Romans 16:3
Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus,
Sermons
Priscilla and AquilaAlexander MaclarenRomans 16:3
Apostolic Commendations and CautionsU. R. Thomas.Romans 16:1-16
Apostolic GreetingsT. Robinson, D.D.Romans 16:1-16
Christian LoveJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 16:1-16
Personal MessagesArchdeacon Farrar.Romans 16:1-16
Romans, But not RomanistsC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 16:1-16
The Conclusion of the EpistleJ. Parker, D.D.Romans 16:1-16
The Conclusion of the Epistle as a Revelation of Paul's CMatthew Henry.Romans 16:1-16
The SalutationsJ. Brown, D.D.Romans 16:1-16
The SalutationsW. Brock.Romans 16:1-16
The Salutations of St. PaulA. Thomson, D. D.Romans 16:1-16
The Salutations to the Church At Rome Prove that ChristianityJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 16:1-16
The True AristocracyD. Thomas, D.D.Romans 16:1-16
The Truly Honourable in the Church of ChristJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 16:1-16
Whom Does the Apostle Distinguish as Worthy of the Highest EstimationJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 16:1-16
Words of Counsel for a Christian ChurchC.H. Irwin Romans 16:1-19
Christian SalutationsT.F. Lockyer Romans 16:1-16, 21-23
Salutations and BenedictionsR.M. Edgar Romans 16:1-27
A Christian Family Helping Their MinisterJ. Lathrop, D.D.Romans 16:3-5
A First Convert RememberedD. Stuart.Romans 16:3-5
Epaenetus, the First Convert of AchaiaJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 16:3-5
Firstfruits unto ChristJ. Lathrop, D.D.Romans 16:3-5
Priscilla and Aquila, Paul's HelpersJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 16:3-5
The Church in the HouseJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 16:3-5
The Church in the HouseT. Robinson, D.D.Romans 16:3-5
The Unbounded Affection of Priscilla and Aquila for PaulJ. W. Burn.Romans 16:3-5
The Rev. W. S. Swanson, speaking some time ago at Manchester, showed that the religions of the East were powerless to regenerate the heart and purify the life, and that, however excellent some of them may appear in theory, they utterly failed in practice. Among other things he said, "I ask what adaptation have we found in these religions to meet the wants, to heal the wounds of woman, and to give her her proper and rightful position? What have they done to free her from the oppression that imprisons, degrades, and brutalizes her? What has 'the light of Asia' done to brighten her lot? What ray of comfort have these religions shed into the shambles where she is bought and sold? What have they done to sweeten and purify life for her? Why! her place in the so-called paradises of some of them, in the way in which it is painted, only burns the brand of shame more deeply on her brow." Christianity alone has given woman her rightful place. Woman occupies an honourable position in the Bible, and every wise provision is made for her, especially for the widow in her helplessness and loneliness. In the Old Testament we have such noble women as Deborah and Hannah, Ruth and Esther. In the New Testament we have Mary the mother of our Saviour, Mary of Bethany, Lydia, Dorcas, and many others. Women occupied an important place in the early Christian Church. At Philippi, for example, when St. Paul went to the place "where prayer was wont to be made," he found that little prayer-meeting entirely composed of women. In the Epistles of St. Paul we find him sending many messages to the Christian women of various Churches, and commending many of them for their faithfulness and devotion to the cause of Christ. Among those whom he thus mentions is Phoebe. We know nothing of Phoebe's history beyond what is stated here, and the additional fact mentioned in a note at the end of this Epistle that she was the bearer of this letter to the Christians at Rome.

I. PHOEBE WAS A SERVANT. It would appear that she was a lady of some means. She devoted her means and her time to assisting the poor and the helpless. She had been "a succourer of many" (ver. 2). But whatever position she occupied, she bears the name of servant. Now, there is nothing to be ashamed of in the name of servant. Every one who is worth anything is a servant in some sense. The less service any one renders, the more useless he or she is in the world. The sovereign upon the throne, the judges and magistrates, lawyers, medical men, men of business, ministers of the gospel, all are the servants of others. Be faithful in your service. The maxim of many in our time seems to be to take all the pay they can and render as little service as possible. That is not honest. Nor is it honest to work only when the eyes of your employer are upon you. "Servants, be obedient to your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord and not to men." Be trustworthy. Regard what belongs to your master or your mistress with as much care as if it were your own. If your employer's children are committed to your care, how scrupulous you should be regarding them! Never let them hear from your lips a profane or evil word. If you are teaching them, seek to communicate to their youthful minds all the good principles that you can. Your work may be a quiet work, but if it is done faithfully it is a lasting work. You may not receive much notice or much thanks from your employer, but he that seeth in secret himself shall reward you openly.

II. PHOEBE WAS A SERVANT OF GOD. That was the secret of her useful and honoured life. It is the highest thing that could be said of any one. Employers are beginning to find out that God-fearing men and God-fearing women are not the worst servants.

1. A servant of God will not be the servant of this world. Many young ladies who call themselves Christians seem to spend their life altogether in the service of selfish pleasure and worldly amusement.

2. A servant of God will not, keep the company of the godless. There is no subject on which young women in our towns and cities need to be more plainly warned than the choice of their companions of both sexes. How many happy and promising young lives have been blighted, how many hearts have been broken, by foolish companionships and too hasty intimacy! The casual knowledge obtained of any one at an evening party or a pleasure excursion is no basis on which to form an engagement on which depends the happiness of a lifetime.

"Thrice blest whose lives are faithful prayers,
Whose loves in higher love endure.
What souls possess themselves so pure?
Or is there blessedness like theirs?"

III. PHOEBE WAS A SERVANT OF THE CHURCH. That is to say, she was a helper of God's people. She was a helper in Christian work. There are many young women whose lives are absolutely wasted, who are utterly wretched and miserable, for want of something to do. How many forms of useful service there are in which a young woman may engage I She may teach in the Sunday school; visit the aged and the sick, and minister unto them in spiritual things, and perhaps also to their bodily comfort and relief; she may invite the careless to the house of God. And a woman's influence is often powerful for good where even a Christian man would utterly fail to reach the hardened heart. - C.H.I.







Greet Priscilla and Aquila.
I. THEIR SERVICE.

1. Toil.

2. Sacrifice.

II. THEIR MOTIVES OF ACTION.

1. Faith.

2. Love.

3. Hope in Christ.

III. THEIR REWARD.

1. On earth — the thanks of the apostle.

2. In heaven, life everlasting.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

Aquila was a Jew, of Pontus who had made his residence in Rome. But a company of thieves in Judaea, having fallen on one Stephanus, a servant of the emperor, robbed his baggage, and slain the soldiers who guarded it, an edict was passed requiring all Jews to leave that city. In consequence of this edict, Aquila, with his wife, came to Corinth, and there wrought in his occupation, which was that of a tent maker. Paul coming from Athens to Corinth, meets with them and takes lodging in their house, working at the same occupation. It was probably at this time that they first gained the knowledge which they were able to impart to Apollos. Paul's residence with them laid a foundation for a friendship which lasted till death (2 Timothy 4:19). How worthy they were of his affection and esteem we learn from the text.

I. THEY WERE HAPPILY UNITED IN ALL THEIR CONCERNS, AND ESPECIALLY IN THE GREAT CONCERNS OF RELIGION. On all occasions they are both mentioned together, and appear patterns of conjugal union. They dwelt together in days of tranquility, and jointly shared in the calamities of banishment. With united hands they laboured in the occupation by which their household was supported. As this is the most important relation in life, they who sustain it ought, above all things, to study mutual peace. The Christian pair, animated by one soul, will readily participate in each other's labours and sorrows, and will cheerfully communicate to each other their own pleasures and joys. Little differences of opinion will be composed by mutual condescension. Unavoidable infirmities will be viewed with the comforting eye of pity, not with the insulting eye of disdain. In the important concerns of religion, they will walk, as being heirs together of the grace of life. A family, educated under the care of heads thus united, will, by the smiles of heaven, grow up in knowledge and piety, and become a little Church of Christ.

II. THEY WERE THE APOSTLE'S HELPERS IN CHRIST JESUS.

1. By their hospitality. For a considerable part of the time that he preached in Corinth, he abode in their house. The minister is to preach the gospel, not for filthy lucre; but then, they who are taught must communicate to him who teacheth, so that he may wait on his teaching without distraction.

2. By a faithful attendance on his ministry. Heads of families in this way greatly assist their minister. This shows a good example to their children, and invites others to accompany them. Thus they animate their minister and raise his hopes of success. But then let your attendance be grave and devout, and on what you hear let your remarks be made at the proper time and place.

3. By their conversation and example (Acts 18.).

4. By their prayers.

5. By their self-sacrifices (ver. 4).

III. THEY HAD A CHURCH IN THEIR HOUSE. We, then, who have the care of families, ought to make them Churches. For this end we must dedicate our children to God, and bring them up in His fear. Greater societies are formed from smaller; Churches grow out of families; and the spirit and complexion of the latter will be transfused through the former.

(J. Lathrop, D.D.)

Who have for my life laid down their necks
I. PAUL DESERVED IT. He had rendered them the greatest service which one human being could render to another. Through his instrumentality they had been won to Christ, trained for usefulness, built up in their most holy faith. And the same may be said of thousands of ministers. If the debt of love be owing at all it is surely to those who have rendered others soul service.

II. THEY SHOWED IT. Not by amiable feelings, graceful compliments, or even faithful service. All these were and are done. But so is something more. The expression "placed their neck under" the sword or axe, is figurative, but implies the act of exposing one's life, and occurred either at Corinth (Acts 18:12-17) or at Ephesus (1 Corinthians 15:32; 2 Corinthians 1:8; 12:23). This extreme form of service is not now required except in the case of missionaries, to whom it has often been rendered. But ordinary ministers need protection and should have it.

1. Their character is assailed by venomous slander. Let not chivalrous defence be wanting at whatever cost.

2. Their peace of mind is endangered by cantankerous opposition. Let no member of the Church absent himself from a stormy meeting lest his own tranquility be disturbed.

3. Their health is often threatened by overwork, under pay, vexatious conditions of labour and unsanitary dwellings. This is often only for want of thought. But love not only "thinketh no evil," it should stimulate thought and sacrifice for the pastor's good.Conclusion:

1. If your minister is set for the defence of the gospel, the least you can do is to defend him.

2. You need not boast that you would be willing to lay down your necks for him if required. This will never be required. But he needs protection for his character, tranquility and health. In rendering this you will do nothing heroic, but you will do what is useful and acceptable, which is better.

(J. W. Burn.)

Likewise greet the Church which is in their house
I. ITS FORMS.

1. The cottage meeting.

2. The social Christian circle.

3. The pious family.

II. ITS ADVANTAGES.

1. God's blessing.

2. Domestic happiness.

3. Anticipated union in heaven.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

A Church is a company of believers, meeting statedly in Christ's name, more or less fully organised with office bearers, with the ordinances of Christ duly administered among them, and is not dependent on numbers (Matthew 18:20). There were various such Churches already at Rome (vers. 14, 15). The meeting-place of a Church wilt be dependent on circumstances. The house of Aquila being sufficiently commodious, although destitute of most of the accessories with which we are familiar, was a meeting-place of the Church. Private houses (Acts 2:46) were the birthplaces of Christian worship, and public buildings were not erected till the third century. When it became dangerous to meet even in private houses the Christians assembled in the catacombs. Aquila's house became a Church wherever he went, which shows us that zeal for Christ's cause should be carried about with us. Mere professors often leave their religion behind them. Grace in a family converts a household into a Church. Religion is to be manifested in the family as a household thing. Wherever Abraham had a tent Jehovah had an altar.

(T. Robinson, D.D.)

Salute my well-beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ
(Asia is the reading preferred by the best authorities): — This honourable distinction implies —

I.PRIVILEGE.

II.A READY RECEPTION OF CHRIST.

III.RESPONSIBILITY.

IV.HONOUR.

V.PROMISE OF SUCCESS.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

The firstfruits under the law were an offering made to God of the first ripe fruits before the harvest was begun. In allusion to this Christ is called "the firstfruits of them that slept," because His resurrection is an earnest and pledge of the resurrection of believers. The sanctifying and comforting influences of the Spirit are called the firstfruits of the Spirit, as earnests of heavenly happiness. James tells us that God hath begotten us "that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures" (Revelation 14:4). By a like allusion the apostle calls the first converts in a particular place the firstfruits of that place unto Christ. Now consider this man, dwelling in the midst of heathen, on the preaching of the apostle, coming out from among a corrupt and idolatrous multitude, and, by his example and conversation, inviting his fellow-citizens to turn to the living God; and will you not admire his integrity, zeal and fortitude? Note —

I. HOW A FORWARDNESS IN RELIGION MAY DISCOVER ITSELF. In —

1. Early religion. Epaenetus enjoyed not your early advantages, but it seems probable that he accepted the first invitation to Christ. He gave to Christ the firstfruits, if not of life itself, yet of that part of life in which he was favoured with the heavenly call. All have now this call in their youth.

2. An open profession of it, and a diligent attendance on the means of it.

3. A maintenance of the profession and practice of it, though it should involve the charge of singularity. Epaenetus professed the religion of the gospel when all around him were in a different sentiment and practice.

4. A zeal for great and essential things. There are many who are forward in little matters; zealous for or against opinions, forms, etc., but this is only forwardness in a party design. The Christian is zealous to maintain good works, and abounds in the proper fruits of the Spirit.

5. Labours to promote it among others. When Paul calls his beloved Epaenetus the firstfruits, he intimates that a rich harvest followed. This forward Christian doubtless assisted Paul greatly.

6. Aspirations after greater eminence in religion.

II. THIS FORWARDNESS IS COMMENDABLE.

1. As an evidence of sincerity.

2. On account of its usefulness. The slothful, negligent Christian emboldens sinners in their transgressions, and confirms them in their stupidity.

3. As it is honourable to Christ, To Him belong the firstfruits of your lives. He is honoured by the increase of His subjects. By your forwardness you will contribute to this increase.

4. As an imitation of Christ. He was in early life about His Father's business.

5. Because it is in the highest degree rational. It is regarding things according to their nature and importance.

6. We have no promise of success on any other condition.(1) This is the command of Christ. "Seek first the kingdom of God." Strive to enter in at the straight gate.(2) This is the direction of the apostle. The promise is only to those who give diligence to make their calling and election sure.(3) It is by forwardness in religion that you become entitled to the constant aids of God's grace.

(J. Lathrop, D.D.)

Epaenetus was the first convert in Achaia, the richest of all the Greek provinces. Chalmers in his fascinating book on New Guinea gives us the name of the first female convert in New Guinea. If you and I were sent to labour in a country like that we would take special note of our first convert. I knew a person who when he began his work had but one person to sit at his feet. Did not he take note of that person? He has never forgotten her and never will. A true missionary never forgets his first convert, never forgets any convert, and, Paul did not forget Epaenetus, the first convert to Christ in Achaia.

(D. Stuart.)

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