Dear Student of the Word,
Well, here it is! We finally made it to the end of Romans. In this particular chapter, Paul mentioned a lot of names of people he wanted to greet, which means he was well connected to the body through his fellow workers. I hope you can say the same! At any rate, I wrote it part six of this seven-part final installment:
Study Fifteen, Part Six
20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. 21 Timothy, my fellow worker, sends his greetings to you, as do Lucius, Jason and Sosipater, my relatives. 22 I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord. 23 Gaius, whose hospitality I and the whole church here enjoy, sends you his greetings. Erastus, who is the city's director of public works, and our brother Quartus send you their greetings.
16:20 – The Church will play a part in the final destruction of Satan and his kingdom. First, Jesus promised that believers would help to stamp out the kingdom of darkness:
I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you (Luke 10:19).
But then there is an interesting story in the Old Testament. Joshua defeats the armies of five kings, who are trapped in a cave. The story goes:
So they brought the five kings out of the cave-the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon. When they had brought these kings to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the army commanders who had come with him, "Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings." So they came forward and placed their feet on their necks. Joshua said to them, "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies you are going to fight." Then Joshua struck and killed the kings and hung them on five trees, and they were left hanging on the trees until evening (Joshua 10:23-26).
It was one thing for Israel to defeat these kings, but Joshua wanted them to personally identify with the victory. He wanted them to feel what it was like to put an enemy under their feet. That is the same experience that God wants us to have in our fight against Satan. He wants you to overcome the fear and discouragement by sticking your foot in the neck of the enemy. Can you do that? Are do you want to watch passively from the sidelines of life? Is God trying to teach you that principle even now in your life?
16:21 – Timothy was with Paul wherever he was. As I have mentioned in past studies, Timothy was unique. Paul wrote to the Philippians:
I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel (Philippians 2:19-22).
How well do you put other’s interests ahead of your own? How else do you compare with the traits that made Timothy useful to Paul?
16:22-24 – This chapter began with Paul greeting the saints in Rome by name. Then he sent greetings from his ministry team and mentions eight names. Gaius was noted for his hospitality that was enjoyed by Paul and all the church. Hospitality is a command, but it is also a gift. There are some who are better at being hospitable than others. But we are all to have a spirit and willingness to share our homes and lives:Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9-10).
How hospitable are you? Do you open your home and heart to others? If not, why not?
Erastus was the director of public works, a prominent public figure. There is always something special about a person of prominence who comes to Christ, whether they be a professional athlete, politician or performer. People somehow feel affirmed in their own faith when a person of fame is a Christian as well. It was like that in Paul’s day and it is still like that today.
As always, I welcome your comments to this week's study. For additional Bible studies, check out my website archive, which contains a complete collection of all my verse-by-verse New Testament studies, along with the unpublished volume of The Faith Files.
Stay tuned, for we will start to study another book of the New Testament in the next week or two.