Christian Duties: 4:1-5.
Paul focuses on Christian duties in this chapter. Christians should live a life that reflects the realities of the saving grace of Christ. Christian life is both gospel generated and gospel sustained. They should devote themselves to prayer. Prayer is our lifeline to God. They have full and free access to their heavenly Father. His ears are opened to our cry (Ephesians 2:18; 3:12; Psalms 34:15). We should prayer to guard us against wandering thoughts and temptations
(Mat 26:41). Our prayer should be characterized with thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is biblical and is the healthiest of all human emotions (Psalms 103:1-3). Those who are thankful for Lord’s presence, provision and purpose in life will experience his peace within them. We are exhorted to give thanks in all circumstances. For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus (1 Thess 5:18). Secondly Paul is asking Colossians to pray that he will have the opportunity to proclaim the Word of God clearly and plainly as he should (4:4). Paul’s imprisonment was the result of preaching the gospel. The mystery of Christ was revealed to him and he had many opportunities to witness Christ while in prison (Phil 1:12). All are not preachers but all are called to witness Christ. They should pray and partner with those who spread the gospel. Thirdly we must be purposeful in life by living wisely among unsaved, redeeming the time and opportunities. Missed opportunity is lost opportunity. Make best use of our time, talent and treasure for the glory of God and for the benefit of others. Christian stewardship is the barometer of their spiritual condition.
Let your Speech be always with Grace: 4:6.
Christians are to be gracious and winsome in their communication. God gave us tow ears and one moth for a reason. By our words and deeds we should advance the cause of Christ. We also should be gracious in our words, seasoned with salt. Christ’s word was full of grace and truth (Luke 4:22; John 1:14). Our conversation should not be dull and tasteless. The ability to listen is an essential life skill. We should think before we speak. We should seek God's help to safe guard our tongue from causing dissension. We should treat others with grace as God in Christ treated us. We may center our conversation on the gospel and treat each person with respect (1 Pet 3:15). Do not push the gospel if you feel that the person is not interested. Do not engage in argument to prove your point. Let Christ’s love shine through your conversation to generate an interest to learn more about Christ (Mat 5:16). The more we share the gospel, the easier that will become. Someone has said “Think before you speak and ask: Is it true, is it helpful, is it instructive, is it necessary and is it gracious and kind”. Our conversation must be gracious and attractive.
Final Greetings: 4:7- 15.
In the final greetings, Paul gives the names of the network of partnership he had developed in his ministry. They played an important role in the advancement of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some of them delivered the epistles, some of them traveled with Paul, some of them labored in prayer and some of them hosted meetings (4:8-15). Tychicus was the bearer of this letter and a messenger (Ephesians 6:21; Col 4:7). He was a faithful servant of God and a fellow worker. Onesimus was the co-bearer of the letter and a brother in Christ. Once he was a runaway slave but now he is a transformed and beloved brother in Christ. Aristarchus is a fellow prisoner, now in Rome with Paul. Paul instructs Colossians to welcome Mark when he comes (Acts 15:36-39). He is useful for the ministry (2 Tim 4:11). Justus was a Jewish Christian and a fellow worker who encouraged Paul in the ministry among gentiles. Epaphras may be the one who founded the church at Colossae. He brought to Paul the news about the spiritual condition of the Colossian church. He always labored fervently for the church in prayers so that they may stand firm and matured in the faith. His consistent prayers strengthened Paul and the early church (4:12-13). Luke was the beloved physician, a dear and trusted co-worker. Demas was a fellow worker in whom Paul had great hope. But he later deserted Paul for this present world (2 Tim 4:10). Scholars are divided as to whether Nymphas is a man or a woman. The church gather in his house since Christians did not have church buildings until the third century. Paul’s work could not have been possible without the support of fellow workers. When we give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord, we will find value and purpose in life. God has graciously enrolled us in his ministry and each one of us has an important role to play in the building up of the church. We should use the God given gift for the glory of God. It is a sin to marginalize believers in the church and not to use their gift for the edification of believers. Pray that God may make us partners in the ministry of the gospel.
Conclusion: 4: 16-18.
Paul wants this epistle to be read in public among Colossian believers and pass it on to other churches including the church at Laodicea. Scholars suggest that the "The eipstle from Laodicea" most likely is the epistle to Ephesians. It was a circular letter to be read in the province of Asia. Paul knew the importance of the written Word of God which was given for our faith and practice. Paul wrote “Watch your life and doctrine closely because it will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Tim 4:16). The Bible is objective truth and it stands alone in its facts and cannot change. The truth is not found by consensus. Through the Bible God reveals Himself, His character, His purpose and His desire for us. To know true God, we must turn to God’s Word, the Bible. It is given for our life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3; 1 Tim 3:16). Paul esteemed fellow believers and workers. He wants Archipus to fulfill the ministry he has received from the Lord. Scholars suggest that Archipus was a member of Philemon’s household and had some ministerial responsibility in the church at Colossae (Philemon I: 2). Ministry is a lifelong calling. It is serving God’s people with joy and passion. God will use those who are willing and available for his glory (Acts 20:24). Paul adds his greetings in his own handwriting and requests believers to pray for his release. Paul concludes the letter by writing “Grace be with you”. May the Lord use the study on the epistle of Colossians for his glory and the blessing of readers!