they are not so important. Some members look like they are so important. But everyone matters, everyone is important. There are some hidden members, there are some members that are upfront, like your face, your eyes, your nose, this is what everybody sees. So the nose probably has an attitude. Says-look at me, I am the one everybody is watching. I am the one upfront all the time. It is possible that one member can have that kind of attitude. But the Bible says every member is important. Because your little toe is hurt, and there is some kind of a wound there, some kind of an infection comes, your whole body can have fever. And be affected and you can be literally bed ridden for a day because your little member is affected. This is the way the Bible pictures Christians and this new life. You are a member of the family, you are not alone. You are always consciously aware of it, you are always thinking about these others, welfare of others not just yourself. Your welfare, your success, your happiness is linked with the welfare and success of others also that are in your family. And you are like a member in that body therefore you must make sure – a lot of Christians don’t understand that – sometimes some Christians have a problem with that. They have an attitudinal problem. Sometimes they end up hating one another. So when one suffers, the other rejoices. That’s nonsense. That’s foolishness. How can you rejoice when one suffers? Because when one suffers, everyone suffers. How can you rejoice because your little toe got cut off. No, it’s going to affect you forever. It’s going to matter to you all the time. It’s so important. You cannot. When that little toe that is hurt gets healed, boy! You are happy. You are happy for the healing of that toe becausebecause that’s healed, now you can be up and going. And you can function fully. Lot of Christians don’t see that. If they understood it, they will understand that rejoice with those who rejoice is real. You will end up rejoicing with those who rejoice. You will end up rejoicing in their success. You will take pleasure in their success when you understand the body concept, when you understand the family concept, that when one suffers, everyone suffers, when one is honored, everyone is honored. What happens to one happens to all. Everyone is involved all the time. Therefore the success of one must bring immense happiness and joy to you where you rejoice.
To a real Christian, jealousy and envy should never be a problem. Why it is a problem is we don’t understand this. That is why it is a problem. Once we understand it can never be a part of our lives. Understanding will set us free. That’s why Jesus said you will know the truth and the truth shall set us free. So once you understand that how can there be jealousy, how can there be envy because when one suffers, I will suffer. So I cannot rejoice in his suffering because that is my suffering.
Now, look at how Paul puts it. Let me read to you in verse 26 of 2 Corinthians 11. I think you cannot read any other passage that is as powerful as this one. Even though there are others. 2 Corinthians 11:26-29. ‘in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, inperils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren, in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fasting often, in cold and nakedness’. He is talking about his experience in ministry. Because of the Christian ministry and the name of Jesus he suffers a lot and lot of oppositions, lot of persecutions, lot of trouble and so on. Then he says, ‘besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches’. See he is a man that is not living long by himself. He is connected to all the churches in various towns and regions that he has established. He says – my deep concern for all the churches, what’s happening there? Some are deceived by some false preachers that come in and lead them away from Christ. Some are taken into legalism by Judaizers. There are a lot of trouble in the churches. He goes there and preaches Christ and establishes churches. Someone goes right behind him and preaches something false and destroy these people. So he says, my deep concern for all the churches. He is bearing that with him wherever he goes. Now listen to this. Verse 29 is the most powerful verse. ‘Who is weak, and I am not weak?’ You know what he says? He says – is there anybody in the Christian churches that can be weak and I can be rejoicing and happy. In other words he says – when one is weak I am also weak. When one Christian is suffering I am also suffering. And look at the next. It’s even more powerful. ‘Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?’There’s a Christian somewhere in some church that he has established somewhere and he is stumbling in his Christian walk. There is some problem in his spirituallife, someone has caused him to stumble. He is not believing in Christ anymore. He has got a difficulty, problem, exercising his faith, and walking in faith and so on. And Paul says – I burn with indignation. When someone does that, when someone stumbles and when one problem stumbles in his Christian walk and has difficulty, I burn within me. Now why should a man burn when somebody somewhere in another town stumbles. Is one man such a big matter or concern? Why should he express it in this way? What he is saying is – this is the way we are made. Now as a new creation. We are all linked to one another. So when one stumbles, we burn. Just imagine when one succeeds, when one is blessed, then you rejoice. There is no place for jealousy and envy. And you hear of a Christian doing well, coming up, succeeding, overcoming difficulties, being victorious, just like you burn when he stumbles, you must have immense pleasure, you must take pleasure in his success. How many of you get it?
If you have to burn within you when he stumbles, then the opposite must happen when he succeeds. When he succeeds you rejoice. You praise God, you have a party, you celebrate. You rejoice with him, so rejoicing with those who rejoice is more difficult therefore it is more important as a test of your profession. Secondly, it is a positive reaction. Negative reaction is not enough. Not just stopping your jealousy and envybut you must rejoice.
Thirdly, no man can ever do it for himself. Or do this by himself in his natural nature. As a natural man he cannot do it. Why? Because a natural man cannot do it, you have got to be born again, you have got to be regenerated, you have got to be transformed by the Word of God. You have got to have a definite change of heart and mind and thinking and everything. Only then this can be done. So rejoice with those that rejoice. It is very difficult thing. It doesn’t come natural. Doesn’t just come ordinarily. Weeping with those who weep, anybody can do. But rejoicing with those who rejoice, it does not come naturally, it has to come spiritually. It is something supernatural, it is something because you become mature and you realize these things, therefore you rejoice with those who rejoice. Rejoicing with those who rejoice should not be a problem for any Christian. And if a Christian rejoices at another person’s defeat, another person’s failure, something wrong with that Christian’s thinking. He is messed up in his thinking. He does not understand certain things. When one falls, we all are affected. When one suffers, everybody suffers.
So, when you find your fellow believers succeeding, experiencing some blessing, going forward, going upward, doing well, enjoying the blessings of God and being blessed more and more, rejoice with that. Becauseit’s good for you.
The next verse.Back to Romans 12. We dealt with verse 15. Look at verse 16. ‘Be of the same mind toward one another. Don’t set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion’. Now lot of people assume this verse is about something else. That verse 15 and 16 don’t have anything with each other. But I am dealing with it together because I believe the two have very close connection. Verse 15 talks about rejoicing and weeping. You may say that’s feelings. Verse 16 is about thinking. Thoughts. Because it says be of the same mind toward one another. It is closely related because I want to show you that you cannot feel the happiness and the joy and the rejoicing without really setting your mind straight. If you are not thinking the right thoughts, you can’t have the feelings. Feelings are always connected to thoughts. Feelings are not independent of thoughts. Thought is the basis of our feelings. So, rejoice with those who rejoice. How do you rejoice with those who rejoice? Something has to happen in your mind. That is how you rejoice with those who rejoice. He says be of the same mind towards one another. Now, what does it mean? It means be in agreement. It means don’t be in strife. It means don’t be fighting. Bickering, quarrelling. Stop quarrelling, stop fighting. Be in agreement, be of the same mind means be of one mind. Let me just read to you just a few verses, just to show you what this means because this same expression is used in other verses. For example – in 1 Corinthians 1:10, Paul says – ‘Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you’ – look at how he says. ‘But that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment’. Another verse. 1 Corinthians 11:17-19. ‘Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse’. He is talking about coming together as a church, the Corinthian church coming together and meeting as a church. He says, you come together not for the better but for the worse. What kind of church is that? You are supposed to come together. See I hope when you come together it’s for the better. By coming together, you enjoy the worship, you join with other people, you share in their joy, you meet people and hear about things that God is doing in their lives and join together and hear God’s Word just by looking at one another and seeing how God is working in other people’s lives, you are encouraged. You are uplifted, it’s such a wonderful experience, when you come together on a Sunday together. But he says, they were coming together not for the better but for the worse. Why? Verse 18. ‘For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it’. He says there are divisions, strife, I know what’s happening there he says. I hear that these things are there and I do partly believe it. Sometimes you hear 100 things atleast 40-50 things are right. That’s what he says. I believe in part because I know there are some issues like that. Look at Philippians 1:27. Trying to help you to understand what it means to be of the same mind. It’s talking about unity, togetherness. ‘Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel’. Here is this preacher trying to get the church together, helping them to realize how they belong to each other and that they strive together and being one mind. Look at chapter 3 in the same epistle to the Philippians. 3:15,16. ‘Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind’. I think that’s enough to let you know that Paul is really talking about being of the same mind and same mind means to be oneminded. Get rid of the strife. And so on.
Now how can this be done? How to be of the same mind? He says in verse 16 in chapter 12 of Romans – he says don’t set your mind on high things but associate with the humble, don’t be wise in your own opinion. Why is it so important to be of the same mind? Why is it so important to be in mind in agreement? Because if you are not in agreement in mind then you cannot rejoice with those who rejoice. So he says how to do it? Don’t be high minded he says. Do not set your mind on high things. What does it mean when he says don’t setyour mind on high things? High things means – do not be carried away by things that inflate you and lead you to arrogance and pride and haughtiness because of your knowledge. Don’t allow yourself to be carried away by this intellectual thing. Don’t become just an intellectual, arrogant and haughty, inflated, proud. That’s what he means when he says don’t be high minded.
Now, let read Psalm 131. There is a wonderful passage there where the Psalmist talks about this in Psalm 131 which is a very short Psalm. Only 3 verses there.He is a great king, God has given him great status, wealth, good life. He was a little shepherd boy, become a king, and now look at what he says. He says – ‘Lord my heart is not haughty. Nor my eyes lofty.Neither do I concern myself with great matters, Nor with things too profound for me’. I think every single person has to realize this. Sometimes, when we know a lot, we think we know everything. When we know a lot knowledge puffs up the Bible says. You have got to be careful about knowledge. Anything good you need to be careful about because the devil brings some evil with it. Knowledge is good. If somebody doesn’t have knowledge, they must go get some knowledge. Knowledge will set you free. Knowledge will elevate you. Knowledge will make you successful. Knowledge is good, but knowledge can also destroy a person in the sense when knowledge puffs up, when knowledge turns into arrogance and knowledge leads to arrogance, knowledge leads to pride. When knowledge leads to that kind of a thing that becomes the place from which a person falls. So look at this. He says – ‘Lord my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty. Neither do I concern myself with great matters, Nor with things too profound for me’. Kings think that everything is in their finger tip, everything is under their control, but this king says – No, no. there are many things that I don’t understand, that are too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand. My mind cannot even comprehend these things, God you only know those things. So I relapse that I need your help. I realize that I don’t know everything. I realize that I need to learn, I need to be taught of you. He says, ‘surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me’. He says in his soul, he is like a child. What a great attitude.
One more in the New Testament.1 Corinthians 8. Paul talks about this knowledge and how it puffs up, and causes problems in a wonderful passage in chapter 8 of 1 Corinthians. Now, in 1 Corinthians 8, there is a particular problem. There are a lot of people that have come from the background of idol worship in those days, in the church at Corinth. So they are new Christians, they have come from such a background and eating things that are sacrificed to idols was an issue for them. Because they came from an idol worshipping background, it bothered them that someone would take freely and eat of things that are sacrificed to idols. They have just come out of that, they are afraid of that. Looks like they are going back into the same thing. So they stumble at that point, because there were many in the church that are very knowledgeable. In what way? Their knowledge is correct. They said that in the church – well, what is an idol? An idol is nothing really. It has no life. It can’t do anything. Therefore something that is sacrificed to an idol is nothing. Their logic is correct. They are very mature people. They say, what is it if somebody sacrifices to idols? I remember when I went and bought my little car many years ago. A Zen. When I went to pick it up, they had already performed everything on it. It was standing there for me to take it and it had lemon pieces underneath the wheels. It had a garland in the front and I went with one of our believers from our church. This young man came with me. I was excited to go get this car. And I went there and it was already all the poojas had been done. What are you going to do? Are you going to say, well I paid for it, I don’t want it? Since you performed all these things I am not going to touch it, I am not going to drive it, oh my God, I can’t do it, Iam a preacher. I can’t have this. You know the food that you are eating, already they offered it to idols. Before it came to the retail store they have done everything. When they planted the seed itself, they did everything. When the harvest came in they had a big harvest thing. And they did everything. When it came to the wholesale place, they did all the stuff they needed to do and when it came to the retail place, again they have done it. And that’s the rice you are boiling and eating. In case you have any objection to it. Now some people even today they have a problem with that. They will say – My God! I will not eat something like that. Well, then you won’t eat anything then. You have to grow your own stuff. So I told the guy, he was wanting to do some more stuff after I went there. I said – it’s alright. I am going to say a prayer. Is that alright? And I will take the car. All those guys, they all joined together around the car and I just prayed. Prayed for them basically. I know my car is blessed. My car has no problem and I have no problem. So all these 5-6 guys gathered around the car and I prayed for all of them. Blessed them immensely and just poured blessings over them and they said – Sir, thank you so much. It’s the most wonderful thing we experienced today. Nobody did this here. You have done this. I said- ya! It’s fine. I never said anything about the car. I already thanked God for the car. God only gave me the car. And I am not bothered about what they did to the car also. I can’t stop that. So people in the church understood that things sacrificed to idols, that come from that background is not a problem because it’s nothing therefore something that is sacrificed to nothing means nothing. So they freely ate out of it. But the weaker brother, the new Christian who has come from that background now stumbles. He is confused. His faith in Christ is now affected. He is troubled by this whole thing. And he stumbles in his Christian walk because of that. And in that context only Paul is writing. Look at 8:1. ‘Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge’. He is talking to people that think they know everything, that they are very smart. There’s no problem, you can have it. it will do nothing. He says – we know that we all have knowledge. He says I also know that. That’s what he is saying. ‘Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies’. What a great truth he is saying. He says – my friends, I am talking to those that know a lot, that have no problem with this thing but let me tell you that knowledge puffs up but love edifies. You have knowledge, you are right when you said things offered to idols don’t mean a thing. And you can freely eat it. That is correct, theologically, doctrinally okay. But that knowledge applied without love destroys another person. Causes another person to stumble. That’s what he is saying. Knowledge puffs up, love edifies. ‘if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know’. He is telling those people that think they know a lot. Knowledge has caused them to be proud and arrogant, defiant. They are acting too smart. They say – Oh! Why are you afraid? Don’t be afraid. There’s nothing in it. Look I am going to eat, I am going to do this, causing other people to stumble acting in that way. He says you are acting proudly, arrogantly, your knowledge is correct, nobody says you are wrong in what you are thinking but the way you do, act or the way you react to this situation is wrong. Because there is no love, there is only knowledge. Now this is absolutely so important. It is not enough for us to have knowledge, it important for us to have love. Love edifies, knowledge puffs up. Now, lot of people come from non Christian background. You may be the only Christian in your home. For you it’s very important. Sometimes when people come and become a believer they become a hot shot. They think I am right. My father, mother, brother, sister everybody is wrong. The whole street is wrong. All my relatives are wrong, everybody is wrong. You may be right. Correct. But how are you going to work it out? With them. You are living with them, you are in close proximity to them. You are working with them and you have to carry on with them. How are you going to do it? Are you going to be puffed up by your knowledge? Your correctness. Some people are like this – they are full of Bible verses. According to 1 Corinthians 8:1 that’s wrong. According to 2 Corinthian 10:11, this is wrong. Sitting in the house like that, with all unbelievers, they don’t know what Corinthians means. They are puzzled over this guy. He is sitting like a big judge there, calling things wrong and right, he is the judge. This is wrong, that’s right. Don’t do this. If you do this, I am not eating. If you do this, I am not co-operating. This is the way they are. According to the knowledge, are they right? They may be correct in their knowledge but puffed up in their knowledge, so with that kind of a person in a non Christian surrounding what happens is this. Soon, they wish you were gone. They don’t want your God, they don’t want your Jesus. They don’t want anything to have to do with you. They don’t want to see your face. That’s all. Instead of shining as a light for the world, you are totally discrediting yourself and Christ, and the Gospel itself is discredited because they think this is some kind of foolishness that people believe.
So, it is important that you not only have knowledge but apply that knowledge with a lot of love. So important to have sensitivity to the conscience of people. They believe in certain things. They want to do certain things. You can’t overnight just change them. You cannot declare and say – this is wrong, don’t do it. You can’t change them like that. Their conscience. You need to be sensitive about their conscience. And the way they have grown up and done things. You have to be compassionate towards them. How to deal with them. See, this is what walking in love means. When you walk in love, you understand them, you have great compassion for them. You know they are wrong and they are right. But your knowledge is not puffed up, you are not arrogant, you are not highminded, that’s what Paul is talking about. I said all this to tell you this – that’s not what it should be. That’s what he is saying.
Now, go back to Romans 12, finish this. ‘Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble’. Now some translations say condescend to the humble. A better translation is this. Better translation says – ‘don’t let yourself be carried away by things that inflate you and lead you to arrogance’. The word carried away. In New King James version which I am reading it says – associate with the humble. A better translation is – don’t let yourself be carried away by things that inflate you and lead you to arrogance and pride and haughtiness but allow yourself to be carried away in a different manner. In what manner? Associate with the humble.
And let me just explain this as we close. What it is saying here. In Galatians 2:13 the same thing comes into picture there. This is the story about how Paul was there and Peter came into the same place. They were all eating. Peter was fine eating with the Gentiles, he had no problem. He was eating with the Gentiles. Everything was fine. But all of a sudden something happened. The Jews came from Jerusalem. That’s what it is talking about here. Now verse 11. ‘Now when Peterhad come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy’. Very interesting thing.They were all there, Peter came, and Peter had no problem eating with the Gentiles and the Gentile believers. Jews and Gentiles had such a problem relating to one another. But the church consisted of Jews and Gentiles. And Peter had no problem until some people from Jerusalem came, from James. When they came, he withdrew and separated himself. He wanted to show them – I am Jew, I am maintaining my status quo. And others joined with him so much so that Barnabbas who was Paul’s companion also joined with him. And Paul had to get up and in front of everybody rebuke Peter for the hypocrisy. And the way he puts it is very important. He says – ‘And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy’. Now apply that ‘carried away’ here in this verse 16. It would read like this. ‘Don’t let yourself be carried away by the things that inflate you and lead you into arrogance’. Because that’s the word that is used here. Don’t let yourself be carried away by things that inflate you and lead you to arrogance and pride and haughtiness but allow yourself to be carried away in a different manner. So that you associate yourself with the humble, with the people of low estate. What does he mean? Not just the poor, he is talking about not only the poor but also the people that don’t know much that are new to the Christian faith that don’t understand everything, be sensitive about them, be humble, they are the ones that are weak, they are the ones that don’t know – he says, walk in love. That’s the whole thing. How to walk in love? He says, be sensitive about these people that are humble, that don’t know much, that are weak, that are down there at their level, they don’t understand much. You need to walk in love with reference to them. You need to think about them when you do something, you need to bring them under your care. Teach them, show them. Lovingly embrace them, understand that there are some issues in their conscience that they find some things offensive and so on. Don’t just jump on them, don’t just be haughty, don’t be proud and arrogant with your knowledge and what you know but compassionately reach out to them. And minister to them and show them the way so that tomorrow they can also do what you are doing with the freedom, without any condemnation in their conscience, without any sense of guilt they can also do it. That’s exactly what he is saying.
Now, think about walking in love. If you walk in love, my friend, just imagine what will happen in your family, in the church, among the community of believers, in the world, when you walk in love, the whole atmosphere will be filled with the love of God. You will have such an influence, such power in the midst of this dark world. The love that is in you will permeate that atmosphere, will penetrate those situations that are difficult, people will be ministered to, people will look up to you, people will want the Jesus that you have. And want the Word of God that you believe in, will want to follow what you are following and want to fall in line with the Word of God and with the truth of the Gospel.

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