Romans #36 – Real Ministry: Problems

In this final sermon in Romans from 16:17-27, Pastor Mark preaches against division and on the difference between wise, foolish, and evil people. Ultimately, the book ends with the admonition to start with God, stay with God, and finish with God.

Real Ministry Problems: (Romans 16:17-27)

Everything God builds by vision, Satan tries to break by division

  • Heaven (Rev. 12:7-10) – war in a perfect culture
  • Eden (Gen. 3) – war in a perfect culture
  • Jesus Ministry 12 Disciples (Satan entered Judas & tried to get Peter)
  • Attack, division, problems are part of every ministry, and NORMAL
  • As you advance into enemy territory, the bullets start flying
  • DO not get a crowd, but steal one God formed (Jesus & religious leaders)


Evil People

Romans 1617 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive… 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.

1.    Intentionally dangerous (religious & self-righteous) Pascal,

“Men never do evil so completely & cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction”

2.    -Unforgiving &/or -Unhealed (triggered)

3.    Driven by Fear & Anger

4.    Take up an offense (“ministry”)

5.    Relationally cunning – controlling/demanding/domineering, flattering, covert

6.    “create obstacles” to Christ/church; “cause divisions” in church

7.    Not beyond help, but beyond your help (this was Saul/Paul)

Wolves. Negatives. Demonic. Professional.

            = if you engage, you will enrage

-“watch out” & “avoid them” = Jesus/Judas

-Block. Ignore. Closure Communication.

= 1. forgiveness vs 2. trust vs 3. relationship (Satan & friendship Adam, Jesus)

Foolish People

Romans 16:18 For such persons [evil people] do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. 19 For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.

Romans 8:For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

= Everyone foolish in areas & at times

1.    Not less intelligent or less educated

2.    Irresponsible & use overly responsible people

3.    Make excuses not plans

4.    Deny reality & does not learn from failure

5.    Naïve. Gullible. Sucked into unhealthy & even dangerous relationships

6.    Maybe fun but not respected

7.    Mainly moved by pain

WARNING – gravity pulls from foolish to evil

Sheep. Neutrals. Flesh. Pastoral.

= teaching, modeling consequences, boundaries, assignments

= Jesus & Peter

Wise People

Romans 16:19 For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 21 Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen. 22 I Tertius, who wrote this letter, greet you in the Lord. 23 Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you.

= No one wise in every area

1.   Not most intelligence or education – humble & teachable

2.   Self-motivated to mature

3.   Embrace reality & changes to align w/reality

4.   Empathy & awareness of how their actions affect others

5.   Responsible & follows through on tasks

6.   Has a pattern of apologizing, repenting owning failure

7.   Healthy conflict & correction grows the relationship

Shepherds. Positives. Spirit. Personal.

= more time, energy, money, access, information, leadership

1.    Timothy – spiritual son, associated 5 Paul’s letters & 2 Tim. last written from Roman jail

2.    Lucius – a preacher most likely (Acts 13:3)

3.    Jason – Jason put down a riot for Paul (Acts 17:5-9)

4.    Sosipater -probably joined Paul in Berea (Acts 20:4)

5.    Tertius – Paul was the mind/mouth, he was the hands (like Jeremiah) Jew, relative? name means #3 (slaves often given numbers not names – all levels of society)

6.    Gaius – wealthy support Paul baptized (1 Cor. 1:4)

7.    Erastus – well known/respected gov’t leader

8.    Quartus – means #4

6 Kinds of Relationships

1.    Wise + Foolish = parental relationship

2.    Wise + Evil = distant relationship

3.    Foolish + Foolish = codependent relationship

4.    Foolish + Evil = abusive relationship

5.    Evil + Evil = dangerous relationship

6.    Wise + Wise = healthy relationship

Start with God, Stay with God, Finish with God

Romans 16:25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— 27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

  1. Problems come & go, but God is “eternal” & “forevermore”
  2. God can “strengthen you” & make you “wise” “through Jesus Christ”
  3. God works through Bible preaching
  4. Don’t worry about them, you worry about your “obedience”


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Mark Driscoll

It's all about Jesus! Read More