An exposition of Romans 16:25-27. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, June 20, 2010.
There are appropriate and inappropriate responses. I remember one night at the dinner table I didn’t care for what we were having for our evening meal. My dad said, “You need to be grateful for what you have. There are a lot of kids in this world who would love to have what’s on your plate.” I said, “Well you can ship this to them because I don’t like it.” That’s the one time my father hit me. The back of his hand across my smart mouth said, unmistakably, “THAT’S NOT APPROPRIATE!” I had told the professor that if I missed class in the next few days it would be because our first child was due any time now. Upon returning to class for the first time after Zac’s birth Dr. Dominy approached me with a big smile, “Well boy or girl?” “It’s a boy! We named him Bert (my professor’s first name) because he doesn’t have any hair either.” Immediately after thinking, “I hope I didn’t actually say that” – I knew – not an appropriate response.
Responses say a lot about those who so respond. Obviously my responses reveal a lack of control and a smart mouth. I’ve known, and you know, people who cry at the drop of a hat. Sensitive, caring people who feel everyone’s hurt and have an amazing capacity for empathy. You also know people who “fly off the handle” with the least little provocation. Everything is a big deal. The smallest question is received as the greatest attack. Somewhere between always crying and never crying is a balanced position. Somewhere between always mad and never mad is a healthy, reasonable response.
As Paul comes to the end of his letter to the church at Rome we find an appropriate response. It is the most natural way to end the letter. Here is this grand and glorious statement of the gospel. It would hardly seem appropriate if Paul concluded by saying, “Thanks for listening. You’ve been a great audience and we’ll see you down the road.” That just wouldn’t do this letter justice. No, Paul’s closing doxology is a fitting end to this glorious letter. Our text this morning is found in Romans 16 beginning at verse 25.
Text: Romans 16:25-27
Paul began by saying man is a sinner.
His sin is so pervasive that he is totally or radically depraved.
Man is sinful beyond his ability to effect a cure.
He cannot save himself – more than that he cannot contribute to his own salvation.
But God, in grace and mercy, in kindness and love has provided a means of salvation.
God has given his Son, the Lord Jesus, who is both the sacrifice and the one offering sacrifice.
Salvation is by grace, through faith in Christ alone.
As a part of this great saving work the Spirit takes up residence in every believer.
He cries, “Abba! Father!”
As a result there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.
And there is no separation – for nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus…
God is faithful to His people and His promise (9-11).
With this new life come certain obligations or responsibilities (12-15).
With chapter 16 Paul sends greeting to his various friends there at Rome (1-16).
He calls on the church to be “on guard” against those who cause divisions (17-20).
Other’s send their greetings (21-24).
Then comes this burst of praise to close the letter. That is our focus for this morning. Paul’s heart started to sing once before (11:36). It was Paul’s custom to close his letters in his own hand. We know this because of 2 Thessalonians 3:17-18. With his closing remarks we are reminded that…
Thesis: The only legitimate response to the message of God’s saving love is a sense of profound worship.
There are two things I want to point out quickly.
- The worshiping heart rejoices in God’s establishing, enabling power. (16:25-26)
- The worshiping heart stands in awe of God’s glory. (16:27)