"We Can Hear the Crunching Sound"; Romans 13-16
December 1, 2007

C. R. Oliver

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December 1, 2007

"We Can Hear the Crunching Sound"
Romans 13-16


One of the great promises to the saints, passed down from heaven through Paul, is found in Romans 16.
And the God of peace will crush satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
Romans 16:20
The saints have much to rejoice about in this verse. First, it is through an initiative from the God of Peace by which He will crush the prince of darkness. Second, it is under "your" feet. (The deed will be accomplished under the feet of the saints.) Third, this event will be accomplished shortly. Fourth, it is the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ that will accompany the saints. Fifth, it is not an option, but a sealed event (meaning it will happen; it will be for the rejoicing of the saints, like Isaiah 54:17).

Note must be made that the organizer of every evil plot, design and deception is to be crushed by the King of Glory and Righteousness.

The word "crush" is worthy of closer scrutiny.
NT: 4937 suntribo (soon-tree'-bo); from NT:4862 and the base of NT:5147; to crush completely, i.e. to shatter (literally or figuratively): KJV - break (in pieces), broken to shivers (+-hearted), bruise.
Notice how complete this word is and how specific its import. There is no recourse after the event. This verse gives boldness to the weakest of saints. This verse calls for renewed hope in the middle of warfare (the battle will be over shortly). This verse rises above all circumstances by which the attacker and accuser might bring to bear. It resounds of Isa 59:19-21
When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him.

"The Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob," Says the LORD.
"As for Me," says the LORD, "this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants' descendants," says the LORD, "from this time and forevermore.
Romans 16: 20 is a strengthening passage, for it sees an end to all onslaught. It is a "battle cry" to every true believer, like Jericho was to Joshua; it will be accomplished shortly.

Who will hear the Lord in this verse and believe its truth? He who brings peace to the heart of the saint has issued an ultimatum of fear in the mind of satan. The Lord makes His saints victors that exceed to the ultimate defeat and crowns His people with the grace of the Lord Jesus Himself.

Spoken at the end of the great redemption passages of Romans, it stands like an Ebenezer in a world of clamor.

Joined to other verses:

However, the sentence begins with "and," meaning it is tied to something else. If one examines the chapter, there are several things to notice. First, there is a long list of greetings that come from various saints who are distinguished in various ways. Names flow out of the missionary's heart - - - names that are real people who have overcome and who stand out in the experience of Paul. Examine them.

Phoebe, who was a servant of the church, helper of many and worthy of the saints (is worthy to be helped). Priscilla and Aquila were fellow workers, who risked their necks for Paul's life. Their house church was noteworthy as well.

The list continues with Mary, "who labored much for us," and Andronicus and Junia, kinsmen, fellow prisoners, who were in Christ before Paul.

Often, these names mean little to the reader except to skip over lightly; here they come alive with verse 20. They are shining examples of hope and service, who take flesh and Spirit in names like Amplians, my beloved; Urbanus, fellow worker in Christ; Stachys, Paul's beloved.

Apelles was a man approved in Christ, as were those of the household of Aristobulus. The list grew to include: Herodion, Narcissus, Tryphen, Tryphosa, Persis and Rufus (a man chosen in the Lord and whose mother was a mother to Paul). Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and all the brethren with them, formed a unit of blessing. Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister and Olympas and all the saints who were with them, constituted a cadre of power. These were saints.

Like the roll call of Hebrews 11, these saints exercised faith, added good works and walked in the Spirit. They were a fellowship, a communion, a commonwealth. They could be trusted, relied upon, called upon and counted on. They were a role model for those who would "enter in" to their ranks from distant time. They constituted the "city of God" on earth. It was/is the will of God that every saint be surrounded by those of like faith and order. Tribulation demands a cadre of those who can be "counted on" when times are rough and ways stringent. Every saint knows, through the Spirit, a list of names that have this same testimony. Oh! That on Sunday, one could assemble only with such as keep this testimony. Greeting would be with a holy kiss and confidences could be shared that would find no place at the gossip table. There would be no hesitancy to admit failure or submit to the saints a testimony of victory. Intimacies would be honored like family and upon such; the Holy Spirit could give rhema, prophecy and direction. Alas, it is not so!

Paul buffered the beauty of his fellowship with a teaching about the wiles of satan before releasing the power of verse 20.

Verse 17 blasts those who should be avoided at all costs. These are the ones spoken of in Jude and II Peter. They are: (1) those that cause divisions and offenses; (2) they teach and practice things contrary to the doctrine of Paul and Jesus Christ. One admonition follows them: Avoid them! Their aim is deception of the simple with their self serving ways. Simply put, "They do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ (verse 18)."

Is it right to assume that in our day the tables are turned? Yes, those with the Pauline attributes of saints are harder to number, but they are there and they are revealed by the Spirit.

Paul then launched into a compliment toward his Roman brethren and flavored it with a proverb. He admonished their obedience and cautioned them to be, "Wise in what is good and innocent concerning evil (verse 20)." (Can your fellowship, church or convention be applauded for its obedience to Jesus Christ and the Spirit? Would your fellowship be better off hanging a banner with the proverb of Paul than the one they display?)

It is to such a group of saints, which Paul describes, that verse 20 belongs both among the Romans and those of us in the last days. Obedience is still better than sacrifice.

Romans 15

Romans 15 exudes the warmth and sweetness of fellowship that Paul enjoyed among these early Christians. Recognizably, they constituted a freshness of faith to which most moderns are unaccustomed; however, through reading the entire chapter at once, one may gain a viewpoint of their compassionate exchange.

Ministering to the saints is the most important job of the believing church. I do not mean the tawdry compliance forced upon clergy and church leadership; there are enough of the "Grecian widows." I mean the openness based on the characteristics displayed in chapter 16.

Paul ministered to the saints wherever he went. He lived among them, worked among them and fellowshipped in their homes and churches. He knew what a saint looked like. His life depended on their love and companionship. He knew their liberality to one another through gifts and offering. They were sealable.
Therefore, when I have performed this and have sealed to them this fruit, I shall go by way of you to Spain.
Their ministry of material things gave them a deep spiritual patent unknown mostly in Christian circles today. Paul sealed (in heaven and on earth) their offering. "Offering" is hardly a descriptive word concerning the purity by which this transfer was made. "Offerings" were taken for saints. They were holy. They were sealable.

One look at Romans 15:16 will reveal the spiritual power of the Gentile "Offering" for the saints.
That the "offering" of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified By the Holy Spirit.
Imagine an "offering" made holy by the Holy Spirit. The wonderment of it all is that few offerings taken today qualify to be sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Their "offering" was a spiritual offering, prompted by the Spirit, sealed by the apostle and made a holy sacrifice (as holy as any offering before the altar).
For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, Their duty is also to minister to them in material things.
Romans 15:27
(See: Sealed Unto His Coming, C.R. Oliver, zadokpublications.com.

How far does this ministry to the saints extend? Does it go beyond offerings? Verse one unfolds a glimpse into such ministry.
We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples (weakness) of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification (building up).
Romans 15:1
There must be holy interaction among the saints. As Christ became the example, "The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me," so must the fellowship of the saints be the example. Alas, the "entering into another's situation" has been made nigh impossible in modern parlance. To do so would involve more commitment than is deemed reasonable in today's world, thereby excuses rule over commandment.

Twice the words "patience and comfort (15:4, 5)" were used to illustrate the type of pure commitment to one another required of the saint.
Therefore, receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.
Romans 15:7
Resonating through this chapter is the commandment most ignored in the modern church:
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:1-2
Jesus' example opened two doors. By being a servant to the "circumcision," He opened the door to the Gentiles. There is precedence here; "by being a servant of the saints," one opens doors to countless thousands that God has prepared for His mercy. Churches have allowed themselves to feed homeless, harbor the abused, build houses for the poverty stricken and enter the realm of interfaith movements, while neglecting the saints. It is easier to rally for those "other" causes than to face the spiritual and material issues of those who are of the community of Christ. There are no substitute ministries above the ministry to the saints.

Paul prayed a blessing over those who minister to each other in the fellowship of the saints:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13
Paul also reviewed a few characteristics of the saints:
  1. Full of Goodness
  2. Filled with all knowledge
  3. Able to admonish one another
Romans 15:14
Wow, that should be the resumé of everyone naming the name of Jesus, but alas, such is not the case.

Imagine ministering to folks with those qualifications. Church sure would be different. Such difference would pull on the anointing of those ministering. A Paul could confidently declare:
But I know that when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness
Of the blessing
of the gospel of Christ.
Romans 15:29
Do we know such blessing? Do we not know there is a realm of blessing beyond our present experience? Even those who minister with profundity fall shy of this "fullness." Through the Spirit, there is a level of blessing that rested with Jesus and on the apostles that must return in these last days. There is a certain princeliness, an anointing, that drapes the frame of those who know such blessing; it is like the mantel of Elijah upon Elisha. It expands the heart, it explodes theology, it renders mute all other sounds but that of heaven. It is Jesus, on the inside, bringing His richness to the scene. That is the fullness! It is the venue which genders the love of the Spirit and creates a unity like no fellowship on earth.

Rather than seeking the blessing of Abraham or Moses or David, let the Gentile world seek the "blessing of the fullness of the gospel of Christ!" Those who share this fellowship would refresh even Paul.

Romans 14

Surprisingly enough, chapters 14 and 15 open with similar appeals.
Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.
Romans 14:1
The weak saint needs help; the body of Christ should be there to give that help. Often the weak are introduced to subject matters for which a saint has no business to entertain: disputes, quarrels and bickering. Don't go there!
Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, Not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way.
Romans 14:13
Read this passage until it sinks deep inside: "Therefore let us not judge one another anymore."

Yes, the discussion is about foods and days and other such nonsense, but the principle goes far beyond those topics.
For the kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.
Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.

…nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.
Romans 14:17, 18, 21
There it is. One need not analyze these passages very long before discovering that edification is the goal. The three elements of the Holy Spirit are listed (v. 17)-they edify. Serving Christ alone edifies. The saints need edifying not codifying. The saints need building up in their most holy faith in order to stand in these last days. Unless someone, somewhere gets this picture, there is coming a day when every saint will feel intensely abandoned.

Now the biggie,
Whatsoever is not of faith is sin
Romans 14:23
When the church repents, this should be listed first.

Chapter 13

Backing into these chapters in Romans allows the reader to see the ground work laid for the Romans' promises. Ministering to the saints begins with a ground work of love. Paul speaks briefly about civil authority and then abiding by civil law, including customs and taxes. Next, he proffers the method by which all believers can have liberty…
Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.
Romans 13:8
Paul put it succinctly. One principle governs financial freedom, and it is from which the church and the world has departed. The only obligation with a saints signature is the document of love.
Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Romans 13:10
In the realm of the fellowship of the saints, this love should be the most apparent and genuine. "The unfeigned love of the brethren," marks the character of the saint.

Added to Paul's admonition of love were several codicils:
And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake Out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let US cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light…Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts.
Romans 13: 12, 14.
There we have it, those practices that rank high on the list of priorities for saints. Though we live in a day when these would not be considered the main concerns of congregations or fellowships…they remain intact as the main priorities of God and His servants. Let us begin to minister to the saints in ways we have never dreamed…through the Holy Ghost!

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


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