Colossians 4:7-18 pt 3

Steve Viars April 15, 1995 Colossians 4:7-18

4/16/95
Colossians #31
saved on Colossians Disk as "coloss31"

- we've been working on the final verses of the book of Colossians in our
   adult Sunday School classes.
- for some of us, saying good-bye to the book of Colossians is like
   saying good-bye to a good friend.
    - this has been a very challenging study and I know that many of
       us would say that our walk with the Lord has been strengthened as
       a result of working through the message of this book.

- (could ask - What is a truth from the book of Colossians that has
    impacted you?)

- beginning at verse 7 of chapter 4, Paul has been mentioning several of
    his co-workers by name and giving a brief description of what that
    person is like.
- we've been calling this a "verbal group photograph," because Paul is
    helping us, (with these descriptions) to picture what his co-workers
    were like.

- INPUT - how can studying verses like these be a help to us?

   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 comradary 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.

- each SS class is at a little bit different place in this study
   - so this morning, we're going to jump all the way to verse 17 of
      chapter 4.
   - for some classes, this may end your study of this book---but for
       others, you'll go back and pick up the people we're skipping in
       subsequent weeks.

- with that in mind, let's read Col. 4:17 (READ)

- now let me ask you to turn over to the other passage in the NT that
   mentions this man, Philemon 2.
      (read Philemon 1-2)

- let's begin by asking the question:

I. Who Was Archippus?

    - there are some things about this man we can say for sure based on
       the verses we've just read---there's also some pretty educated
       guesses we can make by tying some of these details together.

    - let's start with:
    A. What we know for sure

        - INPUT - based on the two verses we've read, what observations
                  can we make for sure about Archippus?


           1) He had a ministry of some kind.

           2) He received his ministry from the Lord.

           3) He needed to fulfill it.

           4) He was in the Colossian church.

           5) He was a "fellow soldier" in the Colossian church.

- there are some other details about this man and his family that are
   pretty safe to assume:
     - so let's talk about:

    B. What many Bible teachers believe

        (cf. Philemon 2 -- Who would you assume that Apphia was?)

        1. Apphia - Philemon's wife.

             - INPUT - why would you assume that?  (addressed to Philemon
                       in verse 1, then mentions Apphia and Archippus in
                       verse 2, then says, and the church in YOUR house.
                         - Who's house?  Philemon, Apphia, and Archippus.

         - INPUT - if Apphia is Philemon's wife, who would you assume
                   (our man) Archippus is?

        2. Archippus - Philemon and Apphia's son.

        - if that’s true, and the church meets in their house, as Philemon
           2 indicates, and the pastor of the church, Epaphras was gone
           (because he's reporting to Paul---then what might be the
           ministry that God has given Archippus that he was to fulfill?

        3. Archippus - serving as interim pastor of Colossian church
                       while Pastor Epaphras was gone reporting to the
                       apostle Paul.

- so what do we know for sure?
    1) He had a ministry of some kind.
    2) He received his ministry from the Lord.
    3) He needed to fulfill it.
    4) He was in the Colossian church.
    5) He was a "fellow soldier" in the Colossian church.

- what are assuming by tying several details together?
    - that Archippus is Philemon's son serving as the interim pastor of
       the church.

- now you might say, "well, if we don't know these things for sure, why
    should we study this verse?"

- answer is -- What we know this passage is saying to Archippus could
    also be said to any believer in Christ.
     - it also ties together well with Easter Sunday...
     - because the message of the resurrection motivates us to relate to
         the ministry God has given us the way Paul wanted Archippus to
         relate to the ministry God had given him.

- now, we've answered the question; Who was Archippus?

- in the time we have left, we'd like to focus our attention on this
    verse and ask;
      2) What does this verse teach us about Paul?

      3) What does this verse teach us about the ministry God has given
          us?

II. What Does This Passage Teach Us About Paul?

    - I think it's interesting that right up to the very end of this
       letter, Paul is writing verses like Colossians 4:17.
    - if many of us had been imprisoned for our faith -- the letter we
       wrote from prison to other churches would probably be different.

INPUT - please help me with that one - If many of us were imprisoned for
        our faith today, and we had an opportunity to write a letter to
        "those on the outside," how might the content of our letter be
        different than what we've been studying in the book of
        Colossians? (What might we tend to focus on?)

         - it might discuss how terrible the conditions were
         - it might list requests for things we needed
         - it might reveal some bitterness or anger over the way we had
             been treated.
             - but for many of us, a letter that we wrote from prison if
                we had been imprisoned for our faith would, in one way or
                another, be self-centered.

    - but Paul, right up to the end, is thinking about the business of
       the church.
    - that tells us that:

    A. Paul had a heart for the church.

        - here's a man who's heart was filled with concern for these dear
            believers in Jesus Christ.
        - he was concerned with what God was doing, and what God wanted
            to do, in their midst.

        - let me ask you to look back over this letter, and find some
          other examples of how Paul showed his concern for the dear
          believers in this church.
             INPUT??  (he was concerned for this church because he spoke
                        to them about...)

        - now, let's push this one step further--how does this fit in
           with the resurrection?
             - how do Paul's actions show that his heart was filled with
               the belief that Jesus Christ was truly alive and working?

               (Paul truly believed that the most exciting thing going
                was the fact that the risen Lord was building His church,
                and Paul wanted to have an active part in that.)

 

 

    B. He had a desire to see God's people be good stewards of their
        ministries.

       - Paul wasn't concerned about how he was being treated, but he
          sure was concerned that this "fellow soldier" was using the
          gifts and opportunities that God had given to the fullest.
       - As he heard this story unfold as Pastor Epaphras described this
          church, he said in his heart, "I've got to say something to
          Archippus....I've got to have an impact on that young man."

        - we're saying, Paul had a desire to see fellow servants be good
           stewards of their ministries.

        INPUT - How can you have that sort of effect on others?

          - illustration - (one of the many ways we try to do that as a
             church is through our internship program)
              - cf. nursing home Thursday
                 - you would have been proud of those guys
                     - (you would have been happy that they were
                         representing our church)

                 - they were warm and friendly and loving to those dear
                     folks
                 - it wasn't something they were putting on
                 - it was appeared to be coming from a heart that
                     genuinely wanted to minister
                 - "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound."
                      - on "one level," to be honest with you, the sound
                         was anything but sweet.
                      - it wasn't the kind of thing that the average
                          record company would want to record.

                      - but on another level---a much more important
                          level, that was the sweetest sound in all the
                          world.
                            - to hear those dear people, many by their
                              own confession sincere believers in Christ,
                              sing praises to God.

- my point is -- it's been good for Jim and Mark to minister in that way
    this year---and its been good that our church has the heart to have a
    program like that
       - that’s just one of many ways a church family can encourage others
           to be good stewards of the ministry God has given.

- the apostle Paul was that kind of a man who wanted to have that kind of
   an impact on others.


- now, we could turn that around and plow it the other way.
- What if you were in Archippus' shoes (sandles) in this situation?

    QUESTION - Are you open to others having that kind of impact on you?

       - how would you respond if one of your Christian friends
          encouraged you to fulfill the ministry which you have received
          in the Lord?


       - what if your SS team leader, in a friendly conversation, asked
           you about the ways you're serving the Lord?
       - apparently, Paul believed that Archippus was the kind of person
           who would be open to, and helped by, the words we read in
           verse 17.

       - I wonder of you and I would be that open?

- so what does this passage teach us about Paul?
   - it teaches us that Paul had a heart for the church, and that Paul
       had a desire to see God's people be good stewards of their
       ministries.

- now let's move on and think about:

III. What Does This Passage Teach About Our Ministry?

    - ultimately, we want to take the message of this verse and think
       about how we may need to apply it to the various ways God has
       given us to minister.

    - Let's take a minute, and think about all the different ministries a
       person in our church could be involved in.
       - we can talk about formal ministries of the church, we can talk
           about informal ministries that the Lord gives us....
       - INPUT - (But) What are some of the different ministries a person
                  in our church could be involved in?

    - now, with that in mind, let's think about what this message to
        Archippus can teach us:

    A. Your ministry was given from the Lord.

        - Paul wanted this young man (and apparently this church) to
           remember that the ministry he had was not one he had taken on
           himself
              - this was a ministry that the Lord Jesus Christ had....
                  freely, and graciously, and purposely given to him.

        - would you agree with me, that sometimes....
           - in the heat of ministry
           - in the rigor of ministry
           - in the stress and pressure of ministry....
                - its possible to forget all that God has done in order
                    for you and I to be able to minister for Him in the
                    first place.

        - the point is -- Paul wanted Archippus to be reminded that the
            ministry he had was received "from the Lord Jesus Christ."
               - and the Lord had gone to great lengths to make it
                    possible for him to be able to minister.

- let's think about how that’s true for you and me.

    INPUT - What are all the things God had to do in order for you (or
            any of us) to be able to minister today?

 


- let's go back to what we said a moment ago:
        sometimes....
           - in the heat of ministry
           - in the rigor of ministry
           - in the stress and pressure of ministry....
                - its possible to forget all that God has done in order
                    for you and I to be able to minister for Him in the
                    first place.

- now, let's turn this around for a minute:

    - let's think about how Paul would have wanted these words to effect
       Archippus, and perhaps change Archippus
    - INPUT - what are some characteristics of the person who realizes
               that their ministry has been given to them from the Lord?

            (Because God has entrusted me with this ministry opportunity,
              I must _________.)


    - let's assume for a moment that Archippus was a young man who was
       the interim pastor of this church while the senior pastor,
       Epaphras, was away.
         - knowing what we know about the condition of the church, based
            on what we've been studying for the last 30 weeks
               - it makes a lot of sense why Paul would want Archippus to
                   focus on the fact that "your ministry was given to you
                   from Jesus Christ."

                     - there were people in this church who were
                        questioning the preeminence of Christ.
                     - they were undermining it with legalism, and
                          mysticism, and asceticism.

                     - that could have been very intimidating to this
                       young man.
                          - Paul says, wait a minute, don't forget that
                            your ministry was given to you from the Lord.

- it's very similar to what he said to the Corinthians in I Cor. 15:58 -
    "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always
     abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your
     labor is not in vain in the Lord."

- it's been a joy to watch folks serve the Lord in the Passion Play.
    (not nearly as involved as I used to be-- because the Lord has
      brought us so many qualified and competent people)
      - that can be a very tiring ministry.

      - I don't have any question that there are some folks here this
         morning who are nearly exhausted because of the way they've been
         serving Christ.
      - and I'm sure if you asked them, "why would you be willing to do
         this, there would be a lot of reasons...but one that would
         surely rise to the top would be..."
            - because this is a ministry opportunity that I have received
               from the Lord
                  - and out of love for Him, I want to serve him with all
                      my heart, soul, mind, and strength.

 


- God gave me this voice, I want to use it for Him.
- God gave me this strong body, (or maybe this not so strong body) and I
    want to use it for Him.
- God gave me this time, and I want to use it for Him.

    - Archippus -- don't forget that your ministry was given to you by
        the Lord Himself.

- now, I think what we've been studying so far has been important, but we
   really haven't gotten down yet to the bottom punch line of this verse.

- the overall thrust is:
    B. We must "take heed" to fulfill the ministry God has given.

        Jay Adams translates this part of the verse, "Be sure that you
        CARRY OUT TO THE FULL the service that you have received."

        - that was the temptation that Archippus was facing...
             - to not complete the ministry God had given
             - to not carry it out to completion

             - to fail to minister in the way, and to the extent, that
                 God wanted him to.

        - let's think about that one together:
            - we must take heed to fulfill the ministry God has given.

        INPUT - What might hinder a person from fulfilling the ministry
                 God has given them?

- can I ask you this morning - How might the Lord want to use this verse
    in your life and ministry this morning?

    1) I wonder if some here this morning should say:

        - the Lord wants me to witness to a particular person
        - He has given me that ministry opportunity
           - I will purpose with His help to take heed to fulfill the
               ministry He has given.

    2) Others may need to say, the Lord has given me talent and gifts in
         a particular area...

         - I have been holding back from using them to serve Him in
            ministry
         - but I determine, with His help, that I am going to speak to
             the person in charge of that ministry, and I'm going to
             volunteer to serve in that way
               - I purpose in my heart that I am going to fulfill the
                   ministry He has given.

    3) Others may say, I've been thinking about quitting...

         - its tough to minister in this way
         - I'm not getting what I wanted to get out of this...

         - "Take heed to the ministry you have received in the Lord, that
            you may fulfill it."

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.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video