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Who Are You People?

3/26 – Such an Encouragement (Colossians 4:7-18)

 

Introduction — Paul concludes his letter to the church with greetings. He wants this church to know that they are not alone. He wants them to know that others stand ready to serve. He wants them to know that others stand ready to pray. He wants this church to see all the mighty things God is doing through Paul and his team. He wants this church to know the many ways they receive encouragement. Paul wants them to encourage those he sends their way. Paul wants them to encourage him, too.  Paul’s personal, tender words shine through here. He loves these folks. He wants the best for these folks. He works diligently alongside these folks. They encourage him. They encourage one another. They encourage the church. They are such an encouragement. How about us? Do we readily speak words that build up? Do we recite the obvious ways others serve the Lord? Do we tell them how much we appreciate them and their service? Do we send along helpful news to one another? Do we offer well-timed and well-placed words to one another? Do we lovingly spur one another toward growth in Christ? Do we pray for one another? Do we serve one another? Do we remember the trials others face? Do we delight to overflow with encouraging words?

 

A host of folks encouraged Paul at just the right time. They encouraged him readily and steadily. They served him.  They worked alongside him. They learned from him. They prayed for him. They helped him. They loved him. They shared his love for the church. They shared his love for Christ. They greatly encouraged both him and the church. They proved over and over that they were such an encouragement.

 

Let’s prove to be people who encourage each other. (11)

 

Let’s pray for each other. (12, 13)

 

Comments: Paul’s prayer for the church and his call for the church to pray permeates the letter. (1:2, 9, 12; 2:7; 3:16, 17; 4:2, 12, 18) Paul is serious about prayer. Paul devotes himself to prayer. Paul’s prayers are faithful and focused. Paul seeks the heart of God. Paul asks God to give every person in the church godly wisdom so that they will walk by faith in Christ. Paul wants them to please Christ in every facet of life. That Paul prays is obvious. That Paul urges the church to pray is obvious, as well. Paul wants them to know prayer is vital. To converse with God is essential to each Christian. Questions: Do we pray? Do we pray often? Do we pray with fervor? Do we pray with a focus on other’s growth in Christ? Illustration: We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you. (Col. 1:3)

 

Transition: There is a close link between prayer and witness. What we hear from God fuels our prayers to God. This is timely encouragement.

 

Let’s tell each other the mighty things God is doing. (7, 13, 14, 16)

 

Comments: From the outset of the letter, Paul shows how what they heard about God’s work spurred them to pray fervently for God’s work. Epaphras brought news of God’s work among the church. Next, Paul and crew heard that the church was thriving, and they prayed for that growth to continue. Paul and his team prayed for God’s work to flourish among the church there in Colossae. Questions: Do we tell each other the mighty things God is doing? Does this news spur us to further prayer? Do we thrill to hear what God is doing in someone else someplace else? Illustration: For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. (Col. 1:9)

 

Transition: There is also a close link between prayer to God and service for God. We serve those we pray for and we pray for those we serve.

 

Let’s go out of our way to serve each other. (7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18)

 

Comments: Paul and his team served the church well. They agonized over them in constant prayer. This team brought news back and forth from the church. This team gave themselves in service to the church. This team went out of their way to serve the church, and they urged the church to do the same. (Col. 3:12-4:1) Questions: Do we go out of our way to serve each other? Do we agonize to see each other mature in Christ? Illustration: Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. (Col. 2:6-7)

 

Transition: We must go out of our way to serve each other. One clear way to serve involves a tough reminder to remain faithful to the Lord.

 

Let’s urge each other to remain faithful to the Lord. (17)

 

Comments: Some of Paul’s last words to the church include a directive to offer potentially tough words to one of the members there. Paul wants them to speak to him: Say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received from the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” (17)

In another letter (more than likely sent at the same time), Paul refers to Archippus as “our fellow soldier.” Though these are the only two references to this gentleman, we see the care and concern Paul has for Archippus. Paul sees him as a holy, beloved, chosen child of God who needs a quick jolt, a tough, yet loving reminder to stay faithful to the Lord. Paul sees the potential that Archippus doesn’t see or refuses to see.

Questions: Do we urge each other to remain faithful to the Lord? Do we speak tough words when needed? Illustration: We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me. (Col. 1:28-29)

 

Transition: Whatever we do in word or deed, we must do all in the name of the Lord Jesus. (Col. 3:17)

 

Let’s love each other. (7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 18)

Comments: The love Paul has for this church shines through here. The love he has for those on his team shines through here. He loves them, and he loves the Lord. And Paul wants them to continue in that love. They are to clothe themselves in love. They are to share their love with each other. They must love each other. Questions: Do we sincerely love each other? Do we love the Lord Jesus Christ? Do we openly show His love to everyone around us? Illustration: Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. (Col. 3:14)

Word Study for Colossians 4:7-18

7 brother (adelphos—brother; fellow believer; near kinsman; neighbor; fellow man)

7 fellow bond-servant (syndoulos—fellow slave; fellow servant)

8 encourage (parakaleo—invite; comfort; exhort; ask for earnestly; call together; summon to)

10 welcome (dechomai—receive; accept; take; take hold of; accept and forgive; believe)

11 fellow workers (synergos—helping; helper; furthering; fellow worker; working together)

11 encouragement (paregoria—comfort; assistance; benevolence; exhortation; persuasion; consolation)

12 laboring earnestly (agonizomai—compete; fight; to contend; to exert; strive with intensity)

12 fully assured (plerophoreo—be complete; be completely certain; accomplish fully; bring to full measure)

13 deep (polys—many; much; great; abundant)

13 concern (ponos—pain; hard work; toil; tiring labor)

15 church (ekklesia—congregation; assembly; ones called out; church)

15 house (oikos—dwelling; abode; family; property; dwelling place)

16 have (poieo—do; make; cause to be; perform)

17 take heed to (blepo—see; be able to see; watch out for; think about; cause to happen; face towards)

17 fulfill (pleroo—make full; be filled; be complete; continually fulfill)

18 remember (mnemoneuo—remember; keep thinking about; call to mind; mention)

18 grace (charis—kindness; gift; thanks; beauty; goodwill; favor; gracious gift)

 

Application for Colossians 4:7-18

Let’s cultivate close friendships with one another

Let’s serve one another.

Let’s encourage one another.

Let’s keep one another in the loop of good happenings.

Let’s work hard together for the kingdom.

Let’s agonize for one another in prayer.

Let’s maintain a deep concern for one another.

Let’s help one another to fulfill the ministry given by God.

Let’s greet one another.

Let’s encourage the leaders of the church.

 

Gospel Connections for Colossians 4:7-18

The Father sent His Son, Jesus to testify to the truth. Jesus is the truth. Jesus came to serve. One way Jesus served others was by praying for them. He agonized over the well-being of others. Shortly before His arrest, Jesus prayed for His disciples. He asked the Father to protect them from the evil one. Jesus asked the Father to sanctify them in truth. Jesus fulfilled the ministry entrusted to Him by the Father. Jesus is the Word. Jesus became flesh. Jesus is glorious—full of grace and truth. Jesus died to bring life. Jesus died to bring hope. Jesus now entrusts the gospel to His disciples. He gives us the message of hope. He sends us to make disciples. He sends us to bring encouragement.

 

Thoughts and Quotes for Colossians 4:7-18

God is never a God of discouragement. When you have a discouraging spirit or train of thought in your mind, you can be sure it is not from God. He sometimes brings pain to his children-conviction over sin, or repentance over fallenness, or challenges that scare us, or visions of his holiness that overwhelm us. But God never brings discouragement. ~ John Ortberg

 

All around you are people whose lives are filled with trouble and sorrow, and they need your compassion and encouragement. ~ Billy Graham

 

Weak hearts will be strengthened, and drooping saints will be revived as they listen to our "songs of deliverance." Their doubts and fears will be rebuked, as we teach and admonish one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. ~ Charles H. Spurgeon

 

When you encourage others, you in the process are encouraged because you're making a commitment and difference in that person's life. Encouragement really does make a difference. ~ Zig Ziglar

 

A word of encouragement from a teacher to a child can change a life. A word of encouragement from a spouse can save a marriage. A word of encouragement from a leader can inspire a person to reach her potential. ~ John C. Maxwell

 

We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone. ~ Ronald Reagan

 

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. Never throw out anyone. ~ Audrey Hepburn

 

Your most precious memories will focus on those you loved, those who loved you, and what you did together in the service of the Lord. ~ James C. Dobson

 

There are two ways each of us can approach life: spending our days meeting our needs or looking for ways to meet others' needs. The mystery is that when we spend our life focused on our own needs, we are never satisfied . . . but when we pour out our life and focus on how we can serve others . . . our deepest needs are met as well!

~ Eric Ludy, When God Writes Your Love Story

 

Further Application of Colossians 4:7-18

Let’s bring a timely message of hope to each other. (7, 16)

Let’s long to see each other grow in our walk with Christ. (8)

Let’s share ministry with each other. (9)

Let’s remember we’re not alone in ministry. (10)

Let’s pray for each other. (12)

Let’s seek to hear the mighty things God is doing in other places. (7, 13, 14, 16)

Let’s go out of our way to serve each other. (7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16)

Let’s urge each other to remain faithful to the Lord. (17)

Let’s remain faithful to the Lord. (17)
Let’s be there for each other. (8, 11, 12, 13)

Let’s speak God’s grace to each other. (18)

Let’s love each other. (7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 18)