Concluding the Book of Romans – 5-16-22

“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 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— to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” Romans 16:25-27 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Romans chapter 16 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Sister Phoebe Commended

16 I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also.

Greeting Roman Saints

Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house.

Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of [a]Achaia to Christ. Greet Mary, who labored much for us. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

Greet Amplias, my beloved in the Lord. Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys, my beloved. 10 Greet Apelles, approved in Christ. Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus. 11 Greet Herodion, my [b]countryman. Greet those who are of the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord.

12 Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, who have labored in the Lord. Greet the beloved Persis, who labored much in the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren who are with them. 15 Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them.

16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. [c]The churches of Christ greet you.

Avoid Divisive Persons

17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord [d]Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. 19 For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and [e]simple concerning evil. 20 And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Greetings from Paul’s Friends

21 Timothy, my fellow worker, and Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my countrymen, greet you.

22 I, Tertius, who wrote this epistle, greet you in the Lord.

23 Gaius, my host and the host of the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the treasurer of the city, greets you, and Quartus, a brother. 24 The[f] grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Benediction

25 [g]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.

Footnotes

  1. Romans 16:5 NU Asia
  2. Romans 16:11 Or relative
  3. Romans 16:16 NU All the churches
  4. Romans 16:18 NU, M omit Jesus
  5. Romans 16:19 innocent
  6. Romans 16:24 NU omits v. 24.
  7. Romans 16:25 M puts Rom. 16:25–27 after Rom. 14:23.

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

John 20:31- “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Today is the last day for those still doing the Romans 1 challenge and those curious:  It is a challenge to work with God to root out any unrighteousness and then part 2 is to practice good habit with intention. If you challenge yourself and God to find an area to work on, you’ll find it. This has been powerful:

PRAYER FOR FORGIVENESS:
Dear God, I am sorry for being filled with all/any unrighteousness, and/or sexual immorality, and/or wickedness, and/or covetousness, and/or maliciousness, and/or envy, murder, and strife, and/or deceit and evil-mindedness, and/or being a whisperers and  backbiters, and/or haters of God, and/or violent, and/or proud and boasting, and/or inventors of evil things, and/or disobedient to parents, and/or undiscerning, and/or untrustworthy, and/or unloving, and/or unforgiving, and/or unmerciful, and/or for practicing such things are deserving of death. Please forgive me even though I knew better and I understand the righteous judgment of You, God. Please wash me with the Blood of Jesus. Cleanse me and help me turn from my evil ways – convict me strongly when I do wrong that I may notice and stop. And send a fresh filling of your anointing to break the yokes of bondage and help me destroy the roots with a mindful effort and focus on you. Please reignite the fire in my belly that I may burn for you in boldness. In the name of Jesus we pray ~amen

HEALTHY ROOTS CHALLENGE: this challenge is to heal and strengthen our roots
One – Give God ALL the Glory
Two – Dedicated time for thanksgiving, and be thankful for all things!
Three – Guard our hearts and mind, rebuking and stopping sinful or not godly thoughts, not letting our minds wander and be prayerful and intentional in thinking.
Four – And finally, let us be humble. Humble enough to say I do not know it all and God has something new to reveal to me in this book and in this day.
(Please review the blog post from 4/25/22 for further explanation as to why we are doing this daily and for the scriptural reference instructing us to make these things a practice in our lives. Until they flow from us naturally, we can intentionally and with all of our hearts, scheduled them into our lives and watch them heal and reroute our unhealthy roots that gave sinful/evil fruits.)

As we are wrapping this up – Make today count!

Now, let us look at chapter sixteen, the final chapter of Romans. It is the least quoted chapter as well.

Remember when I said this wasn’t a church Paul founded and yet he was personally very interested in their well-being? Today we learn why – Paul had met many of them previous.

I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also.”

Phoebe – she causes quite the controversy. The Greek Word for servant in verse 1 is the same Greek word we get Deacon from. So literally Paul says she is a Deacon.
If she held a position of authority in the church, and was a business woman (which verse 2 implies), then she rocks our modern conception of what the first century church looked like. Just do a quick internet search on her and find hundreds of debates about the role of women in the church. Many of those debates cross reference 1 Corinthians, which seemingly contradicts this as Paul reprimands women who have stepped out of place.  Since we are reading 1 Corinthians next we will get into this more then.
But the 1st century world may have looked different than what we think of in the Bible. We often find a disconnect when studying “ancient Rome” and studying our Bibles.

Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house.

For example Priscilla and Aquila, a wife and husband team. We saw this famous couple in Acts 18. They risked their lives helping Paul. Priscilla, risking her life, on a missionary journey – no submissive wife who wasn’t strong and capable on her own would be permitted to do the things she did. She spoke about Jesus so much that she is often considered to be the first woman teacher / preacher and obviously missionary.
Rome in many ways was more like us than we like to think. Our morals have slowly declined to near the depth of the grievous sins of that time. But women also held jobs, ran households, hosted churches, and more. Actually there was quiet a feminist movement going on and some sociologist suggest that Christianity helped birth the feminist movement, because Christians treated all men and women, slave and free as equal under God.  
Treating women as equal under God and women holding positions of authority and managing businesses as well as homes is not new to the first century – just look at the proverbs 31 women.

“Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia to Christ.”

When Paul says to greet these people he doesn’t mean he is instructing the church to greet them. He is sending a personal hello to these people.

Greet Mary, who labored much for us.”

And another women who was a hard worker and helped the ministry. I honestly think if we worried less about the position of women and more about being servants and getting the job done, we would be better off.

Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
Greet Amplias, my beloved in the Lord. 
Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys, my beloved. 10 Greet Apelles, approved in Christ. Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus. 11 Greet Herodion, my countryman. Greet those who are of the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord.
12 Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, who have labored in the Lord. Greet the beloved Persis, who labored much in the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren who are with them. 15 Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them.
16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you.”

Greetings to many more men and women.

17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.”

Paul is super loving and kind, but there are some absolutes he requires in order to protect the work of the Lord (the Lord is in the people business, so that means protecting people – even you and me. Avoiding those who are offensive and divisive seems to divide more, but it doesn’t, it protects us. This is not a command that the church shuns them, it is a command that each of us individually do. It is not a command that we go around telling everyone that so-n-so is causing division, because then we are causing division. Our command is to shut up and avoid them.
We are not to add to the word of God, but I will add to this that we should also pray for their restoration. I add under the passages about praying for one another and praying for your enemy and praying for others (way too many verses to quote or give reference).

18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.”

Yep, Paul just called the liars and of their father, the devil, who is the father of lies (John 8:44). But remember, these people took their eyes off Jesus and onto their fleshly wants (go back to die to self, people) and then they were open to the deception of the enemy, and in that deception they deceive other. May the Lord open their eyes and their understanding so they are restored!

Going back to the reason Paul wrote – to avoid further division and prevent it by getting people to clean out their own sins – by the end of the letter, he knows not everyone took it serious. I hope all of you did, but I am sure some of you didn’t. I have even noticed some of you who like my post regularly have dropped off. (My assumption is that you “like” the posts as a way of checking in and saying “Hi, I was here.”) And I appreciate seeing you all and I pray for you individually since you have made yourself known. I also pray for those who have dropped off and do not read any more. Division and offenses happen. And now that we have ended the book – those who are not on board, well, we should avoid them. Let God do a work. And pray for them.

19 For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.”
Wise in what is good. This speaks to stewardship and obedience in the word and prayer.
Simple concerning evil. – well then. I often get spoken to about speaking about evil. And I know I should speak equally about good (and I do speak more about God then about evil). But I have simplified it and we all should. If it is good, it is God. If it is bad it is evil – cast it out. We no longer have time for the games. Do not tell me because you prayed once and it didn’t happen immediately that it won’t happen now. We live in a crazy time and God is moving. You want a healing, pray for it. You want your family saved, pray for it. Pray like they are going door to door and assimilating you like the Borg for Star Trek, and they are next door. Because that is the plan of the enemy – He is going door to door assimilating everyone. Your life and your families’ lives depend on fervency and commitment to standing on the words of God.
It is time to pull our scripture passages and hang them on your wall and not the nice pretty ones that everyone has – It is time we pull the raw promises for our situations up and pray them daily!

20 And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.”

Y’all know the attack on me, I have told you, so God gets the glory when Jesus overcomes in my life.  I have to say I have never been under an attack so great and with such a length of time without reprieve. But I do not think I am alone.  I think many of you an others are with me. We charged into battle obediently and it’s a different kind of battle like we have never seen before. The word is our sword, quote it and use it – turn on the audio and let it fill our houses, our heads and our hearts. And stand on this verse! God will flood us with peace and crush satan under our feet.
Crazy side note: I work with leather in my business, and I got in some snake skin. I carefully (not to damage the product) placed it under my feet – just to show the enemy what it looks like. In my picture, he is not only under my feet, but skinned and tanned – then cut up to make jewelry with names that come from Biblical principles and empower women to fight the good fight of faith. It is so encouraging when we can stomp around! Beside crushing satan – everywhere our feet touch, God will give us. So go stomping right into the enemies camps!

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”
We will need extra grace, than you Paul for praying for it for us. Let’s pray for each other as well!

21 Timothy, my fellow worker, and Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my countrymen, greet you. 22 I, Tertius, who wrote this epistle, greet you in the Lord. 23 Gaius, my host and the host of the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the treasurer of the city, greets you, and Quartus, a brother. 24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”
So here the whole crew – entire ministry team – steps in and says, “tell them I said hi!” And we get a better picture of what it looked like as Paul wrote this letter.  He did not sit alone in his room praying over every word and figuring out what to say. Paul approached letter the same way he approached ministering when he entered a town. Which is similar to how Jesus did it, we just don’t think of Jesus as a team either. Whenever Paul or Jesus ministered so did their teams. Their teams did not do crowd control as we saw Jesus get pressed by the crowds a few times and once even lost in the crowds and slipped away. Paul was practically killed by many crowds – his team was much worse at crowd control! But they were not there controlling the crowds, but ministering and speaking with them as well.

Scrolls were costly, and so was pen and ink. If you made a mistake, it was huge. So many people, including Paul would hire a writer and dictate the letter, as part of the service the letter writer would take lots of notes and then write it, bring it back to the author for approval. Paul used one of those services here. He and his crew worked through their thoughts and worked, and reworked them into this formal structure and Tertius wrote it on the scroll which was sent. It was common for the writer to acknowledge who the author was at the beginning, and then at the end sign off that they wrote it. This action was actually the birth of the public office of Notary Publics. Their signature bear witness to the authorship and the words in the letter.

25Now 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.”

Verses 25-27 is called a doxology, which is like a song of praise. I break out into praise occasionally when writing this so I can understand the compulsion to worship. Paul starts with to Him who is able. I really should dig through the New Testament and count up the number of time Paul says: Him who Is able, He who is able, He is able, etc.
I know my God is able, but I don’t address him that way enough – and when I do, it no longer matter if He is going to or not – He is able, and therefore I surrender to Him! With ever bill I have, I say He is able, but if he doesn’t I will still serve him. He has promised and is able – and that is enough to shake this planet. It is enough to rock the heavens and hallelujah, it is enough to make us break out into a doxology! lol

Now let’s talk about the revelation of the great mystery. I know what the mystery is; at least the one Paul was referring to. I believe there is some prophecy to this since it swells up out of his spirit, but I cannot guess what great mysteries God has yet to reveal.
But Paul is referring to the Gospel being for the gentiles and Christ’s death and blood covering them. The Jews always new other nations would bow, and there would be unity – but NOT adopted brotherhood. Maybe as proselytes, but not as empowered and called servants of the most high! That is the mystery. As a scholar Paul was astonished by how all the Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled in the gospel being for ALL mankind.   

You and I may miss the big mind explosion – but that is because Paul already explained it to the world and you and I have already heard that Jesus loves us. And if you didn’t know – Jesus loves you!

Please plan to join us for the Books of 1st then 2nd Corinthians, starting tomorrow!

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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