(Read Colossians 4:2-5)
Paul continues to focus 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. Christians 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 continually pray and make intercession for others. Prayer protects us from wandering thoughts and temptations (Matthew 26:41). Our prayer should be characterized with thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is biblical and is the healthiest of all human emotions (Psalms 103:1-3). When we are thankful for the Lord's presence and provision in life, we will experience His peace within us. We are exhorted to give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Secondly Paul is asking Colossians to pray that he will have the freedom to proclaim the Word of God clearly and plainly as he should (4:3). Paul was imprisoned for preaching the gospel. The mystery of Christ was revealed to him and he had opportunities to witness Christ while in prison (Philippians 1:12). All Christians have the responsibility to witness Christ. Thirdly we must be purposeful in life by living wisely among the unsaved. We should redeem the time and opportunities to serve Christ. Missed opportunity is lost opportunity. Make best use of our time, talent and treasure for the glory of God and the benefit of others. Christian stewardship is the barometer of their spiritual condition.
Let your Speech be always with Grace:
(Read Colossians 4:6)
Christians are to be gracious and winsome in their communication. 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. We should treat others with grace as God in Christ treated us. We may center our conversation on the gospel and answer each person appropriately. Do not push the gospel if you feel the person is not interested. Do not engage in arguments to prove your point. Let Christ’s love shine through your conversation to generate interest in others to learn more about Christ (Matthew 5:16). The more we share the gospel, the easier that will become. Someone has said “Think before you speak: Is it true, is it helpful, is it instructive, is it necessary and is it gracious and kind”.
(Read Colossians 4:7- 15)
In the final greetings, Paul mentions the network 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, others 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;
Colossians 4:7). He was a faithful servant of God and a fellow worker. Paul wanted Colossians to know about his ministry so that they may be encouraged. 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 beloved brother in Christ. Aristarchus is a fellow prisoner, now in Rome with Paul. Paul instructs Colossians to welcome Mark when he comes to them. He was John Mark, the nephew of Barnabas who was once rejected by Paul (Acts 15:36-39). But now he is useful for the ministry (2 Timothy 4:11). Justus was a Jewish Christian and a fellow worker who encouraged Paul in the ministry among gentiles. Epaphras may be one of the founders of the church at Colossae. He brought Paul news of the spiritual condition of the Colossian church. He always labored fervently for the church in prayers so that they may stand firm and mature in the faith. His consistent prayers strengthened Paul and the early church (Colossians :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 deserted Paul for this present world later (2 Timothy 4:10). Scholars are divided as to whether Nymphas is a man or a woman. The church gathered in his house. 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 God's sight. God has graciously enrolled us in His ministry and each one of us plays an important role. Each believer is gifted and their gifts should be used for the edification of the church. Are you using your gift for the edification of others?
(Read Colossians 4: 16-18)
Paul wanted this epistle to be read among Colossians and other churches including the church at Laodicea. Scholars suggest that the letter to Ephesians was also a circular letter in the province of Asia. Paul knew the importance of the written Word of God. He wrote “Watch your life and doctrine closely because it will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 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 God, we must turn to God’s Word, the Bible. It is given for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3; 1 Timothy 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 and it is serving God’s people with joy. God will use those who are available for His glory (Acts 20:24). Paul adds his greetings in his own handwriting. He requests believers to pray for his release. Paul concludes the letter by wishing “Grace be with you”. May the Lord use the study on Colossians for His glory and the blessing of believers.