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Col 4-1

(13i) Servant >> Support the body >> Servant in the work force Ė Employers should fear God and treat their employees with dignity and respect, since they too have an employer in heaven. We are in control of Godís judgment and have the power to turn His judgment into a reward, by the way we treat our fellow man. If we bless those under our authority, God will bless us under His authority, both now and in eternity. God has a trail of good works He wants us to follow and a trail of rewards He wants to give us, but if we donít walk on His designated trail, He canít give us the reward, which is our judgment.

(69g) Authority >> Righteous judgment >> Meditate on discernment >> Judging what is right

(88g) Thy kingdom come >> Fear of God >> Fearing God's judgment is the beginning of wisdom >> Fear the consequences of your disobedience

(90i) Thy kingdom come >> Keeping the law >> Righteousness of the law >> All righteousness is covered by the law

Col 4,2-6

(44k) Judgment >> Transformation process >> Fulfill your ministry in evangelism >> Complete your mission

(82c) Thy kingdom come >> Three elements of prayer >> Direction (Attitude) >> Who to pray for Ė The purpose of spiritual maturity is to prepare for answered prayer. For example, when we pray for someone to get saved, we are praying for the will of God, and we are probably not in a spiritual place that is ready to deal with the situations that will be created, and so God waits for us to spiritually catch up with the things we have ask from Him, so when they come to pass, we can properly minister to those for whom we have prayed. 

(85e) Thy kingdom come >> Words that are spoken in faith >> Powerful when spoken by the Spirit >> By the anointing

(148i) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Obligation to preach the gospel >> Ambassador in chains Ė In our evangelism efforts we donít just present to them a formatted evangelistic program, pulling something from our pocket that we say to each person. These things are not bad or wrong, but neither are they particularly effective. It may be harder to know what the Spirit wants to say to each person, but itís what weíre called to do as Christians. We are His mouthpiece, so if we want to know what the Spirit is saying, we must devote ourselves to the word of God and prayer and develop that gift. When we talk to people, what we tell them should come from the Spirit, and it should motivate them to pursue a faith of their own. Virtually every evangelism program is designed to get people to say the sinnerís prayer, fostering a verbal acknowledgement of his need for God, yet usually after talking with the evangelist, people's lives have not changed and the moment is forgotten. In contrast, what people will take home is a word from the Spirit of God. That is something they will never forget. Paul, the man of faith and vision, evangelized the countryside in this manner and turned the world upside down for Jesus.

Col 4,2-4

(113b) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> The anointing >> Heavenís clothes >> Protection >> Shelter Ė Paul was a repeat offender, familiar with prison walls for the crime of preaching the gospel of Christ. Soon as they let him out he would commit the same offense, preaching Jesus to a lost world and making converts, who were given the Holy Spirit and inherited eternal life, who will live forever with God. What a delinquent, this is how the world feels about faith in Jesus Christ, and Paul was asking the Church for prayer not only for a door to be opened but also his mouth to open that he may clarify the mystery of the gospel who is Christ Himself, "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col 2-3). He is a mystery to the world; He even works mysteriously with His own people. He is the Son of God, who spoke the stars into the sky and created the universe. We canít expect Him to be comprehensible to sinful flesh, though He has shown a side of Himself that is very straightforward to those who obey Him, that we might be saved. See also: Mystery; Col 4-2,3; 231a

(119h) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Freedom >> Having freedom to minister

Col 4-2,3

(231a) Kingdom of God >> Godís kingdom is a living organism >> Mystery of godliness >> Solving the mystery of godliness >> The Church discloses the mystery of Christ Ė The world does not know the mysteries that we know, because they are solved by faith in Christ. When a person turns to the Lord, suddenly his eyes are opened; he can finally see the truth, and he begins to read the Scriptures in a whole new light. There are some mysteries we wonít know until we get to heaven, but there are other mysteries that God is willing to reveal in this life, and still others that will forever be locked in the mind of God, for infinity itself is not big enough to reveal His greatness, and eternity is not long enough to fully comprehend this person, our Creator. In some ways He is not far beyond His creation, but in other ways He is completely inaccessible. In generations past God revealed Himself to men and they came to an understanding of Him, but in todayís world when few are being saved, man thinks he already knows everything, so there is no need to know about God. We have come to live among a people who know only what they want to know, at a time of information overload when knowledge is at our fingertips just by typing into a search engine, but few of the mysteries they seek pertain to God. People have lost interest in Him. In the days of Paul, He went from town to town and preached Jesus, and everywhere he made converts, because people were open to the gospel, but today people are closed-minded. This is partly to do with all the spiritual abuse that has occurred over the centuries. See also: Mystery; Col 4,2-4; 113b

Col 4-2

(82h) Thy kingdom come >> Prayer >> Thankfulness >> Giving thanks for His mercy

(83l) Thy kingdom come >> Be on the alert >> Remain on duty >> Be ready Ė We need to stay devoted to prayer and keep the embers burning in our heart for the Lord, not allowing the fire to quench. Jesus often commanded us to stay on the alert, this being His main advice for the Church in the last days. We read the Bible, we go to church and we fellowship with the brethren, but staying on the alert refers primarily to prayer, which is the ingredient most lacking in Christians today.

(96d) Thy kingdom come >> Attitude >> Positive attitude toward God >> Having a thankful attitude

(100k) Thy kingdom come >> Devotion >> In your ministry to God >> Devoted to prayer -- This verse goes with verses 12,13

Col 4-3,4

(123a) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Boldness to speak the word by the Spirit

Col 4-3

(66j) Authority >> Jesusí authority >> His words are the authority of God

(216f) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> Godís will over man >> Compelled by the Spirit >> God forces His bond-servants to do His will -- This verse goes with verse 10. Saul, the Pharisee before he became Paul the apostle, spread lies over the countryside and persecuted the Church, making martyrs of the saints, because he believed in the traditions of Israel; but when God came and revealed to him that everything he knew was wrong, it toppled his world. Paul signed a contract (as it were) with the Lord right there on the road to Damascus, and he become the property of Jesus Christ, and his old life instantly disappeared. Paulís life ended right there on that road, and God gave Him a new life as a bondservant. He no longer had a choice; when Jesus told him go, he didnít contemplate it; he just went. When he five times received thirty-nine lashes from the Jews that tore his back to shreds, the old scars reopening, it was all part of being Christ's bondservant. He relinquished his right to choose when he agreed with Christ about the truth. Paul was a prisoner of Christ Jesus; he said in Eph 3-1, meaning it both literally and figuratively.

(242c) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Persecuting the kingdom >> Persecuting God >> Persecuting the word of God

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Col 4-5,6

(1g) Responsibility >> Become all things to all men >> Blending together Ė Paul had perfected the art of changing his colors like a chameleon, not being deceitful, but for the sake of versatility, so he could reach as many people as possible. He would try not to turn off people by being "un-relatable," but sought to be ready for every situation, having a word specially tailored to fit each personís need. This can only be done through the Holy Spirit. Paul made it his business to care about people and tended to their needs at the cost of his own, knowing his needs would always be met perhaps even supernaturally.

(8c) Responsibility >> Use time efficiently >> Use wisely this moment

(11o) Servant >> Example of Godís people >> Example of the Church Ė Setting a good example is of utmost importance in the Church, for it is how we spread the gospel and encourage others in the faith. We are obligated to set a good example for those outside the Church. We want to put our best foot forward so no one gets the wrong idea about us. People judge us based on first impressions. If we want them to believe Christianity is a good thing, then we show them. In the future we may become a source of spiritual inspiration and advice to them regarding salvation, and hopefully lead many to Christ.

(62f) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Being clever >> Lure in your prey

(70k) Authority >> Believerís authority >> We are the salt of the earth (Preservative)

(89d) Thy kingdom come >> Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom >> Answers of wisdom 

(105j) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Led by the Spirit >> To the truth >> Led into the mind of Christ

(110a) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Spirit speaks through you >> Word of knowledge >> knowing their thoughts by the mind of Christ Ė We are called to tailor our conversations with those outside the Church. When we interact with people, we should be listening for the Holy Spirit to lead us to say the right things, because God knows their needs, their trials and their troubles, and God may want to speak to them through us. We should make ourselves available to the Lord, ensuring that whatever we say is seasoned with salt, meaning we are telling them things that originated from the Spirit. These are the things that encourage others to follow the Lord and bring about spiritual growth and life to the body of Christ.

Col 4-6

(116g) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Through the words you speak Ė We season our speech with grace by first installing His word in our heart, so we know what to say, and then pray for wisdom when to speak. We must prepare a loving response for any situation, building our knowledgebase as students of the word and developing a deep faith as disciples of prayer. Proverbs 25-11 says, ďLike apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.Ē Like rolling the tumblers of a lock, the right words can open doors and change the course of our lives. Therefore, anger is out of the question, though it is naturally our first choice. We donít respond according to the elementary principles of the flesh but respond to each person by the leading of the Lord, proving that we live by different principles than the world. Rather, God lives in us and wants to live in them too. We are citizens of an invisible kingdom that will one day dominate the entire universe.

Col 4,7-18

(123g) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Spiritual affection >> Ministry of the saints >> Emotional benediction toward helpers Ė A service that is no longer relevant that was once big in the early Church was the ministry of communications; now we just pick up the phone. The ancient ministry had an added element of spiritual affection that is less enjoyed over the phone. That is, the message is supplemented with the messenger himself, who had needs that could only be met through love at his destination. Who knows what long distances he traveled to bring the message to their door? They arrived thirsty and hungry and in need of a bath, and now it is time to show some hospitality and break out the bread and wine to refresh the soul. Communications was a meaningful and joyous ministry, though there was danger on every corner and adventure. Danger may have spiked the event with adrenaline and ratcheted the risks, but God protected his people in their service to Him.

Col 4,7-15

(14l) Servant >> Ministry of helps >> Helpers fill in the gaps >> Messengers help in communications

(142j) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> Having a reputable ministry >> A reputable ministry of helps Ė Luke sent his greeting to his fellow saints. He was the writer of the gospel of Luke; he was also the writer of the book of Acts. His name was frequently mentioned among the faithful, though he was not an apostle but a person who followed the apostles, namely Paul and helped however he could, often lending his skill in the written word, and as a physician he tended to the sick and injured. Luke was the only person who wrote his own gospel, whereas the rest probably received help, most being uneducated. Luke always knew what to do in any enfeebled situation, probably taking care of Paul more than once after a whipping, cleaning his wounds.

Col 4,7-9

(72f) Authority >> Transferring authority >> Receiving the delegated authority of men

(102c) Thy kingdom come >> Faithfulness (Loyalty) >> Faithfulness is dependable >> Godís servants are dependable

(228m) Kingdom of God >> Godís kingdom is a living organism >> God working in you >> God causes all things to work together Ė To be part of something that people tenaciously believe is exciting. The gospel is similar to gold and silver; it is valuable and difficult to acquire. It was important to Paul that the Colossians knew about his circumstances. They say that knowledge is power, and with it we can make intelligent decisions and know how to pray. Ironically, one of the reasons people were getting saved in the days of the early Church was because of persecution, for if the Church were not persecuted, people would not see value in the truth. His circumstances were encouraging, for through his ministry many people were being saved, and God was protecting him through his persecutions. When people saw that the Church was persecuted, it opened their eyes to the fact that the gospel Paul preached must be true, otherwise people wouldn't have had such strong feeling against it.

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Col 4-7

(13m) Servant >> Serve God faithfully Ė Some of these names should sound familiar. It seems that Colossae acted as a hub of Christian activity, though the Church as a whole was regulated from Jerusalem with Peter as the lead apostle. If there were any major issues of the Church, it would be taken to Jerusalem and resolved. Onesimus was the young man who ministered to Paul in his imprisonment in the book of Philemon. Paul spoke very highly of Onesimus; he spoke highly of everyone who was an excellent servant of the Church. He valued the ministry of servants, because we will be servants in Godís heavenly kingdom. Jesus taught that the greater the servant, the greater the authority God will bestow on us. In this world people are paid for their services, but their wage does not reflect their level of service. There are some who do grunt work that nobody else wants to do and are paid a minimum wage or even less, and then there are others who get paid big bucks but are no servants at all; instead, they have waiters attending to their every whim, and so we cannot say that the system of this world is anything like the Kingdom of God. In heaven, the one who does the grunt gets the most honor. Jesus will be exalted above everyone, because He is the servant of all; even in heaven He will continue to be our example by extending His hospitality to us whom He invited to live with Him in His Father's house.

Col 4-8

(74a) Thy kingdom come >> The heart >> God wants you to bless your brother from the heart

(91d) Thy kingdom come >> The called >> His purpose answers "Why"

(139b) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Encouragement >> The adversity of our brothers encourages us Ė Nobody got paid for their services to the Church; not even the pastor was paid, and he took a big risk; he was first to be persecuted. When it came to pastors, the enemies of the Church would take their skullduggery directly to him, often throwing him in prison, or else torturing him before martyring him. People knew the risks, and they were happy to live in service to God, knowing what could happen, and as a result the Church grew (Act 16-5). This verse referenced the first few weeks after Pentecost, but it also happened throughout the first and second century. The Church blossomed at its onset; Jesus correctly assessed the people prepared to receive the gospel when it arrived at their doorstep, saying, ďBehold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvestĒ (Jn 4-35). He said this about his own time, but when we lift up our eyes these days, we donít see hordes of people ready to believe in Jesus.

Col 4-10

(102e) Thy kingdom come >> Faithfulness (Loyalty) >> Faithfulness is dependable >> Loyalty is dependable Ė Paul had a fellow Christian cellmate in prison when he wrote the book of Colossians. Apparently this man, Aristarchus, was committed to the cause of Christ enough to earn a prison cell next to the apostle Paul; thatís what the world thinks of people who love and serve God.

(130k) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Accept one another >> Love tears down social differences in the Church Ė It is interesting that Paul had to tell the Colossians to welcome Mark. Apparently Paul had told the Colossians something different in the past, referring to the time Mark abandoned them on the mission field (Act 15,36-41). There was such a sharp disagreement between he and Barnabas that they split-up. Paul and Barnabas were good friends until this happened, and Paul blamed Mark for the rift between them. Eventually they straightened out their differences; forgiveness replaced division; he and Barnabas became friends again and went on other missionary journeys together. Paul had to change his mind and convey to everybody that Mark regained trust among the brethren as an indispensable servant of the Lord, and that he deserved full acceptance. Had Paul not told them, the Church may have shunned Mark because of the things Paul had previously told them. Paul must have been fuming; he didnít like anybody abandoning him in the middle of the work that needed to be done. His focus in establishing the Kingdom of God was singular; it unfortunately meant more to him than human relationships. Paul was not ready to immediately forgive anybody who would threaten the success of his mission: to evangelize the entire known world; the last thing he needed was his own comrades to add further challenges to his mountain of difficulties. He wanted to make sure it didnít happen again, so Paul explained to the Church that if anybody abandons him on the mission field, he would get the same treatment. Markís name wasnít worth a plug nickel until he was able to dig himself out of the hole through faithful obedience, proving himself an indispensable servant of the Lord. Later he went with Paul again on other missionary journeys and helped him proclaim the gospel in other regions of the world. These are the ways of God; He believes in us. He also gave Mark the privilege of writing a gospel after enduring this shame. The lesson we should take from this is that the sins we commit are not what matters but reconciliation. The same is true with Peter; he was one of the leaders of the Church, yet he denied the Lord three times. See also: Paul replaced Judas Iscariot; Gal 2-6; 95j

(216f) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> Godís will over man >> Compelled by the Spirit >> God forces His bond-servants to do His will -- This verse goes with verse 18

Col 4-11

(88b) Thy kingdom come >> Faith produces works >> Relationship between faith and works >> The work of faith

(139a) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Encouragement >> Our brothers encourage us in our adversity

(190h) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Circumcision >> Circumcision is a sign of obedience >> Circumcision is a sign of believing Ė "Circumcision" refers to the Jews, but the rest of the servants mentioned in this passage were gentiles. The gospel of Christ, when it first came to the Jews made a big splash, and then something happened. Satan managed to get a message across to the Jewish people that the gentiles were holding them in contempt, calling them "Jesus killers" as though they were more evil than any other race of people because they crucified their own Messiah. However, what the gentiles failed to understand was that had the Jews not crucified Him, no one could be saved, not even the gentiles. To judge the Jews for martyring Jesus is like cutting off their nose to spite their face. This gentile rejection of the Jews infuriated the Jewish people who afterward wanted nothing to do with Christianity. Gentile contempt for the Jewish people eventually congealed in the Catholic Church, which started around 300 A.D. It only took three hundred years for these sentiments to become entrenched, and now the Jewish heart is mostly closed to the gospel, but there are some Jewish people who are coming to the realization that Jesus was in fact their Messiah, and eventually in the last days the Jewish people will return to their faith, resulting in a global revival that will incorporate many millions of souls. See also: Israel (Exemplary of mankind); Mk 8,1-9; 229k

(236e) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Invest your strength into the kingdom >> Invest your labors

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Col 4-12,13

(83c) Thy kingdom come >> Results of prayer >> Prayer unites the body

(100d) Thy kingdom come >> Diligence >> Diligence in your service to others 

(100k) Thy kingdom come >> Devotion >> In your ministry to God >> Devoted to prayer -- This verse goes with verse 2. Epaphras was a prayer warrior; he had a deep concern for the Colossians and those who were at Laodicea, a church referenced in the book of Revelation that had a poor reputation for being the most carnal and faithless church of the seven, possibly worse than the Corinthians. Colossae and Laodicea were close in proximity but not in spirit; had Colossae the maturity level of Laodicea, Paul would have written them a scathing letter resembling his Corinthian epistles that were some of his longest in which he severely rebuked the saints for living like the world. The concern that Epaphras had for Laodicea was for their souls. He prayed earnestly day and night for them because of their blatant disobedience and rebellion and for their refusal to mature in the faith. Epaphras must have toiled over them asking Godís mercy to reveal His grace, so they could rise above their fleshly interests and carnal passions and desires.

Col 4-12

(43l) Judgment >> Satan destroyed in the absence of sin >> Perfecting the will of God Ė Paul endorsed a man, Epaphras, a man of prayer. His passion and theme for the Church was that the saints might stand perfected and fully assured in all the will of God. That is a great prayer, that we might stand; that is, get off the floor after we have fallen on our face and perfect the will of God in full assurance of faith. Having full assurance is a big thing. Some translations define "faith" as, ďThe assurance of things hoped for...Ē in Heb 11-1 (NASB). How important is assurance? Our faith rests on it, being the very basis of our salvation! In their assurance Epaphras prayed that they would perfect their walk in the fruits of the Spirit, which would give them full assurance of faith.

(98d) Thy kingdom come >> Endurance (Thorn in the flesh) >> Rooted deeply >> Be steadfast in the work of the Lord Ė Epaphras was a bondslave of Jesus; he wasnít just a servant; he wasnít just a Christian. A bondslave is someone who has given up his will to do the will of Him who bought him with His own blood. The bondslave knows his ministry, which is profound because of his commitment to God, which cannot rise above his prayers. All Christians have a prayer life, but bondslaves have a life of prayer. Bondslaves are given to the Church as examples of how each person ought to conduct his life. God calls all Christians to be bondslaves of Jesus, though He knows all will not become bondslaves, yet those who do have been chosen of God, and in His choice He has a ministry prepared, one born not of the flesh or of the mind or of the will of man but by the Spirit. In his ministry he produces fruit, not according to what he thinks is right but fruit that is designed to merge with the ministries of others from the past, in the present and for the future. God knows what needs to be done through His people, and His bondservants have both an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying and a will to do what He says, to fulfill His calling from God, and accomplish things that began in the past, continued in the present and prepared for the future. See also: Prophets; Heb 11-35; 233a

(101k) Thy kingdom come >> Ambitious to promote the Kingdom of God >> Building up the body of Christ

(116b) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Through worship >> In prayer

(122b) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Confidence in God >> Through prayer

(216d) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> Godís will over man >> Compelled by the Spirit >> God takes advantage of your love for Him >> Being addicted to the Holy Spirit Ė Epaphras didnít have to do anything great to be honored in the Bible, except to be a man of prayer. Being committed to prayer is a great and an honorable ministry among the saints. Paul made sure that people recognized prayer as a tremendous ministry, vital to the health and growth of the body of Christ. Paul called Epaphras a bondslave of Jesus. This was not just something Epaphras decided to do one day; God apprehended Epaphras and put him in chains and compelled him in his ministry of prayer so that he became literally addicted to God. We know that slaves have lost their freedom, and so have drug addicts. They are no longer in control of whether they get high; their body tells them what to do; they have no choice, and this also happened to Epaphras; he became addicted to prayer. It was a deep passion. He appealed to God that he might see with his eyes the result of his prayers in the perfection of Godís will among the saints.

(248a) Priorities >> Godís priorities >> The will of God >> We play our part in the will of God >> Knowing the will of God Ė It is important to have assurance in the will of God. There are many who are seeking assurance for salvation, but Paul is talking about having assurance in the will of God. The Colossians were assured in their salvation; now they wanted to know they were walking in the will of God. In many respects knowing the will of God is just as important as our confidence in salvation. A person who is seeking assurance for salvation requires very little faith. It doesn't take much to believe that God is a good person, and if we believe that, we are 90% there. He is so good that He sent His Son to make propitiation for our sins, and that believing in His blood sacrifice makes us holy and acceptable to God. We donít add anything to the cross, not even our good works, and we donít take anything from it. His blood stands alone as our salvation before the Father. Good works are our way thanking Him for His love, and without good works we are acting ungrateful, and ingratitude is a sign that we really donít believe in His goodness. 

Col 4-13

(155i) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Witness of the believer >> The Church bears witness of the believer Ė Epaphras had a deep concern for the Colossians and for the Church in Laodicea. We certainly understand his concern for Laodicea, because later in the book of Revelation we discover that it was essentially apostate. Christ had nothing good to say about Laodicea at all, steeped in licentiousness, the philosophy that they could just sit back and take in the grace of God without enlisting in the war against fleshly indulgence. Epaphras had reason to be concerned, in that Laodicea didnít understand the grace of God, that it is not God or man but both working together to accomplish the will of God. The Laodiceans came to the same conclusion as America that grace is the work of God and that all our works are as filthy rags, and so there is no point in doing anything, since God doesnít respect or value our works. This is an affront to the word of God and to His grace. The statement made in Isaiah 64-6, ďFor all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment,Ē applies to the unbeliever before he gets saved, but once we get saved, God has things for us to do. The Bible says we are a new creation and that now our works are sanctified. Combined with His grace, He can produce works through us that are acceptable to Him. Epaphras was concerned about Laodicea like Paul was concerned about Galatia, saying to them, ďI fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vainĒ (Gal 4-11). See also: Working the grace of God (God works through our mortal flesh); 1Pet 2-24; 136e

(247e) Priorities >> Godís priorities >> Godís interests >> Concern >> Concerned about your well being

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Col 4-15,16

(29bb) Gift of God >> God delivers us from our enemies >> Church assembles in people's houses (underground) Ė Did the early church hold their services exclusively in peopleís houses or did they have churches too? The answer to that depended on how much persecution they suffered. The early church was largely underground and it was the only time the Church as a whole did the will of God. They would assemble together and enjoy one anotherís hospitality, love, joy and faith. To the degree that they were persecuted was the degree that they worshipped God in peopleís homes, being very common. Persecution of this pervasion will return to the Church as a whole again. Worship at peopleís homes is an inexpensive way to have church; there is almost no expense involved. "Overhead" describes the building that tends to become the main focus of the Church, especially when they have trouble paying the mortgage and the light bill, and it tends to weigh on the ministry. When persecution comes, we will actually benefit from it, because then we will be liberated from all the expenses that go into a church building.

(143c) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> The public >> The disciples ministered publicly

(143f) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> Public reading of Scripture

Col 4-16

(80j) Thy kingdom come >> Know the word to minister to people >> To edify one another Ė The Colossians were to exchange letters with Laodicea. This meant more than simply reading Paulís letters; they copied them. Every church had a copy of all his letters and frequently referred to them, as we do the Bible. They didnít have the convenience and availability of the Old and New Testaments all compiled into one book. Yet, all our studies donít seem to do us much good. The Church is a total mess, compared to the first century Church. What did they have that we donít have? They had vision! Jesus had been sacrificed less than a hundred years earlier; the word of God was new, and everyone was in agreement with the truth; they all believed the same thing, and there werenít any denominations. Also, they saw the value of obedience far more than we do in our lackadaisical and licentious age of apostasy. We have heard a hundred times that we are saved by grace through faith, so all we have to do is believe a set of doctrines and weíre in like flint, truncating obedience. This contemporary teaching they donít put in words like that, yet this is what they mean. The Church today considers obedience to be optional, but this is not what the Bible teaches. It teaches that God interprets our disobedience as unbelief (1Jn 3-6). See also: Apostasy (The Church is disobedient); Rev 12-4; 204d

Col 4-17

(44h) Fulfill Your Ministry (Key verse)

(44i) Judgment >> Transformed >> Fulfill your ministry >> Calling from God >> Complete it Ė It is important to not only begin our ministry, but also to finish it. Jesus had very little good to say about those who started in faith and werenít able to finish (Lk 14,28-33). He didnít say they had nice intensions, but that their intensions were meaningless, because they didnít fulfill their ministry. It matters that we start, but it matters just as much that we finish what God has called us to do, just as we have been called to believe to the end. If we donít finish what we are doing for the Lord, it is as meaningless as if we never started.

(71g) Authority >> Ordained by God >> Ordained by His sovereign will >> God chooses you

(87a) Thy kingdom come >> Obedience >> Be doers of the word from the heart >> God blesses us for doing His word, not for knowing it

(115c) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Through your ministry >> Through your calling >> To build up the body of Christ

Col 4-18

(216f) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> Godís will over man >> Compelled by the Spirit >> God forces His bond-servants to do His will -- This verse goes with verse 3. This is definitely a letter that Paul wrote, which is important to know, though he always started his letters confirming that he wrote it with his own hand. The significance of this letter being from Paul is that we can trust what he wrote. He went the distance; he paid the price; he sacrificed his life in a way that few of us would, and for this reason we can trust his dogma, his theology and his judgment.