Celebrating the Fruit of the Gospel

Dustin Folden October 18, 2020 Romans 16:1-27
Outline

2 Timothy 4:2-4 - …preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

3 ways the gospel impacts the church of Jesus Christ

I. Sweet Relationships

A. Diverse people who love one another in the Lord

v. 1 – I commend to you our sister Phoebe…

v. 5 – Greet Epaenetus my beloved…

v. 8 – Greet Ampliatus my beloved…

v. 9 – Greet…Stachys my beloved…

v. 10 – Greet Apelles, the approved in Christ…

v. 11 – Greet those in the household of Narcissus, who are in the Lord…

v. 12 – Greet Persis the beloved…

v. 13 – Greet Rufus, a choice man in the Lord…

v. 16 – Greet one another with a holy kiss…

v. 21b – …so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen…

v. 22 – I Tertius, who write this letter, greet you in the Lord…

B. Men and women who serve and work together well

v. 1 – Phoebe, who is a servant of the church…

v. 2 – …she has also been a helper of many…

v. 3 – Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers…

v. 6 – Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you…

v. 9 – Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ…

v. 12 – Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, workers in the Lord…

v. 12b – Greet Persis the beloved, who has worked hard in the Lord…

v. 21 – Timothy my fellow worker greets you…

Galatians 3:26-29 - For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.

C. People who risk and sacrifice for the cause

v. 3-4 – Prisca and Aquila…who for my life risked their own necks…

v. 5 – …greet the church that is in their house…

Romans 13:8-10 - Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

II. Doctrinal Purity

A. Loving people keep their eyes open for false teaching

Romans 16:17-18 - Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.

“keep your eye” - Skopeo – looking at or observing with intensity

Acts 20:28-32 - Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

2 Timothy 1:13-14 - Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

B. Biblical truth always precedes genuine unity

“Heresy is better than schism, the Episcopal bishop of Virginia said yesterday in a speech that gently chided church conservatives for imperiling the unity of the country’s largest diocese over the consecration of the denomination’s first homosexual bishop last November. ‘If you must make a choice between heresy and schism, always choose heresy,’ said the Rt. Rev. Peter J. Lee to 500 Episcopalians meeting for the annual diocesan council at the Hyatt Regency in Reston.” (Washington Times, January 31st, 2004)

III. Reliable Stability

A. Our God is the One capable of establishing us

v. 25 – Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ…

“Stērizō (to establish) means to make firm and stable, to make fast. In this context it refers to being mentally settled, firmly rooted in the truth of the gospel.” (John MacArthur, Commentary on Romans Vol 2, p. 383)

Psalm 40:1-3 - I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord.

B. The gospel explains and fulfills our eternal God’s Word

v. 26 – …but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets…

v. 25 – …the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past…

“We are cruel to ourselves. We try to live in this world without knowing about the God whose world it is and Who runs it. The world becomes a strange, mad, painful place, and life in it a disappointing and unpleasant business, for those who do not know about God. Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. In this way you can waste your life and lose your soul.” (J.I. Packer, Knowing God)

C. A Christ-centered church can bring glory to God forever

v. 27 – …to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.

Romans 1:16-17 - For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”

- well, today is the day we have been working toward since the beginning of 2020 as we land the plane on our study of the book of Romans…

- one response that I have to that news is thankfulness for our church family…

- you know, Paul told Timothy to…2 Timothy 4:2–4 - preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

- thank the Lord that day hasn’t come…at least not here…because there hasn’t been a whole lot of ear tickling going on this year…I simply appreciate how this church family wants to hear the word of God.

- We are also going to have—one last quiz over this great book…

- and we do this to be sure that we can think our way through what Paul has emphasized…and while we believe that every word in the Scripture is important…there’s no question that followers of Jesus Christ need to especially have an understanding of the book of Romans…

- We will split it up into 2 gorups….so on this first screen – we’ll have key verses from chapters 1-8 – but they are scrambled…you job is to match the appropriate verse to the correct reference…then we’ll do the same thing for chapters 9-16

1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel

- this is the passage that says that in the gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed…remember these are the words that brought the great reformer Martin Luther to Christ…when he understood that he could not be righteous enough to earn salvation from God – he was too aware and honest about his own sin…

- but what the book of Romans explains is that through the finished work of Christ…our sin can be forgiven, and Christ’s righteousness can be placed on our account by faith…

1:21 Even though they knew God, they did not honor Him…(speaking of the immoral)

- this was the first of three categories of people that Paul explained were lost…and he begins with the obvious one…people who suppress the truth about God’s existence so they can rebel and behave unrighteously…it’s obvious that people like this do not know the Lord…but then we have back to back shockers…

2:1 Therefore you have no excuse, every one of you who passes judgment (speaking to the moral)

- even people who make some attempt at being moral still cannot earn their way to heaven…because God does not compare one person to another…He compares us to His perfect standard of complete righteousness…

2:29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit; not the letter (speaking to the religious)

- this is the final nail in the coffin of self-righteousness, even being religious is not enough…because invariably human beings still find ways to get around the aspects of God’s Word we don’t want to obey…

- that’s why chapter 3 makes it clear that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God…(the immoral are lost, the moral are lost, and the religious are lost)…

- so where does that leave us – in need of forgiveness and righteousness provided by Someone else…that’s was Paul’s point in chapter 1, verse 17…for in the gospel of Jesus Christ the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith – for as it’s written – the righteous man must live by faith…

- that’s why chapter 3 then gives us what many consider to be the heart of the book and perhaps even the heart of the Bible…

3:26 So that he would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus

- because God sent His own Son, He did not have to compromise His own holiness in order to make our redemption possible…and then there’s the great OT example of this point, who is whom?...

4:1 What shall we say then, that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found?

- so even Father Abraham was not declared righteous (justified) by his works…but by his faith…and what can we enjoy if that has happened to us?

5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

- then we have chapters 6-8, the great passage on progressive sanctification (Christian Growth), where we have a series of marvelous verses…

6:11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus

7:19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want

8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus

- now, let’s do the same with the second half of the book…

9:3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren

- chapters 9-11 answer the question – what about all the promises that were made to OT Israel, and how does the church fit into that plan and program?...so Paul goes on to say…

10:1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is their salvation

- then we have the marvelous explanation of the sovereignty of God in salvation, which concludes with a marvelous doxology…

11:36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.

- then we move into the practical section – chapters 12-16…which begins with the words…

12:1 Therefore I urge you brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice

- then chapter 13 deals with government…

13:1 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities

- then a chapter about how to deal with the challenges of people in the church having different opinions and preferences not discussed in Scripture…

14:1 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.

- last week we saw how it was possible to….

15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit

- now, I realize that all of that might feel somewhat academic…but that in and of itself is a “compliment from heaven”…that in Christ you can have a renewed that can comprehend and act on important theological truth…

- I would encourage you to continue to read and re-read this important book, to seek to understand the basic argument/flow of thought, and to memorize as many verses from these pages as you possibly can…

- that brings us to chapter 16…which I think we would say – if you have never read it before, based on everything we’ve just reviewed…is about as surprising and delightful a conclusion as you can possibly imagine…

- read Romans 16:1-27

- we’re talking this morning about Celebrating the Fruit of the Gospel, and with the time we have remaining…let’s think about Three ways the gospel impacts the church of Jesus Christ

- isn’t it amazing that the most doctrinally comprehensive book in the entire NT ends with an extended list of very difficult to pronounce names?...

- and do you think there’s a reason for that?...

- ultimately the gospel is not about challenging theological concepts…its about the impact that gospel has on ordinary, everyday people…

- the righteousness of God that is revealed from faith to faith?...that’s what each one of these brothers and sisters in Christ has received…

- so Phoebe is righteous before God…because she is clothed in the imputed righteousness of Christ….

- and Prisca and Aquilla are righteous before God…because they are clothed in the imputed righteousness of Christ….

- and Epaenetus is righteous before God…because he is clothed in the imputed righteousness of Christ….

- this chapter is theology lived out…so we could say that one of the ways the gospel impacts the church of Jesus Christ is with…

I. Sweet Relationships

- clearly this is a group of…

A. Diverse people who love one another in the Lord

- Paul begins by saying that he….

- v. 1 - I commend to you our sister Phoebe

- it’s likely Phoebe was the one charged with the responsibility of delivering this letter to the church at Rome…

- just think about what an incredible responsibility that was…

- so a journey of this length would have been long and difficult…

- so Paul wants to be sure that this sister in Christ is properly cared for…

- often inns would have been very dangerous or just downright immoral…so people traveling on behalf of Christ’s church would provide hospitality for one another…

- we see details about that in several different places in the NT…

- including right here – Phoebe was an important member of the church and Paul wanted to be sure she was cared for with all the love and concern due any member of the body of Christ…

- we see that same emphasis on sweet relationships throughout this chapter…

  • · v. 5 – Greet Epaenetus my beloved
  • · v. 8 – Greet Ampliatus my beloved
  • · v. 9 – Greet…Stachys my beloved
  • · v. 10 – Greet Apelles, the approved in Christ
  • · v. 11 – Greet those in the household of Narcissus, who are in the Lord
  • · v. 12 – Greet Persis the beloved
  • · v. 13 – Greet Rufus, a choice man in the Lord
  • · v. 16 – Greet one another with a holy kiss
  • · v. 21b – so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen
  • · v. 22 – I Tertius, who write this letter, greet you in the Lord
  • · v. 3-4 – Prisca and Aquila…who for my life risked their own necks
  • v. 5 – greet the church that is in their house (cf. several examples of this)
  • Gospel centered relationships
  • Unity in relationship that is based on the truth of God’s word
  • We trust the Lord to provide stability in times of uncertainty as we walk by faith.

- if you have been a part of a church for any period of time, you can insert different names and faces and experiences into this list from your perspective…

- One thing we have experienced over the years is that our church family is just that…a family…we are incredibly close to so many, and I thin that is what you are seeing in the book of Romans…that is what the Gospel does…brings people together in a special way that is characterized by love.

- [explain and show the “Thank You RAFE” video – Heather, please insert]…

- this is also a group of…

B. Men and women who serve and work together well

- we mentioned diversity earlier because it would appear from what little we know about some of these names that we are probably talking about people of different ethnicities, ages, economic backgrounds…but something else that jumps off the page is that there are 17 men and 7 women named here…now, we have to be a little bit careful because for a couple of the names, they could have been referring to men or women…

- so at least 7 women are recognized, and there may presumably be more in the church that personified this as well, The point is the bible honors women…in a culture that did not always give positions of honor to people of both sexes…so we read again about…

- v. 1 – Phoebe , who is a servant of the church

- v. 2 – she has also been a helper of many

- v. 3 – Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers

- this couple is mentioned several times in the NT, and it’s interesting to note that sometimes the husband is mentioned first in the list but oftentimes his wife is mentioned first…

- v. 6 – Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you

- v. 9 – Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ

- v. 12 – Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, workers in the Lord

- v. 12b – Greet Persis the beloved, who has worked hard in the Lord

- v. 21 – Timothy my fellow worker greets you

- and to be clear, I’m mixing up men and women on purpose, because so often you find both genders described as people who were serving Christ together in the church…

- the gospel was producing sweet relationships…

- now, admittedly there were different roles in the church…I’m not suggesting that wasn’t true…but let’s always remember the essential equality that comes through the shed blood of Jesus Christ…

- this is why the book of Galatians affirms - Galatians 3:26–29 - For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.

- one other emphasis in this list of names is that they were…

C. People who risk and sacrifice for the cause

- all of this argues for the principle that the gospel is ultimately about the transformation of real people…with real names…and real backgrounds and real stories…

- but they way they are working together and sacrificing together for the cause of the gospel is truly a beautiful thing…

- and Paul doesn’t want to seal up this letter until he has paid tribute to some these dear brothers and sisters…whom he truly loved…

- in fact you may remember back in chapter 13 – Paul had written -- Romans 13:8–10 - Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

- what we’re reading here is proof that Paul practices what he preaches…

- these are the kind of genuine, loving relationships that the gospel can powerfully produce…

- you might want to pause and ask yourself a couple of evaluative questions based on what we’re seeing here…

1. Do you have a similar appreciation for the men and women of your church family…sometimes we get so busy with all the details of life that we don’t make time for people…

2. What can/should you do now and in the days ahead to cultivate these kinds of relationships while you have the opportunity to do so?...

now, what’s the second way the gospel impacts the church of Jesus Christ?....sweet relationships and…

II. Doctrinal Purity

- there’s no doubt that Paul also ends this book with a clear warning about false teaching…

- we could say it this way…

A. Loving people keep their eyes open for false teaching

- Romans 16:17–18 - Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.

- the phrase “keep your eye” is the Greek word - Skopeo – looking at or observing with intensity

- the noun form is where we derive English words like telescope or microscope…

- perhaps we don’t particularly like this part of our responsibility…but our adversary the devil is the father of lies and would love never better than to destroy one of Christ’s churches through some kind of false doctrine…

-It is easy to tell people what they want to hear, so that you can get what you want from them…to fuel your own appetite…the church will not be built up in love with people treating each other like that…it goes against the gospel, where Jesus came to serve, to die…and so we want to be loving, but Gospel centered loving…not manipulation disguised as loving.

- we believe the gospel of Jesus Christ is worth protecting and guarding…

- Paul told the Ephesian elders…Acts 20:28–32 - Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

- He told Timothy…2 Timothy 1:13–14 - Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

- this is why it’s so important for a church to actually have a doctrinal statement, and hold to their doctrinal statement…and please always remember…

B. Biblical truth always precedes genuine unity

- the kind of obedience, joy, and wisdom described in vv. 19-20 is dependent on the careful doctrinal oversight of v. 17

- back in 2004, when the Episcopal denomination was going through their determination of whether they were going to allow their pastors and churches to embrace homosexuality…one of their bishops gave a speech that was later reported in the Washington Times – this was on January 31st, 2004

- Heresy is better than schism, the Episcopal bishop of Virginia said yesterday in a speech that gently chided church conservatives for imperiling the unity of the country’s largest diocese over the consecration of the denomination’s first homosexual bishop last November. “If you must make a choice between heresy and schism, always choose heresy,” said the Rt. Rev. Peter J. Lee to 500 Episcopalians meeting for the annual diocesan council at the Hyatt Regency in Reston (Washington Times, January 31st, 2004).

- you have to step back and ask yourself – which position is truly more loving…to all the people in Romans 16 who have worked so diligently to build Christ’s church…to ignore heresy, or address it?...please never forget that in God’s Word, biblical truth always precedes genuine unity…

- so the gospel provides sweet relationships, and doctrinal purity, and lastly…

III. Reliable Stability

A. Our God is the One capable of establishing us

- v. 25 – Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ…

- In his commentary on Romans, John MacArthur observed…Stērizō (to establish) means to make firm and stable, to make fast. In this context it refers to being mentally settled, firmly rooted in the truth of the gospel. (John MacArthur, Commentary on Romans Vol 2, p. 383).

- and aren’t you thankful in these turbulent days that you can firmly establish your life and eternal destiny on the beauty of gospel?...

- there’s a kind of stability that comes with that that can stand the test of time…

- as you can probably attest… we can’t place our ultimate trust in our health, in medical science, in political leaders, in the economy, sports and entertainment…

- all of those things have their place, but they are all suffering under the curse of sin…

- so we don’t want to be established in politics, science, human wisdom, material prosperity…

- we want to be established in the gospel…we need our feet set on solid ground esp. when it seems like everything is changing and uncertain…

- friend – if you’re not sure your feet are on that rock yet – let’s sit down and talk about that…

- Psalm 40:1–3 - I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord.

- then Paul reminds us that

B. The gospel explains and fulfills our eternal God’s Word

- v. 26 – but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets

- we’ve seen this emphasis through the entire book…the gospel of Jesus Christ doesn’t replace the OT Scriptures…it ties them all together…

- there were so many aspects of the OT promises and prophecies that would be impossible for an OT saint to fully understand…In fact God has chosen to reveal it over time…

- that’s why Paul used the phrase – v. 25 – the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past

- but now in Christ, we see the threads come together to lay out God’s amazingly beautify, intricate, gracious and wonderful plan…namely to redeem sinners through the cross of Christ…

- that’s why when we read the OT today…so often we are able to say – now I see how that was pointing directly to the cross…

- now I see how that passage and principle in God’s Word…points to the Messiah

- it’s truly breathtaking to see all this come together…

- and this too is part of what establishes us…seeing a book that took 3500 years to write humanly speaking, using 39-40 different human authors…yet all tie together with the beauty and centrality of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and the free gift of salvation available in and through Him.

JI Packard speaks to the importance of God’s word and the consequences of ignoring God’s word…he says

- We are cruel to ourselves. We try to live in this world without knowing about the God whose world it is and Who runs it. The world becomes a strange, mad, painful place, and life in it a disappointing and unpleasant business, for those who do not know about God. Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. In this way you can waste your life and lose your soul” (J.I. Packer, Knowing God).

- Paul concludes with a beautiful doxology about this promised stability…

C. A Christ-centered church can bring glory to God forever

- v. 27 – to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.

- which is a marvelous summary of all we’ve studied this year…

- how can a sinful person be righteous before God…

- by receiving the gift of perfect righteousness earned by a perfect Savior

- Romans 1:16–17 - For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”

I pray that the more you reflect on the truth of Romans…the more you will also not be ashamed of the gospel, and the more you think about and talk about the Gospel, the more it will impact your life so that you know our righteous God….and you will Live by Faith in what God has done for you in Christ…

Lets pray

Authors

Dustin Folden

Roles

Pastor of Discipleship & Extension Ministries - Faith Church

Bio

B.S - Electrical Engineering, Purdue University
M.Div. - Faith Bible Seminary

Pastor Dustin Folden and his wife Trisha joined the Pastoral Staff in 2010. They have two children, Mackenna & Sawyer. They enjoy playing board games, cooking together and going on hiking adventures. Pastor Folden shepherds the 9:30 worship service, oversees the Adult Bible Fellowship ministry, the Wednesday evening Faith Community Institute as well as serves in Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries.

Read Dustin Folden's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Folden to Faith Church.