Monday, October 5, 2020

Closing Letter and Salutations

 Paul's letter - TO the church at Colosse FROM Roman prison

On one hand, Paul may have never visited this church!!
However, he was well acquainted with some of their people

So..... he closes this letter with greetings and personal salutations.

List of the people mentioned in this final closing:

Tychicus - bearer of this letter, the letter to Ephesus, and one to Laodecian church (which was never found) , as well as a letter to Philemon  ( Eph. 6:21 )
Was a traveling companion, trusted assistant.  Paul calls him "dear brother, faithful minister, fellow servant"

Onesimus - runaway slave, from Colosse, NOW a Christian!  (see more in letter to Philemon)

Aristarchus - traveling companion, "fellow prisoner" - arrested in the riot at Ephesus (Acts 19:29)

(John) Mark - author of Book of Mark - traveled with Paul and endeared himself to Peter - 1 Pet. 5:13

Justus - mentioned only here

Epaphras - likely founder of the church at Colosse - Col. 1:7 "one of you", "always wrestling in prayer for you"

Luke - "dear friend and physician" - Author of books of Luke and Acts

Nympha - (man or woman depends on accent mark) traditionally a woman who hosts a "house church" at Colosse

Archippus = from Colosse and "a worker for the Lord"

Demas - here and in Philemon 24, BUT "2 Tim. 4:9-10 - abandoned Paul and possibly the faith

(the stenographer who wrote this down as Paul dictated!)


Closing TEXT - Col. 4:7-18 

NOTE Paul's epistles = Personal letters to a church - Rome, Galatia, Ephesus, Colosse, Corinth, ..
                                                              to an individual - Timothy, Titus, Philemon

SO .. on one hand are specifics that may not apply to you and me.
But the principles behind the specifics WILL apply!!

Example:  Col. 4:16 - Laodecian letter applies to Colosse (and vice versa), or, 2 Tim. 1:6, 8 - Paul's advice to Timothy applies to you and I as well! - We should not be ashamed to testify about our Lord.

POINT = (1) Read letters in their historical context (setting)
 then         (2) look for personal application
                (3)  let the Holy Spirit speak to you through the text!!


#1.  Poor Circumstances cannot stop a good ministry.
Example = Paul = Roman Prison, 1,000 miles away, still ministering!! (in fact, FROM Prison - Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, 2 letters to Timothy.   Circumstances may change drastically, but don't stop ministry.
Compare:  John Bunyan (late 1600s, 12 years in prison, wrote "Pilgrim's Progress",  Joni Erikson, YoYo Collins 

#2.  We're better together - (popular phrase today)
Example:  Paul - Apostle, preacher, teacher, evangelist, church planter, etc.
Yet ... He worked as a team member!  (1 named in this book, 29 named in Romans)

Application:  "we're better together"!!  Sunday School, Congregation, Denomination
1 reason to be active part of local church!! - 2 things happen:  A)  the church is better  B)  you are better.

#3.  We Need One Another
Note:  Phil. 4:13 - "can do all things through Christ....."
Yet Paul gained comfort, courage, strength, support... from PEOPLE!!!  (fellow believers)
The 'One another's abound in the Scripture
Example:  2 Tim. 1:4

#4.  A primary part of any ministry is Encouragement
Example:  Paul  (a great theologian, etc.  ... was a constant Encourager!)
The Definition = Pour Courage into
The Need =  immense, all around us
The opportunity = nearly endless
The point = YOU CAN DO THIS!

#5.  A little person can make a big difference
Obviously not talking about Paul!!  But, we're not talking about eh other 10 people either!!
Last Verse - Col. 4:18  (compare with Rom. 16:22)
'The Unknown Stenographer' - who probably also wrote Ephesians adn Philemon!

Point:  A totally unknown ... quietly doing his/her part to assist .. has (in so doing) graced the world with immeasurably Scriptural riches!!!

So... for all the little people, the unknowns ... a closing scripture and prayer - 1 Cor. 15:58


No comments: