Exhortation

Rejoice in One Another

May 23, 2014

What does it truly mean to rejoice in one another? Are we talking about all of humanity taking joy in each other…or something else? As humans, we lean toward tearing each other down, to destroying one another, to reproaching others. But God has a different way…once a soul is saved, they are to become a member of a church. Then they can experience the true joy that is found in “one another”.

For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end;
As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.
(II Corinthians 1:12-14)

The word “rejoicing” implies a boasting or glorifying. So what is Paul and his team glorifying? It’s their testimony, or the evidence of their conscience by the grace of God. In other words there is some tangible evidence of the outworking of their beliefs and/or morality in the world and toward the believers in Corinth. There were specific events that they could use to describe how God had worked through them toward the world and the Corinthian believers.

He describes that evidence as “simplicity”, or singleness, a very focused agenda. Further, he describes it as “godly sincerity”, this implies clarity and/or purity. When he says that it is not “fleshly wisdom”, he is talking about worldly or unregenerate wisdom; the wisdom of the world and not of the believer. He goes on to say that is by the grace of God that this evidence exists.

So Paul and his team have a clean testimony toward the world and the Corinthian believers.

Then in verse 13, he describes a specific instance of that testimony. He says “For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge”. In other words, Paul and his team have only written to them the things that God has spoken, or that the Corinthian church has accepted and agreed on.

Are you a believer? Do you follow that same policy? Or do you try to interject your own personal convictions or opinions into your church? As a messenger of the gospel, you have absolutely no right to go beyond the word of God, unless all of your church is in agreement, and that agreement does not conflict with the Bible.

Let me give you an example.

If you have a church meeting, and all of you agree that all of the ladies will wear dresses and all of the men will wear ties every time you meet for services, then so be it. You have all agreed, and are obligated to do it. However, this is not mandated by God. There are no verses of scripture that anyone can use to firmly cement that God requires men to wear ties and ladies to wear dresses. So if even one member disagrees and does not want to submit to this, then they are not required to abide by it. As believers, we need to be extremely careful about this, because we could easily offend a brother or sister with a weak conscience in trying to push things like this.

On the other hand, God clearly calls the believer’s body the temple of the holy ghost. This is found in I Corinthians 6:19, 3:16 and I Peter 2:5. Therefore the deliberate polluting of the body with the abuse of tobacco, alcohol, drugs, fornication, etc. is specifically banned by God. So in this case, it doesn’t matter if every member agrees with it or not, God has spoken, it’s a matter of doctrine, and each of us has the right and the requirement of God to preach it, and to abide by it.

So what’s the bottom line here? If you cannot unequivocally prove that your position is God’s position by the use of the scriptures, then it is just your own personal conviction, and you have no right to preach it as if it is truth. Because if you do, God has something to say to you in the following verses:

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
(Revelation 22:18-19)

You’ll find this warning throughout the bible, in verses like Deut 4:2, 12:32, and Prov. 30:6.

So Paul and his team were very careful to only communicate those things that were a matter of doctrine or that the church at Corinth had already agreed with.

What about you? Do you push your own personal convictions, or the truth of God’s word? If you do push personal convictions, do the hearers agree with you? Or are you creating strife? If you know folks don’t agree with your personal convictions, and you preach them anyway, you are guilty before God. If you don’t believe that, then I challenge you to take a good, hard look at Romans, chapter 14 and the cross references.

Okay let’s move on, because I want to get to the larger point here. Take a look at the verses:

For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end;
As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.
(II Corinthians 1:13-14)

Paul points out that the he and his team rejoice in the Corinthian believers, and that they also rejoice in Paul and his team.

So my question is, is that you? Christians, do you rejoice in each other? Do you rejoice in the missionaries you support? This type of rejoicing is a good thing, it implies a positive spirit and giving glory to God for what he has done in and through his people.

For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
For ye are our glory and joy.
(I Thessalonians 2:19-20)

Take a look at some of the key words…”hope”, “joy”, “crown of rejoicing”.

Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.
(Philippians 4:1)

Again the key words are “joy” and “crown”.

What am I getting at? I’m trying to show you Paul’s attitude toward the believers. He had such a positive spirit toward them. Love is what he showed. Did he rebuke them? Of course. But his spirit and his attitude were always right, and always came from a spirit of love.

What about your attitude? Are you sour, or joyful? Happy or sad? Full of rejoicing, or full of malice? Are you constantly talking bad about others? If you are, do you have the scriptural backing to do so? And if you do, is it coming from a spirit of love and hope that they will repent and become what God wants them to be?

It’s something that each and every believer needs to take inventory of in their lives. I know I’ve been guilty of having the wrong spirit toward other believers in the past. What about you?

Maybe you aren’t a believer. If so, then I encourage you to check this out…

Please leave a comment below. We would love to hear what you think!

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