It fell to Gwyn Williams to send us on our way with the final conference sermon on Romans 16:25-27.
The Aber Conference is like a spiritual glasshouse. Glasshouses promote rapid growth. But they are a protective environment. Before plants are planted outside they need to be toughened up. Beware of post Christian conference syndrome.
In this doxology Paul shows us how cope with reality.
Romans 16 shows us the human side of apostle. 27 Christians in Rome are mentioned in Romans 16:1-20. In Romans 16:21-24, Paul sends greetings from 8 companions. The doxology resonates with the opening verses of Romans.
1. The gospel is eternal
Romans 16:25. The mystery hidden from the foundation of the world is now revealed. Our culture does not value history. But the gospel has antique value due to its special provenance as the gospel of God. It is the gospel of salvation.
2. The gospel to all nations
Romans 16:26, Acts 1:8. God’s intention from the beginning was that Jew and Gentile would be saved. Yet, the world doesn’t want to know, 2 Corinthians 4:6.
The Great Commission must be number 1 on the agenda of the church.
3. The obedience of faith
The gospel demands a response, Romans 16:26. This is the challenge of the gospel.
Being obedient in the glasshouse easier, but outside it is more difficult. We are God’s new humanity, renewed and holy. Have you been changed by the conference? It is not about how the preachers got on. How did you get on in response to God’s word preached?
God is behind all this, Romans 16:27. This calls for humility that gives all glory to God.
4. God is able to establish you
Romans 16:25. Back home you will face tensions in churches over Bible versions, hymn books etc. Also problems at home, the difficult economic situation, challenges for students in Uni, and issues at work. The are family concerns. Some have unbelieving parents. We experience personal temptations, loneliness and ill health. Some may even face death in the coming year. But God will strengthen you. He will help you make the transition from glasshouse of the Aber Conference to the real world.