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Grace Be with You

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
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March 1, 2020 12:01 am

Grace Be with You

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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March 1, 2020 12:01 am

Despite Satan’s onslaughts, the world’s persecutions, and the rise of countless distortions, the true gospel continues to be heralded to the glory of God alone. Today, R.C. Sproul concludes his sermon series in the book of Romans.

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Today on Renewing Your Mind.

Christians of the New Testament were the gift again and again for being satisfied with spiritual infancy where they were enjoying to seek after the deeper things of God. What we been looking at in these last many months examining the book of Romans was not pablum. We been looking at the way to your things of the word of God more than the user view of the Sunday edition of renewing the mind.

We have been making their way through Dr. RC school series in the today's sermon is the final message in that series. As we get started. Dr. school turns to Romans chapter 16, where the apostle Paul is giving what may seem like some rather important personal greetings as we dig a little deeper. We realize their profound importance doing Dr. Stone.

This lengthy list of readings and mention of people weekly in passing begins by a special commendation to a woman who was known here by the name of Phoebe.

She's described as a servant of the church and sent Korea that is on one of the coast of Corinth that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints and assist her in whatever business she has need of you. For indeed, she has been a helper of many, and of myself as well. So Paul begins these gratings. With this special apostolic commendation to this person that stands at the head of the list whose name is Phoebe. I should note in passing that this brief commendation by the apostle has received no small amount of attention by those trying to glean from the New Testament and understanding of the role of women in the life of the church. First of all, a word about her name, her name is taken from a pagan goddess and we note that in the early church. Christians who were formally named by common names derived from heroes of the divine pantheon of deities in paganism maintained and retained those names after their conversion because their origins no longer had any religious or theological significance. Phoebe is identified as our sister that is our sister in the faith, who is a servant of the church there in Corinth now this descriptive term, servant of the church comes from the record diaconate and is rendered by some translations by the term Deaconess and there are churches organize in our day that have elders, ministers, deacons and deaconesses female deacons. I grew up in the Presbyterian Church in the north, and in that the denomination we had an ordained office of Deaconess. I transferred my membership to the PCA denomination I discovered in the PCA there was no office of Deaconess following the tradition of the old southern Presbyterian Church, out of which the PCA was formed and so there have been these disputes even within reformed communities over the years about whether the office of Deaconess should be an ordained office and so here in the snow greetings, we see throughout them. Paul's profound appreciation for the assistance that he received from women who were serving the cause of Christ and the church in a very significant way. What the church does today in terms of ordination is a different matter.

That's not addressed here but I think it's a very serious thing that we not underestimate the very important role that women have in the life of the church of Christ.

Paul directs those Christians in Rome to receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints that she is to be aided and assisted in whatever she meets because she has been bestowed a high honor being called a helper of many and of himself.

This term helper is a very weak translation of the Greek, the Greek indicates one who has a more specific office of important assistance to the apostolic ministry. And because of her role as an assistant to Paul and part of his apostolic ministry. He directs the people in Rome to receive her with all honor and with all assistance in a way that would be worthy of the saints.

There then he adds his greetings for Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risk their own. Next, for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house we hear of Priscilla and Aquila in the book of acts because of their ministry along with the apostle in Ephesus.

Apparently they had been in Rome and had to flee Rome when Christians were banished by the Emperor Claudius and they went from Rome to Ephesus, where there they met with the apostle Paul and assisted him in his ministry. On that occasion, we don't have any specific record of their risking their necks for the life of the apostle. If you recall, the book of acts record of Paul's sojourn in Ephesus.

We know that it was a tumultuous time, a time in which his life was in danger more than once, so probably in one of those occasions where Paul barely escaped with his life in Ephesus, where he later said he was fighting with the wild beasts. It was in some major do to the heroic courage of the assistance of Priscilla and Aquila fellow workers in Christ Jesus. Likewise, Paul says to greet the church that was in their house. We know that in the first century community. There were not only the clay see the churches are clay CI, but I place the Ola which were little churches that met in homes. The reason for home churches in the first century was because there were no other any other places to meet and people who had larger homes would open their homes as the place where the people could assemble together for worship and for instruction in the apostle's word and one such family that did that was the family of Priscilla and the Quillen great. My beloved Epictetus.

Here's a little bit of a controversy he's identified as who is the firstfruits of Acacia to Christ.

Elsewhere Paul sends his greetings to Stefanik's and he was called the firstfruits of Paul's ministry in Acacia. There's a textual variant here that could explain that tension and that would say that this one was the first fruits of Paul's ministry in Asia rather than Acacia. But even if it was in Acacia. Presumably, the firstfruits would not include just one person, but perhaps members of his family, or is group, but in any case, greetings are to be given to Athanasius great Mary who labored much for us. Andronicus and Julia Jr could be a man or woman depending on how you render the Greek there. My countrymen and my fellow prisoners who are of note among the apostles also were in Christ before me. Apparently these believers who have been part of Paul's entourage had suffered imprisonment at some point with the apostle and he gives tribute to them for their fidelity and also points out that they were Christians before Paul was that they were older in the Lord. Then he was greeted amply is my beloved in the Lord or Banas. Our fellow worker Christ stock is my beloved appellees approved in Christ read those of the household of Aristotle's street eroding my countrymen treat those who are the house of the narcissus who were in the Lord again. This is just a list of people who are mentioned in passing grade. Try Fina try Posa labor in the Lord. Greet the beloved persons who labored much of the Lord. All three of those people were women and so again we see Paul's concern to give his apostolic good wishes to those women who labored with him in the Lord.

Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord and his mother and mind. Verse 13 Rufus is described as chosen in the Lord and in this context of this unlikely that Paul means that he's one of the elect, because all of them were elect but rather would indicate that he had a particular role and influence with the apostle and the apostolic community in Rome, where Paul says to greet his mother, which presumably would be the wife of Simon of styrene Paul calls his own mother. Not that Paul is literally saying that Rufus's mother was Paul's mother and that Rufus was Paul's brother but rather she was a mother in the faith, as it were, to Paul and then he says greet S increases Flaig and Hammes present a bunch of other people and unluckily get into them and just mention that they're numbered among the saints. Then he says greet one another after you greet all these other people and greet one another with a holy kiss, which was the custom celebrated particularly in the celebration of the Lord's supper upon the completion of the Lord supper meal, the people would greet each other and the custom Merry form for do that would be to kiss each other on the cheek and what you see that form of greeting still present in the Middle East in our day.

We don't know when or why that custom passed out of the practice of the church, but it's one of those practices, which indeed was a custom not a principal was not something binding upon the church in every location and in every age, but in the Middle East, and that day that was the customary practice, the churches of Christ greet you. Now Paul does turn his attention to some serious apostolic admonition. He said now I urge you, brother. This perhaps is the latest apostolic entreaty that we find in the book of Romans.

He urges them to note those who cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.

Notice those people with the troublemakers in the church. Watch out for those who sow seeds of dissension, particularly those who disrupt the body of Christ with false doctrine.

Again, you've heard me say that it is decried in the church today.

That doctrine divides and because of the power of doctrine to divide. We ought not to give much concern to doctrine, but to focus our attention on loving peaceful relationships, forgetting that we don't know what a loving relationship is supposed to look like that, except as it is described by the truth of biblical doctrine. But Paul doesn't say avoid doctrine here, but he saying is avoid heretics, avoid those who would come into the church teaching false doctrine featuring doctrine. Other than that which had been delivered to them by apostolic authority. Note them and avoid them. Note them and avoid them.

Stay away from them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly that is there and it not for the building of the kingdom of God, but for their own gratification for their own wealth for their own pleasure for their own status in the community and Paul is quite critical of them.

He said by smooth words and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the simple know the Bible warns that not many should become teachers for with teaching comes the greatest judgment is what I'm teaching here. The unvarnished truth of the word of God or is it my favorite hobby horse and that is the question that every minister of the gospel has to continually face and examine himself in the light of that, lest we be guilty of deceiving the simple because most people in the congregation, even if they have PhD's in unrelated fields are still simple with respect to the things of God and Jesus warned that if would be better to have a millstone tied around her neck and thrown into the abyss than to cause one of the sheep are one of the little ones to stumble and so Paul's last admonition here to the churches. Watch out.

Don't be seduced by smooth words and flattering speech, but I want you to be wise in what is good and simple, concerning evil. I've mentioned this before, that those who don't want to be engaged in any laborious study of the word of God or of the things of God. They don't want to be held accountable for a disciplined study of the truth of God say they want to keep their faith simple that they want to have a child like faith and I remind you that there's a difference between the childlike faith in the childish face where to be childlike in terms of our acquiescence to the authority of God but were elsewhere Paul says in evil the babes don't be pros and wickedness be amateurs in your sin within your understanding be men.

The Christians of the New Testament were admonished and rebuked again and again for being satisfied with spiritual infancy being satisfied with milk where they were enjoying to seek after the deeper things of God.

The meat of the word of God and what we been looking at in these last many months in the examining the book of Romans was not pablum. We been looking at the way to your things of the word of God, that we may not be simple in our understanding of them for your obedience is become known to all.

Therefore, I'm glad in your behalf, for I want you to be wise and simple. As he says in the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly don't know what that's prophetic statement referred to it, may have specific reference to the destruction of Jerusalem that would take place shortly after this letter was received or it could refer to something altogether different that Paul does not tell us here, but in any case, he gives a preliminary brief benediction saying the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. This was the most simple and common summary of his benediction or good saying was that what he hoped the most is that the people would continue to have in their presence. The grace of God does remember he told us earlier that we move from faith to faith life to life, from grace to grace our Christian pilgrimage begins in grace. It is sustained by grace and it is finished by grace. And so Paul wishes here in this preliminary benediction.

The presence of that grace with these people. Then he continues with his final greetings in verse 21 Timothy, my fellow worker, you know, a lot of him Lucius Jason Sosa pattern my countrymen greet you. Then we find out who really wrote Romans wasn't Paul. After all, in verse 22 we read I tertius, who wrote this epistle review in the Lord. So after all of these greetings are communicated by the apostle Paul to his friends and Roman from his coworkers within in Corinth now.

Tertius adds his personal greetings, identifying himself as the one who wrote this epistle. We know that the vast majority of the cases of Paul's writings, he did not write with his own hand but normally it was his case, as well as others, to have a private secretary who was called an amanuensis that dates way back to the Old Testament prophets such as Jeremiah who had an amanuensis who would take down the words dictated by the prophet to be sent to the people of God.

Likewise, Paul here has been dictating a letter to the church at Rome and tertius, which means the third has been dutifully carefully and under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost as well as the, the deliberation of the apostle Paul has been recording this magnificent letter that he said I tertius, who wrote this epistle greet you in the Lord. Gaius my host and the host of the whole church greet you. Erastus. The treasurer of the city now not many of the people in the early Christian community were in positions of honor of authority in the culture, but there were some and in this case we hear of one who was the treasurer of the city and he was giving his greetings, along with court as a brother and again the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Now comes the final benediction for the epistle now to him who is able to establish you according to my gospel stop right there. Paul frequently uses the term edification and it is a term borrowed. Of course, from the building industry where edifices are directed and we are warned not to be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, but that as we grow in grace as our sanctification proceeds. We are to be edified to be built up to that point in which our faith, our character, our devotion is established, and in this benediction. The apostle reminds the people in Rome who it is who is able to make that happen now to him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, the only gospel there is is Paul's gospel that is the one that he was authorized and set apart to proclaim and being established in the Christian life is to be established according to that gospel that gospel that the apostle proclaimed to the Romans, Paul is giving his final benediction. He saying that God would establish them in that gospel and in the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now made manifest with this divine revelation of the full measure of the gospel, which in many ways was hidden throughout the ages, from the day of creation, has now been made plain by the prophets. The prophetic Scriptures been made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God for obedience to the faith in the final portion of the final benediction of the final line of Paul's epistle repeats insist synced terms.

The quintessence of the message that he is labored to communicate throughout this epistle. The principle of Sola Dale Gloria to God alone to God, the God alone is the glory to God alone was alone wise one big glory through Jesus Christ, forever. Amen. And that's final benediction. Paul gives his good saying he expresses his heart's desire that these people be established according the gospel according the preaching of Christ according to the revelation of God that is been kept secret. But now is made manifest that this God who spoke through the Old Testament prophets of knowledge made known to all of the nations the gospel of Jesus Christ. Send that to God. The only wise God be glory through Jesus Christ, forever, in every generation in every part of the world, the gospel of Paul, lovingly, jealously, passionately sets forth here in his magnum opus letter to Rome. That gospel is obscured attacked and brought almost to ruin. But Paul's prayer the people would be established in that gospel forever is borne witness by the history of the church that, despite all heresies, despite all persecutions, all distortions the gospel it was revealed here keeps manifesting itself by the wisdom, the power, the establishment of God, who alone receives the glory. We look at the final word of the apostles letter coming from the Hebrew a mute switch translated truth minorities, so all the people said a been. And with that, we conclude Dr. RC Sproul sermon series. In the book of Romans. You're listening to the Lord's day addition of Renewing Your Mind. I we web and thank you for being with us today. If you attitude into Renewing Your Mind yesterday you heard our teaching fellow, Dr. Steven Lawson answer the question what your favorite book of the Bible, and his answer was the one I'm studying right now. I guess we probably shouldn't have a favorite, but after hearing Dr. scroll series, I have to say I've appreciated Romans even more if you missed any of the sermons in the series that let me recommend that you contact us, and requested that we place the entire 59 part series on a single USB drive and that we be happy to send it to you for your donation of any amount to look at her ministries. You can make a request when you go to Renewing Your this is the last time will be offering the series so I hope you'll contact us soon and were not in the office on the Lord's day, but you can still make your donation and request the series online again or web address is Renewing Your and that I don't want to neglect thanking you for your generosity. People around the world have access to faithful biblical teaching because of your gifts help for more than 50 years. Dr. scroll serve the church through his teaching ministry and over the next several weeks. We are delighted to bring you some of his most beloved message. We'll join us next Sunday for Renewing Your Mind

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