[Saturday, 12/05/2012, Read Rom 16:1-27]
We have been looking at Romans using the themes of “accepting one another” and “unity” for this season of devotion at S-Word. The data of Romans 16 ends these themes as well in a “BIG” way.
Just look at the [ATTACHED CHART] which summarizes the DISTRIBUTION of a particular kind of verb used by Paul, the second person (you/you all) commands (imperatives). The green bars totals up these occurrences. Any surprise that most of the verbs occur from Romans 12-16 (practical section) and the number of occurrences in Romans 16 TRUMPS them all?
ANSWER: One way is to GREET ONE ANOTHER sincerely to express this unity (in view of the various kinds of unity set out in Romans 1-15).
Paul COMMANDS the recipients of the Epistle to the Romans to GREET ONE ANOTHER – Paul gave them a long list to greet :
1. Receive Phoebe and help her (Rom 16:1-2)
2. Greet Priscilla and Aquila (Rom 16:3)
3. Greet a house church (Rom 16:5)
4. Greet Epenetus (1st convert, Rom 16:5)
5. Greet Mary (Rom 16:6)
6. Greet Andronicus and Junias (Rom 16:7)
7. Greet Ampliatus, whom I love in the Lord (Rom 16:8)
8. Greet Urbanus & Stachys (Rom 16:9)
9. Greet Apelles (Rom 16:10)
10. Greet household of Aristobulus (Rom 16:10)
11. Greet Herodion (Rom 16:11)
12. Greet household of Narcissus (Rom 16:11)
13. Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa (Rom 16:12)
14. Greet Persis (Rom 16:12)
15. Greet Rufus (Rom 16:13)
16. Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the brothers with them (Rom 16:14)
17. Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas and all the saints with them (Rom 16:15)
18. Greet one another (Rom 16:16).
APPLICATION (1): When you greet one another, REMEMBER and THINK of the CONTRIBUTION that person has made for the gospel, like what Paul DID :
1. “She has been a GREAT HELP to many” (Rom 16:2)
2. “They RISKED THEIR LIVES for me” (Rom 16:4)
3. “FIRST convert” in Asia! (Rom 16:5)
4. “Worked very hard for you” (Rom 16:6)
5. They were “IN PRISON WITH ME” (Rom 16:7)
6. “They are OUTSTANDING among the APOSTLES” (Rom 16:7)
7. They were “in Christ BEFORE I was” (Rom 16:7)
8. “Fellow worker in Christ” (Rom 16:9)
9. “Tested and approved in Christ” (Rom 16:10)
10. “Who work hard in the Lord” (Rom 16:12, 13)
11. “Who has been A MOTHER TO ME” (Rom 16:13)
APPLICATION (2): Can you think of a person whom you have DIFFICULTY accepting now? Think how items 1-11 above can be used to DESCRIBE that person whom you have difficulty accepting.
To close the Epistle, Paul still PERSEVERED with his concern for UNITY among the believers in Rome right at the end – Rom 16:17-19 :-
“17 I urge you, brothers, to WATCH OUT for those who CAUSE DIVISIONS and put OBSTACLES in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. KEEP AWAY FROM THEM. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their OWN APPETITES. By SMOOTH TALK and FLATTERY they DECEIVE THE MINDS of naive people. 19 Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.”
APPLICATION (3): May we strive for “unity” at S-Word so that the “gospel” and “proclamation of Jesus Christ” (Rom 16:25) can be revealed and made known “so that ALL NATIONS might believe and obey him” (Rom 16:26) and on THAT DAY stand before God justified BY FAITH in UNITY as ONE church of the living God. Amen!