Journal – September 6, 2020
Dominion Baptist Church
September 6, 2020 AD
15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
BEHAVE LIKE A CHRISTIAN
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 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.
Vs. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Saul of Tarsus set out on a life changing-trip to Damascus. Before he got there, he was knocked off his horse and found he was engaged in a battle he could not win, he was persecuting the Lord Jesus Christ, but was converted. As the Apostle Paul writing to the church in Rome, he is no longer the persecutor. He became persecuted unjustly and maliciously by his own countrymen for becoming a Christian. He found out that the road to glory has some difficult turns in it along with plenty of potholes. He learned to do that which places great demands upon our spirits—he blesses those that persecute him, one of the requirements of being a good leader is to have experienced what you tell others to do. Paul records his trials and tests: Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed; we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things. (1 Corinthians 4:12-13). It is natural for the carnal mind to either curse our persecutor or attempt to inflict bodily harm upon them. If the circumstances are such that we are unable to retaliate then we indulge in vindictive thoughts towards our persecutors. The thoughts of getting even are not even allowed for the Christian. Paul says bless, in the Greek it is eulogeo which means to speak well of, signifies to praise, in our text it means to invoke a blessing on a person. I am not being foolish, this is something that must be worked on, in prayer and in practice but it is attainable, and for the Christian it is absolutely necessary. Our Lord, during His earthly ministry, spoke often about the fact the world would hate and persecute Christians. He warned His followers: If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (John 15:18-19). Jesus gives reasons, why the world will hate Christians—notice what He says: Christians are not of the world. It is a natural, but sinful, inclination among individuals to dislike those that are different from them. We have just seen here in America what God-hating, liberal, elected officials did, during COVID-19 and in some locations are still trying to do. Christians desiring to worship their Lord in church were forbidden; but bars, liquor stores, grocery stores, and casinos, were allowed to remain open because they pay taxes. The church does not pay taxes. It will be interesting to see how this matter is finally resolved between Pastor John MacArthur and the state of California. Christian have been chosen out of the world, early-on in my Christian experience I found the world hates the doctrine of election. I had men insist that the doctrine of election is not fair, man has a right to make a choice. He does make a choice if a holy God does not call him to salvation, the choice of man is disastrous. The world hates God, they despise the name of Jesus Christ and use it as a curse word. The world hates Him and would crucify Jesus all over again if they could. The Christian is the one the world hates because they can’t get to his Lord. Now look at what our Lord preached in His sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:10-12: Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven. Christians are one with the Lord Jesus Christ, they walk in obedience.
Now, getting back to what Paul is telling us, to bless and curse not. Before Saul made his Damascus trip, he witnessed the death of Stephen, he was stoned as he called out Lord Jesus receive my spirit and cried out with a loud voice Lord, do not charge them with this sin—I don’t think Paul ever forgot this. Now suppose you are trying to admonish someone you may or may not know to flee from the wrath to come. Their comment, what wrath? As you try to tell them about Christ, His death for sinners, His resurrection and ascension they grow angry and tell you to shut up! They don’t want to hear you. They may threaten or actually strike you. Dr. John Gill writes, “That by ‘blessing’ may be meant giving them good words, mild and soft answers, not rendering evil for evil, railing for railing; but on the contrary, blessing in imitation of Christ, who, when He was reviled, reviled not again. . . to have a mouth full of cursing and bitterness is the character of an unregenerate man, and by no means suits one who names the name of Christ.”
Vs. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Last week we learned to identify with the needs of others (verse 13). In our text today we find the Christian needs to develop the ability to understanding the feelings of others and identify with them. We may think that it is always easy to rejoice with those that rejoice, why it is just natural, we desire to be happy. But that is not what the apostle is telling us; the Greek word chairo translated rejoice means the grounds for rejoicing on the part of believers in the Lord is in His incarnation, His power, His presence with the Father, etc., and with Christians as they walk in this world, led by the Holy Spirit. We are to enter into the rejoicing for others as if the occasion for it were our own. As we live out our days in this wilderness, we find this is not an easy thing to do; when an acquaintance does very well and has cause for rejoicing, our natural reaction is to be jealous. The only way to break out of this is to thank the Lord for the individual’s joy and pray that God will forgive us of our self-love. We are to weep with those who weep. The Greek is klaio which means a loud expression of grief especially in mourning for the dead. Christians do not go to funerals laughing, telling jokes, or praising themselves. Our Lord shows us how to act in both of these situations. His first sign was at the wedding in Cana of Galilee where He turned the water into wine (John 2). Wine makes glad the heart of man (Psalms 104:15). Then in John 11:35 we have the shortest verse in the Bible, Jesus wept, before He called Lazarus to come forth from the dead. Our Lord also wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41). Now, in 1 Corinthians 12:25-26, Paul provides the cure for the Christian, so he/she can be obedient. There should be no schism in the body, but that all the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. This suffering or rejoicing comes from the heart by the work of God the Holy Spirit sanctifying us in our walk.
Vs. 16 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.
Be of the same mind toward one another, The Greek phroneo translated mind means to think, to be minded in a certain way; it implies moral interest or reflection, not mere unreasoning opinion. Paul is making emphatic requests for believers to perfect unity of mind and spirit in the Lord and bring about harmony. We are to have so much fellow-feeling towards one another that it will be easy to rejoice with those that rejoice and to weep with those that weep. There is no room for petty divisions over trivial matters. Do not set your mind on high things but associate with the humble. Now the apostle continues and directs Christians against a spirit of high-mindedness or vain ambitions and grasping for position and honor. In 1 Timothy 6:7-9 we are told we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain that we are not going to carry anything out. Having food and clothing, with these to be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and in many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. Paul tells us to associate with the humble or men of low degree, those brought low or the lowly, it is always used in a good sense in the New Testament. The thought is that we are to be at home with humble folks. There is not to be an aristocracy in the church, no cliques of the wealthy as being over the poor, no pedestals of unapproachable dignity for those on the higher social and economic strata or for those who are in office in the church. Do not be wise in your own opinion. It appears there was opinions in some of the early churches that some individuals felt self-sufficient in themselves that they would not have regard for any opinion other than what they thought. Just as there is to be no social aristocracy in the church, so there is to be no intellectual autocrat. If such a spirit were allowed to continue in a church, it would corrupt one’s usefulness, prevent his/her improvement in knowledge, and tempt them to reject all counsel and advice given to them.This is a very sad situation as we live in this probational period, eternity is coming.
Now Cain talked with Abel his brother, and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain
rose up against Abel, his brother, and killed him. Genesis 4:8.
It is exceedingly noteworthy that the first human blood to be shed was shed in religious persecution. The Apostle John makes this very clear:
11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, 12 not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.13 Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love [ahis brother abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (1 John 3:11-15)
Behind this religious persecution was envy, then hatred. We must never minimize heart sins, for they will eventually seek to manifest themselves in overt actions. Further, we must seek to love others and not see them as our enemies. Our real enemies are not our fellowmen, and certainly not our fellow-believers, but the evil one himself, who is the instigator of all evil among men. Remember “Cain was of the wicked one.”
Catechism Question 37 for next week
Q: What is Adoption?
A: Adoption is an act of God’s free grace, whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges of the sons of God.
1 John 3:1
1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.