Faithlife Sermons

People Matter

Keep Christ Preeminent  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Since we call ourselves Christians, we need to actually follow Christ. This requires keeping Christ preeminent in all things, but especially the church.

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Do individual people matter? Do you matter? We want the answer to be yes. But in our culture, they answer is frequently no.
We live in an era of seemingly unprecedented division and competition where everyone is lumped into some large grouping and seen as pitted against other groups. In a very real sense, fascism has become a normal part of society that we usually see in the other groups, but not our own.
If we are not careful, we can mirror our broader culture too closely which has the effect minimizing other people and even marginalizing ourselves.
The Apostle Paul, as he concludes his letter to the church at Colosse, raises the lights on a few people that he thought were important enough to mention.

Three Very Different Men

A Reliable Assistant: Tychicus, 7-8

Colossians 4:7–8 NKJV
7 Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. 8 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts,
Ephesians 6:21–22 NKJV
21 But that you also may know my affairs and how I am doing, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make all things known to you; 22 whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may know our affairs, and that he may comfort your hearts.
Titus 3:12 NKJV
12 When I send Artemas to you, or Tychicus, be diligent to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there.
2 Timothy 4:12 NKJV
12 And Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus.
Timothy was at Ephesus, so Tychicus would have been his relief.

A Runaway Asset: Onesimus, 9

Philemon 10–14 NKJV
10 I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains, 11 who once was unprofitable to you, but now is profitable to you and to me. 12 I am sending him back. You therefore receive him, that is, my own heart, 13 whom I wished to keep with me, that on your behalf he might minister to me in my chains for the gospel. 14 But without your consent I wanted to do nothing, that your good deed might not be by compulsion, as it were, but voluntary.
Philemon 17–19 NKJV
17 If then you count me as a partner, receive him as you would me. 18 But if he has wronged you or owes anything, put that on my account. 19 I, Paul, am writing with my own hand. I will repay—not to mention to you that you owe me even your own self besides.

A Redeemed Associate: Mark, 10

Mark was clearly important to Paul
Colossians 4:10 NKJV
10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him),
Mark has an interesting story. He began as the son of Mary, who owned the house with the famous Upper Room where the earliest church met.
Acts 12:12 NKJV
12 So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying.
Mark, as highlighted by Paul, was either Barnabas’ cousin (making Barnabas the sone of Mary’s sibling) or Barnabas’ nephew (making Barnabas Mary’s brother); the Greek word can go either way but it makes them family either way.
When Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch from Jerusalem, they had Mark with them.
Acts 12:25 NKJV
25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry, and they also took with them John whose surname was Mark.
When Paul and Barnabas went on their first missionary journey, Mark went with them.
Acts 13:5 NKJV
5 And when they arrived in Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. They also had John as their assistant.
Early in the journey, Mark left the team and went home. We do not know why.
Acts 13:13 NKJV
13 Now when Paul and his party set sail from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia; and John, departing from them, returned to Jerusalem.
As Paul and Barnabas prepared to leave on their second missionary journey, Barnabas wanted to take Mark again. Paul disagreed so sharply that Paul and Barnabas parted ways.
Acts 15:36–38 NKJV
36 Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.” 37 Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work.
The narrative in Acts follows Paul, not Barnabas. We can fill in the blanks from a few clues:
Barnabas and Mark left Antioch on some missionary/evangelistic effort.
Eusebius, the fourth-century historian and bishop of Caesarea quotes Papias, the bishop of Hierapolis at the start of the second century, as saying that:
Mark is the author of the Gospel attributed to him, and
Mark received his information from Peter’s teaching
Peter’s ministry was focused in the area of Babylon, meaning Mark eventually found his way there, probably with Barnabas, so we get the sense they may have headed east while Paul and Co. headed west.
Mark gained knowledge, experience, and consistency working with Barnabas and then Peter
At some point, Mark and Paul reconciled their relationship
2 Timothy 4:11 NKJV
11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry.
Aside from being useful to Paul, John Mark, as the author of the Gospel of Mark, is pretty useful to everyone.

Three Very Similar Men

The very important thing that all of these men have in common is that they were important to Paul and highlighted here by Paul.
Paul closed all of his letters with a list of names, some of whom are known to us and some of whom are not. He mentions them for three important reasons:
They were important to Paul and he wanted to Introduce them
They were important to the recipients, in this case the Church at Colosse, and Paul wanted to highlight them
They were important because people are important
Paul maintains a biblical practice of mentioning, and thus enshrining in Scripture, people unknown to most of the world. The reason this practice is so prevalent is because individual people, more so than people collectively, matter to God, matter to Paul, and should matter to us.
Since people are important and matter to God
Each of us is important…regardless of how how current circumstances makes us feel about ourselves
The people around us are important…regardless of how current circumstances make us feel about them
It is not easy, but since every individual person is important, we have both the obligation to understand our own importance and the opportunity to help others understand their importance.
Yes, it is easier to tear down, but God calls us to build up.
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