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Colossians Chapter 4 

Memory verses for this week:   Prov 22:17  Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge. 

Introduction:    In chapter three, we studied how we should die to the physical man and live to the new spiritual man.   We can only do this by walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. 

I.  The Christian Employer’s Life 

Col 4:1  Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.

A Christian employer has to important responsibilities.  His first responsibility is to serve God.   His second responsibility is to his employees.   He should treat them fairly and never threaten them.   Like God, we should not be a respecter of people.  We should treat others as we would want to be treated, and pay a fair wage for a fair days labor.

Ephesians 6:9  And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him

James 5:1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. 3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. 4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. 5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. 6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.

II.  The Christian’s Prayer Life

Col 4:2  Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;

Col 4:3  Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:

Col 4:4  That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

Prayer is a very important thing in the life of the believer.   I don’t think we realize the power each of us has with God when we get on our knees and really mean business with God in praying.   The early Christians had great power with God, and you and I can still move the heart strings of the Father when we pray and believe.

Acts 4:31-33 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. 32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

1 Thessalonians 5:17   Pray without ceasing.

We see in verse 2 that the Christian is to continue in prayer, he is to watch, and he is to be thankful.   Our prayers should never be self centered and always asking for things for ourselves only.   We should remember the answered prayers we have received, and thank the Lord for all the wondrous things he has done for each of us.   If you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you have something to praise God about every day.  Paul tells them to pray for him that God would open unto both him and the people associated with him a door of utterance.   And they were to do that by the mystery of Christ.   Paul was in prison due to his determination to preach the gospel and to tell others about the mystery of Jesus Christ.   And while still bound, his desire was to continue to preach the gospel and to do so with a plain message that all might understand and turn to Christ. 

III.  The Colossians Outward Walk and Speech

Col 4:5  Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

Col 4:6  Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Each of us needs to realize that a day has 24 hours in it, and once it is gone, it is gone forever.  So if we want to do something in the work of the Lord, NOW is the time to do it.   Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow never seems to get here.  Time is valuable, and we should not waste it away.  So we should walk in wisdom towards those that are without, making the very best use of our time.   This could be speaking of those who have little of this world’s goods, but it almost might be talking of those who don’t know Christ.   The world looks to the Christian and should see Christ in our lives.

Romans 13:11  And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

J. Vernon McGee had some good insights on verse 5.

“Walk in wisdom.” The child of God has a responsibility before the world today. Don’t be foolish as a child of God.

We hear so much pious nonsense in our day. There are those who said the Lord would return by 1980. I don’t know where they got such information. There were probably a lot of embarrassed folk with red faces in 1980. Christians have no right to make such statements before an unsaved world. Nor should we say we are trusting the Lord when our actions show that we really are not trusting Him. We should not do foolish things before the world.

A woman in Southern California wrote me a letter and rebuked me for going to the doctor for treatment of my cancer. She said that that was not trusting the Lord. She wrote, “I have cancer and I am trusting the Lord. I don’t go to the doctor.” They buried her not long ago; she died of her cancer. I’m afraid at times we are guilty of causing our neighbors to smile and say, “This Christianity is a foolish sort of thing.” We need to learn to “walk in wisdom toward them that are without.”

“Redeeming the time.” Buy up your opportunities. When you see an opportunity, pray that the Lord will lead you. Don’t force yourself on people. Just pray and ask the Lord to open the door,, and He will open it. I wish I had space to tell you how many times this has happened in my life and in the lives of others. Let Him open the door—before you make the mistake of putting your foot in your mouth. I knocked on many doors when I was a pastor, and I often stepped in and put my foot in my mouth the very first thing. Since then I have learned to do a lot more praying before I walk in.  [1]

When we speak, we need to let God guide our speech.   We should know the Word of God and be able to give an answer to anyone who desires to know about Jesus Christ.   Our speech should be clear, and it should be clean.   Nothing can kill a testimony quicker than for a person claiming to be a Christian to start cursing.  It is appalling to man, and is not pleasing to God.   Many times we offend others through our words.   We need to temper our tongue and ask God to guide us in all our speech.

James 3:8  But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

James 3:9  Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.

James 3:10  Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

Proverbs 18:19  A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.

IV.  Christian Fellowship with Fellow Workers

We notice in the remainder of this chapter that Paul distinguishes between his Jewish and Gentile companions in their labors together. 

Col 4:7  All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord:

Col 4:8  Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts;

Aristarchus, Mark, and Justus are all Jewish Christians.  You notice in verse 11 it speaks of them being of the ‘circumcision’.  Luke, Demas, and Epaphras are all Gentiles.  (note in verse 12 it speaks of Epaphras as ‘one of you’.

Paul seems to have a special love towards Tychicus as he calls him a ‘beloved’ brother and faithful minister.  When others really serve God with sincerity, it makes us proud to know them and to be associated with them.

1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. 6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.  

Col 4:9  With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here.

Col 4:10  Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)

Col 4:11  And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me.

Paul was blessed with many good and faithful Christian friends.  He speaks of Onesimus with much love for all the things that he had done for Paul.  If you remember, Onesimus and Tychicus were the two faithful brothers that were to give a report of Paul’s work to the brethren these in Colosse.

Aristarchus, Mark, and Justus were men who had been a comfort to Paul.   When things are going against us, there is nothing more rewarding than to have a fellow Christian brother or sister come and encourage us.   Many of you know exactly what I’m talking about as it may have been you that encouraged me at a time when I was down.  I know that one of the major focuses of these lessons and the ongoing work of the website is to encourage Christians to a greater walk with the Lord.

1 Th 5:14  Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

1 Th 5:15  See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

1 Th 5:16  Rejoice evermore.

1 Th 5:17  Pray without ceasing.

1 Th 5:18  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

It is worthy to note that earlier Paul had little good to say about Mark and was very unhappy with the young man earlier.  Things are totally changed at this time.

Acts 15:37 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. 38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. 39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; 40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.

Col 4:12  Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

Col 4:13  For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea and them in Hierapolis.

Col 4:14  Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.

We see several men mentioned here that have helped Paul.   Demas was one that later had forsaken Paul for the things of this present evil world.  Why a man would leave God’s work for the world is hard to understand, but we all need to ask God to give us grace to stay with the work God has for each of us.   It doesn’t take anyone special to serve Satan, but it takes a real man or woman who can serve God with faith and integrity. 

2 Timothy 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.  

Col 4:15  Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.

Col 4:16  And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.

Col 4:17  And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.

Col 4:18  The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.

Paul asks that the brethren circulate his letter and let others read it also.  We need to understand that the bible was not written at that time like we have it today. 

4:15 The church in Laodicea met in the house of Nymphas and his family.  [2]

Back in the early days of the church, the scriptures were written on manuscripts and had to go between individuals to be read.   Paul asks them to encourage Archippus in the ministry of the Lord, and to remember to pray for him that he might be freed from the bonds of prison.   Clearly signed by Paul, we know this book was written to those of Colosse while Paul was in prison.


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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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