Colossians 1:1-8 Epaphras

Today David started a new series on Colossians and began by asking two questions:

  1. What do you know about Epaphras?
  2. Who do you look up to as an example of Christian love and witness, a model of faith, love and hope?

So what prompted this letter to the Colossians since it is thought that Paul never visited Colosse, yet in Colosse there existed a Christian church?
The letter shows that Epaphras had brought news of these Colossian believers and while the news was positive it also was evident that the believers were facing certain dangers.


Epaphras is little known of in the Bible.
What do we know?

  • Epaphras was a key Bible character in relation to Colosse
  • He is in fact one of the core reasons why there actually was a church in Colosse
  • He is mentioned twice in Paul’s letter (1:7, 4:12)

From these verses we find:

  • Two stand out descriptions
  • One insight
  • One massive question


THE TWO DESCRIPTIONS

Epaphras was a fellow servant
Epaphras was a faithful minister of Christ

He was following the example of Christ.

A fellow servant

ANYONE WHO WANTS TO BE FIRST MUST BE THE VERY LAST AND THE SERVANT OF ALL

I HAVE SET YOU AN EXAMPLE THAT YOU SHOULD DO AS I HAVE DONE FOR YOU

A faithful minister of Christ
He communicated and shared Jesus with others and did so faithfully.


THE INSIGHT

HE ALSO TOLD US OF YOUR LOVE IN THE SPIRIT

Epaphras told Paul and Timothy about how God was at work in the believers in Colosse resulting in a letter from Paul to the Colossian believers to encourage and guide.


THE MASSIVE QUESTION

What is ‘it’?

YOU LEARNED ‘IT’ FROM EPAPHRAS

TO GOD’S HOLY PEOPLE IN COLOSSE, THE FAITHFUL BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST

GRACE AND PEACE TO YOU FROM GOD OUR FATHER

Paul was able to wish grace and peace to the Colossian believers though he had never met them personally:

  • Grace – God’s unmerited favour
  • Peace – an internal spiritual contentment that defies human understanding resulting in wholeness and restoration

So, what is the ‘it’ these believers had learnt from Epaphras?

In 1:4,5,6 Paul gives us the details he had learnt from Epaphras.

WE HAVE HEARD OF YOUR FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS AND THE LOVE YOU HAVE FOR ALL OF GOD’S PEOPLE

THE FAITH AND LOVE THAT SPRING FROM THE HOPE STORED UP FOR YOU IN HEAVEN

YOU HAVE ALREADY HEARD OF THE GOSPEL THAT HAS COME TO YOU

Epaphras had related these facts to Paul about their faith, love and hope which were already established and following Jesus’ example.

AS I HAVE LOVED YOU SO YOU MUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER. BY THIS EVERYONE WILL KNOW THAT YOU ARE MY DISCIPLES, IF YOU LOVE ONE ANOTHER

The ‘it’ which the Colossians had learnt from Epaphras was:
THE GOSPEL.

Epaphras is a great example to us:

  • A fellow servant
  • A faithful minister
  • He shared Jesus
  • He was a teacher of the gospel that set up the church in Colosse


But the final chapter adds to these examples.

EPAPHRAS, WHO IS ONE OF YOU AND A SERVANT OF CHRIST JESUS, SENDS GREETINGS. HE IS ALWAYS WRESTLING IN PRAYER FOR YOU THAT YOU MAY STAND FIRM IN ALL THE WILL OF GOD, MATURE AND FULLY ASSURED. I VOUCH FOR HIM THAT HE IS WORKING HARD FOR YOU

  • One of them – an ordinary Christian doing what he is supposed to be doing
  • He prays for others, not casually or erratically – he wrestles in prayer
  • He works hard for others


So Epaphras, though little heard of, proves to be an outstanding example to us.

 

Reflection.

Are we –

  • People who serve others?
  • People who faithfully minister to others?
  • Gospel people who share Jesus with others?
  • People who make an effort for others?


We thank God for Epaphras and for the example he sets us.

Rosemary Warke

Rosemary Warke

I've been a Windsorite for most of my life. A one-time Physics teacher but now known as John Warke’s wife, then Tim and Heather’s Mum, but best of all Jonny, Amy and David’s granny.
Rosemary Warke
I've been a Windsorite for most of my life. A one-time Physics teacher but now known as John Warke’s wife, then Tim and Heather’s Mum, but best of all Jonny, Amy and David’s granny.