Temple Baptist Church - 1-22-2014
A. The work of the local church is a diverse one with each believer an integral part of the “machinery” that runs it. God has placed each of us within the body as the Holy Spirit willed.
1. Every piece of the “machinery” is different - 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. (5) And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. (6) And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
2. Every piece of the “machinery” is necessary – 1 Corinthians 12:22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
3. Every piece of the “machinery” is to be unified - Colossians 2:19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.
B. As we finish the Book of Colossians, we find the Apostle Paul commending some of those who labored fervently in the work of the local church and the Lord.
1. I find no place recorded where they ever labored for the purpose of being commended. Our motivation should be to please the Lord and see souls come to Christ.
1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
2. I do know that God sees, keeps a record, and will one day commend them though!
Matthew 10:42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
1. Tychicus – vs. 7 - a faithful and beloved brother who labored with Paul in communicating with the church of the Colossians. A faithful man who could keep the message right! He could be trusted with their only true means of communication. Today, there is little of this as we have telephones, cell phones, laptops, texts, and emails to communicate with but it is still important that people hear right and repeat right if necessary. By the way, you do not have to repeat everything that you hear!
2. Onesimus – vs. 9 - a true and faithful convert who remained with Paul to labor with him. What a blessing: a runaway slave became one of Paul’s greatest converts. He was a young man who saw the error of not only his ways but the eternal path that he was on, repented of his sin and turned to Christ. His master (Book of Philemon) allowed him to remain with Paul after his conversion and he never forgot nor forsook his spiritual father.
3. Aristarchus – vs. 10 - a fellow prisoner who remained true to the Lord in a dire circumstance and greatly encouraged Paul in his bonds through example and fellowship. Though in prison, this precious man never got disappointed with the Lord nor bitter concerning his circumstances. What an encouragement to the Apostle Paul to have another brother in which he could confide and with whom he could fellowship. Can you imagine the prayer meetings that these men had?
4. Marcus – vs. 10 - a young man who went not to the work with Paul and Barnabas, later matured and was rejected by Paul but, instead of being hurt and quitting, became both a blessing and essential to the great apostle in his imprisonment and later years. He was a young man who not only continued to grow in the Lord after being rejected but was given a second chance by Barnabas and, eventually the great apostle. He was truly profitable to Paul in the ministry as he could now be counted on.
5. Jesus, called Justus – vs. 11 - a converted Jew who suffered the rejection that comes to a Jewish believer through conversion to Christ. Most of us that are saved never pay a price in this country for confessing Christ as our personal Saviour. We are truly blessed but there are certain races or religions that ostracize those who convert to Christianity. Orothodox Jews are often known to have your “funeral” when you convert. He never forgot what price the Lord paid for his redemption.
6. Epaphras – vs. 12 - a member of the church of the Colossians who was a faithful prayer warrior who prayed fervently for those of his local church along with other churches in the region. Lately, I have preached much on the subject of prayer because of its importance to both our personal walk with the Lord and the work of the ministry. This man labored fervently in prayer for those in the church. What a blessing to know that someone in the church is praying for you each day.
7. Luke, the beloved physician – vs. 14 – Paul’s faithful companion who never left his side during his incarceration. “Only Luke is with me” is one of the most quoted verses concerning faithfulness. Luke was Paul’s attending physician and, yes, he could keep his own doctor! Paul said that his bodily presence was weak (2 Corinthians 10:10) and so possibly needed medical care. The gift of healing was one of the passing gifts and the “healer” could no longer heal (Philippians 2:25-27; 2 Timothy 4:20) at this time and had need of a physician.
8. Demas – vs. 14 – At the time of this epistle, Demas continued to faithfully labor with the Apostle Paul in the ministry and was a blessing to many. Demas labored with Paul for years but would later forsake him, having loved this present world. It is a sad commentary and discouragement when we lose a good brother or sister in the Lord to the world. I believe that this is a warning to all of us, from the pulpit to the pew! You may be faithful and laboring fervently today but allow sinfulness to overtake you and be gone tomorrow. None of us are exempt from this possibility.
9. Nymphas – vs. 15 – this man chose to allow the church to locate in his home bringing all of the reproach of Christ down upon his family. He chose to suffer much for the cause of Christ in a wicked city by identifying not only himself but his household with his beloved Saviour. There was enough persecution for a believer to turn to Christ as it is but to allow the local church to assemble in your home was to place a target upon your back. God blessed this man for his willingness to suffer that the local church have a place to meet.
10. Archippus – vs. 17 – the pastor at Colossae. Paul admonished him to “take heed” to the ministry that he had received in the Lord to oversee, guide, and teach the church. God’s man for this work was God’s gift to these precious believers. Many professing believers in our day do not think that need a pastor but everyone of us do! God’s man will feed you, watch over you, counsel you, guide you, pray for you, suffer with you, and be there for you! Even the most spiritual of believers needs a man of God!