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June 24, 2019 12:06 pm
This morning we come to the last chapter of Romans Romans chapter 16, I invite you to turn there in your Bibles and deserts and Lord willing, will conclude our study in Romans next Sunday is usually Romans 16 that may be the kind of chapter that you're tempted to skip over the list of unpronounceable names of nonentities people, you may not never have had all that are not particularly interested in but that approach Mrs. about important lessons.
First of all, it is the word of God. As I prayed this comes from God. This is the inspired word of God, yes. Each name is there for a reason. So we can dismiss the list of names that may not Thomas be the most interesting but one important lesson that I want to underline this morning is that God values every one of us that God values the individual and of God values the individual we should as well. Each one matters of call this message each one matters.
Christianity is always valued and respected the dignity of each individual and then out high tech class moving impersonal technological world. It seems that we may be in danger of losing the individuality of each person we know that communism and socialism emphasizes the state, but the Christian message is one that values the individual and it is very very important that in our culture with all of the technology which is very helpful in many ways but there's also a downside isn't it we can live in a little cocoon. We can live as it were. Life throughout iPhone rather than getting to know people face-to-face and Paul certainly is an individual who valued each person we believe from Scripture that each one of us is made in the image of God.
Each one of us signs equal in the sight of God. That is, each one of us matters. You are created by God, and you, whoever you are and whatever you think of yourself that whatever your background or circumstances or future or whether you're depressed this morning or whether you're on the crest of the wave. We believe from the Scriptures we will see that each one of us matters. Paul, the mighty apostle Paul was a brilliant evangelist.
The amazing theologian, the great missionary statesman, the consummate pastor as it were, must've met in his life. Thousands of people. Yet, at the conclusion of this majestic book of Romans, which is I think Paul's greatest work is a work as he presents this magnificent, brilliant exposition of the gospel that we been studying over these last months before he ends the epistle don't you think it's significant that he takes time writing under the inspiration of God, to refer to these various brothers and sisters in Christ. No Paul is not just someone who preaches to the crowds.
Is it what exactly can do that is a man, a man of God who loves cares for and prays for an values each individual we matter to God that we find find it embarrassing sometimes when we can remember someone's name. We all had that experience with an reduce to them. Perhaps you can. Last week, and you met someone and for the life of your you can't remember the name. This week Paul not only knows the people's names he's able to give a brief description of each one of them.
Some of you have come to call the church for many many years. Some of your new some of you here for the first time. I wonder if people do you really know what about in your life group you interested in individuals do you make an effort to get to know people to know the names are to be able to describe them as it was not, in terms of their service in the love for Jesus Christ whereby the children you teach Sunday school with Alanna.
You know the names you know about what about the students use a minister in the youth ministry. Do you know who they are not some sense of where they are spiritually elders and deacons, pastors, can we say that we know this congregation. I find many people want to preach many people want to teach, but perhaps not some many of us take time to get to know people. Now if you're a recent follower of Jesus Christ. You may have discovered that you're losing some of your old friends, but I want to say that is a follower of Jesus Christ you will make many, many more friends. I find that whatever I travel all over the world.
I mean brothers and sisters in Christ. So here we are joining a ship in Athens connecting with another church other than the pastor of the church and his wife. I didn't know any people was is very interesting to watch the people of Calvary church and the people from Irving Bible church connect in some of the some of us from temperatures didn't know each other all that well and how wonderful it was not as not just to experience some of the places that Paul visited and we also visited Patmos would. John received a revelation, but to see the interaction the jolly and the fellowship that is there between brothers and sisters in Christ. No, Paul had never been to Rome before is obviously as you write so the Romans. He didn't know all of them personally, did know all of the names but he knew some of them personally, and he turned of others and we just want I don't have time to go over all of the names in the first 16 verses of Romans 16, but want to make a few comments which I think will encourage us and perhaps also challenge us to deepen our personal relationships at Calvary church and beyond. Paul is going to mention women and men slaves and free to mention Jews and Romans and Greeks all inventions I want to highlight three group so let's open your Bibles with already done so, to Romans chapter 16.
I hope you come with your Bible. Don't be afraid to counter your Bible. Don't be embarrassed by counting a Bible driving here this morning I see people on the Greenway banner.
Some of them look absolutely ridiculous in their outfits to my waiters stretching themselves of lying down on the ground and during getting a leg to look like a pretzel can be good for you.
I would think they're not afraid that other shapes sometimes it seems that we follow Jesus Christ a kind of a little embarrassed to be carting a Bible embarrassed come with your Bible. Romans chapter 16 then verses one and two of my apologies to keep fit clientele.
I do love you as well so no rude emails this week send them in July when I might've turned Romans 16 verse one. I commend to you. Since Paul, her sister Phoebe, a servant of the church. It can clear that you may welcome letter and the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and help her in whatever she may need from you for she's been a patron of many, and of myself as well.
Let's just stop there. Phoebe says Paul was a servant of the church. They find it intriguing that Paul in these verses Isaac includes Romans as rites of the church aroma does mention on elders doesn't mention deacons doesn't mention pastors the first person he mentions is a woman I might surprise some of you she was from Concordia and our trip we visited Corinth current conclusion is what it miles from Corinth.
If you know the book of acts you will remember that that was where Paul got a haircut and supports where Paul had visited and obviously he'd got to know this sister Phoebe and Phoebe is chosen by Paul for this very very important responsibility to take this letter from Corinth can clear up just beside Corinth to take it from there to Rome, she may, I think, have been going there for other purposes. It appears as we read that that she may have been a wealthy woman to maybe not as businesswoman, but that's already going to Rome on business. We really don't know by the someone has said that she leaves Corinth and goes to Rome and she's got the Reformation and unhampered in a land bank. Can you imagine carrying the leather to the Romans. The original writing that Paul had entrusted to this woman, Phoebe. There she takes it a tremendous responsibility, international travel, going from Greece to Italy you think of that you think of the fact that the first person, Paul commands is a woman you know of Calvary church. We certainly affirm women who stay at home to take care of their children as many of her sisters do. But we also affirm at least why do I think most of us do affirm women who are in the marketplace.
Not every woman is called to be a mother staying at home. We affirm those who do, but there are many godly women. Phoebe was one of them who in fact is traveling internationally and she's doing it in the cause of Christ. Yes you may have been doing business in Rome.
She may have had other reasons for going there but she eyes she goes. She is an ambassador for Jesus Christ. Paul describes it as a sacrament.
What does the hacker notes from which we get Deacon and Paul may mean that she simply was a servant or she may have been as a what an official deacon at Deaconess of the church in the New Testament. This would Deacon refers to practical service to the needy and is a way of expressing our love of Christ to others through serving them.
How do we show our love.
One of the ways we show our love for one another is my serving the fence. The work of a deacon and this is this woman not a matter so much that she was. This is enough already positioned it's a servant position. Paul by writing in glowing terms of Phoebe is on the ring. The woman who serve the Lord with him. If you read the kind of acts of you read the epistles, Paul mentions many many women who were involved in the advancement of the gospel we learned on our trip that the first converts on European soil was a woman. Lydia, in fact, with a communion service by the river when Paul came member look say so wonderfully, the Lord opened her heart so that she listened to Paul, and was converted to Jesus Christ's no Paul. Contrary to what some say was not a chauvinist Paul always honored and respected woman and starved with many of them Phoebe. He says helped many for she's been a patron of Manny and of myself as well. She ministered to many. She was a patron they old King James said secular Jews are a benefactor no doubt having physical resources in this godly woman no lights well-known in the community uses her position uses her wealth as it were, to help the cause of Christ a benefactor resort to the poor to the ill deprived and to Paul as well and so as pulse commissions. Phoebe to take this lather from Corinth to Rome. He wants the church at Rome to have a open-door for Phoebe Muslim to open hearts. This is a wonderful woman and he wants them to welcome her as a sister in Christ and that's why he commands her.
Phoebe served many to serve Paul and she served many others, and now it's the time of the Romans to demonstrate the love for her Calvary church. I trust we value and honor our sisters in Christ who serve the Lord and others think of the many many women at Calvary church who serve the body of Christ.
Here and beyond looked on in verse 13 proposal.
If we can anticipate verse 13. But in this context, redundant verse 13 he says great great Rufus, chosen in the Lord. Also, his mother, who has been a mother to me as well. Here's the also brilliant man and he is referring to this woman, he said she was a mother to me. That is a spiritual mother wonderful to have a spiritual mother is not just physically but spiritually member debit on the Old Testament in Judges 5 was described as a mother in Israel, a godly woman who in unusual circumstances. Good leadership to the nation.
She was a mother to Israel. Paul here has a mother, the mother of Rufus.
Not only is she a mother in the physical sense. She's a mother in the spiritual sense and human heads spiritual mother. I have first church.
What I pastors I can write native seminary.
There was a godly woman and there was many friend McNally. She would visit here occasionally I went to be with the Lord three years ago and very quickly, as I once there, being the first pastor. No staff from the office you very quickly assured me of her prayers. She mentored my wife. She was a spiritual mother to me. In fact, as the elders met. We affectionately but also somewhat tongue-in-cheek and effective as a mother superior in many cases she was wiser than the elders and we learned very quickly to listen to many friend McNally, a mother to us.
A mother to me when I was working on my doctorate. She was living then in Wilmington here in North Carolina into inviting me dying and I I spent several days with my books in front of me in prayer as a began work on my doctorate. What a gift we ask you sisters in Christ.
You will mother to people. Men are you a spiritual father to someone so easy. And then life is to become so self focused, were concerned with her physical family. That's right, in the few people but here is a thought for us. I want to be a spiritual father, I want to you want sisters to be a spiritual mother's there are many people who are pretty clueless in life and perhaps her own father and mother. One particularly godly. Perhaps her unsaved and how wonderful it is when you come close to them and act as a spiritual mother or father. Rufus, incidentally, may have been the son of Simon of so remember the man who carried the cross of Jesus in Mark chapter 15 verse 21 Rufus and the assignment rather and his son was Rufus and that may have been the man that Paul is referring to here in verse 13.
So first Paul commence Phoebe as a servant to the church. Secondly, he commands in verses three through 16 Crisco equivalent Mary R. Burness-the outside. And purses as workers for the Saints. Let me read from verse 13 great Crisco and Tukwila. My fellow workers in Christ Jesus who risked their lives for my life as I read noticed the word work is the first one verse three great Crisco and Tukwila. My fellow workers in Christ Jesus who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only do I give thanks with all the churches of the Gentiles.
Give thanks as well delete also the church in their house. Greet my beloved appendixes who was the first convert to Christ in Asia greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. Greet and Veronica is an Junior my kinsman and my fellow prisoners there well-known to the apostles and there were in Christ before me greet on Pietist my beloved in the Lord. Greet or witness our fellow worker in Christ and my beloved stackers greet a palace was approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the family about his stubble is great. My kinsman Herodian delete those in the Lord who belong to the family of Narcissus.
Greet those workers in the Lord that we have it again try for Anna and try. Greet the beloved purses, who has worked hard in the Lord great Rufus, chosen in the Lord also was mother has been a mother to me as well greet and secretase flag on Hermas, Patroclus, Hermas and the brothers were with them greet final log is Julia Larios and his sister and Olympus and all the saints who are with them. Greet one another with a holy kiss all the churches of Christ greet you notice the references to work Paul is commending brothers and sisters who worked in the service of Christ.
The first reference there in verse three is to Priscilla Tukwila spoken that on Mother's Day. Some of the common. Further, other than saying there described as my fellow workers and the emphasis is on these brothers and sisters who worked hard in the service of Christ. For example, Inc. of this commendation to this woman called Mary greet Mary, who, as one who has worked hard for you to work hard in the service of Jesus Alexander McLaren was a preacher in the 19th century in England and he always said that preaching was hard work and he said he could never prepare in the study at home preaching. He could never go to the study with his slippers on is rather strange and he tells the story that one morning you still in bed, and you have the clump clump clump of the miners outside his door with the big boots on walking as they did to the mine in the morning and he was convicted, he thought. These are he's a man digging for coal. There apparently in the morning and got the boots on and here I am lying in bed.
So from that moment on I do not follow his advice in this one, but from that moment on he will reward his boots with that strange. There was a way of reminding himself that the work of the Lord's work in this part work like these brothers and sisters in Romans 16 he worked hard now as you serve at Calvary church. Would you say you work hard if Paul was here and was writing about several of us are you someone like Mary who would say this Mary this Susie this John this Jim this Bob worked hard for you. One of the shots I got when I left my law practice and went into ministry was that some people sometimes there's some missionary some people in the parachurch ministries didn't work hard and the strange I was trying to work hard. We were making money and so you worked hard and could be better than the church of Jesus Christ. We would be lazy that we would be of a sense of entitlement that we would just think well were starving the Lord, or as you volunteer for ministry here at Calvary.
Did you think well.
People should just be pleased that you are working that we should just be pleased that you're doing something or have we forgotten that are very service as an act of worship to the Lord. That was Alister Alexander McLaren pointed if miners are working hard, much harder should I work in the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ and Paul mentions women as well as men who worked hard in the service of the Lord work implies consistency insurance and faithfulness and I want to say that we value would tell Dragon speak on behalf of our leadership.
We value and highly esteemed. Those of you. And there are many of you who are workers at Calvary and beyond. And can I say is your pastor and I'm sure I speak for so many of us that we particularly value.
Those of you who worked hard behind the scenes majority people may not have no idea what you do at Calvary church, but you've worked hard consistently faithfully responsibly for many many years you know it's never difficult to recruit people to come up here if I wanted someone to preacher to sing or to do push-ups or whatever I could. It's easy. It's never a problem to recruits for people to come on this platform.
Never a problem to recruit people decide when a committee where they're going to make some decisions and then expect other people to do the work is never difficult to do that, but it is sometimes difficult to recruit people for the nursery for children's ministry to be a coach, a champ to serve in the in the parking lot to serve in the kitchen. Why is because these ministries are behind the scene. They're not visible never get the accolades never going to a standing ovation of because you worked week after week or month after month in the nursery, but these things require hard work on the think many of you work hard, church and beyond the trust that characterizes all of us know there's another category of people that Paul commends the commends appended to this apply to stackers and purses as beloved in the Lord. Paul is going to show I love this about Paul is going to show his love and his warm affection for his brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul is the best of creatures is the most brilliant of theologians is a great strategist when it comes to missions but these also pastor's got a warm warm affection for people, particularly those who served with him and here in this passage as I write it.
I'm sure we saw something of Paul's heart is a loving Shepherd know this universe to Phoebe as our system system. I don't have physical sisters have countless sisters in Christ. Others of them are described as beloved verse five greet my beloved appended to this verse eight. Greet Empire test, my beloved in the Lord.
Greet our business, our fellow worker in Christ and my beloved stackers verse 12 greet the beloved purses whose work hard in the Lord think of his love for the people and then he ends and are six things in greet one another with a holy kiss kiss was the expression of love.
This was a congregation that was going to experience than was experienced persecution, but they were united and how important it was. Is that what mattered, and criticize them persecuted and the culture underlay Roman Empire have important was when they came as a congregation is a family of God. That was his warm spirits of love yet appear you get impressions on your of these loving relationships we like other Calvary church. I'm asking rhetorically a real church is known for her love for one another. A warm handshake and a pat on the shoulder a hug. We should shouldn't we be demonstrated. Our love and are warm for one another rather than the cold formality they next month, Lord willing. I'm going to be in the Scotland will see my mother who's 94. Some of my brother some of my nephews and nieces. We don't just stand apart even in Scotland were not the most effusive of people but we don't just say well how are you doing there is an authentic demonstration of this is our family. This is that this is the Monroe family. We love each other silly sometimes like to disagree with each other but we love each other we care for one another. We haven't seen each other for some time. If that's true in our natural family.
How much more in the family of God. In fact, in some sense I can have more love and fellowship for you than some of my own family who don't know Christ because we know the love of God member Paula said in Romans five verse five that the that the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit is been given to us and I realize we demonstrate our love and their affection for one another in different ways. Some of that's cultural some of his personality, but it has to be demonstrated as an you demonstrate your love and appreciation for others at Calvary particular those that you serve with don't conceal your love. Don't conceal your appreciation for others. This is a cold world is a say it's an impersonal world, particularly with our technology people would rather text someone something on Facebook rather than having a real conversation with them face-to-face with human beings were not machines and in the family of God, as we have experienced the love of God in our hearts how important it is that we follow the example of the apostle Paul and greet one another with a holy kiss. Notice it is a holy one, but with love and and and warned notice.
His descriptions of these people that they are in Christ there in the Lord. For example, verse seven. Greet Andronicus and Junior my kinsman and my fellow prisoners that were well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.
Paul's favorite expression for describing a believer.
Consider Christians consider born-again things are the rose of that's true that in Christ there in the Lord. Verse nine greet organize our fellow worker in Christ's verse 10 greet the policy was approved in Christ. Verse 11 greet my kinsman Herodian greet those in the Lord. Verse 12.
Greet those workers in the Lord. Verse again. Then the verse 12 greet the beloved purses was worked hard in the Lord.
Verse 13 greet roof roof is chosen in the Lord what that identity hated all the different personalities, different culture, some of them Jewish, some of them.
Romans with important things now that another ethnicity, not the color of their skin but that they are in Christ that we are in the Lord in the study of Romans, we we thought of that Romans eight verse one there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus is a picture of security picture of a personal relationship. That being a follower of Jesus is not admiring Christ from a distance is not just trying to live as he lives are trying to obey his teaching. This is a personal relationship. I am in Christ. I am in the Lord. What an identity date that we have is a follower of Jesus Christ shows the intimacy and the love which is of the very essence of the Christian faith.
Paula said in chapter 12 verse 10 love one another with brotherly affection, brotherly affection, the fruit of the spirit publicizing in Galatians 5, first thing he mentions is love fruit of the Spirit is love, Jesus said that people will know that we are the disciples by love. Paul says at the end of first Corinthians 13 that the greatest of these is love. So we kind kind to one another. When I meet with couples before they got married couples who are struggling in the management of the things I try to remind them over and over again.
Kind to one another. Paul says in first Corinthians 13 love is kind. Be kind kind father men be kind to your wife, be kind to your children at Calvary church with me kind to one another. Evidence of her love only we sometimes disagree with different perspectives.
We see things differently. We can have a good argument from time to time. That is true we do in the Monroe family. I know some of you never have arguments and your families.
I really feel sorry for you. I enjoy good argument rights. It's kind of nice sometimes is to think, particularly for persons responding if you don't respond so much fun but doesn't stop as loving each other doesn't. This agreement saying we should hate to be done in a respectful way, but to love one another. So here it is the church of Rome could imagine being there. We have Jew and Gentile woman and man slaves and free converted Jews and and and Romans and Gentiles, and there's nothing in the New Testament have said this report to suggest that out ethnicity around nationality of our personality should be the basis of the church, our Lord Jesus Christ demolishes all of the body is the big one was between Jew and Gentile, that is demolished member Ephesians 2 he made us at PACs. The great peacemaker and saw Calvary church. We don't of different congregations based on ethnicity or nationality. And as I said recently and repeat again because I still hear from time to time. This is not an American church people say well know Calvary is an American church is not an American church. It happens to be in America.
Praise God for that, but is not an American church that is not out identity as a Christian church, a church with his brothers and sisters in Christ is a place whatever you come from, whatever your background whether you raised in a pagan home in the godliness home in the United States. Doesn't matter where you're from, whether you're from South America, South Africa, trying out Russia unit Greece, Turkey, as a matter. What matters is this this is a question for you. Are you in Christ are you in Christ will be learning biblical Christianity values individual. Paul love cares for praise for an values each individual.
Each one matters so we who love Christ must also love and value in this theme one another as individuals is one of the reasons member life groups so we come together like this to worship God is magnificent to hear his word, but we have these line cribs, we realize were not to live in, and in the isolation we need one another we get to know one another in the line cribs is one of the ways of doing that when we develop these deep and personal and lasting personal relationships and I encourage our pastors and their elders and their deacons to get to know our congregation.
I remember when I first came to to Calvary. There's a couple guys wanting to act as kind of bodyguards to me and I thought they know something I don't know is something they're trying to harm me.
And they were kind of sheltering me from the rest of people at bodyguard. Nothing Paul I know Paul didn't go to Philippi New England and the bodyguard was a body in between him and the people we are equal in Christ. Yes, I have the privilege of being a pastor equal with younger brother in Christ, we are in Christ we are in the Lord and one of our goals at Calvary church and we fail. I know we feel, but we try through our leadership elders or deacons are like good leaders of our Bible study leaders in many many ways and oppressors to get to know each person as an individual. Now I may not know you individually. I kind of got a pretty good memory, but I kinds minister to every single person on the personal way I can visit everyone in hospital I can to get me funeral. I can visit every home every shot in the snow, but collectively we as a church want you to know this is a big church.
We value you and I say to her. Pastors remember we are pastors Cesar elders elders. Remember you are shepherds knowing the sheep if each blade of grass is different. If there are no two snowflakes identical how much more we were made in the image of God.
God deals with us as individuals.
If the good Shepherd knows her name is Paul the apostle recognized and valued people as individuals shouldn't we do the same.
Are you doing up you value your brothers and sisters recovery recently encourage someone is working hard, someone who has served you do you do for love to come to Calvary church is about which people love me more so the I understand that I understand that's not my question my question is are you loving you encourage and good could you send an email to someone encouragement far better. Could you could you thank them face-to-face.
You demonstrate your love for them. Don't hide your love from people express it in one of the best ways to get to know people in the subject characterized Paul as to pray for them could imagine the prayer list of Paul had of all of the individuals who did you know their names. I think one of the main ways usernames because he was praying for them.
This is the part of the gospel. Think of the syndrome here is the power of the mighty Roman Empire magnificent Empire. We learned about it.
His word to Ephesus and Philippi and Corinth. This was a mighty civilization, brilliant civilization, powerful. Think of this for the power of the gospel had penetrated unbroken through the power of Rome and now the Roman empire is gone on for centuries upon centuries for the pilot of the gospel. No wonder Paul says I'm not ashamed of the gospel for the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek for their in is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith as it is written. Just the righteous shall live by faith in the mighty power of the gospel had penetrated right into the very heart of the Roman empire into Rome itself.
So there in Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire of these brothers and sisters in Christ who forsaken everything for the cause of Christ are loved and who had cared for, and would responded to the call of Christ. Some of you here this morning may not yet be in Christ is and what you mean. I was raised a Christian is wonderful pleasant question. Are you in Christ, see the following of Christ is one who is a personal relationship with Christ who is turn from their sin and who has believe the gospel has trusted in the person of Jesus Christ who died for our sins, was buried, and who was raised again. No were not saved in closes where were saved one by one as each of these have have you as an individual.
Place your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ archer to do that to call him to Christ to save you. Paul has quoted Joel in chapter 10 and says whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. You call upon the name of the Lord. Right now, and you will be saved, you will be in Christ and then live a life expressing your love for Christ by loving your brothers and sisters in Christ. John says whoever loves God must also love his brother. Because each one matters. Father, thank you for your great love for us or love is frail for love is inconsistent with ebbs and flows, but thank you for the constancy of your love may each person here receive the love of Christ of the loop in their hearts and receive the Savior right now but may call upon the name of the Lord fill our hearts father with your spirit that we at Calvary church more and more will love one another with this incorruptible love that your word refers to the love for Christ love for one another love for the gospel of love for the lost will grow and grow and the people will know that with your followers by our love helpless father we ask strengthen this in Christ name