Romans Chapter 16

Part 3

KLMX Sept 2010

Bryan Kimsey

1st Baptist Church

Des Moines, NM

Well here we are again on the Ministerial Alliance program on KLMX radio in Clayton NM. Iím Bryan Kimsey from 1st Baptist Church in Des Moines and we are continuing our survey thru Paulís letter to the Roman church. Iíve been working thru Romans for the past 2 years and this week I finish it up. As I mentioned earlier this week, if youíd like a copy of any or all of my messages on Romans, please call the church at 278.2421 or e-mail me from the church website at www.fbcdesmoines.org and Iíll get you a copy. You can find the written text of all the messages on the website, too. With all that out of the way letís get started after I ask for Godís blessing on this messageómay it glorify Him and accurately reflect the truth of his word through the grace provided by Jesus Christ. Amen.

So far in Romans 16, Iíve taken a look at the people that Paul greets and chased a few of them around the New Testament. I pointed out that several of those people were slaves, some of them were wealthy, and a least one was a politician. Thatís a good place to spring into todayís passage which is this one:

Romans 16:17-18 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. (18) For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.

The question that this should provoke is "how much difference should we tolerate?" As I just pointed out, Paulís greetings extend to a wide variety of people from slaves to politicians. Do you think there were some differences in perspective among those people? I bet there were. Yet, they were all greeted by Paul, so I have to assume that they had at least one thing in common and that was salvation through Jesus Christ. This is the common thread among these diverse social backgrounds and itís certainly not the first time weíve seen radically different backgrounds coming together in Christ. For instance, in Acts, we have this passage:

Acts 1:13-14 And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. (14) These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

Note that Acts takes the time and words to mention that Simon was a Zealot. A Zealot in those times was a Jew who violently opposed Roman rule. They were sworn to do everything possible to overthrown Romans. And the most despised person to them would be another Jew who was working for the Romans- a person such as Matthew, the former tax collector. So, here we have Simon the Zealot and Matthew the former tax collector, enemies of each other, meeting together in Christ and- according to the text- "with one accord in prayer and supplication". The gospel, in fact, is all about bringing people of diverse backgrounds together in Jesus Christ. The more impossible the bringing together, the more God is glorified. Who would ever put a wolf and a lamb together? Or a calf and a lion? Yet, Isaiah says:

Isaiah 11:1-10 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. (2) The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. (3) His delight is in the fear of the LORD, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; (4) But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. (5) Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, And faithfulness the belt of His waist. (6) "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. (7) The cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down together; And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. (8) The nursing child shall play by the cobra's hole, And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's den. (9) They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea. (10) "And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious."

I donít think Isaiah is necessarily talking about animals here. I think heís using the animals as a metaphor for bringing different things together, whether they be animals or types of people. That, of course, is what we see in Christ. Or at least, itís what we should see, although people, sadly, too often cling to their racial or social prejudices while still claiming Christ. True Christians willingly and gladly set former differences aside to be gathered together in one body.

There is, however, some cause for separation and Paul gives us those causes in todayís passage. Again, he says:

Romans 16:17-18 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. (18) For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.

He says to "note those who cause divisions and offenses" and then further adds the qualification "contrary to the doctrine which you learned." People can be quick to take offense and quick to assign blame where none is actually due, therefore Paul is careful to run this against an additional qualification and that is that their behavior is contrary to the doctrine which you have learned. The people we avoid are those who do not serve Jesus but their own belly. They use smooth words and flattering speech to deceive. These are characteristics of people we should avoid, while also being careful not to take offense or attribute division too quickly and easily.

There is a great responsibility in this directive. Suppose the person to whom you attribute division or offense is indeed a Christian. Suppose their offense was completely unintended, maybe even misinterpreted by you. Are you willing to take responsibility for avoiding them? If theyíre a Christian and youíre a Christian, youíll be spending eternity together! Therefore, be sure of your grounds before you start avoiding people. Be sure that they are serving their own belly and deceiving the hearts of the simple with smooth and flattering speech. Iím reminded of Paulís own instructions earlier in Romans:

Romans 12:16-21 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. (17) Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. (18) If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. (19) Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord. (20) Therefore "IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM; IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP COALS OF FIRE ON HIS HEAD." (21) Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

So, be sure that the grievance is indeed with the other party and not with you for taking offense too quickly. If Matthew and Simon the Zealot could pray together of one accord, and if Paul can greet both slave and politician in the same sentence, you should be careful that youíre not bringing the old man into your new life.

There are times, of course, when we must determine that weíre looking at wolf in sheepís clothing. We do that by looking at the fruits. A very important passage is this one:

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. (14) And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. (15) Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

Note the characteristics here- they are deceitful workers. Paul said in Romans 16 that the people we are to avoid use flattering words to deceive the simple minded. Deception is a common word in both of these passages. Satan, of course, is the father of lies and deception is his method. While he and his ministers transform themselves into angels of light, their end is nevertheless apparent by their works. Satan will use his lies and power of deception to try to cause friction between Christian brothers and sisters- beware of this! This is why I said to move cautiously when determining to avoid another person. Be sure that your reasons are justified.

Hereís why you need to be sure youíre justified in your actions:

Matthew 7:2-5 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. (3) And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? (4) Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? (5) Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

Matthew 12:36-37 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. (37) For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

Well, those are Paulís instructions to the church at Rome. After calling out some greetings to his fellow Christians, he sees the need to toss out a piece of advice and warn them about divisive outsiders. Before returning briefly to greetings, he gives a hope for the future. However, weíre running short of time today and that offering of hope deserves its own message so weíll cover it tomorrow. Join us again at 9:45 here on the Ministerial Alliance program. Iím Bryan Kimsey from 1st Baptist Church in Des Moines. Thanks for listening and may God Almighty shine the light of Jesus Christ into your heart.

 

Romans 16, Part 2

Romans 16, Part 4