The friendship and fellowship together of fellow servants in the Lord, is a great refreshment under the sufferings and difficulties in the way. It adds much to the beauty and strength of the Gospel ministry when Christ’s servants are loving and condescending towards one another. Let the people of God pray particularly for those over them in the Lord, that God may enable them to speak as they ought to speak and that doors of utterance may be opened.
1 Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.
2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
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:
4 That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
7 All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord:
8 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts;
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.
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;)
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.
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.
13 For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.
14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.
15 Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.
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.
17 And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.
18 The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.
¶ Written from Rome to the Colossians by Tychicus and Onesimus.
Colossians 4:1-4 – J. Vernon McGee
Colossians 4:5-6 – J. Vernon McGee
Colossians 4:7-14 – J. Vernon McGee
Colossians 4:15-18 – J. Vernon McGee
Colossians 4:1 – Business Relations
It is especially beautiful to notice the Apostle’s constant reference to the bond-slaves who formed so important an element in the early Church. There they learned that in Christ all souls were free, and that in Him also master and slave were brethren. Stealing out at night from the arduous labors of his lot, many a poor slave would return with new conceptions of his daily tasks, to be applied to the service rendered to his Lord. No angel in heaven’s high temple has more definite service to the King than any honest and industrious servant may daily render to Jesus. Here is the dignity of labor indeed! And, masters, remember your Master. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Colossians 4:2-9 – Prayer and Daily Living
We must pray more. Our lives cannot maintain the Godward attitude without prolonged seasons of communication with Him through the Word. This is so important that we must be ever on the watch against whatever might mar the life of devotion. Intercession will often unlock frost-bitten lips and make our souls glow. Withal praying also for us. If we are shut in and cannot perform active service, we can surely pray for those who are entrusted with the mystery of Christ; and let those who are called to active service be ready to step in when God opens the door, Colossians 4:3. The limitations of life are no excuse for idleness, Colossians 4:4.
It is not easy to walk in wisdom towards those that are without. But God will teach us how to buy up opportunities and crowd each of them with good service. Our talk may sparkle like salt and purify as it does. Paul bound his fellow-workers to himself by the high estimate he placed on them. Love idealizes. Probably we should have thought some of these men to be very ordinary, but the Apostle saw them in hues borrowed from his own heart. Onesimus, a runaway slave, recently converted, is described as a faithful and beloved brother! —Through the Bible Day by Day
Colossians 4:10-18 – Christian Greetings
What a noble group had gathered round the Apostle in his enforced residence in Rome! That hired room of his must have been filled time after time with most interesting groups; and each friend was dear to the lion-heart, and intent on some act of loving devotion. Aristarchus had been with him in the Ephesian riot; Mark was endeavoring to make good his former lapse of courage; Epaphras, who had come from Colosse, was remarkable for his soul-agony and prayer-labor on his friends’ behalf; Luke, the beloved physician, always on the alert to minister to the malaria or other malady that afflicted him; and Demas, of whom perhaps he had begun to have suspicions, II Timothy 4:10. Archippus is believed to have been a son of Philemon, and chief presbyter of Laodicea. Does the injunction, Colossians 4:16, imply that already the church there had begun to grow cold, Revelation 3:15? The closing words were probably written in autograph. The clumsy handwriting was accounted for by the weight of the fetters on the poor wrists, yet his heart was full of love and joy. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Colossians 4:12-13—Always labouring for you in prayers… he hath a great zeal for you.
This is a very beautiful epitaph on a good man’s life. He had came from Colosse with tidings for the apostle; but amid all the crowding interests of his visit to Rome his heart was with his friends, and he sought to help them, as we may all help dear ones far away.
He labored for them in prayer. It was no runaway knock that he gave; no light breathing of desire; no formal mention of their names: but it seemed as though he were a wrestler, whose muscles stood out like whipcord as he agonised for the prize. He labored. We shall never know, till we stand in the clear light of heaven, how much has been wrought in the world by prayer. Here, at least, there is mention of a man’s labors. Probably the work on the results of which we are wont to pride ourselves is due less to us than we suppose, and more to unrecognized fellow-laborers.
There is a pretty legend which tells of the dream of a great preacher who was marvellously used of God, and inclined to magnify himself and his gifts; but who was instructed by an angel of God that his success was entirely attributable to a poor widow, who sat regularly in the free seats at the foot of his pulpit, and who never ceased to pray for him. May the writer ask of any who receive benefit from these words to labor for him in prayer to God.
Let us be careful to mingle much intercession with all our prayers, especially on the behalf of missionaries and lonely workers in foreign lands, that they may realize that we are actually working and laboring beside them, though many thousands of miles intervene. —Our Daily Homily