Now look in Verse 14 where we find a businessman’s group:
Say hello to Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers and sisters who are with them (Romans 16:14)
What is this, a kind of male commune? I’m just kidding, it reminded me of some brothers I knew who called themselves BTR (bachelors ‘til Rapture—oh, by the way they are all married now). Anyway, it is believed that these were young businessmen who had come to Rome and formed a group. At some point they had all become Christians and had another house church going in their bachelors’ quarters there. Paul sends his greetings to them and all the brothers with them.
Then a final group, which was possibly another house church in Rome, Verse 15:
Give my greetings to Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and to Olympas and all of God’s holy people who meet with them. Greet each other with a sacred kiss. All the churches of Christ send you their greetings (Romans 16:15-16)
Philippiansologus means “a lover of the word,” which was probably a nickname they gave him, just like in Acts 4:36 we meet Joseph, who was called by the apostles “Barnabas” (which means “son of encouragement”). What cool nicknames: a man who loved the Word of God! With him were other men and women—Julia, Nereus and his sister.
Nereus is another fascinating name. Dr. Barclay suggests that he may have been the housekeeper of a prominent Roman citizen named Flavius Clemens, who later became Consul of Rome, the highest political office in the city. In 95 A.D., was condemned to death by the Emperor Domitian because he was a Christian. His wife, Domatilla, who was also a believer, was banished by the emperor. Here is a hint that in the household of Flavius Clemens was a Christian slave, Nereus, who was certainly a great influence in this prominent Roman citizen coming to Christ, and who would later give his life as a martyr for Christ.
What these list of names is telling me, is that Roman society had already been infiltrated by the gospel even before Paul arrived in the city. I think that is why, at the very beginning of this letter, he says, their “faith is being reported all over the world,” (Romans 1:8). These prominent Christians had already penetrated society from top to bottom.
So there you are working at a job and feel like it is a waste of time; that you have no purpose. You are Christ’s ambassador, wherever you are! That is the way Christianity should work. Hey churches, quit spending so much money on those massive crusades. The advancement of the Kingdom of our Lord can advance where the believers are living and working. I think it makes its best progress when it infiltrates all levels of society and brings them all together in the church of Christ.
Oh, I also have to mention Paul’s great comment after mentioning all of these people: “Greet one another with a holy kiss . . .” I love that! We are to be responsible for each other’s growth and improvement. We have to care. But not only that, we have to stick with each other until it happens. Our world outside of the Church is divided, people are separated for Christ, but also from each other. They don’t know how to love. That’s is why pornography is a billion dollar business! Our task as believers is to demonstrate how God can put people together. You cannot be right in your doctrine and wrong in your living!
Hallelujah! I’m on a roll, and I am going to tell you that our love must be audible and visible! We need to demonstrate this life. That’s why Paul had to tell them to greet one another with kisses—pure, holy kisses? (Romans 16:16). Don’t be cynical, wary, and shy. It will degenerate into coolness—and soon you will have a cold church. “Go on,” prods Paul, “kiss each other!”
I remember years ago, when we were leaving my parent’s home, as normal we gave my mom a hug, but I stretched out my arms to give my dad a hug and he said, “Awe, I don’t do that kind of stuff . . .” I responded, “Ah dad, that’s okay, I do!” and I gave him a hug. Several years later, he eventually gave his heart to the Lord. Oh, by the way, most of you have never met me yet, but if we ever do meet, you better expect a “high-five” and a big hug!
If interested, you can download the entire study of The Letter to Christians at Rome