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ROMANS - Chapter 16 - IN CHRIST Print E-mail


Romans 16

Tuesday Morning Bible Study – May 29, 2018, the Year of Our Lord

Preached by:  Pastor Carolyn Sissom

Romans 16: 1-2:  “This letter will introduce you to Phoebe, a dear sister in the Lord who has devoted herself as a servant of the church at Conchrea.  I commend her to you, and ask that you make her welcome in a manner worthy of God’s people.  Also will you extend to her any assistance in any matters where she needs your help, for she has helped a lot of people in their time of need, including me?

Phoebe is here given a place of everlasting fame.  She is the one who carried this mighty epistle to the capitol of the empire.  Fascinating, isn’t it, to think that a woman had the honor of bearing this document---which bears an immeasurable wealth of Christian doctrine.


Paul has been given the incredible honor to reveal the doctrines that the Lord brought us to Himself;  saved us from sin through the blood of Jesus; imparted righteousness to us through declaration; sanctified us through the washing of the Word; delivered us from sin; delivered us from the law; filled us with His Holy Spirit; Gave us gifts of the Spirit; gave us ministries to edify and equip us;  adopted us as sons;  presented us to the world as His Son; then placed His glory on us.  He is also the first to reveal that we not only have the Father and the Son indwelling us; but we can live “In Christ,” for “in Christ” we live, move and have our being.


  He graciously describes Phoebe as a “servant” in verse one.  This is the same word for “deacon” (diakonas).  Some translations refer to her as a deaconess.  She was a woman of considerable means. Phoebe means bright and radiant.


16:3-5b:  Greet (send peace to) Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: who have for my life laid down their own necks; to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Also would you greet the church that is in their house? Salute my well beloved Epanetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia to Christ.


Pricilla and Aquila are a husband and wife soul-winning team which Paul met when he first came to Corinth.  He was alone and dejected when he arrived in Corinth, but soon he met these “on fire” Christians who took him to their home and hearts.  They were Jews who had been expelled from Rome under the edict of Claudius Caesar and had set up shop as tent-makers in the city of Corinth.  They are mentioned three or four times in the New Testament.


Beginning with Epanetus, convert of Asia Minor, modern day Turkey, he lists a long list of people whom we do not know


16: 6-7:    Greet Mary, who bestowed much labor on us.  Salute Andronieus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.


These men and women became the leaders and Apostles of the Christian Church.   Some are Jewish Christians, others Gentile Christians.  Like his Master, the apostle doesn’t care whether they are male or female, slave or free, Jew or Greek---he s no respecter of persons.


Adronieus and Junias are “kinsmen”, relatives, of Paul.  They would belong to the tribe of Benjamin and therefore be Jews.  They were saved before Paul.  Apparently they had been imprisoned a number of times for their faith and thus had earned a reputation among the apostles at Judea.  On one occasion they had been imprisoned along with the apostle himself.   (1 Cor. 11:23)


16:8-11:  Greet Apelles my beloved in Christ.  Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved. Salute Ubane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.  Salute Apelles approved in Christ.  Salute them which are of Aristobulus’ household.  Salute Herodion my kinsman.  Greet them that are of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord.


16:9: Stachys is said to have been one of the seventy disciples Jesus sent out.  He eventually became the bishop of Byzantium.  Wikipedia identifies him as an Apostle.

The Apostle Andrew preached in Asia Minor along the Black Sea and founded the church of Byzantium in 39 A.D. installing Stachys as bishop.


16:10: Aristobolos was also believed to be one of the original seventy disciples Jesus sent out.  He brought the gospel to Britain and was the first Bishop of Britain.  Orthodox tradition says Aristobulus was the brother of the Apostle Barnabas, of Jewish Cypriot origin.  He accompanied the Apostle Paul and the Apostle Andrew on their journeys.


16:11: Herodian was also one of Jesus’ seventy disciples.  He later became the bishop of Neoparthia (Iraq), where he was beaten to death by the Jews, but was resurrected and continued to preach the gospel.  It is believed that he was beheaded in Rome on the same day Peter was martyred.


16:11: Narcissus was believed to be a close friend of Emperor Claudius.


16: 12-16:  Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labor in the Lord.  Salute the beloved Persis, which labored much in the Lord.  Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.  Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermans, Patrobas, Hermes and the brethren which are with them.  Salute Philolo-gus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Lympas, and all the saints which are with them.  Salute one another with a holy kiss.  The churches of Christ salute you.


16:12: Tryphena is believed to be the princess of Bosporan kingdom of eastern Crimean, and connected to the queen of Thrace.


16:12: Persis was a woman from Persia (Iranian background).


16:13: Rufus is believed to be the son of Simon of Cyrene (Libya) who helped Jesus carry his cross to Calvary.


16:14: Paul joins five men together.  They could have represented the five-fold ministry of Ephesians 4:11 or they may have been leaders of house churches.  Asyncritus is recognized by the Orthodox Church as an apostle.  He became the bishop of the church of Hyracania (Turkey).


16:14: Phlegon is considered to be one of the seventy disciples Jesus sent out.  The Orthodox Church recognizes him as an apostle who became the bishop of Marathon in Thrace.


16:14: Hermes, one of the seventy, and later became the bishop of Philpopoulis (Bulgaria).


16:15: Philogus is recognized by the Orthodox Church as an apostle of Christ.  It is likely that Julia was his wife and Nereus and his sister were their children.  The Orthodox Church recognizes Olympas as an apostle who was mentored by Peter and was beheaded when Peter was martyred. 


The majority of these people named in this chapter were not Jewish, and many of their names indicate they were former slaves.  God blesses and anoints everyone who turns to him in faith.  Eight of these saints are given the recognition of being “In Christ.”


No other chapter of the New Testament shows Paul’s affection and love for his friends as does this one.  One of the precious things about this list of people is that even though they are unknown to us, yet church history records their great exploits for Christianity.  They have been immortalized because of Paul’s love for them.  It makes us think of the Lamb’s book of life, where the “nobodies” of this world are listed because of Jesus’ love for us.


The saintly kiss of the early church was not as we think of kissing today.  It was like a French general bestowing honor on a distinguished soldier.  The Christian kiss was a Jewish custom. It was a seal of pure affection between brothers, a precious thing.  Today our custom is to give one another hugs.  That is nice too.


 Recall how Judas greeted the Lord the night of His betrayal.


16:17: Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which you have learned; and avoid them.


It is easy to spot a trouble maker.  These will try to stir trouble and cause division in churches.  Observe Paul’s instructions for handling these deceivers.  He does not say argue (debate) with them, nor to kick them out of the fellowship, neither were they to be punished in any way.  The believers were to mark them.  False teachers and wolves can do no harm if no one pays any attention to them.  False teachers thrive on contention.  We should never give trouble makers any place.  Be nice to them, but keep walking.  Don’t permit them to seduce you into their traps.


Many today follow every wind of doctrine.  The Christian’s only security against false teachers is learning and knowing the Word.  A knowledgeable Christian easily recognizes a deceiver by his message (speaking) and mode of living.   Those who teach us should have righteousness, peace and joy evident in their lives.


As we are coming into the last days, this warning is more urgent than ever.  We are told precisely that false teachers will arise and deceive many (1 Tim. 4:1).  Their words will be backed by supernatural signs. 


16:18:  These people are not serving Christ; their master is their own belly (lusts).  What they really want is to advance their own interests, not those of the Lord.  They are clever with flattering words and know how to put forth their ideas in spiritual phrases that sound good to gullible and unsuspecting Christians.


We learn that the false teachers not only taught doctrines contrary to those of the apostle Paul, but they were motivated out of self-interest.  They were indifferent to the Lordship of Christ, seeing in the gospel a chance to build a reputation for themselves and make money.  These people are not thinking of the day when they will stand before the Lord to give an account of their stewardship on earth.  These view religion simply as a way of getting ahead in this world, a business, a livelihood.  


16: 19-20:  “Everybody in the world has heard of your loyalty to the gospel, and you can’t imagine how this thrills me.  At the same time though, I want you to become shrewd in goodness, and totally unsophisticated when it comes to doing evil.  Do this and the God of peace will bruise Satan under your feet directly.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.


16: 21-24: “Timothy my coworker sends you his greetings; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, fellow Jews of mine.  I, Tertius, the one who has written this letter for Paul, send you my greetings in the Lord.  Greetings also from Gaius, my host, and the congregation which meets here in his house.  Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus send you their greetings too.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.”


Jason also appears in Acts 17, where he opened his home to Paul, Silas and Timothy while they were in Thessalonica.  Jason was one of the seventy disciples sent out by Jesus and was appointed the bishop of Tarsus by Paul.


Tertius, the copyist for Paul was also one of the seventy disciples of Jesus.  He became the bishop of Iconium after Sosipater and was eventually martyred.


Erastus was a political appointee who was undoubtedly of a high social status in the city of Corinth.  His duties would have included being the treasurer of the city.  He, too, was one of the seventy disciples of Jesus and a deacon of the church in Jerusalem and later in Paneas. 


Quartus was one of the seventy.  He became the bishop of Beirut.  Velimirovic wrote that Quartus suffered greatly for his faith and won many converts to Christ through his ministry. 


16: 25-27:  “Now to Him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began.  But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known, to all nations for the obedience of the faith:  To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever, Amen.


God had long kept to Himself His plan of salvation, but now He has acted and disclosed it in the work of Jesus Christ.  Paul was commissioned with this gospel by God Himself and instructed to make the divine plan known throughout the world, commanding men to trust and obey the one and only God.


Supporting him in this work are the Old Testament scriptures now unsealed by the key of Jesus Christ; and seen to be the manifesto of the wise God’s plan for the Church.  The planning of eternal ages past has burst out into time, the present time.  The eternal God reveals Himself to men through the living Christ.  It is the Church’s privilege to share in God’s eternal praise.


Jesus Christ unsealed the books of the Old Testament.


These truths were taught to Paul by revelation (Eph. 3:3, 4).  Just as God raised up Moses to reveal the Law to Israel, He raised up Paul to explain this mystery of the unsealing of the Old Testament to the world.  These startling truths are that God’s purpose is to take from among sinful men, those who loved Him, and by a miracle transform them into His sons.  No one dared think that God would do this by imparting Himself into a man.  On top of that, to spend eternity with them and then raising them to be Sons of God.  Paul not only confirms the mystery of Christ in us, but he reveals the mystery that we are to be “In Christ.”


Until Paul stated these truths in plain language, the best that men could understand was that they could secure forgiveness for their sins on the basis of Jesus’ sacrifice.  Beyond that, no one dreamed that Sonship meant inheriting God’s own life—even though Jesus Himself spoke of it often (John 5:21).  We are to live, and move, and have our being in Christ Jesus.  It is one thing for us to have Christ in us the Hope of Glory.  It is quite another for us to be “in Christ” living, moving and having our being in the Glory of God.


The term “In Christ” is used by Paul, Philemon, and Peter 76 times in the New Testament.


  1. We are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
  2. We reckon ourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Ro. 6:11).
  3. The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (6:23).
  4. There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus… (Ro. 8:1)
  5. The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
  6. Neither height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Ro. 8:39).
  7. We being many are one body in Christ…. (Ro. 12:5)
  8. We glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God. (Ro. 15:17).
  9. He recognized his co-labors as being in Christ.



We began the study of Romans with a call to preach on righteousness and holiness. 

The church must be called back to righteousness and holiness.  I am not speaking of a self-righteous, legalistic, religious spirit.  I am speaking of the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.  We are in Christ Jesus, who of God has made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. (Col. 1:30).


“Holiness and righteousness do not reign separately, but as a unit of glory unknown in current circles.  To those who are the Bride of Christ, the enthronement of Holiness and Righteousness is welcome.  The Father has always intended that those of the last days embrace this duo with a passion.  The work of Holiness and Righteousness will bring perfection and yield a countenance as defining as Daniel’s and his companions when compared to the world’s fare.” (C. R. Oliver, the Regal Pair).


In the simplicity of Christ Jesus, His Holiness and Righteousness connects with the Spirit of Holiness to give power to His Saints.


Rom. 1:4: and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.


Rom. 1:17: For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, the just shall live by faith.


2 Co. 1: 21-22: Now he which establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, is God; who has also sealed us and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.


Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church

Scripture from K. J.V.; I entered into the labors of C. S. Lovett’s Lights on Romans; The Passion Bible by Dr. Brian Simmons; teaching on Romans by Carolyn Sissom 1987 and 2010.

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