PART 3: JESUS OUR MINISTRY- COLOSSIANS 4: 10-18
“10 Aristarchus, who is in prison with me, sends you his greetings, and so does Mark, Barnabas’s cousin. As you were instructed before, make Mark welcome if he comes your way. 11 Jesus (the one we call Justus) also sends his greetings. These are the only Jewish believers among my co-workers; they are working with me here for the Kingdom of God. And what a comfort they have been! 12 Epaphras, a member of your own fellowship and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends you his greetings. He always prays earnestly for you, asking God to make you strong and perfect, fully confident that you are following the whole will of God. 13 I can assure you that he prays hard for you and also for the believers in Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14 Luke, the beloved doctor, sends his greetings, and so does Demas. 15 Please give my greetings to our brothers and sisters[a] at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church that meets in her house. 16 After you have read this letter, pass it on to the church at Laodicea so they can read it, too. And you should read the letter I wrote to them. 17 And say to Archippus, ‘Be sure to carry out the ministry the Lord gave you.’ 18 HERE IS MY GREETING IN MY OWN HANDWRITING—PAUL. Remember my chains. May God’s grace be with you.” COLOSSIANS 4:10-18 New Living Translation
*These final paragraphs in this letter are not an afterthought. While they might at first seem to be a random collection of greetings and references to people, there is a common thread. They illustrate real life for those who trust the full revelation of God in Christ and the finished work of Christ on the cross. They remind us that the Christian life is about living together as a community of believers. Chapter 4 shows life has its struggles and problems (for example, Paul’s imprisonment(4v3), and the implicit challenge of speaking to non-believers in 4 v 5-6. Last week we considered two of Paul’s Gospel fellow workers, Tychicus and Onesimus. Today we finish this amazing letter considering the rest of Paul’s “community”, where Paul acknowledges his need for friends and colleagues. 4V11
READ COLOSSIANS 4:10-11
- Aristarchus show us the radical commitment of discipleship. He’s in prison with Paul at that moment for his ministry for Christ.
- Mark shows us the power of Christian reconciliation. He had at one point fallen our with Paul (read Acts 15:37-39), but he’s now commended by Paul- and even described as a comfort to him in verse 11.
- There is real confidence- confidence that praying to God makes a difference. (v 2 and 12), and confidence that Christian ministry is in essence, about serving the “kingdom of God” v11.
REFLECTION: What can we learn from them?
Read COLOSSIANS 4:12-13
1. Epaphrus (already mentioned in 1:7-8) shows us how to pray. He ‘constantly wrestles in prayer for you’ NIV; ‘constantly struggles for you in prayer’ ERV. This literally means agonising for the church in prayer.
2. Most significant in light of the whole letter is the subject of Epaphras’ prayer in 4 v12: Epaphrus teaches us what to pray: ‘that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured’ NIV; ‘asking God to make you strong and perfect, fully confident that you are following the whole will of God’ NLT. It was precisely this assurance that the Colossian false teachers undermined; and it is precisely this assurance that Paul sought to bolster and stabilise by writing to the Colossian Christians. This is the priority for the church. (read Col 1v7, 1v29-2v1)
REFLECTION: Put into your own words of how the prayer of Epaphrus sums up the big message of the letter to Colossians.
Read Colossians 4:14
A warning – Demas proved unfaithful in the end. (read 2 Timothy 4:10), hence the importance of faithfulness (read Col 1v7, 4v7)
Read Colossians 4:15
Nympha, most likely a woman of means, who hosted the local church in her home, shows us the importance of generosity and hospitality.
Read Colossians 4:16-17
A second warning- Archippus was also, like Demas, in danger of not holding out in his service of Christ. Long-term perseverance is a key quality to look for in role models.
REFLECTION: Paul’s description of his friends (Col 4 v 10-17)focuses on their hard work and service for the gospel. How can we encourage one another to persevere in our service of the Lord, His people and those who do not yet know Him?
Colossians 4:18 ‘HERE IS MY GREETING IN MY OWN HANDWRITING—PAUL. Remember my chains. May God’s grace be with you.’
‘The gospel is so clearly Paul’s priority over everything, even his own personal comfort and security. But this hardly means he would not prefer freedom. The request in v 18 to remember is presumably a plea for prayer and solidarity- for how easy it would be for the Colossians to allow shame at his imprisonment to create a reticence to identify as Paul’s brothers and sisters.’ Mark Meynell
The following is a concluding quote from Mark Meynell, from his book, Colossians For You. He summarizes the letter beautifully:
‘ GRACE BE WITH YOU. Paul’s final statement might sound like a standard, and even hollow, farewell. But after all we have learned in Colossians, it is far from that. For we have travelled far in the realms of Christ Jesus, the Lord of all. But he is no dictator Caesar, who simply demands that his followers die for him to sustain his reign. As we saw in the introduction, Caesar claimed to offer forgiveness, peace, and provision, and in a limited sense he was able to do that. But Christ actually delivers it– for all eternity. He is God’s King, who was crowned on a cross. His victorious death brings complete forgiveness for every sin, ushers in eternal peace with our Creator, and lavishes upon us the treasures of His heaven. Having reconciled us to our Father, He reconciles us with one another. He truly showers us with his grace.
God’s grace can only provoke our gratitude to God. And our gratitude must surely work out in graciousness to one and all, whether to those who are part of the body, or towards outsiders who ply us with questions.
Grace. Gratitude. Graciousness. This is lordship the like of which the world has never seen. What an extraordinary privilege to know it first hand. So as Christ has shared His grace with us, we, with Paul, share grace with all.’
PRAYER (from Colossians 2:6-7)
Dear Lord, and now, just as we accepted You as our Lord, help us to continue to follow You. May our roots grow down into You, and that our lives will be built on You. Cause our faith to grow strong in the truth we were taught and that we will overflow with thankfulness….in increasing measure. For Your glory and our good, AMEN.
* (Thank you to Andy Mason for his material in Colossians: Alive in Christ, and Mark Meynell for his material in Colossians for You, and Colossians- Confident Christianity, of which a large part of today’s study has been taken)
This marks the conclusion of COLOSSIANS: ROOTED. Thank you for all the contributors who led us in teaching, and for you, the participant, for joining in to learn to know God better and love Him more through the study of His word and friendship with others in our church community.
Please stay tuned in through the summer on Grace Place where we will be reflecting on what we have learned in Colossians (and other bits and bobs, no doubt). AND, please be praying for Sharon Durant and the team as they prepare for next school year’s study. In the meantime, our love and prayers are with you as we all move forward in these strange times. Remember, in God’s economy, NOTHING IS WASTED!
Lots of love,