A Radiant Testimony for Christ
Romans 16:1-2 1 I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: 2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.
Here is a powerful testimony of a servant of Christ. Paul was not a male chauvinist. He commends this lady Phebe. Her name means radiant and her testimony and service for Christ and His people shine brightly. In commending her Paul places his approval on her work for the Savior. It is a very small thing to be commended by fellow man and even smaller to be commended by one’s own self, nevertheless to be commended by the Apostle Paul surely lends some weight to this lady’s testimony. Ultimate commendation for the believer is from the Lord Jesus Christ at the bema seat of Christ. ”For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.” (II Co 10:18)
Paul levels his commendation around four radiant thoughts:
Phebe; A Sister in the Lord: This lady had a clear salvation testimony. She had received the Lord Jesus Christ by believing upon His name. Thus God had given her the power to become a Son of God. She is a joint heir with Christ; A Child of the King; a Son of God in the family of God.
Phebe; A Servant of the Church: This lady’s salvation had resulted in a life of service. She is called a diakanos-a minister of tables. This is the same word for the NT church office of the deacon. This commendation does not establish an office of deaconess, but it does reflect that ladies are able to be choice servants within the NT Church body. This dear sister was known for her radiant service in the most menial tasks.
Phebe; A Saint: A Saint is made holy by the righteousness of Christ. A Saint’s standing is completely justified by the imputed righteousness of Christ. Every New Testament Believer who has been saved by Christ is a saint. These Saints were to receive this saint Phebe in a way becoming saints. This lady did not have to wait until her death to be canonized by some type of a religious gathering declaring her a saint for her work for the Lord. [For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. *One cannot minister to dead saints. (Heb 6:10] She became a saint the moment she received the Lord Jesus Christ and her name was indelibly marked in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Praise God, the believer’s sainthood does not depend upon man’s evaluation but by the Lord’s declaration. Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: (1Co 1:2 )
Phebe; A Succourer of Many: A hapax legomenon here describing her help and blessing to others by using her resources. She was a help even to the Apostle Paul. Her saintly standing caused her to have a practical work for the Savior. Her business (πρᾶγμα) would no doubt continue to be a refreshing blessing to these saints that were to receive her.
What a radiant testimony that Paul commends. Oh that believers today would have a testimony that would shine like this dear lady. She was a Sister in Christ, Servant of the church, Saint in Christ, and a Succorer of many.
Would we ask the Lord to give us a radiant testimony like Phebe? No doubt she was commended by the Lord as she finished her race, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”