Colossians 4:1-18

Colossians 4:1-18

Colossians 4:1-18                                                  April 25, 2020

The Epistle to the Colossians was written in Rome during Paul’s first imprisonment.  Colosse, about 100 miles from Ephesus.  Colossians is a 3 city group of Colosse, Laodicean and Herapolis.  The city had never been visited by the apostle.  People had come to Colosse who taught a dangerous teachings known as Gnostic Understanding. 

  • Gnostics (Greek: Gnosis = knowledge). A mixture of mysticism, Eastern speculations and Jewish legalism.
  • Gnostics held that Jesus did not have a real human body, but only a phantom body.
  • He was, in fact, an aeon and had no real humanity.
  • They held that Jesus was only spiritual, not material;
  • Gnostics admitted the humanity of the man Jesus, but claimed that Christ was an aeon that came on Jesus at his baptism in the form of a dove and left him on the Cross so that only the man Jesus died.
  • They were worship of angels as mediators to God, and higher than Jesus.

Colossians 4:1 Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.

This verse should have ended Chapter 3.

Paul gives instructions to the owner / employers of servants.  He said justice and fair required that they should have proper food, proper raiment, due rest, and no more than moderate work

Paul does not concern himself only with servants or employees. Employers also have a duty not to take advantage of employees. Instead they should offer a just wage, proper benefits, and adequate rest.

As a side, Greeks and Romans slaves had no rights and they could appeal to no law; and they could neither expect justice nor equity. 

Paul gives further instructions to the Saints; In Christian witness 

Colossians 4:2  Devote yourselves to prayer. Be alert and thankful when you pray. 

Just saying, don’t be weary in prayer; keep at it; watch for God’s answers, 

We need to devote ourselves to prayer

The biggest lack in the Christian walk is prayer. Not a casual luxury; it is essential and should become a habit.  To continue is hard with difficulties and is labor intensity. 

Luke 18:1 Jesus told his disciples a parable about their need to pray all the time and never give up.

We need to keep praying until the answer comes. Have we given up in prayers because the answer has not been given to us.

Thankful for whatever we find ourselves in:  for everything, whether joyful, or sorrowful, physical and spiritual, national, family, and/or as an individual

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (16) Always be joyful. (17) Always keep on praying. (18) In everything be thankful, because this is God’s will for you in the Messiah Jesus.

Guess what our prayers are like and where they go:

Revelation 5:8 When the lamb had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders bowed down in front of him. Each held a harp and a gold bowl full of incense, the prayers of the saints.

Without prayer, neither wives, husbands, children, parents, servants, nor masters, could fulfill the duties which God has place in us at this point of life.

When we pray we have a promise from the all mighty, powerful God to provide our needs.

Matthew 7:7-8 “Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened for you. (8) Because everyone who keeps asking will receive, and the person who keeps searching will find, and the person who keeps knocking will have the door opened.

Paul tells us Prayer is the heavy artillery of the Armor of God

Ephesians 6:18 Pray in the Spirit at all times with every kind of prayer and request. Likewise, be alert with your most diligent efforts and pray for all the saints.

Colossians 4:3 At the same time also pray for us--that God would open before us a door for the word so that we may tell the secret about the Messiah, for which I have been imprisoned.

Colossians 4:3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains,

Paul was is still in a prison cell. Paul did not ask for the prison doors to be opened, ease, comfort or even safety, but only that the doors of ministry be opened and to preach Jesus.

Paul just wanted us to pray that give Paul many chances to preach the Good News of Christ for which I am here in jail

Colossians 1:26 Paul tells us this secret or mystery was hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints,  That is us, you and me

The mystery of Christ is basically the Good News of Salvation for all which can be known and experienced only through Christ.

Colossians 4:4 Pray that I may reveal it as clearly, as I should.

Paul’s chief concern is to make the message clear and plain to the Romans.

Ephesians 6:19-20 Pray also for me, so that, when I begin to speak, the right words will come to me. Then I will boldly make known the secret of the gospel, (20) for whose sake I am an ambassador in chains, desiring to declare the gospel as boldly as I should.

Colossians 4:5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.

Outsiders are those outside the family of God and has not come to salvation. There are some things that are best confined to those who are of the faith and possess the essential background to understand

Let our conduct be of righteousness.  We are not provoke persecution.  Using every opportunity and seeking time to do the outsiders good. Therefore be the more on your guard in your actions with the outsiders, and not be responsible lest you be a stumbling-block to their conversion.

Just as today, Christians then were often viewed with suspicion, distrust and disdain. They were considered atheists and unpatriotic they would not worship the gods of Rome and Greece because they would not burn incense before the image of the emperor.  Orgies, cannibals (ate/drink blood of the body of Jesus)

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer everyone.

Paul is telling us to use courteous speech, calculated to attract rather than to repel individuals.

Let the speech be so seasoned by “grace” that it will not be strongly rejected or dislike, as food is with salt.

Not far from Colosse, in Phrygia, there was a salt lake, which gives to the image here the more appropriateness.

So that your answer to every person may be such as we adapt the message to the situation. The idea is to always say what is important and best for the occasion to each and every person.

1 Peter 3:15 Instead, exalt the Messiah” as Lord in your lives. Always be prepared to give a defense to everyone who asks you to explain the hope you have.

Closing Personal Salutations or final greetings

Paul made many friends: over 100 different Christians (some named and unnamed) are referenced in Acts.

Colossians 4:7 Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me.

Ephesians 6:21 So that you may know what has happened to me and how I am doing, Tychicus, our dear brother and a faithful minister in service to the Lord, will tell you everything.

Acts 20:4 He was accompanied by Sopater (the son of Pyrrhus) from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus from Asia.

Tychicus was an Asian by birth and his names signifies fortunate and he was one of the men with Paul to carry offering to Jerusalem.  Acts 20:4  

It has been reported that he was one of the seventy disciples, and was afterwards bishop of Chalcedon.

He was to inform the Church Paul condition, how it was with him, as that he was in prison at Rome for the sake of the Gospel.

He is known forever in the Scriptures in whom Paul had complete confidence: beloved and faithful. How different. How rare it is to find someone who is both faithful to the truth, and yet caring.

Colossians 4:8  I am sending him to you for this very reason, so that you may know how we are doing and that he may encourage your hearts. 

He not only to carry letters, but to update the status of the churches, and to instruct and comfort them. He was sent as an evangelist to encourage them. 

He was sent to discuss with them Paul’s current situation and was probably the one who read the letter to the churches, and answered questions about Paul’s condition in prison.

Colossians 4:9 He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.  {Rome}

Onesiums: Also, a faithful and was beloved. Remember, he was a dishonest, runaway slave who had robbed his master.  He met Paul and was converted and become a dedicated helper to Paul.   He has been suggested as the collector of the Paul many letters

The Epistle to Philemon was about taking him back as a brother.  Tradition at this time that Tychicus bore the letter to Philemon about Onesimus.

According to tradition, he was afterwards bishop of Beyrhoea; and some say he suffered martyrdom under Domitian;

With 2 of them going to Colosse is the proper number to bear testimony and which they should be received by the church.  Remember, Jesus sent his disciples out by 2.

Matthew 18:16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may established.

Colossians 4:10  My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin {or nephew}  of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.)

Interesting, greetings from 3 of Paul’s faithful Jewish friends, only Jews among His co-workers.

“Aristarchus”: A “fellow-prisoner,” a Thessalonian who accompanied Paul on his third missionary journey. **Acts 27:2

Acts 27:2 After boarding a ship from Adramyttium that was about to sail to the ports on the coast of Asia, we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, went with us.

Aristarchus seems an interesting habit of being with Paul in hard times.  Some scholars suggest he make himself Paul’s slave so that he travel with him on his journey to Rome.  Fellow-prisoner.

Mark became a trusted companion and like a son to Peter

1 Peter 5:13 Your sister church in Babylon, chosen along with you, sends you greetings, as does Mark, whom I regard as a son.

That Paul endorsed him here implies that the Colossian Christians knew who Barnabas was and that there were some that still had doubts about Mark. 

This verse kind of infers that Barnabas was dead {probably around 62 AD}.

Acts 15:37-38 Barnabas wanted to take along John, who was called Mark, (38) but Paul did not think it was right to take along the man who had deserted them in Pamphylia and who had not gone with them into the work.

These churches knew that at one time Paul had refused to have Mark in his company, and hence would not have received him happy without such a letter from Paul

Colossians 4:11 Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me.

We only know of this man that, like Mark, he was a Jewish Christian, of the circumcision, and highly commended by Paul.

Justus means righteous, a common name among the Jews.  All the helpers that were there, were Jews.  Mark and Justus.  The rest were Gentiles. Peter was not in Rome at this time otherwise he would have been mentioned.

Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

“Epaphras”: , a preacher of the Gospel, It was his efforts that founded the church at Colossae, and it was Epaphras’ visit and status report that prompted this letter.  It is also significant that he was a prayer warrior.

The church were no longer being babes, but grown up to the measure of  the will of God, otherwise, the full maturity of a Christian.

Colossians 4:13 For I bear him witness that he has a great zeal for you, and those who are in Laodicea, and those in Hierapolis.

Laodicea: All three churches were his burden. They were only a few miles apart across the valley of the Lycus.

Colossians 4:14 Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings.

Luke: Historian, Physician, Evangelist, Author of the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts:  He was not mentioned among the three that “were of the circumcision.” He seems to have been a Gentile

When Paul first mentioned Demas, he called him a fellow worker. Here he simply says, “and Demas”; this may indicate that Paul isn’t really sure about him at this time. Demas and Luke seem to have been intimately associated as they are bound together here. 

2 Timothy 4:10 because Demas, having fallen in love with this present world, has abandoned me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia.

However, upon Paul’s second imprisonment we learn that the love the world had been too much for Demas and had forsaken or abandon Paul.  He is Forever mention in the Scriptures for deserting Paul.

It is interesting to find the 2nd and 3rd evangelists in one small group around Paul, Mark and Luke.

Luke preaches in many cities after the death of Paul and died a martyr, in Achaia, near the end of century.  He must have been a young man.

The six people who greeted the Colossians were connected with Paul in Rome, during the time of his house arrest and custody before appearing in the trial before Caesar. This shows that during this imprisonment – unlike the later one described in 2 Timothy – Paul, though chained, enjoyed at least the occasional the company of many friends and associates.

Colossians 4:15 Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church that is in his {or her} house.

His or Her house, who really knows.  His in the old version, Hers in the latest version and the best authority is, their house.  Who knows.    Remember, no church building existed at this time and they met in private houses.  Special church building started around the 3rd century. 

The apostle’s great warmth and true appreciation for his beloved coworkers comes through in these few verses. This should remind us that no one is an island. We all need the support of each other in the work of God.

The apostle’s salutation is a three-fold one; 

  1. to the brethren that are in Laodicea;
  2. that is to the whole of the Christian community in that city; and
  3. to Nymphas, and to the church in his house.

Nymphas would be a person both of Christian character and of generous feeling, and of some amount of wealth. Nothing more is known regarding him or her, as this is the only passage in which he or she is named.

Colossians 4:16 After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.

Apostolic letters were circulated. This was done usually by copying and keeping the original. There are numerous theories as to the identity of the Laodicean letter mentioned in this verse.  No one really knows.

Colossians 4:17 And say to Archippus,Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.

That you may fulfill it: That you keep on filling to the full, discharge fully. This is a lifetime job. God does not discharge His servants.

Archippus: Take heed to the ministry”: possibly his son and the pastor of the church that met in his home.  Was he Philemon’s son?  Pastor of the church at Laodicea.  No way to know this for certain.

Paul just told the members to speak to him.

He is named in Philemon 1:2. He had some important work, and was no doubt a minister and a preacher.

Colossians 4:18 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Amen.

Paul dictated his letters to a secretary, but it was his custom to give a special mark greeting in his own handwriting at the end of each letters

2 Thessalonians 3:17 (17) I, Paul, am writing this greeting with my own hand. This is the mark in every letter of mine. It is the way I write.

This served to personalize and make this letter as real from him.  Remember, his eye sight was bad.

Three times in this chapter Paul mention his chains. The thought is, “Be willing to suffer for the gospel even as I do.” Colossians 4:3,10,18

This served to personalize and make this letter as real from him.  Remember, his eye sight was bad.

Galatians 4:15 What, then, happened to your positive attitude? For I testify that if it had been possible, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.

You can hear the clank of his chains, reminding us that he wrote from Rome as a prisoner, greeting in his own hand due to Paul’s eye problem.

General understanding, Paul died sometime after this letter.

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