Summary: I have often said the greatest gift God has given to us (second only to Jesus) is the Church. There are so many benefits to being not only a part of the body of Christ on the earth, but a part of a local body of believers.
WHO IS YOUR EPAPHRAS?
Text: Colossians 4:12 “Epaphras, who is one of you, says ‘hello’. What a trooper he has been! He’s been tireless in his prayers for you, praying that you’ll stand firm, mature and confident in everything God wants you to do. I’ve watched him closely and can assure you that he has agonized for you and also for the Christians in Laodicea and Hierapolis.”
I have often said the greatest gift God has given to us (second only to Jesus) is the Church. There are so many benefits to being not only a part of the body of Christ on the earth, but a part of a local body of believers. There is encouragement and help, friendship and fellowship in the house of the Lord with God’s people.
In the text Paul describes one of those benefits of being a part of a church. In Colossians 1:7-8 “As you also learned of Epaphras our dear fellow servant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.” Paul also mentions this person in Philemon 23 when he asks the Church in Colossi to say “hello” to Epaphras calling him “a fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus”.
There is a line from an old gospel song “You gotta walk that lonesome valley by yourself.” Although it may feel like you are all alone in the dark valley times, we know Jesus promised in Matthew 28:20 “…I am with you always….”
Illustration: During a night time thunderstorm, a little 4 years boy was frightened by the crash of thunder. He skurried to his parents bedroom.
"I’m afraid of the storm" he cried, "I want you to come lay down by me!"
His mother replied, "Son, God is always with us. He’ll be right at your bed side to protect you."
Disappointed, the little boy finally made it back to his own bed. No sooner had he pulled up the covers, than another loud boom of thunder shook the house. The little lad made it back to his parent’s bedroom.
"I’m still afraid of the storm!" he cried.
His mother said, "Didn’t I tell you that God was at your bed side and He’d protect you?"
To this the boy replied, "Yes, but I need someone with skin on!"
Not only is Jesus with us always, He has provided someone “with skin on” to walk with us through some of the most difficult times of our lives.
We all need an Epaphras in our life. One of the best things about the Christian journey is that we do not have to walk it alone. Nor did God ever intend that we try to do so. Today I am going to give you one of the best pieces of advice I know. Find at least one, preferably more, mature Christians to help you pray through the difficult times in your life. You CANNOT carry the burden alone. God has given us brothers and sisters in this life to help us along the way. We all come to those difficult times when we need the prayers of others. None of us are immune from life’s trials and tribulations. We have to have people in our life upon whom we can call, who will pray for us during those difficult times.
It has been said that the biggest reason we don’t have others praying for us is
because of our pride. We are too proud to admit we are having a problem or are trying to deal with a difficult situation. I understand that some issues are very private. I am not saying you have to go into all of the details. Remember, God knows what is going on, but just having someone calling out your name before the Lord can help more than you know. Prayer is our most effective offensive weapon. Not having others pray for us is like being in war and not putting the bullets in our gun. God gave us the tools with which to fight, and we need to use them.
Let me encourage you today. Get serious about recruiting several people to have in your life who you can count on to pray for you in times of trouble. There is a power in prayer that is greater than anything you can imagine. Prayer reaches right into the throne room of God. It is our ability to communicate directly with the Creator of the universe. We only know a bit about Epaphras, but we know he was a person who prayed for others. I want to encourage you today to have an Epaphras in your life that you can count on to pray for you. We all need special people who will stand in agreement with us to see victory over those challenges we all face in this life.