This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE

colossiansTree[5971]PART 2: JESUS OUR MINISTRY- COLOSSIANS 4:7-9

READ: Colossians 4:7-9

“7 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. 8 I have sent him to you for this very purpose—to let you know how we are doing and to encourage you. 9 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.” Colossians 4:7-9 New Living Translation

*These final paragraphs in this letter are not an afterthought. While they might at first seem to be a random collection of greetings and references to people, there is a common thread. They illustrate real life for those who trust the full revelation of God in Christ and the finished work of Christ on the cross. They remind us that the Christian life is about living together as a community of believers.

Verses 7-9 we learn about Paul’s fellow gospel workers who are being sent to Colossae by Paul.
1. Tychicus comes highly recommended and had been sent to encourage the Colossians (also by delivering Paul’s letter to them). He is described in verse 7:
‘beloved brother’– gospel workers aren’t meant to be rivals nor professionals but a network of brothers and sisters working together in love for each other.
‘faithful helper’ [ minister]- (read also 2 Timothy 4:12) – Faithfulness is the characteristic of ministry which comes through time and testing. Tychicus proved this in the long term.
‘serves with me’ [fellow servant] – ‘Servant’ is better translated as ‘slave’. Paul and his team of gospel workers didn’t see themselves as celebrity speakers but as people owned by the Master.
2. Onesimus, although he is a slave (see Philemon), is treated by Paul in the same way as his own associates in ministry- and is more importantly, described:
‘faithful and beloved brother’ – Here we see the radical effects of the gospel on relationships and social status. (Read also Colossians 3:11 and 3:22-4:1) The marginalised and disregarded become our brother and sister in Christ. Being converted to Christ changes everything about who we are.
1. What do these verses teach us about how to pray for our spiritual leaders?
2. Are there believers in your context who you might not treat as dearly loved brothers and sisters? How might you change that?
Prayer: Thank you for Lord for giving us these examples in the scripture today to teach and remind us that we are to live out our lives for Christ with other believers. Help us to be faithful to the gospel by loving our brothers and sisters in Christ. Help us pray for one another as live counter-culturally for the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

*(Thank you to Andy Mason for his material in Colossians: Alive in Christ, of which a large part of today’s study has been taken)