And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it. — Colossians 4:17
When I was a little boy, my mother used to bake apple dumplings, and oh, how I loved them! My mother passed away when I was six years old, and the apple dumplings were gone as well, but I never forgot how delicious they were. When I was sixteen, I decided to see if I could recreate the taste that I remembered. My aunt had my mom’s original recipe, so I obtained a copy and went to work. I wanted the same results as my mother, so I followed her recipe very carefully. I used the same ingredients, the same procedure, and the same oven temperature. When they were finally finished, I tasted them with great anticipation. Yes! They had the same delicious flavor that I remembered from my childhood.
The ministry that we have “received in the Lord” must be handled in the same way. We must carefully follow every guideline, doctrine, and positive example that has been given to us. In 1906, God placed His stamp of approval on saved and sanctified individuals who were gathered in Los Angeles, seeking the baptism of the Holy Ghost. In response to earnest prayer, God’s Spirit was poured out on prepared hearts. Today, if we want the power and anointing that those believers received, we must be willing to use the same ingredients. We must be willing to follow the example set by godly men and women who had a desire to see this pure Gospel carried on. We know how God blessed their lives, and we want nothing else but what was received on the day of Pentecost, at Azusa Street, and what God pours out in every age when His people follow His Word.
It is wonderful to learn from the Bible of the great things God has done, to read books of how God worked in other countries, and to hear testimonies from other faithful Christians. God has placed a wonderful Gospel in our hands. As a mother carefully and tenderly carries her newborn child, we must carry forward the heritage we have received in the Lord. As a father lays his life on the line to protect his children, we must sacrifice our lives for the Gospel.
Let us carefully, prayerfully, enthusiastically, and faithfully “take heed to the ministry” that has been handed down to us. As we do, our spiritual heritage will be preserved, and our lives will impact those around us.
As Paul sent final greetings to the believers at Colosse, various relationships between Paul and others in the church were mentioned. He referred to his co-workers as beloved brothers, ministers, fellowservants, fellowprisoners, fellowworkers, beloved physician, and brethren.
Tychicus shared Paul’s Roman imprisonment and no doubt they encouraged one another while they were side by side in the same circumstances (Acts 20:4). Onesimus was a runaway slave who belonged to Philemon and was saved through Paul’s ministry in Rome (Philemon 10-13). Aristarchus was a fellowprisoner and traveling companion of Paul who had experienced shipwreck and chose to suffer with him (Acts 19:29). John Mark (Marcus) went with Paul and Barnabas as their assistant (Acts 12:25). Jesus Justus, a Jew, carried a popular name among the Jews of whom we know very little, yet he carried the title of fellowworker and comforted Paul (Colossians 4:11).
Epaphras, who founded the church in Colosse, (Colossians 1:7-8) was led to Christ through Paul’s ministry, and then returned home with the Gospel to become a home missionary. He also labored fervently in prayer, a fact that Paul possibly observed while sharing a room with him. Luke, the beloved physician, joined Paul at Troas and remained with him to the end (2 Timothy 4:11). Demas has no description attached to his name; he is one who later strayed from the Gospel (2 Timothy 4:10).
Paul closed his epistle with greetings to the churches and sent encouragement to Archippus, exhorting him to stay with what he received of the Lord. The Bible tells us little about Archippus. He was also mentioned in Paul’s letter to Philemon (Philemon 1:2) and we know that Paul regarded him as a fellow soldier in God’s service. There is no indication that he was a minister, so his ministry — the service for God that he was to “take heed to” — is lost in the pages of Biblical history. However, Paul’s admonition to him remains a challenge to believers of every age.
Archippus’ ministry was received “in the Lord.” God has placed each believer in a specific environment and set of circumstances. He has given each person a unique combination of abilities and assets that are to be used to serve and honor Him.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
V. Conclusion (4:7-18)
A. The commendation of Tychicus (4:7-9)
1. His character and mission (4:7-8)
2. His companion (4:9)
B. The greetings of friends (4:10-14)
1. Aristarchus and Marcus (4:10)
2. Justus (4:11)
3. Epaphras (4:12-13)
4. Luke and Demas (4:14)
C. The instructions of Paul (4:15-18)
1. Greetings (4:15)
2. Instructions (4:16-17)
a. Read this epistle (4:16)
b. Exhort Archippus (4:17)
3. Benediction (4:18)
Somewhere in our daily schedule, in the places where we spend our waking hours, among the people we meet and associate with, there is a ministry for us. Remember, God has given each person a unique combination of abilities and assets. Let us purpose to use them to serve and honor Him.