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Theme: Fellowship of believers is enthusiastic and sincere.
We are in the section of this epistle which is dealing with holiness on the job, at the place of employment. Chapter 3 concluded with exhortations to servants or to employees. Chapter 4 will continue with exhortations to masters or to employers.
It seems that that the following verse should have been kept with the previous chapter.
Colossians 4:1 Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven. (KJV)
Masters . . . Paul has something to say not only to the servant but also to the masters, to the bosses.
Give unto your servants that which is just and equal . . . just and equal means the master is to do right by his servant.
Knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven . . . all masters will stand before Judge Jesus someday. Every Christian employer and every employee, will stand before Almighty God. This really puts the Gospel in our shoe leather! It gets right down where the rubber meets the road. No matter what you say or do, you should be doing it unto the Lord, because you are going to answer to Him if you are His child. Unto the Lord: (Col.3:20; Eph.5:10,22; Rom.14:6,8; Rev.19:1).
The next few verses give us three more areas of Christian conduct which are very important: prayer, our public walk, and speech.
Colossians 4:2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; (KJV)
Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving . . . prayer and watch go together. When the enemy tried to stop Nehemiah from rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, he did not throw in the towel and say that he could not do the job. Neither did he say that it was just a matter of prayer. Nehemiah 4:9 Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them. (KJV) . . . This is what Paul tells us here: Watch and pray. An old saying I heard once applies here: "When a farmer prays for a corn crop, God expects him to say 'Amen' with a hoe." If you are praying about a certain matter, do NOT just sit on your backside . . . that will NOT get it done . . . get busy! Watch and pray.
With thanksgiving . . . I think many people forget this MAJOR thing in their prayers. We must be sure to thank God always, because He is going to hear and answer your prayer, and also because of the blessings He has already brought your way.
A comment: You may not get the answer you wanted or expected when you pray, but God will answer you. God knows what is best for us all, and sometimes what we ask for may not be for our good. Many, many years ago, I wanted something (worldly) desperately. I prayed and I prayed, and God finally gave it to me. Everything that could go wrong, did, and I learned a most valuable lesson. When you pray, pray that what you want is in God’s will. IF it is not His will . . . you do NOT want it. Take my word for it. There are two keys to knowing God's will: #1. Is what you are asking for, something the Bible forbids? #2. Will what you are asking for, glorify God and help you grow spiritually? If not, do NOT ask for it!
Colossians 4:3 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: (KJV)
Withal praying also for us . . . not only putting up petitions for themselves, but also interceding for Paul and others with him, especially Timothy, mentioned in the salutation (Col.1:1,7; Rom.15:30; 2 Cor.1:11; Phil.1:19; 2 Thes.3:1; Philemon 1:22).
That God would open unto us a door of utterance . . . that God would give to us freedom of speech (Eph.6:19).
To speak the mystery of Christ . . . to preach the mystery of Christ effectively (Col.1:26; 2:2; Mat.13:11; 1 Cor.16:9; Eph.1:9).
For which I am also in bonds: for which I am an ambassador in bonds . . . in chains (Eph.6:20); that kept him in his own hired dwelling (Acts 28:16,30-31).
Colossians 4:4 That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. (KJV)
That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak . . . manifest means to open, to make clear (Rom.1:15; 1 Cor.2:4; 9:16; 2 Tim.2:15; 4:2). Paul asked for prayer that he could proclaim the Gospel of Christ clearly, and we can ask this same prayer to do the same.
Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. (KJV)
Walk in wisdom . . . our way of life should be handled with Christian caution, that you may not, in any way ridicule the Name of Christ (Rom.2:23-24; 1 Tim.6:4). We should be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves (Mat.10:16; Eph.5:15), but while we become all things to all to gain some (1 Cor.9:20-23), we must take heed to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them (Eph.5:11).
Toward them that are without . . . not of the household of faith (Gal.6:10), as the Colossians profess to be, they should be more cautious, that they (and we) do not offend (1 Tim.5:14), as well as take care you be not infected with their practices (1 Cor.5:6), but try to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things (Tit.2:10). Them that are without, unbelievers: (Mk.4:11; 1 Cor.5:12-13; Col.4:5; 1 Thes.4:12; 1 Tim.3:7; Rev.21:8; 22:15).
Redeeming the time . . . we must be wise in our contacts with unbelievers, making the most of our opportunities to tell them the Good News of salvation. If we do not tell them, they may never hear it! When you have a chance to witness to someone, grab it because you may never have the chance again. We should live our life, like there is no tomorrow . . . because for you (and me), there may not be a tomorrow! We do NOT know when God will call us away. What opportunities have you passed by? See Ephesians 6:16.
Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. (KJV)
See Mark 9:50.
Fellowship of Believers Is Hearty (Colossians 4:7-18)
We come now to a outstanding list of names of people Paul knew. They lived back in the first century, and they walked down the Roman roads, lived in Roman cities, and were under Roman rule. They were right smack in the middle of paganism, but they were God's children. Many of these people lived in Ephesus. The interesting thing is that Paul had never been to Rome or to Colossae, yet he gives a list of people that he knew, and many of them are from those two cities. This tells us that Paul had led many people to Christ, who returned home to cities that he never was able to reach directly or personally, but his converts reached them. Paul had a ministry that was a remarkable and far-reaching ministry.
Colossians 4:7 All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord: (KJV)
All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you,who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord . . . Tychicus was the pastor of the church in Ephesus. He is mentioned in (Eph.6:21; Acts 20:4; 2 Tim.4:12). He was a wonderful brother in the Lord.
Colossians 4:8 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts; (KJV)
Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts . . . Tychicus was Paul's messenger to them, as to let them know how it was with Paul, so that he might clearly understand, how their matters stood, and comfort your hearts; and cheer up their spirits that were under the temptations of Satan, and oppression of persecutors at home or abroad, that they might not be discouraged.
Colossians 4:9 With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here. (KJV)
With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here . . . Onesimus was a slave of Philemon in Colossae. He had run away from his master, had been led to the Lord through the ministry of Paul, and was now being sent back to his master by him. Paul wrote a letter to Philemon when he sent Onesimus back, and he tells Philemon that Onesimus is his "beloved brother." There is a new relationship in Christ . . . master and slave are now brothers in Christ Jesus. (Philemon 1:10,16,18).
Colossians 4:10 Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;) (KJV)
Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you . . . Aristarchus was a fellow prisoner with Paul, and was also his friend.
And Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;) . . . Marcus is John Mark, the nephew of Barnabas, the son of his sister. He is supposedly the writer of the Gospel of Mark. You will remember that Mark left Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey, and because of this Paul did not want to take him along on the second missionary journey. Paul was wrong in his judgment of John Mark. The young man made good, and Paul admits that here. Paul gives the Colossians instructions, "Do not reject him like I did. Accept and receive him." Paul mentions John Mark again in his second letter to Timothy: "...Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry" (2 Tim.4:11).
Colossians 4:11 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. (KJV)
Jesus, which is called Justus . . . Jesus, Justus would be the name Joshua in Hebrew. Being of the circumcision indicates Justus was Jewish. This shows us that there were some Jews in the church in Colossae, although there were not many, because the Colossian church was mostly Gentile. These men named were model brethren, helpers of Paul and great missionaries themselves.
Colossians 4:12 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. (KJV)
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 . . . Epaphras was the pastor in Colossae, who was now in prison, so he has a new ministry, the ministry of prayer. Prayer is a ministry, too. If God takes you out of active service, pray for God's servants. IF God takes you out of one service, it means God has a new ministry for you. He has something different for you to do.
Colossians 4:13 For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis. (KJV)
For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis . . . these three cities were very close together. Hierapolis and Laodicea were about six miles apart, and they both were near Colossae. There were churches in all three cities.
Colossians 4:14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you. (KJV)
Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you . . . Luke, the beloved physician, a wonderful title for him. When Paul first mentioned Demas, he called him a fellow worker (Philemon 1:24). Here he simply says, and Demas. This may indicate that Paul really is not sure about him at this time. Later on Demas will forsake Paul (2 Tim.4:10). How sad that is.
Colossians 4:15 Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. (KJV)
Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nympha . . . having saluted (greeted) the Colossians, in the names of others, circumcised and uncircumcised, Paul wants them to salute the Christians in the church at Laodicea. And Nymphas . . . Paul also wanted this devout man, Nymphas, greeted. He most likely lived either in the country near Laodicea, and was a well-known Christian in the city.
And the church which is in his house . . . some cities had great heathen temples, but the Christians in Laodicea met in private homes. The house of Nymphas was one place where the Christians met (Rom.16:1,5; 1 Cor.16:15,19).
Colossians 4:16 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. (KJV)
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 . . . Paul does not say that he had written a Letter to the Laodiceans. It seems that the letters of Paul were circulated around to the churches, and the Laodiceans had read one of them. Many scholars think that this might refer to the Letter to the Ephesians. Paul seems to be telling the Colossians to read that Letter also and to share theirs with the Laodiceans.
Colossians 4:17 And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it. (KJV)
And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it . . . Archippus is yet another man on Paul's list in this letter to the Colossians. We do not know anything more about him than what is said here. He is a man who had a gift, and Paul is urging him to make use of that gift. Archippus was a disciple at Colossae (Philemon 1:2).
Colossians 4:18 The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen. (KJV)
Paul dictated most of his letters. It seems that only the letter to the Galatians was written in mine own hand (Gal.6:11). Here Paul gives his signature to the letter which he has dictated to the Colossians (2 Thes.3:17; 1 Cor.16:21).
Paul again says, Remember my bonds . . . or what he means is, Pray for me.
Paul wrote to a church that he had never visited, but he knew many of the people and had led them to the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. He ends with these wonderful words: Grace be with you. Amen. Thank you Paul, for this wonderful letter.
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