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FOR I BEAR HIM WITNESS THAT HE HAS A DEEP CONCERN
FOR YOU AND FOR THOSE WHO
ARE IN LAODICEA AND HIERAPOLIS:
marturo (1SPAI) gar auto hoti echei (3SPAI) polun ponon huper humon kai
ton en Laodikeia kai ton en Ierapolei:
(Ro 10:2; 2Co 8:3)
Warren Wiersbe comments on Epaphras' prayer life writing:
I am impressed with the fact that Epaphras prayed for believers in
three different cities. We are fortunate today if church members pray
for their own pastor and church, let alone believers in other places!
Perhaps one reason that revival tarries is because we do not pray
fervently for one another. (Wiersbe,
W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor
What was causing Epaphras to have pain in his heart for Laodicea? Did
he see the beginning of their going astray? Not that they are in GROSS
SIN-- that is not what makes God want to vomit. It's COMPLACENCY that
makes God want to vomit. What about you and I? Are we COMPLACENT about
our Christianity? We make think that we are all right because we are not
living in gross sin, but instead are living a respectable life, among
the pillars of the community...you walk through the streets and
everyone in Laodicea likes you and THAT IS THE PROBLEM. Jesus has
warned us to beware when all men speak well of you!
This church appears to be complacent-COMPLACENCY IN CHRISTIANITY IS
DEADLY. Apathetic about their relationship with Jesus Christ. You also
see a church that apparently is COMPROMISED (as the subsequent demise
suggests) -- they have a religion but not a relationship. They have
slipped. Jesus is outside. He wants to come in and dine with them, to
fellowship with them.
Laodicea and Hierapolis - click
for the geographic relationships of Laodicea (means "justice of
the people" -
Hierapolis (means "holy city" - see
and Colossae (means "punishment" - see
LUKE, THE BELOVED PHYSICIAN,
SENDS YOU HIS GREETINGS: aspazetai (3SPMI) humas Loukas o iatros o
4:11 Philemon 1:24)
From this verse that we know that Luke, Paul's
companion on his voyage to Rome (Acts 21:2) was a physician.
Luke was Paul’s personal physician, as well as his close
friend. He was a Gentile believer (see
where Paul says that Aristarchus... Mark...Jesus who is called
Justus are the only Jews who are his fellow workers - implying Luke is
not a Jew, for he is certainly a fellow worker with Paul) who traveled frequently with Paul on
his missionary voyages. It may, in fact, have been Paul’s recurring
illnesses on the first missionary journey that prompted him to take
Luke along on the second. Like Paul, he was an educated, cultured man,
as evidenced by the literary quality of his Greek in his gospel and
the book of Acts. His conversations with Paul were undoubtedly
Luke is mentioned by name only two other times in the New Testament.
All three times his name appears, it does so in Paul’s writings from
Only Luke is
with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me
for service. (see note
2 Timothy 4:11)
fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, 24 as do Mark,
Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow workers. (Phile
After joining Paul on his second
missionary journey, he was with him for most of the remainder of
Nothing definite is known about Luke’s background. According to the
church Fathers Eusebius and Jerome, he was born in Syrian Antioch.
Some have speculated that he was Titus’s brother, that he knew Paul
when Paul was a student at Tarsus, and that he was a freed slave from
the household of Theophilus (Mentioned in the prologue to Acts). Those
speculations, however, cannot be proved.
Luke was the prototype of the medical missionary. Not everyone in the
Lord’s service has to have a seminary degree. God’s work needs
specialists too. Luke surrendered his special talent to God, giving up
what might have been a lucrative private practice. In return, God gave
him the privilege of writing a sizable portion of the New Testament,
and of being the beloved companion of the apostle Paul.
AND ALSO DEMAS: kai Dema:
In Paul's final letter, 2 Timothy
note on 2Ti 4:10)
we read that Demas had
forsaken Paul and fled to Thessalonica, having loved the things of
this present world more than the things of Christ. Since Colossians and Philemon were written during the same
time period (see chronological chart below), Demas’ backsliding must have been rapid. What a tragedy!
Was Demas genuinely saved? In the final analysis that is God's
business. In the meantime it is worth noting that as Billy Graham has said,
No man can be said to be truly converted to Christ who has not bent
his will to Christ. He may give intellectual assent to the claims of
Christ and may have had emotional religious experiences; however, he
is not truly converted until he has surrendered his will to Christ as
Lord, Savior, and Master.
question of Demas' salvation aside, is your salvation secure because
it was genuine repentance and belief and not a "mind game"? Not just
intellectual gymnastics but internal transformation? Not just
knowledge in the head but a change in the heart, a genuine
regeneration which is evidenced by a supernatural desire and general
predilection (not perfection) for the things of God... His presence in
quietness and prayer, His word in times of study, memorization and
meditation, His sure hope of heaven, His saints in fellowship, His
conviction and discipline when we sin, etc.
Demas, Luke, my fellow workers
||Luke, the beloved
physician, sends you his greetings, and also Demas
||Demas, having loved
this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica
Demas goes from "fellow
worker" to simply "Demas" to lover of "this
present world"! The first two mentions were during Paul's
first imprisonment and the last here in Timothy during his second
imprisonment in Rome.
The lure of the world became
irresistible to Demas, and he abandoned both Paul and the ministry. We
see here the basic principle taught by our Lord Jesus during His
earthly ministry that
No one (absolutely no one) can serve
tense = as a lifestyle) two masters (kurios = absolute
ownership and control); for
either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one
and despise the other. You cannot
tense = as a lifestyle) serve God and mammon (wealth,
possessions). (see note
Jesus had His Judas, and Paul
had his Demas. Anyone who has been in the ministry long enough has
shared in that heartbreaking experience. Isn't it interesting and
somewhat comforting to note that even the two greatest leaders the
world has ever known had those who failed them. In a similar manner,
anyone who has been a Christian long enough has known the heartache
and sense of loss when some mentor or leader who for whatever reason
chooses to abandon the faith and fall in love with the world.
If believers today would read John Bunyan’s
Pilgrim’s Progress, they’d meet Mr. Hold-the-World, Mr. Save-All,
and Mr. Money-Love and would see what Bunyan thought about Demas, the
one-time associate of Paul who fell in love with “this present world”.
Every saint, be
he pastor or pew member, needs to remember this passage, so he is
aware of the potential for those who, while ostensibly steadfast and
faithful, choose to forsake in the hour of need. If this has happened
to you, beloved, remember that Jesus is able to sympathize, for in His
hour of greatest need His disciples all left Him and fled. (Mark 14:50)
"since He Himself was tempted (and
tested) in that which
He has suffered, He is (continually ready and) able to come to
the aid (upon hearing the cry for help - see in depth discussion of
boetheo) of those who are
(continually being) tempted (and tested)." (see note
brethren who are in
Laodicea and also
Nympha and the
church that is in her
Give my greetings to the brethren at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the
assembly (the church) which meets in her house.
Phillips: My own greetings to the Christians in Laodicea,
and to Nymphas and the congregation who meet in her house.
Wuest: Greet the brethren in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the
[local] assembly [which meets] in her home.
Young's Literal: salute ye those in Laodicea -- brethren, and
Nymphas, and the assembly in his house
GREET THE BRETHREN WHO ARE IN
LAODICEA AND ALSO NYMPHA AND THE CHURCH THAT IS IN HER HOUSE:
(aspazomai from a + spao = draw out as a sword,
pull, breathe) (aorist
to enfold in arms, welcome, embrace. It is spoken of those who meet or
separate. This is one final expression of Paul's paternal love.
Aspazomai is constantly used in the papyri for conveying the
greetings at the end of a letter.
The brethren - This term is often used today
amongst believers, but probably most often in a more formal manner and
not with the deeper sense that this term carried in the early church,
for in those days a mutual care for members of the Family was
noteworthy and was obvious to those outside of Christ. "See how these
Christians love one another" was the observation of many of the on
lookers. The same description is sometimes used about those in church
today, but sadly is more often spoken with a sarcastic, skeptical
twist than with a sense of awe.
In Laodicea - click
for the geographic relationships of Laodicea (means "justice of
the people" -
Hierapolis (means "holy city" - see
Colossae (means "punishment" - see
who are in Laodicea - Brethren in this context indicates fellow
believers who composed the church in Laodicea. This church received
a stern warning from our Lord some 30 years later in the book of
Revelation. What happened to them in such a short time period? Were
some of the original "church members" still alive or had a completely
new generation been born who lacked the fervor of the parent church?
In the next verse Paul instructs them to have Colossians read to them
which surely was done and yet from what Jesus says below strongly
suggests they do not heed the Word they heard, at least in a lasting
gives His assessment of the church at Laodicea declaring...
And to the angel of the church in
Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning
of the creation of God, says this: (Note
on Rev 3:14)
15 'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that
you were cold or hot. (Note
on Rev 3:15)
16 'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit
you out of My mouth. (Note
on Rev 3:16)
17 'Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have
need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and
miserable and poor and blind and naked, (Note
on Rev 3:17)
18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may
become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and
that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to
anoint your eyes, that you may see. (Note
on Rev 3:18)
19 'Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore,
and repent. (Note
on Rev 3:19)
20 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice
and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and
he with Me. (Note
on Rev 3:20)
21 'He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My
throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
on Rev 3:21)
22 'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the
on Rev 3:22)
Guy King makes a practical
and pithy comment on the church at Laodicea...
This (church) became, of course, as
it grew, and developed, more organised; but, alas, not necessarily
more healthy. We have only to recall the condition of the very
church of the Laodiceans, that we have been thinking of, to see how
gravely deterioration can set in, and deficiency become apparent. The
sad record is in Revelation 3:14-22.
- There was no spirit of enthusiasm
- "neither cold, nor hot": tepid!
- There was no sense of need - "I
have need of nothing"; blatant self-sufficiency.
- There were many who had no
spiritual relationship to CHRIST - "if any man. .. open the door, I
will come in"; they had entered in the door of the visible church, but
kept closed the door to the church's Lord.
What a state of church life is here
revealed. It only serves to emphasize how watchful our church, and its
members, should be, lest "the cares of this world, and the
deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in,
choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful," Mark 4:19. (Colossians
4:15-18 His Kind Regard)
that is in her house - The churches met in homes, and believers
would frequently itinerate from home to home. They fellowshipped
together around the Word of God. They fellowshipped together in the
breaking of bread in memory of our Lord’s death and resurrection (for
the early church's plan for "church growth" see Acts 2:42-47 noting
especially how the church was growing day by day!). The
program of teaching the Word and evangelism was carried out from these
Whether or not
the early Christians built actual church buildings in which to meet,
we do not know. There is no mention of such in the New Testament.
Probably in most cases, they met in individual homes, as many churches
do today, especially in countries where organized Christian worship is
With all of the stress
in the modern church on large and luxurious buildings, it is
refreshing to be reminded that, for many years, the Christian church
met and grew in the homes of believers
Greet the church that is in their house (Prisca and Aquila).
Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from
Asia. (See note
The churches of Asia greet you.
Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church
that is in their house. (1 Cor 16:19)
(Paul) to Apphia our sister, and to
Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house
(Philemon's house) (Phile 1:2).
most of us will readily agree that
the power of God in a local church is far more important than an
elaborate building or fine furnishings. Power is not dependent upon
the latter; luxurious church buildings often serve as a hindrance to
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson or
Lightfoot reminds us:
There is no clear example of a separate building set apart for
Christian worship within the limits of the Roman empire before the
third century, though apartments in private houses might be specially
devoted to this purpose.
Pentecost (in comments on his exposition of Philemon) writes
Home Bible classes are as important
a ministry as any church can carry on. Many unsaved persons have an
aversion to church. But if invited to a home to study the Bible, many
are willing to come. The opportunity to reach the unsaved with the
gospel in a home is perhaps greater where the Word of God can be
taught, than any formal service. Many have not begun to tap the
blessings that could be realized if God would lay it upon their hearts
to gather together a few of our neighbors, or friends, or business
associates, and provide them with a simple teaching of the Word of
God, so that they are presented with the truth of the Word of Jesus
Christ. The vast majority of those who have come to know Christ as
Saviour in this writer’s recent ministry have come through the home
Bible classes. As the apostle is writing to Philemon, Apphia, and
Archippus, he is bringing the concept of a small nucleus of believers
who are concerned with others who did not know Christ. Even though
Archippus had not been “called into the ministry,” and had not been
“ordained,” a ministry of teaching the Word was entrusted to him, and
so Paul exhorted him to a faithfulness in the ministry that was his.
(J. Dwight Pentecost. Paul the Prisoner: Part I: An Exposition of
Philemon Bibliotheca Sacra. Volume 129. Issue 514. Page 141.
read in the
church of the
you, for your part
read my letter
that is coming from
And when this epistle has been read before you, [see] that it is
read also in the assembly (the church) of the Laodiceans, and also
[see] that you yourselves in turn read the [letter that comes to you]
When you have had this letter read in your church, see that the
Laodiceans have it read in their church too; and see that you read the
letter I have written to them.
Wuest: And when this letter is read in your presence, see to it
that also it is read in the assembly of the Laodiceans, and the letter
from Laodicea, see to it that you also read it.
Young's Literal: and when the epistle may be read with you,
that also in the assembly of the Laodiceans it may be read, and the
epistle from Laodicea that ye also may read
AND WHEN THIS LETTER IS READ
IT ALSO READ IN THE CHURCH OF THE LAODICEANS AND YOU,
FOR YOUR PART READ MY LETTER THAT IS COMING FROM LAODICEA: kai hotan anagnosthe (3SAPS) par' humin e epistole,
hina kai en te Laodikeon ekklesia anagnosthe, (3SAPS) kai ten ek
Laodikeias hina kai humeis anagnote. (2PAAS):
letter is read - Guzik comments that...
When Paul and other apostles wrote
letters to churches, they simply read them publicly. It was a way for
the apostle to teach that church even when he could not personally be
there. It was the general practice to distribute all apostolic letters
among the churches, especially those close to each other. This helps
us to understand how and why the letters would have been copied almost
immediately, and how slight mistakes in copying the manuscripts could
come in at an early date. Apparently, Paul wrote a letter to the
Laodiceans that we do not have. We should not assume from this that
our treasure of inspiration in incomplete. The Holy Spirit has chosen
to preserve those letters that are inspired for the church in a
universal sense. Paul was not inspired in this way every time he set
pen to paper. (Colossians 4
from aná = emphatic, again + ginosko = know <> know
again) literally to know again or to recognize again. It came to mean
to distinguish between, to know accurately and then to read.
In the NT
anaginosko is only used with the meaning of to read (albeit once
in a figurative sense of men "reading" the lives of the Corinthian
saints as one would an actual written letter), especially referring to
reading aloud and to public reading. In Acts 8:28, 30,
32 we see the Ethiopian eunuch is reading in private (until
encountered by Phillip!).
cannot miss the point that the pure milk of God's Word is to have a
vital and central role in the corporate worship of the church at
found in the papyri in the reading aloud of a petition or of the
reading aloud of a will. In another use anaginosko refers to copies of
an edict set up in public places "in full view of those who wish to
The church of the Laodiceans - see relation
to Hierapolis and Colossae
on this Map
Read my letter that is coming from Laodicea
- We do not know what Letter Paul refers to in this instruction. Some
believe that this was the letter to the Ephesians but that
notion is largely speculation.
comments that Paul refers to...
the letter left at Laodicaea, and
to be obtained by you from the church there. This letter cannot be
positively identified. The composition known as the Epistle to the
Laodiceans is a late and clumsy forgery, existing only in Latin mss.,
and made up chiefly of disconnected passages from Philippians, with a
few from other epistles.
heed to the
which you have
received in the
Lord, that you may
And say to Archippus, See that you discharge carefully [the duties
of] the ministry and fulfill the stewardship which you have received
in the Lord.
brief message to Archippus: God ordained you to your work - see that
you don't fail him!
Wuest: And say to Archippus, Be ever keeping a watchful eye
upon the ministry which you received in the Lord, that you discharge
Young's Literal: and say to Archippus, 'See to the ministration
that thou didst receive in the Lord, that thou mayest fulfil it.'
TO THE MINISTRY WHICH YOU RECEIVED IN THE LORD:
kai eipate (2PAAM) Archippo
ten diakonian hos parelabes [2AAI] en Kuriôi:
1:2) (Lv 10:3; Nu 18:5; 2Chr 29:11; Ezek 44:23,24; Acts 20:28; 1Ti
4:16; 1Ti 6:11, 12, 13, 14,20; 2Ti 4:1, 1, 2, 3, 5) (Acts 1:17; 14:23;
1Cor 4:1,2; Ep 4:11; 1Ti 4:6,14; 2Ti 1:6; 2:2)
(lego) has the basic sense of “to gather with the twofold
nuance of repetition and separation. Note that Paul like a military
commander issues an order (aorist imperative)
to be carried out without delay, even implying a sense of
summarizes the etymology of lego...
The meaning “to gather” is often
present, as is the middle “to assemble.”
c. “To count” is a derived sense as the mental gathering of similar
d. Along similar lines we find “to enumerate,” “to draw up,” “to enter
on a list.”
e. From enumeration we move on to narration, which then yields the
sense “to say,” with such various nuances as “to speak,” “to mean,”
and in compounds “to contradict,” “to foretell,” “to proclaim.”
Archippus (archippos) is a name which most resources
record as meaning "master of the horse"
Archippus is described by Paul as our fellow soldier (Phile
1:2) which suggests that he was willing to suffer hardship
(this was the lot of soldiers in Paul's day) and was actively engaged in Christian work,
not allowing himself to be entangled in the affairs of everyday life
(see notes on Paul's comparison of a Christian disciple with
the metaphor of a soldier -
2 Timothy 2:3;
(Related resources -
Three Kinds of Soldiers - Ten Principles of
Roman Soldier by Edward Gibbon
(from Decline & Fall of Roman Empire;
The Roman Soldier - Description
from Jewish Historian Josephus;
A Few Soldier Stories and Sermons)
can denote simple voluntary observation and so mean to look at,
behold. Many NT uses convey the sense of becoming aware of or taking
notice of something, of perceiving or discerning or understanding.
aorist imperative the meaning is to do this and do it now,
even conveying a
sense of urgency. Paul, Archippus' fellow soldier and "commanding
general" is issuing an order for Archippus to "Keep your eyes open,
stay aware, be discerning, understand your ministry". As an aside
Paul's The solemn charge need not imply Archippus' actual dereliction
blepo in secular Greek was used of
bringing a ship to land. Think of your life as a "ship of faith"
moving through the fog, avoiding the dangerous reefs by keeping your focus on the Lighthouse on the shore.
Spiritual gifts are a stewardship for which believers are accountable
to God. Peter indicated that believers are to use gifts “as good
stewards of the manifold grace of God” (see note
1 Peter 4:10).
Not to exercise gifts properly is to fail one’s stewardship. This fact
surely must have motivated Paul’s exhortation to Archippus.
rightly concludes that in this passage Paul offers...
a good word to every one of us. But
it is touching to think that this man Archippus must have been at a
point of special need, because he needed this word of encouragement
from Paul. It also shows Paul’s tender concern for this individual. (Colossians 4
(Click word study of
Paul reminded Archippus
that his ministry was a gift from God, and that he was a steward of
God who would one day have to give an account of his work. Since the
Lord gave him his ministry, the Lord could also help him carry it out
in the right way. Ministry is not something we do for God; it is
something God does in and through us. The NT introduces a radically
new attitude toward ministry. Diakonia is not the activity of a lesser
to a greater, but is the lifestyle of a follower of the Lord Jesus
Paul uses same word group
that he used to describe the faithful minister Tychicus (see
Colossians 4:7). So this list of people starts with
an example of a faithful man & ends with a charge to a man to be
faithful. Indeed this is the charge Paul would give to us all as he
ends this epistle.
from para = beside +
lambano = appropriate, receive) means to receive from another,
to receive alongside or to take to oneself (into close association).
To receive something transmitted, as spiritual instruction or truth
(see 1Cor 11:23, Gal 1:9) or a ministry here in
looks back to the point in time when the Archippus heard the call to
Received from the Lord -
Paul uses this same idea describing his reception of the gospel
message from the Lord
For I delivered to you as of first
importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins
according to the Scriptures (see note
that in the Lord suggests an official ministry, such as elder
or deacon, but any spiritual ministry,
whether official or not, may be described as received in the Lord.
ministry is something we seek per se, but something God gives (received in the
Lord). Inherent in the verb received is also the idea of
accepting what one has been allotted in ministry. There is also the
idea of taking this ministry to oneself, giving the picture that one
should wholeheartedly embrace the good thing bestowed
which has come down from above (James 1:15). Ministry is Christ in us the hope of glory flowing through us
touching those He puts us into contact with for the expansion of His
Kingdom and His glory, not for our reputation or our glory. Our job is
to fulfill our divine assignment and bring great glory to the Father
What ministry has
Your Lord assigned to you, beloved?
Will you be a faithful steward and hear "Well, done"?
procrastinate in fulfilling your ministry in His power and for His
glory. There are many works that men do to please or impress others,
but supernatural ministry is Christ in you, His Spirit enabling the
work, and the Father receiving all the glory. (see note
How wonderful would it be to be able to say...
And they were glorifying God
because of me. (Gal 1:24)
We are standing on the edge of
eternity. The King will soon return to reward His faithful stewards
and servants. Redeem the time. Store up for yourself treasure in
heaven (see note
THAT YOU MAY FULFILL IT: hina auten plerois (2SPAS):
(hina) introduces a purpose clause and in this case explains
that the purpose of telling Archippus to take heed was that he might
fulfill God's ministry through him.
(pleroo) (Click word study of
pleroo) means to make full, to fill up, to fill to the
brim, to cause to abound. In this verse pleroo means to fulfill
the duties and demands that had been entrusted to him -- to carry them
out, to perform them fully, to accomplish them.
in this context conveys the idea that God had a definite
purpose (ministry) for His servant Archippus to accomplish or "fill to
the brim". Remember that your Father also has a definite purpose for
your new life in Christ, as Paul explained in Ephesians writing
(see who "we are" - notes
= His "masterpiece", His "poem"), created in Christ Jesus (see
in Christ Jesus) for good works
(see study of
Good Deeds), which God
prepared beforehand, that we should walk (peripateo) in them. (see note
He works in us and through us
to complete those good works that He has prepared for us. Fulfill also parallels the theme of Colossians—the fullness of
Jesus Christ available to each believer. We are now able to fulfill
our ministries because we have been filled full of Christ
In his last known letter Paul
exhorts his young disciple Timothy to
be sober in all
things, endure hardship,
do the work of an evangelist,
ministry. (Red =
commands; see note 2 Timothy
Christ is example (of ministry) and we are to follow
in His steps (see note
1 Peter 2:21)
Jesus' ministry was solely that which the Father had given Him, for as
Jesus Himself explained
Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do
nothing (how much?) of
Himself, unless (what is the condition?) it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever
the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. (John 5:19)
And so we note that when His
disciples returned from the city (after going to procure food) they
requesting Him, saying, "Rabbi, eat." But He said to them,
"I have food to eat that you do not know about." The disciples
therefore were saying to one another, "No one brought Him anything to
eat, did he?" Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him
Who sent Me, and to accomplish (completely finish, bring to
a full end thus reaching the intended goal and finishing) His work. (John 4:30-34)
Did Jesus fulfill His ministry, bringing His work to completion? In
John just before He is crucified, Jesus prays to His Father and
I glorified Thee on the earth,
having accomplished the work
which Thou hast given Me to do. (John 17:4)
disciple, go and do likewise, fulfilling whatever ministry the Father
has given you to do, that by it He might be greatly glorified.
Note that it is
not so much my
work for Him but His work through me. Do you see the difference?
(in terms of initiation, source, purpose, effect, etc).
dear saint. Don't let anyone try to demean your work in the Lord, no matter how menial
it may appear to you in this presence age, for in eternity future it
will receive an entirely different evaluation! Every believer
possesses a God-given ministry (in the Lord) and so each of us can say as did Paul that we possess
ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus
Ministry is both from the Father and
for the Father's glory. Our
motive should be to serve Him and seek to please Him in all things
because we love Him Who first loved us. Suffering becomes
an authenticating mark of a true minister of Christ (cf
2Cor 11:23-28), for the servant is not greater than
Lord. In His ministry on earth, Jesus knew suffering, opposition, and
humiliation and His disciples are not to expect a "free pass" or exemption.
God-given ministry requires faithfulness, such as Tychicus modeled
("Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord,"
Ephesians 6:21). This quality, which is required before the Lord entrusts a
person with a significant responsibility.
Paul writes "I thank
Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered
me faithful, putting me into service even though I was formerly a
blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. And yet I was
shown mercy, because I acted ignorantly in unbelief and the grace of
our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are
found in Christ Jesus." (1Ti 1:12-14).
Faithfulness to the Father's ministry is seen
particularly by obedience to the truth of God, for as Paul wrote to
In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a
good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the
faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. (1Ti
Ministry requires loyalty to the Lord Jesus in whatever sphere He
assigns, and a recognition that He alone is the Source of strength and
enablement for service. Graciously He sets forth the pattern of
service and also strengthens those He calls.
Guy King comments that the
was not following upon his own
initiative. GOD gave it to him, GOD sent him forth to do it. What
strength that imparts to a man's call and commission, since if He
sends, He must be held responsible for supplies. "Come now, therefore,
and I will send thee" Exodus 3:1O - and to the reluctant Moses He
gives the twofold assurance, "I will be with thee," Exodus 3:12; "I
will be with thy mouth," Exodus 4:12. Again, "Go in this thy might . .
. have not I sent thee?"
Judges 6:14 (see note)
- and the hesitant Gideon goes forth in reliance upon GOD's provision.
He Who bids you onward go, will not fail the way to show." "In the
Lord." We must first be "in" Him before we can work "for" Him. Every
real Christian is, by His mercy, in Him, as we have reminded each
other in an earlier study. Are we then working for Him, in our several
ministries, as instanced above?
Paul has another proposition, which
he uses to enhearten the worker: the word "with" - "we are
laborers together with God" 1 Corinthians 3:9. What a difference the
little word makes. How much better a gardener works when his master
works with him. Let the servant of CHRIST covet to have the Master
working alongside, providing incentive, encouragement, and
4:15-18 His Kind Regard)
Grace be with
I, Paul, [add this final] greeting, writing with my own hand.
Remember I am still in prison and in chains. May grace (God’s
unmerited favor and blessing) be with you! Amen (so be it).
My personal greeting to you written by myself. Don't forget I'm in
prison. Grace be with you.
Wuest: The greeting by my hand, the hand of Paul. Be
remembering my bonds. The grace be with you.
Young's Literal: The salutation by the hand of me, Paul;
remember my bonds; the grace is with you. Amen.
I PAUL WRITE THIS GREETING
WITH MY OWN HAND: O aspasmos te eme cheiri Paulou:
Paul customarily used an
(Recording secretary) when writing his letters, but frequently added a
greeting with his own hand (cf. (1Co 16:21; 2Th 3:17 Philemon 1:19). It probably was not easy
to sign one's name with a chain around one's wrist!
mnemoneuete (2PPAM) mou ton
1:8; Heb 13:3)
Bearing in mind
(mnemoneuo from mimnésko = recall to one's mind) means
to keep in mind, exercise memory, call something to mind or recollect.
is a command for them to continually remember his
imprisonment. The meaning is not that this memory was to
occupy their minds to the exclusion of everything else but rather that
their remembrance of his imprisonment would constantly recur. How
could they do this practically speaking? Or asked another way, what
should their remembrance of his chains stimulate? Surely, the most
obvious answer is that when they thought about him, they should or
would intercede on his behalf. What better way is there to remember
the afflictions of fellow saints then to recall and take that
recollection to the Lord in prayer! Can you imagine the "reward" that
awaits those who had the privilege to pray for this mighty saint and
thus co-labor with him fields that were white unto harvest? Seen in
such a light, we understand that Paul's command to remember was
in a sense an invitation to co-labor with him and to one day future
share in the bountiful reward!
(desmon from déo = to bind) refers to a bond or band and
then to a chain or shackle (of a prisoner). Paul was chained to a
Roman guard during his imprisonment he at which time wrote epistles to
the Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, Timothy, Titus and Philemon -
the "prison epistles".
Paul had stated that he was "an ambassador in chains". A T
Robertson remarks that
"the chain clanked afresh
as Paul took the pen to
sing the salutation. He was not likely to forget it himself."
Greek Testament says
As he writes, his chain, fastened
on his left hand, would impress itself on his notice. Hence
the touching request,
‘Remember my bonds,’ which may bear the special sense, ‘remember in
your prayers.’ (Nicoll, W Robertson, Editor: Expositors Greek
Testament: 5 Volumes. Out of print. Search Google)
These words extend further than to
mere pecuniary support, or even mere prayers: they were ever to keep
before them the fact that one who so deeply cared for them, and loved
them, and to whom their perils of false doctrine occasioned
such anxiety, was a prisoner in chains: and that remembrance
was to work and produce its various fruits—of prayer for him, of
affectionate remembrance of his wants, of deep regard for his words.
observes that ...
There is much emotion, sorrow, and
strength in this simple phrase. Paul not only knew the confinement and
loneliness of the prisoner; he also had the uncertainty of not knowing
if his case before Caesar’s court would end with his execution. (Colossians 4
The writer of Hebrews echoes
Paul's desire writing...
the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are
ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body. (See note
is in the
calling for this to be a habitual remembrance, not just for a moment
to Timothy Paul told his young protégée...
Therefore (because God has not
given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline)
do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me His prisoner;
but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of
God (See note
2 Timothy 1:8)
GRACE BE WITH YOU: he charis
(Romans 16:20,24; 2Corinthians 13:14; 1Timothy 6:21; 2Timothy
4:22; Hebrews 13:25)
(Click word study of
charis) most likely refers to
sanctifying grace, that transforming power which alone makes it
possible to carry out Paul's instructions and commands in this
epistle. God's undeserved favor, manifest in the saint's being enabled
to work out his or her salvation in fear and trembling.
observes that ...
Paul’s conclusion is the only one
possible for the apostle of grace, confronting a heresy emphasizing
elaborate hidden mysteries and righteousness through works. We can
only go forward safely in the Christian life if grace is with us.
And so we
take our leave of Colossians with its exalted theme: the pre-eminence
of Christ and His sufficiency for every believer. Beginning with
grace, it appropriately concludes on the note of grace.
Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe.
Guy King has these closing
comments on Colossians...
One word remains, to round off his
Kind Regards - a word that, as a matter of fact holds the secret
spring of all hope of Full Salvation - Grace be with you.
Almost all of Paul's letters begin
and end with it - Romans Just ends with it. Is Hebrews by him? Anyhow,
It bears his ending, this "Grace". GOD's grace, which signifies His
attitude, and His aid, is a constant wonder and theme of the apostle.
Both aspects of it are vividly presented in this -
"By the grace of God I am what I
am; and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain, but I
laboured more abundantly than they all. Yet not I, but the grace of
God which was with me," 1 Corinthians 15:10
We find that Peter joins Paul in
magnifying the grace of GOD. There is an interesting Greek word,
poikilos, which occurs several times in the New Testament, and
which Peter uses twice, both in his First Epistle, and which is
(a) "Ye are in heaviness, through
manifold temptations," (see note
1 Peter 1:6).
(b) "Good stewards of the manifold
grace of GOD," (see note
1 Peter 4:10)
Put those two things together.
On the one hand, let the five
digits, all so different in character, from the thumb to the little
finger, stand for the manifold trials and testings of life. On
the other hand, let the five digits stand for the manifold
grace. Now put the right hand over the left, and observe how the
fingers of the grace hand exactly correspond to those of the
temptations hand. Only an illustration; but an illustration of a
beautiful fact - that whatever may be the need, there is at hand just
the very grace to meet it.
So these two grand apostles, so
deeply acquainted with the hazards of life, join together in bearing
testimony, out of their own wide and deep experience, to the
all-sufficiency of this boon of GOD, available for all emergencies. As
GOD Himself said to Paul, at a time when he was in distress, on
account of his "thorn in the flesh" -
"My grace is sufficient for thee,"
2 Corinthians 12:9.
Our Epistle suggests many
situations in which that provision for our "manifold" needs may be
tested. Take out one or two, at random. To make progress in the
Christian life. "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord,
so walk ye in Him," (see note
We all recognise that this is
essential to the healthiness, and happiness, and, indeed, the
helpfulness of the Christian life. Probably, we shall all, whether in
greater or less degree, desire to grow. Our problem is not What, but
How? The answer is, Grace: GOD's supply for man's situation - by faith
and obedience, keep clear and clean the pipeline, that the oil of
grace may flow into our need uninterruptedly.
"Grow in grace," (see note
2 Peter 3:18).
To stand up successfully to false teachings. "Beware lest any man
spoil you . . . Let no man beguile you," (see notes
Just as in our day, so in Paul's
day, "the faith which was once delivered unto the saints," Jude 1:3,
was constantly assailed with intellectual problems, as well as moral
perils. We shall not be afraid to think out our theological, and
spiritual, position, but we shall be assiduously on our guard against
the "vain" vapourings of untruth. in other words, we shall be wise to
seek the grace of diligence in the study of the Word -
"Study to shew thyself approved
unto GOD, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing
the Word of truth," (see note
2 Timothy 2:15)
Through the Word of Holy Scripture,
the HOLY SPIRIT will "guide you into all truth," John 16:13.
So shall there be given to us the
Grace of Smell.
Does that phrase surprise you? But
remember that when Paul is illustrating the various gifts of the Body
of CHRIST'S Church, he indicates the necessity of this function of
spiritual quality - "where were the smelling?" 1 Corinthians 12:17.
In view of the prevalence of false
teaching, it is a good thing to have what a friend of mine calls "a
spiritual sense of smell" - to be so instructed in the Word as to be
able, almost instinctively, to detect the false. We dealt with this in
our third Study.
Do you know that bit in Isaiah
11:3, "And shall make him of quick understanding"? in the margin of
that verse it says that the Hebrew word translated understanding means
scent, or smell, so that the One referred to shall be made by the
Spirit a Person of keen scent, quickly discerning between the false
and the true. This, too, is a gift of Grace.
To be the best in all home
relationships. "Wives, husbands; children, fathers; servants,
masters," (see notes
Happy the household where there is
mutual understanding and co-operation - each for all, all for each.
"Whether one member suffer, all the
members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members
rejoice with it," 1 Corinthians 12:26.
Because the rest of the family know
us so well, and because we are there often off our guard, home is
often the hardest place in which to witness, and shine, for our Lord.
But here again grace comes to our assistance - GOD's aid for the
godly. Is it fair to say that the Saviour spent thirty years in the
home training for three years in the ministry? Was it not the
observation and experience of His way in the home that enabled Mary to
say with such confidence to others in their problem, "Whatever He
saith unto you, do it," John 2:5.
Yes, home is a great testing place,
and a fine training ground - to pass the test, and to profit from the
training calls for the daily Grace of GOD.
To give Him the first place in
everything. "That in all things He might have the preeminence," (see
What a picture and promise of the life of Full Salvation. With Him in
the first place, all else will fall into its right place.
In the far-off days, when the
ladies wore long gloves on going to a party, a small girl was
struggling with the inscrutable problem of where to put the unending
series of buttons, when her mother explained, "It's really simple. Get
the top one in the top button-hole, and all the others will follow
right, to the last one". That truly is the case in the spiritual life:
give Him the first place, and all will follow right. But, of course,
the trouble is that wretched thing Self. How subtly it enters even
into our spiritual service: why are we so busy in the work? Is it with
a single eye to GOD's glory, or does there enter into it any vestige
of unworthy motive, any seeking after our own glory? Let us constantly
beware even "the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have
tender grapes," Song of Solomon 2:15.
Self-control is of great
importance, if He is to have the pre-eminence; but even this control
is a gift of Grace, for we are not left to exercise it by our strong
will and determination, for "the fruit of the Spirit is . . .
self-control," (see note
margin. It is He, not we, to do it, if only we will look to Him for
it. So it shall be "Not I, but Christ," (see note
which is the very essence of Grace's accomplishment in us of Full
To continue true, without
backsliding. Our eyes stray back to the group photograph, to the
figure of Demas. And as we contemplate his sad decline, we recall the
words of the famous old preacher, John Bradford, as he watched a poor
prisoner handcuffed to a policeman,
"There goes John Bradford, but for
the grace of GOD".
He will, if we will. Thus we have
all the power of GOD Himself to keep us on the road. (Colossians
4:15-18 His Kind Regard)
Let Philip Doddridge close our
'Twas grace that wrote my name
In life's eternal book;
'Twas grace that gave me to the Lamb,
Who all my sorrows took.
Grace taught my wandering feet
To tread the heavenly road;
And new supplies each hour I meet
While pressing on to GOD.
Grace taught my soul to pray,
And made my eyes o'erflow;
'Tis grace has kept me to this day,
And will not let me go.
Grace all the work shall crown
Through everlasting days;
It lays in heaven the topmost stone,
And well deserves the praise.
Oh, let that grace inspire
My soul with strength divine!
May all my powers to Thee aspire
And all my days be Thine.
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