Col 4:1 Masters,
provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you
know that you also have a Master in heaven.
Paul continues his instructions concerning vertical
relationships. And while master-slave relationships such as was
present back then may not be the case today, yet there are many
similar relationships, such as boss-employee. The distinction
being just a matter of degree.
In fact we as Christians have willingly entered into the
ultimate master-slave relationship - namely our relationship
with the Lord, as noted here "we have a Master in heaven". For "you have been set free from
sin and have become slaves to God" Rom 6:22a
And just as the Lord does, so also those in positions of
authority are to be gracious to those under their authority. In
masters concerning their servants, "Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is
both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no
favoritism with him."
Thus we have in the Lord Jesus a
model of how authority should graciously exercise their
Pray for an Open Door
Col 4:2-4 Devote
yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our
message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for
which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as
Though God knows what is best, in order for us to be involved
with Him in the ministry God often withholds doing what is best
until we have prayed about it. So get involved with God in His
ministry by praying.
Now as "faith comes from
hearing the message" Rom
, it is essential people hear the message. But for
them to hear one, of course needs messengers, and thus Jesus
said, "Ask the Lord of the
harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest
field." Mt 9:38
Secondly the messengers needs opportunities to share the
message. Pray for that. And thirdly people's hearts need to be
open to receive the message, such as when Paul shared the
message to Lydia, "The
Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul."
Furthermore, the manner in which the gospel should be preached
is with boldness, free from the fear of man. Don't be
intimidated when presenting the Word of God. Pray for the
boldness of the messengers. For courage communicates conviction. "Therefore, since we have such
a hope, we are very bold." 2Cor 3:12
"Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to
speak your word with great boldness." Acts 4:29
Paul requests in Ephesians 6:19,20 "Pray
also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given
me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the
gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I
may declare it fearlessly, as I should."
Be a Wise Guy
Col 4:5,6 Be wise in the way you act
toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with
salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
And again as Colossians is a reflection of Ephesians Paul
instructs, "Be very
careful, then, how you live— not as unwise but as wise, making
the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."
Realize here in Colossians this instruction follows Paul asking
for prayer concerning an open door for evangelism. This should
be the main thing on the mind of the saint with regards to
opportunities. Makes most of opportunities for the purpose of
For some, opportunities comes in the form of questions asked in
view of our hope and our convictions lived in opposition to our
circumstances. Peter writes,
"Even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.
"Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened. But in your
hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to
give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the
reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness
and respect keeping a clear conscience, so that those who
speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be
ashamed of their slander." 1Peter 3:14-16
For "the heart of the righteous studies how to
answer" Pr 15:28a
A Faithful Messenger
Col 4:7,8 Tychicus will tell you all the
news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and
fellow servant in the Lord. I am sending him to you for the
express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and
that he may encourage your hearts.
is also mentioned in Acts 20:4
, 2Tim 4:12
, Titus 3:12
In Acts 20 we
find him as one of Paul's traveling companions on his third
missionary journey. Ephesians, written almost concurrently
with Colossians says almost the exact same thing. "Tychicus, the dear brother
and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so
that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. I am
sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know
how we are, and that he may encourage you." Eph 6:21,22
And Paul made
mention of sending 'Tychicus to Ephesus in 2Tim 4:12
, when Paul was in
jail in Rome, near the end of his life.
In that same letter in 2Timothy Paul noted that many of his team
has abandoned him. "For
Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and
has departed for Thessalonica——Crescens for Galatia, Titus for
Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me." 2Tim 4:10,11
had continue to minister with him. That's what he means by
"faithful". A Faithful minister who one who continues to
minister faithfully through challenging difficulties. Such a
person has himself been enouraged and thus has the capacity to
Other Faithful Brothers
Col 4:9,10 He is coming with Onesimus,
our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will
tell you everything that is happening here. My fellow prisoner
Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin
of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he
comes to you, welcome him.)
was formerly the slave of Philemon (Philemon
). He had run away and was converted by Paul who
advised him to return to his master, but with the advice to
Philemon to free him, which apparently he did. While God allowed
forms of slavery under the Law of Moses, many don't realize that
under the Law slaves who escaped their master were not to be
forced to return. "If a slave has taken
refuge with you, do not hand him over to his master. Let him
live among you wherever he likes and in whatever town he
chooses. Do not oppress him." Deut 23:15,16
from the fact that he mentions Onesimus indicates Paul was
an old man
at this time, as he mentioned in Philemon where
he mentioned of Onesimus. "I then,
as Paul— an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ
Jesus— I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son
while I was in chains." Phm 1:9b-10
was another who had travel with Paul,
willing to face danger. In Ephesus he was seized by an angry mob
for his faith. (Acts 19:29
) He traveled with Paul as
they escaped a plot by the Jews in Greece. (Acts 20:3
And he had associated with Paul at other times when in prisoned.
) Pr 17:17 "A
friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for
Interesting that Mark
was mentioned. Paul actually had a
falling out with Barnabus over Mark when Paul refused to take
him along on his second missionary journey (Acts 15:37-39
What appeared to have happened on the first missionary journey
was that Mark deserted them in Pamphylia, probably objecting to
spreading of the gospel to the Gentiles. Paul was angry at this.
However Mark appears to have changed his mind on the subject and
became one of Paul's must trusted companions even to the end. "Get Mark and bring him with you, because he
is helpful to me in my ministry."
This is a testimony of God's ability to restore broken
relationships in the body of Christ.
Wrestle in Prayer
Col 4:11-13 Jesus, who is called
Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews among my
fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a
comfort to me. Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of
Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in
prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of
God, mature and fully assured. I vouch for him that he is
working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis.
Interesting also that Paul says that these three (Aristarcus,
Justus, and Mark) were his only Jewish colaborers. What about
the apostles? It is apparent that he thought of his ministry
quite distinct from theirs, and that he was just referring to
colaborers within his own ministry. But in fact, due to
prejudice, very few Jewish Christians got involved in ministry
to the Gentiles. In fact Peter and the other apostles - all
Jews - had essentially washed their hands of Gentile
Christians. "James, Peter and John,
those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right
hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to
me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and
they to the Jews." Gal 2:9 Have you
noticed any people groups around your largely neglected due to
Epaphras was actually the one who had first preached the
gospel to the Colossians. His example of prayer is instructive
in that the devout pray laboriously. Prayer is hard work.
Prayer can be stressful. Jesus sweat blood in prayer. Yet I've
notice prayers today more a matter of convenience and
dominated with the shallow concerns of life. There's no depth
to such prayer and little seriousness. And while prayers today
are dominated by material concerns, most all of the prayers
found in the New Testament letters make requests concerning
spiritul things, such as here "that you
may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully
assured." So take time now to pray this.
See also Prayers
of the New Testament Epistles
Col 4:14-16 Our dear friend
Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings. Give my greetings
to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in
her house. 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.
Luke, of course, wrote both the gospel of Luke and the book
of Acts. The fact that in verse 11 he is not mentioned as
among those of whom Paul said, "These
are the only Jews among my fellow workers for the kingdom of
God", would lead one to believe Luke was a Gentile,
but not conclusively. Luke was one of the most faithful to
Paul, even compared to Demas here. For look consider what Paul
later wrote to Timothy concerning these two.
"Be diligent to come to me quickly;
for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present
world, and has departed for Thessalonica——Crescens for
Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get
Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for
ministry." 2Tim 4:9-11
Though "loved" and "departed" are merely in the aorist, which
only speaks of point in time events rather that characterizing
one's lifestyle. But under stess, Demas broke and opted for
the world, likely referring to being afraid to die with Paul
due to the persecution he was suffering. Only Luke stayed.
Though Paul called for Mark and Timothy to join him.
Verse 15,16 speaks of Laodicea. Realize while we call this
the epistle to the Colossians, it was really written
explicitly both to the Christians in Colossae and Laodicea.
Laodicea later became infamous in Revelation chapter 3 as the
luke warm church. Yet what the Lord told that church there
later became one of the most utilized verses in evangelism
today, namely, "Behold, I stand at the
door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door,
I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me."
Finish Your Work!
Col 4:17,18 Tell Archippus:
"See to it that you complete the work you have received in
the Lord." I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand.
Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
According to Philemon 1:2, Archippus was having
church meetings in his home. Who couldn't use a good kick in
the pants to get on with their ministry. We're all
procrastinators by nature. And we always need to be reminded
and warned to finish our work.See that you complete the
work that the Lord has given you.
"You, keep your head in all situations,
endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all
the duties of your ministry." 2Tim 4:5
And as was his custom, though he dictated most of his
letters, he put his personal signurature on the end. Do you
feel like you are in chains in your life? That's no excuse for
not doing the ministry. For much of Paul's ministry he spent