Romans Series #23
Well you can feel Pastor Paul pause between chapters 15 an 16 and say … "Finally …"
Now, you know that when a preacher says, "finally" it doesn't mean he's done, but it means he can see the airport runway and he is circling preparing to land the plane.
Well before we put this plane in the hanger, let's see his final remarks. And believe it or not, there is something even for us Fathers / Men to take away from this as well today
Let me get you started with your Outline as Paul has some 1. FRIENDS to Greet, 2. FOES To Watch, and some 3. Faithful to Encourage You
As Paul closes he greets some people that have played an important part in his life and ministry. People, without whom, his life would not have been the same.
Men we need people in our lives that are true genuine friends. Let's be honest men, we usually don't have a lot of those in our lives.
Many of us tend to be loners.
We love acquaintances, even people to hang out with, but we don't want to get close to people.
We don't think we NEED people.
I understand men that we are often lone wolves at heart, but we are made in the image of God and God so longed for real authentic relationships that he created people for that express purpose.
We need to learn how to build and cultivate relationships.
Paul greets 27 people in this letter to a place that he hasn't even been yet.
God brought together a diverse and varied group of individuals to form the backbone of the church at Rome
Let me just go down through them and tell you a little about them so we can get a picture of the people that were important to Paul.
1. Friends to Greet
A. Phoebe - a servant (diakonos)
This is the same word used in 1 Tim 1:11 - when speaking of the wives of Deacons
1. they are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers, temperate (self-controlled) i.e. knowing when to speak and when prudence says to keep silent.
2. the term servant can also be translated as "deaconess". We don't have anything in the Bible that describes this role other than it was a servant. We don't have this role described in church history for a couple of hundred years when it involved ministry to the sick, shut-in, needy, etc. They were definitely servants to the body. It is obvious as well by the silence that their role was NOT the same as that of the Men as deacons or we would have had more detail and a clear role. So, their role most likely involved pure, humble service to the less-fortunate, and training of younger women.
3. it was not a role of authority over men in the body because Paul taught Timothy that this wasn't proper and he wouldn't recognize it in one place and teach against it in another.
4. She was a "protectress" - in the ministry life of Paul
c. the "prostates" a name given wealthy patrons who sponsored the arts or movements
5. She most likely carried this LETTER From Paul TO the Roman Church
B. Pricilla and Aquilla - fellow workers
1. risked their lives -
2. met Paul in Corinth after being forced to leave Rome by an earlier decree of the Emperor (Acts 18:2)
3. worked with Paul in the Ephesian Church
4. returned to Rome
5. hosted a church in their home
C. "The Church that meets in Their Home"
Can Church take place in a home? Sure it can.
The "church at Rome" was considered to be the overall Church Body from the entire region and perhaps even had a "Pastor" recognized overseeing the entire body, yet the "church at Rome" was made up of many smaller "churches" that met in houses other places all over the region.
A "church" is where …
1. God is Worshipped
2. Gospel is Preached
3. Disciplines are taught
4. Fellowship is Experienced
5. Ministry and Missions Spring Forth as People are GOING Sent PEOPLE
The church is an important part of the lives of believers the writer of Hebrews taught us to "not forsake the meeting together of the believers"
D. Epenetus - dear friend
1. don't know much about him but if he's a friend, scripture says "A friend must show himself friendly" - So, he put in the time to develop friendships
2. he was the 1st convert in Asia
a. he was NOT afraid to stand up for his belief - thus he became the first of many
E. Mary - don't know who THIS Mary was, but she "worked hard FOR YOU"
she had a great concern for the welfare and nurturing of the body
F. Andronicus and Junias (or Junia) - another husband and wife
1. relatives - either a cousin who had come to faith or some would say "fellow jew" He might have literally said, these are My Folks or my People, "these are the Goforths", or these are "fellow Americans"
2. They have been IN prison - they don't "turn and run" or change their mission or message when the going is tough
3. outstanding apostles - obviously they weren't apostles like the 12 or even like Paul but where Apostles in the missionary / church planting type
4. "in Christ before" perhaps their conversion had affected Paul to make him ready when God called him on the Damascus road.
G. Ampliatus -
1. not known elsewhere in scripture - BUT - a tomb of one called Ampliatus was found in the catacombs where many Christians hid during the persecution in Rome. That woman was wealthy and from an Imperial family and a Christian
2. "love in the Lord" - a spirit and service that had caused Paul to have great spiritual affection for her
H. Urbanis - fellow worker
I. Syachys - dear Friend
J. Apelles -
1. Tested and Approved
2. would it be ok if you lived and died and your gravestone said as of these
a. "She was Loved in the Lord
b. "He was a worker for God"
c. "He was a dear friend"
d. "Tested and Approved", "Tried and True"
K. Aristobulus - those in his household
1. either some in his family were of the church and NOT aristobulus or the entire household -
2. I might lean to the "and his whole household"
L. Herodian - a relative
1. may have been a slave or freed slave of someone in the household of Herod
M. Narcissus' Household - similar name of one who was a famous servant of Claudius but his family had come to faith in Christ
N. Tryphena, Tryphosa - perhaps sisters - "worked hard in the Lord"
O. Persis - woman who "worked VERY hard in the Lord"
Take note that Paul greets 9 women and 6 are described as "fellow workers" or "hard workers"
We don't know for sure what their ministries were but we know that in the early church as in our church today, the role of women is significant, irrepressible, and irreplaceable. While the role of women and men often differ in the Body, a family, or a marriage, each is significant never superficial or unnecessary.
1. chosen in the Lord - Mark 15:21 - Mark would have been in Rome at roughly this time writing his gospel. It is possible that he wrote of Rufus being the Son of Simeon so the church in Rome would see the impact that the crucifixion of Christ had on the life of Rufus.
2. Could it be that Simon of Cyrene, Rufus' father, was chosen by God to carry the cross of Christ that this experience might forever impact his wide-eyed son who watched his father encounter Christ and he was never the same and saw Christ for who he was and placed his faith in him?
3. My father's service to Christ was part of God's process of calling me to serve him as well.
4. "his mother- mother to me" - self explanatory
Q. List of people
1. people listed who were faithful enough to find themselves in Paul's remembrance though the World would never know their service, yet Paul calls their names out once for eternity to know them
2. Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, Philologus, Julia, Nereus and sister, Olympas and the saints (church) - these are the unsung heroes and heroines of the Church in Rome
R. Greet with Holy Kiss
1. kiss was a common greeting
2. it was a practice of the world, yet often less than innocent
3. it was adapted as a greeting by the church
4. Paul gently reminds them to "keep it pure", above reproach or question, always appropriate in whatever you do.
5. whatever you bring from the world into the church, it must pass the "HOLY" or "Sacred" test.
We need people in our lives genuine friends who will die for you, be quick to serve, face persecution even the threat of jail for you, work hard, with your best interest always in mind for the sake of the Kingdom.
Do you have people like that in Your Life?
Are you Friend poor?
With Friends to Greet now comes …
2. Foes to Watch
We need to be watchful looking both ways, eyes on the horizon, not only our physical eyes but the eyes of our spirit wide open and cautious as well
Men if we are going to completely fulfill our role, we need to be watchful
A. Watch Out
1. there are good things and good people, but
2. there are also wolves among the sheep
Paul describes their actions so we will know them by their fruit
1. division - constantly trying to separate people and break down the love that they have for each other
2. obstacles - constantly running interference to sidetrack the move of God
1. self-serving - feeding their appetites for power and control
2. cause others to share in their sorrow - happy in their own sorrow and pity not satisfied until they can share their sorrow with you and get you wallowing in their pool of pity and sorrow
3. they want keep the church from going past where they are spiritually, because if the church grows then they are challenged to come along, they cannot be satisfied staying where they are in immaturity, sin, or apathy
1. smooth talk
Some of the most dangerous FOES to the church are NOT outside the church attacking us
They are on the INSIDE Smiling, Shaking Hands, Slapping backs, Complementing, Looking for the weak ones who they can manipulate to accomplish their own agenda and sidetrack the mission of the church
E. I know you are Obedient
1. I am full of Joy BUT look OUT!
2. it was as if Paul was saying - "Wow, God is doing great things as you follow him and I am excited and frightened at the same time, because I know that attacks, subversive attacks, of the Evil One are on the way.
3. I want you to be accepting and loving but I don't want you to learn their ways, so when necessary, STAY AWAY from People Like THIS!
4. v20 - God will take care of them as you continue to move forward in obedience and know that he wins in the END SO … Live in His Grace in the Meantime!
We need Friends, we know that there will be Foes that will attack, but we also Need the Encouragement of the Faithful
3. Faithful to Encourage You
1. another "son" of Paul's
2. his encouragement is to "hang in there and Trust THIS Teacher, Paul" Timothy knew Paul was Trustworthy by Experience.
B. Lucius - uncertain perhaps this was Luke or Lucius of Cyrene in Acts 13:1
C. Jason -
1. hosted Paul in Thessalonica in Acts 17 - He was grabbed when they couldn't get Paul and taken to the Market
2. v 6 (KJV) says "these men who have turned the world upside down have come here" yet Jason "took them in"
3. we ought to be encouraged to be people that welcome those who shake up the world for Christ
D. Sosipator or Sopater also in Acts 17 perhaps these three countrymen, jews, not blood family
E. Tertius - Scribe who wrote down the things of God from Paul's Mouth
"I've seen it, and Heard it, and Encourage you to Continue"
F. Gaius - another "son" of Paul's
1. Hosted a house church in Corinth - Acts 20:4
2. 1 Cor. 1:14 - he was baptized by Paul one of only 2 in Corinth so he was extra Special in Paul's heart
3. 3 John 1-4 - he was physically challenged but spiritually faithful; faithful to the Truth, walking in the Truth
4. Acts 19:29 - taken by a MOB in Ephesus
G. Erastus - director of Public Works in Corinth
1. possibly the same as Acts 19:22 and 2 Timothy 4:20 - inscriptions have been found of the 1st Century Corinth noting the Commissioner of Public Works as Erastus
2. He was a government official in a Pagan City yet he was committed to God Through Jesus Christ
All of these have learned from Paul and are Encouraging the Church. They all understood the challenge of persecution and difficulty for faithfulness so their words are encouraging
We all need in our lives the Encouragement of People who are ahead of us along the Path of following God.
People who have been where we are, who have faced the trials we will face, who have learned the lessons we need to learn and will encourage us to move farther on.
Encourage us to GET UP
Encourage us to Trust the Truth of Scriptural Teaching
You need Friends that will walk with you
You need to watch out for Foes who will attack
You need Faithful who will Encourage you to move on
But what's the purpose of life?
Is that it. Is this instruction so just so that you can have a good life and be a good person?
NO, if that's all there is, that's pretty selfish life
Some of you get this and some of you don't like this but it really is ALL ABOUT HIM!
We are the clay, he is the potter
This world was created for HIS Benefit
He is telling a story,
we are simply a few pages in the story
We think we are writing History.
We are trying to make our mark on History.
Well I've got news for you, Shoot For the Stars,
Be the Best You can be,
Leave Your Mark on the World, but It is Not YourStory, or MyStory,
it is HIS-Story!!
The final piece is
"Now" … A
4. Father to Worship and Serve
A. "To Him" why? The Only One Able to …
a. cause to take root - set in concrete this gospel preached and proclaimed
b. Paul has taught the Theological Mystery of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He has been faithful to Teach it that all might understand, but
c. He understood that He can preach and teach, but only God's Spirit can penetrate your heart with it and let it take shape
Only God can Establish
And it can Only be
2. Revealed by God -
a. revelation is the job of the Holy Spirit
b. I want you to receive it, I want you to believe it, but the great mystery is that Only God can reveal it to your heart and only you can receive his revelation
c. it is a mystery and it is one of the great frustrations of the ministry, but I can't do anything about it, I can't receive it for you, it's up to you.
4. So that All Nations might believe and Obey
Remember that Trust and Obedience are the fulcrum between the Blessing of and the Purpose of God Fulfilled
B. To the Only Wise God
1. the only one who sees, hears, and sustains all
2. col 1:15-16
?15? He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. ?16? For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. ?17? He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. ?18? And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. ?19? For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, ?20? and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
?21? Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. ?22? But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation-
C. Be Glory Forever Through Christ Jesus
1. Even for Jesus it was NOT about his Earthly ministry it was all about the Father
2. It really is ALL ABOUT HIM
3. How are you going to do any different?
4. How can you live any less than a life that Worships and Serves God Primarily, God Only
"God and God alone created all these things we call our own
From the mighty to the small the glory in them all is God's and God's alone
God and God alone reveals the truth of all we call unknown.
And all the best and worst of man can't change the Master's plan; it's God's and God's alone
God and God Alone is Fit to Take the Universe's Throne
Let Ev'rything that Lives Reserve it's Truest Praise, for God and God Alone!"
Because He Loves Me!