Colossians 4:1-18 – The Power of Faith, Hope, and Love in Christ: A Letter to the Colossians

by | Mar 31, 2023 | 0 comments

V. 1- equal — that is, as the slaves owe their duties to you, so you equally owe to them your duties as masters.

Ephesians 6:5-9 5 Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; 6 not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. 9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.

V. 2 – In Colossians 1:3, Paul proclaimed that he always prayed for them.
In Colossians 1:9, Paul said that he did not cease to pray for them.

Continue earnestly -great effort, steadily applied. (Like pulling teeth, literally)
To continue all the time. To persevere & not faint. Things that are a must.
The so called “non-negotiables” of life, i.e. morning coffee, certain routines are not “a must”.
May regular, earnest prayer become a non-negotiable part of our lives.

Being vigilant– to be wakeful, literally/spiritually. Not droning, but thinking
Our dog April: one ear pointed @ me, the other back towards the kitchen.
Aware of her surroundings. Listening, paying attention.

W/ thanksgiving– we ought always give thanks. Thanksgiving in prayer.

Vs. 3,4 Paul saw prayer as essential in “opening doors” for speaking about Jesus.
Softening of hearts in the Roman guards? Spiritual interest in Jesus?
Opportunity to speak to Roman officials and commanding officers?
Release from prison so that he could continue preaching?
Whatever it was, it was about the purposes of God.

Paul recognized that speaking of Christ requires more than good intentions, good literature, good resources, or much knowledge. It is a spiritual battle.
Paul overflowed with insights re. Jesus, but he knew he still needed prayer for God to work in creating opportunities for him to speak of Christ.

Abe Lincoln“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax.”
How often we “try to serve Jesus”, and forget about prayer.

1 Corinthians 16:8-9 But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost. 9 For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
We often pray for “open doors”, but for our blessings, & not for sharing Christ.
When Paul spoke of open doors, it was re. speaking about Jesus to others.
Acts 14:27; 1 Cor. 16:9; 2 Cor. 2:12
Not wrong to use the phrase other ways, but may we remember this way.
Next time you talk about “open doors”, also remember to pray like Paul.
Pray for people who don’t know Jesus.
Pray for yourself to be willing and ready to speak about Jesus.

Make manifest– Paul asked for prayer so that he could speak clearly re. Jesus

V. 5- Brian Bell– “The Christian is the world’s Bible”.
Walk in wisdom -wisdom requires right app. of knowledge; consideration
Redeem the time -In our lives, we will spend 6 months @ stoplights. Pray!
“Success is when preparation meets opportunity”.

May we not be people who are just “killing time”.
Even down time can be redeemed time.

In the O.T., Queen Esther faced one of those moments. She was a beautiful Jewish girl who had become the queen of the empire. She found out that an evil plot had been hatched to wipe out her entire race. She was in a unique position to do something, but she hesitated. She might risk her position. She might even be killed herself. Her cousin Mordecai told her:
Esther 4:14 “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Esther “redeemed” the “time” by risking her position and even her life in exposing the plot and saving her people.

V. 6 – Speech with grace – graciousness, beauty, charm, loveliness
Seasoned with salt – with wit, with clear sense, with flavor, with holiness
That you may know – having the ability to speak appropriately to each person
Barclay on Colossians 4:6: Let your speech always be with gracious charm, seasoned with the salt of wit, so that you will know the right answer to give in every case.

“Christianity in the minds of many is connected with a kind of sanctimonious dullness & an outlook in which laughter is almost a heresy. . . . The Christian must commend his message w/the charm & the wit which were in Jesus himself.”

Peake – “They must strive to cultivate the gift of pleasant and wise conversation, so that they may be able to speak appropriately to each individual (with his peculiar needs) with whom they come in contact.”
Just as we try to find the right greeting card to express love, regret, hope…
As the writer or playwright wrestles with the right words…
As the singer considers every varied form of how to present a song…
So ought the Christian to think about how to speak of Jesus.
Are we expertly knowledgeable on explaining our work or hobby…?
And yet have never thought of or spoken phrases re. Jesus…stumbling verbally?
Not all are great speakers, but we all can grow in ability to speak well of Jesus.
Passion creates interest.
Interest seeks knowledge.
Knowledge brings skillful readiness.

Vs. 7, 8 Tychicus- “Best Supporting Servant”
It seems that the Colossians did not know Tychicus, & so Paul introduces him to them through this letter.
Tychicus is highly esteemed by Paul.
Probably the courier of this letter to the Colossians
This is the kind of recommendation all of us would love to have.
This kind of esteem in Christ is the result of a godly life.

Beloved brother- Tychicus did not take the easy way, but the right way.
It was costly, dangerous and difficult to be Paul’s companion.
Tychicus had more than a sense of duty. He had agape love.
Faithful minister-“The greatest ability in the world is dependability”.

Tychicus was a tremendously valuable assistant to Paul, who was used to powerfully change the world for Christ.

Maclaren pictures how amazed Tychicus would have been if told that “these bits of parchment would outlast all the ostentatious pomp of the city, and that his name, because written in them, would be known to the end of time all over the world.”

The letter that this faithful minister carried has been translated into over 2400 languages, & read all over the world.

Fellow servant – speaks of fellowship, teamwork, togetherness
Some Christians prefer serving God alone & apart from others
While that may be appropriate at times, one can err by not being mindful of the whole Body of Christ. Much is lost.
In order to be all that God has called us to be, we need each other in an experiential way, not just in philosophical/theological way.

A comforter of hearts -also translated- to strengthen

V. 9- Onesimus– a runaway slave from Colossae.
A separate letter was carried to Phileomon, who was from Colossae
His owner was Philemon. A Christian slave owner.

Onesimus ran away, sought freedom and new life in Rome.
He stole from Philemon and then ran away.
He came in contact w/Paul became a Christian, & was changed
He now willingly returns to Philemon to make things right
The Book of Philemon tells that story.
Onesimus also carried a letter that would span the globe.

Faithful-a thieving slave was just recently turned into a faithful man.
Beloved brother– Not just a “fellow soldier”, but now a beloved brother
Had Onesimus known “brotherhood” before?
He now knew it in the deepest sense.
The family of Christ

V. 10-Aristarchus- “The Co-Sufferer”

He had traveled w/Paul during his 3rd missionary journey.
Was w/Paul when a riot occurred in Ephesus. (Acts 19:29; 20:4)
Fellow prisoner – one who was willing to suffer for Jesus
Not only a desire to share Christ, but when opposition came, Aristarchus didn’t quit serving Christ.

V. 10b-Mark- “From Failure To Favored”
Mark had traveled w/Paul & Barnabus, but had quit a missionary trip early & returned home.
In Acts 15, Barnabus had wanted to take Mark again, but Paul refused him to go. The contention was so great, that Paul & Barnabus separated.

Eventually, Paul & Mark reconciled, & Paul asked for him in 2 Tim. 4:11.
Mark went from failed missionary to Gospel writer. (Gospel of Mark)

V. 11- Jesus who is called Justus. “Honorable Mention”

Vs. 12, 13- Always laboring fervently- agonizomaito contend as in athletics.
Laboring in prayer– Prayer is hard work. Purposeful work. Deliberate.
Laboring– heavy toil to the extent of pain

“Perfect & complete”- Great zeal-Epaphras prayed much because he cared much.

V. 14- Luke- Author of Gospel of Luke and Acts.
Regular traveling companion of Paul. Probably ministered as a doctor.
Paul suffered numerous beating and an eye disease.
Luke was invaluable
Probably an “A” type personality.
Not a poet, but a reporter. Needed.

V. 14b- Demas- “The Quitter”. Demas eventually abandoned Paul.
2 Timothy 4:10 Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica

This was when Paul was again in jail in Rome, and facing execution.
This lack of commendation may have been at the start of his backslide.

1 John 2:15, 16 15Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.

Vs. 15-18

V. 16- Read The Word
These particular letters were circular letters meant to be shared.
The church was to receive instruction in the truths of God

V. 17- Exhort The Believers
Archippus– He was a Christian that had a clear calling on his life, but needed to be reminded & exhorted to actually do what God had called him to.

Paul tells the churches to exhort Archippus to fulfill his calling. Good peer pressure.
“Many an Archippus is sluggish, because the Colossians are silent.” (Dyke)

V. 18- Paul Asks To Be Remembered
Paul signs the letter. He had scribes write the letters because of his bad eyesight.
As Paul signed the letter, his chains probably got in the way.
He wishes them grace. God’s unmerited favor & divine friendship.

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