Player! Or Spectator?
If we are in Christ, we are part of the Body of Christ.
1 Cor 12: 12 The body is a unit, though it is comprised of many parts. And although its parts are many, they all form one body. So it is with Christ.
13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free, and we were all given one Spirit to drink.…
Col 4:7 – 18 Deals with a group of Christians that are very different one from the other. In this passage Paul commends eight of his co workers.
Tychicus: Onesimus: Aristarchus: Mark: Jesus, called Justus: Epaphras: Luke and Demas.
All of them have been working as a team, showing that Paul was not alone and was not a one man band.
Sometimes in churches this is what can be seen. The Pastor tends to be all things to all men.
Pastor, Carer, Visitor, Preacher, Evangelist, Teacher and Councillor and everything else in between. This is a great problem for many Pastors and Elders.
The majority of the work is done by a minority of workers.
People tend to come to church, enjoy the services and meetings, then leave without ever getting involved.
Many churches are limping through, with only a few church members functioning, which causes excess pressure being placed on its leaders.
Many fellowships are like quadriplegics, having the ability to live a productive life but limited in what they can achieve but they could do far much better if all the organs in the body were functioning in the way that they should, fully engaged in serving the Lord and exercising their own spiritual gifts.
Gifts that are given to each one by the Holy Spirit.
1 Cor 12: 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, who apportions them to each one as He determines.
12 The body is a unit, though it is comprised of many parts. And although its parts are many, they all form one body. So it is with Christ.…
Christians must remember that they are part of a body and each one should play his or her part in the body.
Even though the apostle Paul was one of the most gifted men in the history of the church, he was not a one man show. Surrounding him was a team of faithful people devoted to serving Jesus Christ.
In Colossians 4:7-18, we see the team and learn a lot about how God wants His church to function. It’s striking that in this short letter, where Paul devotes only one verse to lust and greed, one to anger, one to wives, one to husbands, and one to fathers, he spends the final 12 verses mentioning various people with him and in Colossae. Clearly, Paul wasn’t the only man in the ministry! He was part of a team. We must function as a team.Paul’s team:
Tychicus: (Col. 4:7) “our beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant.”
Acts 20:4 And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus.
Here we see Tychicus was with Paul on his 3rd missionary journey into Asia Minor. He was obviously a very trustworthy person. He was the one chosen by Paul to deliver the letters to Ephesus, Colossians and possibly Philemon back to Asia.
Later, as Paul was coming to the end of his life in prison in Rome, he sent Tychicus to Ephesus again, where he took over Timothy’s pastoral duties so that Timothy could leave to join Paul.
2 Tim. 4:12 Tychicus, however, I have sent to Ephesus.
Onesimus: Col 4:9 With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother.
Onesimus was a runaway slave who was converted under Paul’s ministry and now Paul was sending him back to his master, Philemon.
This is not mentioned in the letter to the Colossians. We only know this from Paul’s letter to Philemon.
Aristarchus: He was a Jewish Christian,: Col 4: 11. He was a fellow prisoner of Paul for the Gospel. Whether for his work with Paul, or on account of his own preaching, is not known.
He travelled with Paul when he took the financial gift to the needy saints in Jerusalem (Acts 20:4). We know that Aristarchus was taken at Ephesus when he was caught up in a riot.
Act 19:28 And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.
Act 19:29 And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.
Tradition says that he was martyred under Nero in Rome.
Mark: He was a cousin of Barnabas. (Col. 4:10). What is interesting here, is that Mark, known in other scripture as John Mark, is part of Paul’s team. Mark had deserted Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:13). When Barnabas insisted on giving Mark another chance on the second journey, it led to a split between him and Paul, who was sharply opposed to taking a deserter with them (Acts 15:36-41). Act 15:37 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.
Act 15:38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.
Act 15:39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;
Act 15:40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.
However, twelve years later, Paul tells the Colossians to welcome Mark without reservation.
Jesus, called Justus: We don’t know much about Jesus Justus. All we know is that he was a Jewish believer whom Paul calls “a fellow worker for the kingdom of God.” And had been an encouragement to him.
Epaphras: We have already encountered him. Epaphras was the one that preached the Gospel to the Colossians. Very likely, converted under Paul’s ministry, when Paul was in Ephesus.He founded the church at Colossae and also in nearby Laodicea and Hierapolis.
When problems with false teachers arose, Epaphras went to Rome to get counsel from Paul, who calls him (Col. 4:12), “a bondslave of Jesus Christ,” and commends him for his prayers and concern for these three churches.
Luke: Luke was a doctor “The beloved physician”. It is quite obvious that Luke was a Gentile since Aristarchus, Mark, and Jesus Justus were the only team members “from the circumcision”.
We know that Luke accompanied Paul on his missionary journeys. He was a writer for Paul and we know that he wrote Luke’s Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. He was the only worker with Paul near the end of his second imprisonment as he faced execution (2 Tim. 4:11).
Demas: Demas is the only one of this team that Paul does not commend in this letter. Although he did commend him in the earlier letter to Philemon, Philemon 1:24 Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellow labourers.
We do know that Demas deserts Paul later. 2Ti 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica;
Whether or not, Paul had sensed some disloyalty here is not known. However, we can learn something from this in that Demas warns us of the possibility of defection, while Mark encourages us with the hope of restoration for those who have failed.
So what do we learn from Paul’s team?
We know that the team was a mixture of both Jews and Gentiles. We know that the people in the team were of different backgrounds, were of a different social standing. Luke, a Physician and Onesimus, a slave.
For Jews to work alongside of Gentiles was quite radical at that time.
Paul tells the church to have his letter read to the entire congregation. (Col. 4:16). It is likely that some in Colossae were not able to read or write, but they were on the team. So it was a diverse team that included Jews and Gentiles, slaves and free, and educated and uneducated.
We saw this in Colossians 3:11, where Paul says that in the one new man (the church), “there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.”
The church is made up of different types of people, who in the world, would often be opposed to one another and who in secular life would not normally mix but because of the gospel, we’re all one in Christ.
Our Christian experience and our love for each other should cut across culture, age and social standing. In heaven, you will be with people (Rev. 7:9) “from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues.” We may as well get to know them now! We’re all on the same team!
Paul, who was once a zealous Pharisee, persecuting the followers of the Way. Now he calls the Gentile Tychicus, “our beloved brother” He calls a converted slave, Onesimus, a “beloved brother.”
This shows us that Paul accepts all these people who have been born again, as his brothers and sisters in Christ. The Bible also says that we are adopted into God’s family. Rom 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
So we are brothers and sisters to one another in the Lord. We are the church, Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. No building is God’s house. The people who meet in the building are His temple. He doesn’t dwell in buildings, but in His people.
The early church met in homes, not in church buildings.
(See my Blog No 1:https://jeffreyunsworth.wixsite.com/bibleblogs/single-post/2017/06/02/The-Early-Church-1st-2nd-Century
Paul refers in (Col. 4:15) to “Nympha and the church that is in her house.”
(See Blog No 38) https://jeffreyunsworth.wixsite.com/bibleblogs/single-post/2017/09/07/Nymphas-or-Nympha
Philemon also hosted a church in his house in Colossae (Philemon 2; also, Rom. 16:5, 23; 1 Cor. 16:19).
Churches did not own buildings to meet in until the middle of the third century.
Slaves of Christ.
Paul refers to Tychicus as, “faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord.”
Epaphras was (Col. 4:12), “a bond slave of Jesus Christ.”
Paul refers to himself as a servant of Jesus Christ, Rom 1: 1 Paul, a servant of of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle,and set apart for the gospel.
What Paul wrote to the Colossians, is true of every person who knows Christ and serves Him (Col. 3:24): “It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”
Quote: Most Bible translations have mistranslated the Greek word for “slave,” softening it to “servant.” But there’s a difference. Servants were hired hands. They had some freedom to choose who they worked for. But slaves were owned. They didn’t choose their masters; their masters chose them. They had no rights. They couldn’t quit and find other work if they didn’t like the working conditions. To be a Christian is to be Christ’s slave.” He owns us; we work for Him. John MacArthur.
We should be labouring one for the other in our fellowship.
Epaphras was Col 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. “Perfect” (Greek Teleios) means “mature” or “complete.” It’s the same word Paul used in Colossians 1:28, where he says that he proclaimed Christ so that he might “present every man complete in Christ.”
Are you a Player or are you on the bench?
Christianity is not a spectator sport! We need to be on the playing field! Using whatever gifts the Holy Spirit has bestowed on us to serve the Lord.As we do, the church will grow to maturity in Christ.