Sunday School Material
2-24-13: Disciplined for Life

(Colossians 4:2-17; 2/24/13)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that Paul urges his readers to stay dutiful, especially in regard to praying. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to be dutiful, especially in regards to praying.

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Read Colossians 4:2-6

I. Disciplines to Practice. In our Sunday School material Paul calls on his readers to devote themselves to prayer with watchfulness and thankfulness. He wants them to pray for his ministry team. Being wise in how his readers relate to outsiders and being gracious in their conversation are urged as well.

Applications -

- Prayerful and wise. Notice in vss. 2, 5-6 of our Sunday School material, the urgings to be prayerful and wise. First, to be prayerful is not to suggest that we should always have our eyes closed, hands folded, and heads bowed.

But we should strive to stay conscious of God’s presence and His will for our lives. And we should strive to be in communication with Him.

Second, to be watchful suggests that the devil is always up to something; therefore, we should keep our eyes open for his attacks and tricks.

Third, to be thankful suggests we always have something to be thankful for. We can always thank God that things are not worse and that things are going to get better.

Fourth, to be wise is to use our knowledge for God’s glory, which often includes take advantage of the opportunities that are before us. Taking advantage of the opportunities call for being gracious in how we talk.

We can say the right thing the wrong way and make things worse than they are or miss a great opportunity. Let’s work on being prayerful and wise.

- Ministering, in spite of suffering. Notice in vss. 3-4 Paul’s concern with wanting to be effective in ministry. In spite of his being in Roman custody, he was still concern about serving the Lord, in whatever way he could.

Too many people think that their problems exempt them from serving the Lord. Surely, there are times that our troubles do exempt us from serving. For example, when your spouse or close loved one dies, it is probably not God’s will for you to be singing in the choir or preaching in the pulpit the very next day.

However, there are other times, when we are called to be wounded healers. We serve, in spite of our pain. Let’s work on doing God’s will, in spite of the circumstances that we find ourselves in.

Read Colossians 4:7-15

II. Mentors to Follow. In our Sunday School material Paul is sending Tychicus to share with the readers how Paul and his team are getting along. There is quite a list of greetings exchanged.

Notice Mark is on the list, in spite of the earlier problems Paul had with him. Also notice Nympha, the lady in whose house a church was meeting.

Applications -

- A godly legacy. Notice in vss. 7-9 of the Sunday School material that Tychicus had quite a legacy. First, he was a dear brother. As fellow believers, we are siblings. But some siblings are not “dear.”

We should work on being a dear sibling and nurturing dear relationships with others - strong, unconditional love, and supportive.

Second, he was a faithful minister, servant in the Lord. Every believer has a ministry and service to perform in the Lord. We should work to do our part faithfully as others are doing theirs.

Third, he was sendable. There are too many who try to be a servant of the Lord but ignore the structures and human authorities that God has set in place.

Consequently, they are not sendable. We should work on being sendable, so the team can be more effective. Let’s work on having a legacy of being a dear sibling, faithful servant in the Lord, and sendable person.

- Reconciliation. Notice in vs. 10 of our Sunday School material that there was reconciliation between Paul and Mark. There are too many old grudges in our churches. On one hand, those who have shown themselves to be untrustworthy should work on demonstrating that they are trustworthy.

On the other hand, those who have been disappointed by others need to work on forgiving and giving people another chance to prove they are trustworthy. Let’s work on reconciliation.

- Intercessory prayer ministry. Notice in vs. 12 that Epaphras was known for praying for others. In the churches of my upbringing, they would have called him a prayer warrior. This is a person known for praying for others.

This seems to be a ministry that one can do especially in the evening of life, when our voices and energy are not what they used to be. Let’s work on our intercessory prayer ministry.

- Serving, in spite of distractions. Notice in vss. 14-15 of our Sunday School material Epaphras that people served in spite of their credentials, class, and gender. There are too many people who have highly influential occupations who do very little in their local churches. Thank God Dr. Luke was an exception to this idea.

There are others who have been blessed with a lovely home or nice car, but neither of them are available for the Lord’s service.

Thank God for Epaphras’ example of letting the Lord use her house and she did so, in spite of the gender restrictions of her day. Let’s work on serving the Lord, in spite of anything that may distract us.

Read Colossians 4:16-17

III. Responsibility to Discharge. In our Epaphras Paul instructs his readers to pass this letter on to the church of the Laodiceans. They are to read the letter from the church in Laodicea. And Archippus is urged to complete the ministry he received in the Lord.

Applications -

- Completing our assignments. Notice in vs. 16 of our Epaphras that Paul wrote about Archippus completing his assignment. First, it is important to write. Written communication can be much more reliable than verbal communication. And it can speak years and decades after the author has written.

It can be used and reused in a number of venues. There is too much wisdom being buried in the grave because it was never written down and shared with others.

Second, as with Archippus, we should all strive to complete the ministry that God has for us to do. We don’t want to be guilty of having a great start but a terrible finish. Let’s work on completing our assignments.

Conclusion: Let’s work on being dutiful, especially in regards to praying. God has much for those who obey His will.


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