Session 12

Home Bible Study of Colossians – Session 12

Larry Reynolds

 

Tonight going to conclude looking at lives of the people mentioned in Colossians 4:7-17…This list of names at the end of Colossians is a reminder that the Christian life is a life of relationships...Last week we looked at:

--Tychicus, who is described as a “beloved brother and faithful servant”  we will show us a profile in real friendship...

--Onesimus and Mark, both of whom had personal failures in their lives, we teach us about rising above our past mistakes...

 

 

ARISTARCHUS (v.10) AND DEMAS (v.14) – Staying or Straying

 

JUSTUS (v.11) – God works through people who are willing to work in the background

1.     Justus is the only person on the list of names in Colossians about whom we know absolutely nothing but his name...and, as such, I believe he is representative of the many unknown, unrecognized saints who made up the early church...thousands of people came to faith in Christ in the 1st century...and out of those thousands, we know the names of only a small handful of those people...the vast majority of early Christians served God faithfully, even giving their very lives for Him, in total obscurity...

1.     There’s lesson for us to learn in that...

--it should not be the motive, the goal of Christians to call attentions to themselves...we are to point beyond ourselves to God...

--it should not be our desire to elevate ourselves, to build up ourselves...instead, we are to elevate, to build up, to glorify the Lord Jesus...

3.  We should not be seeking for ourselves positions of authority, of power, of prestige...instead, we should be willing to serve quietly in the background...

4.  That is a lesson Jesus constantly drove home to His disciples... remember that incident when Jesus and His disciples were traveling to Jerusalem just prior to His crucifixion...somewhere near Jericho, just about 20 or so miles to the east of Jerusalem, James and John approached Him and asked for places of special honor, prestige, position in His coming kingdom...the other disciples heard the request and became angry, probably because James and John had beaten them to the punch...and Jesus called them together and made this incredible statement to them: “...whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.   For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” [Mark 10:43-44]

 

 

NYMPHA (v.15) – God does not place limits on whom He can use in ministry

1.     The name Nympha is feminine...some Bibles translate the word  Nymphas which is masculine...much debate among Bible scholars about which is the correct reading...some of the ancient manuscripts use the masculine form and some use the feminine form...but the weight of evidence seems to fall on the feminine side...

2.     And in a culture in which women were generally viewed as property and in which women certainly did not have the kind of rights and standing enjoyed by men, that Paul would single out a woman and mentioned that a church was meeting in her home is rather incredible...

3.     Truth is, contrary to what many people think, the New Testament has a very high view of women and the role of women in ministry...for example—

--women are portrayed as the heroines of the final events in Jesus earthly life...were the last to leave the cross on the day of the crucifixion and the first to come to the tomb on the day of the resurrection...

--the first convert in Europe was a woman...Lydia, a business woman became a Christian, and her home became the base for Paul’s ministry in Macedonia...

--Philip, who lived in Caesarea, had four daughters who are described in Acts 21 as prophetesses...

--Phoebe, in the book of Romans, is called a deaconess...

--Paul describes Priscilla, the wife of Aquila, as “my fellow worker...”


4.     Point of all that is that we should not attempt to place limits on who God will and will not use in ministry...the mention of Nympha reminds us that God can use whomever he chooses to use...

 

 

ARCHIPPUS (v.17) – God often sends us encouragement at just the right time

1.     Archippus is only person on this list of names who is given an instruction from the Apostle Paul...v.17 instructs Archippus to “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”...I think there is a reason Paul made this statement to him...

2.     Some interpreter’s view this statement as a rebuke, as if Archippus were not fulfilling his ministry...however, others contend, and I agree with them, that this is not a word of rebuke but a word of encouragement...

3.     The reasoning goes like this...Archippus may have been the interim pastor of the church at Colossae in the absence of Epaphras who was with Paul...the false teachers who had infiltrated the Colossians church may have been challenging the authority of Archippus...this letter was written to be read aloud to the congregation...and this statement to Archippus may have been Paul’s way of telling the church at Colossae that Archippus was there among them doing God’s work...

4.     If that were the case, think how encouraging it must have been to this discouraged pastor to have heard these words read aloud to the entire congregation...

5.     And that interpretation of the instructions to Archippus in v.17 rings true to me because it is ever God’s way to give us encouragement, new strength, energy, direction just when we need it the most...

 

 

 

 

LUKE (v.14) Using your abilities for God

 

Which of the people listed in Colossians 4:7-17 do you most easily identify with?  Why?

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