SMARTALK - hope for today

Doing Life Together

September 11, 2022 SMARTALK Season 1 Episode 14
SMARTALK - hope for today
Doing Life Together
Show Notes Transcript

Doing Life Together. Friendships in life have to be worked at. Good friends have to be maintained. And such friendship should be part of what makes a church the church.  In Romans Chapter 16 verses 1 to 16 Paul tells us a lot about the art of friendship.
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Music: Achaidh Cheide - Celtic by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.



Romans chapter 16 Part I                      Doing Life Together 

Introduction: Friendships in life have to be worked at. Good friends have to be maintained. And such friendship should be part of what makes a church the church. Paul gives this list of friends and acquaintances here. Our task is to shine in dark places. But our light is not like individual candles but like a lighthouse. Here are three facets that let the rays of our light stretch far and wide…x3 c’s.  

1.     Credibility in the Church

a.     Our Own: This is Paul’s longest list of friends: He had never met the church in Rome. He was looking for their help to head West to Spain. But listing all the people he DID personally know mean they acted like bridge builders between Paul and those who had never met him. It was like says- sus me out and get to know me. The list is really a personal recommendation- if some of these people you trust, or have authority amongst you, or that you can simply speak to about me- then do so, trust me. He had a reputation to overcome- a breaker of religious traditions so he needed their help to win the Church in Rome over so they’d help him get to Spain. 

-        This recognition is outsider telling you how to do church! If we were to be arrested for being Christians, would a court of law find enough evidence to convict you that you were a follower of Jesus Christ? 


b.     For Others: Phoebe carried this important letter to Rome and would have presented it to the church. She would have been best placed to answer any questions it raised. So he points out reasons why they should trust her…

-        she has been a great help to many people, including Paul (2). This phrase renders prostatis, which can mean ‘patroness’ or ‘benefactress’. Phoebe was evidently a woman of means, who had used her wealth to support the church and the apostle[1] 

-              She was very likely a deacon: John Stott - the office of ‘deacon’ already existed, in however undeveloped a form. So rsv and niv margin call Phoebe a ‘deaconess’, and Professor Cranfield regards this not only as ‘very much more natural’ but as ‘virtually certain’.7[2]Others see it in general terms as “servant”. So the whole mission depended upon levels of credibility. So remember, credibility can take a lifetime to build and a moment to lose. 


C.    Its Source is Christ: At its best, it’s the evidence of the Lord Jesus Christ being active in your life. He can create it in you because he lived it the best- perfect life, and now that counts as if you had lived like that, placing you on a whole new level where real change is possible by his Spirit working Christ’s likeness in you. Work with him, don’t resist him. You are a saint and a sinner at the same time! 


2.     Connections in Church – Real friendship crosses cultural barriers x3…

a.     Race: its social composition was multiethnic: So this in the names. For names meant more- often trace race- Like I haven’t met a single Hamish in the USA or a Dolina or Willamina- but in Scotland- lots! 

-        Three kinsmen = Jewish believers. Andronicus, Junia and Herodion. Other names were Roman. No room for racism amongst God’s people. Reflect that in your friendships in life. 


b.    Rank: Mixed in Rome- Pris and Aqu- resourced to move around the Mediterranean a lot.  

-        Lower class: Ampliatus (8), Urbanus (9), Hermes (14), Philologus and Julia (15) were common names for slaves[3] slaves were a huge part of the early church in Rome

-        1 Cor.1.26:Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 

-        James.2.5-6- 5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 

-        There is a special place for the poor- most open and easy to preach place- recovery groups and prisons- most fruit- same places. 

-        No room for aping the world and putting a value on someone in the church that depends on their money or status. Instead, it’s character and the quality of our relationships that define real success. 

-        The poorest should be able to become an elder in this church compared to Scotland where elders could be doctors or shepherds. Let us reach out to the poorest to the richest and everything in between. 


c.     Gender: The high place of women in this list…already mentioned Phoebe called a deacon, but there are more.  9 out of 26 names were women…

-        X4 workers very hard the verb kopian, which means to toil to the point of exhaustion. That is what Paul said that Tryphaena and Tryphosa were in the habit of doing; and the point is that Tryphaena and Tryphosa mean respectively dainty and delicate! It is as if he were saying: "You two may be called dainty and delicate, but you belie your names by working like Trojans for the sake of Christ." WB

-        Junia among the apostles – Perhaps amonst the disciples since the days Jesus sent out the 70? New Testament doesn't note any women amongst the office of elder. 

-        Does Rom.16 read like most conservative Bible-believing churches? I think there is not enough emphasis on someone’s gifts and character and too much discussion about overreacting to the culture in either direction.  

-        Main point- following Jesus unites people across so many divisions. Because in Christ we can be reconciled across the biggest gap in the universe- between ourselves and God. Yet through his death, he can heal that would. And now the Holy Spirit will empower us to practice reconciliation across all the different barriers that exist in this life. Take that into your daily relationships, you aren’t in it alone.  


3.     Community in the Church

a.     Homes: should be places where or friends are welcome.  The church in Rome was organized in at least 3 to 5 house churches. see verese 5,15,15 and maybe 10 and 11. Parallel to the model of the Synagogues – light and easy to grow- spread. Just a physical necessity. Not a model for all times. 

-        USA- love affair with Big! Strengths- ministries that can serve the whole church- cathedrals. If you want to grow big, you have to grow small at the same time.

-        Strengths of the smaller church- community should be easier, discipleship, access to pastors etc

-        3 levels of discipleship- Sunday worship, plus Home groups plus 1:1

b.    Hospitality: Practical demonstration of unity: hospitality v.5 and Holy Kisses! – handshakes or bear hugs- and conversations with coffee. Loneliness and touch. Concern for unity – strong and weak- the danger of separating into different households. Danger- false teaching and personalities- home groups that split off. 

c.     The Source: The Lord Jesus, alone has the power to pull all this together. As he was raised from the dead, he raises us up in him into a new family with God as our Father, the ultimate act of hospitality- that is where true home is. 

Conclusion: x3 facets in our friendships in Christ so others can see his light through us together.  Will they through your life? 

[1] John R. W. Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World, The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 393.
[2] John R. W. Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World, The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 393.
[3] John R. W. Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World, The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 395.