Summary: God is bigger than any person’s ability to even imagine God, and if you think you have condensed God down to some little thought in your mind and you’ve got him figured out where he’s convenient to you and for you, you’ve committed idolatry.
Well, if you’re interested in some Christmas songs for those who are psychologically challenged, I came across a funny list the other day. For people who suffer from paranoia, here’s their Christmas song: “Santa Claus is Coming to Get Me.” For those who suffer from schizophrenia: “Do You Hear What I Hear?” For those who suffer from codependency: “On the First Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me ... but then I gave it all back to him.” For those who suffer from multiple personality disorder: “We Three Kings Disoriented Are.” For those who suffer from obsessive-compulsive syndrome: “Deck the Halls and the walls and the porch and the yard and the car and the trees and the street and the office and the dog.” You can perhaps relate to that.
Here we come to the end of the book of Romans. I invite you to turn to Romans 16:21. We finally come to the end of this wonderful study of this great book. You may think we took a long time to go through it, two years. Donald Grey Barnhouse, who was the pastor of 10th Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, it took him 13 years to preach through Romans, and he preached over 500 sermons from that book. So you got off kind of easy. I want you to know that.
As we look at this, I want to give a little brief review of the entire book of Romans, so you can kind of have an understanding of what the book is all about.
Chapters 1-8: the doctrinal section
That was the teaching section. That’s where we learned about the doctrine of total depravity, that we’re all sinners lost without Jesus. We learned about God’s judgment and wrath against sin. We also learned about God’s solution and the way of salvation.
Chapters 9-11: the national section
That’s where Paul was writing about the nation of Israel, both past, present, and even future.
Chapters 12-15: the practical section
I call it the practical section, because it was very practical about how to live the Christian life, how to love one another, how to submit to the government authorities; very practical section. Then here at
Chapter 16: the personal section
Last week we were introduced to 27 of the Apostle Paul’s friends, and this morning we’re going to be introduced to 8 more of them. Before we get into the text, I want you to answer this question, but don’t fill in the blank. Just think about the answer. Who wrote Romans? If you’re thinking Paul wrote Romans, you’re wrong at least for two reasons, and we’re going to see that. Let’s begin reading in verse 21 of Romans 16.
He says, Timothy, my fellow worker, sends his greetings to you, as do Lucius, Jason, Sosipater, my relatives. Of course, we know who Timothy is. That was Paul’s spiritual protégé who later became the pastor of the church at Ephesus. Paul wrote him two letters about how to be a pastor. We don’t know anything about his three relatives there other than they’re with him. Verse 22, here’s who wrote Romans. I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord.
Paul did not take pen in hand and write the book of Romans. He instead dictated it, and Tertius was a slave who was a stenographer, who was a scribe, so he actually is the one who wrote it down. You could say Tertius wrote Romans. How do we know he was a slave? By his name; his name means third. You see, the Roman slaves had no names. They were known by numbers most of the time. The first slave was called Primus. Slave number two was called Secundus. Slave number three was called Tertius. Slave number four was called Quartus, and we’re going to meet Quartus over in verse 24. So these were slaves.
Keep reading in verse 23. Gaius, whose hospitality I and the whole church enjoy, send you his greetings. No doubt the Apostle Paul stayed in the home of Gaius eating his meals there, and thank God for Gaius and other people who through the years have shown hospitality to God’s servants. Then he talks about Erastus who is the city’s director of public works. He was a man prominent in Corinth, and thank God then, as today, we have Christians who are in prominent public service. Then he ends there with another slave, Quartus, send you his greetings.
Now, some of your Bibles have the words next, “The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” Some of you don’t. Some of you need to look back at the end of verse 20, and there you’ll find it printed there, “The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” Some manuscripts have it there, some at the end of verse 24. We believe the Apostle Paul, whenever he finished dictating a letter, then he would take the pen in his own hand and he would write out a final personal greeting in his own handwriting. That was his way to authenticate the letter. We also know from one of the other epistles that Paul apparently had eye problems. This is why he said, I make the letters so large.