Romans 16:21
With these two important thoughts St. Paul closes his Epistle.

I. THE CHURCH'S OBJECT. The Epistle ends with an ascription of glory to God (vers. 25-27). This was the great end the apostle had in view in writing his Epistle. And he would have his readers remember that this, too, is the great end for which a Church of Christ exists. "Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him for ever." We should glorify the love of the Father. This is the potent influence to draw men's hearts from sin. "God so loved the world;" "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us!" We should glorify the saving power of Jesus Christ the Son. This gives the sinner confidence to come to him. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved;" "I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish." We should glorify the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit. "Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you;" "When he, the Spirit of truth is come, he shall guide you into all truth."

II. THE CHURCH'S STRENGTH. "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly" (ver. 20); "Now to him that is of power to stablish you" (ver. 25). The Church's strength is not necessarily in its numbers. Gideon's army was at one time too numerous. "The People that are with thee are too many" (Judges 7:2, 4). Nor in its wealth. Wealth has often been the weakness rather than the strength of the Christian Church. Our strength is in having God in the midst of us, and in our living near to him. This truth is wonderfully verified in the history of the little Church of the Vandois. Through seven centuries of almost incessant persecution, that faithful and primitive little band - sometimes not exceeding a thousand in number - withstood the attacks of popes and princes, defied and defeated mighty armies, "out of weakness were made strong." Their strength was unquestionably in the presence of God with them, and in their unfaltering fidelity to the truth of the gospel. "God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty." - C.H.I.







Timotheus my workfellow, and Lucius and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you.
I. WHAT CO-OPERATION IN THE CAUSE OF CHRIST IMPLIES.

1. One faith.

2. One spirit.

3. One aim.

4. One effort.

II. WHAT IT SECURES.

1. Peace.

2. Love.

3. Success.

4. Honour.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

1. Paul and Timothy.

2. Paul and his kinsmen.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

Either Luke, now with Paul (Acts 20:5), or Lucius of Cyrene (Acts 13:1), or both. One name often appears under different forms. Jason: — A convert of Thessalonica (Acts 17:5, 7), who entertained Paul at much risk, and accompanied him to Corinth, as usual in those times (Romans 15:24; Acts 20:4). Sosipater of Berea (Acts 20:4). These were Paul's kinsmen, relations both by nature and grace. The holy lives of relatives a joy to believers. Yet note that Timothy a workfellow is named before them.

(T. Robinson, D.D.)

I. FROM THE CHARACTER OF THOSE WHO SEND THEM.

1. They are God's children.

2. Love us for Christ's sake.

3. Seek our truest happiness.

4. Hence their good-will is better than that of the most distinguished children of this world.

II. FROM THEIR IMPORT.

1. They are not mere formalities.

2. But heartfelt wishes — and silent intercessions.

3. Whose essential meaning is expressed in ver. 24.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

1. Are not only courteous, but Christian.

2. Should be the symbol of heartfelt love, and unity in Christ.

3. Should be accompanied with earnest prayer.

4. Are then of real and essential value.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord
We often see in old religious pictures a small portrait of the artist on his knees in a corner. This is such a picture of the man who had the humble task of writing this Epistle from Paul's burning lips. We never hear of him before or after; just one little gleam of a light falls upon him, as sometimes you may see a star peep out for a moment, with a great bank of blackness on either side of it — but one gleam of light and one word makes this man immortal. "I Tertius, who wrote this Epistle," will last as long as the Bible, and longer too. Note here: —

I. A VERY REMARKABLE, BECAUSE UNCONSCIOUS EXAMPLE OF THE STRANGE UNITING POWER OF COMMON FAITH. The Church in Rome knew nothing about Tertius; so it was needful to introduce himself.

1. Here, then, is an utter stranger to a body of people in Rome, possibly separated from them by race, nationality, education, and all the deep clefts which split humanity up into so many uncommunicating or hostile forces. And he stretches out his hand across all this, and says, "Here is a brother's hand. God has made us of one family." And look how beautifully he pushes himself in: "I salute you in the Lord. If you want to know why I speak to you, I point to Christ's name. You and I are one in Him, and so we can salute each other." The world was all broken up by great deep clefts frowning against each other, and Christianity threw across what seemed to be mere gossamer threads, but what has drawn the frowning precipices together, and of the twain has made one.

2. These early Christians loved each other all the more because the world hated them. The pressure of antagonism forced them together, as loosely compacted substances are squeezed together by the hydraulic press. Christianity is a great deal more loosely compacted than when the world sat upon it; but take this lesson — do not put your experience within any little ring fence. You are tall enough to look over it, however high it is; and though you may talk about "our Church," do not fancy that that is the same as Christ's Church, and that you are to keep all your sympathy for your own Church. Put your hand out, be sure that your brother there will grasp it; and make the effort after the pattern of this voice from Corinth, that shouted across the water to the people in the mother-city. Do not let our faith have less of a uniting power than the infantile faith of those early Christians.

II. THE DIGNITY OF SUBORDINATE WORK.

1. The man was very little more than a machine; he sat there to put down whatever Paul told him. Yes! But he is evidently proud of his work, with the kind of pride that a true man may have, not that it has been done well, but that God has given it to him to do at all. "I have not done much in the world, but I have done that, at any rate. If it had not been for me you Roman Christians would not have had this in your hand."

2. And Tertius was quite as necessary as Paul, before the letter could get finished. All the hits of a machine are equally important, because if the smallest screw drops out, the whole thing stops. However minute a link of a chain may be, if it drops out, the whole thing is at an end. And so in God's work there is no such thing as "great" and "small." Besides, nobody can tell what is big and what is little. If it had not been for Tertius you would not have had your New Testament, as you have it. He did not know what he was doing, and none of us know what we are doing when we are working for the Master. "The eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee." The wise and seeing people in the Church, the clever, and educated people, cannot say to the people with no views or insight to speak of, but can do the work that they are directed to do — "I have no need of thee." Every note in the great score is needed for the total effect, and the Master foresaw its power. Every instrument in the orchestra is needed.

III. WHAT IS THE BEST THING TO BE REMEMBERED BY? Very beautiful to see how in this good man's mind there was evidently present the desire to live in the affections of those to whom he had been the means of bringing God's truth. And there is no such sacred tie as that. And it is right that he who has helped you in any way to feel Christ nearer or more precious to you, should seek to have and to keep a place in your hearts. Only, let us remember that it was "in the Lord" that Tertius wanted the Roman Christians to love him. And it is not mere admiratory esteem, affection of an earthly sort that a true minister seeks from his flock.

IV. "I wrote this Epistle." That is all his life that we know anything about. All the rest of it has shrunk away and been forgotten. INTO HOW LITTLE A SPACE THE IMPORTANT FACTS OF A LIFE CAN BE CONDENSED. It takes acres of roses to make a phial of essence of roses. And it takes days and years to be, and do, that which can he spoken in a line. Well! Tertius did not care what of his life was known or unknown by other people; but he did want that other people should know that he had written this Epistle. Will it be an epitaph of that sort, in five or six words, that will do for us? This is my ambition, that this at least may be engraven on my tomb: "A servant of Christ, who helped some people to know His will, and to do it for His love's sake"? If so, all the rest may well go. If so, it matters very little what may become of our names or reputation. He has said, "Surely I will never forget any of their works."

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Why Paul employed an amanuensis we cannot certainly tell. That he did so usually is undoubted, and only wrote the concluding sentence to show that the Epistle was genuine (1 Corinthians 16:21; Colossians 4:18; 2 Thessalonians 3:17). It has been supposed that he laboured under a chronic defect of sight, arising from the effect of "the light from heaven above the brightness of the sun" which fell on his astonished eyes on the way to Damascus, and to which it has been supposed that there are various references in his writings, especially Galatians 4:13-15. It is not unlikely that, like many literary men, he did not write a very legible hand. Some have supposed there is a reference to this in Galatians 6:11. Every man has his own gift, and, in the employment of it may be useful. Tertius could not have composed this Epistle; but he could probably write it better than its author. The greatest of men has not every qualification, and may be much the better for the assistance of those who are immeasurably his inferiors.

(J. Brown, D.D.)

Gaius mine host, and of the whole Church, saluteth you
I. A MAN CHARACTERISED BY A SINGLE VIRTUE. It is noteworthy that most of the saints immortalised in this chapter have just one distinguishing mark. Doubtless they were not wanting in other qualities necessary to the symmetry of Christian character, but one excellence seems to be prominent.

1. It is better to use one talent well than to neglect or imperfectly employ five talents. One ripe apple on a bough is worth more than twenty green ones. Many Christians richly endowed are far less useful than those poorer furnished, but who do what they can with all their might. Gaius may have been no eloquent preacher, no sagacious administrator, no zealous evangelist; but his means enabled him to dispense hospitality, and he did this well,

2. Gaius' excellence at first sight shows at a disadvantage beside those who were "beloved," who "laboured in the Lord," who were Paul's "helpers," etc. Yet he did what he could, and in the Master's estimation to give a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple is sometimes better than to do many mighty works in His name. But —

II. THIS VIRTUE INCLUDED A VAST NUMBER OF OTHER VIRTUES. Probably no virtue stands alone; certainly hospitality does not. Apart from the fuller portrait of Gaius in 3 John we can gather from the text —

1. His devotion to the apostle. "Mine host." And he who was devoted to the apostle was devoted to the apostle's Master. "Inasmuch as ye have done," etc.

2. His courage. It required no small amount of moral heroism to shelter the leader and members of a sect everywhere spoken against.

3. Disinterestedness. "Not many noble," etc. There was nothing to gain, but everything to lose.

4. Large-hearted Christian love. He was not a "boon companion," but "the host of the whole Church." If charity be a distinguishing Christian grace surely Gaius must have been an eminent Christian.

III. THIS VIRTUE WAS WORTH RECORDING, AND IS WORTHY OF IMITATION; because of —

1. Its usefulness. How much Christianity was indebted to this good man only the day will declare. Think what it must have been to the apostle and the Church to have had one house that was always open, one table always spread, one heart always ready to sympathise, one hand always ready to help.

2. Its neglect. "Given to hospitality" was a common and required mark of the early Christians, which has largely dropped from the modern Christian ethics. Yet how much good might be done if more of our rich men were to invite Church workers, particularly the humble ones, to their homes.

(J. W. Burn.)

in its widest significance, is a form of sympathetic relation to other men, by which we open to them our house, our family circle, and let outsiders share the advantages of our own family life. In ancient and mediaeval times this virtue was practised to a wider extent than at present, because the state of the law was then imperfect, the roads insecure, and public houses of entertainment, where refreshment might be had for money, were few. A certain character of sacredness and individuality was attributed to a stranger thus received, and this feeling has been maintained among all nations. And however past and present circumstances may differ, hospitality, both in its broader and narrower meanings, should be continually exercised (Romans 12:13), partly by entertaining strangers, partly by affording access to our domestic circle to the stranger who has inspired us with confidence; now by collecting about us those who are deprived of the advantages of family life, now by inviting friends who have families of their own, in exhilarating social meetings.

(Bp. Martensen.)

Perhaps the apostle's helper in Ephesus (Acts 19:22). Mentioned in connection with his own city, Corinth (2 Timothy 4:20). An undesigned coincidence. Probably on receiving he accompanied Paul for a time. He was the public steward or treasurer, town clerk or recorder — an office of high respectability — mentioned by Josephus. The gospel suits and gains all classes. Yet not many noble called (1 Corinthians 1:26). Grace is compatible with high position and manifold avocations. Christians may hold office under heathen rulers (Nehemiah 1:1). To serve Christ we need not abandon worldly business.

(T. Robinson, D.D.)

Erastus the chamberlain: — "Not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called," but there were exceptions; and in some places not a few. If, when a Christian, Erastus retained office, the fact speaks highly of his reputation as a citizen and a functionary. The disciples of Jesus are still members of society; and if on any occasion their fellow-citizens call them to any situation of authority and influence, not requiring anything inconsistent with their Christian principles, it may even become an imperative duty for them to obey. Whatever station we are called in providence to fill, let us see to it that we never act the part of a trimming worldly policy. In every situation "let your light shine." There is danger, when Christians are placed in situations of worldly honour and influence, of their getting secularised: sad is it when this is the case; for it is alike injurious to the spiritual interests of the individual and to the cause of Christ. Oh, for grace according to our situation — that God in all things may be glorified!

(R. Wardlaw, D. D.)

Quartus a brother. — It is easy to make a little picture of this brother. He is a stranger to the Church in Rome, and is evidently a man of no especial reputation in the Church at Corinth. He has no wealth like Gaius, nor civil position like Erastus, nor wide reputation like Timothy. But he would like the Romans to know that he thought lovingly of them, and to be lovingly thought of by them. So he begs a little corner in Paul's letter, and gets it; and there, in his little niche, like some statue of a forgotten saint, scarce seen amidst the glories of a great cathedral, "Quartus a brother" stands to all time. Note —

I. HOW DEEP AND REAL THESE WORDS SHOW THE NEW BOND OF CHRISTIAN LOVE TO HAVE BEEN. A little incident of this sort is more impressive than any amount of talk about the uniting influence of the gospel. Quartus was a Corinthian, and there was little love lost between Rome and Corinth. The world then was like some great field of cooled lava on the slopes of a volcano, all broken up by a labyrinth of clefts and cracks, at the bottom of which one can see the flicker of sulphurous flames. Great gulfs of race, language, religion, and social condition, far profounder than anything of the sort which we know, split mankind into fragments. And all these disintegrating forces were bound together into an artificial unity by the iron clamp of Rome's power, holding up the bulging walls that were ready to fall — the unity of the slave-gang manacled together for easier driving. Into this hideous condition of things the gospel comes, and silently flings its clasping tendrils over the wide gaps, and binds the crumbling structure of human society with a new bond, real and living. And we see the very process going on before our eyes in this message from "Quartus a brother."

1. It reminds us that the very notion of humanity, and of the brotherhood of man, is purely Christian. A world-embracing society, held together by love, was not dreamt of before the gospel came; and if you wrench away the idea from its foundation, as people do who talk about fraternity, and seek to bring it to pass without Christ, it is a mere piece of Utopian sentiment — a fine dream. But in Christianity it worked. The gospel first of all produced the thing and the practice, and then the theory came afterwards. The Church did not talk much about the brotherhood of man, or the unity of the race; but simply ignored all distinctions, and gathered into the fold the slave and his master, the Roman and his subject, fair-haired Goths and swarthy Arabians, the worshippers of Odin and of Zeus, the Jew and the Gentile.

2. And before this simple word of greeting could have been sent some profound new impulse must have been given to the world. What was that? What should it be but the story of One who gave Himself for the whole world, who binds men into a unity because of His common relation to them all, and through whom the great proclamation can be made: "There is neither Jew nor Greek," etc. Brother Quartus' message, like some tiny flower above-ground which tells of a spreading root beneath, is a modest witness to that mighty revolution, and presupposes the preaching of a Saviour in whom he and his unseen friends in Rome are one.

3. So let us learn not to confine the play of our Christian affection within the limits of our personal knowledge. Like this man, let us sometimes send our thoughts across mountains and sea. He and the Romans were strangers, but he wished to feel, as it were, the pressure of their fingers in his palm.

II. QUARTUS BELONGED TO A CHURCH WHICH WAS REMARKABLE FOR ITS DISSENSIONS. One "said, I am of Paul," etc. I wonder if Qaartus belonged to any of these parties. It is quite likely that he had far more love to the brethren in Rome than to those who sat on the same bench with him in the upper room at Corinth. For sometimes it is true about people, as well as about scenery, that "distance lends enchantment to the view." A great many of us have much keener sympathies with "brethren" who are well out of our reach than with those who are nearest. Do not let your Christian love go wandering away abroad only, but keep some for home consumption.

III. HOW SIMPLY, AND WITH WHAT UNCONSCIOUS BEAUTY, THE DEEP REASON FOR OUR CHRISTIAN UNITY IS GIVEN IN THAT ONE WORD, A "BROTHER." "Never mind telling them anything about what I am, tell them I am a brother, that will be enough." We are brethren because we are sons of one Father. The great Christian truth of regeneration is the foundation of Christian brotherhood. That is the true ground of our unity, and of our obligation to love all who are begotten of God. All else — identity of opinion, practice, and ceremonial, local or national ties, and the like — all else is insufficient. It may be necessary for Christian communities to require a general identity of opinion and form of worship; but if ever they fancy that such are the grounds of their spiritual unity, they are slipping off the real foundation, and are perilling their character as Churches of Christ.

IV. HOW STRANGELY AND UNWITTINGLY THIS GOOD MAN HAS GOT HIMSELF AN IMMORTALITY BY THAT PASSING THOUGHT OF HIS. One loving message has won for him the prize for which men have joyfully given life itself-an eternal place in history. How much surprised he would have been if, as he leaned forward to Tertius and said, "Send my love too," anybody had told him that that one act of his would last as long as the world! And how much ashamed some of the other people in the New Testament would have been if they had known that their passing faults — the quarrel of Euodia and Syntyche for instance — were to be gibbeted for ever in the same fashion! When a speaker sees the reporters in front of him he weighs his words.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Here is —

I. GAIUS the respectable.

1. Known of all.

2. Hospitable to all.

3. Beloved and well reported of all.

II. ERASTUS the official.

1. Esteemed and honoured by those without.

2. Not many wise, not many noble, are called.

III. QUARTUS a brother. Unknown, yet well known; "prized and loved by God alone."

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all
The Christian is a man of generous actions, but his wishes go far beyond his deeds. Where he cannot be beneficent he is benevolent. Thus the great heart of the apostle relieved itself; though he would have been willing to lay down his life for the brethren, yet he did not think it idle to give them his blessing. Long has the benediction lain in the Epistle like the wheat in the Egyptian cathomb, but there is a vitality in it yet; lo, it buds and brings forth good to us after the lapse of eighteen centuries.

I. WHAT IS MEANT BY THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST?

1. The grace which was revealed in Christ

2. The grace which comes to us through Christ. Our Lord, as it were, took out of the river-bed of grace the great rock which blocked up the water-courses.

3. The grace which comes to us with Christ. Those peculiar blessings which come to souls who abide in Christ, who are not drowning men barely landed on the shore, but have life abundantly.

4. All the grace that is in anyway connected with Christ. Elsewhere he extends the benediction to the love of God and the communion of the Holy Ghost. But the shorter form is intended to comprehend all the rest. In many of his epistles the apostle sums up with "grace be with you all," without mentioning any person of the Godhead. So that "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ" is synonymous with grace as such; and comprehends all the various displays of grace. He wishes the saints all the grace they need, or can desire, and that the Infinite God can give.

5. When the text is the desire of our heart, we mean —

(1)May the love of Jesus Christ be with you, and may you know that you have it.

(2)May His mercy be with you, as shown by the full pardon of all your sins, and your knowledge of it.

(3)May you be the subjects of His work constantly.

(4)May you have His peace.

(5)May you exhibit the grace which shone so brightly in Him, and was seen by men and angels to the glory of God the Father.

II. WITH WHOM IS THIS GRACE TO BE?

1. With all the saints.

(1)You all need it.

(2)You all may have it.

(3)There is no grace which you may not have, and which you ought to be content to go without. It is grievous to see how we stunt ourselves, and appear content with a poor form of spiritual life.

2. All the saints, i.e., —

(1)Church officers.

(2)Church workers.

(3)Church members, poor, rich, young, and old.

3. This benediction is limited to the saints. In Philemon and Galatians the apostle says, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit." It is only meant for spiritual-minded men, for such as have been born again of the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 16:21-24 he pronounces a solemn curse upon those whom he feels he cannot bless, because they are so base as not to love the infinitely loving Jesus.

III. WHAT WILL BE THE RESULT IF THIS GRACE BE WITH YOU ALL? Blessed consequences will accrue to —

1. Yourselves.

(1)You will love God better.

(2)You will be much in prayer, for this eminently distinguished his character.

(3)You will walk with God, even as he did.

2. Your fellow Church-members.

(1)You will love each other with a pure heart fervently.

(2)Your speech will be to edification.

3. Your families. The servants will find the house a home, and the children will become children of God, when the master and mistress are filled with the grace of our Lord Jesus.

4. The world.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

1. What it supposes.

2. What it includes.

3. For whom it is desired.

4. How it is secured.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

Grace —

1. Is needed by all.

2. Is provided for all.

3. Is offered to all.

4. Is supplicated for all

5. May be enjoyed by all.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

On Christ faith feeds. I saw a group of lovely ferns the other day in a grotto, from the roof of which continually distilled a cool, clear, crystal rain: these ferns were perpetually fresh and beautiful, because their leaves were continually bathed in the refreshing drops. Although it was at a season when verdure was scant, these lovely ferns were as verdant as possible. I observed to my friend that I would wish to live in the everlasting drip of grace, perpetually laved, and bathed, and baptized in the overflowing of Divine fellowship. This makes a man full of faith. If Moses had faith you do not wonder, for he had been forty days upon the mount. If we have communed with God it shall be a marvel if we doubt, and not that we believe. Feed faith with the truth of God, but especially with Him who is the truth.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

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