Romans Chapter 16
KLMX Sept 2010
1st Baptist Church
Des Moines, NM
Here we are on the Ministerial Alliance program on KLMX radio. Iím Bryan Kimsey from 1st Baptist Church in Des Moines and today we are going to finish up Romans chapter 16 and Paulís letter to the Roman church itself. I set out on this project nearly 2 years ago and itís hard to believe itís been that long. Time flies when youíre having fun, I guess. Iíve certainly learned a lot of things from this study and I hope you KLMX listeners have too. As I mentioned earlier this week, if you want the complete study of Romans, visit the church website at www.fbcdesmoines.org and youíll find the text of all these messages there. Youíll also find a phone number and an e-mail link where you can contact me with any questions or comments or to request free CDs of these messages. With all that out of the way, letís look at Romans 16! May God bless this message and allow it to glorify Him through the truth of Jesus Christ- Amen.
While the rest of Paulís letter is filled with one theological nugget after another, chapter 16 is mostly a series of greetings to individuals. Notice that I didnít say "just" a series of greetings, though! These greetings have a lot of interesting information in them. First, they are evidence that the great theologian Paul had the time for people. He greeted these people by name and usually said something about them personally. This is an important thing for pastors to note- youíre not high and mighty above your congregation but you are of them and they are of you. If the Apostle Paul took the time and effort to remember and greet his fellow Christians, how can we do any less?
Another thing I noted was the mixing of social classes in Paulís greetings. He greets slaves and wealthy men, workers and politicians, and men and women equally, usually in the same sentence. People have different roles in life, but in Jesus Christ, they are all equal. Salvation is extended to all equally. Differences in political views and social ranking are set aside in Christ. They should be at least, and they seem to be, here in the early Roman church.
Paul also discusses those who cause divisions and offenses, describes them, and details what should be done about them. I covered this in Wednesdayís message, and brought up several other passages to further lay out the Biblical instructions for breaking fellowship or for shunning divisive people. This is definitely not something to be taken lightly or casually, but is a serious issue, esp if both sides claim to be Christian. At the same time, though, true sin cannot be tolerated in the church, even though it far too often is.
And finally, we looked at what Romans 16 has to say about Satan. The passage says that "the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly." I discussed what all that meant, including the use of the word "shortly". After washing our hands of the devil, we focused on the verse which says "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen". Again, if you missed any of these and want to hear or read them, visit the church website at www.fbcdesmoines.org and read them online.
Today, we have the very last passage of Romans 16 and of the letter itself and it, appropriately enough, is a prayer of thanksgiving and a quick summary of the gospel. Here it is:
Romans 16:25-27 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began (26) but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith (27) to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.
This is a stack of nested statements alright! Letís break this sentence down into its pieces and see what weíve got.
to Him who is able to establish you
according to my gospel
and the preaching of Jesus Christ
according to the revelation
of the mystery
kept secret since the world began
but now made manifest
and by the prophetic
Made known to all nations
According to the commandment of the everlasting God
To the faith
To God, alone wise,
Thru Jesus Christ
I come up with 17 parts and I think I could divide a couple of those down even further. I guess Iím not quite done talking about Romans 16 yet! Letís look at a few of these statements that Paul makes.
First, he says to "Him who is able to establish you". Thatís a comforting thought because it says that God Almighty himself is able to establish us. Our ability to stand and to withstand isnít dependent upon us. God has not laid the tools on the table and said "Here ya, goÖ now get to work building your house." Instead is it God himself who teaches and guides us. He is able to establish you. Iíll combine 2 of Paulís statements next- "according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ". This is the source of Paulís information- the gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ. Paulís not making this stuff up, as so many suppose, but heís received, as he says now, "the revelation". That this revelation is a "mystery" means that man would not have discovered it or dreamed it up on his own. The mystery was "kept secret since the world began" and was fully revealed only by the manifestation of Jesus Christ. This manifestation was described "by the prophetic Scriptures", but nevertheless wasnít understood until Jesusí work was finished. To back this up, letís see what Peter says:
1 Peter 1:10-11 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, (11) searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.
According to Peter, the prophets themselves "inquired and searched carefully" to see who they were writing about and when he would appear. Now, thatís an interesting thought, to think that the early prophets themselves acknowledged the mystery of their writings.
The manifestation of this mystery- Jesus Christ- is being made known to all nations. First of all, that was the command of the so-called Great Commission:
Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
Itís also a requirement for the end times:
Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
Paul says in Romans 16 that this mystery being made known to all nations is a "commandment of the everlasting God". As such, it will occur. Not if, or maybe, or perhaps, but will. And, of course, letís not lose sight of the point that Paul says this is a commandment of the everlasting God and in Matthew, we have Jesus Christ himself saying these things.
Next up in Paulís statement are the terms "obedience" and "to the faith". Obedience is one of the chief characteristics of a true Christian. We have lots of passages to this point:
John 14:15 "If you love Me, keep My commandments.
John 14:21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."
Hebrews 5:9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,
1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.
Our obedience is "to the faith". Those are pretty simple terms, really. You donít have to do this or do that or follow this, all you have to demonstrate is obedience to the faith. In fact, the next verse in 1st John is:
1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
We can go to Jesus himself to find out what the commandments are:
Mark 12:29-31 Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is: 'HEAR, O ISRAEL, THE LORD OUR GOD, THE LORD IS ONE. (30) AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.' This is the first commandment. (31) And the second, like it, is this: 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
So, weíre to love God and love our neighbor. That shouldnít be too difficult, should it? But why should we do those things? Because Christians should reflect Jesus Christ and we know that:
1 John 4:9-11 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. (10) In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (11) Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:19 We love Him because He first loved us.
Therefore, our obedience is expressed not in works done to earn us brownie points, but works done out of love for our neighbor. The gospel is preached not as a task to be done and checked off, but because it brings salvation to those who hear it and accept it, as God allows. We preach Jesus Christ simply because Jesus saves and as people who love our neighbor, we donít desire to see them remain lost. That is obedience to the faith.
All of this is done because, as Paul concludes:
Romans 16:27 to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.
Thatís where Paul wraps up his message and that, I think, is where I also will end. Consider this message carefully and consider the love of God that is manifest in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on your behalf. If you donít know Jesus, I urge you to seek, knock, and ask. No one is turned away. Not slave or free, poor or rich, male or female, simple or poor. The yoke is light and true freedom in Christ is the gift.
Romans 16, Part 4