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Romans 16:5-16; 21-23


Intro: As Paul comes to the end of the book of Romans, he concludes it with a list of names that is rather long. In fact, there are 35 names mentioned in these verses. He also addresses two different households and at least three churches. Many people might read this list and conclude that there is nothing of value contained here. But, the truth is far different.

What we have here is the great Apostle Paul making an effort to thank those who had made and impact on his life and ministry. What a blessing it is when we remember those who have made a difference in our lives! I think it would be a great idea if everyone in this room made a list of those who have helped you along the way. Then you should sit down and write them a note thanking them for their contribution to your life. Maybe you ought to pick up the phone and give them a call. Or perhaps you should just get up and walk across the room and say thanks!

What Paul is doing is summed up in verse 15. He sends greetings to "all the saints that are with them." He doesn't want to leave anyone out, but he wants to send a special thanks to every saint who has been a blessing to him. Now, just as a reminder, a saint is not a long dead person who did lots of good while they were in the world. A saint is not a person who lives an extra special life. A saint is a person who has been saved by grace and is in the family of God. Every person in this room that has repented of sins and trusted Christ by faith is qualified to bear the name saint of God.

Let's take a few minutes to look through this list of names. As we do, we will discover that behind every name, there is a special story. In every life, there is a something that makes that person great in the kingdom of God. By the way, the same could be said of you! When the Lord save you, He made you special. There in nobody else in the family of God who is like you! As such, you deserve a special salute this evening. Let's look at these verse together and think for a few minutes about A Special Salute To All The Saints.


(Ill. To us, this is just a list of names, but to Paul, this was a list of his friends. He was writing out of his heart and he was remembering people who were really special to him. What strikes me is that these are real people and I sense that Paul is writing to them out of the warmth of his heart for them. I think it would be fair to say that Paul loved these folks! It seems that Paul loved all the saints of God! This is what God wants from each of us, 1 John 3:14. I think there are two reasons why Paul took the time to speak to these definite people.)

A. An Object Of His Special Conversations - Look at Romans 1:9. This verse tells us that Paul spent time in prayer for these folks in Rome. These saints were special to Paul and he showed it by praying for them. They were in his heart!

What a challenge that is to the church of God in this day! Do we really pray for the other saints as we should? Do we take advantage of the opportunity afforded to us by the Lord and pray for one another, by name, on a daily basis?

When we begin to pray for people, those people begin to become special to us. We enter into their lives and into their burdens. We develop a heart for them! As this occurs, we are bound more closely together as children of God. By the way, this is what is lacking in many churches in our day! Every saint is a Lone Ranger! This is not God's will for His church! His will is that we be one in Him, John 17:11; 21-23. His will is that the saints around us become part of our lives, Gal. 6:2; Gal. 6:10.

B. An Object Of His Special Concern - Now look in 2 Cor. 11:28. This verse tells us that Paul had a burden for the church. The word "care" means "to be pulled apart, or to experience anxiety." Paul loved these people and they became special to him as he felt their needs and burdens.

Now, there is a sense in which we are not supposed to worry, Phil. 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:7. There are a sense in which we are not to have cares in this life. However, there are times when we feel the pains and struggles of our brothers and sisters in Christ, 1 Cor. 12:25-26. When we see a fellow believer struggling, it should move our hearts for them! We should feel their pain. There is a sense when we are called upon to bear their pain and to enter into their battle.

(Ill. Too often, when Christians are battling, they are met with "apathy" within the church. Apathy is defined as, "1. the absence of any wish to do anything 2. emotional emptiness: inability to feel normal or passionate human feelings or to respond emotionally" The bottom line is, some saints just don't care about the battles their brothers are fighting! Then, sometimes, there is actual "sympathy". This is "capacity to share feelings: the ability to enter into, understand, or share somebody else's feelings." This implies that we hurt with them. This is better than apathy, but it isn't what a hurting saint needs. What a hurting saint needs is "empathy". This is "understanding of another's feelings: the ability to identify with and understand another person's feelings or difficulties"

Imagine a man who stumbles and falls into a ditch. Apathy, Sympathy and Empathy walk by and see him lying there. Apathy says, "I don't care!" Sympathy says, "I am sorry that you have fallen and that you are hurting." Empathy says, "I fell into a ditch myself once and I will help you get out." Do you see the difference? Empathy is what the human race got when Jesus came into this world and went to the cross for our sins. Empathy is what the church needs to be strong in these days. The saints need to know that they are loved, 1 John 3:18.

By the way, may the Lord help the church to realize that the burden of the church cannot be borne by one man alone. We are to work together, as a family. My friends, there are preachers all across this country who have made shipwreck of their miniseries because they tried to bear the load of the church alone. (Ill. Moses - Numbers 11:14) The shame lies in the fact that their churches allowed them to try!

My friends, we are in this thing together! I have my load to pull and you have yours. If we will all do our part in loving the church and carrying her burdens, it will not all rest on the shoulders of just a few!)

(Ill. So, Paul is speaking to a group of people who are not just in the family of God, they are also in his heart!)


(Ill. As one reads these verses, it quickly becomes evident that this is a diverse group of people. There are men and women. There are Jews, Romans, and Greeks. There are households addressed and churches mentioned. Surely there are those who are wealthy and those who are poor. It is clear that this group is a diverse group!

By the way, we should thank God for the diversity within the body of Christ! There are some Christians who are as strange as a football bat, but they serve a special place in the body of Christ. God saved us like we were, warts and all, so that He might take us in our diversity and use the church as a body for His glory. There are two primary ways in which the diversity of this group is pointed out.

A. They Were Diverse In Their Humanity - As Paul mentions these names, one can almost see him visualizing these saints one by one. They were precious to his heart and he longed to greet them personally. Not what he says in verse 16, "Salute one another with an holy kiss." Apparently, this was the accepted method of greeting in those days. In our day, thankfully, we just shake hands! At any rate, Paul wants to be there to greet each on individually. He cannot be, so he does the next best thing, he mentions those who were special to him, and says just a word about each. Let's look at this just for a minute.

1. V. 5 Epaenetus - "Praiseworthy" - He was the first one saved in Achaia. He was special for that reason.

2. V. 6 Mary - "Rebellion" - She worked hard to be a blessing to Paul.

3. V. 7 Andronicus "Man of Victory" and Junia "Youthful" - Relatives of Paul who were saved before him. They may have even prayed that Paul would get saved. They may have been the only family he had left. We should assume that his parents probably ostracized him and wrote him off as being dead after he received Jesus! (Note: Isn't it strange how the family of God sometimes becomes closer than one's natural family?)

4. V. 8 Amplias - "Large" - Beloved in the Lord.

5. V. 9 Urbane and Stachys - The original "Odd Couple"! Urbane means "of the city" while Stachys means "head of grain or corn." Here is sophisticated Urbane the city slicker with old Stachys the hayseed. Yet, in Jesus, they are brought together!

6. V. 10 Appelles - "Called" - A dedicated saint who has proven himself faithful.

7. V. 10 Aristobulus - "The Best Counselor" - A man who lead his family to worship God.

8. V. 11 Herodion - "Heroic" - Another kinsman of Paul.

9. V. 11 Narcissus - "Stupidity" - His name may have called his mind into question, but his works proved his wisdom!

10. V. 12 Tryphena - "Delicate" and Tryphosa - "Dainty" - Probably twin sisters. They were one in appearance and one in Christ.

11. V. 12 Persis - "A Persian Woman" - She was a stranger who was brought into the family by grace!

12. V. 13 Rufus - "Red" - This may have been the son of Simon the Cyrenian. Mark 15:21. If that is true, then this man was probaly famous i nthe early church! His father had helped Jesus carry the cross to Calvary! Evidently his mother had been a blessing to Paul as well.

13. V. 14 Asyncritus - "Incomparable"; Phlegon - "Burning"; Hermas - "Mercury"; Patrobas - "Paternal"; Hermes - "The herald of the gods"; and other unnamed brethren.

14. V. 15 Philologus - "Lover of the Word"; Julia - "Soft haired"; Nereus - "Lump" and his sister; Olympas - "Heavenly".

Paul greets others in verses 21-23, but these people are with him as he is writing. These that we have studied are those who were special to him in the Roman church.

Can you see the great diversity that marked this early church? These people were as different as they could possibly be, but they were brought together in the Lord Jesus and made one family for the glory of God.

(Ill. We should thank God for the diversity that marks us as a church this evening. There are differences in our backgrounds, our educational levels, our economic levels, etc. Yet, we are brought together in the Lord Jesus as one family. I praise the Lord for the ways in which we are different!

Did it ever occur to you that the Lord does not make duplicates, He only makes originals? When He made you, He threw away the mold. You are special and you are unique. You brings things to the family of God that no one else has. You can do things that no one else can do. There are people that you can reach, when others cannot. God made you with a purpose in mind. Do not be ashamed of who you are in Him!

That is why we should learn to accept ourselves as we are and thank God for the way He has made us! He can and will use your life if it is surrendered to Him for His glory!)

B. They Were Diverse In Their Heritage - In these verses, Paul greets Jews, Greeks, Romans and Persians. He greets people from all kinds of racial and societal backgrounds. In Christ, these people, from these varied backgrounds are all made one! This is what the Bible teaches un in Gal. 3:18.

(Ill. Did you know that there is a concept contained here that, if followed completely, would eliminate all the racial tension that fills our world? Let's face it, desegregation has not worked in our society. Instead of bringing the "races" together, it has driven them apart. You see, you cannot force men to love one another by laws. You cannot legislate love!

However, if we knew what Jesus knows, there would be no more racism and hatred in our world. He knows there aren't many races. He knows there is but one race: the human race. If we could ever learn to love one another simply because God loves us, it would transform this world!

It may be a pipe dream to some this evening, but one day, this truth will be lived out!)

(Ill. Just look at some of the people God brought together in Himself. Look at verse 23. A man named Erastus is mentioned. He is called "the chamberlain of the city." He is the town treasurer! Probably a wealthy politician. Then, there is a man named Quartus, his name means "Four". They just called him "Number 4". This may indicate that he is or was a slave. What I want you to see is that in Jesus, all the barriers are broken down. He makes us one in Himself for the glory of the Father!)


(Ill. Here was a group of people who were busy in the things of the Lord. They set an example for the rest of us this evening! They were allowing the Lord to use them for His glory in His work. They were busy, and we should be too. Notice what Paul tells us about their dedication.)

A. Seen In The Service - Notice the kinds of service that is mentioned in these verses. There are the workers, v. 3, 21; there are the toilers, v. 6; there are the writers, v. 22; there are the givers, v. 23; and there are the administrators, v. 23. They all served in various capacities, but they served!

Friends, we cannot all do everything, but we can all do something! There is something for which the Lord has specifically gifted you, 1 Cor. 12:7, 11. Your duty is to find that area of giftedness and use it for the glory of the Lord, Rom. 12:1! Thank God for every faithful, godly Christian worker in His house!

B. Seen In Their Sacrifice - Notice again verse 4. Aquila and Priscilla were willing to give their all so that the work of God might go forward. There is too little of that spirit in the modern church! People will give, but not until it hurts. They will come, but not if it becomes and inconvenience. They will work, but only if it doesn't impinge on their private time.

Where are those servants of the Lord who know that anything of value is costly? Where are those who have learned the valuable lesson that you will never learn to be a blessing until you first learn to bleed? Where are those who will place God at the forefront of everything else in life and would rather die instead of letting Him down? (Ill. David - 2 Sam. 24) May the Lord raise up from among us some believers who will pay whatever price is necessary to see the Lord bless and move in power!

C. Seen In Their Steadfastness - Notice again verse 10. Here is a man named Apelles. It is said that he is "approved". He has "stood the test". This was a word used of verifying coins to prove their authenticity. Apelles had been put to the test and he had not wavered! He was part of a crowd that was serving Jesus under the most difficult of circumstances imaginable. They lived in a time when to be a Christian could cost a person his life. Yet, they stood!

What does that say about us and our flippant attitude toward the things of God? What does it say about us when the least little thing can blow us off course? God help us to get it settled in our hearts that we are to be steadfast and unmovable, 1 Cor. 15:58. God help us to realize that He is looking for those He can put to the test before a watching world, and when we have come through that test, He can place upon our lives the divine stamp of approval and blessing. I want that upon my life. How about you?

(Ill. This was a special group of dedicated saints, but what they were we can be by the good grace of God! He doesn't play favorites! If we pay the price, we can be used of Him too!)

Conc: Paul's words to these saints are and encouragement and a challenge to my own heart. I see traits in these people that I want in my own life. I can have that!

Now, you and I will never make this list! The canon of the scripture has already closed and what is written is written. But, I just want to remind you that there is another special list that is being written up. That is a list upon which you want to have your name! Regardless of where your name is recorded down here, be sure it is written up there, in the Lamb's Book Of Life! If you miss that list, you have missed out on everything, Rev. 20:11-15. Is your name on Heaven's list? If you have trusted Jesus as your Saviour it is! If not, it can be! And friend, having your name on that list makes all the serving, all the sacrificing and all the steadfast living worthwhile! You see, God always pays off, just not on Thursday!

I may not have a name of renown,

But there's a book in Heaven where it's written down.

Even in the midst of life's trials and strife,

My name is written down in the Lamb's Book Of Life!

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