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Sermon #155 — Romans Series

 

Title:                           Companions, Dividers,

 and God

 

Text:                            Romans 16:1-27

Subject:                     Romans Conclusion

Date:                          Sunday Morning — September 9, 2018

Reading:       Romans 16:1-27

 

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

 

(3) Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: (4) 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. (5) Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.

 

(6) Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us. (7) Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. (8) Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord. (9) Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved. (10) Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Salute them which are of AristobulusŐ household. (11) Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord. (12) Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord. (13) Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine. (14) Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them. (15) Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.

 

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

 

(17) Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. (18) 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. (19) 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.

 

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

 

(21) Timotheus my workfellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you. (22) I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord. (23) Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother. (24) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

 

(25) 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, (26) 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: (27) To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.

 

—————————————

 

Introduction

 

There are three people you can be sure you will find in the house of God, three people you will find everywhere the saints of God gather to worship the Lord Jesus Christ. You wonŐt find these people in every church. You will only find them in true, gospel churches. But you will always find them in true, gospel churches. — Have I got your attention? — Who are these three people? — Companions, Dividers, and God. That is the title of my message. — Companions, Dividers, and God. My text is the 16th chapter of the Gospel of Romans.

 

Sadly, if you are like I am, as we read this chapter, we tend to simply quickly skim through it like we might lightly skim over a list of names in a footnote. At best, we read these twenty-seven verses with little thought, as concluding remarks of insignificance. — What a shame! These last twenty-seven verses of this great epistle are also inspired by God the Holy Ghost and have been Ňwritten for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hopeÓ (Romans 15:4).

 

Proposition: Because it is SatanŐs determination to destroy the church and kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, wherever the Good Shepherd gathers his sheep the Devil puts goats, wherever the Lord God plants peace Apollyon plants division; but the cause of Christ is perfectly safe, because God our Savior is with us.

 

Only the Lord God knows the sheep from the goats; and only he can separate goats from the sheep. Only the Heavenly Husbandman, our Lord Jesus, knows wheat from tares; and only he can separate the tares from the wheat. But separate them he does and separate them he will.

á      By the Preaching of the Gospel

á      By His Wise, Unerring Providence

á      In the Day of Judgment

 

Companions

 

1st — In the first sixteen verses of this chapter Paul was inspired by God the Holy Spirit to specifically name twenty-nine people as his beloved companions in the cause of Christ.

á      Loved of God

á      Chosen by Grace

á      Redeemed by the Blood of Christ

á      Born Again by the Holy Ghost Sent Down from Heaven

á      Believers

 

(Romans 16:1-16) I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: (2) 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. (3) Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: (4) 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. (5) Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ. (6) Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us. (7) Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. (8) Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord. (9) Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved. (10) Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Salute them which are of AristobulusŐ household. (11) Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord. (12) Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord. (13) Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine. (14) Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them. (15) Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them. (16) Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.

 

Every gospel church is a body of companions in the cause of Christ. GodŐs saints are all companions, men and women devoted to Christ, his gospel, his church, and to one another. GodŐs servants are all companions, seeing Ňeye to eye.Ó And all are equal (Matthew 20:1-16). And GodŐs servants and his people are companions, co-laborers in the cause of Christ, one with Christ and one in Christ. Paul demonstrates this fact beautifully in this portion of Holy Scripture. What a thoughtful, tender, caring preacher Paul must have been! He made the effort required to remember the names of the men and women in different places, the names of their husbands, wives, and children. He care deeply for them. And they cared deeply for him. — Look at the companions Paul names in the first sixteen verses of this chapter.

 

In the church and kingdom of God rank, status, social position, wealth or poverty, education or lack of education, race, place, and face mean nothing. GodŐs people are one in Christ. — Only here, in the church of God, are all social barriers broken down (Galatians 3:26-29; Colossians 3:11).

 

(Galatians 3:26-29) Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. (27) For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (28) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. (29) And if ye be ChristŐs, then are ye AbrahamŐs seed, and heirs according to the promise.

 

(Colossians 3:11) Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

 

Some here named by GodŐs servant as his beloved companions were rich, very rich. Some were men of great civic, political power and influence. Others were unknown and poor. Some were men. Others were women. Some were Jews. Some were Gentiles. At least one was a black man (Rufus — The Son of Simon the Cyrenian – v. 13). Paul adopted RufusŐ mother as his own.

á      Pricilla and Aquila were wealthy enough to host a local church in their house (v. 5).

á      Narcissus (v. 11) was one of Claudius CaesarŐs most powerful appointees in Rome.

á      Erastus (v. 23) was the chamberlain of Corinth, appointed by the emperor to oversee the city.

 

Women Named — Among these companions, fellow-helpers and co-laborers, Paul names at least nine women. None of these were pastors, preachers, teachers, evangelists, deacons, or missionaries. The Scriptures forbid women holding such offices in the church. They were not usurpers of authority over their husbands or over other men. These women were genteel, godly ladies. There wasnŐt a ŇwomenŐs libberÓ among them. Rather, with the meek and quiet spirit of regenerate women, they devoted themselves to the cause of Christ and were co-laborers with the apostles themselves for Christ and his kingdom.

á      They entertained GodŐs servants and GodŐs people in their homes.

á      They accommodated local churches in their homes.

á      They taught the younger women (by word and by example) not to be Ňcareer women,Ó but chaste keepers at home.

á      They taught them to love their husbands and to love their children.

á      They did not presume to write books and teach doctrine. — They lived for Christ and served him by serving his people. — They were always busy, but never busybodies!

á      I thank God for these much serving Marthas! The church of God cannot function without them.

 

Proper Commendation — It is always proper to say thank you, privately and publicly. While all praise and glory for all things is to be given to God. We are nothing. It is God who gives the increase. It is God who makes our work helpful to others. Any gifts, talents, abilities, or graces we have are GodŐs gift to us. Yet, it is Christ-like and commendable to be grateful for one another and to one another for every work of faith and labor of love. It is always right to say, ŇThank you. I appreciate you. And I appreciate your faithfulness to our Lord and to meÓ (2 Timothy 1:16-18). The commendation of good work is always right and encouraging. Our Lord Jesus himself gives us the example (Mark 14:6-9).

 

Holy Kiss — People who love each other ought to seize every opportunity to express their love and affection to one another. Out Lord Jesus tells us plainly that all who are born of God love one another. He does not tell us we ought to love one another. He tells us that all believers love one another. If you do not love GodŐs people you do not know the Lord, you are not saved, you are not born again (John 13:35; 1 John 3:14-18; 4:8). Paul tells us to show that affection (v. 16).

 

(Romans 16:16) Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.

 

Four times he exhorts us to greet one another with a holy kiss (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26). Peter says the same thing in 1 Peter 5:14. He calls it Ňa kiss of love.Ó

á      Not a Kiss of Passion

á      Not a Kiss of Pretense

á      A Kiss of Love

á      A Holy (Sanctified) Kiss

 

Believers are more to one another than people who hold the same doctrine. We are brothers and sisters in the family of God. We genuinely love each other with a deeper affection than natural men can know. If you are a stranger to this affection, you are a stranger to grace!

 

Our Resume — Pause for just a minute or two, and look at how Paul describes these beloved companions. What he says of one may be said of all. Here is every believerŐs resume.

á      ŇIn ChristÓ (v. 7)

á      Receive One Another (v. 2)

á      ŇHelpers in the LordÓ (v. 3)

á      ŇFirstfruits unto the LordÓ (v. 5) — The First in His Place — The First in Her Family — The First in Their Sphere

á      ŇBeloved in the LordÓ (v. 8).

á      ŇApproved in ChristÓ (v. 10)

á      ŇLabor in the LordÓ (v. 12)

á      ŇChosen in the LordÓ (v. 13)

Wherever God is worshipped, wherever the gospel is preached, when GodŐs people gather for worship you will find companions, beloved companions gathered in the house of God. And you are sure to findÉ

 

Dividers

 

2nd — Wherever you find beloved companions laboring together for the glory of God and the furtherance of the gospel, in the house of God you are sure to find dividers, men and women determined to divide GodŐs church, separate friends, and turn you away from Christ (vv. 17-19). Paul warns us to always be on guard concerning those who create dissension and division among GodŐs people in opposition to the doctrine of Christ which we have learned of God.

 

(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.

 

The doctrine from which Satan would divide us is the gospel, the doctrine of Christ. Specifically, Paul is talking here about the doctrine he has taught in this epistle.

á      The Gospel of Christ (1:1-17)

á      The Universal Depravity, Guilt, and Inability of Man (Chapters 2 and 3)

á      Free Justification by Justice, Righteousness, and Grace, through the Blood of Christ (3:19-5:21)

á      BelieversŐ Baptism, Sanctification, and Freedom from the Law (6:1-23)

á      Two Natures of the Believer (7:1-25)

á      Life in the Spirit (8:1-27)

á      GodŐs Sovereignty in Predestination, Providence, and Grace (8:28-11:36)

á      Consecration to God and His People (Chapters 12-15)

 

Paul tells us to do two things with these dividers of the saints.

1.    Mark them.

2.    Avoid them (2 John 10). — Shun their ministry, their company, and their conversation!

 

All such people, men and women, all who seek to divide friends by their oily words and fair speech do so only from self-serving pride (v. 18). All gossip, slander, and evil speaking comes from the poisonous venom of a proud heart.

 

(Romans 16:18) 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.

 

Your Obedience — Paul encourages these saints at Rome and us to remain stedfast in the gospel, by telling us to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16; v. 19).

 

(Romans 16:19) 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.

á      Your obedience of faith, your faith in Christ, is known throughout the world. — Let no one turn you away from him (2 Corinthians 11:3).

á      See to it that you are well-versed in the things of God and wise in kindness, charity, and doing good.

á      In evil matters, be utterly naive, artless, simple, and honest. — In other words — DonŐt be crafty, dubious, two-faced, hypocritical, and self-serving (Romans 12:17).

 

Yes, dividers are always around to harass and vex us. There are always snipes and gossips, little devils, to make noise. But they can do no harm, because there is a third person always in our midst.

 

God

 

3rdGod our Savior is always in the midst of his people. Zion is his dwelling place (Psalm 76:2). The Lord Jesus, the Alpha and the Omega, walks in the midst of his churches and holds the angels of the churches in his right hand (Revelation 1:20). That means all is well, always!

 

Victory Sure — Be assured, children of God, that even when surrounded by those who would divide and destroy GodŐs church GodŐs church is always safe. Triumph is sure (v. 20).

 

(Romans 16:20) And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

 

Were it not for the sovereign, overruling power of our Lord Jesus Christ, we would never have any rest or peace in this world. But the Lord Jesus rules and gives his people peace in the midst of their enemies. The battle is not ours but the LordŐs. The thing for us to do is ŇStand still and see the salvation of the Lord!Ó

á      ŇThe God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly

á      ŇThe God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet suddenly

á      ŇThe God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet unexpectedly

á      ŇThe God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet,Ó silencing your foes.

á      ŇThe God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet,Ó destroying your dividers (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).

á      ŇThe God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feetÓ in the last day.

 

Grace Supplied — ŇThe grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.Ó — This is repeated in verse 24. There is a constant supply of grace communicated from Christ to his people at all times.

á      Electing Grace!

á      Redeeming Grace!

á      Regenerating Grace!

á      Preserving Grace!

á      Sufficient Grace!

 

Our Lord Jesus says, to you and to me, ŇMy grace is sufficient for theeÓ – right now!

 

Tertius — In verses 21-24, we see that Tertius, one of our LordŐs original 70 disciples (Luke 10:1) wrote this epistle for Paul, as he dictated it to him. What a remarkable fact this displays. Tertius was himself a preacher of the gospel. He was pastor at Iconium. But he served Paul as a secretary and counted it not a condescension but and honor!

 

(Romans 16:21-24) Timotheus my workfellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you. (22) I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord. (23) Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother. (24) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

 

á      Timothy, Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, Gaius, Erastus, and Quartus all served the Lord with the apostle as his companions in labor.

á      Tertius wrote out this letter.

á      Phebe carried the letter to Rome.

á      By all, Christ and his people were served.

 

Knowing that it is God, the Triune Jehovah, who is our Savior, knowing that the battle is his and not ours, knowing that it is he and he alone who Ňcauseth us to triumph in ChristÓ (2 Corinthians 2:14), we gladly ascribe all praise, honor, and glory to him alone.

 

(Romans 16:25-27) 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, (26) 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: (27) To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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