“SURRENDER TO ANONYMITY” (Rom. 16)
FBC Earlville 8-21–16 10:30 AM
Rev. J.B. Stopford, Pastor
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE READING: Psalm 4 [note v. 1, “Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God.” (NIV) or “God of my righteousness” [NKJV]. The NT and the OT back each other up!
INTRODUCTION Today’s Special: “An Olympic Funny”
It’s 2016 and it’s the Olympics in Rio. A Scotsman, an Englishman and an Irishman want to get in, but they haven’t got tickets.
The Scotsman picks up a manhole cover, tucks it under his arm and walks to the gate. “McTavish, Scotland,” he says, “Discus,” and in he walks.
The Englishman picks up a length of scaffolding and slings it over his shoulder. “Waddington-Smythe, England,” he says, “Pole vault,” and in he walks.
The Irishman looks around, picks up a roll of barbed wire and tucks it under his arm. “O’Malley, Ireland,” he says: “Fencing.”
LET’S REVIEW: The practical section of Romans (chapters 12-16) involves “surrender” of God’s people: SURRENDER TO THE LORD (12:1-2); SURRENDER TO THE GOVERNMENT (Ch. 13); SURRENDER TO ONE ANOTHER (ch. 14:13). SURRENDER TO GOD’S WORD (ch. 15).
We began our study on May 1st, and we end with the final “surrender”: SURRENDER TO ANONYMITY. What is the most effective church? What is the best way for a church to daily and eternally exist? Ch. 16 tells us.
Be prepared to read through this chapter on your own as you follow this outline today! PRAYER
#1 PERSONAL GREETINGS (vs. 1-16)
Note that our NIV entitles chapter 16 “personal greetings”. Forever these listed (especially in the first 16 verses) will have their names in Scripture as having been profitable to Paul before the Lord they served – perhaps silently, unnoticed by others. Read through these sixteen verses. Most of these names we have never heard before, if it weren’t for this chapter. They were anonymous in their service, but they were well-known to God! Even Phoebe (v. 1) was known as a “servant” – in the Greek that is “deacon”! But note: she didn’t serve in an office of deacon in a local church. She served in the function of deacon, that is, she served the Lord where He had wisely placed her!
Point: we may go unnoticed, we may THINK we go unnoticed; but ultimately Who notices us? The Lord Himself!
#2 “IN CHRIST”/“IN THE LORD” (also in vs. 1-16)
Note also the phrase “in the Lord” or “in Christ”. He DOESN’T say “in the church”, for it wasn’t the church they served primarily – it was the Lord Jesus Himself.
#3 PAUL’S CONCLUDING REMARKS (vs. 17-24)
Watch out for divisions! (vs. 17-20). Even Paul notes how easy it is to divide a church.
Sending of greetings (vs. 21-24) – interesting v. 22 Tertius “wrote down this letter” (Paul was the instrument, Tertius was the scribe).
Closing benediction (vs. 25-27)
Illustration: If you had pneumonia, and you were sure you had pneumonia, and you went to the doctor to get strong medicine for your pneumonia, what would you say if the doctor simply said, “oh, take 2 aspirins and call me in the morning.”? You’d be looking for another doctor!
How much more, if you are a sinner in need of a Savior – such as has been the subject matter of Romans – what good would it do you if someone said, again “simply”, “oh GO TO CHURCH! Perhaps something good there will rub off on you and you’ll have your eternal need met.” Yet isn’t that what we often do?
What is the greatest need of every sinner without God and without hope? THE GOSPEL! Come to the Savior, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God Who died on Calvary’s cross, was buried, and rose again the third day for our justification! Apply that great truth to your heart, to your life, and you will be changed eternally!
Paul began with the gospel (ch. 1 – see verse 16, “For I am not ashamed of THE GOSPEL, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes”); he ends with THE GOSPEL (ch. 16) – the only instrument which can change the heart WORLDWIDE.
Has He changed yours? Come to the cross today! CLOSE IN PRAYER