Summary: Message 49 in our exposition of Romans. This message draws principles from all the greeting Paul included in the last chapter.
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
“Grateful Greetings and Final Benediction” Romans 16
? Convincing evidence of spiritual maturity
? Courageous reminders of essential truths
? Compelling sense of God’s calling and anointing
? Clear life focus
1. Sharing the works of God operating through us
2. Reaching the unreached is the heart of our passion.
? Caring personal involvement and connection
1. Expressed his long standing desire to meaningfully connect with them
? Desire for their assistance
? Desire to enjoy their company and find refreshing rest
One of the reasons to come together is for encouragement. God made us to live in community. It is a hole that can only be filled by being around others. Some like lots of people. Others are satisfied with a few close friends or a spouse. Everyone needs someone. God designed the body to refresh itself by meaningful connection. Just as the physical body serves the other parts of the body and all the parts cooperate in refreshment rest and rejuvenation, so we should think about our part in the refreshment of others. This desire to touch and connect with people is abundantly evident in the final chapter of grateful greetings. Before we move on to the other examples of connection in this passage I want to jump to chapter sixteen and make some observations from those greetings.
God saw fit to include this section in the Scriptures. Why? He wants us to realize the importance of the individual. It demonstrates the degree of Paul personal involvement with people in ministry. Personal recognition and affirmation is important. Expression of gratitude and acceptance is important. The early church, influenced by the eastern culture, held the practice of greeting in high regard. While visiting the churches in Africa we needed a quick lesson in the art of greeting. They practice a well established greeting protocol. Greetings went beyond, “Hi! How are you!”
Greetings communicated acceptance, acknowledgement of ones importance or contribution and appreciation for that contribution. A triple “A” greeting.
Acceptance - Acknowledgement - Appreciation
There was no special formula or procedure but these elements seem to be typical. Paul urges us to greet one another as a matter of regular practice. Paul practiced meaningful greeting. In most all of his letters we find space dedicated to greeting individuals.
Receive and help Phoebe
I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well. Romans 16:1-2
Here Paul commended a dear sister in the Lord. Paul found no problem affirming women in ministry. Neither should we! The word “commend” literally means to stand with. Paul communicated the fact that he stood with and supported Phoebe in regard to ministry. Many believe that Phoebe was the currier of this letter to Rome and Paul urged them to accept her. He highlighted her service to the church at Cencrea which was near Corinth by calling her a “deaconess”; a servant of the church. He also pointed out how she had helped (stood by) many people as well as Paul.
Paul asked that they receive or accept her in a manner worthy of saints. What is a manner worthy of saints? Special people chosen and set apart from the rest by God deserve special treatment worthy of such dignitaries. Do we treat one another that way? Every believer is worthy of such royal treatment. We are all children of the king; heirs and joint heirs with Jesus. Paul asked the church to give her special treatment and to help her; not only because she was a saint but a saint who was a servant of the church and helper of many as well as Paul. Just as she stood up for others, Paul requested they stand up as her protector while among them.
So often we glorify the “up front” people. They are the ones honored and acknowledged. We must not forget to specially honor those who continual serve the church and help people. Serving gifts are as vital to the health of the body as speaking gifts!!!!!!
Greet and thank Prisca and Aqulila
Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles; also greet the church that is in their house. Romans 16:3-5
Paul sent his greetings and expressed gratitude to this ministry couple. They are always mentioned together; sometimes the wife before the husband such as here. Paul mentions them three times and Luke refers to them three times. They had worked with Paul. Paul had on occasion even lived with them. They were fellow tentmakers but Paul focuses on their work for the kingdom. Paul acknowledged their mutual work for the kingdom. Paul also recognized the nature of their sacrifice on his behalf and send gratitude from other churches as well as a request to warmly greet them. Paul most likely sends this greeting with deep emotion for this couple who had stood by him and risked their life for him.