Romans 16

 

Romans 16:1,2
I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:

That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.

Paul closes Romans with personal greetings to people he obviously knew well and loved very much. We can clearly see from this that Paul spent his time with real people at their home churches. He lived with people and spent his time with people. The gift ministries of apostles, prophets, evengelists, pastors and teachers are to live with real people in their home churches in their every day lives. Isn't that how a family should be? How else can you genuinely help people?

Romans 16:3-5
Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:

Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.

Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.

Here we clearly see that the church of God back then energised and operated in people's homes. These churches of the Gentiles were in people's homes, just as Aquila and Priscilla had a church in their home. Churches in homes are to be the centres of outreach and where we teach. Christians in the first century didn't all trudge along to a stained glass whorehouse shithole building once a week to sit through mindless ritualistic ceremonies, they lived together as families in their homes. They ate together every day, they went shopping together, went for walks in the country together, went to see shows together, went for a coffee together, they did everything together, and the gift ministries were right there living their lives with them every day. This is how you attract new people, not going door to door annoying them. This is the only way the word can live in real life.

Romans 16:6-16
Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us.

Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord.

Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.

Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Salute them which are of Aristobulus' household.

Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord.

Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord.

Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.

Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them.

Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.

Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.

Here the home churches are called the churches of Christ. That's because we all have Christ in us and Christ is the head of the church. When we all walk by the spirit with Christ as our head, conduct churches in our homes, and we all live life together as a family every day, then our home churches are the churches of Christ.

Romans 16:17
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

This is good advice. We have seen throughout Romans that we will have divisions and arguments with new people coming through our doors and they will have to learn to get along. We teach patiently and kindly, but if they absolutely refuse to listen to sound doctrine and continue to cause division we show them the door and avoid them.

To understand this think family, not stained glass whorehouse church or ministry. In a family children will always argue with each other over stuff that doesn't matter. As mature believers we help them to get along with each other. Of course, immature behaviour like this from teenagers would require firmer discipline, and we certainly don't put up with such behaviour from adults. As people grow and mature more is expected of them. We expect nothing from a newborn child, we change their nappies, cuddle them when they cry, feed them, kiss their bruises all better, get up in the middle of the night to take care of them and just love them. As they grow we potty train them, teach them how to eat without making a mess, put up with their tantrums, buy them ice creams, teach them to put their toys away when they are finished playing with them, and continue to just love them. As people mature, we expect more responsible behaviour from them. If mature believers refuse sound doctrine and cause division, fuck them off out of your home churches and avoid them. Did that communicate?

Listen, this isn't me speaking, this is Paul by revelation from God through the Christ in him. Okay, perhaps I embellished it a little, but it gets the tone of what Paul was saying across in modern language. What do you think the word beseech means? God is begging us to keep division out of our home churches and this is the only way to do it.

Romans 16:17,18
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

Serving their own belly is a figure of speech referring to those who do everything for themselves, those who only look out for their own self interests, you know, the takers, not the givers. If you uncover any takers in your home churches, confront them and give them a chance to change. If they show no remorse or humility and refuse to change their ways, show them the door and make sure everyone in your home churches avoids them. We must ensure we keep those who serve their own belly out of our home churches. We are a family and we are to treat each other and look after each other as family.

Romans 16:19,20
For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.

And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

I have verse 20 memorised and often quote it to myself when I'm in a fight. Here are a few more verses I have memorised to help me stay focussed through tough times.

Psalm 60:12
Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.

Psalm 91:13
Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

Luke 10:19
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Psalm 105:14,15
He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes;

Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.

Here are a few more scriptures to memorise to help you overcome life's challenges. It is time to throw off the shackles of defeat, lift up our heads and live victoriously as children of the living God.

Joshua 1:9
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Psalm 27:1
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Proverbs 3:25,26
Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.

For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.

Romans 8:31
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Psalm 23:4
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

1 John 4:4
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Psalm 91:5-9
Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

When we walk by the spirit with Christ as our Lord, there is nothing in life that can defeat us. The only enemy we have to fear is fear itself. Be fearless and believe.

Romans 16:21-27
Timotheus my workfellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you.

I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.

Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith [believing - to believe requires obedience]:

To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.


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