Sermons

Summary: The Church, People, Relationships

Romans 16:1-24 (p. 792) January 12, 2014

Introduction:

I’ve come to discover this truth about myself...I passionately believe in the mission of the church...Jesus has commissioned us to “Go make disciples.”

And my personality is this...”C’mon, lets go!!!”

I see our enemy fairly clearly at work with his army, and I want to charge in and attack him. I want to charge into the fray.

Sometimes that’s good, faith requires action. But sometimes my passion and enthusiasm supersedes “preparation.”

“Abraham Lincoln said, “If I had 15 minutes to cut down a tree I would spend 10 minutes sharpening the ax.”

Please don’t get me wrong...I still passionately believe our calling at Gardenside Christian Church is to “Passionately Prepare All People for an Eternity with Christ.”

I prefer the term Lead Minister more than I do Senior Minister...not just because Senior makes me sound old, but because I believe “Lead” better describes what my calling to be here involves.

I’m supposed to be the guy that says “Come on, lets charge up that mountain. And I am also supposed to lead that charge.”

What I need to make sure happens is this: the leadership, the staff, and the committed core at Gardenside understand how charging up that hill helps us fulfill our mission, and that I’ve lived in away among you that I’m worth following.

The book of Romans is the Apostle Paul’s charge up the hill of disciple making in the Gentile world. No wonder it begins

ROMANS 1:1-6 (p. 782)

The Gentile world is “Paul’s Hill”. It’s his calling. The Lord said, “This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.” (Acts 9:15)

Our hill, our calling, our mission is much the same. It’s the community of Gardenside, it’s Lexington, it’s the U.S. and it’s the entire world.

Gardenside is called to grow “Hill chargers” and men and women who are equipped to go up that Hill in support.

Our text this morning in Romans 16 is Paul’s celebration of many of the people who charged up the hill with him. It’s the acknowledgment that if no one is following you, you’re not leading.

Being out “on point” in front can be a lonely place. It’s good to know you have an entire army guarding your back and ready to support the mission.

I love the fact that the church of Jesus Christ recognizes the giftedness of women as well as men.

I. PHOEBE SHOULD BE RECEIVED IN THE LORD IN A WAY WORTHY OF HIS PEOPLE.

Romans 16 is filled with Paul’s desire to recognize the people who have overcome the lonliness in his missionary life. And guess what, the first person he commends is a woman named Phoebe.

ROMANS 16:1-2 (p. 792)

Phoebe’s a deacon, “deaconess.” It literally means “servant” of the church in Cenchreae.

I’m not going to spend an hour going through scripture and arguing “gender roles” in the church. God has made us “male and female” in His image. It seems to me that men are called to be the spiritual leaders in the home, and in turn, I believe elders are men. But shouldn’t we spend a lot more time helping every single person, male and female be the servant God has called them to be, than arguing about “husband of 1 wife”?

Phoebe, a woman is the first person Paul commends in his closing. An accident, I think not.

I want to lead my wife, my sons, my daughters, my grandchildren to be passionate followers of Christ. I want to lead my wife and daughters to discover what Christ’s calling in their lives are...just as much as my sons.

Jesus’ church was amazingly freeing for women, it still should be. Listen:

GALATIANS 3:26-29 (p. 811)

Phoebe was a “servant” of the church. She needed help. She needed support. She was the benefactor of many people, including the Apostle Paul.

Benefactor means: “A person who gives money or helps to support a cause.”

Phoebe was a woman with a mission. She had a servant’s heart. She brought encouragement and unity to the church. And Paul said, help her. Support her.

[So whether it’s the woman who heads into the world of sex slavery and abuse to give good news, or the woman who heads into Assurance to proclaim hope, grace and a purpose, or the woman who serves in the local body of Christ building up, teaching, equipping – a servant.

My job, our leaders job is to receive her in a way worthy of God’s people, help her, because she is an amazing answer to our calling.

And it’s also no coincidence that the 2nd people Paul greets in Romans 16 is...a couple sold out for Jesus.

II. PRISCILLA AND AQUILA, CO-WORKERS IN CHRIST JESUS.

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