Sacred Relationships

Romans: The Glory of the Gospel Part 40

Sacred Relationships – Romans 16:1-21

Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – Aug. 19th, 2018

 

Intro:

  • We have come to the final chapter of Romans and to our final two messages. This morning in our passage we will read many names that will be unfamiliar to you.  You may ask the question, “Why is all this included in the bible?”  I believe it is there so we would understand the sacred importance of our relationships in the body of Christ modeled in the life, ministry and writings of Paul.
  • Through what is written, my hope is that when you leave this place today, you will do so with a renewed understanding of the vital role relationships play in your lives and in the body of Christ. It is through them the life of God flows and in them He accomplishes His will on the earth.They are vital to the work of God in our lives and on the earth.  Our relationships should always be cherished and protected with intentionality, care and passion.
  • As we work through this passage this morning, I want you to keep in mind how important relationships are and work to have strong, robust relationships in your life.

 

Vital connections

 

Rom 16:1-2 ESV

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, 2 that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well.

 

  • Paul personally recommends and introduces Phoebe to the believers in Rome. He does so based upon her reputation and the help that she has given to him and others in the past. He tells them to welcome her in a way “worthy of the saints.”
  • Personal commendations and introductions based upon reputations are vital for continued and expanded ministry all over the world.
  • This tells us that your work and your reputation are important as you move and expand. It is also important for us to make connections for other people so that through relationships we can do good in the world. Who you are and who you know matters.

 

Rom 16:3-5a ESV

Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well. 5 Greet also the church in their house.

 

  • Relationships require us to take risks, and not always play it safe. There are worthy causes to give ourselves to that are bigger than ourselves. Where and what are you risking for the benefit of the bigger cause? The goal of life is not to play it safe but make a difference.

 

Rom 16:5b ESV

Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in Asia. 6 Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me. 8 Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. 9 Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys. 10 Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus. 11 Greet my kinsman Herodion. Greet those in the Lord who belong to the family of Narcissus. 12 Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers who are with them. 15 Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. 16  Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

 

  • All of these people were mentioned by name because of their commitment to Christ and their work in the ministry. Give credit where credit is due, and your work will commend you.  Paul had personal, close relationships with people and in these relationships, the cause of the kingdom of Christ was advanced.
  • We all have our work to do and our work is connected to the greater work of God throughout history and throughout the world. We are all connected. We are not alone but are part of a bigger and greater body that works toward the common goal: Christ being known and presented to all people everywhere. In Him we receive and reflect the goodness and glory of God.

 

Vital protections

 

Rom 16:17-20 ESV

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. 19 For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

 

  • We are to “watch out” – be aware of, look for, and make those who cause divisions in the fellowship. (Why? . . .  people, relationships and what we do is sacred and eternal)
  • We are also to do the same for those who “create obstacles” (create obstacles for relationship, in ministry and keeping people from belief in the truth of the bible). We are to “avoid” these people. We are not to have relationship with them.
  • The people who cause divisions and create obstacles to community, ministry and sound doctrine are motivated not by service to Christ but by their own appetites. They get what they want to feed their own greed, ego, pride, or wallet.They sound good, have smooth talk and they will flatter you (tell you what they think you want to hear) in order to get from you what they want.  Don’t be deceived and don’t be naïve.  Not everyone who comes “in the name of Christ” is really in Christ – there are wolves in sheep’s clothing . . .
  • Keep obeying and following what is written. Be wise in what is good (by knowing the word, and the world, and applying it with wisdom) and be innocent (not participating in evil).
  • God uses our collective unity and ministry to crush the head of Satan under our feet.Because God is a God of peace, he will crush Satan and His work through us collectively.  In our ministry and our work, may God’s grace be with us.

 

Conclusion

 

Rom 16:21-23 ESV

Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen. 22 I Tertius, who wrote this letter, greet you in the Lord. 23 Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you.

 

  • It takes a team. All ministers and all people need a team, no matter who you are. Christianity is a team sport.  Be connected, get connected, live connected, minister connected, die connected, and live eternally connected.
  • We must see our relationship in the body of Christ as sacred. The body is to be cherished, built up and protected. It is vital to us and for us both now and in eternity.
  • What are you going to do to establish, maintain, build and repair relationships in your life?
  • Prayer