Mike Gerhardt, Colossians 4:7-14, Be Graceful part 1, 05-12-19. There has been a lot of talk about the latest superhero movie and I know what it is all about: spoiler alert it's about making money. Just to let you know we have superheroes right here today. We call them moms. Being full of grace is a necessity. What are some of the superpowers that moms have? Able to fold fitted sheets. Cry when she's happy. Retrieve un-flushable objects from the toilet with bare hands. Kiss her baby's feet. Silently speak volumes with The Look. Refuse to pick up stray animals and not feel guilty. Sense when her kids are quietly up to no good. Find a show-and-tell object before the school bus pulls to a complete stop (junk mail illustrates the wasteful use of natural resources). Make each child feel like the favorite. Empty boy’s pockets & not be shocked by what she finds, dead or alive. Say things like, Oh that is just a little poop. Get by with little sleep, no vacation, and still think parenting is the best job in the world.
Remember this couplet: Man may work from sun to sun, but woman’s work is never done.
A man came home from work to find total mayhem at home. The kids were outside still in their pajamas playing in the mud. As he went into the house dishes everywhere, strewn with toys and various items of clothing, dog food spilled over, a broken lamp, and a pile of sand by the back door. He headed up the stairs to look for his wife. He was worried that something had happened to her. He found her still in bed in her pajamas reading a book. She looked up, smiled, and asked how his day went. He looked at her and asked: What happened here? She smiled and said: You know every day when you come home from work and ask me what I did today? He said Yes. She replied, Well, today I didn’t do it!
I think to raise a family it’s better done as a team effort, father and mother together, yet that often is not the case. But it does take a team effort to do God's work. The apostle Paul incorporated others in ministry. Think about this: more than 100 different Christians were associated with Paul. Romans16 names 26 coworkers alone! Paul was committed to Team Ministry. Obviously, you can achieve far more as a team than you can alone. If you are a born again baptized Christian, you are part of the team and not just someone on the sideline. Once upon a time, there were four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. But Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it. But Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about it because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, And Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody, and Nobody did the job that Anybody could have done in the first place.
In the local church teamwork is the Biblical way of doing things with God-given grace. Paul mentioned 10 individuals. I see three groups. Those who are sent (verses 7-9). Tychicus and Onesimus were sent by Paul to the Church at Colossae. They were postmen with two important letters: one to the Ephesians and this letter. They also dropped off a personal letter to Philemon. Later Paul sent Tychicus to Crete. Acts 20:4 when Paul left Ephesus Tychicus was on the team, a man you could trust. He helped Paul deliver the offering from the Gentile churches to the poor believers in Judea. Tychicus was trusted to share with the Colossian Christians the details of Paul’s difficult situation in Rome and had also experienced those hardships first hand staying with Paul thru it all. Someone has said that the greatest ability in the world is dependability. Tychicus is described as a dependable “fellow servant”. Onesimus came from Colossae and was a slave who belonged to Philemon. Onesimus stole money from Philemon and ran away. He ended up in Rome, where he met the apostle Paul and was converted. Paul sent Onesimus back to his Philemon his master with a letter asking Philemon to receive him and forgive him of the debt and running away. Can you imagine going back to where you were a criminal? Even though Onesimus was a new believer, Paul called him faithful. Each one of us can start serving Christ the moment we are saved. Sometimes you’ll meet a believer who will treat you like a busy motorist treats a slow-moving Sunday driver. They’ll be right on your tail beeping their horn to get you moving. God wants you to go at your own pace but please keep moving. Those who stay (verses 10-11, 14a). Aristarchus Is identified as Paul’s fellow prisoner verse 10, and in verse 11 as Paul’s fellow worker. In the book of Acts Aristarchus was a Macedonian originally from Thessalonica, who traveled with Paul, and risked his life when a riot broke out in Ephesus. Like Paul, he was captured by the mob and sailed with Paul to Rome which meant he also experienced the storm and shipwreck described in Acts 27. He may have been able to acquire his freedom but stayed with Paul to assist him. He stuck with Paul no matter what: a riot in Ephesus, a voyage, a storm, and even prison! Aristarchus did not look for the easy option. He did not run when the going got tough. He suffered with Paul. We will be going to the General Council at the end of May where 60 international workers will be commissioned. They will be going into hostile countries for the gospel. They know that their lives will be in danger, yet they are willing to go.
Then there is Mark, who is often called John Mark. He was a Jew from Jerusalem. Acts 12 tells us that his mother, Mary, kept an open house for the believers. He was a cousin of Barnabas the man who partnered with Paul on his first missionary journey. Mark also became the first missionary casualty! When the going got tough, John Mark abandoned Paul and returned home. Later, when Paul and Barnabas wanted to go on a second journey, Paul refused to take John Mark. The argument between Paul and Barnabas was so strong that it caused a division and they decided to go their separate ways (Acts 15). Paul did forgive John Mark and later commended him.2 Timothy 4:11 Take Mark and bring him with you: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. John Mark is an encouragement to those who failed in their first attempts to serve God. He did not sit around & sulk. He got back into ministry & proved himself faithful to the Lord.
Jesus Justus is only found here. This was a popular Jewish name, Joshua in Hebrew. His Roman name was Justus. Jesus Justus is a good example of those faithful believers who serve God, but whose deeds are unknown to the rest of the world. The Lord has a faithful record and will reward him accordingly. Luke was the only Gentile to write in the NT: Gospel & Acts. He was a physician and dearly loved by Paul. It is worth noting, that even though Paul had the power to heal people, he traveled with a doctor! While God can and does bring strength and healing in miraculous ways, he also uses doctors and medication. Luke joined Paul at Troas and traveled with him to Jerusalem & then to Rome. Luke remained with Paul to the very end, 2 Tim 4:11. Luke is a glowing example of the professional who uses their skills in the service of the Lord. He was a skillful doctor, a devoted friend, and a careful historian all wrapped up in one!
This is where will pause until next week. There are ten people listed here who participated in ministry. Are you involved in God’s Kingdom? We are here to know the King. But we are also here to serve His Kingdom. In this church we have ten ministry teams, maybe you should join one. Give us a call, contact me or the other pastor and begin serving on the team.