Colossians 4:7-18 pt 1

Steve Viars April 1, 1995 Colossians 4:7-18

- this morning we're moving into the final section of the book of
   Colossians.
- to be honest, I'm doing this rather reluctantly--because I have
   thoroughly enjoyed -- and have been thoroughly challenged by our study
   in this great book.

- now, at first glance, it may appear that verses 7-18 are rather trivial
   and contain some minor details that can either be skipped or
   summarized quickly.

- it probably won't surprise you to learn that thats not what we're going
   to do with these verses.
     - there are some great truths here that I'll think we'll find very
        encouraging and very helpful---so we're going to take our time as
        we study.

- several writers have described these verses as a "verbal group
   photograph."
     - Paul mentions eight of his co-workers who have been a help to him
        in his ministry.
     - the way he describes these men is important---and what other
         passages of Scripture tells us is important as well.

- Have you ever wondered what the people who made up the early church
   were like?
- where did Paul find the kind of people who could serve as leaders of
   the many new churches that were being started?
      - there were no seminaries or Bible colleges
      - there was no pool of trained people waiting in the wings
      - yet Paul, in the power of Christ, was planting churches that were
         so effective -- that even the detractors said -- "they were
         turning the world upside down."

- one overall lesson to take away from these verses is that God's service
   is never done effectively by "lone-wolfs."
- even a man like the apostle Paul worked most effectively when he worked
   with other people.

- Warren Wiersbe noted, "the apostle Paul was not only a soul-winner, he
   was a friend-maker.
   - by Wiersbe' count, there are over a hundred named and unnamed
       associates of Paul in the book of Acts and the epistles.
   - in Romans 16, the last chapter in that book, 26 different people are
      named.

- let's quickly look at a couple of passages that go along with what
   we're saying:
      - left side of the room -- Prov. 27:17

      - right side of the room -- Eccles. 4:9-12

- INPUT - each group -- what does this passage teach us about the
   importance/value of friends in ministry?


- with this in mind -- let's look at the passage.
- READ Col. 4:7-18.

(outline from MacArthur)

I. Tychicus - The Man With a Servant's Heart

   - the first man mentioned in this passage is a man named Tychicus.
   - let's talk about what we know about this man from other passages,
       and then what we can learn from what Paul says in verses 7-8.

    A. Who he was

        1) Acts 20:4 - traveled with Paul to Jerusalem as a
             representative of Gentile believers.

           - at the end of the third missionary journey, Paul was going
              around to the Gentile churches taking up an offering for
              the Jewish believers in Jerusalem.
           - there was great need at that time, and this act of kindness
              on the part of the Gentiles would help cement their
              relationship with the Jewish believers.
                - it would also help the Jewish believers to meet some of
                   the Christians from the Gentile churches face to face.

                - one of the people selected by Paul for this task was
                   Tychicus.

        2) Titus 3:12 - considered as an interim pastor for Titus.

        3) II Tim. 4:12 - sent to be an interim pastor for Timothy.

        4) Col. 4:7 - trusted to hand deliver the books of Colossians,
             Ephesians (Eph. 6:21), and probably Philemon (Col. 4:9).

INPUT - what do these details tell us about the kind of man Tychicus must
         have been?

INPUT - what can we learn from these details?  (God uses ordinary people
         in His work)

INPUT - what kind of things do churches have to do to develop these kind
          of people?


- now let's go back to what Paul says about this man in Col. 4:

    B. What he was like

        1. beloved brother
            - wouldn't it be something to have the apostle Paul consider
               you a brother that he loved, or a sister in Christ that he
               loved?
            - Tychicus had won a place in Paul's heart.

        2. faithful servant

        3. fellow bond-servant

         - there are two different words used in this verse for
            servant.  (there are actually eight different ones used in
               the Scripture.)
- the first one is "diakonos" - servant - (the word from which we get the
    word deacon)
- the second one is "sundoulos" -- fellow bond servant

    - Tychicus faithfully served Paul
        - and together, they faithfully served the Lord.

    - cf. Sid Galloway's letter

- a good question for each of us to ask this morning is; "if someone who
    knew me well was going to write a statement describing me and my
    service to the Lord, what kinds of things would they say?"
     - Can you imagine a better commendation than the one Tychicus
        received?

II. Onesimus - The Man With the Sinful Past

    A. Who he was

        - runaway slave
        - INPUT - who was his master? (Philemon)
        - INPUT - what church did Philemon attend? (church at Colossee)

        - so here's a situation that can only be explained by the
          wonderful providence of God where an unbelieving slave runs
          away from a believing master
             - he runs away to the great city of Rome, probably because
                that would be an easy place to hide.
             - somehow he meets the Apostle Paul
                - Paul leads him to Christ

             - of course while Onesimus could be helpful to Paul, Paul
                knows this man has some unfinished business.
             - so along with this letter to Philemon's church, he also
                 writes a letter to Philemon

                 - read Philemon 10-17

    - now let's go back to Colossians and see the way Paul described this
       man.

    B. What he was like.

        - INPUT - How is Onesimus described in verse 10?

           1) faithful brother

           2) beloved brother

           3) "one of you"

           4) sent to report to you (the Colossians) about my affairs.

- there's some things we can definitely learn from this story:

INPUT - How is this story encouraging?
          (there's a place for everyone)

INPUT - How is this story challenging?
         (have to be able to accept and love everyone God brings into our
           church, regardless of their past.)

III. Aristarchus - The Man With a Sympathetic Heart

    "Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, greets you"

    A. Who he was

        - this is a man who was somewhat obscure--yet when you read
          something about him--it always has to do with him "being at
          Paul's side."

        1. Acts 19:29 - seized by the rioting mob at Ephesus

           - remember when the mob was screaming, "great is the goddess
             Diana" because Paul's ministry was threatening their economy
             which was based on idol making and idol worship.
           - Acts 19:29 - "And the whole city was filled with confusion,
              and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia,
              Paul's companions in travel, they rushed with one accord
              into the theater."

           - so here's a guy who's one of Paul's companions, and all of a
              sudden he gets nabbed by the angry crowd.

        2. Acts 20:4 - accompanied Paul on his return trip to Jerusalem

        3. Acts 27:4 - accompanied Paul on his voyage to Rome

    B. What he was like

        - Paul describes Aristarchus as "his fellow prisoner"

        - it's unlikely that this man was actually a prisoner like Paul
           was---the point was, Aristarchus stayed with Paul during his
           imprisonment
              - he shared the experience with him by staying by his side.

- we asked at the beginning of our time -- what kind of people made up
   the early church?
      - this profile is a lot different than you might expect.
          - there's nothing in the Scripture that would lead you to
             believe that this man was particularly gifted
                - he's surely not famous

          - but he was faithful.
             - he sacrificed himself to minister to Paul.

- cf. Sid Galloway's letter.


IV. The Man With The Surprising Future

    - It's very interesting that paul would mention John Mark.

    - INPUT - what do we know about him?

    A. Who he was

        1. Acts 13 - Went with Paul and Barnabus on the first missionary
            journey

        2. Acts 13:13 - deserted when the going got tough

        3. Acts 15:37-39 - became a source of friction between Paul and
             Barnabus, leaving to them splitting
        4. II Tim. 4:11 - Later requested by Paul, who said "he is
             profitable for me in the ministry"


    B. What he was like.

        - "if he come, receive him"

        - the great news about this story is that even though he had
           failed miserably at one point in his ministry
              - he changed and became a man that was profitable and able
                 to serve the Lord effectively.

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

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