“These are the only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are from the circumcision, and they have proved to be an encouragement to me.”
Paul means Jews. He’s glad for the company of fellow Jews. Paul regards with deep warmth everyone he names in this passage, but it is with just a few that he seems to sustain his deepest intimacies. Friendship is by nature an exclusive undertaking. It is a selective and restrictive kind of life that will require one to dispense with the noble-sounding aspiration to be equally a friend to all. This is so because the learning of another soul is a tender and vulnerable pursuit requiring the revelation of weaknesses and the calling forth of character in small, quiet moments of risk and trust. Love for the whole world is nurtured in the diminutive room of friendship.
No man is an island…These words were penned by the great poet John Donne. Paul, like Donne, understood that since God has created us for community he has made us to work in community for a greater Kingdom purpose. At the end of his epistle, Paul is wise to include all those who co-labor with him to that great purpose of distributing the gospel of Jesus. Whether they were hand-delivering the letter, reading it aloud, maintaining the church in Colossae, or Laodicea, they were all part of God’s design to change the world.
No single pastor is called to do the work of the church. We are built for community, and every link in the chain matters to the great purpose to which we have been called. You are not alone in this fight, you are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.
No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.
Join us as Senior Pastor Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor Aaron Hufty and Associate Pastor Bryan Richardson walk us through Colossians 4:7-18 in our Fall Sermon Series: “Fullness of Christ” a study of Colossians.
“keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving”
Who is God to you? For most of us this is a very easy question, and I reckon our answers would be somewhat predictable. God is Good. God is my Savior. God is All-Powerful. Now let me ask this question a different way; how does your prayer life communicate your beliefs about God? If we were to take a manuscript of all of your prayers this week, if we saw what you prayed for and how you prayed, what would it tell us about God?
Thankfulness is the leaven of our prayers. When we orient our priorities and attitude to be thankful for what God has done for us, it keeps our prayer life from becoming a selfish pleading to have our desires fulfilled. It is all about perspective. Multiple times throughout scripture God reminds us that thankfulness is essential to prayer, because we often find that as thankfulness increases, so does the awareness of things He has already provided. Thanksgiving and supplication are directly intertwined.
“…, making the best use of the time.” –Paul, Colossians 4:5b
It is no surprise that a man stuck in prison would have something to say about time, but not in the way you might think. Earlier in the week Pastor Larry drew our attention to the total absence of Paul’s request to pray for his release from jail. Now, Paul likely did pray for his own release, but it is clear he didn’t see his time in prison as a waste. So, what does Paul mean, when he commands us to make the best use of the time?
I think Paul wants us to see the value of a moment. To not take the time we have for granted, especially time we have with others. In Ephesians 5, Paul says, “the days are evil.” He means, once time passes, you can’t get it back-so, redeem every moment, cease it.
Paul would encourage us to walk in wisdom among those in our life, at home, at school, or in the workplace. And wisdom is making the most of our time (regardless of the circumstances) with the people in our life, and even those all along the way.
Re:Verse passage – Colossians 4:2-6(day five) “praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.”
Paul’s personal prayer request is challenging and convicting.Here is a man that has preached, witnessed, and given his testimony countless times. Yet, he is not content. His desire is to make sure that he continues to talk about Jesus and the gospel clearly and continually. Paul is teaching that speaking our faith must be an intentional priority. If he needs to remind himself and ask for prayer, then don’t we need the same reminder and mission? It is easy for us to go through our days conversing with those around us and never give mention of our faith or testimony. Would others know we are believers by the way we talked?Would people know how to find Christ for themselves from the way we speak about Him and the scriptures?Would they want to place their faith and trust in Christ because of our words?
Pride can sometimes keep us from asking others to pray for us. We want to project the appearance that everything is going great in our lives. Paul…who some consider a super-Christian…was not ashamed to ask for prayer. If an apostle the stature of Paul will ask for prayer, shouldn’t we follow his example?
Notice that Paul, writing from prison, does not ask that God would get him out of prison. (Often, our first prayer is for our own comfort and protection.) Paul asks that a door for the word will be opened. His first priority is for his ministry of the gospel. We have seen this in modern days in nations where the church is under great persecution. Believers who are imprisoned for their faith will endure torture and isolation and yet, see a great harvest for the gospel within the prison walls. We are challenged by this selfless display of courage that first and foremost desires to see others come to a saving relationship with Christ! What is your first prayer?
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt.”
It’s not uncommon for one to think of Jesus’s “fishers of men” phrase in terms of the dangling of bait and the hauling in of the prized catch. But one might also understandably recoil at the thought of baiting, or—to update the angling metaphor—“reeling in” a person. It seems more plausible that, rather than to the nabbing of unsuspecting prey, Jesus was referring to the traits of his disciples’ profession: patience, an understanding of habits and movements and times and seasons, a tolerance for unfruitful days, a respect for habitat, a willingness to learn from mentors, a comprehension of what threatens the work. Jesus leveraged these qualities to ensure that evangelism treasured people as people. Paul’s words teach us to do no less.
Take this week’s passage in addition to chapter three and consider the weight of these words. How can we adequately treat others the way God intends for us to if we are not seeking guidance, strength, and forgiveness from the Lord? The necessity to pray cannot be overstated. Paul recognizes that all the he has written to the Colossian church is dependent upon an active and vibrant prayer life. Want to treat your spouse better? Pray more. Want to treat your children with more grace? Pray more. Do you need assistance in the way you handle work relationships? Pray more.
Paul is not giving a formula for success, but a foundation to build your faith journey upon.
Join us as Senior Pastor Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor Aaron Hufty and Associate Pastor Bryan Richardson walk us through Colossians 4:2-6 in our Fall Sermon Series: “Fullness of Christ” a study of Colossians.