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“Which Archippus Are You?”
Colossians 4:15-18 New King James Version (NKJV)
15 Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and [a]Nymphas and the church that is in [b]his house.
16 Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”
18 This salutation by my own hand—Paul. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Amen.
“Say to Archippus”- the church is entrusted with the duty of exhorting one of its ministers. It is generally supposed that the Archippus mentioned here is the same in Paul’s letter to Philemon
Philemon 2 New King James Version (NKJV)
2 to [a]the beloved Apphia, Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:
Archippus is Paul’s fellow-soldier and laborer in the faith. According to church tradition and the Apostolic Constitution, Archippus was the first bishop (overseer) of the church in Laodicea and Paul exhorts the church to give him a message from the imprisoned apostle. It seems odd that Paul would write a letter to Colossae and ask them to read it in Laodicea, but the church was only 12 miles away and a very common practice among the early churches.
“Take heed to the ministry” This word “ministry” in the Greek means a “laborious and painful work”; an obligation to do and suffer all things, to be the least and the servant of all.
“In the Lord”- Archippus had been appointed by the Lord, called and anointed by the Holy Spirit for this work and gifted with various gifts.
“That you may fulfill it”- That Archippus faithfully discharge all the duties of his calling with diligence and care, as the consequences for neglecting them will be infinitely dangerous and fatal, after having solemnly undertaken to fulfill them.
Little else is known about Archippus and his ministry. There are four possible scenarios:
- Archippus knew his ministry, was faithful, but needed encouragement to keep going.
- Archippus knew his ministry, was faithful once, but had slackened and stopped.
- Archippus knew his ministry, but did nothing about it.
- Archippus did not know his ministry, and had to be prompted by Paul.
We all fall into one of the above scenarios. The question then, which scenario applies to you? The times are urgent and there is work to be done. WE have received an assignment from the Lord, but will we be faithful to complete it?
Proverbs 20:6 New King James Version (NKJV)
6 Most men will proclaim each his own [a]goodness, But who can find a faithful man?
1 Corinthians 4:2 “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.”
WE want to be found faithful! I am coming from the position that Paul was encouraging Archippus to be diligent in his work and calling.
There are four characteristics of a faithful Archippus:
Almost Anonymous- The beautiful thing about Archippus is that he is only mentioned twice in the entire Bible. He is almost anonymous and yet mentioned by name. This is the season for nameless saints to arise and to take up their positions in the kingdom.
Quote “Preach the Gospel, die and be forgotten.”
Are you willing to be forgotten for the cause of Christ? A faithful ambassador does not care who gets the credit and honor, because an ambassador knows he is working on behalf of another, that is Jesus Christ.
If its about you, then it must be for you. But if it’s for Jesus, then it’s about Jesus. Period.
This boils down to your pride. The call of the Christian is humility.
Philippians 2:3 New King James Version (NKJV)
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
Human nature tells us to use the cover of anonymity to avoid taking the blame for the bad we do; but He wants us to use anonymity to avoid taking credit for the good we do. We are not to call attention to ourselves.
Matthew 6:3-4 New King James Version (NKJV)
3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you [a]openly.
This does not mean that our good deeds will remain hidden, it means that they should be done in such a way that makes a good name for the Lord, not ourselves.
1 Peter 2:12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.
Aware and alert, not apathetic– The faithful Archippus understands the urgency of the times we live in. He is aware of the bigger picture and the happenings in and around the Body of Christ and the world. He will not remain apathetic, distanced nor self-absorbed. It is this awareness that compels him to act with certainty, fully convinced his assignment will contribute to the greater agenda of the kingdom of God.
Are you aware of the times? Or are you the apathetic Archippus, burying your head in the sand and slack in the work God has called you to? Once faithful does not cut it. You must be faithful to the end. Me and Ps Shelly always like to say, “You better end well”. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. It doesn’t matter what you USED to do, what are you doing now? You cannot rest on your laurels. I have met way too many Christians that “used to be in ministry”
EX: I was in a waiting room and overheard a conversation next to me. I was not trying to eavesdrop, they were just talking really loud. This lady was quitting the children’s ministry because she was tired of serving. She had done it long enough. She was done. She was also very bitter about stepping down.
Romans 13:11-14 New King James Version (NKJV)11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk [a]properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
Awareness- knowledge or perception of a situation or fact.
Alert- the state of being watchful for possible danger.
You need to be aware of the season we are in and stay alert to watch and pray and fulfill the assignment the Lord has given you. Your work for Him is not done until you die or He returns.
Assignment, not activity– It is totally pointless to be busy with the ten things but miss the one thing that God has called you to. An Archippus knows how to distinguish between activity and assignment, understanding that busyness does not lead to fruitfulness.
We all have an assignment from the Lord and your unique gifts and talents given to you by the Holy Spirit equip you for that work. But are you doing IT? Are you doing the work He has given you to do? Or you doing everything else in hopes that He will be OK with your activity? Kids are great at shucking the one job that you give them, in hopes that you will be mystified by all the other stuff they did that you did not ask of them. EX: picking up the poop
I am great at doing this with the Lord- look at everything else I did. And He will say, “that’s great. But that is not what I asked you to do” Usually because it is something that I desperately do not want to do, like confront a divisive person in church. But church discipline is the pastor’s job. And Jesus will always point to that “one thing”.
Busyness does not mean you are being effective.
DO you know your ministry and are not doing anything about it? You will have to answer to the Lord for this. Burying your talents- Matthew 25:24-30
24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’
26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.
29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
James 2:24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
Works in this Scripture refers to the obligations to God and fellow humans that are commanded in Scripture and that proceed from a sincere faith, a pure heart, the grace of God and the desire to please Him. The essential nature of saving faith will express itself in our work for Him.
Are you in the scenario that Paul has to rebuke you for not being diligent in your calling? We do not get a time out because the days are hard. What work do you know you’ve been called to and are not doing?
Anything but aimless– Archippus’ aim is to be faithful to fulfill his assignment that he may be found pleasing to his Lord and Master.
2 Corinthians 5:9-11 New King James Version (NKJV)Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.
What is the AIM of your life? We are to make pleasing HIM alone our aim.
Aim- to direct a course specifically. Think about charting a course for a boat- you cannot just wander aimlessly on the ocean. You have to chart a course and stick to your chart.
Tips for Navigating with a Nautical Chart:
Be sure to plot the course in adequate water depth-
To be well-pleasing, your aim must be total trust and reliance on the Lord. He wants you in the deep waters. Shallow waters produce shallow servants. “I will only go so far”
Plot the course using buoys, lights, and other aids to navigation that show safe navigation areas-
you have tools that enable you to be well-pleasing. The Word of God. The power of prayer. The gifts of the HS. The fellowship of the brethren
Hebrews 10:24-26 New King James Version (NKJV)
24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
These verses are connected. Whether the author intends that it is willful sinning to forsake the gathering or that forsaking the gathering leads to willful sinning is unclear. An argument can be made for both.
Always deviate from your plotted course to avoid unsafe conditions or a collision-
stay away from anything and everything that has an opportunity to get us off our assignment. Could be friends or relationships that are unhealthy. I have seen more people fall away from the Lord because of ungodly relationships. Do not think you will be able to stand firm if you disobey God’s Word.
This season, the Lord has shown me that the enemy is using bitterness and offenses to separate and divide. Guard your heart. Flee idolatry and sexual immorality
Lastly, Archippus needs to be encouraged. Most of us doing the work of the ministry need to be encouraged to keep going.
1 Thes 5:11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.
Paul says to remember his chains. His joy was to see the churches operating in peace, love and unity. I will tell you, your pastors need to be encouraged. We get weary and we need you to lift us up and hold up our arms. Want to know one of the best ways to encourage your pastor? Show up to church and love on others. When you don’t do your part, someone else has to fill that gaping hole and its usually us. Stop fighting each other and serve one another. We are called to build up and not to tear down
Romans 14:19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may [a]edify another.
1 Corinthians 15:58 New King James Version (NKJV)
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Go back to the scenarios—– which are you?
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