Colossians Module 1

Two travellers

Messengers with this letter from Rome

They are both known to the authority’s and need to be careful.

These ‘Christians’ could be considered subversive, not supporting national ideas and government thinking.

Not afraid to speak out on morals and Roman state worship - busy making disciples for Jesus Christ.

The older man, Tychicus, was Paul’s trusted companion on many journeys and no doubt many troubles

In Paul’s view Col 4:7 Tychicus  is a fellow servant,  a faithful minister and an encourager   

 . . .a trusted worker, he was left in charge of things and places on Paul’s missionary journeys 


I’m interested today in being introduced to the people, names and diversity

What were they like? How did they interact? What are we meant to be learning from their example?

This morning we get to meet 14 New Testament characters with some brief bio’s

I want to make comparisons - for they sound just like us

Can we remember their names, roles and style


Tychicus what good things were said about him - we would like him.  

Maybe his style appears too grand for us to attain to . . . . . but then we’ve not read the book yet

The younger traveling companion is a fugitive of the law

He is Onesimus 4:9 ‘one of you’ so he belonged to the Colossian Church.

Philemon 1:16 tells us he is a slave who has run away and has now agreed to return to his master

He has become a believer and keen to put things right

In Philemon we read 1:10 Onesimus was useful 1:11  a dear brother1:15

They walk well together - a quality and style that glorify God


2 The three prisoners

‘A’ Team at Rome

Paul 1:1, 4:18 1:1   

an apostle : commissioned by Christ to take the Gospel    (Damascus road event)

a prisoner  : of Rome brought on by Jewish complaints

a house arrest where he could work and have visitors

. . of Christ, happy to serve God with everything he possessed

totally abandoned self to his Sovereign Lord

Epaphras 1:7, 4:12 Ph1:23  called a fellow servant,  faithful minister  v. hard working   

a fellow prisoner  a fellow worker Ph1:23

Prob the founder of Colossian church 

Aristarchus 4:10 1:23   fellow prisoner      fellow worker 1:23

present at the riots in Ephesus see Acts 21:29    . . . . travelled with Paul on his 3rd journey

‘fellow’  a companion, co-worker, colleague - one of a pair . . . .integrated trust is implied

transparent and singleminded 

wooden wheels had hubs, spokes, and felloes make the ring

‘worker, servant, prisoner’ all carry and indication of commitment, energy and sacrifice  

Fellow worker, fellow helper = companions in work, a shared interaction     Gk syndoulos the one word

Fellow prisoner (captive) willing without shame - captivated 

and of the same master

 Rev 19:10. . and I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren


3 Four at the House Church

Named and living at Colossea

Philemon as an appendix

It widens our knowledge base of Colossian life and experience

Nymphia 4:15   with a church meeting in her house  . . . . so was committed

No small risk with a Roman Occupation.  

Maybe well off with a house big enough

Archippus 4:17  1:2   a man with work to do          with house church

taking responsibilities, 

a fellow soldier  a new term,  maybe an army officer, now fighting a spiritual battle

strongs: an associate in labours and conflicts for the cause of Christ

but very much a ‘fellow’

Philemon 1:1   a friend of Paul and fellow worker

Had the slave Onesimus so a man of means

Has a letter addressed to him about the returning slave, appealing him to act

Apphia 1:1 our sister

Is greeted by name

A more domestic group, living the ‘everyday life’ a cycle of work, food and sleep.

but a life infused with Christ and his Word

These four broke the seal and read the letter to all who gathered in their house.

They are us!  . . . . give Archippus a face,  Nymphia - his wife?    a shared love and a shared danger


4 Five in the Rome support team

Timothy 1:1 1:1

there, was timid and young, but grown strong and reliable

Luke 4:14 1:23   the doctor    fellow worker 

1:23  writer of gospel and acts because travelled with Paul and no doubt suffered with him

Mark 4:10 1:23   fellow worker 1:23   

slightly anxious, prob the young man at prayer meeting when peter let out of prison Acts 12:12.

also who fled naked while following Christ at his arrest Mark 14:52 

turned back when with Paul to Pauls annoyance but later reinstated

Demas 4:14  fellow worker 1:23   deserted later for love of this world

Justus 4:11  

How mixed they were in age and intellect 

How they changed in time, for better or worse

Lets burst the bubble of saintliness and see human beings

see ourselves in these groups and learn alongside them

Same needs, same attractions, same anxiety, same passions


5 Prospects and Problems ahead

Within this living outpost of believers lurk . . .The nameless ones!  the shadow people

it was (is) a hostile landscape for Christ’s children 

2:8 ‘will take you captive‘ 2:16  ‘will Judge you’

2:18 are proud & unspiritual 2:19 ‘have lost connection with Christ

The real dangers around us.   What voices in the shadows,   Who will fall away . . . . will some of us . . . .

We need to read the book - our guide to life eternal

Beware, be wise

I want above all to connect what we learn from the book to the people that wrote and read it

The Holy Spirit sees fit to bring this letter to our attention, we are the people who read it now 

 From the 14 we met - we must learn

Connection to Christ is what we have in common as a church AND with the angels

notice the dangerous shadow people had ‘lost connection with Christ’

‘were proud and unspiritual’

A common Lord  (syndoulos . . the one word)

He loved the church and gave himself for it   .  .  ..  our 14 did         so must we

Our, and their diversity in ability, position, intellect and appearance

overwhelmed by  . . syndoulos the one word   fellow-workers with the angels

Here we are drawn, welcomed, washed and forgiven by Our Lord

With one voice the 14 say  . . . . . . .beware the unconnected / proud ones

. . . . . . .then Love others in the way I have loved you.