Sermons

Summary: A study in the book of Romans 16: 1 – 27

Romans 16: 1 – 27

Home Fellowships

1 I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, 2 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. 3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. 5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the first fruits of Achaia to Christ. 6 Greet Mary, who labored much for us. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. 8 Greet Amplias, my beloved in the Lord. 9 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. 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 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 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. 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. 25 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.

Today’s important verse for us is verse 5 which says, “5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the first fruits of Achaia to Christ.”

Are home fellowships, where believers gather at the place where someone lives to learn about God and worship him, found in the New Testament? How many of them existed? Does God approve of fellowships in the home?

Our modern society is accustomed to believers of any faith gathering in unique buildings. Churches, Synagogues and other buildings constructed for the express purpose of worship exist throughout the world. For early Christians, however, such dedicated structures servicing believers simply did not exist. Fellowships based in a home were, in many cases, the ONLY way believers could come together as a group.

At least twenty-one home fellowships are found scattered throughout the New Testament. After the death of Jesus, the early church met mostly in small groups where someone lived. These gatherings show us it is perfectly acceptable to meet in this fashion for the express purpose of learning what the Bible teaches and for worshipping God.

There is direct evidence that many early believers gathered in a home to worship God and encourage each other. When Paul wrote his first epistle to the Corinthians in 56 A.D. he mentioned a group of believers coming together each Sabbath at the place where fellow laborers Priscilla and Aquila lived (1Corinthians 16:19). His greeting to Philemon makes it clear that there were Christians meeting in his home (Philemon 1 - 2).

In the area around Laodicea there appears to be have been two groups of Christians meeting in a home. Paul's epistle to believers in Colossae makes a direct reference to a church meeting at someone's residence (Colossians 4:15). He then mentions "the church of the Laodiceans" (verse 16), which might have been another of several groups meeting in the area.

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