EXAMPLES OF CHRISTIAN LIVING (Part 1)
Proposed OUTLINE –
I. TYCHICUS WAS A MAN WITH THE HEART OF A SERVANT (vv. 7-8).
II. ONESIMUS, WAS A MAN WITH A PAST THAT WAS SINFUL (v. 9).
III. ARISTARCHUS, WAS MAN WITH A SYMPATHETIC HEART (v. 10a).
IV. MARK WAS A MAN WITH A SURPRISING FUTURE (v. 10b).
I borrowed the idea for the main points of this outline from THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY, Colossians & Philemon, pp. 192-199.
Paul has given much instruction on the dangers, and destruction of those who are Gnostics, and their teachings. Remember, they deny, the deity of Jesus Christ; because to their way of thinking Deity, and flesh cannot reside in the same body; as a matter of fact Deity cannot have a body of flesh. They supposedly believed that Jesus existed, but only as a spirit being; His “death” was only faked; thus there was only a ‘spiritual resurrection’. Do you know how silly that sounds?
Paul has encouraged us to pray for one another, and the Church; and shared with us how he was praying for us. He has lifted up the name of Jesus showing that He is Preeminent in all things, that He was the Creator of the Universe, and not only Creator, but He sustained it all.
Paul has warned us about the “Philosophy of men… And going after the ways of the world, and not after Christ”. He shared with us the sufficiency of Jesus Christ, and warned us of the death knell of legalism, and angel worship.
The apostle also encouraged us, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above…” Putting off the things of the flesh. Setting our affections on things of God – things above. Putting to death all sexual sins, and covetousness. Learning to deal with anger, wrath, malice, etc… To “Put on bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness.. Meekness, longsuffering, and forbearing one another, forgiving one another. Putting on God-like love. Having godly family relationships, work relationships.
Last time we looked at having a Christian Walk with the Lord; OUR DEPORTMENT.
In these final two messages we will be looking at examples of Christian deportment. There are seven that are good, and one that does not turn out so well. These are what needs to be exhibited in our church, and in life. We are each gifted by the Holy Spirit differently, so let’s be careful about using our gift effectively, and efficiently.
THERE ARE PEOPLE IN OUR CHURCH WHO HAVE THE HEART OF A SERVANT (vv. 7-8).
“ For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another…” Romans 12:3-10 (KJV).
The word ministry in the above Scripture is speaking of “Serving”, being a servant to others. It is the type of work that is needed in the church, and everyone should be serving; first the Lord, of course, then others. There are some who are just clearly gifted with SERVING others. They are usually the first to see a need, and address it, by doing something themselves, or if it is too big a project they call on others to help out.
The one’s with the gift of ministry/serving are also the type of people who do not desire recognition. They will serve even when no one notices. They prefer anonymity in the matter of ministry, without a lot of hooplah. In the our text for the day we see Tychicus, and he was most likely this way, but Paul goes ahead and makes sure the church at Colossae knows who he is anyway.
The gift of service offered was 1) Letting the people know of Paul’s state; 2) To find out the state of the church of Colossae, and return to Paul with that info; and 3) To be an encouragement to them:
1. A servant will be one who is concerned enough to let others know the needs of those who are preaching elsewhere;
2. A servant will also be one who informs those who are preaching, of the needs and growth, or lack thereof, of the congregation they are serving;
3. A servant will be an encouraging part of the congregation.
We all need to have the attitude of the Servant. Not serving to be noticed, but serving because of calling, and desire to glorify the Lord.
EVERYONE IN THE CONGREGATION NEEDS TO REALIZE THAT WE ARE ALL PEOPLE WITH A SINFUL PAST (v.9).
Onesimus was the run away slave of Philemon. It is quite possible that, not only had he ran away, but he had stolen from Philemon. Paul says to Philemon, “If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that to mine account” Philemon 1:18 (KJV). It is sure that he had a sinful past.
A lot of us might ask, “Well what is he doing going back?” He was delivering this letter with Tychicus, to Colossae. He was most likely taking another letter to his master Philemon, from the hand of Paul.
In Onesimus we see a great Christian principle. It was one which Paul taught and Onesimus was going to practice, as a matter of fact he was practicing. That that he was practicing was keeping the matter of the law of slavery. Deuteronomy says, “Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee” (23:15 KJV). The one to whom a slave had fled was to care for this bond-servant, shelter, food, etc., but for them to go back was entirely up to the slave. In the case of Onesimus it was the good and godly thing to do, especially since he had become a Christian, and Philemon was a brother in Christ.
Paul describes Onesimus as, ‘…a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you…’ The testimony of Onesimus was what every Christian testimony is. One of deliverance to new life. Change had taken place in him, and it does in all who come to Christ.
The ministry of service of both Tychicus and Onesimus was to inform the people at the Colossian church of the work, ministry and needs of Paul. Onesimus was almost undoubtedly carrying another letter addressed to Philemon, and to whom he would deliver this letter face to face with the man he had wronged. Philemon was a wealthy leader of the Colossian Church which met in his house.
I have no problem believing that Philemon completely forgave Onesimus and set him free. After reading Paul’s letter himself, and then, reading it to the congregation meeting ‘in his house’ how could he refuse.
THERE ARE PEOPLE IN THE CHURCH WHO HAVE A SYMPATHETIC HEART (v. 10a).
Aristarchus is mentioned in Acts 19:29; 20:4; 27:2. Aristarchus is a voluntary captive with Paul. He is most likely not an actual prisoner, but has chosen to stay with Paul and minister to him. Part of his ministry would have been as an encourager. There would have been days when Paul would have been about as low as a Christian man can get, and would need someone to lift him up. Aristarchus was that man.
Understanding the situation requires sympathy. What is sympathy? According to the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY sympathy is – “a relationship between persons or things wherein whatever affects one similarly affects the others”. Suffering with the one who is suffering. It would also involve being blessed with the one who is blessed. Paul has said, “Weep with those who weep…” Romans 12:15. In that same verse he said, “Rejoice with those who rejoice”. There are those who can and do weep with you when you hurt. They are there for you when you need an encouraging word.
A word of caution. Not everyone has this kind of sympathy that puts them right in the place of suffering or rejoicing. We should all have some elements of sympathy, but not all to the extent that Aristarchus had. It is always a good thing to weep with the weeping, and unless you are jealous of someone else’s success rejoice with them in their rejoicing.
THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE IN THE CHURCH WHO HAVE A SURPRISING FUTURE (v. 10b).
Mark had been a failure on Paul’s first missionary journey. In Acts 13:5 we find “John” who is John Mark ministering with Paul and Barnabus. In the thirteenth verse we have John Mark departing and going back to Jerusalem. There is absolutely no explanation, but due to the conflict that arises between Paul and Barnabus over John Mark going with them on the second missionary journey, we assume that Mark could not take the heat, so he got out while he could.
Paul was probably furious about Mark’s departure, as well as feeling like Mark deserted him. Mark was still, most likely, an immature Christian, and was not use to see persecution because of the faith. Mark had seen a challenge from Satan himself through the sorcerer Elymas, and he had seen the persecution of Paul and Barnabus, and it was all he could take. There was much contention between the two; so much that they went separate ways, and that was something God used to further the kingdom (Acts 15:36-41). One thing we can learn from this is that at all times we must use discernment. That is what Paul was doing, and at this time did not see any fruit in the life of Mark as the defeated, discouraged young man he was when he ran back to Jerusalem. When Paul saw the growth in Mark that was needed he commends him to others.
Notice in this statement by Paul that he says of Mark, “Receive him”. He mentions Mark again in the letter to Philemon, verse 24, “Salute… Mark… my fellow laborers”. Mark had grown and had become a strong believer in the faith. He mentions Mark again in 2 Timothy 4:11, as being a “profitable [useful] to me for the ministry”.
Mark went on and wrote the second Gospel. That is right the Gospel according to Mark. According to some historians and theologians Mark is the oldest of the four Gospels.
One thing by looking at the man Mark is that just because you have failed does not mean that God is finished with you. When your faith is strengthened and renewed God will use you for His glory again. When you fear you have failed just look to the One who has saved you and He will pick you up.
-Tim A. Blankenship