Church, when the saints gather, ought to be a busy time.
The Christians in Rome demonstrated what normal Christians do in and for Church. Paul had not been to Rome, but he had met some of the individuals from the church in Rome; and this is what he had to say about them.
Romans 16:1 the servant and patron to many
Romans 16:3 fellow workers
Romans 16:6 worked hard
Romans 16:9 fellow worker
Romans 16:12 workers … worked hard
The Christians in Rome were known for working hard on spiritual service towards one another. This is something that is largely lacking in Christian Church today. The reasons Christians come to church are often selfish: to hear the band play; to be encouraged and uplifted; to hear a good sermon;to get some spiritual nourishment for another week in the world. Most of these things are most certainly among the many blessings of being in a good church. But it appears from the repetition in Romans 16, that the Christians in Rome had something else added to the list about why they went to church; it appears to be very near the top of the list.
The Christians in Rome went to church to work. The Christians in Rome went to church in some ways like you go to work. Not everybody at your work does the same thing, but they all work for the some company goals – they all arrive at 8, work 8 hours and then go home only to come tomorrow again. When necessarily some go to work early or stay late. Sometimes you go to work to attend a specific meeting or complete a unique project; other times you drive to work not even sure of what exactly you will be doing, but knowing you need to be at work, and that there is always work to be done. The Roman Christians went to church like that.
Church ought to be a busy place, and the Roman Christians spared no effort in keeping it a busy, living, vibrant church. They went to church to labour for each other, and they did so with excellence. The individuals named in chapter 16 were no nominal Christians. They were no mere professors of faith, but walked worthy of their calling.
Charles Spurgeon longed for the same level of spiritual hard work among the saints in his day. In one sermon he said this:
“A do-nothing professor is a merely nominal member, and a nominal member is a real hindrance. He neither contributes, nor prays, nor works, nor agonizes for souls, nor takes any part in Christian service, and yet he partakes in all the privileges of the church. Is this fair?”[http://www.spurgeon.us/mind_and_heart/quotes/c3.htm 1916.461]
To state the obvious answer: No, it is not fair. It is unfair, unnatural, unbecoming, unfitting – a complete contradiction to all God has done for him! For the church to be healthy, all the Christians in it must work individually, humbly and with excellence. A church with nominal do-nothing professors of faith is a cripple church – some parts might be working excellently, but like a cripple leg, the do-nothing attender is contorting the whole body into a limping invalid.
Sunday is coming. Will you go to Church to work?