Colossians 4:7-18 pt 2

Steve Viars April 8, 1995 Colossians 4:7-18

- we've been studying the last section of the book of Colossians
- we said that this is sort of like a "verbal group photograph"
   - Paul is describing the kind of people who have been ministering with
       him--and he mentions eight of them in particular.

- we're studying them for several reasons:
   1) to get some insight into the kind of people God used to build the
        early church.
   2) to learn about the importance of friendship and comradery in
          ministry
           - churches aren't built by star performers or famous people
           - churches are built by ordinary people who love Jesus Christ,
              who are growing in him, and who delight in getting in the
              ministerial yoke and serving together.
   3) to gain insight into some things that we may need to change in
        order to be more like these people that were such a help to Paul
        and such an important part of Christ's church.

- last week, we studied the lives of two men.
   - INPUT - Who were they, and what did the Scripture emphasize about
              them?

        1) Tychicus - "a beloved brother, a faithful minister, and a
                       fellow servant in the Lord."

        2) Onesimus - the runaway slave, "a faithful and beloved brother,
                      who is one of you."

- this morning, we're going to continue on in this list of people God
   used to build his church.
- (explain why the outline begins with point III)

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 crood.

        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.

- INPUT - why is it so important that churches be teaching and
          encouraging their people to serve?

            (cf. Eph. 4:11 ff - "equipping the saints to do the work of
              the ministry.")


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.

 

- I'd like to ask the same two questions about John Mark that we asked
    previously about Onesimus:

     1) What about this story is encouraging to your heart?
         (Mark is "the man with the second chance.")

     2) What about this story is challenging to your heart?


V. Jesus Justus - The Man With a Strong Commitment

    - read verse 11 (NASB)

    - here's a man that we know nothing about except for what this verse
       tells us.
    - but, what this verse tells us is important.

    A. A Jewish man who had received Christ

        - it's important that Paul says that Aristarchus, John Mark, and
          Jesus Justus are the only Jewish believers that are ministering
          with him.
        - the lack of response on the part of Paul's Jewish brethren must
            have grieved his heart.

        - the gospel had always been taken to the Jew first, and then the
            Greek.
        - Paul told the Romans, "I am telling the truth in Christ, I am
           not lying, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy
           Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my
           heart.  For I could wish that I myself were accursed,
           separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen
           according to the flesh."

        - so when Paul says of these men, "these are the only fellow
          workers for the kingdom of God who are from the circumcision,"
          that statement has a lot of meaning to him.

           - there's a point there to be noted.
              - God doesn't always allow us to minister in exactly the
                  way we expected or to the exact group of people that we
                  expected (or maybe even preferred)

              - that may happen to you.
                  - you may invite a bunch of people to the Passion Play
                    that have things in common with you (your kind of
                    people)
                      - and none of them are able to come.
                  - but then the Lord brings someone across your path
                    that is a lot different than you,
                      - maybe has some habits that are distasteful to you
                      - maybe has a different background, different
                          views, from a different political party, etc.

                  - but that person is open to your ministry.
                      - that person has some things going on in their
                         life that makes them open to the things of
                         Christ.
- Paul was open to ministering to whomever the Lord brought across his
   path
     - just because it wasn't his preference didn't mean he was going to
         stop ministering.
- verse 11 goes on to say:

    B. He was an encouragement to Paul.

        - the word that is used at the end of this verse is the word
           "paragoria"
             - there's an old medication that derived its name from this
                word -- paragoric.
             - it literally means comfort, or encouragement.
             - my personal recollection of that medicine was that it
                 tasted anything but comforting or encouraging...
                   - but you can see why a company might give their
                       product such a name.

         - but Paul says that this man, Jesus Justus, was an
            encouragement to him.

         - INPUT - let's think of some opposites of being an encouraging
                   person, either to a pastor or to a person in general.
                   If a person's not an encouragement, they just might
                   be...

        - another thing we need to note about this man in particular, and
          really all of these men in general, is that they encouraged
          Paul by their presence.
             - he hasn't said much about specifically what they do...
                 - but the fact that they were willing to be there made
                    an incredible impact on him.

                 - I know this phrase is pretty well wore out, but you
                   could rightly say of Jesus Justus and these other men
                   that "they were there for Paul."
                     - they showed their love and dedication to him by
                        their presence.

- I wonder sometimes, if we realize the potentially powerful impact of
   our presence.
     - by choosing to be there when we're needed, they can have such an
        effect on another person.
           - even if there's no words spoken
           - or if there's nothing in particular that’s done.

     - INPUT - when could that especially be helpful?  In what situations
               can your presence have an encouraging influence of someone
               else?

- there's one more overall point I'd like to make about these men before
    we leave this study today.
- it's the fact that God was building his church through ordinary people
    being involved in serving and growing.

- the point that we should note is -- Christianity is not a spectator
    sport.
      - I don't come to church to sit back and watch the show.

      - cf. Peter Jennings report - In the Name of God

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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