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Summary: UNION WITH CHRIST MANIFESTS ITSELF IN PRECIOUS BONDS OF FELLOWSHIP WITH THOSE WHO LABOR WITH US IN THE GOSPEL MINISTRY

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BIG IDEA:

UNION WITH CHRIST MANIFESTS ITSELF IN PRECIOUS BONDS OF

FELLOWSHIP WITH THOSE WHO LABOR WITH US IN THE GOSPEL MINISTRY

INTRODUCTION:

cf. heavy emphasis on personal greetings and close fellowship – more so than any other

epistle except Romans

commends those who have been especially loyal in partnership in the gospel with him; he desires

that the Colossians remain loyal to the gospel message they had originally received

continues with his theme of pastoral concern for their ultimate spiritual maturity

Note how Paul personally discipled other missionaries by partnering with them in practical ministry

Also note equality of brotherhood – “There is no hierarchy in the early church.” -- Stedman

I. (:7-9) MISSIONARIES MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO KEEP THEIR SUPPORTERS FULLY INFORMED THROUGH FAITHFUL MESSENGERS

A. (:7-8) Tychicus

1. His Commendation

a. “beloved brother”

b. “faithful servant ”

c. “fellow bond-servant in the Lord”

2. His Mission

a. Inform the believers about Paul’s affairs

“as to all my affairs”

“will bring you information”

“For I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know

about our circumstances”

b. Encourage the hearts of the believers

“and that he may encourage your hearts”

B. (:9) Onesimus

1. His Commendation

a. “our faithful and beloved brother”

b. “who is one of your number”

2. His Mission

“They will inform you about the whole situation here.”

Kent: “He was from the province of Asia and accompanied Paul at the close of the third

missionary journey (Acts 20:4), apparently as one of the delegates taking the collection to Jerusalem. He was with Paul in Rome toward the close of the first Roman imprisonment (Eph. 6:21; Col. 4:7). Near the end of Paul’s life he was sent on missions to Crete (Tituse 3:12) and Ephesus (II Tim. 4:12)."

II. (:10-14) THE INTIMACY OF PARTNERSHIP IN THE GOSPEL IS EXPRESSED VIA PERSONAL GREETINGS OF FRIENDSHIP AND ENCOURAGEMENT

A. Three Jewish Christian Converts = “Fellow workers for the kingdom of God”

“who are from the circumcision”

1. (:10a) Aristarchus

“my fellow prisoner”

native of Thessalonica

arrested in riot at Ephesus (Acts 19:29)

accompanied Paul to Jerusalem (Acts 20:4)

with Paul froom Caesarea to Rome (Acts 27:2)

2. (:10b) Mark = Barnabas’ cousin

“about whom you received instructions: if he comes to ou, welcome him”

3. (:11) Jesus = who is called Justus

Summary: “they have proved to be an encouragement to me”

B. (:12-13) Epaphras

1. His Commendation

a. “who is one of your number”

b. “a bondslave of Jesus Christ”

2. His Mission

a. Fervent Prayer Ministry

“always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers”

b. Goal-Oriented

“that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God”

(1) steadfastness of character – to resist error and persevere in the truth.

(2) maturity of experience – full-grown

(3) realization of assurance – focused around the will of God (Thomas)

c. Widespread Pastoral Concern

“For I bear him witness that he has a deep concern for you and for those who are in Laodicea and Hierapolis”

C. (:14a) Luke = “the beloved physician”

D. (:14b) Demas

later Paul would lament: “Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world.”

2 Tim. 4:10

III. (:15-17) THE RECIPIENTS OF THIS MISSIONARY REPORT MUST SHARE WITH OTHERS ITS GREETINGS AND EXHORTATIONS

A. (:15) Pass Along Greetings to:

1. “the brethren who are in Laodicea”

2. “Nympha and the church that is in her house”

B. (:16) Exchange letters with the church of the Laodiceans

C. (:17) Exhort Archippus:

“And say to Archippus, ‘Take heed to the ministry whichyou have received in the Lord,

that you may fulfill it’”

IV. (:18) SIGNATURE AND CLOSING

A. Authenticity of His Letter -- Signature

“I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand.”

B. Authenticity of His Ministry -- Closing Exhortation

“Remember my imprisonment”

Just as Paul deeply loved the fellow believers, he valued their reciprocal love as well

C. Appropriation of God’s Resources -- Closing Benediction

“Grace be with you”

* * * * * * * * * *

DEVOTIONAL QUESTIONS:

1) How have you experienced deepened friendships among those with whom you have most closely labored in partnership in the gospel?

2) How important is communication (missionary information/reports/etc.) in fostering the

partnership relationship?

3) What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of house churches (believers meeting

together in a private house rather than some type of larger facility)?

4) What were some of the characteristics of Paul’s relationship with Epaphras? with Mark??

cf. other NT references to these individuals.

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