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The Apostle prosecutes the same Subject of Exhortation, in the opening of this Chapter. He enjoins a Continuance in Prayer, with Watchfulness, and Thanksgiving. He concludes the Epistle with Salutations.
(1) Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven. (2) Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; (3) Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: (4) That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. (5) Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. (6) Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
I do not think it needful to dwell upon what is here said; the subjects contained in these verses, and the manner in which the Apostle hath recommended the things contained in them, being so very plain, and self-evident. Just only would I observe, with what earnestness Paul, though so great an Apostle, desired to be remembered in their prayers. It hath been an anxious desire of the Church in all ages, in the several members of Christ's mystical body, to be mentioned by one another at the Court, when seeing the King in his beauty. And God's faithful ministers have been very earnest, in this particular, with their people. Some that I have read of, have gone so far as to say, that they have known, when their people have been fervent in prayer for them in their labors of love, by the blessings which have followed in their ministry. Surely such a thought, if duly considered, would, in the Lord's hand, make a Church, sound in the faith, be very desirous to go often to court, and ask the Lord to bless his servants!
How sweet, and edifying, would be the conversation of the Lord's people, if always framed upon the Apostle's plan. The name of Jesus, and the sweet savor of his love, if continually made the subject of discourse, would have similar effect, to give a relish to the conversation of God's people, as salt hath, to make our ordinary food savory. Christ is indeed the salt of the Covenant. Leviticus 2:13 ; Mark 9:50 . But alas! how little is it made the general matter of discourse! See Malachi 3:16-18 .
(7) All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord: (8) Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts; (9) With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here. (10) Aristarchus my fellow prisoner saluteth you, and Mark, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;) (11) And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellow workers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me. (12) Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. (13) For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis. (14) Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you. (15) Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. (16) And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. (17) And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it. (18) The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.
I have not interrupted the whole of these verses, as it did not appear necessary to make any break in them; being chiefly speaking of persons, and the Apostle's affectionate remembrance of them. A short observation is all that will be needful upon the whole.
Tychichus we have an account of, in other parts of Paul's writings, 1 Corinthians 16:17 ; Ephesians 6:21 ; 2 Timothy 4:12 . And, it appears from Acts 20:4 , that he was a companion of the Apostle's. The honorable testimony given of him, though short, is beyond all magnificent titles of the great in this world. A beloved brother, a faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord! Onesimus, whom Paul also calls a faithful, and beloved brother, Paul felt so much interest for, that he wrote that very sweet, and interesting Epistle to Philemon, wholly on his account. Aristarchus, it should seem, was a man of Macedon, as the history of Paul's travels in the book of the Acts relates, Acts 19:29 , and Acts 20:4 . Marcus, is probably the same as we read of, Acts 15:37 , etc. Peter also mentions this man, 1 Peter 5:13 . And Paul, in 2 Timothy 4:11 , and in his Epistle to Philemon, Philemon 1:24 . Jesus, called Justus, is probably the same, as the one mentioned of Corinth, Acts 18:7 . Jesus is the same name as Joshua, in the Hebrew; and his other name Justus, was given him, it hath been thought by some, on account of his worthy character. Epaphras was noticed in the opening of this Epistle: Colossians 1:7 . And, from the manner in which the Apostle hath spoken of him again, in the close of his letter, it shews him to have been a zealous, and an affectionate servant of the Church. Oh! that the Lord would send many an Epaphras to his Churches! Luke, the beloved Physician, not beloved so much as a physician for the body, but as beloved of the Lord, and as one of his members; and we have reason to bless God for his services, the Gospel which bears his name, and the Acts of the Apostles, being both from his penmanship. Demas, if the same as mentioned, 2 Timothy 4:10 , affords an awful instance, how far profession may go, without a work of real conversion of the heart to God. The brethren at Laodicea, and Nymphas, we have no further account of, neither of the epistle from Laodicea, It should seem, that someone had sent an epistle to Paul, from Laodicea; and not, that it was an Epistle, as some have thought, from Paul to that Church. Had it been his, no doubt it would have been written, as all his Epistles were, under inspiration, and consequently have been preserved, and handed down to the Church. What the Apostle directed to be said to Archippus, hath been supposed as implying negligence in his ministry. But had this been the case, surely Paul would not have spared him. And, in his Epistle to Philemon, written much about the same time, he calls him his beloved Archippus. Be this, however, the case, or not, it serves to teach all who minister in holy things, how earnest they ought to be: - first, to know, that like Archippus, they have received the ministry in, and from the Lord: and, secondly, that they fulfil it, Colossians 4:17 . It should seem, that after Tychicus, or Onesimus, or perhaps both together, had written down (as Baruch did from the prophet Jeremiah's mouth, Jeremiah 36:18 .) the Epistle; Paul put his name to it, by way of confirmation. But let the Reader observe, how the beginning, and ending, are the same: Grace be unto you, or with you, Amen. So should all Epistles be. And so all are, which God the Spirit indites.
BLESSING, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne; and unto the Lamb, forever and ever! What praise sufficient, or what glory equal, can the Church upon earth, and the redeemed in heaven, render, to the One glorious Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the unequalled love manifested to the Church, in Jesus Christ, ! And what everlasting thanks-giving, doth the reading of those holy Scriptures call forth, in the daily use of them, from beholding, with what a world of grace, the precious records have been preserved, and handed down, from age to age, to the joy of the Church, and the glory of the Almighty Head of it. Oh! Lord the Spirit! do thou, in thine Almighty ministry, bless thine holy word to all thy sent servants, and the people among whom thou shalt send them, to minister, that both him that labors in the word and doctrine, and those among whom the ministry is exercised, may be blessed together.
We bless our God for the service of his Apostle, in this instance of his labors of love, in this Epistle to the Church; by which, he being dead yet speaketh. And our God will continue to bless its use to the Church to the latest posterity. May the Lord accompany the present perusal of it to the divine honor, and our furtherance in grace, through Jesus Christ,
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Colossians 4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent