An Inspired FarewellRev. Michael Calvert, Ph.D., March 17, 2019
Part of the Colossians series.
For one last time this coming Lord’s Day, we will open the Word of the Lord to the Epistle to the Colossians. Our sermon text will be Colossians 4:7-18, and with our consideration of this passage we will bring our series of messages on this letter to a conclusion.
On Sunday we will take a closer look at the final section of the Epistle where the Apostle Paul says farewell to his friends from his place of confinement in Rome. And this is a lengthy section, composed of 12 verses, more than half of the final chapter!
As we study the conclusion to the letter, we should remember that this was the typical thing that the Apostle Paul did in just about all of the New Testament letters he wrote. It was not uncommon for him to conclude his letters by listing a number of friends and associates, and offering some final exhortations and greetings. You might remember, for example, that his Epistle to the Romans ends with an extensive list of at least 35 co-laborers, and friends! And here in this final chapter of the Colossian Epistle, we discover a list of 10 names! And in most cases, there is a brief word about each person.
As we read these final 12 verses of the letter, we might be asking ourselves, Is this really a critical and necessary part of the Word of the Lord? Is this ending of the letter, which is composed largely of just a list of people’s names, really worth our time to read and study? Is this passage profitable, and how?
7All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord: 8Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts; 9With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here. 10Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;) 11And 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. 12Epaphras, 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. 13For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis. 14Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you. 15Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. 16And 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. 17And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it. 18The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen. (KJV)