Beloved Brothers *Verses in NKJV*
– We are almost to the end of the letter that Paul wrote from prison, to the Colossians church.
– Paul writes from prison in Rome, and has never visited this church in person, but leads them through the help of the strong men serving in the ministry with him.
– In this part of his letter, he makes note of those men, his team serving the Lord with him in chains.
– No one can do ministry alone.
Read Colossians 4:7-14
POINT #1: You can’t do it alone. You need a team.
– Tychicus, longstanding partner of Paul in ministry.
– Onesimus, relatively new recruit and former slave.
– Aristarchus, seized by the rioting crowds on Paul’s behalf in Ephesus. Then travelled on the ship to Rome to see the Caesar, and was shipwrecked with Paul on Malta. (Acts 19, Acts 27)
– Mark (cousin of Barnabas), said to be one of the 70 Jesus sent out in Luke chapter 10.
– Luke 10:1-3, After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. 2 Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. 3 Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves.
– Epaphras, the one who first brought the Good News to the Colossians.
– Luke, the doctor, author of the gospel of Luke, and the book of Acts.
– Paul wasn’t working alone. There are many others listed in scripture that served with him in his ministry.
– Example: I’m a firefighter. When there is a possibility of danger, people always say, “We’ll be okay, Jay is with us.” As if I can save the day by myself. I know what to do… call 911!
– At the warehouse, the time there was a T-bone at the intersection, “Who were you calling?!”
– Firefighters work in teams. We have special roles…. Just like in ministry.
– Eph. 4:11-12, And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
– There are many roles in the church that make ministry happen:
– “Equipping the saints for the work of the ministry.” That means you! Not a spectator sport.
– “Edifying of the body of Christ.” Building up their character and knowledge in the word.
– Eccles. 4:9-10, Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor.For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.
– Proverbs 27:17, As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
– Even the amazing Paul couldn’t do ministry alone:
– He was in chains much of the time. There were many cities needing the Good News.
– Paul had many faithful and beloved brothers and sisters serving by his side.
POINT #2: It’s not how you started; it’s how you’ll finish.
– Tychicus is the first person Paul mentions in today’s scriptures:
– He is spoken of in many books of the New Testament as one of Paul’s faithful ministers.
– He has served in Asia and many places, has a great track record, and is clearly trusted.
– He appears also in 2 Timothy 4:12, still by Paul’s side 10 years later.
– He is described by Paul as a “beloved brother”.
– Onesimus is the second person Paul mentions:
– A fugitive slave from the town of Colossae, and possibly also a thief.
– He met Paul in a Roman prison, possibly serving time there too, and got saved, and became Paul’s spiritual son.
– Philemon 1:10-11, I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains, 11 who once was unprofitable (useless) to you, but now is profitable (useful) to you and to me.
– Philemon 1:15-16, For perhaps he departed for a while for this purpose, that you might receive him forever, 16 no longer as a slave but more than a slave—a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
– He is described by Paul as a “beloved brother”.
– These two seem like opposites, but in Christ are in the same place now. Described by Paul the same, and on the same mission.
– They have lived different lives, had different backgrounds, but they are here right now together, because it’s not how you started, but how you’ll finish that counts!
– Our church is diverse so I KNOW many of you can identify with this; you and your brothers!
– 1 Peter 4:8-10, And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
– Pastor John Butcher said, “Have a growth mentality, not a goal mentality.”
– After reaching a stated “goal”, people tend to let off the gas, lose their incentive, fall off.
– “Growth” is never ending. Trying to get better every day, sanctification is a journey.
– Example: Read my complete bible in 90 days, sometimes 3 hours a day to keep the pace. Haven’t been able to do that since.
– I had to hit my goal, even if it meant I couldn’t remember much of what I read.
– Now I read slow, draw it out, because I need growth through understanding, and I can’t get that when I’m simply pounding through it on a schedule.
– Your growth can’t end with you achieving “minister of the gospel” status, as great a goal as that is.
– Look at Demas. The last person Paul includes as one of the faithful ministers in the verses today:
– We see Demas mentioned one other time, in a letter to Timothy, about 10 years later.
– 2 Tim. 4:10, for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica… (The NLT says, “Loved the things of this life…”)
– What happened to Demas?! He started strong but didn’t finish the race!
– Jesus will make you into the person he needs you to be to serve Him.
– Eph. 4:15-16, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
– You must continue to grow to be more like Christ. Not just for your sake, but for the sake of your co-workers in ministry.
– It’s really not just about you. We are the body of Christ, together!
– Phil 2:3-4, Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
POINT #3: God can use you NOW!
– Maybe you are Tychicus, and have been a Christian for a while, served in many ministries…
– Maybe you are Onesimus, just got out of prison, or drugs, maybe not feeling qualified to serve…
– Maybe you are becoming Demas, let off the gas, stopped growing, drifting back to the world…
– Today is the day to get back on the journey of growth again!
– Jesus Christ makes you qualified and capable.
– Hebrews 13:20-21,Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
– Phil. 4:19, And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
We’re all in this together!
– People make mistakes. We win sometimes and lose sometimes, but we can’t give up on each other.
– Eph. 4:32, And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
– Because God forgave you, you have the power and obligation to forgive your brothers and sisters.
– Have you asked for God’s forgiveness? Give your life to Jesus today…
– prayer –
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