Rejoice With Them That Rejoice
Why Cultivate Sympathy

In a Brief Survey of the Epistle of Paul to the Romans
Based on sermons preached in PCC Worship Services, July 2003 to Sep 2005
Part 66c of 83


“Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep” (Romans 12:15).

[We have been considering one of the apostle Paul’s directives on how we may deepen the bond of love that unites the people whom Christ purchased with His blood. We have thus far considered what exactly it means to rejoice and to weep with one another, as well as how we may cultivate true sympathy for each other. In this final instalment, we must consider why we should do so.  —JJL]

3.  Why must we Cultivate Sympathy?

Why must we rejoice with them that rejoice and weep with them that weep? Here are a few reasons.

a.   First, it is commanded by God. We must remind ourselves of this fact because we are easily tempted to take these commandments of Paul as mere suggestions. No, no; they are given under inspiration of God. We must rejoice with them that rejoice and weep with them that weep as our duty towards God and not just towards one another.

We must not be indifferent towards one another, or we will sin by way of omission.

b.  Secondly, if you will learn to weep with them that weep and rejoice with them that rejoice, you are following the example of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Repeatedly, we are told that the Lord Jesus had compassion.

He had compassion on the multitude and he fed them and healed their diseases (Mt 9:36; Mt 14:14).

He had compassion on Bartimaeus and his friend and he restored their sight (Mt 20:34).

He had compassion on the widow of Nain and He raise up her son (Lk 7:13).

He had compassion and sympathy for Mary and Martha. He wept.

But most of all, Christ took our burdens upon Himself and He suffered and died for us!

Indeed, even today, as our great high priest, Christ is touched with the feelings of our infirmity (Heb 4:15).

Would you be like Christ, dear Christian? I know you desire to be like Him for His Spirit dwells in you. If so, you must rejoice with them that rejoice and weep with them that weep. You must seek to cultivate sympathy in your heart.

c. Finally, if you will weep with them that weep and rejoice with them that rejoice, you will bring much glory to Christ, not only by building the bond of love in the church, but by demonstrating that you are truly the disciples of Christ. Christ says:

34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (Jn 13:34-35).

How are we to love one another? One of the ways, is surely by weeping with them that weep and rejoicing with them that rejoice.

Our Lord wept at the graveside of Lazarus. When the Jews observed Him, what did they say? They said: “Behold how He loved him!” (v. 36).

If we rejoice with one another and weep with one another, then we will not only enjoy a deeper bond of love in the church, but we will magnify Christ by showing the world that we are the disciples of Christ: for we love one another because He first love us.

We may be very orthodox and Reformed, but when one of our loved ones passed away, and only a few turn up for the service, what will the world think of us? But if all of us were to turn up, will not the name of Christ be magnified?

If one of us is hospitalised and only a few of us visit, what will the relatives of the sick think?

If one of us is getting married and only half the church turns up, what will the relatives and friends think?

Conclusion

Can you see how important it is for us to learn to rejoice with them that rejoice and to weep with them that weep?

Dearly beloved fellow believer, let us put aside our busyness and let us seek to rejoice with them that rejoice and sorrow with them that sorrow.

The Lord is reviving His church by His word and Spirit. He is showing us our sin. He is restoring broken relationships. He is strengthening our bonds with one another. Many are already moving along in obedience. Oh, let us not be left behind.

Let us pray for one another that the Spirit of Christ will through His word spur us to weep and to rejoice in sympathy with one another for God’s glory. Amen.

—JJ Lim