:) Finally had some time! Next week should be fun... we're heading into some messianic prophecies... :)

Happy studying!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Romans Chapter 16

vs. 1-16- Greetings and Salutations!

- Paul gives messages for various people in Rome he has connections with.

- footnote- “Phoebe was known as a “deacon”, or servant and helper. Apparently she was a wealthy person who helped support Paul's ministry. Phoebe was highly regarded in the church, and she may have delivered this letter from Corinth to Rome. This provides evidence that women had important roles in the early church.”

- Even though Phoebe was coming from out of town and a different church body... Paul asks the church in Rome to receive her and help her. Should this not transfer to us today as a church body?
- We are all members of the same body despite denominational differences. We have a bond like none other. We are bound together through eternal salvation in Christ. We have all been given the same mission to complete. Preach the gospel to all the world... if we reach further and work in conjunction more between denominations... how much more fully can we complete the mission?

- Priscilla and Aquila- amazing people. Were one of the church home leaders.
- footnote- “Priscilla and Aquila were a married couple who had become Paul's close friends. They along with all other Jews, had been expelled from Rome by the Emperor (Acts 18:2-3) and had moved to Corinth. There they met Paul and invited him to live with them. They were Christians before they met Paul and probably told him much about the Roman church. Like Paul, Priscilla and Aquila were missionaries. They ministered effectively behind the scenes. Their tools were hospitality, friendship, and person-to-person teaching. They were not public speakers, but private evangelists. For some of the Romans, their home was used for church meetings. Priscilla and Aquila challenge us with what a couple can do together to serve Christ. Do we regard our families and homes as gifts through which God can accomplish His work? How might God want to use your home and family to serve Him?”

-Epenetus- 1st convert in Asia. Now living in Rome working with the churches there.

- Mary- another woman working for the expansion of the Roman church. Urbanus, Persis, Tryphena and Tryphosa were also greeted as workers in the church. As ministers or missionaries perhaps? Or perhaps just as Mary was greeted... workers working within the church in a helper aspect who are expanding the church by their witness and by their hospitality.

- Andronicus and Junia- Jews who also became Christians before they met Paul through the message of the disciples. They were in prison with Paul.

- Ampliatus and Stachys are listed among those friends whom Paul wishes to greet. Just to say hello. Herodion was greeted as a fellow Jew convert.

Appelles- in a time of many false teachings etc., Paul gives this man a good reference as a “good man whom Christ approves”. Perhaps Appelles was traveling to teach at Rome. Or perhaps this could have been a man who was waiting on Paul or someone to confirm him in the church in order to teach. Either way... We as a church should be able and willing to recognize those who are teaching correctly and those who are teaching falsely. We should also pray about those who feel called into the ministry or missions or whatever their calling may be, so that we as a church body can confirm in them that calling from God and support them in it.
Aristobulus and Narcissus- households. More house churches? Or maybe their whole households had come to Christ.

- Rufus- this struck me as funny in a way. Rufus is greeted because God has handpicked this man for his work. And then his mother is greeted because she was like a mother to Paul. Not only is this man following the calling of God, but so is his mother in a very real way. How? Hospitality and love and giving of herself. She ministered to Paul as a man of God. Took care of him. Probably sent him on his way with lots of food and advice... ha ha. But this is a very good example of the way the church is to work with one another. I'm sure Paul is not the only man who was mothered by this woman. Hospitality and caring is a very real way of ministering to one another in Christ and ministering to the lost around us. Those who have this gift are very special people.

- My roommate used to cook ALL the time. We had people in our apartment all the time because they knew we'd have food.... she took cookies to random people at random times... and you know, that was a very real way to minister to the kids on campus.

- My mom and I, when I was a little kid, (like... 3 or 4 ha ha. When I wasn't really a whole lot of help in the kitchen...) used to make TONS of cookies and take them to people all over the neighborhood. And you know? As little as I was... I still remember going to some of those houses and watching people smile... there was one I remember very distinctly... she wouldn't ever let us in the house... she'd take the cookies and force a smile and maybe talk for like five minutes or so and then we'd go... and finally one day... she asked us in... I remember that day VERY clearly. It was a big day. And I know I had to only be 3 or 4... but I remember walking through that doorway and feeling like it was a victory somehow. I just remember being very excited to be in the house. Ha ha.

- Little hospitality things like that can sometimes make a very big difference in a life that is crying out for positive human contact. Rufus's mother obviously impacted Paul's life... : )

- Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympus- all of these were leaders of churches that they led in their homes.
- Side note- churches at this time... were not generally held in a set building... if you think about it... there wasn't really an option to build a building for a church... so church services and meetings were held in their homes... which still happens in places today... it's not the building that makes a church... it's the people in it...

- Also if you notice... there are 2 pairs mentioned that are not married pairs in this segment... Rufus and his mother... and Nereus and his sister. Not all missionary teams or ministry pairs have to be husband and wife... just a side note...

- Each person with their own position and specialty- Helpers, ministers, missionaries, leaders, followers, those who are simply friends who edify and encourage, Jews, Gentiles, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterian... : ) All are important and play their part. All are part of a much larger picture. All are part of God's overall plan to further the kingdom. What's your part? What's your specialty? How do you edify the body of Christ? How's your inter-denominational relationships?

- I Corinthians 12, 14:1-4, 10, 16:13-14
- Ephesians 4:1-16, 1:19-23
- Acts 2:17-21
- Colossians 3:1-17, 1:15-29
- I Peter 4:7-11

vs. 17-20- false teachers

- Paul's warnings- watch out for people who cause problems. Those who teach things contrary to the Word. Those who seek to lead the sheep astray with smooth words and deceptions.

- Remain obedient to the Lord in all things, in all ways. If it doesn't line up with the Word... it's not of God.

- footnote- “When we read books or listen to sermons, (yes even sermons), we should check the content of what is written or said so that we won't be fooled by smooth talk and glowing words. Christians who study God's Word, asking Him to reveal the truth, will not be fooled, even though superficial Christians may easily be taken in. For an example of believers who carefully checked God's Word, see Acts 17:10-12.”

- Paul says he is happy to hear that they are all following God in obedience. It should make our hearts glad to know that our brothers and sisters in Christ are being obedient. It should be a good thing to be able to share these things with each other.

- I John 4:1-6
- I Thessalonians 5:12-24
- II John 1:7-11
- I Timothy 4:1-5

- vs. 21-23- more greetings

- Various fellow believers also send their greetings to the church in Rome, including the man who is writing this letter for Paul.

- vs. 25-27- Glory to God the Almighty

- Glory to God who is able to make you strong. No matter the circumstances or issues, God can and will strengthen us much beyond what we can comprehend.
- Psalm 23, 28, 46, 59:16-17, 84, 139
- Philippians 4:4-9
- Hebrews 11:32-40

- The gospel revealed truth to all gentiles... except... we don't automatically know the gospel message. So how then do we learn this thing that has now been opened to us?

- the earth in its entirety is ready for the gospel. God's Word is an open book waiting to be read and understood. The more we get God's word into us, the more of the mysteries of God is revealed to us.

- Matthew 28:18-20
- Luke 24:44-49

- Glory to the only wise God... in the NAME of JESUS CHRIST, AMEN!

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