Romans 16

 Romans 16 is Paul’s farewell chapter.  He lists dozens of folks he is grateful for.  Who would make your list?  Who has made a difference in the patch you live in for Jesus?  Would you make it onto the lists of any others?  Are you living in a way that matters for Christ?  This list contains a variety of people – but they all have something in common.  They were serving the Lord in a way that impacted Paul.  Faith is personal – it impacts people individually if we are living it God’s way.  We can’t be a Christ Follower and just go through life without making a difference in the lives of those around us.  If we truly live Christ – we will touch people – in meaningful and impactful and significant ways.  And they will notice the touch!

So check out the list of things that Paul calls these folks out around.  There aren’t any great preachers here – no TV evangelists – no powerful ministry leaders.  These are folks who were in the trenches daily serving Jesus.  Look at the things Paul lists as their characteristics:

  • fellow workers
  • risked their necks for my life
  • first convert
  • worked hard
  • fellow prisoners
  • beloved
  • fellow worker
  • approved in Christ
  • belong to the family
  • chosen
  • mother to me
  • brothers

The reality is that Paul lists plain folks like you and me that lived life in a way that made a difference.  We need to take our role as a Christ Follower very seriously.  We have a job to do – it isn’t as simple as showing up on Sunday for an hour of church or serving a meal here or there.  It is a lifestyle of touching people in ways that matter.  Are you living like that?

Paul warns the church as he ends this letter to be careful.  “Watch out for those who cause divisions…..create obstacles contrary to the doctrine….avoid them”.  There is no question that not everyone in the church is there for the right reasons.  We need to pay attention that strife and division does not find its way in.  We need to stay true to the scriptures.  We need to realize that some “do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites…..they deceive the hearts of the naïve”.  But we have to rise above that kind of stuff and answer God’s call to “be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil”.  We have to lift ourselves over the petty stuff that gets in the way.  The Body of Christ – His church – is not to be divided.  And when it is – it is not of God’s doing.  It is man’s foolishness.

Paul ends the letter with this benediction.  I will let it speak for itself.  Read it slowly and ponder the power and promises of his words.  We serve an amazing God.  He is able, more than able.  “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith – 27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ”!

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