Friday, 17th December 2021
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
Section One V1-16 God Expects us to be Remembered
Everyone Paul greeted in this chapter has the same characteristic, they all lived their lives for God. They were willing to offer for God, to suffer for God, to serve for God… how can we have the same motivation to live for God every day? This is what we have been talking about in the past two weeks, to have love and to have trust. In Paul’s times, Rome was very prosperous, there were a lot of temptations for people to enjoy the world, instead of becoming Christians, who were prosecuted by the Government. These people let go of all the good things of the world and had a willing heart to follow heart. Paul respected and uplifted these people, he also trained and encouraged them, through Paul’s greetings, he brought out life and the truth of Jesus.
What are God’s expectations for us as the ones being called? How to live as Christians according to God’s standards? V1-2 ‘I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also.’ Phoebe was elected to lead the church, but here it says that she was a servant of the church. Matthew 20:25-26 also says, ‘But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.”’
Being a leader is to be a servant, who will assist and support many people, including the church and Apostle Paul. God wants to see if we are willing to humble and obey, to deny ourselves and benefit others. Paul brought the teaching of the Tree of Life into the church of Rome. The churches of Rome were a big community of Gentile believers, and because of many people working together with Paul for the benefit of this community. We need to work in unity, it’s never a one-man show. Paul knew that everything he could do was not by himself but with the support of many others. We also need to recognise those who support us along the way so we can continue to live our lives as the one being called.
God has a purpose for every individual and for every church. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ in the eternity, but we also have a home in our church. Every church is a unique community and God wants us to have unity in this community. We must be committed in our church and be willing to offer for our church. In our family, we don’t have to hide ourselves, we can be true to ourselves and true to others. In our family, it may not be perfect, but if we know this is where God wants us to be, then we should be committed wholeheartedly. All the people Paul mentioned in his letter have given their lives to God and to the church. They had their own work and families, but they continued to offer, and God expected them to be remembered.
Section Two V17-20 God Expects us to Avoid
V17-18 ‘Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 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.’ Paul used the first section of this chapter to talk about those who are committed in church, then he revealed the people, who used fluttering words to attract people, but did not have a commitment to the churches of God. They only wanted applauses for themselves, and they only thought about themselves. Even Paul when he was called by God, he still went back to the church of Jerusalem and gained the approval of the Apostles before he went out to build and serve the churches.
We all belonged somewhere, as Christians, we know we belong to Christ, but at the same time, we also belong to the community, where God puts us in. In this community, God will appoint authorities over us to cover and guide us; and if we think God wants us to go somewhere else, then there must also be confirmations from our authorities. Christians nowadays like to follow the worldly trend, we listen to preachers with lots of followers, instead of Pastors in our own church.
V19 ‘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.’ Paul reminded us to have wisdom and to stay away from temptation. We must learn to be a simple person in Christ, to simply believe whatever God gives us is good. V20 ‘And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.’ How can Satan trip us over? By using our pride, flesh desires, rebellious… only when we live under the fragrance of the Tree of Life, then we can overcome the world.
Section Three V21-27 God Expects us to Preach
A true leader from God will never boast about themselves. Paul knew he had a team, and he knew everything he could do was not by his own strength. Paul lifted Jesus Christ and his team. V23 ‘Gaius, my host and the host of the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the treasurer of the city, greets you, and Quartus, a brother.’ Paul also knew that when people accommodate him, they accommodate the whole church. Paul brought his church with him wherever he went, he continued to put the people focus away from him and towards God. Do we allow people to see the power of Jesus Christ? Do we lead people to ourselves or to God?
V25-27 ‘Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith— to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.’ We follow God because it is the heart of Jesus Christ, may God help us to live out this fragrance of the Tree of Life.
罗马书 16 – 神如何对蒙召的人期待
V1-2 神期待我们的生命被记念，是活出先神后人再大地、谦卑顺服舍己利他的生命。保罗在一开始跟罗马教会的人推荐坚革哩教会中的女执事非比姐妹。“坚革哩”意思是“小米”，“执事”这个词第一次在圣经出现是在马太福音 20:26 “只是在你们中间不可这样，你们中间谁愿为大，就必做你们的用人”- 执事就是去服事人的“用人”。非比姐妹在教会里愿意为主成为用人。非比“素来帮助许多人，也帮助了”保罗，她就被记念被举荐了。神看重我们是否愿意有谦卑顺服、舍己利他的生命树气息。非比姐妹所要的不是为了自己，而是为了教会。