Romans Chapter 16

Part 4

KLMX Sept 2010

Bryan Kimsey

1st Baptist Church

Des Moines, NM

Welcome to the Ministerial Alliance program here on KLMX radio. Iím Bryan Kimsey from 1st Baptist Church in Des Moines and we are looking at Romans chapter 16 this week. Iíve been working thru Paulís letter to the church in Roman for nearly 2 years and this week Iím finishing it up! Weíve covered a lot of ground in this study and if you would like copies of any or all the messages, call us at 278.2421 or go to the church website at www.fbcdesmoines.org and let me know that you want a copy. You can find the text of all the messages on the website, too. Before starting today, Iíd like to ask that God bless this message, open your ears and heart to receive it, and may it reflect the truth of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Yesterday, we looked at Paulís instructions and guidance over when to avoid people and what type of people to avoid. Avoiding a person isnít something to be taken lightly and I brought up several other passages from around the New Testament in order to show the full counsel of the Bibleís teaching in this area. Just to refresh your memory, here is the passage from yesterday:

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.

Paulís next statement is this:

Romans 16:19-20 For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. (20) And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Paul says "for your obedience has become known to all" and the "for" in that statement is referring to the previous discussion. To condense it, you might read "Önote those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine you learned, and avoid themÖfor your obedience has become known to all." Taken together like that, you can see that the reason the church is to avoid those causing divisions and offenses, contrary to correct doctrine, is because they will tarnish the obedient church by their association. To put it simply, let me quote from another of Paulís writings, this time to the church in Corinth:

1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits."

Earlier in that same letter Paul had this to say:

1 Corinthians 5:9-13 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. (10) Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. (11) But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner- not even to eat with such a person. (12) For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? (13) But those who are outside God judges. Therefore "PUT AWAY FROM YOURSELVES THE EVIL PERSON."

And so what Paulís driving at is that the church is to disassociate with those who seem to be of the church, yet cause divisions and contentions that are not Christ-like. The church is to keep itself as pure as possible and to judge those within the church. Outside the church, theyíre not to judge but are to witness to them and offer them Jesus instead. Itís a point thatís easily misunderstood and misused, but should be evident when we look at the whole of Scripture. Donít miss the point that the Roman church is to disassociate from divisive people for a specific reason; that reason is that they themselves are know for their obedience. That is, the Roman church has a reputation for being obedient Christians. Itís too bad that there arenít more churches like that!

Paul says that he "is glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil." That recalls Jesusí words in:

Matthew 10:16 "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

These are the same commands, really. Jesus says be "harmless as doves" and Paul says "simple concerning evil." Paul is urging the church in Rome to know about evil, but not necessarily to know all about it; to know the basics, but not to get so knowledgeable about it that theyíre in danger of getting sucked into it. Itís kind of like quicksand- you need to know where the quicksand is and what it looks like, but you donít really need to know how far you can stick your toe in it. Conversely, Paul urges them to be "wise in what is good". Hereís where they can know all about good. As Paul writes:

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy- meditate on these things.

And finally we see why these things should be done.

Romans 16: 20 And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Itís interesting that the God of "peace" will "crush" Satan. One might wonder how a God of peace could crush anything, but thatís certainly a shallow way of looking at it. God will crush Satan because Satan is an impediment to peace. The prince of lies hinders truth and cannot coexist with ultimate truth. Therefore, he will be crushed. Notice that itís a positive command- the passage doesnít say "may crush" or "will try to crush" but "will crush". Satan roams this earth now, but the war has already been won, but God Almighty through the atoning work of Jesus Christ.

Christians therefore need to be clinging to those things that will last, not getting intimately associated with the things which will be destroyed. Again:

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy- meditate on these things.

Thereís one part about Paulís statement "the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly" that we should discuss and that is the "shortly" part. What did Paul mean by "shortly"? Itís been 2,000 years since he wrote that and, as far as we can tell, Satanís still running about willy-nilly. Was Paul wrong?

There are several ways to read Paulís statement and again Iím grateful to James Montgomery Boice for the insight here. The Greek word translated as "soon" can also mean "quickly". So, when God crushes Satan, it will happen quickly or "soon once it starts". Another way to look at this is that whenever Christians glorify God by their actions or their faith, Satan is crushed. Look at Christ, for instance. The son of God, without blemish, without fault, and without sin is put upon the cross by sinful and wicked men and killed. Satan seemed to have won. But the result of that atonement was the freedom and redemption of countless souls from the grasp of the devilís hand and the bondage of his snares.

So, looking at the big picture, who won? God did. Likewise, whenever Christians display their faith- a faith that is not of themselves, but is a gift of God, according to Ephesians 2:8-9, they display Godís power over Satan and he is crushed. This leads to Paulís next statement which is:

Romans 16:20 Ö The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Paul never forgets that this power over evil is not of ourselves but is due totally to the work of our Lord Jesus Christ and thatís why he offers this quick blessing to his readers.

After this, Paul returns to sending greetings, some of which weíve already covered, but let me repeat the verses again for completenessí sake:

Romans 16:21-24 Timothy, my fellow worker, and Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my countrymen, greet you. (22) I, Tertius, who wrote this epistle, greet you in the Lord. (23) Gaius, my host and the host of the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the treasurer of the city, greets you, and Quartus, a brother. (24) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

I already pointed out the fact that Tertius and Quartus are slave names, meaning "Number 3" and "Number 4" respectively. Gaius, being the host of the whole church is evidently a wealthy man, as is Erastus, the treasurer of the city. I pointed out that both of these social groups, slave and master, poor and wealthy, are joined together in Jesus Christ. But what this little passage also tells us is that itís okay for Christians to take part in a secular government, even one that is inherently opposed to Christianity itself. Christians are, after all, to be salt and light, not to people who already have salt and light, but to people who are salt-less and who sit in darkness. We have evidence of this right here, in the fact that Erastus, the treasurer of the city, greets the church in Rome. Once again, we have the benediction of "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen." As to why this was added again, who knows? Maybe these last greetings were added later as Paul decided the letter was finished. But there they are again and they can never be said too many times when a person even partially understands what the grace of Jesus Christ is all about. It truly is "Amazing Grace".

We should end here for today. Tomorrow, Iíll finish up this chapter and then do a quick review. Join us again here on KLMX at 9:45 am. Iím Bryan Kimsey from the 1st Baptist Church in Des Moines. May God bless you and lead you to the light and truth of Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

Romans 16, Part 3

Romans 16, Part 5