Homes for Jesus

Does your home contribute significantly to the growth of your church and the expansion of the kingdom of God? In Romans 16:1-5, Paul recognizes certain acquaintances in the church at Rome. He does not recognize everyone in the church at Rome; instead, he recognizes those who demonstrate exemplary qualities. In particular, he recognizes Phoebe (Rom. 16:1-2) and then Aquila and Priscilla (Rom. 16:3-5). By doing this, he expresses genuine appreciation for them. He also encourages everyone else to follow their example.

What example does Aquila and Priscilla provide for us? They demonstrate the significant value of homes devoted to serving Jesus. So, how did they manifest this exemplary devotion? Even though they earned a professional income (as tent makers, Acts 18:23) and were not salaried church staff…

They Devoted Themselves to Ministry (Rom. 16:3-4).

Aquila and Priscilla did more than attend church and receive benefits from any services the church provided. They contributed in a devoted fashion. They were, in fact, ‘all in.’

  • First, they worked very hard. The KJV says they were helpers with Paul. The NKJV expresses the Greek work more clearly when it says they were fellow workers. (To learn more about their teamwork with Paul, see Acts 18:2 and 18:18.) The Greek word means to labor very hard (as a farmer would labor in the fields), and to do this in partnership with someone else. In a comparable way, their testimony of hard work in gospel ministry reminds me of the household of Stephanas who “addicted [devoted] themselves to the ministry” (1 Cor. 16:15).
  • Second, they took risks. Paul says that they “risked their own necks” for him. Scripture does not tell us in what way or under what circumstances they did this; but one way or another, they encountered danger and difficulty as a result of their devotion to ministry. They served, even when it was not convenient. In a contrasting way, their willingness to take risks with Paul for the cause of gospel ministry reminds me of Paul’s final appearances before Caesar, when “no one stood with him” (2 Tim. 4:16).
  • Third, they influenced other churches. Paul tells us that “all of the Gentile churches” owed gratitude to this dear family. This reminds me of the reputable Christian sisters and their children of whom John speaks in 2 John, especially 2 John 4. We are speaking of a family who serves the Lord to such a degree that through their efforts and even through their children, they affect other churches in the world beyond their own congregation.

Does your home share this testimony? Do you work very hard in partnership with the ministry of your church, going beyond casual involvement? Do you take risks to partner with your pastor and advance the cause of the gospel? Do you touch and bless other churches beyond your own, or at least, believe that God can use you in this way?

As you consider these important thoughts, you should recognize that Aquila and Priscilla not only devoted themselves to ministry with their church and at their church. There is one more feature about their example that Paul points out.

They Devoted Their House to Ministry (Rom. 16:5).

Now here is one more way that Aquila and Priscilla model devotion to Christian service. Paul tells us that a church met in their house. (We find this repeated in 1 Cor. 16:19). Would you be willing to do the same? Would you be willing to open your home for ministry purposes? A prayer meeting? A Bible study fellowship? A backyard Bible club for children? A gospel cookout? A church service? To house a visiting missionary? To eat a meal together with another family?

We thank the Lord for a church building, when He provides one. But let us remember the importance of opening our homes for ministry in various ways. The Bible teaches us to do this, and Aquila and Priscilla provide us with an example.

Is your home – the people in it and the house itself – devoted to the ministry?

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