Romans 16:17-27

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I want to invite you to turn to Romans chapter 16, where we are today. Romans chapter 16, as we conclude our the final verses of Romans chapter 16, which has been an incredible book for us as a church family to be able to go through together. The Book of Romans is one of the most cherished books in all of scripture. It’s probably had a bigger impact in church history than more than any other book in the Bible. And so it’s if you’re new to the Christian faith, it’s a great book to start in. If if you’re searching, it’s a great book to begin with. And if you’ve been a believer all of your life, it’s beautiful. Just to continue to refresh yourself in the book of Romans because it reminds us exactly who we are without Christ and who we are because of Christ and what it means to live our faith in Christ. And the first three chapters of the Book of Romans really shows our place of desperation without Jesus and the significance of why Jesus had to come pursuing our life. And then from that point, the the Bible reminds us, beginning in Romans, for it’s the grace of God, that that sets us free. And he uses Abraham as the illustration of a of a pagan man living in a pagan land, that God’s grace came into his life and transformed his life. And through Abraham, all people could all people groups could be blessed.

And that gives us the opportunity now to know the truth of who Christ is and to walk in light of that. And we find in Romans eight, there’s no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus that we have the opportunity by faith in Christ to call the Lord ABBA Father, connecting to Him, knowing that all things work together for good, to those who are called according to Christ purpose, those who find themselves in the Lord, that God, God can reconcile all wrong that we’ve endured in this world, that God sees everything that we go through in life. He knows exactly where we are and exactly what we need, and He cares for us. And the way that we see that is God becomes flesh and pursues us for relationship. That while we do the sinning Christ does the saving, and in our darkest, desperate need of life, God does not give up on us. He pursues us by giving his life for us that we can find freedom in Him. There’s no one that has loved you to the degree that Christ has loved you. And so in Romans 12, then that’s where Paul begins the story of your calling now to respond in Christ, to give your life back as Jesus has given his life for you and the rest of. Romans, starting in Chapter 12, talks about the living of our life in light of Christ.

And today we conclude in Romans 16. And on Paul’s heart now is is what we’re going to do from here. He wants us to get to the end of Romans and not seeing this as a completion, everyone move on. But really to understand this book of Romans as the beginning of the journey of our walk with the Lord, that now that he’s shared with us the truth of who we are, in light of the truth of who God is, now we have this opportunity to live it out, not just to to read words on a page and just put it away, but to to daily practice. What what Paul has given us in this passage of the Bible. And today Paul’s going to talk about three people on the spiritual battlefield. We’re all born on a on a spiritual battlefield. And the way you choose to respond matters. The battle comes to your door. In fact, I would say what you do in life is driven by what you believe. And what you do in life has spiritual implications. And and Paul wants us to see that even down to the basic details of of the minute things that we might find experience in life as unimportant has some significance, some under workings of a of a truth that we carry in our heart that leads us to do the things that we do. And Paul wants us to recognize the importance of those things.

And so he talks about three types of people that we encounter on the spiritual battlefield. And truth be told, at any given moment, we could be any of these three types of people. But it’s important to recognize we’re going to look at the first two as a warning and the last one of what really Paul is encouraging us to do with our lives and and recognition of of the types of people that we could choose to be from this day forward. And point number one in your notes is this that we can be number one, the deceiver, We can be the deceiver. Now, when we hear the word the deceiver, I know we often connect that to Satan. He certainly referred to as the deceiver, as the ultimate deceiver. But we can mimic him in in our behavior. And when we think about the idea that that someone could be a deceiver towards us in life, we we can raise this type of a of a concern where we want to distance ourselves from anything in this world and run away from the idea of ever being deceived. We want to live in a bubble and we want to isolate ourselves and we don’t want that, that type of thing in our in our world. And in this passage of Scripture, we’re going to recognize is when Paul talks about one who comes to deceive or a deceiver.

Paul is not telling you to to run away from everyone and hide. What he’s saying is he’s talking to a church community and he’s saying within the body of Christ, you want to teach the word of God, but you don’t want to give a platform to a person that is there to deceive you. And he helps us understand how do I identify that person in this world? World. We are called to walk as light and darkness, which means we pursue people with the truth of who Christ is. And some people are deceived and some people are the deceiver. But we want to pursue people with the light of Christ, knowing the truth of who the Lord is, because the only hope that people have is found in Jesus. And if God’s people are hiding from everyone, then then no one hears what what God desires and the truth of the gospel that sets us free. So when we talk in terms of deceiver, we’re not trying to get you to panic or to live in fear. God doesn’t give you a spirit of fear. It tells you in first Timothy one but a power, the power of a of a sound mind in Christ because of who Jesus is, you have that confidence in your relationship with the Lord. But as I say that it’s also important to recognize no one shows up and says, Hey, everyone, just so you know, I’m a deceiver.

That’s not a that’s not a platform they step on to present themselves. Most deceivers don’t even see themselves as a deceiver. At best, they think that they’re just simply a misunderstood sheep. Let me say it like this A deceiver in scripture is often called a wolf, and most wolves don’t think they’re wolves. They simply think they’re misunderstood sheep. They don’t even recognize the deception of their own things that they’re teaching. Now, some of them do, but some of them don’t. They just think that they might be misunderstood and they just need people to to hear what they’re about and and listen to what they say and then they’ll begin to understand. And so people have deception or deceivers. They they may come to it from a place of just absolute ignorance, not knowing the truth of who God is. And they’re not going to announce to you that that’s who they are. So so what Paul does in this passage is he helps us recognize four ways to identify who a deceiver might be. I mean, even Scripture, Second Corinthians, Chapter 11, the Bible tells us that Satan appears as an angel of light. And what he’s saying is Satan doesn’t show up with with horns and a pitchfork. Satan shows up with a perception of good because what Satan wants to do is to deceive you because he knows if he can get you to buy into a lie and not even an absolute lie, just a half truth, that he can destroy your life.

And so he comes in with this deception that looks good on the outside, but on the inside it will completely rob your soul. And Paul in this passage identifies what that deception looks like. And he says this in verse 17, I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause division. And what he begins with is this idea of of two visions. That’s what division literally means. There are two visions that God created you in Christ for one purpose. One purpose. The church is called to on mission in this world. And it’s this simple. God created you to know Him. God made you for relationship. And as you enjoy the relationship that you have in Christ, as your life is surrendered to him, he transforms you in His image and God starts to do a work in you. And as God does that work in you, God then does a work through you, because what you begin to believe and embrace starts to be lived out in your life. And in so doing, as your relationship with God grows, so your relationship with others are impacted. God calls us on a mission in this world as we journey in a relationship with him to make a difference in our relationship in this world through the gospel. That’s why Jesus said the two greatest commandments are to love God, love others.

And then he He gave us the great commission to go in this world and make disciples. But here’s what happens over time Missions. Mission drifts and vision fades. We start to get distracted through the busyness of life. And we we lose sight of what God calls us to in this world. And it’s in those moments of distraction and and busyness that deception can lead your heart astray, that you forget the purpose for your divine design in the Lord and you start to make other things a priority in life. And this is exactly where where the deceiver comes in, in sharing into your heart a different joy, which is really ultimately no joy at all. And for the moment, you buy into the lie until you remind yourself of the reason for which you were created in Christ and start to walk in that relationship with him and so Paul warns us, they bring a division. And then with that he says, and by the way, that’s the point in your notes, is they deter you from the mission. They deter you from the mission. Point number two, they complicate the simplicity of Jesus. This is under under the first point in your notes. They complicate the simplicity of Jesus. And he says this The deceivers create obstacles contrary to the doctrine you have been taught. Avoid them. Meaning what Paul is saying is they always make it about Jesus plus something else, as if Jesus isn’t enough for your life.

God created you for relationship. God pursued you. God paid it all for you on the cross. And suddenly people of deception start to pretend like, Well, that’s good, but you need to add this extra thing to it in order to make it better. And so Paul is saying, look, they teach different, different doctrines that become obstacles to the simplicity of just pursuing Jesus with your life. Jesus is is more than enough. In the Apostle Paul’s day, religious leaders followed him around. And and after Paul would establish these churches, they would come behind Paul and they would teach additional doctrine. And as if the sufficiency of Christ wasn’t enough for their life, in fact, Paul warned us in Second Corinthians 11, he said, But I fear lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should become corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. I mean, what what Paul is acknowledging is people can come along and even teach about a Jesus. But just because they use the name Jesus doesn’t make it Jesus. Because can I tell you, you don’t get your own Jesus. It’s not about telling Jesus who he is. It’s about listening to who Jesus says he is. And he’s king of kings. He’s Lord of Lords. We’re not here to tell Jesus who he needs to be for us.

We’re here to find out who he is and surrender our life to him. And what Paul is saying is there is there will be become this this perversion from who Christ is in order to deter us from the simplicity of enjoying that relationship which God has called us to in Christ. And the reason for that is point number three, they’re self serving. They have a different motive in what they’re pursuing in life. And Paul says it like this for such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but rather they serve their own appetites. They may even use the name Jesus, but they’re not talking about the biblical Jesus. And what’s sobering when you see this and you start to realize these deceivers, who they are, they’re actually religious people. Some of the most dangerous people in your relationship with Christ are religious people. Because they’re going to promote something contrary to the simplicity of the grace of Christ that sets you free. But Jesus is enough. They don’t have to pay a penance or walk around in guilt and shame, but rather, rather than run away from Christ and prove anything to God, we come straight to God in our need. Because Jesus has done all that needs to be done for our relationship with God to be laid open. And we we put ourselves down before him and embrace what Christ has done.

And they say that the the motive within this passage is revealing in itself because their purposes aren’t even really about Jesus, but rather their purposes are for their own appetites. They don’t have humble leadership. Rather, they’re they’re proud people. And in so doing, they become dangerous. They’re more interested in holding to what they want rather than what God says, and they become vicious and even keeping their own idols. You see that by by the fact that the religious leaders in Jesus’s day pursued Jesus with a with with a hatred that ultimately led to his death. Their motive, being of pride was in pursuit of their own fame or their own power or their own following and popularity, maybe even their own financial gain. And then Paul says this. Point number four, they were more interested in being popular rather than being biblical. And it says that their lives are marked by smooth talk and flattery. Meaning they’re people of charisma, but they lack character. Their entertainers more than they’re really genuine leaders in the Lord. And so they want to tell people what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear, which is why they’re more interested in being popular rather than than being biblical. Flattery certainly strokes your ego. But at the end of the day, it will leave your soul empty. In terms of speaking of flattery, if if they’re proud people, they they’ll they’ll boost your ego.

If you’re a fearful person, they’ll play into that fear and in the end tell you to trust them. And by the way, can I can I can I just mention when we talk about being a deceiver, here’s one of the ways a deceiver will will play into us with flattery, especially if we’re fearful. People will become so concerned with problems in the world around us and not like where things are going. And they might say something like this Don’t trust anything out there. Rather trust me, I know the answers. Can I tell you one of the most dangerous things I can say to you this morning is to put your your spiritual future simply on whatever it is that I tell you. At the end of the day, that is not what we want to be about as a church at all. I think it’s important to to teach the Word of God to walk through Scripture. That’s why we do it verse by verse together, expository, so we can see it as a as a community in Christ. That way, if anyone goes in air and what they teach, we we have a community to correct those errors. And it’s not about following a person or a religious leader. It is about following a person. But his name is Jesus, right? It’s not it’s not about following me or some other person that we put up on a stage, but rather that the end goal is not to make much of anyone up here but to make much of him.

So it’s not about stroking our ego or promoting our position or pursuing any spotlight or financial gain or whatever, whatever might come with that that someone might be seeking after. But to know Jesus and make him known with our lives. And so Paul is saying, look, they’ll they’ll feed into that that flattery and in our lives and and find out what what might tickle our ears and and share that with us because they’re more interested in being popular than being biblical. And so the second person on the spiritual battlefield related to the deceiver then is the deceived. And Paul says it like this They deceive the hearts of the naive. They deceive the hearts of the naive. And the naive is literally someone that thinks everyone is nice. Everyone has your best interests in mind. That’s that’s the way the the idea of naive translates in the Greek text is, is they just assume the best of everyone. They all have the the best intentions for me and my future. And what Paul is saying is if that’s you walking into the spiritual battlefield of life, it’s not going to go well. You are you are naive. People don’t always have your best interests in mind because what they’re after is serving themselves. In fact, what Paul is acknowledging through the deceiver is rather than use their life to help you, they want to use your life like a tool to benefit them.

And it’s important for God’s people to be mindful of that, to understand not what others might say, but rather what God says. And and when we hear this word naive, oftentimes we may not say this out loud, but oftentimes we think, you know, poor them. I’m not going to be duped. But poor, poor those people that are naive. I’ve never been a naive person. I can I can read people. I know what their intentions are. I really don’t trust anyone. But truth be told, all of us are susceptible to buying into a lie because none of us are perfect. And there’s a couple of ways. These aren’t the only ways that when you think about the idea of of being naive, I think there’s a there’s a couple of ways that I think are important for us to to think through that out of all the ways people could be naive to that, I think are predominant right now in in our culture one one is this we are susceptible to to be naive to what the culture reinforces. Meaning you want to know where you’re going to be naive. It’s found in what your culture promotes. In fact, Tony Rinky says this No sins are more dangerous to you than the ones your culture celebrates.

And here’s why. Were created as human beings that love community. We find our identity in community. We want to feel valued, appreciated and accepted. The way that we find that is within your own cultural context. And so when your culture promotes something, we feel the need in our life to have to affirm those things. But but can I encourage you more important than what your culture says, it’s more important to ask, What does God say? The authority of who God is in our lives. Understand that Jesus calls us to walk countercultural. Sometimes your culture may hold to truth, but there are other times where your culture does not. And it’s far more important to to take the road less traveled. Narrow is the gate, Jesus says, and and stand with Christ than to stand with cold. The only way that’s going to come is through confidence in your identity and who you are in Jesus and the hope that you carry in Him. If you feel insecure, you don’t understand your identity in Christ, your worth, your value, your meaning, your purpose, You’re always going to be susceptible to the temptation of culture and the pressure of being accepted in community. Because as human beings, we long to feel value and to connect and feel appreciated. And so wherever your culture is going, that is always the danger for us to be find acceptance and our and our worth and and to follow that trail.

But that trail can often lead to destruction. I mean, can I just give you I’m going to just share with you just a few thoughts that you’ll hear in our own culture. And it’s repeated so much so that often even within the church community, people say it if it’s true, and it has no biblical basis at all. Let me let me just toss a few out. For example, pride is not a virtue. Pride is a vice, not a virtue. Biblically speaking to celebrate those things, that that is contrary to what Scripture says to us as God’s people. Pride in biblically speaking, leads to destruction. The language of God is one of humility, ultimately demonstrated in Jesus, who became the servant of servants and gave his life that we may find freedom in him and we’re called to mimic him in this world. It’s not a place of pride. Pride is self destruction. Pride is is what led to the demise of Satan. It’s what leads to the demise of God’s people in the Garden of Eden thinking themselves better than God. They usurped the position of God and declare themselves God over the Lord. As if God was withholding from them his best thinking. They knew better than God boasting in pride. And the problem with that is you did not make you. You’re not the creator of you. You don’t define the purpose of you.

God is the one that created you. And the only way we find ourselves walking in light of that is to be humble before him as creator. I don’t say that to to to to be mean to anyone or to attack people. I understand within our culture there are certain things that are that are promoted. And because it’s promoted, people start to believe it, believe it as if it’s true. But just because people say it don’t doesn’t make it true. People can believe things sincerely in life and they can be sincerely wrong. Now, in response to that, when I walk in this world, it doesn’t mean I go after people and I attack people. I walk with the understanding man. People are just living what culture is telling them, and the only way they’re going to discover anything else is for me to be a light in darkness and to walk as a servant and concern for their hearts. The way that Jesus walked as a servant and concern for my heart. The only way I found freedom is for Christ to pursue me and my sin and darkness. But it’s because of that great love. My life has been transformed. I mean, let me give you a few more. We often say this to ourselves, to others, or to ourselves. Be true to myself or follow my heart. That could work out nice. As long as your heart is focused on the right thing and the right truth.

And maybe it just so happens because you might have had a decent upbringing, but it’s not. It’s not leading you to the idea that that it’s it’s because of Christ maybe that your heart is pursuing the right thing. I mean, what if that heart was never centered on Jesus? What if what their heart is longing after has nothing to do with what God’s heart is about to begin with. And if that kind of advice is given to you apart from Christ or you’ve had no biblical upbringing in your life, pursuing whatever your heart is after is dangerous and destructive. I mean, Jeremiah, 17 nine, says the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it? Or this be true. Excuse me. As long as you are good. That’s all that matters. I mean, if that is all that matters, then why did Jesus come and die, right? Jesus died for a reason. That reason, significant or speak your own truth as if we’re the foundation for where truth derives? My son asked me, I think it was last week we were driving to lunch or one of my kids. Anyway, we’re driving to lunch after church and he says, Dad, which is more important? Truth or Jesus? Interesting question. I mean, he’s, I think nine or maybe somewhere around there. I don’t know. Hopefully I got that right.

Ask me that question. Pretty profound for his age. Which is more important? Truth or Jesus? And and my answer to him, depending on how you answer it, you can approach it a couple of ways. But honestly, it’s it’s both. But more importantly, it’s Jesus meaning Jesus is he. Jesus doesn’t just share truth. Jesus is truth. And if you don’t have Jesus, there is no truth to be found. And the Bible tells us in John 14 six, Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and Jesus is the source of truth itself. It’s not found in us. We don’t define it. We can experience it. But truth transcends you because you didn’t make you before. There was you. There was truth. Objective truth is found in Christ himself. Or we say this whatever makes you happy. I mean, I could just say there’s there’s a lot of people in jail today that probably followed that statement. Right. Just because it makes you happy doesn’t make it wise or good or right. But we say those kinds of things in our culture and it’s not necessarily leading us to healthy thinking or God made me this way. We look at the things that we do wrong and we just kind of chalk it up to, well, that’s just that’s just me. But reality is, God calls all of us to surrender something to him or all of us to him. Because all of us walk contrary to God in some way.

We’re all sinful in our nature. And so just to talk it up, well, this is just who I am. Who you are is what Jesus came to rescue, to transform it into something different. Because God has called you to more than simply just be where you are and the state that we are. It needs rescue. That’s why Jesus pursues us. Whatever feels right. Or whatever. Sounds good. All unhealthy foundations for us because the source of origin in all of those comments is you. All of those comments look to you as if you’re you’re you’re the purpose and meaning and the origin to life. But the answer to life. Has never been within you. The answer has always been beyond you. So even the foundations within our culture with all these selves, self esteem and self worth and the answer to life has never been found within you. Because you didn’t make you. You were made for a greater purpose that transcends you. It’s beyond you. It’s found in your creator. So to suggest that you’re the source to those things is to grossly undermine the significance of who Christ is in your life. And so we’re easily deceived or we can be deceived by the pressure that our culture places on us because we want to feel important. We want to belong. We want to have community and purpose in life. And the more important place for us to look isn’t within culture, but but rather within Christ.

Desperation, grabbing a hold of Jesus and discovering the reason for which he created us. And I would say this The second way we’re susceptible to be naive is through our vulnerabilities. Through our vulnerability. Sometimes when we get desperate as people, we look for hope. And we look for hope in the wrong places because we don’t understand how the gospel transforms life and ultimately gives us hope. You might remember this group of people, Heaven’s Gate. These were the crazy people that thought they could ride a comet in 1997. They they thought they could ride this place called Hale-Bopp Comet if they drink the Kool-Aid, Everyone, you know, every, let’s say, every religious group might look cool, welcoming, inviting. In the beginning, you think, what a loving community until you find yourself, until you show up one Sunday and they pass out the Kool-Aid. Right. And then you’re like, Oh, no, what did I get myself into? But but that that’s what happened in this story. And you know what’s what’s interesting? If you study the people a part of Heaven’s Gate that they thought they were going to ride a comet, this was in 1997, San Diego, California. 39 people died, committed suicide, and believing they were going to catch the telling of a comet. When you study the group of people that gave in to that belief, what’s what’s powerful, I think, in that study is you find out they’re just regular people.

I mean, you had computer engineers, nurses, teachers, business owners. There were a few weirdos. There were. But but most of them most of them were just regular Joes. Right? Like they you look at the list, you think, my word, these these are these are educated people. How in the world did they get get to a place like this where they thought they were going to be riding a comet one day? When you when you study their backgrounds, what you find is majority of them had recently gone through a significant tragedy. And they were looking for hope. Problem is, is they were looking for it in a dangerous place. There is the deceiver. And then there is the deceived. And all of us have the possibility of falling into that place, of being naive, buying into a lie. As we listen to the message of deception. Because we feel the pressure of wanting to fit in. We’ve gone through something difficult in life and we’re just looking for hope to anyone that might flatter us in a in the moment with something that we could grab a hold of, even if it’s not true. And so Paul then encourages you this way. And point number three. He wants you to be the faithful. Be the faithful. He says, for your obedience is known to all so that I rejoice over you.

When he talks about your obedience, the Apostle Paul is not just saying, Look, you’re living a good life, meaning you’re just walking out and doing moral things, right? One of the beautiful things about Christianity that makes us different than any other religion in this world is that what God calls us to in our obedience isn’t so much morality as it is relationship. And the result of that relationship is that we we live a good life. But any religion in this world can give you a list of due goods, a list of morals, and you could do good your whole life and never have a relationship with the Lord. God calls you to more than just do good. God calls you to walk in faithfulness with him to to enjoy that relationship with Christ. And the best way to enjoy that relationship is to walk in obedience. It’s like this as a parent, if you have a child, if your child is ever disobedient, you as a parent, you always love your kid. But when your kids are disobedient, it strains the relationship. But when they walk in obedience to the parents, you have more delight and enjoying that relationship. And that’s what Paul is saying in this passage, that when it comes to the church, they’ve not lost focus to the importance of who Christ is in their lives. They’ve not lost sight of the mission that God has called them on.

In fact, they’re living it out faithfully. And because of that, he’s rejoicing and it’s making a difference in this world. And that’s what God calls us to, because you understand there’s the pressure of culture and there are people in this world just trying to find meaning in identity. And if you disagree with them, they’ll try to even cancel you. But but do you understand who you are in Christ and how important that is, that no matter what people do or don’t do, you know the steps to freedom? You know who you are in Jesus. You know what Christ has done for you. You know the worth that’s been placed on your life because God has given his life for you. And regardless of what other people’s opinions are, that that the opinion of God far outweighs all of those things. Because you know, what you have in Jesus endures for eternity, that this world will pass away. But what you have in Christ lasts and you would rather be right in Christ. Then be considered right in the eyes of the world. And so Paul is thinking about this church and he’s just saying, look, as we get to the end of the book of Romans, don’t just put this on the shelf, but but make this your lifestyle in Christ. Think about your obedience. I just want to continue to encourage that, he says.

But I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. And even in this story, Paul is alluding all the way back to the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were faced with these same decisions. And rather, rather than pursue Christ, they give in to the temptation and God comes in with his grace and reminds us of the ultimate delivery in which he will crush Satan’s head. And so, as for us as a picture of God’s people, as we as we walk in the spiritual battlefield that is life, everything that you do matters because it’s all driven by a belief. And Jesus is Lord or he isn’t. And so what you do with your life matters and with the reminder that ultimately Jesus has the final say over it all. And Paul then goes on and he talks about these individuals that are traveling with him in order that that the church would see how they’re a part of a greater picture of what God desires to do in this world. And then he ends with this prayer. Verse 25. Now to him, who is able to strengthen you? According to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ. He’s saying that this idea of being established right, finding your stronghold in life, not being swayed, but rather rooted in the truth of your identity in Christ.

According to the revelation, he goes on of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but now has been disclosed and through the prophetic writings, has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal life, to bring about the obedience of faith to the only wise God be glory for evermore through Jesus Christ. Amen. I love it. Paul ends with a prayer for the church. But. But what he desires to see in their life is their life established in the beauty of Jesus and to never let go. What Jesus paid was far too high of a price for for the church just to treat that haphazardly. It’s everything that we are and it’s all of our hope wrapped in him. And Paul is encouraging the church to to think about the way that God has orchestrated this throughout history, that God in the Old Testament, He prophetically declared what he was going to do. But throughout the Old Testament to people, it remained a mystery. They couldn’t quite exactly see how it would play out in the grand scheme of things. But now here we are on the on the back side of the story where we’ve seen God come in the flesh and God has given his life in that great mystery, revealed that we all can belong in Jesus and be priests, royal priests in His kingdom, to live for his glory forever.

What a beautiful place it gives us to represent God in this world as we as we know him in relationship. And we get to live meaningful lives to endure forever. Let me close with this. There have been studies about World War Two that say during World War two, people were considered happier than in any other time in history. It’s kind of an interesting thought because World War II was a world war. Right. But but some people have done studies and they make the argument that during World War two, people were at their happiest and they give this reasoning for it. It’s because finally in life, by a large scale, especially if you’re an ally, if you’re one of the allies in this war, by by a larger scale, human beings stop pursuing places of popularity and financial gain and whatever they thought important in life, and they made their life about one purpose. They carried this concern. And they they knew if they weren’t victorious, that humanity was at stake. And so rather than think about how much money they can make or rather than think about their status in society, they are all driving to this one purpose that they could find victory because they knew at the end of the day, that’s what ultimately mattered. And so their their life driven towards that end.

In fact, Winston Churchill, he famously said about this moment, he said, Let us brace ourselves to our duty and not so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say this was their finest hour. You know, it’s interesting. They say right after the war, people immediately reverted back to what they were doing before. Rather than that common purpose they started to pursue. I guess in Britain, the Britain dream. But in America, the American dream. Your your status symbols and how big you can make your bank account and what other people thought about you. That became the priority. But during this season. People were laser focused on a purpose. And in that purpose, they found joy in meaning. And guys in Romans 16. This is exactly what Paul’s saying about you. More than just this temporal life in Jesus, you have a purpose that matters for all of eternity. And you think about the significance of your calling in this world. You’re walking in a spiritual battlefield. And you know the one who delivers us from the darkness. What greater purpose can be placed on your life? Then to see people know Jesus and to walk with him for all of eternity. Paul spoke for the church in the first century, I’d say as Paul’s hope for the church in the 21st century that we would find our identity in Christ and live it to the best of our abilities as we trust in Him.

Romans 16:1-16

Jonah vs. Paul