Colossians Chapter Four
It will be observed how the apostle consequently introduces Christ into them, and especially in regard to those who are subject in them, wives and children; in order to sanctify, by so exalted a motive, the obediencesuited to their position. He does this still more where the tie is not of nature but one which has its origin in a sinful world-and from sin itself-that between slaves and their masters. Grace does not set itself to change the state of the world and of society, but to lead souls to heaven by renewing them after the image of God. I doubt not that it has very much altered for the better the social condition of man; because, through bringing the conscience immediately before the only true God whom it has revealed in His own perfections, and establishing by its authority that of the natural relationships in the human family, grace has had its effect upon that conscience even where the heart was not converted, and has furnished it with a rule in that which regards morality. But Christianity, as to its own doctrine, treats the world as alienated from God, and lying in evil-man as the child of wrath, and lost.
Christ, the Son of God (who if He had been received could have put all things right, and who will hereafter by His kingdom establish righteousness and peace), was rejected by the world, and the friendship of the world is enmity against God. The state of man is treated in the gospel in a deeper way than in regard to his social condition. It is viewed with reference to the soul's connection with God, and consequently with that which is eternal. God imparts a new life unto us, in order that we may enjoy those new relationships with Himself which redemption has gained for us. Now as Christ, while living, was the expression of the love and the omnipotent goodness of God in the midst of a fallen creation, so, being now rejected by the world (which thus condemned itself), Christ, who dwells by His grace in the heart of one who has received life, becomes to that heart a source of happiness in communion with the love of God, which lifts it up and sets it above circumstances, be they what they may. The slave, in possessing Christ, is free in heart; he is the freed man of God Himself. The master knows that he himself has a Master, and the relationship in which he finds himself takes the form of the grace and love that reigns in the heart of him who in it exercises his authority.
But, as I have said, to the poor slave Christ is especially presented as a resource. He may serve his master, whether a good or bad one, with faithfulness, meekness, and devotedness; because in so doing he serves the Lord Himself, and is conscious that he does so. He will have his reward there where nothing is forgotten that is done to glorify Christ, and where masters and slaves are all before Him who has no respect of persons.
Two principles act in the heart of the Christian slave: his conscience in all his conduct is before God; the fear of God governs him, and not his master's eye. And he is conscious of his relationship to Christ, of the presence of Christ, which sustains and lifts him above everything. It is a secret which nothing can take from him, and which has power over everything because it is within and on high-Christ in him, the hope of glory. Yes, how admirably does the know ledge of Christ exalt everything that it pervades; and with what consoling power does it descend into all that is desolate and cast down, all that groans, all that is humbled in this world of sin!
Three times in these two verses, while holding their conscience in the presence of God the apostle brings in the Lord, the Lord Christ, to fill the hearts of these poor slaves, and make them feel who it was to whom they rendered service. Such is Christianity.
The apostle ends his epistle with some important general exhortations.
He desires that the saints should continue through prayer in communion with God, and in the sense of their dependence on Him, conscious of His nearness to them, and of His readiness to hear them. For that which speaks to the heart for our walk is not enough; the soul must know it's own relations with God exercising itself in those relations; and it must receive directly from Him that which assures it of His love. There must be perseverance in this. We are in conflict with evil, which has a hold upon our own hearts if we are without the strength of God. We must therefore commune with God. We must watch therein with settled purpose of heart, not merely as an occasional thing: any one can cry out when he is in need. But the heart separated from the world and all that is of it occupies itself with God, with all that regards the glory of His name, according to the measure in which we are concerned in it. The conflict is carried on with a tender and freed spirit, having only His glory as the object, both in the assembly and in the individual walk. But thus one understands that God works and that He does not forsake us, and thanksgiving is always mingled with the prayers we address to Him.
Paul felt his dependence on this blessing, and he asked for a share also in their prayers, that God might open his mouth, and that he might proclaim the gospel as he ought to do.
Now we are in a hostile world, in which hostility is easily awakened where it does not already exist openly, and in which offence is quickly taken at things wherein perhaps we neither saw nor intended evil. We must take away the occasion even from those that seek it, and walk in wisdom with respect to them that are without.
How clearly the within and the without are here distinguished! Those within, whom God acknowledges, His family, His assembly-they are His own. Those without, they are the world, those who are not joined to the Lord. The distinction is plainly marked, but love is active towards them that are without, and, being itself in the enjoyment of communion with God, it is careful to do nothing that might prevent others from enjoying it.
But there was something more: they were to redeem the time. The natural man, taken up with his own affairs, and disinclined to serious things, gave Christian love little opportunity to set grace and truth before him and make him care for his own soul, thus serving the Lord and using time in His name. The heart of man cannot always escape the influence of surrounding circumstances, which bear witness to his heart and conscience that he is under the dominion of sin, and already eating its bitter fruits here below- circumstances which bring to his conscience the remembrance of a too-much forgotten God, which speak with the mighty voice of sorrow to a broken heart, glad at least to have a resource in God when his hand is pierced by the broken reed on which he leaned. God Himself acts upon man by these circumstances, and by every circumstance of life. One who is walking with the Lord knows how to avail himself of them. Satan may indeed deceive a man, but he cannot prevent God at all times from speaking to the heart. It is a happy thing so to walk with God that He can use us as His voice, when He would thus speak to poor sinners. Our speech ought always to be the expression of the separation from evil, this power of the presence of God which keeps us inwardly apart from it, so as to make that power felt by others; and that, in all the questionings which arise in the heart of man, wandering out of the way in confusion and darkness, and even leading others astray thereby, we may know how to give an answer which comes from the light and conveys light.
Tychicus was to carry the testimony of the interest which the apostle took in the welfare of the Colossians, and of his confidence in their interest in him, Paul bears witness to the love of others, and to their concern also in the progress of the gospel and the prosperity of the faithful.
Marcus, who had formerly drawn back from the toils of the work, receives a testimony here on the apostle's part and a still better one later (2 Tim 4:11), forhe had made himself useful to the apostles himself. Such is grace, The secret of the interest Barnabas took in him comes out here: he was nearly related to him, This dear servant of God was from Cyprus too. He went there and took Mark with him, The flesh and Judaism find their way everywhere. The poser of the Spirit of God is requisite to raise us above, and set us beyond, their influence.
Demas receives no especial testimony. The apostle conveys his greetings, but is silent as to himself. Only in the Epistle to Philemon is he named as a fellow-laborer of the apostle. Afterwards he forsook Paul. He was a brother: the apostles admits his claim but says nothing; had had nothing to say. "And Demas," for Paul's style is terribly cold.
We may observe that the Epistle to the Ephesians was written at the same time, and sent by this same Tychicus. The one "from Laodecia" is, I doubt not, one that they were to receive from that assembly, written by Paul, and by which the saints at Colosse were to profit; possibly the Epistle to the Ephesians, which he may have had communicated to the Laodiceans. Be this as it may, all that is said is that it was one of which the assembly at Laodicea were in possession and by no means that it was directly addressed to them; rather the contrary. It is very possible that a letter, or a hundred letters, may have been written by Paul to others, which it was not in the purposes of God to preserve for the universal assembly: but here there is no proof that a letter had been written to the Laodecians. Tychicus was the bearer of two; he may have been the bearer of three, one of which differed only in some details of application which might serve to confirm the Colossians without being in the main another Divine communication for other days; but, I repeat, it does not appear to be so from that which is said here. It might be said, a letter "from Laodicea," because it was there instead of a letter to Laodicea; but it is not the usual mode of expression. We have seen that the letter to the Ephesians is another communication of the Spirit of God. It has been preserved for us. We do not know whether that from Laodicea was the same communicated by them to the Christians of that city; or another, which they were to send to the Colossians (an assembly in their vicinity), and which-adding nothing to the divine relations-has not been preserved for us.
It appears that Christians were not very numerous at Laodicea. The apostle salutes the brethren there. There were some who assembled in the house of one Nymphas; they were not in a case to have a letter addressed to them in particular: still the apostle does not forget them. But that which he says here is an almost certain proof that the apostle had not addressed any epistle to them. He would not have sent greetings through the Colossians to the brethren in Laodicea, if at the same time he had written a special epistle to the latter. The case is plain enough: there were brethren at Laodicea, but not in great numbers and not in that distinct position which gave rise to an epistle. But this little assembly in the house of Nymphas was not to be forgotten; it should profit by the epistles addressed to other assemblies more considerable than itself, and whose condition required an epistle, or gave occasion to write one, which epistles were transmitted to Laodicea, according to the apostle's order.
With regard to the Epistle to the Colossians, it is not a supposition. The apostle commands them expressly to have it read in the assembly at Laodicea. The latter had also received another epistle from some other assembly, and the Colossians were to profit by it in the same manner. The two assemblies, which were near each other, were mutually to enjoy the spiritual favors that were granted them.
The apostle does not forget individuals even. Archippus receives a solemn exhortation to take heed to the ministry which the Lord had committed to him, and to fulfill his service. The apostle had not seen these assemblies. (Chap 2:1)
── John Darby《Synopsis of Colossians》
Masters to do their duty towards servants. (1) Persons of all ranks to persevere in prayer, and Christian prudence. (2-6) The apostle refers to others for an account of his affairs. (7-9) Sends greetings; and concludes with a blessing. (10-18)
Commentary on Colossians 4:1
(Read Colossians 4:1)
The apostle proceeds with the duty of masters to their servants. Not only justice is required of them, but strict equity and kindness. Let them deal with servants as they expect God should deal with themselves.
Commentary on Colossians 4:2-6
(Read Colossians 4:2-6)
No duties can be done aright, unless we persevere in fervent prayer, and watch therein with thanksgiving. The people are to pray particularly for their ministers. Believers are exhorted to right conduct towards unbelievers. Be careful in all converse with them, to do them good, and recommend religion by all fit means. Diligence in redeeming time, commends religion to the good opinion of others. Even what is only carelessness may cause a lasting prejudice against the truth. Let all discourse be discreet and seasonable, as becomes Christians. Though it be not always of grace, it must always be with grace. Though our discourse be of that which is common, yet it must be in a Christian manner. Grace is the salt which seasons our discourse, and keeps it from corrupting. It is not enough to answer what is asked, unless we answer aright also.
Commentary on Colossians 4:7-9
(Read Colossians 4:7-9)
Ministers are servants to Christ, and fellow-servants to one another. They have one Lord, though they have different stations and powers for service. It is a great comfort under the troubles and difficulties of life, to have fellow Christians caring for us. Circumstances of life make no difference in the spiritual relation among sincere Christians; they partake of the same privileges, and are entitled to the same regards. What amazing changes Divine grace makes! Faithless servants become faithful and beloved brethren, and some who had done wrong, become fellow-workers of good.
Commentary on Colossians 4:10-18
(Read Colossians 4:10-18)
Paul had differed with Barnabas, on the account of this Mark, yet he is not only reconciled, but recommends him to the churches; an example of a truly Christian and forgiving spirit. If men have been guilty of a fault, it must not always be remembered against them. We must forget as well as forgive. The apostle had comfort in the communion of saints and ministers. One is his fellow-servant, another his fellow-prisoner, and all his fellow-workers, working out their own salvation, and endeavouring to promote the salvation of others. The effectual, fervent prayer is the prevailing prayer, and availeth much. The smiles, flatteries, or frowns of the world, the spirit of error, or the working of self-love, leads many to a way of preaching and living which comes far short of fulfilling their ministry. But those who preach the same doctrine as Paul, and follow his example, may expect the Divine favour and blessing.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Colossians》
 Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.
Just — According to your contract.
Equitable — Even beyond the letter of your contract.
 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:
That God would open to us a door of utterance — That is, give us utterance, that we "may open our mouth boldly," Ephesians 6:19, and give us an opportunity of speaking, so that none may be able to hinder.
 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Let your speech be always with grace — Seasoned with the grace of God, as flesh is with salt.
 Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)
Aristarchus my fellowprisoner — Such was Epaphras likewise for a time, Philemon 1:23.
Ye have received directions — Namely, by Tychicus, bringing this letter. The ancients adapted their language to the time of reading the letter; not, as we do, to the time when it was written. It is not improbable, they might have scrupled to receive him, without this fresh direction, after he had left St. Paul, and "departed from the work."
 And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me.
These — Three, Aristarchus, Marcus, and Justus. Of all the circumcision - That is, of all my Jewish fellowlabourers.
Are the only fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God — That is, in preaching the gospel.
Who have been a comfort to me — What, then, can we expect? that all our fellowworkers should be a comfort to us?
 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
Perfect — Endued with every Christian grace.
Filled — As no longer being babes, but grown up to the measure of the stature of Christ; being full of his light, grace, wisdom, holiness.
 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.
Luke, the physician — Such he had been, at least, if he was not then.
 Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.
Nymphas — Probably an eminent Christian at Laodicea.
 And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.
The epistle from Laodicea — Not to Laodicea. Perhaps some letter had been written to St. Paul from thence.
 And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.
And say to Archippus — One of the pastors of that church.
Take heed — It is the duty of the flock to try them that say they are apostles to reject the false, and to warn, as well as to receive, the real.
The ministry — Not a lordship, but a service; a laborious and painful work; an obligation to do and suffer all things; to be the least, and the servant, of all.
In the Lord — Christ by whom, and for whose sake, we receive the various gifts of the Holy Spirit.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Colossians》
Chapter 4. Being Watchful and Thankful
Make the Most
of Every Opportunity
Be Wise toward Outsiders
I. Devote Yourselves to Prayer
II. The Ministry of Tychicus
III. Paul's Greetings
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
Chapter Four General Review
OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER
1) To consider the importance of prayer, and proper conduct toward
those who are not Christians
2) To appreciate the value of God's "second string", those workers in
the kingdom who assisted key players like Paul and contributed so
much to the spread of the gospel
Paul concludes his section on "The Christian Solution" as an
alternative to the heresies being proposed at Colosse with exhortations
to prayer and proper conduct. His desire is that they devote
themselves to prayer with vigilance and thanksgiving. A special
request for prayer in his behalf is made, that God might give him an
open door for the word of God, and that he might make the mystery of
Christ known. Their own conduct is to be with wisdom toward outsiders,
making good use of their time. This includes speaking with grace,
knowing how one ought to answer others (1-6).
Paul then mentions several companions, starting with Tychicus and
Onesimus who were evidently the bearers of this epistle, and who would
inform them of Paul's circumstances. Special greetings are also sent
from brethren with Paul. These included three Jewish brethren
(Aristarchus, Mark, Jesus called Justus), a brother who was from
Colosse (Epaphras), a beloved physician (Luke), and one we know from
another epistle (Demas, cf. 2 Ti 4:9) who later forsook Paul (7-14).
Finally, greetings are sent to those in
and the church meeting Laodicea
in the home of Nymphas, along with a charge to exchange epistles with
the church in
. With a final exhortation for Archippus to Laodicea
fulfill his ministry, Paul signs off using his personal signature,
asking that they remember his chains, and praying for grace on their
I. EXHORTATIONS TO PRAYER AND PROPER CONDUCT (2-6)
A. DEVOTE YOURSELVES TO PRAYER (2-4)
1. Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant with thanksgiving
2. Pray for ministers of God, like Paul (3-4)
a. That God would open a door for the Word (
b. That Paul would make the mystery of Christ manifest (3b-4)
B. CONDUCT YOURSELVES PROPERLY (5-6)
1. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of your time
2. Speak with grace, properly answering each one (6)
II. PAUL'S COMPANIONS (7-14)
A. COMMENDATION OF HIS MESSENGERS (7-9)
1. Tychicus (7-8)
a. A beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in
the Lord (
b. Sent by Paul to inform them of his circumstances, and to
comfort their hearts (8b-9)
2. Onesimus (9)
a. A faithful and beloved brother, from Colosse (
b. He also will inform them of Paul's circumstances (9b)
B. GREETINGS FROM HIS FRIENDS (10-14)
1. From Aristarchus, a fellow prisoner (
2. From Mark, a cousin of Barnabas, whom they are to welcome if
he comes (10b)
3. From Jesus, called Justus, who together with Aristarchus and
Mark are Paul's only fellow workers for the
who kingdomof God
are of the circumcision (11)
4. From Epaphras (12-13)
a. One of their number at Colosse (
b. A servant of Christ in their behalf (12b)
1) Laboring fervently for them in prayers
2) Praying that they may stand perfect and complete in all
the will of God
c. Paul bears witness of his great zeal (13)
1) For those at Colosse (
2) For those in
Laodiceaand (13b) Hierapolis
5. From Luke, the beloved physician (
6. From Demas (14b)
III. CONCLUDING REMARKS (15-18)
A. PERSONAL MESSAGES (15-17)
1. Greet the brethren (15)
a. Those who are in
( Laodicea 15a)
b. Nymphas and the church in his house (15b)
2. Exchange epistles (16)
a. Once this epistle is read, see that it is read in the
church of the Laodiceans (
b. You also read the epistle from the church in
3. A charge to Archippus, that he take heed to his ministry
received from the Lord, and to fulfill it (17)
B. A PERSONAL SIGNOFF (18)
1. Salutation written by his own hands (
2. A plea to remember his chains (18b)
3. A prayer that grace be with them (
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
- Exhortations to prayer and proper conduct (2-6)
- Paul's companions (7-14)
- Concluding remarks (15-18)
2) In calling them to earnest prayer, what four things does Paul ask of
- That they pray with vigilance
- That they pray with thanksgiving
- That they pray for God to provide an open door for the word
- That they pray for him to be able to make the mystery of Christ
3) How were they to walk? (5)
- In wisdom toward outsiders, making good use of their time
4) How were they to speak? (6)
- With grace, knowing how to answer each one
5) How is Tychicus described? Why was Paul sending him? (7-8)
- A beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the
- To inform them of Paul's circumstances and comfort their hearts
6) How is Onesimus describe? What was Paul sending him? (9)
- A faithful and beloved brother, one of them
- To make known the things happening in
7) What three men were Paul's only fellow workers for the kingdom of
God who were of the circumcision, i.e. Jews? (10-11)
- Aristarchus, Mark, Justus
8) What is said about Epaphras in relation to the churches in Colosse,
Laodicea, and ? (12-13) Hierapolis
- Labors fervently for them in prayer, that they might stand perfect
and complete in all the will of God
- Has a great zeal for them
9) Who else sends greetings? (14)
- Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas
10) To what two groups does Paul send greetings? (15)
- To the brethren in
- To Nymphas and the church in his house
11) What was to be done with the epistle after it had been read to the
- It was to be read to the church of the Laodiceans
12) What was to be done with an epistle coming from
? (16) Laodicea
- They were to read it
13) What special charge does Paul tell them to give to Archippus? (17)
- Take heed to fulfill the ministry received from the Lord
14) How does Paul confirm that this epistle was from him? (18)
- By writing his name in his own hand
15) What final request does Paul ask of the Colossians? (18)
- Remember my chains
16) What final prayer does Paul offer in behalf of the brethren? (18)
- Grace be with you
Essentials For Living The Christ-Like Life (4:2-6)
1. In the last two chapters in his epistle to the Colossians, Paul
exhorts them to live the kind of life that demonstrates their faith
in Jesus Christ as the "All-Sufficient And Pre-Eminent Savior"
a. In Co 3:1-11, he describes the "basics" of Christian living
b. In Co 3:12-17, he describes the Christians' "apparel"
c. And in Co 3:18-4:1, he discusses "guidelines" to govern
2. Prior to making his closing comments, he now gives three exhortations
to his brethren that I am calling in this lesson, "Essentials To
Living The Christ-Like Life"
[Beginning in Co 4:2-4, then, the Colossians as well as all Christians
are exhorted to...]
I. CONTINUE IN PRAYER (2-4)
A. PRAYER THAT IS "FAITHFUL"...
1. As Paul writes, "continue earnestly in prayer"
a. Just as he wrote to the Romans - Ro 12:12
b. And also to the Thessalonians - 1 Th 5:17
2. That people faithfully continue in prayer was a concern of our
Lord as well
a. He taught a parable the men always ought to pray - Lk 18:1
b. He was concerned that when He returned, He might not find
faith on the earth! - Lk 18:8
3. We have several wonderful examples to serve as role models...
a. David, a man after God's own heart - Ps 55:16-17
b. Daniel, a man greatly beloved by God - Dan 6:10
c. Anna, an elderly widow blessed to see the Christ-child
- Lk 2:36-38
d. Of course, Paul himself- Co 1:9
e. And also Epaphras, himself a member of the church at Colosse
- Co 4:12
4. Many people pray only when there is a crisis - may that not be
true of us!
B. PRAYER THAT IS "WATCHFUL"...
1. Or as Paul put it in our text, "be vigilant in it"
2. On several occasions, Jesus warned His disciples to be watchful
in prayer - Mt 13:32-33; Mt 26:41
3. So His apostles warn us...
a. Paul, in Ep 6:18
b. Peter, in 1 Pet 4:7
4. Through "watchful" praying, we will not be caught unprepared
a. Satan, and the temptation to sin
b. Death, and the judgment to follow
c. Christ, and the glories for those who are ready when He
C. PRAYER THAT IS "THANKFUL"...
1. "with thanksgiving", Paul says
2. Throughout his epistle to the Colossians, there has been an
emphasis on being thankful - Co 1:3,12; 2:7; 3:15,17; 4:2
3. As someone said, "We should thank God just as diligently in our
prayers as we make requests of Him." - cf. also Ph 4:6
4. Let's be sure to "abound with thanksgiving"!
a. Especially in light of Ro 1:21
b. Where we see that ingratitude was one reason why God's wrath
was being revealed from heaven!
D. PRAYER THAT IS "PURPOSEFUL"...
1. As Paul requested of his brethren in Colosse, "praying also for
2. Prayers are often too general in their requests, lacking
3. But as here in our text, Paul often asked for specific prayers
in his behalf - e.g., Ro 15:30-32
4. From our text in Colossians and elsewhere, what specific
requests can we make for those preach and teach God's Word?
Opportunity("an open door") - Co 4:3; cf. 2 Th 3:1
b. Wisdom ("as I ought to speak") - Co 4:4
c. Boldness - Ep 6:19-20
[As we endeavor to live the Christ-like life, make the right kind of
prayer a crucial element! Prayer that is:
The exhortation in verse 5 of our text is also crucial to living a
Christ-like life, especially when among those who are not Christians...]
II. WALK IN WISDOM (5)
A. CHRISTIANS NEED TO BE CONCERNED WITH HOW THEY "WALK"...
1. In other words, how they conduct themselves
2. We are to walk in wisdom especially "toward those who are
a. By proper conduct, we can influence them for good - e.g.,
1 Pe 3:1-2
b. The world is constantly making judgments concerning us by
our conduct, and according to Jesus, this is their privilege
- cf. Jn 13:35; 17:20-21
B. ANOTHER REASON SUCH WISDOM IS IMPERATIVE IS "TIME"...
1. To be exact, the lack of time! - cf. Ep 5:15-17
a. The time we have in this life is short
b. We cannot afford to waste much of it through foolishness
c. And there are some people who need Christ whose time left on
this earth is even shorter than ours!
2. So we need to "redeem" the time; i.e., make the most of the
time we have
[Finally, as we consider these "Essentials To Living The Christ-Like
Life" found in our text, let's remember that it was said of Jesus that
"...marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His
mouth." (Lk 4:22)
As His disciples, we should also...]
III. SPEAK WITH GRACE (6)
A. THE POWER OF THE TONGUE IS VIVIDLY ILLUSTRATED IN JAMES 3...
1. It effects the entire body - Ja 3:2
2. It can have great destructive power - Ja 3:6
3. It is inconsistent for us to use it for both good and evil
- Ja 3:9-12
B. THEREFORE WE NEED TO LEARN TO SPEAK "WITH GRACE"...
1. As Paul also commanded in Ep 5:29
a. No corrupt communication is to proceed out of our mouths
b. Only that which edifies, imparting "grace to the hearers"
2. Our speech is to be "seasoned with salt"
a. Not to be confused with the "salty language" of some
b. But rather speech properly flavored so that it well received
3. We especially need to watch our language around those who are
a. "that you may know how to answer each one" - Co 4:6
b. "a servant of the Lord must not quarrel..." - 2 Ti 2:23-26
4. Are we as careful with our own speech, as we want others to be
with their lives?
a. Do we, who claim to be the disciples of Jesus Christ...
b. ...speak the words of truth that come by Him in the same
gracious manner He did?
1. These three simple exhortations, if truly heeded, can have a powerful
impact on our lives:
a. Our "prayer life" will likely be very different!
b. Our "walk" (conduct) will be noted for its wisdom
c. Our "speech" will be a source of encouragement to others
2. This is the essence of following Jesus Christ! To allow Him to so
live in us that by God's grace we experience a transformation that
affects every aspect of our lives!
Speaking of the GRACE of God, have you taken advantage of what TIME it
is...? (cf. 2 Co 6:1-2)
God's "Second String" (4:7-18)
1. We have stressed throughout this study of Colossians that we are
"complete in Christ" - cf. Co 2:9
2. To be "complete in Christ", or "perfect in Christ" (Co 1:28), is
certainly to be the goal of every Christian
a. Does this mean that those who are in Christ are to be exactly
alike in every way?
b. Should we expect every mature Christian to be duplicates of one
another in ability and service?
3. No, it does not, and that becomes especially clear as we consider
Paul's closing comments concerning several individuals who were
instrumental to the success of Paul's ministry
4. Reading Paul's comments about these individuals reminds me of the key
to any successful sports team: the strength of the "second string"
that supports the key players
5. So as we come to this last section of the Book of Colossians, I hope
we do not consider these closing comments of Paul as something to
quickly gloss over
a. There are important lessons we can glean from these verses
b. We are reminded of the need and the value of "God's Second String"
[First, we are introduced to...]
I. THE MEN WHO WERE MESSENGERS (7-9)
A. TYCHICUS (7-8)
1. Described as "a beloved brother, a faithful minister, and a
fellow servant in the Lord"
a. We read of him in Ac 20:7, as one of those who accompanied
b. Again in Ep 6:21-22, where he performed the same duties as
outlined in Co 4:7-8
c. And also in Ti 3:12 and 2 Ti 4:12, where he continues to
serve Paul as a messenger
2. He might have been one of the brethren referred to in 2 Co 8:
23, who were called "messengers of the churches, the glory of
B. ONESIMUS (9)
1. Also "a faithful and beloved brother"
2. Who was from Colosse (cf., "who is one of you")
3. We learn from the Epistle to Philemon that Onesimus was a
runaway slave who was converted by Paul and sent back to
4. He, too, was serving as a messenger for Paul
[Because of men like these, the influence of the apostles was able to
spread much farther than if they were by themselves. And that also
means the influence of the gospel spread much farther!
Next, we read of...]
II. THE MEN WHO WERE COMFORTERS (10-11)
A. ARISTARCHUS (
1. A "fellow prisoner"
2. He also had been a fellow traveler of Paul - Ac 20:4
a. Who nearly lost his life to the riot in Ephesus - Ac 19:29
b. Who sailed with Paul to Rome - Ac 27:2
3. And was now in Rome with Paul, sending greetings
B. MARK (10b)
1. The writer of the second Gospel, he was the cousin (nephew) of
a. The church in Jerusalem met in his mother's house - Ac
b. Started out with Paul and Barnabas on their first journey,
but then turned back - Ac 13:1-13
c. He later became a bone of contention between Paul and
Barnabas - Ac 15:36-41
d. But eventually proved "profitable" to Paul for service -
2 Ti 4:11
2. Even now, he is included with those who Paul said "proved to be
a comfort to me"
C. JESUS, CALLED JUSTUS (11)
1. Little is known of this man, except that he was a Jew ("of the
circumcision") and a "fellow worker for the kingdom"
2. He, too, was a comfort to Paul
[No man can produce what they are capable of producing, unless they
receive the right kind of encouragement.
Just as Barnabas (the "son of encouragement" - Ac 4:36) had been the
one to encourage a young man who made a mistake (i.e., John Mark) and
made him profitable, so now that young man with two others were
comforting the apostle Paul in his trials. With such comfort, Paul was
able to continue his work while awaiting trial before Caesar.
Now let's notice...]
III. THE MAN WHO PRAYED (12-13)
A. EPAPHRAS, THE PERSON WHO STARTED THE CHURCH AT COLOSSE - CO 1:7-8
1. He was from Colosse ("one of you")
2. He cared deeply for them and those in Laodicea and Hierapolis
3. He too was a "fellow prisoner" (Phile 23); what could he do
for those so far away?
B. EPAPHRAS, A MAN OF PRAYER...
1. He could at least pray for his brethren!
2. And pray he did...
a. He prayed "constantly" ("always")
b. He prayed "fervently" ("laboring fervently")
c. He prayed "personally" ("for you")
d. He prayed "with a goal in mind" ("that you may stand perfect
[Just as one does not have to be on the court to contribute to a team's
success, one does not have to be present to be a blessing to others!
So Paul himself realized, and often solicited the prayers of others on
his behalf (e.g., 2 Th 3:1-2).
On a bittersweet note, we now consider...]
IV. TWO MEN OF CONTRAST (14)
A. LUKE, THE "BELOVED PHYSICIAN"...
1. A fellow traveler with Paul on a number of his journeys - Ac
16:10; 20:5; 27;1 (note the personal pronoun "we")
2. He was used by the Holy Spirit to write over half of the New
a. He penned both the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts
b. In total volume, they constitute the majority of the New
3. He was faithful to Paul to the end - 2 Ti 4:11
B. DEMAS, WHO LATER FORSOOK PAUL...
1. At the time Colossians and Philemon was written, Demas was a
2. But not long after, it was said of him, "Demas has forsaken me,
having loved this present world" - 2 Ti 4:10
1. Demas serves as a sober reminder of the need to remain steadfast to
the end - cf. also Re 2:10
2. But the others in this passage remind us that the spread of the
gospel during the first century was not accomplished through the
efforts of great men like Paul and the twelve apostles alone
3. It was greatly assisted by humble men and women willing to serve as
"God's Second String"
a. Who served as messengers, comforters, prayer warriors, and
servants to those in positions of greater influence than
b. Who opened their hearts and their homes to the service of the
church, as did Nymphas (15)
4. If the gospel is to spread today, there is also a need for "God's
a. Are we willing to do whatever we can in service to the Lord,
whether it be great or small?
b. Then let Paul closing remarks to a man named Archippus serve as an
admonition to us as well:
"Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord,
that you may fulfill it." - Co 4:17
5. Whatever our calling, whatever our ability, let us be faithful to the
As Paul closed his epistle to the Colossians in his own personal
handwriting (18), so we close this series of sermon outlines:
"Grace be with you. Amen"
If we truly let Jesus be our "All-Sufficient And Pre-Eminent Savior",
then God's grace will certainly be with us!