Romans 16 Paul sends his greetings to the church in Rome
Paul sends his greetings to the church in Rome
Scripture reading: Romans 16
-Last week we spent time together considering Romans 12:1 which says; "In view of God's
mercy". This verse acts as the interpretive key to Romans 12-15:8, setting us up for
understanding how we are to live in light of God's incredible mercy to us in Christ Jesus
-One of the key verses of Romans is Romans 1:16, which says; "I am not ashamed of the
gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the
Jew, then for the Gentile."
Today we are going to consider the last chapter of Romans.
-In this chapter, Paul, along with 8 other people, send their greetings to those who belong to
the church in Rome. Paul wanted to visit Rome-- His desire was to come to them, to
evangelize amongst the city, and to bless them and encourage them in the faith
-In Romans 16, roughly 27 people are greeted (women, men, rich people, poor people,
slaves, singles, marrieds, Jews, Gentiles, people of influence and power, people who we only
know because we read of them here)
-Herein, we learn that Paul's letter to the Romans was carried by a lady whom Paul held in
high regard-- Phoebe: A woman who had distinguished herself as a tireless and faithful
servant of the church. A woman who Paul commends as: a trustworthy saint whom they are to
treat in the highest regard.
While some might be tempted to overlook Romans 16, we are not going to. In these greetings
Paul is doing more than just saying "Hi". The reason we are not going to pass over Romans 16
is because Paul's greeting to the brothers and sisters in Rome is very instructive for us as a
church-- for Paul's greeting teaches us what a healthy church looks like and what are relations
are to be like, between us who are the followers of Jesus.
What we learn from Paul's greetings to the church in Rome
1. We see that the mandate of Jesus to go into all the world and to preach the
Gospel is being carried out-- for the church is shown to be made up of people of a number
of different nationalities, socio economic backgrounds, and geographic areas. Acts 1:8,
-Among the names were people from a bunch of different countries
-Some were Jewish, some Gentile
-Some were people of power and influence (being of the Emperors house)
-Some were of slave backgrounds (Paul's writer "Tertius" means third. "Quartus" means
fourth. These 2 men had been slaves, given names based on birth order
-Ultimately what we see is God's vision for His Church being accomplished (people of every
tribe and tongue and background, united together in the worship of God)
2. We see that Paul is not the woman hater that certain critics of Paul like to say
that he is. Note v.1-2,3,6,7,12,13,15 --TEN women are mentioned or referred to as key
contributors to the Gospel work. The fact is; Paul's mentioning them as key
contributors/leaders was counter cultural
Counter cultural example: The testimony of women was not accepted in the culture. This
made the resurrection account-- noting that it was the women who first found Jesus
resurrected- so remarkable
3. House church's have always been.
In the N.T sometimes the church met in the Synagogue (until they were thrown out), then the
predominant picture is of them meeting in homes.
Note v.5 and Paul's greeting to Priscilla and Aquila, noting that a church met in their house
Even today in many parts of the world, house churches are big. i.e China.
Key observation: A distinguishing mark of Christians is a regular meeting together for prayer,
worship, service, support, encouragement, and instruction in the Word (Acts 2:42-47). Note
also the warning of Hebrews 10:25; "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the
habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day
4. The love and affection that Paul -and the other 8 greeters mentioned- had for
those of the church in Rome is to characterize us for one another. v.3,5,7,8,12,16.
WE ARE FAMILY
Jesus has said to us "love another" John 15:22. It's his commandment to us
Key terms "dear friend", "whom I love in the Lord" "Greet each other with a holy kiss"
Note also v.13 wherein Paul speaks of Rufus' mother as being a mother also to him. Such
reminds me of Jesus on the cross saying to his mother, about the beloved disciple "Dear
woman, here is your son" and then to his disciple, "Here is your mother". John 19:26-27
More on the church as a family: Mark 10:28-30 says;"Peter said to him, "We have left
everything to follow you!" "I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or
brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to
receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers,
children and fields-and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life."
Some thoughts about the command to greet one another with a holy kiss v.16
It's a cultural command: Kissing as a greeting was common practice. i.e Judas greeted Jesus
with a kiss while betraying him (Mark 14:45) Examples are in the OT: Exodus 18:7, etc
We are to keep our greetings culturally acceptable (some people groups kiss as a greeting)
We need to take care in how we "greet" each other. i.e no bum patting, grabbing of love
handles (which is not plain offensive), or lingering hugs.
5. The service of Jesus requires sacrificial hearts, hard work, a willingness to suffer
persecution, perseverance, faith, and a deep commitment to each other as brothers
and sisters in the Lord. Note: v.3-4,6,10,12,20,21
"Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me."
"Greet Mary who worked very hard for you" v.6
"Greet Apelles, tested and approved in Christ' v.10
-How awesome is that!
-He obviously came through some significant test or trial as a follower of Jesus.
6. The unity, doctrinal purity, and holy practice of the church is to guarded and
The unity of the church is a big deal
In John 17:20-21 Jesus prays; "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will
believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in
me and I am in you." Then in v.23 Jesus prays; "May they be brought to complete unity"
In Titus 3:10 Paul writes; "Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time.
After that, have nothing to do with him."
The doctrinal purity and holiness of the church is to be protected
This explains Paul's glowing commendation of Phoebe. He wanted the believers in Rome to
know that she was a trusted person. She wasn't a wolf in sheep's clothing. She was the "real
deal" as a Christian. This letter of commendation was important because sometimes people
showed up touting their own credentials and godliness and then made a royal mess of the
Note Jesus' warning of this in Matthew 7:15-16a; "Watch out for false prophets. They come to
you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will
A key to doctrinal purity, unity, holiness: A commitment to the Word of God. A commitment to
prayer. A commitment to corporate worship. An ongoing commitment to forgive the wrongs
that commit against each other.
7. For our encouragement: As the followers of Jesus, we are on the winning side.
Satan is a defeated foe. Stay true. v.19-20
Satan is a defeated foe--defeated by Jesus in his death and resurrection
Satan's doom is sure-- He will be cast into the lake of fire on Judgment day (Revelation
As the followers of Jesus we can have victory over Satan "Resist the Devil and he will flee
from you." James 4:7. We are to put on the full armor of God that we might stand our ground
against his schemes and attacks (Ephesians 6:10-18)
Our calling is to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil, as we wait for
the glorious coming of Christ.
As we have learned together, in Romans 16 Paul, along with 8 others, sends his greetings to
the church of Rome.
His greetings are very instructive-- for they teach us about the healthy function of the church
and the loving relations that are to exist between us who are the followers of Jesus
-Are we doing our part?
-Are we loving each other as we ought.
-Can we honestly say we are working hard on behalf of each other?
-Are we prepared to endure suffering for the cause of Christ?
-Are we walking in unity?
-Are we guarding the gate- that error and false practice might not slip in amongst us
-Are we as passionate as we should be about telling others of Christ-- not motivated by guilt
but by a heart that is responding in love, in light of God's mercy to us in Christ?
Let's sing our closing song: I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God.