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No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of anyone else—Charles Dickens.
is about the picking up of one another’s burdens. Is it fitting… The gospel, which is our theology, is about sacrifice, serving, helping, protecting, blessing and all this freely without expecting something in return.
Sacrifice is where we find ourselves this morning with Phoebe . Paul wants Rome to accept this outsider. Why? Because she is an insider 16:1b. Paul wanted Rome to accept a Christian servant. She was probably serving Rome this letter .
“A patron of many and Paul himself,” she was no doubt a busy lady.
The gospel put her to work.
There is no greater point in life than this— serving the church. In our modern world, life is consumed by so much, but the only life worth living is found here:
v3, “fellow workers in Christ Jesus”
v6 “worked hard for you”
v9 “fellow worker in Christ”
v12 “workers in the Lord.”
The only life worth living is the life working for Christ and his church.
What kind of work?
Patronage: We find homes opened up to strangers; We find mothers mothering those not their own.
What we find is hospitality. The word most often associated with hospitality in the NT is xenos. Xenophobia is the dislike or fear of strangers. In the NT one who receives visitors is said to be philoxenos, i.e., a “lover of strangers.”
Is this not the essence of the gospel? For God so loved…
The garden is the place of hospitality, where we will dwell… When Israel’s prophets looked… (). According to Isaiah, this great banquet would be spread for everyone on earth: “On this mountain the Lord of Hosts will make for all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of wine … He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces …” Jesus echoes this feast when he pronounced that many would come “from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven” ().
How did Jesus end his ministry with the disciples?
Our God is a God of hospitality.
This is our salvation. We were saved to enjoy God’s hospitality.
Hospitality is eschatological. Practicing it is a foretaste of heaven .
Hospitality is our Christian duty. The church in Rome was to “welcome” which… Because Phoebe is in the Lord she deserved Rome’s welcome. They were to welcome her in a certain way, “in a way worthy of saints.” Phoebe knew this, “for she has been a great help to many people and to me personally.”
What kind of hospitality is this?
She was traveling from home in service of Paul and would need help in a foreign place. She would need protection and provision. This welcoming, “Greet pricsca and Aquia… Greet Mary… etc” is hospitality.
Word and Deed greeting (danger)
They needed service. Hospitality is work. There is a lot of work in this text. Hospitality is our Christian duty. It is work and It is intimate.
Hospitality is work. It will not always be easy. Why? Because the church is made up of strangers. Take Phoebe for example.
“Bright” Pagan mythology (Artemis)
Well to do (names)
Phoebe was a converted Pagan, which is not surprising… Paul commends this well-to-do ex-pagan because she was now “a servant of the church.”
Phoebe was a converted Pagan, which is not surprising to those who know the gospel. Killing off pagans is what the gospel does best. By faith we have died with Christ. Any exPagans here? You know this story, “I was once blind, but now I see.” Paul commends this well-to-do ex-pagan because she was now “a servant of the church.” The word servant is the Greek word for “deacon.” So, the question has been asked since antiquity, “Was she an official deacon?” Is this a prooftext for deaconess? Now we cannot rely on the word alone because the word diakonos, is applied in Scripture to just about every Christian. All Christians are servants. Luther said it best, “We are free from all and servants of all.” This word has many applications for Christians in general and it is even twice used to describe Christ. Only in and , does the word denote the “office” of deacon. So in the debate on deaconess we really have to lean elsewhere for answers and when we do, we don’t find the ordination of women anywhere in Scripture. Biblical ordination takes us back to the Garden, where ordination becomes a creational ordinance. This is important because ordination has nothing to do with the fact that women can do whatever men can. Its not science or politics here. If you know my ministry, then you know it hardly ever is. What is it then? Theology, ordination is 100% theological, spiritual, and covenantal.
Deacon and ,
The word servant is the Greek word for “deacon.” So, the question has been asked since antiquity, “Was she an official deacon?” Is this a prooftext for deaconess? Now we cannot rely on the word alone because the word diakonos, is applied in Scripture to just about every Christian. All Christians are servants. Luther said it best, “We are free from all and servants of all.” This word has many applications for Christians in general and it is even twice used to describe Christ. Only in and , does the word denote the “office” of deacon. So in the debate on deaconess we really have to lean elsewhere for answers and when we do, we don’t find the ordination of women anywhere in Scripture. Biblical ordination takes us back to the Garden, where ordination becomes a creational ordinance. This is important because ordination has nothing to do with the fact that women can do whatever men can. Its not science or politics here. If you know my ministry, then you know it hardly ever is. What is it then? Theology, ordination is 100% theological, spiritual, and covenantal.
The point is hospitality by and for strangers. She was of a certain social cast, but that did not keep... In the ancient church there was a great social and economic gap, nevertheless that gap was closed at church.
The point is hospitality by and for strangers. She was of a certain social cast, but that did not keep her from serving those lower than her. In the ancient church there was a great social and economic gap, nevertheless that gap was closed at church. We are not a cast society but we do have social and economic gaps. There are strangers sitting next to you. Here’s the deal, we must love all and care for everyone in the church. What do we call hospitality when its given only to those like us? Narcism! We are not a niche church of you. It will be hard, but reach out to all kinds of Christians for here God has made the many, all types, one.
We are not a cast society but we do have social and economic gaps.
Here’s the deal, we must love all and care for everyone in the church.
Narcism!
It will be hard, but reach out to all kinds of Christians for here God has made the many, all types, one.
The point is work. That word deacon means cleaning up tables. Phoebe was a patron, which means she gave up her time and money in service to Paul and countless others. As a rich person, Phoebe no doubt gained her means as a Pagan. The gospel is interesting here, it takes our life but does not necessarily call us to leave our past completely.
Cultural position to which she has been called.
We keep our legitimate work and place in life, nevertheless, we now use it not only for our wellbeing but for the church. Hospitality costs time, talents, and money.
It will cost your home . This is the house of . This husband and wife were well off too, not only does their names give it away but they had a house large enough for worship.
Early Christians did not have large public facilities for meeting, so they used their own houses.
The point, if the Lord has blessed you with means, wealth and a home, then its not for your use only. May our homes also be a place of rest and peace for Christians and the church.
It’s hard to offer your home. Hospitality is not easy .
Paul ().
They opened their homes to missionaries. Hospitality is not convenient and may be trouble but is nevertheless a blessing to the church. Hospitality is the offering of your home. These two opened up their home to discipleship. One day a fervent preacher, an Alexandrian Jew, named Apollos, arrived in Ephesus. When Prisca and Aquila noticed that in spite of his eloquence and great learning there was something lacking in his knowledge of “the way of God,” they invited him to their home and gave him further instruction (). May our homes be used for discipleship that is places of hospitality.
Lastly hospitality is intimate .
Roman Prooftext
Actually the opposite is taught here. It was common for those of the same rank… Rome’s practice is… The point with this holy kiss is unity, not superiority. It’s Lord Supper stuff, intimate fellowship where the many… The Lord’s Supper closes gaps, where those on the Left… all of us together become one. Our hospitality must close the same gaps, which means you will be reaching out to all kinds of Christians. Not just reaching out, but that you will cherish those not like you, because we are brothers and sisters in Christ. There is a love here that must be distinguished from the profane friendships we have in the world.
nonChristian friends
This holy kiss, however means we are bound closer together as Christians. There is more in the family of God than in our earthly families. The gospel is key here, where Christ is not only the door to the sheepfold, the preparer of heavenly chambers, but the way to the Father (10:1ff.; 14:1–6). He is himself is the place where believers worship and dwell. He is the means of hospitality. In him we all live… In him there is closeness, unity, and we must exercise that same intimacy, that is we must love one another in the church, and perhaps even more those not like us. Hosting those not like you is a foretaste of heaven… In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen
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