Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Colossians, Chapter Four, Commentary

1 ¶ Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.
To take this out of the slave/master relationship for practical reasons for us, the employer should always be fair and equal with his employees. This does not mean that everyone must be paid the same wage. Obviously, we have this to contend with which has several layers of meaning, one of which that the right to my private property, which ultimately is God’s anyway, and the right of contract is without question;
Matthew 20:1 ¶ For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. 2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. 5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? 7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. 8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. 9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. 10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. 11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, 12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. 13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? (right of contract) 14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?(right to private property) Is thine eye evil, because I am good?
Be fair to your employees. A Christian employer must be just and reasonable. Grievances should not be dismissed because the person who brought the grievance doesn’t attend church or your church. An employee should be able to expect from his employer what we as Christians can expect from Christ, guidance, mercy, judgment, wisdom, equality in value as a human being, and an open door, an ear to hear our concerns and our supplications.
There are many warnings about dishonest employers. Notice how Laban changed Jacob’s wages and deceived him. There seems to be a few references to employers cheating employee’s out of their wages entirely such as in Malachi 3:5.
Malachi 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
A Christian employer should always remember that he, too, has a master, which is Christ.
2 ¶ Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
Remember, in the statements that Paul makes in 1 Thessalonians 5 it includes;
1Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
And in 1 Timothy
1Timothy 2:8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
Note that mention is made, under the Law, of specific times to pray although prayer was offered up at any time.
Psalm 55:17 Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.
Daniel 6:10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
I only bring that up not to say that under the Law they ONLY prayed at certain times but to point out that we are to have a prayerful attitude and be able to pray at all times and at any time, to pray without ceasing. Unlike Moslems, who pray five times a day toward Mecca or Jews who would have faithfully prayed three times a day towards Jerusalem, we have the Spirit of the living God inside of us and we are to always be in communication with Him.
Try it. Try thinking of God all the time. Try it just for fifteen minutes, or an hour. See what happens.
Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Thanksgiving is essential to our relationship with Christ.
Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
1Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
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.
Here Paul asks for prayer, that he might witness for Christ while he is imprisoned.
5 ¶ Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
We are to be wise in the way we present our lives to the unbeliever. Being argumentative or obnoxious is neither a means to bring people to Christ nor does it mean you have met your call to manifest Christ. When you deliberately make yourself a nuisance you are only doing it for your own flesh. Use your time wisely.
6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Think carefully what you are saying. Don’t speak in self righteousness, fear, or paranoia. Be calm and let God give you what to say. Remember, your purpose is to save, not to kill. Give them the gospel of Christ.
7 ¶ All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant 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.
Onesimus was the runaway slave to whose master he appealed in Philemon. Tychicus was the actual penman of Ephesians and along with Onesimus of Colossians. It was common in those days for a person who wrote a letter or a book to have someone else, sometimes a professional scribe, do the writing.
10 Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, 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 fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me.
According to the Jewish turncoat general and writer, Josephus, Jesus was a common name among First Century Jews. So, if you hear about an archaeologist uncovering a tomb with the inscription, Jesus, on it, big deal.
12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
Here is a definition of perfect. Note the “and complete” without a comma. Here is another.
2Chronicles 8:16 Now all the work of Solomon was prepared unto the day of the foundation of the house of the LORD, and until it was finished. So the house of the LORD was perfected.
How can I be perfect and complete in the Lord knowing that we won’t be finished until we are in Heaven?
Under the Law:
1Kings 8:61 Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.
Under Grace:
1John 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
2Timothy 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
By the way, the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers makes the two references to the “man of God” in Timothy’s letters apply to us all. Setting the ‘man of God’ as being a distinct and separate level of Christian is Nicolaitanism, which means “victory over the laity” where a special priesthood rules over believers and is a buffer between them and God. Jesus says He hates that.
First, we have only one mediator between us and God.
1Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Second, we have Christ’s view of Nicolaitanism.
Revelation 2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
Revelation 2:15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
As in the relationship between men and women there are operational differences but no difference in value or quality. Read Galatians 3:28, with regard to Pastors and Teachers there are operational differences between Christians possessing different gifts and talents but no special mediators.
13 For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.
Both of these cities were in what is today, Western Turkey. Laodicea, meaning “the people judge” or “the people’s rights” is also the last age of the church mentioned in Revelation. This is the age of the “rights of the people” being preeminent. You’ll hear this in “is church serving you” and “is church able to get a hold of your interest” and “are you comfortable enough” and “did you enjoy the singing”, etc. etc. This is the consumer church.
14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.
Luke wrote the gospel with his name on it and Acts. He accompanied Paul on his journeys. Demas will leave Paul in 2 Timothy 4:10.
15 Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.
The church met in houses in those days. There were no church buildings set apart for that purpose until the end of the second century according to most sources I have read. The house church is the New Testament church if it holds to the doctrines of the Bible.
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.
Laodicea sent them a letter, which was not inspired, and this letter, inspired, was to be read aloud in the Laodicean Church. This epistle has a particular importance for this last age of the Church.
17 And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it. 18 The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen. Written from Rome to Colossians by Tychicus and Onesimus.
There are many Christians suffering around the world, in prison and persecution. I suggest persecution.com to see stories about them. This letter to the Colossians, as I said, has a particular importance during this age of evolution and disbelief INSIDE the Christian Church.

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