Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.” Psalms 1:1-2 NLT
What company do you keep? Do you delight in the Word Of God? You can't soar with eagles when you hang out with chickens and turkeys. You are what you eat. When you watch television for hours each day, spend countless hours on social media, neglect regular church attendance, and omit the reading of God's Word from your daily routine, you become like the world instead of like Christ. We all must take care of certain things such as working, paying bills, house chores, spending tome with family, etc. The problem is created when we do all of these things without a mind and life that is founded upon the Lord Jesus Christ. We must, daily, take in spiritual nourishment from His Word. We must allow Him first place in our lives. He cannot be placed at the margins of our lives or placed upon a shelf and retrieved at our "convenience". As a believer and disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is imperative that we program our hearts and minds with His Word. We can't do this by being addicted to our devices or caught up in our personal pursuits. We MUST get back to the Word on a consistent, daily, spiritual diet. The interesting thing about God's Word is that can't overeat or get fat by ingesting too much of it. In fact, things in the spiritual realm are diametrically opposite to that in the natural fallen state of man. When we eat too many t.v. shows, spend too much time on social media, and eat too many cheeseburgers, we develop unhealthy lives. When we stay in God's Word, spend our days in His presence, and commune with Him as our social media, everything gets placed in its proper perspective and priority. We, then, become healthy, vibrant, active saints of God at work in His kingdom. Are you spending your life chasing the wind, seeking illusive pots of gold at the end of receding rainbows? Stop living in a bubble that is destined to pop. Give your interests to the Lord Jesus and let Him have your life, not just your fondness.
“HERE IS MY GREETING IN MY OWN HANDWRITING—PAUL. Remember my chains. May God’s grace be with you.” Colossians 4:18 NLT
A stenographer would write down the dictations of the one composing the letter. Every courtroom in our time has one that record the proceedings. Paul inserted his own handwriting at the end of this book to verify that it was legitimately from him. He asks the Colossians to remember his chains (prison incarceration). Paul was in prison in Rome and wanted the churches to keep him lifted in prayer as well as mindful of the cost of devotion to Christ. Surely no one would be imprisoned for something they weren't devoted to. Paul had gone the distance. He was sold out to Christ. NOTHING in this life mattered to Paul as much as Jesus Christ. Preaching the gospel was his life mission. Would to God that we had some preachers like that in our time. Most preachers today speak a "feel good" Americanized gospel that is all about the recipients comfort, promotion, and prosperity. WHAT ABOUT CHRIST??????? What happened to the God called preachers that loved Jesus more than life itself? What happened to the preachers who were more concerned about speaking the truth, living it out, and emptying themselves to the very end for the cause of Christ? Many ministers in our time are more concerned about personal comforts and the salary-benefits package than actually preaching the absolute, unadulterated truth of the gospel. What happened to the God called, Holy Ghost anointed preachers who believed God called them to carry the eternal message of Christ to the world instead of being politically, culturally, traditionally, and socially acceptable?? There is a Master! There is a mission! There is a message! There is a motivation! Let's get back to it!! I leave you today as Paul did the Colossians - in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. God knows we all need it to fulfill His work, in His church, in this world.
“And say to Archippus, “Be sure to carry out the ministry the Lord gave you.”” Colossians 4:17 NLT
Archippus is mentioned twice in the New Testament (Colossians 4:17 and Philemon 1:2). He is called a fellow soldier in Philemon. Apparently, Archippus was a church leader and minister. He is encouraged by Paul to fulfill his call of service. We, too, would do well to understand the importance of our service to Christ. We all play a part in the function of the body of Christ. No matter what our particular position in the church may be, we are all in this together. Each of us are needed to make the body operate in a healthy, efficient manner. What are you doing in service to the Lord Jesus? Are you engaged in the operation of His body, the church? Being saved is marvelous. However, Jesus didn't save you to sit, soak, and sour until you die or He returns. You are designed by Almighty God for a specific purpose. Seek Him today and ask Him to show you what you should do. Great intentions are worthless without action. Let's all get busy serving the Master. Today, let me encourage you to take a real good look at your life and ask one question: Am I serving Jesus or living for myself? Be ready and willing to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you with conviction and clarity. He is always ready to speak to you if you will simply yield to Him. Archippus, get busy doing what you know God has called you to do.
“After you have read this letter, pass it on to the church at Laodicea so they can read it, too. And you should read the letter I wrote to them. Colossians 4:16 NLT
Laodicea was near Colossae in Asia Minor (the land we now call Turkey). Paul's letter (what is now named Colossians) was such a clear declaration of Christology (the branch of theology concerning the person, nature, and role of Christ Jesus) that he wanted it read by the Laodiceans as well. The book of Colossians is a "MASTERpiece". There is nowhere else in the epistles (letters from the apostles) that Jesus is as clearly outlined in His Supremacy and Preeminence as God Himself. This letter, without question, defines the identity of Jesus. It behoves every born again believer, just as it did the Colossians and the Laodiceans, to clearly understand who Jesus is, what He has accomplished, and our obligation to obey His Lordship. Let us ask God for His understanding in this most important doctrine. After all, the church is built by, and upon, Him. “Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” Matthew 16:18 NLT "Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.” Ephesians 2:20 NLT Do we really understand who Jesus is in the church today? A serious study of Colossians will set the record straight and set our feet on the right path.
“I am also sending Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, one of your own people. He and Tychicus will tell you everything that’s happening here. Aristarchus, who is in prison with me, sends you his greetings, and so does Mark, Barnabas’s cousin. As you were instructed before, make Mark welcome if he comes your way. Jesus (the one we call Justus) also sends his greetings. These are the only Jewish believers among my co-workers; they are working with me here for the Kingdom of God. And what a comfort they have been! Epaphras, a member of your own fellowship and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends you his greetings. He always prays earnestly for you, asking God to make you strong and perfect, fully confident that you are following the whole will of God. I can assure you that he prays hard for you and also for the believers in Laodicea and Hierapolis. Luke, the beloved doctor, sends his greetings, and so does Demas. Please give my greetings to our brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church that meets in her house.” Colossians 4:9-15 NLT
Onesimus, a former run away slave, is now a faithful follower of Christ and, apparently, a familiar name among the Colossians. Tychicus is again mentioned as well. Aristarchus was a committed follower of Christ from Thessalonica. He is mentioned five times in the New Testament - Acts 19:29; 20:4; 27:2; Colossians 4:10; Philemon 1:24). Here in this passage (A.D. 60-61) Aristarchus was a fellow inmate of Paul in Rome. On this occasion Paul was not alone while in prison. Later, approximately four years (A.D. 64), Paul would once again find himself in a Roman prison. This tome he would be all alone. He would not come home the second time. He would write a farewell address to his protege, Timothy, in 2 Timothy just weeks before his death.Mark is mentioned here. Earlier in ministry Mark had deserted Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey (see Acts 13:13). Mark had apparently returned to his service in ministry. Isn't God's grace amazing? God had restored Mark. The Hebrew meaning of the name Mark is "Yahweh is Gracious". He would later write the gospel of Mark. Justus is mentioned (also called Jesus - not Jesus Christ). He could be the same one mentioned in Acts 1:23 as a considered replacement for Judas Iscariot.
Epaphrus, a native Colossian and faithful gentile servant of Christ, sends his greetings. He was a prayer warrior for his people. We certainly need these. Luke, the gentile doctor and stenographer, also sent his greeting. Lastly, Demas, a fellow ministry comrade, is mentioned. He sent his greetings as well. Sadly, when Paul writes 2 Timothy four years later, Demas had deserted him and pursued the things of this life (see 2 Timothy 4:10).We, too, have an opportunity to serve Christ our Lord. Will we be present and accounted for in our post of duty?
“Tychicus will give you a full report about how I am getting along. He is a beloved brother and faithful helper who serves with me in the Lord’s work. I have sent him to you for this very purpose—to let you know how we are doing and to encourage you.” Colossians 4:7-8 NLT
Tychicus is mentioned six times in the New Testament (Acts 20:4; Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7, 9; 2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:12). In Ephesians 6:21-22 and Colossians 4:7-8 Paul virtually says the exact same thing concerning this man. Each time he is referenced as a beloved brother and faithful servant (minister). He was a dedicated, trustworthy servant of the Lord Jesus Christ who would deliver Paul's letter and update the church concerning Paul's status. Having godly, dedicated, faithful brothers and sisters in Christ is essential to the continued work of the church. Many people walk through church doors but a minority of them are actually faithful in their service to the Master. There is a distinct difference between "Christian" association and true devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. I am afraid that many in our time who attend church services are associates rather than disciples. Associates want the benefits of Christ without the commitment and service. They profess Jesus as Savior but deny His Lordship by their lifestyle. Perhaps they are simply immature in their faith. Perhaps they don't study the scriptures to gain understanding about their walk with God. Perhaps they have "good intentions" but never fulfill them. There are a host of "perhaps". The reality is simply this: Few actually serve Christ in devotion and faithful service. Attending church should be an obligation for any believer. Serving should also be. We cannot claim to be a part of the body of Christ and not serve to promote its vital health. Thank God for Tychicus. His name is still being shared almost 2000 years after his service was rendered. One thing begs for a response: Will you be a beloved brother, or sister, in Christ and will your faithful service be remembered? Do you render any service to be remembered? That is certainly something to ponder and respond to. Don't just "go" to church, "be" the church. Will you be a Tychicus?
Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”
Colossians 4:5-6 NLT
As followers of Christ we must use wisdom in dealing with unbelievers. We cannot act like a steam roller or bulldozer. We must use discernment and discretion. We cannot throw around religious jargon or spiritual cliches and expect the non-believer to understand, appreciate, or accept our proclamations. We must first live a life that underscores our profession. People see more than they hear. Hypocrisy can be spotted a mile away. Don't be obnoxious either. No one likes a "know it all" or a "loud mouth". “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29 NLT Showing our genuine love for people will go farther than anything. “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”” John 13:34-35 NLT. People don't care what we know until they know we care. We don't have to win the argument but we must win the soul. Being right can be overrated. Yes, it is important to be doctrinally sound but it is also important to know how to speak with the wisdom of God in any situation. A great example of this is John chapter 4 where Jesus goes to Samaria and encounters a woman at a well that had been married five times and was now living with a man. He didn't scold her for her tainted past and immoral present. He simply used water as a point of conversation and utilized it as an opportunity to speak truth to her spirit. The conclusion of it was this: she believed on Him and went back into town, shared her encounter with Jesus with the whole city, and brought them out to meet Him. The twelve disciples didn't want to stay around since they weren't "supposed" to go through Samaria. It was an "unacceptable" place to be, according to Jews. They despised Samaritans. Jesus loved them. In one simple encounter with a woman at a well, Jesus changed the life of a dysfunctional person and changed the direction of a culture and city. May God help us to do the same. May He grant us supernatural wisdom, knowledge, and discernment as we encounter various scenarios along this road of life. Remember: it's more important to win the soul than to win the argument. Speak under the influence of the Holy Spirit. He knows what needs to be said and what doesn't. Use your words wisely. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”
Proverbs 25:11 KJV
“Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should.”
Colossians 4:3-4 NLT
Paul, more than anything else, wanted to share the gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone. His passion was to make Christ known to the whole world. No matter where he was, no matter what the circumstances were, Paul was on a mission. Nothing else in life really mattered to Paul. We see this very fact in Philippians 1:21 where he said “For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.” NLT. Even while writing Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon, Paul was sitting in Rome in prison awaiting trial. Many "Christians" in our time profess to know Christ, but deny Him in their lifestyle. Their pursuits are clear evidence of who their God really is. We have associate Christianity in our time. As many "believers" in Christ as there are in America, a question begs for an answer - Why haven't we changed the world? Our faith in Christ isn't a part of lives, it is our life. Everything we think, say, and do should be under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Our life should be yielded to Him for His purpose and glory.
Let us pray that God will give us opportunities, that we will recognize them, and that we will be ready to share Jesus with anyone, anywhere. Today, may I ask you to pray for me that I, too, will have opportunities given to me that I may share Christ Jesus my Lord. I want to live for Him and I want to die for Him!
Is your faith more than a weekly church service? Is Christ truly the Lord of your life? If so, I pray that God will grant you open doors of opportunity to share Him with others and may He also grant you wisdom, knowledge, boldness, and discernment in your sharing. Let's live, and give, our lives for the cause of Christ Jesus our Lord!!!
Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.” Colossians 4:2 NLT
Pray - to beg, plead, ask, entreat, implore, petition, beseech. The Holy Spirit reminds us here that we should be devoted to prayer. Prayer is a discipline that is developed by practicing it. I'm not speaking of a monotonous ritual that is done only to check off of a list of things to do. I'm speaking of a time of communication with God. He's always available and accessible. In fact, He longs, and patiently waits, for us to come to Him. “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:16 NLT He understands us - “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin.”
Hebrews 4:15 NLT Jesus is that High Priest!!! He has made it possible for each of us to come individually, and personally, into the throne room without fear. In the time of the kings, no one could simply barge in the presence of the king. Only by invitation or special permission could one come before the king. Through Jesus Christ, God beckons us to come anytime anywhere. Jesus is the only way to come into the Throne Room. “For, There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5 NLT.
We must enter in the name of Jesus. Prayer is made alive and powerful in the name of Jesus! Prayer has four main steps:
1. Adoration - taking time to praise God. Praise isn't thanksgiving. They are two separate things. Praise recognizes Him for who He is (Creator, Master, Savior, Deliverer, Sustainer, etc).
2. Confession - recognition of sin and repentance. We must daily, and constantly throughout the day, be conscientious of our sins. We do this by being submissive to, and in tune with, the Holy Spirit.
3. Thanksgiving - taking the time recognize God for what He has done (provided food, protection, another day of life, salvation, etc.).
4. Supplication - pleading with God concerning our needs and desires with sincere conviction and humility.
I encourage you to do this daily and throughout each day. I Thessalonians 5:17 says “Never stop praying.” NLT God is waiting!
“Masters, be just and fair to your slaves. Remember that you also have a Master—in heaven.” Colossians 4:1 NLT
God expects those who are in authority to exercise justice and fairness to those under their charge. God is watching our treatment of those who are our subordinates. We should always remember these things:
1. Every person deserves being treated with dignity.
2. We should ask ourselves how we would want to be treated if we were the subordinate.
3. God is always watching and listening.
Simply abiding by Jesus instruction in Matthew 7:12 will take care of all three things: ““Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” NLT
Rev. Curtis Norris