Relationships Matter

Colossians: It's All About Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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You and I were designed for relationships. We are designed to have a relationship with God and we are designed to have a relationship with each other. The cross is a powerful symbol of that design. We have a vertical beam that signifies our relationship with God and a horizontal beam that represents our relationships with those beside us and around us. The center point of both of those relationships is redemptive work of the One that hung on that cross where the vertical and horizontal come together. His name is Jesus and because of His love for you and me, we can receive that love and in turn live out that love with others.
Paul recognized that truth as he dictated the last words of this letter to the Colossians and then gave his final signature and blessing on it. It is the last passage in this great letter to the Colossians.
Colossians 4:7–18 NIV84
Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here. My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me. 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 and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings. Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea. Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord.” I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
Colossians 4:
A quick glance of this passage may cause one to say, “what is so important about these names?” My first reaction is that if I had friends who had names like these I would want to write about them too! A closer look at these verses show us several things that we can learn from these relationships Paul mentions. We can learn why relationships matter, how to make relationships matter, and finally when to make relationships matter.

Why Relationships Matter

Every Christian should be a minister of the Lord and a beloved brother or sister in the Lord. We see this in the characteristics of those listed in this passage. Paul calls Tychicus a fellow servant in the Lord. The wording is the same as that which we see in other passages as deacon. We have in our church a group of deacons that serve to minister to our families. It is a position in which that person is prayerfully nominated and then voted on by our church. The word here that is used for servant means more of a function than a position. It comes as the result of a changed life. It is obvious in this passage that each one of these names mentioned is a life that has been changed by the power of the Gospel.
Alistair Begg said, “The Gospel doesn’t simply alter our relationship with God; it actually alters our relationship with everyone and everything. The Gospel is a life-changing transformation.”
Because of Christ reigning in you and through you, you and I are transformed in a way that the overflow of our transformation seeps into our everyday lives.
Paul showed the importance of the bonds of personal friendships. His letters reveal that he and those that received those letters were deeply involved in each other’s lives. References like dear brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant indicate that this was more than just a casual relationship. In order to make such a claim their lives had to be intertwined and mingled together.
Paul believes that as the church hears of Paul’s work and concerns, they will be strengthened and gain confidence as they continue to mature in their faith. How beautiful it is to be encouraged by another’s faith. This can only happen if it is demonstrated and given the opportunity to be shared.
Communication is vital in all relationships and this is an example of God can use our communication to build His Kingdom.
One of my favorite authors is John Maxwell. I have many of his books and am currently reading two of them now. One of his early books was titled WINNING WITH PEOPLE. The thesis of this book is that almost all the negative things and positive things in our lives have to do with the relationships with people. We add value or subtract value in people’s lives as well as others doing so in ours. I have to ask, “Am I a plus or a minus? Do I add value to you or take value from you?” He goes on to say, “If you want to do well with people, add value to them. If you want to be miserable with people, take value away from them.” Good relationships don’t happen, they have to be grown and cultivated.
When this happens, we see the fruit of as demonstrated in this passage. We can see why relationships matter, let’s look now at how relationships matter.

How to Make Relationships Matter

How to Make Relationships Matter

When I first sat down and studied this passage, I was intrigued by the descriptive words that are used. I made a list and came up with 18 words that show us how to make relationships matter. These words are either listed in the text or implied by the text. They are listed for further study on the outline and I would encourage you to look at when they are practiced and how they in essence make relationships matter.
We further see through the listing of these names, there are also examples of how to make relationships matter.
In we see the name Onesimus. We learn from that Onesimus was a slave and in chains with Paul. In our text from Colossians we see him called faithful and dear brother. This reminds us that no matter what background we come from, in Christ we have a bond that unifies us and completes us.
Romans 3:22 NIV84
This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,
Galatians 3:28 NIV84
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
In , we see Aristarchus listed as “my fellow prisoner.” This shows us that we have a special bond with those who join us in service and suffering. I have watched many of you sit with a friend in a hospital waiting room while a loved one is having a procedure done. The bond that is developed truly is life-changing and propels all those involved to grow closer together in holy love. We also see in this same verse the importance of instruction. Each of us would do well in teaching each other the things we have learned in the Lord. As we share these things, again we grow and experience the richness of the Kingdom of God.
We see the name Mark mentioned in that same verse. Mark had been in a disagreement with some of the church leaders in the past.
Acts 15:38 NIV84
but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work.
Acts 15:36–38 NIV84
Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work.
Acts 15:3
Acts 15:30 NIV84
The men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter.
Paul is mentioning his name here to show the importance of restoration. It may be a surprise to you but there will be matters in which we will not all agree! This is evident today. There are places not too far from here that I can take you to that within one mile on a road there is the “first church of so-and-so” and just a bit further the “second first church of so-and-so.” Unfortunately, it happens due to some disagreement that is usually petty and really doesn’t matter, yet it has turned into a major battle. The lesson we see in the mentioning of Mark is that in relationships, we must be willing to forgive.
Acts 15:30
Paul is mentioning his name here to show the importance of restoration.
Galatians 6:1 NIV84
Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
Paul indicates in that we should associate with other cultures. I am saddened that even in this 21st Century the most segregated time in our country is the eleven o’clock hour on Sunday morning. We need to remember that the cross was for the whole world. If we are in a true relationship with Jesus, it will not matter the race, color or gender and we should have relationships with all people which the Lord connects us.
We see in verse 12, that Christian relationships are strengthened through prayer for each other. Epaphras prayed for believers in three different cities - Laodicea, Hierapolis and Colosse. Christian relationships not only pray for each other, but they strive to help each other :stand firm in all the will of God, be mature and be fully assured.” What a joy it is to help another Christian to be convinced fully that they are doing what they are called to be and do!
We see in verse 13 where Paul was able to vouch for Epaphras. Who can you vouch for? That’s a funny word to say, but it means to “bear witness to.” Who can you “bear witness to” that they are doing the will of God? An outsider can’t do that. You have to know that person and be around that person in action. Christians are able to vouch for one another because they are doing what they are called to do. This means that there is no question about their integrity. Who can you vouch for? Who can vouch for you? Enter into relationships where that can happen.
We see relationships should be formed across socio-economic lines. mentions Luke the Doctor and Demas. In our world, typically doctors are often associated with wealth. In we learn that Demas later went out into the world, a phrase that indicates he went after wealth and prosperity. We need to be associated with both the rich and poor.
In verse 15, we recognize to need to celebrate with other believers from other churches. What a glorious day it will be in heaven when there will be no church walls or denominational lines. Why not start now by allowing it to be okay to celebrate with other believers from other churches?
Verses 16, 17, and 18 show us when to make relationships matter.

When to Make Relationships Matter

It starts right now. We are to be a people of action. In these verses we see action words say “tell, read, show, remember, and to experience grace.” A close look at the tense of these words indicate that it is in the present tense. This means we must make relationships matter right now.
Christian relationships encourage others to fulfill their calling in ministry. This ministry calling has to be one, according to verse 17, that is received in the Lord. Many people claim to have a ministry, but it is not one that is received in the Lord. This means it will not contradict scripture and it will be in line to God’s Word. If you are asked to ever join the ranks of someone that is trying to do a ministry that is not congruent to God’s Word, you should adhere to the advice from the robot from the old show, Lost in Space: “Danger, Danger, Danger! Run Will Robinson! Run!”
Paul shows in verse 18 that the cause comes before the selfish need. He could have written, “I am in chains, send help.” Rather, he wrote that this was written in his own hand and his chains were because of his love for Jesus and the fact that he was sharing the Gospel with the Gentiles.
Paul gives one more encouragement. “Grace be with you.” The word for grace is CHARIS. It means gift and the ability to rejoice and be glad. What a beautiful desire for fellow Christians!
The letter closes with the desire of the best possible path for Christian relationships: worship together, encourage one another, learn from each other more fully the plan of God and His desire for the world’s salvation, and to find out how to fulfill the ministries which we all have been given to do!
Author Sheldon Vanauken said it best: The strongest argument against Christianity is Christians—when they are somber and joyless, when they are self-righteous and smug in complacent consecration, when they are narrow and repressive, then Christianity dies a thousand deaths. But, the best argument for Christianity is also Christians; their joy, their certainty, their completeness.
Let’s start something new and fresh here at our church. Let’s live this passage out!
Sheldon Vanauken said it best: The strongest argument against Christianity is Christians—when they are somber and joyless, when they are self-righteous and smug in complacent consecration, when they are narrow and repressive, then Christianity dies a thousand deaths. But, the best argument for Christianity is also Christians; their joy, their certainty, their completeness.
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