As Paul concludes his letter to the church in Colossae, he makes special mention of several believers who are with him and he expects to soon be visiting Colossae. Paul’s words concerning Tychicus, Onesimus and Mark teach us about how God is glorified through shadow ministries, submissive hearts, and second chances.
7Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.8I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts,9and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here.
10Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him),11and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me.12Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.13For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis.14Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas.15Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.16And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea.17And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.”
18I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
How do you hope in seasons of sorrow? We see today two particular things Christians hope in doing seasons when the storms of life rage. Firstly, We hope in the character of Christ. Christ is sovereign and all powerful, he is in control, and he knows exactly how much sorrow we can bear. He promises not to burden us with something which will extinguish our faith. Secondly, we hope in the true healing of our heartbreak. Time may well dull the pain of sorrow but it never fully heals it, we look forward to the time when the Lord God will truly heal our heartbreak as we finish the journey and go to be with Him in heaven. Hope in the character of Christ true healing is what can help us journey with Jesus through hard times. We may well even be surprised by worship in the hardest of times.
A bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
Paul exhorts us to walk in wisdom towards outsiders; he wants us to approach people who may not know the Gospel of Christ. Considering this passage from the perspective of someone like this, we are confronted with three critical questions: How are you approaching me, how will you speak to me, and will you answer my questions?
In a society that values and encourages independence, how do we come to a place where we declare our dependence on God? In this passage Paul encourages us to come to God in prayer both for the protection of the church and for opportunities to share the Gospel, freeing us from the weight of our own responsibility and recognising our complete reliance on Him.
2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— 4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
Do we worship God while we work? Is it even possible? If we spend so much of our lives working, it’s worth knowing how to worship while we do it. When we look at how we work what we see is that we are often motivated by a number of things; money, achievement, even pleasing our boss or our colleagues. Ultimately, all of these things will not satisfy us fully and will not last. Paul encourages us to glorify God through our work as we work in the light of Christ being our Lord and look to our inheritance as the reward for work. Despite many of us being aware of our failings at work, the glory of the gospel is that Jesus takes both the burdens of our shortcomings at work and provides for us the perfect ‘work’ record – We can only celebrate the goodness of Jesus Christ, and in doing so again find an opportunity to worship.
22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.
4 Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
Paul wants us to be captivated by a Christ centred vision for family. In this passage he speaks to children and parents about pursuing this vision. What we quickly come to realise is that we can’t do this alone but only through the power of the Holy Spirit as Jesus journeys with us, are we given strength to live out the truths in the passage and can experience hope and joy in our family relationships.
Though this passage is often misunderstood, particularly with regard to the role of women in marriage, it is actually a recipe for real joy in marriage. In today’s sermon John unpacks this passage which portrays the beauty of Christ glorifying self sacrifice in marriage. We also see the wonderful truth that the loving activity of serving one another in marriage show’s people a real, tangible expression of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, who made the ultimate sacrifice for us.
What difference does Christ make in Communities? Should Christ make a difference in our community? If so how much of a difference? Should it be subtle? Should it be radical? In Colossians Paul unpacks the idea of a community radically transformed under the influence of Christ’s Lordship. A Christ centred community is radically transformed as people seek to restore the character of Christ in their relationships with one another, as they are influenced by Christ in their relationships with one another and as they seek to live under the Lordship of Christ in community.
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
What difference does Christ make in Communities? Should Christ make a difference in our community? If so how much of a difference? Should it be subtle? Should it be radical? In Colossians Paul unpacks the idea of a community radically transformed under the influence of Christ’s Lordship. A Christ centred community is radically transformed as people constantly seek to suppress the desire they have for things that don’t belong to them and as they seek to put away any hostility they have against one another.
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:[b] sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.[c]7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self[d] with its practices10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,[e] free; but Christ is all, and in all.
In this passage we are called to seek the things above but how do we do that in reality? John explains how. We need to know God’s powerful work in us, desperately seek Christ and the things above, and long for the glory to come.
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.4 When Christ who is your[a] life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Starting December 25, 2016, Sunday Morning Worship takes place at 10am in the Piano, located on 156 Armagh Street. Free parking for GPC attendees is available off Oxford Terrace.