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Teaching

What Are You Living For? (Colossians 4)

Colossians 4 (ESV)

Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here.

10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him), 11 and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. 14 Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. 16 And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.”

18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.

 

  1. To those in authority

    Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

    1. The work of the Church is not necessarily to change social structures before it changes people
    2. But God is master of all
      1. If we have our minds set on the things above then it affects our designs toward others
    3. The Christian’s Priorities

      1. Praying always

        Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

        1. Paul desires the intercession of others – that they would beseech God on his behalf
        2. We are called to be watchful because we often think as if the battle is not ongoing
  • Have we not learned that we were set free from principalities and powers that enslaved us and now war against us?
  1. We are called to live, heavenly minded, that there is a battle ongoing that requires the Lord’s help in prayer.
  2. The Church’s mission is not a holding action where we preserve ourselves from trouble and revel in what we’ve been given.
  3. The Church’s mission is to build in order to send out.
  • We pray not only for our mission as we’re sent into our workplaces but also for the ministry of the Gospel.
  • We need to broaden our horizons of concern beyond our belly buttons.
  1. Walking and Speaking
  2. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

    1. Broker who shared the conduct/character of Christian’s he dealt with…
    2. We are called to walk in wisdom toward those outside the Church.
  • Remember that wisdom is not found far off but in Christ.
    1. Our reputation ought to be excellent amoung outsiders.
    2. Would Christ ever bring disrepute or would he ever be thought of as lazy or unreliable?
    3. We’re called to make good use of our time and our culture likes to waste its time on banal things.
      1. Youtube
      2. Facebook
      3. Video Games
      4. Sports
    4. Do we lack time for spiritually fruitful activities because we fill our dance card with the banal?
  1. Our speech needs to be edifying – to build up
    1. Would Christ engage in harsh language?
    2. These are not the things we’re saved by but Paul is asking us, tellingly, what principle rules over you?
  2. The Ordinary are Extraordinary

    Paul gets to the end and we’re tempted to tune out because all the instruction to us is done. Don’t do that.  There’s truth here:

    10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him), 11 and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. 14 Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. 16 And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.”
    18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.

    1. This is not a laundry list of thank yous at the Oscars.
    2. The Holy Spirit, the One Who created all things, has inspired for all time those who aided Paul in the ordinary work of ministry.
      1. Aristarchus – he sits in prison with Paul and is of use to his encouragement.
      2. John Mark – the cousin of Barnabas who was sent away on one of Paul’s missionary journeys. This split up the Paul-Barnabas team but look how the Holy Spirit works and makes a man useful!
  • Jesus Justus – a fellow Jew and worker who comforts Paul.
  1. Ephaphras – who came from the Colossians. He works tirelessly in prayer for the Church and for the preaching of the Gospel.
  2. Luke, a physician, who accompanied Paul and wrote Luke-Acts.
  3. Demas greets them
    1. But Demas falls away…
  4. The priority of the Body – the Kingdom of God
    1. This final greeting shows forth the priority of those involved in normal, daily service for the kingdom
    2. That work expresses itself in the work of the Church.
  • I don’t believe Paul would have named famous event speakers with large platforms
  1. Impressing crowds is easy.
  2. Day-to-day ministry is hard
  1. It’s rare to find people who believe enough in the work of the Kingdom to commit to its work
    1. Many express the idea that they love the things of God but the place where the Lord’s attention is centered is on the visible Kingdom of God – the Church.
    2. The Church is God’s visible outpost of the Kingdom of God.
      1. Parachurch activities either support that work or they undermine it.
    3. This is not meant to be a rant or guilt trip.
    4. It’s meant to reveal to us our priorities in life.
    5. If the work of Christ in the Church to build His people up and bring others into saving relationship is the way He works then are we on the same page as Christ?
      1. What over activities in our lives compare to that priority?
    6. Happy to serve and pour out my life for the service of this Church but it’s often hard to find people who are realy reliable.
      1. Lots of ideas
      2. Very few hands at times.
    7. Why I love the Church
      1. Because I walked in darkness
      2. I was a slave to my passions and to the world and the devil.
      3. I pursued God with an appearance of wisdom but it lacked power.
      4. Butthen I understood that Christ had come to take away the sins I had committed and placed my burden upon His shoulder.
      5. My chains fell off and I could see the glory of theGospel.
      6. Saved by grace. New Life in Christ.
      7. I didn’t choose the moment of my birth.
      8. I didn’t choose God as my Father from the foundation of the world but He chose me.
      9. And He chose you.
      10. I might now have chosen you and you might not have chosen me but we’re brothers and sisters.
      11. I love Christ and I love the Church.
      12. We few.
      13. We happy few.
      14. We isle of misfit toys Who are beautiful because of the One Who has cast His favor upon us.
      15. Is God’s family not worth our money, our time, our energy?
      16. What else are we going to spend these on?
      17. Where else is Wisdom found except in the Person and work of Christ?
      18. Where else will I find those praying for me, encouraging me, pressing me on except in the Church?
      19. I have the real option of rubbing elbows with the rich and powerful of the world but the Gospel opens my eyes to see it all as one big steaming pile of dung compared to the people of God.
      20. I give up love of family and friends and receive 10, 50, 100 fold here in this Church.
      21. Let that truth impel you.
      22. Let that truth give you the motivation to be reliable here because what else is worth being reliable for?
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