Christ, My Master: Colossians 4Video Link
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In chapter 4 Paul continues in the practical section of his letter to the church at Colossi. In chapter 3 he reminded the church that Christ was their life and as Christ was their life, then the life they lived should show Christ.
Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
He told them that their life, both inwardly, outwardly and in the home should reflect the One who died for them, forgave their sin and gave them hope for eternity.
Then in chapter 4:1 he writes, Colossians 4:1 1 Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.
Right after he tells wives, husbands, children and servants the life they should show because of Jesus Christ, he uses the last statement to transition his last words on how to live the Christian life, because “You have a Master in heaven.”
Pray – Colossians 4:2-4
2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; 3 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: 4 That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
Paul’s Primary Instruction for The Church, Pray
Here is how they were to pray. They were to pray…
Faithfully, “Continue in Prayer.” Keep on Praying On!
Expectantly, “Watch in the same”
Thankfully, “With Thanksgiving”
Purposely, “Withal praying also for us, that God would open a door of utterance.”
Servants of Christ Pray
The first action that Paul is inspired to tell the Colossians to do as servants of the Lord is to pray. He doesn’t begin with giving or preaching or any of the other equally important life actions that servants of God should always do, instead he begins with prayer.
Perhaps prayer is uppermost on his mind because He is writing from prison, or because he is so concerned about the seeds of apostasy he fear could be growing in the churches he helped to start or perhaps because Paul just knew that so much of everything all Christians do is only possible when first started in prayer, reinforced daily by prayer and focused on the future by prayer.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 he simply wrote “Pray without ceasing.”
I think in our own Christian service to our Lord we often forget about the primacy of prayer. We want our to live as we should, we want our families to be saved, we want our nation to remember God, we want our church to grow and people to be saved, but all too often we forget to prepare the ground first by faithful, expectant, thankful, purposeful prayer.
Quotes: The Importance of a Servant’s Prayer
Prayer does not fit us for the greater works; prayer is the greater work! – Oswald Chambers.
God loves importunate prayer so much that He will not give us much blessing without it.” -Adoniram Judson
After Paul tells the church to pray, he then tells them in vs 5 to show, much that same as the previous chapter he moves from the secret to public living, from their prayer closet to their streets of their city.
Proclaim – Colossians 4:5-6
5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Paul’s Second Set of Instruction for the Church, Proclaim
This outward showing of the Christian life, the proclaiming is done not be word as much as by actions and lifestyle.
He tell the Colossians, to “Walk In wisdom, toward them that are without: Their way of walking, the biblical way of saying your lifestyle, was to proclaim the wisdom of a servant of the Lord.
They were also to Proclaim who they were by Redeeming the Time. This meant to make the most use of the limited time they had been given by God, to accomplish the greatest good.
Redeem meant to buy back something back, or to pay for something now but claim it later. I believe that you redeem time by spending our lives on earth in service to the Lord and then redeeming that time in Heaven through the eternal crown that will be given us by our Master one day.
In Ephesians 5:15-17, which Paul wrote at this same time, in a longer letter he told the church there, 15 See then that ye walk circumspectly (carefully), not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
Seasoned Speech Then Paul does tell them to actually proclaim in vs. 6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
To Paul, speech should be always be with grace seasoned with salt. Isn’t that a interesting turn of a phrase? Grace seasoned with salt. We know what grace is, it is undeserved favor, kindness and affection.
Again we see this thought echoed in Ephesians 4:29 29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
It is easy to see that our words should reflect the same kind of grace that we experienced when the Lord spoke to us, but what does it mean to be seasoned with salt?
You all know that salt was a preservative and a seasoning in Paul’s time. Jesus told his followers during the sermon on the mount, Matthew 5:13 13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Salt was also used in the sacrifices both pagan and Jewish, the sacrifice given to God would be seasoned with salt.
Salt to our food adds flavor, it prevents if from being bland and tasteless. I believe that Paul is telling the Colossians, when you proclaim Christ, make sure you show him as the wonderful, exciting, glorious savior that He truly is. Christianity is the most fulfilling and exciting lifestyle that anyone can live, just read the Bible and see if for yourself. Don’t let your speech settle on the dull duty but let it rightly reflect the glory that is a part of knowing Christ.
This is the “Know how to answer every man:” Let everything we say, show the grace of God and seasoned richly in the Glory of God! That is the right kind of speech.
Servants of Christ, Proclaim.
We as servants of the Lord are to proclaim Jesus Christ in a dark, dying world, first by our lifestyle and secondly by our words. We are to redeem the time, by investing time in the lives around us, planting the seeds of the Gospel and looking for a redemption of our investment one day in Heaven.
Quote: Warren Wiesbe said this in his commentary on this section of Colossians, “When character, conduct, and conversation are all working together, it makes for a powerful witness.” – Warren Wiesbe, Bible Exposition Commentary - Be Complete (Colossians).
Dr. Will H. Houghton, who pastored the Calvary Baptist Church in New York City and later served as president of Chicago's Moody Bible Institute till his death in 1946. When Dr. Houghton became pastor of the Baptist Tabernacle in Atlanta, a man in that city hired a private detective to follow Dr. Houghton and report on his conduct. After a few weeks, the detective was able to report to the man that Dr. Houghton's life matched his preaching. As a result, that man became a Christian. - Bible Exposition Commentary - Be Complete (Colossians).
Finally, as Paul close this epistle, he mentions several people with him as he wrote the letter. To Him it was a way to close the letter, but there is also something more for us to see, a pattern of Christian Servants that we can learn from.
Pattern – Colossians 4:7-17
7 All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord: 8 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts;9 With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here.10 Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)11 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.12 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.13 For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.15 Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. 16 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. 17 And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.
Paul’s Fellowservants of Christ
Tychicus, a Jewish name which means fateful. He stayed with Paul while he was in prison and then along with Onesimus delivered the letters that Paul had written. He was one who say his fate, his destiny as a faithful servant both to Paul and to the Lord.
Onesimus, was the young Greek slave who had fled from Colossae as a runaway slave and then found Paul and Paul sent him back with ta plea to Philemon, to put the offenses of Onesimus on Paul’s own account. Onesimus means profitable servant and that was how Paul reintroduces him to his master, in the hopes that he would free him. There is some evidence that Philemon did just as Paul requested and that Onesimus became a pastor of the church as Ephusus, year later. From a servant to a man to a servant for the Lord.
Aristarchus, also a Jewish name. He was from Thessalonica and his name meant “the best ruler.” He had willingly risked his life in Ephesian riot (Acts 19:28-41). Later he sailed with Paul to Rome (Acts 27:2), where he went through the storm and shipwreck, along with Paul and Luke (Acts 27) Now he is also a prisoner with Paul, perhaps voluntarily shared a cell with the apostle to be a companion, and a friend. Keeping him company, comforting him during the dark days just like friends should.
There is Marcus (aka. John Mark), the nephew of Barnabus, who wrote the Gospel of Mark. His name means “a defense.” On the first missionary trip he had deserted Paul and Barnabus, Acts 15:36-39, but now thanks to Barnabus’ faith in forgiveness, here he is serving again with Paul and commended by him. In his last letter Paul wrote to Timothy asking for him to come and to bring Mark in 2 Timothy 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
John Mark’s life shows us that God never gives up on us, therefore we should never give up on one another.
There is a man name Jesus, his Jewish name but called Justus, a Roman name which means “just.” It was common for the Jews to have two name both Jewish and Latin, like Timothy/ Timotheus, John Mark or Jesus Justus, but what a name to bear for a belever and a servant of the Lord, Jesus, Jehovah is salvation and Justice. To proclaim everytime one called you that God’s saves and justifies.
Then there is Epaphras, whose coming to Paul was the reason he wrote the epistle. He was a Gentile and his full name Epaphroditus name means devoted to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, when used it was understood as hearing the word “lovely.”
From a pagan devoted to a goddess, he was now a pastor to devoted to the one true God. He probably started the churches in Colossi, Laodicea and Hierapolis (Col 4:13) Paul gave him his highest honor when he calls him “A servant of Christ” He was a serving the Lord by serving the Lord’s people, “Always laboring for you in prayer.” And with “great zeal for you.”
Then of course there is always faithful, Luke, the Gentile, “beloved physician.” Luke’ s name means "light-giving." And that is what he did through his recording the most words of any writer of the New Testament, the light of the Lord’s Gospel and then the light of the Lord’s Churches.
There is also Demas which is short for Demetrius. He is a Gentile and his name means “governor of the people" Demas is famous as the anti-Luke, he later deserts the apostle when he was a prisoner at Rome the second time and returns to Thessalonica. 2 Timothy 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica;
Finally, Paul mentions the names of people in the churches he is writing to, Nymphas, His name means “bridegroom. He appears to be a man wealthy enough to have a large enough house to host the church.
The last name is Archippus, another Gentile whose his name means "master of the horse.” He is the pastor of the church of Colossi and as such Paul has special words for him. He tells him to “take heed to your ministry” literally it means“keep an eye on” your ministry. “Fulfill your calling.” Literally it says,"that thou keep on filling it full." Archippus shows us that we all have a calling as Servants of God. Keep an eye on our ministries, guard them as the thing most precious and valuable ever given to you. We must “keep on filling it full.” It is the calling of a lifetime and our life should be devoted to fulfilling our calling as Servants of Christ.
About a hundred years later in A.D. 155, Christianity was threatening the Roman Empire a movement of servants was displacing an empire of Warriors. Because of this, persecution against Christians swept across the Empire and came to the city of Smyrna. The proconsul of Symrna, put out an order that the Pastor of the church of Symrna, a man named Polycarp, was to be found, arrested, and brought to the public arena for execution. The soldiers captured him and then brought him before thousands of spectators screaming for blood. Christians were being blamed for every calamity that had begun to affect the decaying empire. But the proconsul had compassion as he look down on this nearly one hundred year old man. Who was a former disciple of the last apostle John. The governor signaled the crowd to silence, then addressing Polycarp he said, "Curse the Christ and live." The crowd waited for the old man to answer. In an amazingly strong voice, he said, "Eighty and six years have I served him, and he has done me no wrong. How dare I blaspheme the name of my king and Lord!" With that final statement of faith, Polycarp was killed, faithful servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. (edited original by Leith Anderson, "Can Jesus Trust Us?" Preaching Today, Tape No. 126.)
That should be our goal to live our lives and finish our lives as servants of Jesus Christ. Christ, my master deserves nothing less for all that He has done and given to me.