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Close Spiritual Relationships

Romans 16:5-7

Gospel ministry is not an academic teaching exercise; it is highly relational.  The Apostle Paul revealed his genuine affection for those who learnt from him and worked with him, identifying with him in the ministry.  Although he did not know the believers who met in Priscilla and Aquila's home, he was longing to see how they had grown in Christ (Romans 16:3-5).  

Tried, Tested and Belonging Together

Romans 16:8-11

So many people in Rome had already met Paul.  In this chapter he mentions 26 people by name.  They, like the Apostle, had travelled: at some point they heard the gospel and gave their lives to Jesus Christ. Then, with Christ in them, they became changed people - living for Christ, loving the church and releasing God's Word wherever they went.  

Hard Working, God Honouring, Fellowship Building

Romans 16:12

Some believers treat their faith as a leisure interest.  They go to church if they have time and are not too tired; they get caught up with the enthusiasm of others.  They are often reluctant to give their time and money - and only give if they think they will have enough to meet all their own personal needs as well.  They are certainly not the first to offer themselves for hard work.

Spiritual Family Relationships

Romans 16:13-16

When we come to Christ, we also become a part of His family: and the relationships we develop, in the Lord, are very special.  Many Christian women are mothers, not just biologically, but have become the wise and caring 'mothers' of other believers.  The Apostle Paul valued the loving way in which the mother of Rufus had cared for him.  Rufus may well have been the son of Simon of Cyrene who carried Jesus' cross (Mark 15:21).  If so, his mother would have been Simon's wife; doubtless deeply moved by that close but unexpected association with Jesus.

Divisive and Obstructive People

Romans 16:17-18

In this chapter, Paul has commended 37 people who shared his ministry vision and built up the church in Rome (Romans 16:1-16).  10 of them are women; there are two ministry couples (Aquilla and Priscilla, and Andronicus and Junia).  Most had Gentile backgrounds, of whom some were probably slaves, and some were Jews.  Many had travelled on business or for the gospel’s sake, and they were united in their love for Christ and one another.

Obedience, Discernment and Victory

Romans 16:19-20

Although Paul had not planted the church in Rome, he was overjoyed that Jesus Christ had built His church in the centre of the Roman Empire.  Many of its leaders had been taught by Paul elsewhere; they had proved their faith as they shared with him in gospel-ministry and gospel-sufferings (Philippians 1:29).  They had obeyed the Apostle’s teaching and their zeal was well known.

Apprentice, Secretary, Host and Civil Servant

Romans 16:21-23

As Paul signed off his letter to the church in Rome, he sent greetings from eight people who were part of his core ministry team.  Of these, we know a little about four: Timothy, Tertius, Gaius and Erastus.  Tertius was Paul's secretary.  As the Apostle dictated, so he wrote down this letter to the church in Rome.  For such a task he needed to be totally committed to the Lord, the gospel message and a willing servant of the Apostle Paul.  It would have been a real challenge, applying all his linguistic skills to ensure that he communicated exactly what the Apostle intended ...

Jesus - Hidden, Revealed, Proclaimed, Believed, Obeyed

Romans 16:25-27

What a wonderful final paragraph for Paul to write to the believers in Rome.  It is a summary of the gospel through which the church came into being.  Of course, God knew about sin even before it entered the world, and He laid down a plan to rescue His people from its grip (Ephesians 1:4-10).  He chose that salvation would come through Jesus; but His people needed to be prepared, and so the Old Testament narrative is studded with hints of Christ's ministry.  But God’s people did not understand (2 Corinthians 3:13-15).