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COLOSSIANS CHAPTER 4

KJV    NAS

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1-4 Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven. 2 Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; 3 praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; 4 that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. 

 

Col 4-1

(13i) Servant >> Support the body >> Servant in the work force Ė Employers should fear God and treat their employees with dignity and respect, since they too have an employer in heaven. We are in control of Godís judgment and have the power to turn His decision into a reward, simply by changing our attitude and the way we treat other people. If we bless those under our authority, God will bless us under His authority, both now and in eternity. God has a trail of rewards He wants to give us, but if we wonít walk on that trail, He canít give us those rewards, which is our judgment.

(69g) Authority >> Righteous judgment >> Meditate on discernment >> Judging what is right

(88g) Thy kingdom come >> Fear the judgment of God is the beginning of wisdom >> Fear the consequences of your disobedience

(90i) Thy kingdom come >> Keeping the law >> Righteousness of the law >> All righteousness is covered by the law

Col 4,2-6

(44k) Judgment >> Transformation process >> Fulfill your ministry in evangelism >> Complete your mission

(82c) Thy kingdom come >> Three elements of prayer >> Direction (Attitude) >> Who to pray for

(85e) Thy kingdom come >> Words that are spoken in faith >> Powerful when spoken by the Spirit >> by the anointing

(148i) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Obligation to preach the gospel >> Ambassador in chains Ė In your evangelism efforts donít just present to them a formatted evangelistic program, pulling something from your pocket that you say to each person. These things are not bad or wrong, but neither are they particularly effective. It may be harder to know what the Spirit wants to say to each person, but itís what weíre called to do as Christians. We are His mouthpiece, so if we donít know what the Spirit wants to tell those around us, then we need to devote ourselves to prayer until we develop that gift. When we talk to people, what we are telling them should be from the Spirit of God, motivating them to pursue a faith of their own. Virtually every evangelism program is designed to get somebody to say the sinnerís prayer to foster a verbal acknowledgement of his need for God. More often than not, when they are finished talking to the evangelist, his life is not changed and the moment forgotten. In contrast, what people will take home is a word from the Spirit of God. That is something they will never forget. Paul, the man of faith and vision, evangelized the countryside in this manner and turned the world upside down for Jesus.

Col 4,2-4

(113b) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> The anointing >> Heavenís clothes >> Protection >> Shelter Ė We are to devote ourselves to prayer, clothe ourselves with it, so all may see our anointing that we received from God. Paul was a repeat offender, being thrown in prison for preaching the gospel of Christ. Soon as they let him out he went right back to his same crimes, preaching Jesus to a lost world and making converts, who are given the Holy Spirit and inherit eternal life, and they will live forever with God. What a crime, but this is how the world feels about faith in Jesus, and Paul was asking the Church for prayer that not only a door be opened, but also his mouth that God would make it clear how he ought to speak. The gospel is the mystery of Christ. He is a mystery to the world; He is mysterious even to His own people. He is the Son of God, who created the universe. We canít expect Him to be easy to understand, though He has shown a side of Himself that is straightforward, that we might be saved and come to know Him in this life, much more in the life to come.

(119h) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Freedom >> Having freedom to minister

Col 4-2,3

(231a) Kingdom of God >> Godís kingdom is a living organism >> Mystery of godliness >> Solving the mystery of godliness >> The Church discloses the mystery of Christ Ė The world does not know the mysteries that we know, because they are solved by faith in Christ. When a person turns to the Lord and suddenly his eyes are opened, he can finally see the truth, and he begins to read the Scriptures in a whole new light. There are some mysteries that we wonít know until we get to heaven, and there are other mysteries that we will never know, for eternity itself is not long enough to solve all the mysteries of God. He is far beyond His creation, but there are mysteries that He has revealed to us for the purpose of revealing them to the world. In generations past God revealed Himself to men and they came to an understanding of Him, but in todayís world when few are being saved, many have come to the conclusion that they already know everything and there are no mysteries that they need to know about God. We have come to a generation that knows only what it wants to know, and what it doesnít want to know it refuses to know, and this comes at a time of information overload when we can know just about anything just by typing it into a search engine on the Internet, but few of those mysteries they seek pertain to God. People have lost interest in Him. In the days of Paul, He went from town to town and preached Jesus, and everywhere he went he made converts, because people were generally open to the gospel, but today peopleís minds and hearts are closed, because of all the spiritual abuse that has occurred over the centuries.

Col 4-2

(82h) Thy kingdom come >> Prayer >> Thankfulness >> Giving thanks for His mercy

(83l) Thy kingdom come >> Be on the alert >> Remain on duty >> Be ready Ė We need to stay devoted to prayer and keep the embers burning in our hearts for the things of the Lord, not allowing the fire to quench. Jesus often commanded us to stay on the alert, this being His main advice for the Church. We read the Bible, we go to church and we fellowship with the brethren, but staying on the alert refers primarily to prayer, which is the ingredient most lacking in Christians today.

(96d) Thy kingdom come >> Attitude >> Positive attitude toward God >> Having a thankful attitude

(100k) Thy kingdom come >> Devotion >> In your ministry to God >> Devoted to prayer -- This verse goes with verses 12,13

Col 4-3,4

(123a) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Boldness to speak the word by the Spirit

Col 4-3

(66j) Authority >> Jesusí authority >> His words are the authority of God

(216f) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> Godís will over man >> Compelled by the Spirit >> God forces His bond-servants to do His will -- This verse goes with verse 10. Paul believed in the traditions of Israel, but when God came and revealed to him that everything he knew was wrong, it toppled his world; there was nothing left of him. Paul and the Lord made a contract right there on the road to Damascus, and Paul become the property of Jesus Christ. His old life meant nothing to him anymore. To become the property of Christ he could get his life back, but being a mediocre Christian would not account for the lies and deceptions he helped spread throughout the countryside and the persecutions against the Church and the martyrs he made of the saints. Paulís life ended right there on the road to Damascus, and God gave Him a new life as a bondservant. He no longer had a choice; when Jesus told him go, he didnít contemplate whether he should; he just went. When he was receiving his thirty-nine lashes five times from the Jews that tore his back into shreds, the old scars reopened each time he was flogged, it was all part of being a bondservant. He relinquished his right to choose when he agreed with Christ about the truth. Paul was a prisoner of Christ Jesus; he said in Eph 3-1, meaning it both literally and figuratively in equal amounts.

(242c) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Persecuting the kingdom >> Persecuting God >> Persecuting the word of God

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

5&6 Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.

 

Col 4-5,6

(1g) Responsibility >> Become all things to all men >> Blending together Ė Paul had perfected the art of changing his colors like a chameleon, not to be deceitful, but for versatility sake, so he could reach as many people as possible. He would try not to turn people off by being "un-relatable," but would try always to be ready for everything, to have a word specially tailored to fit each personís needs. This of course can only be done through the Holy Spirit. He was very sensitive to the needs of others; he made it his business to care about people and try to meet their needs even at the cost of his own, yet knowing his needs would always be met perhaps even supernaturally as he met the pressing needs of others.

(8c) Responsibility >> Use time efficiently >> Use wisely this moment

(11o) Servant >> Example of Godís people >> Example of the Church Ė We are obligated to set a good example for those outside the Church. We want to put our best foot forward so they donít get the wrong idea about us. People judge us based on first impressions. If we want them to believe we are faithful children of God, then we show them this, and that is how they will remember us. In the future we may become a source of spiritual knowledge and advice to them regarding the things of God, and hopefully lead many to Christ. To set a good example in the faith is an utmost priority, for it is not only how we spread the gospel, but it is also how we encourage one another to grow in the faith.

(62f) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Being clever >> Lure in your prey

(70k) Authority >> Believerís authority >> We are the salt of the earth (Preservative)

(89d) Thy kingdom come >> Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom >> Answers of wisdom 

(105j) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Led by the Spirit >> To the truth >> Led into the mind of Christ

(110a) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Spirit speaks through you >> Word of knowledge >> knowing their thoughts by the mind of Christ Ė When we interact with people, we should be listening for the Holy Spirit to lead us to say the right things, because God knows their needs, their trials an their troubles, and God longs to speak to them through us. We need to make sure that whatever we say is seasoned with salt, meaning what we are telling them is of the Spirit. What is more important than things we believe are things God has revealed to us. These are the things that encourage others to follow the Lord and bring about spiritual growth and life to the body of Christ. We are called to tailor our conversations with those outside the Church. 

Col 4-6

(116g) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Through the words you speak Ė How do we season our speech with grace? We must first install His word in our hearts, so we will know what to say, and possess the wisdom of God to know when and how we ought to speak. We must prepare to respond with love to anyone who would despitefully use us, it doesn't come to us naturally, building our knowledgebase with Scripture as students of the word and developing the ability to divinely respond in every situation through our ministry of prayer. Proverbs 25-11 says, ďLike apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.Ē Like rolling the tumblers on a lock, just the right words can open doors and change the course of our lives, sometimes in a single moment. Therefore, anger is out of the question, though it is almost always our first choice, yet anger never achieves the righteousness of God. We choose the second option as our response, or even the third or fourth, but almost never the first, since it is the devilís option that he presents in our flesh. We donít want to respond according to the elementary principles of our flesh; rather, we want to respond to each person according to the grace of God, showing that God lives in us and that we are His children and that we live by principles that are different from the world. We are citizens of an invisible kingdom, and Godís whole purpose is to manifest that kingdom through the Church, not the building but the people.


7 As to all my affairs, Tychicus, our beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord, will bring you information. 

 

Col 4,7-18

(123g) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Spiritual affection >> Ministry of the saints >> Emotional benediction toward helpers Ė A service that is no longer relevant that was once big in the early church was the ministry of communication; now we just pick up the phone and dial whomever we need to convey a message. The ancient ministry had an added element of spiritual affection that we canít experience over the phone. The message is supplemented with the messenger himself, and who knows how long a distance he traveled to bring the message, maybe a three or four day journey. They arrive at their destination and convey the message, and then it is time to show some hospitality and break out the bread and pour some wine to refresh the soul. Communications was a meaningful and joyous ministry, though there was danger on every corner and adventure too. Danger may have spiked the event with adrenaline and ratcheted up the risks, but God protected his people in their service to Him. This communication system employed many people in the ministry, not financially but spiritually.

Col 4,7-15

(14l) Servant >> Ministry of helps >> Helpers fill in the gaps >> Messengers help in communications

(142j) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> Having a reputable ministry >> A reputable ministry of helps Ė Luke sent his greeting to his fellow saints. He was the writer of the gospel of Luke; he was also the writer of the book of Acts. His name was frequently mentioned among the faithful, though he was not an apostle but a person who followed the apostles, namely Paul and helped however he could, often lending his skill in the written word and in his profession as a physician to the sick and ailing. Luke was the only person who wrote his own gospel, whereas the rest probably received help, most being uneducated. Luke always knew what to do in any situation of injury and disease, probably taking care of Paul more than once after a whipping, cleaning his wounds.

Col 4,7-9

(72f) Authority >> Transferring authority >> Receiving the delegated authority of men

(102c) Thy kingdom come >> Faithfulness (Loyalty) >> Faithfulness is dependable >> Godís servants are dependable

(228m) Kingdom of God >> Godís kingdom is a living organism >> God working in you >> God causes all things to work together Ė It was important to Paul that the Colossians knew about his circumstances. They say that knowledge is power, and with that power we can make intelligent decisions and know how to pray. His circumstances were encouraging, for through his ministry many people were being saved, and though he was persecuted God was protecting him. It is unquestionably true that the reason people were getting saved back then was because of persecution. If the Church were not persecuted, people would not see value in the truth, for the gospel is similar to gold and silver; it is expensive and often difficult to acquire. When people saw the Church being persecuted, it opened their eyes to the fact that the gospel Paul preached was the truth from God and therefore very valuable. They must have figured that if so many people had strong feelings against it, then maybe there are others who have strong feelings for it. To be part of something that people tenaciously believe is very appealing, as opposed to believing something that matters to no one.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

Col 4-7

(13m) Servant >> Serve God faithfully Ė Some of these names should sound familiar to us, who were associated with Colossae. It seems that this city acted as a hub of Christian activity, though the Church as a whole was regulated from Jerusalem with Peter as the lead apostle. If there were any major issues of the Church, it would be taken to Jerusalem and resolved. Onesimus was the young man who ministered to Paul in his imprisonment in the book of Philemon, and of course Luke is the writer of the gospel of Luke. Paul spoke very highly of Onesimus; he spoke highly of everyone who was an excellent servant of the Church. He valued the ministry of servants, because some day we will be servants in Godís heavenly kingdom. Jesus taught that the greater the servant, the greater the authority God will bestow on us. In this world people are paid for their services, but their wage does not reflect their level of service. There are some who do grunt work that nobody else wants to do and are paid a minimum wage or even less, and then there are others who get paid big bucks but are no servants at all; instead, they have waiters attending to their every whim, and so we cannot say that the system of this world is anything like the Kingdom of God. In heaven, the one who does the grunt gets the most honor. Jesus will be exalted above everyone, because here on earth he was the greatest servant, and even in heaven He will continue to be our example by extending His hospitality to us as the servant of all.

 

8-11 For I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts; 9 and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of your number. They will inform you about the whole situation here. 10 Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you his greetings; and also Barnabas's cousin Mark (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him); 11 and also Jesus who is called Justus; these are the only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are from the circumcision, and they have proved to be an encouragement to me.

 

Col 4-8

(74a) Thy kingdom come >> The heart >> God wants you to bless your brother from the heart

(91d) Thy kingdom come >> The called >> His purpose answers "Why"

(139b) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Encouragement >> The adversity of our brothers encourages us Ė Nobody got paid for their services to the Church; not even the pastor was paid, and he took the biggest risk of all. When it came to pastors, the offenders would take their skullduggery directly to the Church, often throwing the pastor in prison, or else torturing him first before martyring him. People knew the risks, and they were happy to live in service to God, knowing what could happen, and as a result the Church grew (Act 16-5). This verse referenced the first few weeks after Pentecost, but it also happened throughout the first and second century. The Church blossomed at its onset; Jesus was correct in His assessment of the people being prepared to receive the gospel when it arrived at their doorstep, ďBehold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvestĒ (Jn 4-35). He was saying that about his own time, but when we lift up our eyes these days, we donít see hordes of people getting saved. 

Col 4-10

(102e) Thy kingdom come >> Faithfulness (Loyalty) >> Faithfulness is dependable >> Loyalty is dependable Ė Paul had a fellow Christian cellmate in prison when he wrote the book of Colossians. Apparently this man, Aristarchus, was committed to the cause of Christ enough to earn a prison cell next to the apostle Paul; thatís what the world thinks of people who love and serve God.

(130k) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Accept one another >> Love tears down social differences in the Church Ė It is interesting that Paul had to tell the Colossians to welcome Mark. Apparently Paul had told the Colossians something different in the past, referring to the time Mark abandoned them on the mission field (Act 15,36-41). There was such a sharp disagreement between he and Barnabas that they actually split-up. Paul and Barnabas were good friends until this happened, and Paul blamed Mark for the rift between them. Eventually they straightened out their differences; forgiveness replaced division; he and Barnabas became friends again and went on other missionary journeys together. Paul had to change his mind and convey to everybody that Mark regained his status among the brethren as an indispensable servant of the Lord, and that he deserved full acceptance from everyone. Had Paul not told them, the Church may have shunned Mark because of the things Paul had previously told them. Paul must have been fuming; he didnít like anybody abandoning him in the middle of the work that needed to be done. His focus in establishing the Kingdom of God on this planet was singular; it meant so much to him that it unfortunately went beyond human relationships. Paul was not ready to immediately forgive anybody who would threaten the success of his mission: to evangelize the entire known world; the last thing he needed was his own comrades to add further challenges to his mountain of difficulties. He wanted to make sure it didnít happen again, so Paul explained to the Church that if anybody abandons him on the mission field, he would get the same treatment. Markís name wasnít worth a plug nickel until he was able to dig himself out of the hole through faithful obedience, proving himself an indispensable servant of the Lord. Later he went with Paul again on other missionary journeys and helped him proclaim the gospel in other regions of the world. These are the ways of God: He believes in us. He also gave Mark the privilege of writing a gospel after enduring this terrible shame. The lesson we should take from this is that the sins committed are not what matters but reconciliation. The same is true with Peter, he was one of the leaders of the Church, yet he denied the Lord three times.

(216f) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> Godís will over man >> Compelled by the Spirit >> God forces His bond-servants to do His will -- This verse goes with verse 18

Col 4-11

(88b) Thy kingdom come >> Faith produces works >> Relationship between faith and works >> The work of faith

(139a) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Encouragement >> Our brothers encourage us in our adversity

(190h) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Circumcision >> Circumcision is a sign of obedience >> Circumcision is a sign of believing Ė 'The circumcision' means that they were Jews, but the rest of the servants mentioned in this passage were gentiles. The gospel of Christ, when if first came to the Jews made a big splash, and then something happened to turn off the Jews. Satan managed to get a message across to the Jewish people that the gentiles were holding them in contempt, calling them "Jesus killers" as though they were more evil than any other race of people because they crucified their own Messiah. However, what the gentiles failed to understand was that had the Jews not crucified Him, nobody could have been saved, not even from the gentiles. So to judge the Jews for martyring Jesus is like cutting off your nose to spite your face. This infuriated the Jews who wanted nothing to do with the Church after that. This contempt for the Jewish people was a slow process that originated with the Catholic Church, starting around 300 A.D. Three hundred years and these sentiments had already surfaced and only became more entrenched as time passed, and now the Jewish heart is mostly closed, but there are some Jewish people who are coming to the realization that Jesus was in fact their Messiah, and eventually in the last days the Jewish people as a whole will return to their faith, resulting in a global revival that will incorporate many millions of souls.

(236e) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Invest your strength into the kingdom >> Invest your labors

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

12-14 Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 For I testify for him that he has a deep concern for you and for those who are in Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14 Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings, and also Demas.

 

Col 4-12,13

(83c) Thy kingdom come >> Results of prayer >> Prayer unites the body

(100d) Thy kingdom come >> Diligence >> Diligence in your service to others 

(100k) Thy kingdom come >> Devotion >> In your ministry to God >> Devoted to prayer -- This verse goes with verse 2. Epaphras was a prayer warrior; and anytime a prayer warrior is concerned about somebody, it is usually not a good sign, but it was good that he prayed. He had a deep concern for the Colossians and those who were at Laodicea, which was a church referenced in the book of Revelation that had a poor reputation for being the most carnal and faithless church of its time, even worse than the Corinthians. Colossae and Laodicea were close in proximity but not in spirit; had Colossae had the maturity level of Laodicea, Paul would have written them a scathing letter resembling his Corinthian epistles that were his longest in which he severely rebuked them in certain chapters. The concern that Epaphras had for Laodicea was for their souls. He prayed earnestly day and night for them because of their blatant disobedience and rebellion against God and against His plan and purpose, refusing to mature in the faith. Epaphras must have toiled over them asking for Godís mercy that they might receive His grace to rise above their sinful passions and desires.

Col 4-12

(43l) Judgment >> Satan destroyed in the absence of sin >> Perfecting the will of God Ė Paul endorsed a man named Epaphras as a man of prayer. The passion and theme of his prayers for the Church was that the people of God might stand perfected and fully assured in all the will of God. That is a great prayer, first of all that we might stand; that is, we might get off the floor after we have fallen on our faces, brush off ourselves and perfect the will of God in full assurance of faith. Having full assurance is a big thing. In fact, some translations define the word "faith" as, ďThe assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seenĒ (Heb 11-1; NASB). How important is assurance? Our faith rests on it, being the very basis of our salvation! In their assurance Epaphras prayed that we would perfect their walk in the fruits of the Spirit, which will in turn give them a fuller assurance of faith, these two together: bearing fruit in assurance, will allow us to march to the mountain top of transfiguration, where we will see Jesus in His glory.

(98d) Thy kingdom come >> Endurance (Thorn in the flesh) >> Rooted deeply >> Be steadfast in the work of the Lord

(101k) Thy kingdom come >> Ambitious to promote the Kingdom of God >> Building up the body of Christ

(116b) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Through worship >> In prayer

(122b) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Confidence in God >> Through prayer

(216d) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> Godís will over man >> Compelled by the Spirit >> God takes advantage of your love for Him >> Being addicted to the Holy Spirit Ė Epaphras didnít have to do anything great to be honored in the Bible, except to be a man of prayer. Neither do we have to do anything else; being committed to prayer in itself is a great and an honorable ministry among the saints. Paul made sure that people recognized prayer as a tremendous ministry and vital to the health and growth of the body of Christ, calling Epaphras a bondslave of Jesus. This was not just something Epaphras decided to do one day as a hobby; it was even more than a commitment. God apprehended Epaphras and put chains around his spirit and compelled him in his ministry of prayer so that he became literally addicted to it. We know that slaves have lost their freedoms, and so have drug addicts, for example. They are no longer in control of whether they get high; their body tells them what to do; they have no choice; they are addicted, and have become enslaved to their addictions, and that is what happened to Epaphras. He lost his freedom; he became addicted to prayer. It was a deep passion of his. He wanted to see the people of God mature, suggesting that he was a mature Christian, that he ministered to God in his prayer through the maturity that he achieved from prayer. He used his maturity in his prayers to appeal to God that he might see with his own eyes the result of his prayers in the perfection of Godís will among the saints.

(248a) Priorities >> Godís priorities >> The will of God >> We play our part in the will of God >> Knowing the will of God Ė It is important to have that assurance in the will of God. There are many who are seeking assurance for their salvation, but Paul is talking about assurance in the will of God, meaning the Colossians already had assurance for their salvation; now they wanted to know they were walking in the will of God. In many respects knowing the will of God is just as important as knowing we are saved and going to heaven. A person who is seeking assurance for his salvation doesnít understand how little faith it takes to be saved. All it takes is to simply believe that God is a good person; if we believe that, we are about 90% there. He is so good that He sent His Son to make propitiation for our sins, and that believing in His sacrifice on the cross makes us holy and acceptable to God. We donít add anything to the blood of Jesus, including our good works, and we donít take anything from it. His blood stands alone as our salvation before the Father. Our good works are the way we say ďthank youĒ to God for His love and provision. Without good works it is like being ungrateful, and ingratitude is a sign that we really donít believe in His goodness. 

Col 4-13

(155i) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Witness of the believer >> The Church bears witness of the believer Ė Epaphras had a deep concern for the Colossians and for the Church in Laodicea. We certainly understand his concern for Laodicea, because later in the book of Revelation we discover that they were essentially apostate; Christ had nothing good to say about them at all. They were steeped in licentiousness, and they had the philosophy that they could just sit back and take in the grace of God. Epaphras had reason to be concerned, for Laodicea didnít understand the grace of God that it is not God or man but both working together to accomplish the will of God. The Laodiceans came to the same conclusion we have in America that grace is defined as the work of God and that all our works are like filthy rags, and so there is no point in trying to do anything, since God doesnít respect or value any of our works. This is such an affront to God and to His grace and to His word. The statement made in Isaiah 64-6, ďFor all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment,Ē applies to the unbeliever before he gets saved, but once we get saved, God has things for us to do. The Bible says we are a new creation and that now our works are sanctified. Combined with His grace, He can produce works from us that are acceptable to Him. If Epaphras was concerned about Laodicea, then he was concerned about the Colossians and Hierapolis in the same way. Paul even made a comment like this, ďI fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vainĒ (Gal 4-11). Jesus said it too, asking ďWhere is your faith?Ē (Lk 8-25).

(247e) Priorities >> Godís priorities >> Godís interests >> Concern >> Concerned about your well being

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

15-18 Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea and also Nympha and the church that is in her house. 16 When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea. 17 Say to Archippus, "Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it." 18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my imprisonment. Grace be with you.

 

Col 4-15,16

(29bb) Gift of God >> God delivers us from our enemies >> Church assembles in people's houses (underground) Ė Did the early church hold their services exclusively in peopleís houses or did they have churches too? The answer to that depended on how much persecution they suffered. The early church was largely underground and it was one of the only times in its history when it performed the will of God. They would assemble together and enjoy one anotherís hospitality, love, joy, faith and spirit. To the degree that they were persecuted was the degree that they worshipped God in peopleís homes, which happened a lot. Persecution of this pervasion will return to the world again. Worship at peopleís homes is an inexpensive way to have church; there is almost no expense involved. "Overhead" describes the building that tends to become the main focus of the Church, especially when they have trouble paying the mortgage and the light bill, and it tends to weigh on the ministry. When persecution comes, we will actually benefit from it, because then we will be liberated from all the expenses that go along with worshipping God in a church building.

(143c) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> The public >> The disciples ministered publicly

(143f) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> Public reading of Scripture

Col 4-16

(80j) Thy kingdom come >> Know the word to minister to people >> To edify one another Ė The Colossians were to exchange letters with Laodicea. This meant more than simply reading Paulís letters; they copied them. Every church had a copy of all his letters and frequently referred to them, just like we do in the Bible. They didnít have the availability of Godís word to the degree that we do, yet all our studies donít seem to do us much good. The Church is a total mess, compared to the first century Church. What did they have going for them that we donít have going for us? They had vision! Jesus had been sacrificed less than a hundred years earlier; the word of God was fresh and new, and everyone was in agreement with the truth; everyone believed the same thing, and there werenít any denominations yet. Another thing they had going for them that we donít is that they knew and understood that if we donít obey the word of God, there is no point in reading it either. They saw the value of obedience far more than we do in our lackadaisical and licentious age of apostasy. We have heard a million times: ĎWe are saved by grace through faith, so all we have to do is believe a set of doctrines and weíre in like flint, truncating the necessity of obedience.í This is based on the implications of the contemporary Churchís teachings, though they donít put it in those words per se, yet this is what they mean. The Church today considers obedience to be optional, as though if they donít obey the Lord thatís okay, and if they do obey Him thatís better, but this is not what the Bible teaches at all. It teaches that if we donít obey Him, then neither do we know Him (1Jn 3-6).

Col 4-17

(44h) Fulfill Your Ministry (Key verse)

(44i) Judgment >> Transformed >> Fulfill your ministry >> Calling from God >> Complete it Ė It is important to not only begin our ministry, but also to finish it, especially when it comes to spiritual things. Jesus had very little good to say about those who started in their faith and wasnít able to finish. He didnít say they had nice intensions, but that their intensions were meaningless, because he didnít fulfill his ministry. It matters if we start, but it matters just as much that we complete our ministry, just as we have been called to believe to the end. If we donít finish what we are doing for the Lord, it is as meaningless as if we never started.

(71g) Authority >> Ordained by God >> Ordained by His sovereign will >> God chooses you

(87a) Thy kingdom come >> Obedience >> Be doers of the word from the heart >> God blesses us for doing His word, not for knowing it

(115c) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Through your ministry >> Through your calling >> To build up the body of Christ

Col 4-18

(216f) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> Godís will over man >> Compelled by the Spirit >> God forces His bond-servants to do His will -- This verse goes with verse 3. This is an authoritative statement, confirming that it came directly from the hand of Paul. This is definitely a letter that Paul wrote, which is important to know, though he always started his letters confirming that his hand wrote it. The significance of this being a letter of Paul is that he went the distance; he paid the price. He sacrificed his life in a way that few of us would be willing to do, and for this reason we can trust his dogma, his theology and his judgment.