Romans 16:5-16; 21-23
A SPECIAL SALUTE TO ALL THE SAINTS
Intro: As Paul comes to the end of the book of Romans, he
concludes it with a list of names that is rather long. In fact,
there are 35 names mentioned in these verses. He also
addresses two different households and at least three
churches. Many people might read this list and conclude that
there is nothing of value contained here. But, the truth is far
What we have here is the great Apostle Paul making an
effort to thank those who had made and impact on his life and
ministry. What a blessing it is when we remember those who
have made a difference in our lives! I think it would be a great
idea if everyone in this room made a list of those who have
helped you along the way. Then you should sit down and write
them a note thanking them for their contribution to your life.
Maybe you ought to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Or perhaps you should just get up and walk across the room
and say thanks!
What Paul is doing is summed up in verse 15. He sends
greetings to "all the saints that are with them." He doesn't
want to leave anyone out, but he wants to send a special
thanks to every saint who has been a blessing to him. Now,
just as a reminder, a saint is not a long dead person who did
lots of good while they were in the world. A saint is not a
person who lives an extra special life. A saint is a person who
has been saved by grace and is in the family of God. Every
person in this room that has repented of sins and trusted Christ
by faith is qualified to bear the name saint of God.
Let's take a few minutes to look through this list of names.
As we do, we will discover that behind every name, there is a
special story. In every life, there is a something that makes
that person great in the kingdom of God. By the way, the
same could be said of you! When the Lord save you, He made
you special. There in nobody else in the family of God who is
like you! As such, you deserve a special salute this evening.
Let's look at these verse together and think for a few minutes
about A Special Salute To All The Saints.
I. THESE ARE DEFINITE SAINTS
(Ill. To us, this is just a list of names, but to Paul, this was
a list of his friends. He was writing out of his heart and he
was remembering people who were really special to him.
What strikes me is that these are real people and I sense
that Paul is writing to them out of the warmth of his heart
for them. I think it would be fair to say that Paul loved
these folks! It seems that Paul loved all the saints of God!
This is what God wants from each of us, 1 John 3:14. I
think there are two reasons why Paul took the time to
speak to these definite people.)
A. An Object Of His Special Conversations - Look at
Romans 1:9. This verse tells us that Paul spent time in
prayer for these folks in Rome. These saints were
special to Paul and he showed it by praying for them.
They were in his heart!
What a challenge that is to the church of God in this
day! Do we really pray for the other saints as we
should? Do we take advantage of the opportunity
afforded to us by the Lord and pray for one another, by
name, on a daily basis?
When we begin to pray for people, those people
begin to become special to us. We enter into their lives
and into their burdens. We develop a heart for them!
As this occurs, we are bound more closely together as
children of God. By the way, this is what is lacking in
many churches in our day! Every saint is a Lone
Ranger! This is not God's will for His church! His will is
that we be one in Him, John 17:11; 21-23. His will is
that the saints around us become part of our lives, Gal.
6:2; Gal. 6:10.
B. An Object Of His Special Concern - Now look in 2
Cor. 11:28. This verse tells us that Paul had a burden
for the church. The word "care" means "to be pulled
apart, or to experience anxiety." Paul loved these
people and they became special to him as he felt their
needs and burdens.
Now, there is a sense in which we are not supposed
to worry, Phil. 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:7. There are a sense in
which we are not to have cares in this life. However,
there are times when we feel the pains and struggles of
our brothers and sisters in Christ, 1 Cor. 12:25-26.
When we see a fellow believer struggling, it should
move our hearts for them! We should feel their pain.
There is a sense when we are called upon to bear their
pain and to enter into their battle.
(Ill. Too often, when Christians are battling, they are
met with "apathy" within the church. Apathy is defined
as, "1. the absence of any wish to do anything 2.
emotional emptiness: inability to feel normal or
passionate human feelings or to respond
emotionally" The bottom line is, some saints just don't
care about the battles their brothers are fighting! Then,
sometimes, there is actual "sympathy". This is
"capacity to share feelings: the ability to enter into,
understand, or share somebody else's feelings."
This implies that we hurt with them. This is better than
apathy, but it isn't what a hurting saint needs. What a
hurting saint needs is "empathy". This is
"understanding of another's feelings: the ability to
identify with and understand another person's
feelings or difficulties"
Imagine a man who stumbles and falls into a ditch.
Apathy, Sympathy and Empathy walk by and see him
lying there. Apathy says, "I don't care!" Sympathy
says, "I am sorry that you have fallen and that you
are hurting." Empathy says, "I fell into a ditch myself
once and I will help you get out." Do you see the
difference? Empathy is what the human race got when
Jesus came into this world and went to the cross for our
sins. Empathy is what the church needs to be strong in
these days. The saints need to know that they are
loved, 1 John 3:18.
By the way, may the Lord help the church to realize
that the burden of the church cannot be borne by one
man alone. We are to work together, as a family. My
friends, there are preachers all across this country who
have made shipwreck of their miniseries because they
tried to bear the load of the church alone. (Ill. Moses -
Numbers 11:14) The shame lies in the fact that their
churches allowed them to try!
My friends, we are in this thing together! I have my
load to pull and you have yours. If we will all do our
part in loving the church and carrying her burdens, it will
not all rest on the shoulders of just a few!)
(Ill. So, Paul is speaking to a group of people who are not
just in the family of God, they are also in his heart!)
II. THESE ARE DIVERSE SAINTS
(Ill. As one reads these verses, it quickly becomes evident
that this is a diverse group of people. There are men and
women. There are Jews, Romans, and Greeks. There are
households addressed and churches mentioned. Surely
there are those who are wealthy and those who are poor.
It is clear that this group is a diverse group!
By the way, we should thank God for the diversity within
the body of Christ! There are some Christians who are as
strange as a football bat, but they serve a special place in
the body of Christ. God saved us like we were, warts and
all, so that He might take us in our diversity and use the
church as a body for His glory. There are two primary ways
in which the diversity of this group is pointed out.
A. They Were Diverse In Their Humanity - As Paul
mentions these names, one can almost see him
visualizing these saints one by one. They were
precious to his heart and he longed to greet them
personally. Not what he says in verse 16, "Salute one
another with an holy kiss." Apparently, this was the
accepted method of greeting in those days. In our day,
thankfully, we just shake hands! At any rate, Paul
wants to be there to greet each on individually. He
cannot be, so he does the next best thing, he mentions
those who were special to him, and says just a word
about each. Let's look at this just for a minute.
1. V. 5 Epaenetus - "Praiseworthy" - He was the first
one saved in Achaia. He was special for that
2. V. 6 Mary - "Rebellion" - She worked hard to be a
blessing to Paul.
3. V. 7 Andronicus "Man of Victory" and Junia
"Youthful" - Relatives of Paul who were saved
before him. They may have even prayed that Paul
would get saved. They may have been the only
family he had left. We should assume that his
parents probably ostracized him and wrote him off
as being dead after he received Jesus! (Note: Isn't
it strange how the family of God sometimes
becomes closer than one's natural family?)
4. V. 8 Amplias - "Large" - Beloved in the Lord.
5. V. 9 Urbane and Stachys - The original "Odd
Couple"! Urbane means "of the city" while
Stachys means "head of grain or corn." Here is
sophisticated Urbane the city slicker with old
Stachys the hayseed. Yet, in Jesus, they are
6. V. 10 Appelles - "Called" - A dedicated saint who
has proven himself faithful.
7. V. 10 Aristobulus - "The Best Counselor" - A man
who lead his family to worship God.
8. V. 11 Herodion - "Heroic" - Another kinsman of
9. V. 11 Narcissus - "Stupidity" - His name may have
called his mind into question, but his works proved
10. V. 12 Tryphena - "Delicate" and Tryphosa -
"Dainty" - Probably twin sisters. They were one in
appearance and one in Christ.
11. V. 12 Persis - "A Persian Woman" - She was a
stranger who was brought into the family by grace!
12. V. 13 Rufus - "Red" - This may have been the son
of Simon the Cyrenian. Mark 15:21. If that is true,
then this man was probaly famous i nthe early
church! His father had helped Jesus carry the cross
to Calvary! Evidently his mother had been a
blessing to Paul as well.
13. V. 14 Asyncritus - "Incomparable"; Phlegon -
"Burning"; Hermas - "Mercury"; Patrobas -
"Paternal"; Hermes - "The herald of the gods";
and other unnamed brethren.
14. V. 15 Philologus - "Lover of the Word"; Julia -
"Soft haired"; Nereus - "Lump" and his sister;
Olympas - "Heavenly".
Paul greets others in verses 21-23, but these people
are with him as he is writing. These that we have
studied are those who were special to him in the
Can you see the great diversity that marked this
early church? These people were as different as they
could possibly be, but they were brought together in the
Lord Jesus and made one family for the glory of God.
(Ill. We should thank God for the diversity that marks us
as a church this evening. There are differences in our
backgrounds, our educational levels, our economic
levels, etc. Yet, we are brought together in the Lord
Jesus as one family. I praise the Lord for the ways in
which we are different!
Did it ever occur to you that the Lord does not make
duplicates, He only makes originals? When He made
you, He threw away the mold. You are special and you
are unique. You brings things to the family of God that
no one else has. You can do things that no one else
can do. There are people that you can reach, when
others cannot. God made you with a purpose in mind.
Do not be ashamed of who you are in Him!
That is why we should learn to accept ourselves as
we are and thank God for the way He has made us! He
can and will use your life if it is surrendered to Him for
B. They Were Diverse In Their Heritage - In these
verses, Paul greets Jews, Greeks, Romans and
Persians. He greets people from all kinds of racial and
societal backgrounds. In Christ, these people, from
these varied backgrounds are all made one! This is
what the Bible teaches un in Gal. 3:18.
(Ill. Did you know that there is a concept contained here
that, if followed completely, would eliminate all the racial
tension that fills our world? Let's face it, desegregation
has not worked in our society. Instead of bringing the
"races" together, it has driven them apart. You see,
you cannot force men to love one another by laws. You
cannot legislate love!
However, if we knew what Jesus knows, there would
be no more racism and hatred in our world. He knows
there aren't many races. He knows there is but one
race: the human race. If we could ever learn to love
one another simply because God loves us, it would
transform this world!
It may be a pipe dream to some this evening, but
one day, this truth will be lived out!)
(Ill. Just look at some of the people God brought
together in Himself. Look at verse 23. A man named Erastus is mentioned. He is called "the
chamberlain of the city." He is the town treasurer!
Probably a wealthy politician. Then, there is a man
named Quartus, his name means "Four". They just
called him "Number 4". This may indicate that he is or
was a slave. What I want you to see is that in Jesus, all
the barriers are broken down. He makes us one in
Himself for the glory of the Father!)
III. THESE ARE DEDICATED SAINTS
(Ill. Here was a group of people who were busy in the
things of the Lord. They set an example for the rest of us
this evening! They were allowing the Lord to use them for
His glory in His work. They were busy, and we should be
too. Notice what Paul tells us about their dedication.)
A. Seen In The Service - Notice the kinds of service that
is mentioned in these verses. There are the workers,
v. 3, 21; there are the toilers, v. 6; there are the
writers, v. 22; there are the givers, v. 23; and there are
the administrators, v. 23. They all served in various
capacities, but they served!
Friends, we cannot all do everything, but we can all
do something! There is something for which the Lord
has specifically gifted you, 1 Cor. 12:7, 11. Your duty
is to find that area of giftedness and use it for the glory
of the Lord, Rom. 12:1! Thank God for every faithful,
godly Christian worker in His house!
B. Seen In Their Sacrifice - Notice again verse 4. Aquila
and Priscilla were willing to give their all so that the
work of God might go forward. There is too little of that
spirit in the modern church! People will give, but not
until it hurts. They will come, but not if it becomes and
inconvenience. They will work, but only if it doesn't
impinge on their private time.
Where are those servants of the Lord who know that
anything of value is costly? Where are those who have
learned the valuable lesson that you will never learn to
be a blessing until you first learn to bleed? Where are
those who will place God at the forefront of everything
else in life and would rather die instead of letting Him
down? (Ill. David - 2 Sam. 24) May the Lord raise up
from among us some believers who will pay whatever
price is necessary to see the Lord bless and move in
C. Seen In Their Steadfastness - Notice again verse 10.
Here is a man named Apelles. It is said that he is
"approved". He has "stood the test". This was a word
used of verifying coins to prove their authenticity.
Apelles had been put to the test and he had not
wavered! He was part of a crowd that was serving
Jesus under the most difficult of circumstances
imaginable. They lived in a time when to be a Christian
could cost a person his life. Yet, they stood!
What does that say about us and our flippant
attitude toward the things of God? What does it say
about us when the least little thing can blow us off
course? God help us to get it settled in our hearts that
we are to be steadfast and unmovable, 1 Cor. 15:58.
God help us to realize that He is looking for those He
can put to the test before a watching world, and when
we have come through that test, He can place upon our
lives the divine stamp of approval and blessing. I want
that upon my life. How about you?
(Ill. This was a special group of dedicated saints, but what
they were we can be by the good grace of God! He doesn't
play favorites! If we pay the price, we can be used of Him
Conc: Paul's words to these saints are and encouragement
and a challenge to my own heart. I see traits in these people
that I want in my own life. I can have that!
Now, you and I will never make this list! The canon of the
scripture has already closed and what is written is written. But,
I just want to remind you that there is another special list that
is being written up. That is a list upon which you want to have
your name! Regardless of where your name is recorded down
here, be sure it is written up there, in the Lamb's Book Of Life!
If you miss that list, you have missed out on everything, Rev.
20:11-15. Is your name on Heaven's list? If you have trusted
Jesus as your Saviour it is! If not, it can be! And friend, having
your name on that list makes all the serving, all the sacrificing
and all the steadfast living worthwhile! You see, God always
pays off, just not on Thursday!
I may not have a name of renown,
But there's a book in Heaven where it's written down.
Even in the midst of life's trials and strife,
My name is written down in the Lamb's Book Of Life!