The Characteristic of a Faithful Member
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Colossians 4:7-9 “As to all my affairs, Tychicus, our beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord, will bring you information. For I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts; and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of your number. They will inform you about the whole situation here.”
a. Faithful Conviction will lead to Faithful service. (4:7-9)
(신실한 믿음은 충성땐 봉사로 이어집니다.)
a. We will talk about faithfulness today. I think Christians have a good idea of what faithfulness is, but I want to highlight something that I think we all understand but just assume to be true. Today, I want to talk about the motive of our faithfulness. Why are we to be faithful? What does it mean to be faithful?
b. When we think about these questions, we can all land at different conclusions, and they can all be correct. But I want to highlight 1 thing today. Faithful Conviction will lead to Faithful service. What we see in today’s text is the perfect balance of faithful conviction that leads to faithful service.
a. Faithful Conviction will lead to Faithful service. (4:7-9)
i. Paul is starting to close out the letter starting in today’s text and introducing the people who have helped him so far. A wonderful reminder is although everyone acknowledges Paul for the work that he’s done, he doesn’t take away from the fact that there were other people who helped him tremendously. I liked this section because it reminded me of all the people who have helped me along the way. It reminded me of my home church back in New Jersey and the people that I came to know my time there, to the church that I served in La Crescenta, to Valley Bible Church back from 2014-2017 and now again here.
ii. It reminds me how God always sends us people to help us and Gospel ministry is never an endeavor that we are expected to do ourselves. Rather, it is a collaborative work. When we read our bibles, we always talk about the big guys, like Paul, or John but these verses remind us how everyone in Gospel ministry makes a difference.
iii. I want to remind everyone that everyone here makes a huge difference. We might think to ourselves, I can’t do anything to help this person, but just being here is encouraging and helpful. We can never help anyone if we aren’t there and the fact that we make ourselves available to others, shows our desire to help others and to want to help.
iv. Recently, I was able to watch the movie again, Braveheart and just watching how Mel Gibson (William Wallace) was captured and tortured and his friends were there to watch him. When he was getting tortured, one of the English officials were telling him that if he were to recant, that they would end the torture and they would just kill him quickly. He was suffering such pain that the people who in the beginning wanted Wallace dead, was crying for mercy on his behalf. His friends who were watching were also hoping he would recant, but he didn’t till the very end. We see him suffer through much torture and never giving up. But this scene reminded me how close and how much we can have true love for each other. This helped me to be reminded of the relationships Paul had developed in Gospel ministry.
v. This leads us to verse where Paul introduces Tychicus. Who is Tychicus? This is one passage that speaks of Tychicus. There are 5 references for us to see who this Tychicus was (Acts 20:4; Ephesians 6:21-22; Colossians 4:7-8; Titus 3:12; 2 Timothy 4:12). One of the interesting things about Tychicus is how readily available he is but also reliable he is. The context for us to understand these letters that Paul is writing is that he’s not able to visit these churches and therefore, must send a representative who will not only know the Apostle Paul, but express in words how he felt and also convey the letter. This shows how close Tychicus was to Paul. We can know the closeness in his relationship with Tychicus by what he wrote, “as to all my affairs”. This literally means that Paul spent a lot of time with Tychicus and he knew everything on how Paul was thinking and what he was going through.
vi. But not only did Tychicus know everything about Paul, Paul writes that this Tychicus was a beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord. Paul writes that he isn’t just a close brother to him, but a close brother in Christ.
vii. What we learn about Tychicus is if Paul needed news to be sent to any church in Asia, Tychicus was the man for the job. We see here that he wanted the church in Colossae to know his status so he would send Tychicus. In the letter to Ephesus, Ephesians 6:21-22 shows that Paul would send Tychicus. Today, we know the distance is roughly 120 miles from each other.
viii. Lastly, we see Paul send Tychicus even to Crete (Titus 3:12) which shows us how dedicated he was in serving not only Paul, but more importantly, the church to relay any information they would need to know from the Apostle. But not only was he reliable and trustworthy, he was a faithful minister in the Lord. Minister here is understood as deacon, one who serves the church according to Ephesians 6:21-22 but also, in Colossians 4:7-8, Paul writes that Tychicus will bring them information. But not only will he bring the information, Paul had a purpose of why he was sending Tychicus.
ix. We can see from this introduction of who Tychicus is, he was on the ministry team with Paul and served the church through not only bringing messages to the church, but ministering to them. We see this by Paul’s usage of the word fellow servant which could be understood as fellow worker, or fellow soldier as he wrote in Philippians 2:25 regarding Epaphroditus. We can see therefore, that Tychicus was not only a messenger but also a minister, in the sense of one who teaches and encourages others in Christ.
x. Paul writes that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. We should not separate these two things. Paul writes that as the church hears of Paul’s work and concern on their behalf, they will gain fresh strength and confidence.
xi. Paul then mentions Onesimus. We previously went over Onesimus when I was going over Colossians 3:22-4:1 where we had said that Onesimus was a slave that ran away from Philemon. Paul goes on to write in Philemon 1:18, that if Onesimus has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to my account. Why? Because in 1:16, Paul regards Onesimus more than a slave, a beloved brother. In the same way, here in Paul’s closing of Colossians, Paul introduces Onesimus. But here, he writes something interesting. Paul writes, that He is one of your number. He is one of you. You have already met Onesimus and now, Paul is sending this dear brother back to your church. You already know what kind of faithful brother he is because he’s from your church.
xii. But what’s interesting here is that Paul doesn’t call Onesimus a faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord. When Paul introduced Tychicus, that is what he referred to him as. But here for Onesimus, he just refers to him a faithful and beloved brother. It is most likely that Onesimus’s status is still a slave which is why he wasn’t in the ministry team with Paul. But because Paul writes that he will send Onesimus back to them, just as Paul wrote in Philemon that he would return him back to Philemon (1:12), so that he could return back to his master but also to serve the church there in Colossae. These passages really tie in Onesimus as a person which shows his faithfulness to His service to God and even to Philemon.
xiii. What’s beautiful about this statement here though is that truly, as written in Colossians 3:11, that Onesimus was no longer a slave and now equal in Christ. Although he was not a faithful servant in the sense of serving the church and one who was a fellow worker in laboring for the Gospel ministry, nonetheless, Onesimus was a faithful and beloved brother in Christ. This is why Paul wrote what he wrote in Philemon. The reality was, Onesimus was truly a new believer in Christ.
xiv. Now we can go over Tychicus and Onesimus and learn about who they were, but why is this important for us? Why does it even matter if we learn about who these men were? How do we take this truth about who Tychicus and Onesimus and apply to our own lives?
xv. Paul tells us the most important thing about Tychicus and Onesimus is that they are both our beloved brothers in the Lord. What does this mean? It means that both Tychicus and Onesimus were first people who knew the Lord and was clearly won unto Christ by Paul’s preaching. This is why Paul was asking the church to pray for more opportunities so that he would win souls. Tychicus and Onesimus are just another reminder of every believer in Christ. Our devotion in Christ must begin with our understanding of who Jesus is, and what He has done for us. That will allow us to serve correctly. But if we simply just serve without knowing the wonder of the Gospel, we will quickly burn out and not understand why we are doing this.
xvi. This is an extremely important truth here. Many people who go to church sometimes serve without even know why they are serving. Many people go to church and learn that Christianity is simply about doing and the more you serve, the better your chance is to make it to Heaven. But Paul tells us something different.
xvii. Paul tells us as we’ve seen in Colossians that salvation is wholly a work of God. It is God who must call us and allow us to believe. Man can’t choose to believe because man is dead in sin. Just as we did nothing to be born, we can do nothing to be born again. We must be given life by God just as we were given life by our parents.
xviii. After we have been given new life by God, we see through Tychicus, that we can serve with the right heart and do it correctly. This should also be encouraging to us because Paul really gives us a lot of information of what it means to be a faithful Christian. Maybe you don’t know how you can serve the church and help the church. Maybe you want to serve, but you don’t know how. Well Paul tells us very clearly, the first thing we must recognize is to know who Jesus is, and what He has done for me. Knowing Jesus is God and knowing He came to die for sins is not enough. We must know Jesus came to die for my sins. He didn’t come to die for everyone but me. No, He came to die for my sin. He came to die for me because He knew that I could not save myself. I could not afford the debt of my sins. This is why He came.
xix. When we know who Christ is and what He has done for us correctly according to what the Scriptures tell us, that will give us the right motivation for why we serve. This is the truth for everyone who has done Gospel ministry not only in the Bible but even today. Even as we serve in the church today, passages like this remind us of our need to know Jesus Christ personally. We must first know our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, that we might serve Him and His kingdom properly.
xx. But this passage also tells us that if we do know Him personally, than our actions must be just as Tychicus and Onesimus. We should be marked by faithfulness and a willingness to serve God with all our effort and energy. This is exactly what Paul reminds us in 1 Timothy 1:12 that he is thankful to Jesus Christ our Lord for strengthening him and putting him into the Gospel ministry even though he was a former sinner and someone who hated the church. Even in that ignorance, God showed him mercy and allowed him to come to saving faith. Because of that mercy, Paul worked endlessly for the Gospel ministry. That is what God calls us to. He desires faithfulness on our part, because we first recognize His faithfulness in saving us. My prayer is that we would know the deep love of God through the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and our lives would be an accurate response to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.