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God's Design In Relationships

Colossians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Colossians 4:7-18, God’s Design In Relationships

Colossians 4:7–18 ESV
7 Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. 8 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, 9 and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here. 10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him), 11 and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. 14 Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. 16 And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.” 18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
When you come to a passage at the end of a book (when there is a closing to a New Testament letter) that doesn’t seem to have much practical meat - How do you handle it?
Big Idea - God has given me relationship so I can influence other for Christ.
When you come to a passage at the end of a book (when there is a closing to a New Testament letter) that doesn’t seem to have much practical meat - How do you handle it.
-You can skip it.
-Look for 1 truth to hold on to.
-Look patterns in the scripture.
In our passage today we see a pattern. We see a series of relationships mentioned at the end of Colossians.
We see that they are used in Paul’s life and the Colossians’ lives.
Hook
Relationships are important - Tim Williams.
Some people have a very immature or broken view of relationships.
They treat relationships like a consumer. They are takers. They are friends as long as it benefits them.
Big Idea - God has given me relationship so I can influence other for Christ.
Hook (Maybe story of Tim Williams)
Transition - There are 2 kinds of people: There are Influencers and there are the bucket.
I. Influencers and Buckets
Define Influencer - Sees relationships as an opportunity to minister to others. Bring good - spiritual good to others. Help another person grow.
Define buckets - The taker. They see relationships as a resource to be served from. For this persons relationships to last, the other person must be giving.
Buckets are stuck in being buckets because they believe a lie.
Many of us in the room think have a heart attitude of,
“I could never influence anyone for the positive - to push people forward spiritually.
A reason we struggle with this is because we tend to believe lies:
-There is a sin in my life that disqualifies me from being used by God.
-If people could see my thoughts or attitude on the inside and knew how bad I was, they wouldn’t allow me to influence them. If people knew my inward spiritual failures, they would never follow me.
-So out of shame of who we think we are or the shame of past sin, we don’t make effort to influence others lives.
-Some receivers believe the lie - I’m not mature enough spiritually or don’t know enough spiritually to help someone else grow or spiritually influence others lives.
Question - Can you identify with one of these lies? Could you say, Yes - there is a heart attitude or an inward thought that I allow to hold me in the receiving position - that keeps me from influencing.
-Where does that leave us? It leaves as a receiver of God’s word, receiver of God’s blessings - but never a minister. This person comes to church, maybe reads their Bible - but is someone who’s life is defined by spiritually sitting and soaking.
-If they are a Christian, they are the kind of Christian that Satan loves. They are the kind of Christian that may be growing on the inside, but doesn’t have much of an effect on those around them.
-This is the kind of Christian Satan prefers because they don’t encroach on the kingdom that Satan is trying to build.
There is another kind of person this is the
spiritual influencer. This person is someone who takes speaking up for Jesus and doing for Jesus seriously. They may be outgoing and loud or they may be quiet and behind the scenes.
They have not believed a lie like the Bucket.
They have chosen to believe in God’s grace and God’s power.
They believe this,
“In all of my brokenness and imperfections God can still use me to help others grow spiritually.”
-This person hasn’t gone to seminary, doesn’t have the Bible memorized.
-They simply and profoundly believe in God’s grace and His power in their life.
Ask a question here - How would you categorize yourself?
Would you say that you are a bucket or an influencer?
What lie are you most tempted to believe?
The lie that your past sin has disqualifies you from influencing others?
The lie that due to your struggle on the inside that you cannot be an influencer?
The lie that I am not mature or knowledgeable enough be an influencer.
Paul in todays passage speaks of 3 kinds of influencers in Pauls life.
Many more that these 3, but today just these 3.
We will look at the 3 influencers of:
The Encourager
The Transparent Sufferer
The Prayer
Transition - We will first look at the Encourager.
I. Influencer Type 1: The Encourager of the heart (CUT THIS POINT DOWN)
Colossians 4:7 Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. 8 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts,
The kind of influencer that Tychicus was, was an encourager.
Encouragement comes in many forms:
-Some encouragers speak words of encouragement.
-Some are note writers
-Some serve the Lord behind the scenes and their servant actions are encouraging.
We know that Tychicus traveled with Paul (in ). There was a lot of time spent together.
For relationships to develop there must be time spent.
Tychicus served Paul. He helped deliver money & he delivers news.
Paul calls Tychicus a “Fellow Servant”. He helps Paul with the ministry.
Remember that delivering money and new from one town or city to another means walking (in some cases hundreds of miles).
I think is fair to say that Tychicus both encouraged Paul by his words and his serving.
I think is fair to say that Tychicus both encouraged Paul by his words and his serving.
He encouraged in word and deed.
He encouraged in word and deed.
Transition - We know that Jesus is a great encourager:
-To a paralytic, lying on his bed, Jesus said, “Take courage, My son, your sins are forgiven” ().
-To the woman with the hemorrhage who touched the fringe of Jesus’ coat, He said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has saved you” (, lit.).
o the woman with the hemorrhage who touched the fringe of Jesus’ coat, He said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has saved you” (, lit.).To the disciples, who thought that Jesus walking on the water was a ghost, He said, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid” (; parallel, ).To the disciples on the night He was betrayed, Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” ().
-To the disciples, who thought that Jesus walking on the water was a ghost, He said, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid” (; parallel, ).
-To the disciples on the night He was betrayed, Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” ().
Christ was not only an encouragement in word, but also in deed.
-Yes his miracles encouraged.
-The greatest miracle of all time, the resurrection ...
-John and Peter jumped to their feet and ran to the Tomb in excitement.
God is calling all of us to be an influencer. I wonder if you would be an encourager by word and deed.
Resurrection - encouragement of the resurrection.
Romans 4:25 ESV
25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
Through Christ’s actions - He encourages through Justification.
Influencer Type 2, Transparent Sufferer
What is a Transparent Sufferer?
A person who has suffered and uses their experience to encourage someone else.
Aristarchus, like Paul, has been in prison with Paul, he has suffered with Paul.
Colossians 4:10 ESV
10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him),
Colossians 4:10–11 ESV
10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him), 11 and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me.
Colossians
Aristarchus has been a comfort to Paul.
How can someone who has suffered be a comforter?
Example - Many years back I suffered a depression that was dangerously dark. It had almost completely swallowed me.
Due to this experience I not only understand the darkness of depression, but the unquenchable pain of depression. When I speak to someone who has been in despairing depression I can look them in the eye and share with them a similar experience. That person knows they have an advocate who knows them…who can walk with them in the pain.
A transparent sufferer - is open about their pain and encourages someone through it.
If you have had a miscarriage, you can minister to someone else who has had a miscarriage in ways others can’t.
You become a transparent sufferer.
You reveal your past so that you can encourage someone in their present.
If you have had a child that went astray, you can minister uniquely.
If you’ve had cancer, you have a platform to minister to cancer patients.
Divorce, abuse victim, addiction, losing a parent or child early in life...
...you have a platform to minister to or influence those who are also struggling.
Hebrews
Speaking of Jesus being a Transparent Sufferer
Hebrews 4:15–16 ESV
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
-Jesus was tempted with every kind of sin you are tempted with. Because of that He understands.
-Sexual Temptation, greed, coveting, unforgiveness, .....
Jesus encourages through transparent suffering.
Driving Question - What kind of God says, “Come to me, as the God man, I too have experienced human pain and temptation. I understand you both through my vast knowledge, but through my experience as a human.”
Jesus is a transparent sufferer we can find help in.
Influencer Type 3, The Prayer
Enfluencer Type 3
:12-13
12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis.
Colossians 4:12–13 ESV
12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis.
What is a mark of Epaphras like of influence on others?
He struggled in prayer for others.
A wrestling and contending in prayer is more than a simple prayer tossed up in the air like a child’s ball. It is a passionate engagement of the Father - begging on someone’s behalf.
An influencer in prayer will pray silently, but he or she will also pray with those who need prayer.
One of the most encouraging things that you can do is call someone - or in conversation with them, stop and say, “Would you mind if I pray for you right now?” Out loud pray for that person. Even if it’s just 2 or 3 sentences.
This person will be so encouraged that you helped them surrender the problem to the Father. This person will be lifted because you helped them lift their eyes from themself to the Father.
Be an influencer through prayer.
What a day this is when you walk the halls of this church and you see people paused, holding hands, praying together spontaneously.
Epaphras was an influencer through prayer.
Jesus right now is an active influencer through prayer.
We know Jesus WAS an influencer
Romans 8:31–34 ESV
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
-We see that Jesus now is at God’s right hand interceding for us.
-Jesus is praying for you now.
-Praying that you will follow God’s will on earth, as it is done in heaven.
-Praying that you will be joined together in unity with other believers.
-Praying that you share Christ and disciple others.
Closing
To be an influencer of others, Christ must influence you.
tells us that not only does Christ pray for us, but that he was:
Given up - On the cross for sin.
Raised again to life.
Witnesses saw him ascend to heaven to the Father.
Has your eternity been influenced by Christ?
Have you accepted Him as savior and Lord of your life?
Why not?
Why do you risk your eternity by waiting one more day.
Trust Him completely now.
Believer - Are you an influencer or a Bucket?
Are you someone who soaks up what is spiritually given to you,
Or are you a person that purposes to minister to others and push them toward Jesus?
Pray.
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