Who Are You? Part 1 (Reading Romans 16)

In Romans 16 Paul speaks of four groups. The first group is those whom the church should greet (vv. 1 – 16). They are people critical to the life and health of the church. These people are servants, hard workers, new converts, and heroes of the faith like Prisca and Aquila (v. 4). These are people the church should cherish and never take for granted.

In order for a church to be healthy there must be people who give themselves to people, servants (vv. 1-2). The servants of the church are the most inconspicuous. They are what they are without a vote, without invitation, and too often without recognition. Paul recognizes Phoebe. He commends her to the church which means that they should immediately accept her and stand beside her. Paul goes on to say that the church needs to help her in whatever she may need. Phoebe, the servant, needed to be served. It was time to return the blessing. In order for a church to be healthy there are times it must serve its servants.

In the first church I pastored the Phoebe to my family was Sherry Ray. My wife Shannon was ever involved in the music ministry of the church, and the nursery, and with directing weddings, and teaching from time to time, and on and on we go. During the last two years of our ministry at Lantana Road Baptist Church Shannon was even more involved in the church, AND, Shannon was a new mother. Sherry did not sing in the choir, but Sherry would come to choir practice for one express purpose, to hold our daughter Morgan. Sherry gave herself to people, she was a servant.

There must be people who give energy to the church, workers. If people give only money to the church it will not survive. The equity of the church is most often measured in sweat. The church must have men and women who carry a Bible in one hand and a hammer in the other. The church must have people who worship on Sunday and work on Monday. The church needs people who teach lessons and others who use blow torches. The church should sweat.

There must be people who inspire the church, like Andronicus and Junia who were well known to the apostles (v. 7), or like the aforementioned Prisca and Aquila who were well known to the Gentiles (v. 4). Congregations have pastors who inspire their faith, but congregations also need men and women of great courage who walk amongst the people and provide a living testimony of what God can do.

In order for the church to be healthy there must be new converts. Epaenetus may not have been a new convert to the Romans, but his name was forever synonymous to God saving souls in Asia (v. 5). Nothing so inspires the church more than people coming to Christ. One of the things I loved about serving as pastor of Latana Road is that the church was filled with walking stories of God saving souls. The pews were filled with trophies to God’s saving grace.

When you read this list, who are you? Where does your name fit?

There are also dangerous people in the church . . .(to be continued).


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