Colossians #20 Colossians 4: 15-18

 


Colossians #20  Colossians 4: 15-18

This is our last teaching exploring the book of Colossians.  These final three verses remind us that congregations meeting in homes was the norm; that because of the radical message of the gospel women were recognized as leaders; and there is an encouragement to finish what we have started.  There is also a request for intercessory prayer.

 Colossians 4:15-18 (MSG)

Say hello to our friends in Laodicea; also to Nympha and the church that meets in her house. After this letter has been read to you, make sure it gets read also in Laodicea. And get the letter that went to Laodicea and have it read to you.  And, oh, yes, tell Archippus, "Do your best in the job you received from the Master. Do your very best."  I'm signing off in my own handwriting—Paul. Remember to pray for me in this jail. Grace be with you.

 We have learned that the towns of Laodicea and Hierapolis were close to Colossae, less than a day's walk away from each other.  It is a fair assumption that Epaphras proclaiming the gospel resulted in congregations in these towns. 

 We can sum up the gospel in one verse of scripture.  Romans 10:9-- if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

 A heart belief is dear and precious to you.  A heart belief motivates actions, it is a lodestone that points your life in its direction.  This is more than just intellectual consent, a heart belief is a deep part of forming who you are.  To say Jesus is Lord means you have surrendered your right to do life the way you want and given that right to Jesus, now you do life in His direction.  Confession involves telling others that you have converted to the Christian faith and that you have been allowed to become a disciple of Jesus.  That’s the gospel, the good news that you can be made right with God and then empowered to be right with others and with yourself.  If you would like to explore this more with me I invite you to do so.  It is God’s will that you experience life eternal (John 3:16, 2 Peter 3:9).

 There are congregations of believers in these three towns.  Special buildings to meet in didn’t start until the 3rd century.  At this time the church met in homes,--house churches.  One such house church was led by Nympha.  Nympha is a feminine name.  As we have learned in the Kingdom of God there is no status difference between males and females (Colossians 3:11 & Galatians 3:28).  Christianity makes them equals.  Here Paul acknowledges the leadership of a woman.  Based on 1 Timothy 2:12 and 1 Corinthians 14:34 some teach that women are to have no leadership roles in the church.  That’s what the words indicate but one must do extensive research to figure out what prompted Paul to write this.  Without digging into the circumstances that warranted such a prohibition one concludes that women are some kind of second-class citizens.  That’s just not the case.  Here we have a woman leading a congregation to whom Paul desires his greetings be extended.

 

If you would like to start a home church let me know.  I will be most happy to help you in doing this work. 

 

There is little doubt that Paul wrote many more letters than the 14 preserved for us in the New Testament.  There was a letter written to the congregation in Laodicea that has yet to be found.  Paul wants his letters circulated among the congregations.  As we have seen these letters instruct us on how to live the life of a disciple. 

 In his closing statements, Paul wants Archippus to finish what he had started.  In the letter written to Philemon, Paul calls Archippus a real trooper.  We do not know what his task was, we do know it was yet to be finished and Paul wants him to complete it.  Many times we start a project off well, with the best intentions, but when things don’t progress as we imagined, we get distracted or disappointed and we don’t work what we started through to completion.  If you started a task believing that God has called you to it, even if you face opposition, keep on keeping on to complete it.  The key is being sure at the outset that God has laid this task on your heart and it’s not just your ego informing you on what you are going to do for God. 

 The way you confirm a calling to a task is through your experience.  There will be a passion for what you feel you are to do.  Passion is stronger than just simply wanting to do something.  Passion is compelling (Isaiah 6:8).  What you feel you are to do will be something you’ve not done before so to confirm gain a little experience by hanging around someone who is doing similar things to what you are thinking.  When I felt God’s task to preach and teach the Pastor at the church I was attending let me do both (Matthew 10:5).  The good results confirmed I was on the right path (John 15:5).  How you handle difficulties in your confirmation process is confirming.  There is always a refining process of your character (James 1:2-4).  There will be failures, and you will get knocked down, but getting back up and keeping on is a confirmation (Romans 8:28).  Others will confirm you in seeking out your passion.  When you ask your trusted confidants they tell you yes, when you go before some authorizing body and they tell you yes you have confirmation (Acts 13:2-3).  When you’re doing what God desires for you to do you feel His gladness, you feel God’s seal of approval (Zephaniah 3:17).  God doesn’t save you to waste you.  There are things that only you can do, people only you can reach, and love does.  Find out specifically what you are called to do and get started in the process that leads to completing your God-given task.

 Ephesians 2:10 (MSG)

He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.

 Paul used a secretary to dictate this correspondence and then seals the letter with his own signature.  In his letter to the Thessalonians Paul mentions that some letters bearing his name may not be from him (2 Thessalonians 2:2).  Here he signs off giving his approval of what has been written.

 Paul again asks that the congregation pray for him.  We have a mutual responsibility to support one another through intercessory prayers.  If you know someone is going through a tough time, pray for them that God will supply all they need to deal with their situation.  If you know someone who is doing great, thank God with them for His blessings.  Remember that in addition to requesting prayer is about connecting with God and others.

 Paul ends this letter with a prayer for his readers:  “Grace be with you.”  Grace is a gift.  A gift is given, not won, not earned, not merited.  Grace is the desire to be the person God wants you to be and the power to become that person.  Grace is the gift of God’s favor upon you.  Grace is knowing that God is with you.  Paul prays that you experience this grace as you follow Jesus.

 And so ends the Apostle Paul’s letter to the congregation in Colossae. 


There are gems from chapter four to apply to your life.

 You are to be diligent in our intercession requesting God to bless those you see in need.

 Put feet to your prayers, pray first, then do what you can to meet the need. 

As a Jesus follower, you are either in the spotlight or supporting someone who is in the spotlight. 

 As God's ambassador to the people in your world you will do well to be one who brings encouragement, hope, and joy.

 You have the power to make what you did wrong right and in the process of making things right be a blessing to others.

 Loyalty and integrity are also part of the wardrobe believers are to wear. 

 Don’t allow past failures to keep you from future victories.  The past does not define who you are, where you are going now does.

Disciples stay faithful to the cause even in the face of murderous opposition. 

 

Christianity engages the intellect.  Know what you believe and why you believe it.

Discipleship is a non-stop lifetime journey that culminates in life eternal.

We all need brothers and sisters in Christ who will stand by us in dire circumstances.  Be such a person.

 

Then from today’s teaching:

 It was reiterated that there is no status difference between males and females in the Kingdom of God. 

 Disciples are to finish what they started.

Living in grace, God’s favor is your gift.

 I encourage you to read this letter to the Colossians on your own and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you through what has been written.  It is so cool that as you read a new thought, a new insight, a new calling comes to mind.  Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you directly through reading the scripture.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Big Deal, No Big Deal

Warning to Disciples Part 2 Fakin It

Big Deal, No Big Deal