INTRODUCING A GODLY CHRISTIAN WOMAN
Intro: The pages of the Bible are filled with the names of many
great women. For instance, there is Mary, the mother of the
Lord Jesus. There is Eunice and Lois who taught young
Timothy the way of God 's salvation. There is Lydia, the
merchant from Thyatira, who was converted under Paul's
ministry and was greatly used of the Lord. The book of Acts
speaks of a woman called Dorcas. She was a talented woman
who ministered to the needs of the church and was raised from
the dead by Peter. Then, in this chapter, we are introduced to
a woman named Phebe. She is a special woman, who
demonstrates the attributes of holiness, servanthood and
dedication that should mark all true women of the Lord.
This woman was a great servant of the early church. There
is a statement in some Bibles after verse 27, that says the
following, "Written to the Romans from Corinthus, and sent
by Phebe servant of the church of Cenchrea." When she
left Paul at Corinth to go to Rome, she carried in the folds of
her robe the greatest declaration of Christian doctrine the
world had ever witnessed. Evidently, she was a much trusted
and esteemed worker in the early church.
What we have in these first two verses is a letter of
commendation. The word "commend" means to "introduce
or recommend to another." Paul is taking the time to
introduce Phebe to the believers in Rome. He wants them to
know that she is pretty special and that she will be a blessing
to them. It appears that in those day, when a person left one
church to go to another, they carried with them a letter of
commendation from the home church. We still do this today,
to a certain degree. Although we do not do as good a job with
it as we should. When someone leaves this church to go to
another, we ought to tell the church they went to the truth
about them! That way, good Christian workers could be
introduced and troublemakers could be identified. That might
cut down on some of the church-hopping we see going on
today. In fact, I heard, just this week about a church that was
torn apart by a member that had torn two other churches apart
before he got there. If only they had received him from Paul's
church! He would have told the truth about him! If you don't
believe me, just look at 1 Tim. 1:19-20. Now, don't get me
wrong, there is a time to change churches, but problem
children should be identified!
Anyway, our focus this evening is the glowing letter carried
by Phebe. Paul introduces her to the church in Rome and it is
that introduction that I want to look at tonight. In these two
verses, I see a portrait of a Godly Christian Woman. Notice
three words that are used to describe Phebe in these verses.
Join me as we consider together the thought Introducing A
Godly Christian Woman.
I. V. 1a SHE IS CALLED A SISTER
A. Her Relationship With The Father - The word sister
indicates that this woman is in a father/daughter
relationship with God. Now, her name, Phebe, means
"radiant or bright". It is also another name for the
Corinthian goddess Diana. With a name like that it
stands to reason that this woman was raised in a home
of idol worshipers. She us undoubtably a pagan before
she heard the Gospel of grace and was converted.
However and whenever this woman met Jesus, she
been brought out of the darkness of idol worship and
into the glorious light of the Lord's salvation. She was
saved! Once she was a "radiant and bright" worshiper
of the Greek gods. Now, she is a "radiant and bright"
worshiper of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Friend, regardless of your background, if you are
saved, the greatest thing you can say about yourself is
that you are a child of God! To know that you have
been saved and are in a relationship with God is the
greatest knowledge in the world! She is a sister
because she knows the father.
B. Her Relationship With The Family - Not only is she in
a relationship with the Heavenly Father, she is also in a
relationship with all the other redeemed children of God.
We might imagine that because she had trusted Jesus,
she was considered an outcast by her family. But,
when she met Jesus, she got a new family! She was
received into a family that was made up of redeemed
people from all kinds of races and backgrounds. When
a person comes to Jesus, all the barriers of life are
broken down, Gal. 3:28. In Jesus there are no racial
barriers, no social barriers and no sexual barriers. We
are all made one in Jesus!
It is on the basis of her relationship to the Christian
family that Paul encourages the Roman Christians to
receive her, v. 2. In other words, just the fact that she
is a woman should have no bearing on how they were
to receive her. According to Paul, we are to receive
one another just as Jesus received us, Rom. 15:7. So,
here you have a Jew, recommending a Gentile to a
group of Romans. Only the grace of God could do that!
When we are in a relationship with the Lord Jesus
Christ, we are placed in a family where there is love,
acceptance and joy. Thank God for the family for the
II. V. 1b-2a SHE IS CALLED A SERVANT
(Ill. Here is where we going to encounter some interesting
material. I will preface this section by saying, "Thank God
for the godly, active women of this church. You fill a
place here that would ever remain vacant if it were left
up to the men to do what you do." Not only is Phebe
called a "Sister", she is also called a "Servant.")
A. V. 1b Her Position - Paul says that Phebe is a
"servant". This is the same word that is translated
"deacon" elsewhere. This does not necessarily mean
that Phebe held the office of deaconess in the
Cenchrean church, but it does mean that she carried
out the spirit of that office in her work for the Lord. You
see, the work translated "deacon" and here "servant"
means "a table waiter, or one who waits on orders
from his master." At times it referred to "one who
kicked up dust." The idea being that the servant was
so busy carrying out his duties that he left a trail of dust
behind him. Of course, we believe that only men are
qualified to be deacons, 1 Tim. 3:8-13; Acts 6:1-4.
But, there is application here to women who acts as
servants to the church as well.
Just as a note, the deacons in this church or in any
other church, for that matter, have no authority at all!
But, they are to be in submission to the church. They
are to be the servants of the people of God. A deacon
who tries to rule is a deacon who is out of his place! A
deacon who thinks he is the watchdog of the church is
overstepping the bounds of his authority. There are
many who are good, godly men. We have that kind
here! But, there are others who think it is their job to tell
the preacher what he can and cannot preach. They are
dead wrong about that! A deacon is a servant, nothing
more! By the way, the same is true about preachers,
teachers, leaders on any definition. We are all
servants! Notice that this is what Paul says about
Phebe. Do you see the phrase "of the church."?
Phebe was under the authority of the local church.
Whatever kind of service she rendered, whatever place
she held in the church, she was a servant.
Thank God for those people who will humble
themselves and serve the church! Thank God for those
women who will willingly do those things that need to be
done around the house of God, often without thanks
and most of the time without compensation. Yet, they
do is because they truly love the Lord and His church
and sincerely want to be a blessing! I want to say thank
you to all the women of this church who are humble
servants! Keep up the good work!
B. V. 2 Her Praise - Paul calls on the Roman Christians to
receive Phebe "as becometh saints." He lets them
know that by her life and her work she has
demonstrated the fact that she is a saint of God. She
is worthy to be honored because of her dedication to
What a blessing it is when people's lives match their
professions! Those who are saved and who live like it
are to be honored and respected! This is the Lord's
desire for each of us, Phil. 1:27, Col. 1:10.
Friends, there is something special about a godly
woman! A woman who doesn't gossip, who dresses,
talks and acts like a lady. A woman who shows the
world what Jesus can do with a life that is presented to
Him by faith. A woman that is prudent and godly is a
lovely woman! I thank every woman in this church who
is willing to be all that Jesus wants you to be! I praise
the Lord for you! Keep up the good walk!
C. V. 2 Her Partners - Paul challenges the Romans to fall
in line with Phebe and help her with her work. The
word "assist" means "to take one's place beside
another to offer help." They were not to hinder Phebe,
but they were to help her as she ministered for the Lord.
There is a lesson in that for us this evening! When
the godly ladies of this church are ministering in those
areas that they are so good in, the rest of us should
come along side of them and help them in any way we
can. I am speaking especially to the men this evening!
Think about it fellows, there are some things that the
ladies are just better at than us. We need to stay out of
their way and let them work for Jesus. Let's give them
our prayers, our encouragement, our support and our
resources. Let's help them in every way they need our
help and thank God for making them like He did. He
fixed it so that they would take care of the areas of
ministry that never would cross our minds!
III. V. 2b SHE IS CALLED A SUCCOURER
(Ill. This is an old word that means "to come to another's
assistance." It comes from an old word that means "to
run under." In Paul's day this word was used to refer to "a
female guardian or protector of others who cared for
the affairs of others and aided them with her
resources." This may indicate that Phebe was a wealthy
woman. Be that as it may, she gave much to the work of
the Lord. Let me just touch on a few gifts she gave as a
servant of the Lord.)
A. She Gave Of Her Talent - Whatever it was that Phebe
was good at, she dedicated that to the Lord and used it
to be a blessing to the church. She helped Paul and
she helped others. She was unselfish and not self-centered. She placed the needs of others first and
made a difference in their lives for the glory of God.
She took her life and placed it all on the altar for Jesus.
She did what she could. This was what was said
concerning Mary when she anointed the feet of Jesus,
Mark 14:6. Phebe didn't try to do everything, she just
did what she could!
Here is what the church needs today! We need
women, and men, who will do what they can do! Did
you know that everyone should not try to preach? If
you haven't been called you should stay out of the
pulpit as a preacher. Not every one can teach. Not
everyone can sing, or write, or lead, or whatever. But,
everyone can do something! That something that you
can do is what you should do for the Lord and for His
church. Do what you can for Him and He will bless it in
a great way!
B. She Gave Of Her Time - Paul says that Phebe was a
blessing to him and to many others as well. A ministry
like that takes a lot of time! She was willing to spend
her life on behalf of the church and for the glory of her
redeemer. She gave everything she had for God.
Have you ever thought that your time may just be
the most valuable asset you have? If you give money,
you can always earn that back. If you give of your
property, you may be able to buy more. But, when you
give of your time, you have given something that you
can never get back again! However, in the light of
eternity, what is the investment of time for the glory of
I praise the Lord for those people in the church who
are willing to give of their time! Time to pray for others,
to visit a sick one, to minister to the bereaved, to make
that phone call, to prepare that meal, to do what needs
to be done so that others might be blessed. What a
ministry! I want to thank you tonight for the gift of your
time. Thank you for giving your life to the church!
C. She Gave Of Her Tenderness - In giving of her talent
and her time, she was, in effect, opening up her heart
to the believers around her. She was putting feet on
her love, 1 John 3:17-18. Phebe knew that love for the
saints was something you said, it was something you
showed! She proved her love for Jesus by loving the
Again, I praise the Lord for those saintly ladies who
open their hearts to minister to the church. I thank God
for everyone who shows their love for the Lord and the
church by opening their heart and giving in the name of
the Lord. Those who do this are a rare commodity!
More precious than silver or gold. More valuable than
diamonds. The church that has them is rich indeed! I
just want to say thanks!
Conc: Ladies, you could spend your lives in lots of ways. You
could go through life feeling like a second-class citizen
because you cannot be a preacher or a deacon. You could be
upset over the fact that God has placed you in a submissive
position in the church and in the home. Or, you could look at
the opportunities God has given you to serve Him and come to
the understanding that He has opened areas of service to you
that no man could ever fill. He has blessed you godly Christian
women and I thank God for every one of you!
Of course, this passage contains a word for all of us! We
are challenged to give everything we have to the service of the
Lord and to the service of His church. I challenge you to look
at your life and your heart. Are you giving everything you have
to God, His church and His people? If not, then now is the
time to pledge your all to Him afresh and anew.
Some may not even be in the family. If you do not know
the Father, let me tell you that He loves you and wants to save
you and take you into His family. If you need to meet Him,
then you come.
Whatever the need, this altar is open for you to do business
with God tonight!