In today’s program Pastor Bill takes us through the principles in Romans 16 and reveals how we ‘crush Satan under our feet.’ After this reminder we move onto Revelation 2:17 and find one of the greatest expressions of hope given to us by God.
Good morning again this week, we are going to return to the passage that we were looking at last week and and really return to that sermon and return to it for a couple of reasons, one being apparently I was not terribly clear, I had a number of questions concerning what was the, the main theme of what I was trying to get through last week. Secondly, because of we, the sheer nature that we did not finish last week. I want to finish that sermon from last week. And then thirdly, as I was pondering on this passage last week, in my office, following the service. And then later on during the day, I saw something even more beautiful than what I have seen before and I long to share that with you. So if you wouldn’t take your bibles, interpret me to Romans. Chapter 16, we’re going to look again at verse 20 And then we’re going to move on to revelation, chapter two and verse number 17, romans 16 20. The God of peace will soon christ satan under your feet. The crisis of our Lord, jesus christ be with you all now, one of the things that struck me was this strange juxtaposition of phrases, the God of peace crushing satan. That those those uh two words, those two phrases seemed to be counterintuitive for one another. They seem to be the opposites of one another, The God of peace crushing satan, they don’t seem to go together. But as we talked last week, whenever you have one of these monasteries of God or one of these, these attributes of God in a passage, it is integral to the fulfillment of either the promise or the application in our lives. So the God of peace is incredibly important. And understanding the God of peace, the peace of God is incredibly important to see the ministry of his use of us to crush satan. Now, one of the things that I was not incredibly clear about last week was how does this take place? How does God use us to crush satan under our feet? What if you go back a couple of verses there in verse number 17, he talks about avoiding division, avoid shallow teaching and then really give no power to divisive people. You see the way that we, that that that satan or what is satan is longing to do is to ruin our community. He he desires the ruination of our communion with with God and with one another. And what paul is saying here is saying that God of peace will destroy Satan under our feet shortly is we need to stop that ruination of communion and division and find the genesis and continuation of loving care of peace and of power. And when we find that genesis and then that maturity, that continuation of that ministry, SATan’s power, Satan will be crushed as far as our relationship with God goes, Our relationship to one another within the body of christ and then by extension to our community. Now, how does this take place. How does God crushed satan? Well, we avoid versus 1718. And then I think that the rest of the chapter is just simply telling us how to do this. He started with greek Phoebe, that great worker, that great servant, that great deacon knows that that that that wonderful lady of christ who is willing to take on the task of carrying this letter nearly 1000 miles to you, greet her honor, thank you for your help and then help her in whatever way that she needs help. You see crushing satan is not this this this incredibly complicated uh, for me a lot, It is simply doing the things that that that Paul lists here in verses one through 16 and then continues later on with Timothy and and Turkeys and and Gaius Corpus, just be of help help one another, Help the ministry help. The ongoing work of the church, helped the ongoing uh presentation of the gospel by the way that we live and by the words that we speak, help. And then secondly, help the helpers. And then he moves on to Aquila and Priscilla who risked their lives for my sake, those test makers, those wonderful servants of God who were unwilling to cast paul aside when the coppersmith. And when all of those people who were angry at him were chasing him down when the authorities were chasing him down, but brought him into their group and and and and and and folded him into their tent making ministry. And then as he taught them, they were willing to go out and to teach others. So help and help the helpers. And regardless of the difficulty because the grace of God is there the difficulty it should not matter. It should not be weighed, it should not be part of our calculations in ministry. So help help the helpers. And then regardless of the difficulties. And then if you look next in these verses, paul gives three thank you I think be thankful I think be continually thankful to and for the helpers that that help in ministry that helped reveal the love of God that helped with with with with all of this uh christ likeness that we are to reveal in the world nobody talks about been an alias that first convert in Asia where paul had been denied access to Asia twice the gospel got there and it did its work and and here he says, greet this, this man who is so totally different than you. He would have a different culture, he would have different lives who have different familiarities, maybe even a different language that that he was natural with. But greet him even though he may not be exactly like you, we are brothers in christ. We are one in the body of christ greet him and then replicate his ministry. He was the first convert in Asia in Asia which presupposes which which which gives us the understanding that there were more as he told of the good news of jesus christ. Then we see in that next section he talks about mary who worked hard, Help help the helpers regardless of the difficulty be one with one another, regardless of our differences outside of christ. And whatever you do work hard at it, don’t just do an adequate job. Don’t just don’t just do enough work hard at revealing christ at helping one another and being at learning who he is and then revealing that in our lives and then forget past differences. He talks about Andronicus and junius, his kinsmen who were converted before him, how much they must have feared paul because he probably knew where they lived since they were related, knew of their conversion in christ and before his conversion they must have feared him, but almost certainly must have prayed for him as well. And then when they were in prison, the past was not that overwhelming uh power to to to to to modify or to control present relationships. They became a great helper to paul and not only to paul but to all of the apostles. And then it gives just a bunch of names, a great list of unique and and and totally disparate people sir whether whether our names, whether our positions in society are high or low, whether our ministry is recognized or not serve as if you are serving God because that is who we are serving. And as we’ll see you in a few minutes he knows and he pays attention? So help help the helpers be thankful continually help regardless of difficulty? Help anyone and everyone within the community Be one with 1 another. Forget past divisions, past pains, past hurts, past helps do your best, no matter who you are and no matter how how how visible your ministry is and they received as received as family old enemies as here he talks about his kinsmen, the Herodium. And of course we know that the terrors of the herons to those young christians as one harry belonged to uh destroy the christ that sent out that most horrible of of proclamations and decrees to kill all the Children two years old and younger. And then another heritage actually had the head of john the baptist’s decapitated and john the baptist’s decapitated, we literally murdered him. You see this is how we crush satan under our feet by by using that by using and being at peace with God and with one another and then standing on that foundation of peace, ministering and and and working hard at it, doing our best regardless of our position or the recognition of that ministry just be what christ would have us to be? Yeah, here’s your question. I am calling us this as we begin this New Year to greatness. Does God desire greatness on a on a religion, on a new life on a relationship with God. Built upon self denial and humility of christ childlike humility. Does God desire us to be great? Listen to three passages, Mark chapter 10 Whenever, when, whenever jesus is talking about the rumors of the gentiles Lord, their, their their rule over people, he says, be it not so among you, but whoever is great among you, let him become the servant of all. In 1923 when, when the apostles are arguing about who is the greatest there, that last supper, jesus gets up and takes all the roads of leading the passover and wrapped the towel around himself and washes their feet and tells them he who would be greatest among you, let him become the servant of all, John chapter 14 truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do and greater works than these will he do because I am going to the father. God desires our greatness but our greatness in light of serving one another. Seeing the needs in one another, including their needs, about our status or our comforts. This is that greatness because it reveals the God of peace. The God of love, The God of Grace. Yeah, what he’s got up to. Sometimes we overcomplicate the scriptures, you know, after, after our redemption, After our salvation, after our transformation, after our new creation? What is God up to? Well, what is he doing with us? Who are christians again, it’s not super complicated. He is building community, he is building a family, he’s building peace between mankind and and himself and then hopefully men with one another and on earth earth peace and goodwill toward men. Glory to God in the highest and on earth and in heaven piece the beginning and the end of jesus’s ministry. Hello passenger scripture found in Acts chapter 16 verse number 11 of those uh, one of those verses that you you don’t think it would be someone’s favorite, but it really is in my, in my top echelon of verses. Now there was down there were in the church at Antioch apostles and teachers, prophets and teachers, Barnabas Simeon who was called *** lucius, lucius of Cyrene man. I mean a lifelong friend of Herod, the and saul what what an incredibly diverse group of people, both both in physical experience and in background in social standing in standing within the church. They are, they are completely different people. And yet the bible is telling us here that true community abolishes all of the artificial walls and conflicts And it makes of enemies friends. It makes us one in Christ that we are, we are to be like him and that we can work together regardless of who we are and what our past might be, whatever our training might be. What whether we’re from Mississippi or whether we’re from Louisiana or whether we’re from west Virginia or whether we’re from Oklahoma or whether we’re from California or whether we’re from Ohio or whether we’re from a little town an hour north of here. We can and we should work together and any differences within us are completely artificial and should be gone as we join with one another in serving one another in worshiping God and in revealing his love, his identity, his his reality to the world as we live as our motto is to make the invisible realities of God visible. Now let’s return to Romans. Chapter 16 I, Turkey ist who wrote this letter? Great you and the Lord guys who was supposed to be in the whole church greets harassed us, the city treasurer and our brother Cortez treaty. Now, last week we talked about Turkeys and Cortez. Now if greek their names would be 3rd and 4th as if as in the third and the fourth son. If Roman, it is simply the letters three and 4. That’s what I personally think that it is. But regardless the true names of these men, if they have any are not in use, they are known by designations rather than names. 3rd and 4th, 3rd and 4th or three and four. And as I thought about this last week after I was after the service and I was sitting in my office, I thought how sad now here are these people who, who lived their life and then enjoying themselves in ministry and they didn’t even have names. They merely had designations. And as I pondered on it, I finally saw with the spirit and long for me to see all along, not how sad how beautiful a man without a name only known by a number, wrote down the greatest work of literature. We know the book of romans and and and its literary greatness is the least of its greatness of its greatness. Think of the lives spiritually that that have been changed as as paul here gives explanation of the power of God unto salvation. To the jew first and also to the greek. I am not ashamed of that because it is what changes us and then what teaches us what God is like and how we are to respond. And I beseech you therefore, brothers by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice holy acceptable to the Lord, which is your reasonable service and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you might prove. What is that, that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. How awesome is that a guy without a name. And yet he is the value of his service is incalculable. Hi names, no names, designations like missionary or prophets or apostles or teachers And then those who serve simply as being mothers for one another as Paul says in Romans 16. All of that is of equal value in the midst power in crushing satan under our feet. And and and doing it quickly. I’m doing it soon. And think of that power where Michael could only cast out saving our ministry and through the peace of God by the grace of God, using us completely and utterly destroys that work. Now with all of that reminder, with all of that fixing last week and then with all of that new idea in mind as an introduction. Let’s get to the surface roman revelation. Chapter two verse number 17 He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches, to the one who overcomes. I will give some of the hidden manner and I will give him a watch stone with a new name regional. That stone that no one knows except the one who receives it. What a glorious idea. We’ll come back to conqueror and we’ll come back to the hidden manner. I want us to focus on that name there. As last week we pondered these two guys without a name. This week. I want us to look at, I will give him a white stone with a new name written on that stone. That’s personal. Just for him with a name on it that no one knows except he who receives it now. Why a white stone. What would the readers have thought at that point in time. Well, to the hebrew mind, I think that they would immediately go back to the breastplate, You remember the breast break when the high priest was taking in the the atoning sacrifice and sprinkled the blood upon the judgment seat of God. That it might become the mercy seat of God. He wore literally on his chest. The names of Israel of the 12 tribes inscribed in 12 different jewels. And now you have our name on a white stone, a far greater than it’s not just the name of our tribe, it’s our personal name and we’re all jewels on earth have inclusions in and have have false within them. This is a stone by God from the place of God. That would be absolutely perfect and has our name on it. A new name where God is so personally involved in our lives, he knows who we are, he knows what struggles we’ve gone through, he knows what ministries we’ve done, he knows the difficulty and how hard we tried and he gives us a name that is absolutely consistent with that. He’d remind, would have thought of the breastplate, the greek, mind would have thought of the court system as if when someone was on trial, the jury, the jury as it was constituted in those days, would basically vote with a white stumper of Blackstone. The white stone, you are acquitted. The Blackstone, you are guilty and as they would cast those votes. If you were acquitted, you’re the crime would be written on there, Your name would be written on there and the white stone, wood, wood, wood, wood, wood wood designate that you are innocent. That you have been acquitted of that tribe. Which is exactly what christ accomplished for us on the cross. That we bear our guilt no more. That he is big enough to to to wear a breastplate with with every believer’s name on it. And then that white stone that says that we are, we are innocent. We we have been we have been judged just by God. So the hebrew mind the greek mind and then the roman mind the romans would have understood this white stone in terms of access and blessing given to those who are victorious in the games. But we’ve been called now the olympics. If someone really showed out around the world record or whatever right, they would get a stone and their names will be written on that stone. And that stone freed them from all taxes freed them from payment in public houses, food and drink and those type of things. And they would have had blessings flow to them for the rest of their lives for their conquering in the games during that time he provided a great man in the roman mind. But what about the christian mind see I think we’re to go beyond this weird to see all of these things is true christ and big enough priests to carry my personal name uh into heaven before God that that wrath might be turned to adoption lion. Yes, I am as far as my relationship with God is concerned, I am clean. I am a white stone without fault without blemish that because of that blessings will flow to me forever more. But I think maybe even more wonderful and more beautiful is the fact that this stone speaks to the fact that we belong to God. We belong to God, not just as an object, not just as a slave or a servant or even a son that just has a designation. He is so personally involved in our lives that we receive a special name given by him to us. What peace speaking of the God of peace, What piece this must have brought to an old man on an island of salt, condemned to be a minor there and condemned unjustly without earthly hope. I belong to God and may not look like it from the outside and and and and and and this is a misery misery that I am enduring right now. But God knows me and he’s so involved in my life that when I enter heaven, I will receive a new name from his personal observation and from his personal love that is mine and mine alone, I belong to God. I am precious to him. You see brothers and sisters in christ we have hope purposeful and Personal. I’m glad I’m not always gonna be neat. I messed up so much trying to be funny and I use my mouth and hurt people, I try to be comforting and I say words sometimes that bring discomfort, I know it well, I don’t mean just built into who I am so glad that one day I will not be that man, you see what this white stone speaks to to me is that God’s love is like a fingerprint. I am a unique person with a unique story with the unique savior who is like him with the unique redemption story of how christ brought me to salvation is different from everyone up sis with a unique transformation for a unique purpose and now I’m to apply that purpose and in its application by God’s power and by God’s grace, it will be effective. We are not just a number on a spreadsheet To God, I’m not just number three, he has a special love for me, for you, a special purpose for me, for you, I love it. There are two stories, only two stories that I can think of being closed. No two stories I can think of in the scriptures where we know the amount that people gave to God in offerings were talking moneywise, one is Abraham who gave a 10th of all of those great riches to uh the second is that, that last week of christ has jesus and his disciples entered the the temple complex, the disciples eyes were drawn to the pillars and the ivory and the inlays and all of that and jesus says that’s not where you need to be looking, look at that widow woman over there And she gives her two mites. You see one in Abraham, there’s incredible riches, incalculable, at least for us. We don’t know amateur. And then this woman who gives virtually nothing from a human standpoint, but God honors her equal with Abraham in this aspect and uses her to to to to rescue the disciples from glorying in the wrong things. God specializes in using the week to confound the strong And Romans. 16 gives us and gives us the recipe for seeing for seeing Satan’s work of destroying piece of communion of oneness of unity of power being crushed under our feet as we simply do what God causes us to do. Listen brothers and sisters in christ, what we do matters, we matter to God, we belong to God, we matter to God and what we do matters, but for it to matter, we must do it and a lot of comments he loves us and how much he’s given for us. We should be encouraged today to do what he’s called us to do. Well thank you”}],”