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A Fond and Friend-Filled Farewell, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
April 12, 2022 7:05 am

A Fond and Friend-Filled Farewell, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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April 12, 2022 7:05 am

Jesus Christ, Our All in All: A Study of Colossians

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Today, from Chuck Swindoll. Isn't it remarkable after a terrible mistake, which we have all made, some moment of failure where we abandoned our post, or we didn't keep our word, or we proved unfaithful. Isn't it great that God in His grace has a way of picking up the pieces, blending them back together in our lives. We seek the forgiveness of those we hurt, and He puts us back on our feet. When we come to the end of Paul's letter to the Colossians, we're somewhat surprised to find a sequence of emotional statements to his friends. It's unexpected because Paul's personal comments follow a masterful theological treatise on the majesty of Jesus Christ, who is our all in all.

Well, today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll presents his last message in a brand new series on Colossians. And in this final presentation, we'll discover the relevance of Paul's sentimental expressions, and what they teach us about the value of friendship, loyalty, and grace. So our Father, we pause to pray at this moment with gratitude for those in the circle of our friends. Some are so near and dear to us, they are mentors. We hang on their every word. They have guided us. They have inspired us.

They have exhorted and corrected us. They have been models for us. Thank you for our mentors. And there and there are those who share the ups and downs of life with us. They're there when we hurt, and they're there when we celebrate. They are there for us when we are in need, as we are there for them in their times of struggle. Thank you for those outside our immediate family who have filled a role that no one else could fill.

They have enriched our lives. We're grateful today, our Father, for Jesus. What a friend. He was our friend when we were lost and we didn't know it. We realize the role he would fill as we came to the end of ourselves and found ourselves at the foot of the cross and realized that this one is the one who died for us. How inestimable has been his love for us. And Father, we thank you for giving him to us, for releasing him from the environs of the third heaven and sending him to this depraved, sin-cursed earth where he would be misunderstood, misrepresented, mistreated, and crucified. What a friend we have in Jesus. All our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to you, our God, in prayer. May these words in the 12 verses that appear at the end of this little letter come off the page and become implanted deep within our hearts as we become acquainted with the man whose circle of friends included these fine people.

May we realize in the process the importance of cultivating the same in our lives. It is our joy to serve you as a body of people. We are a family. We're not a bag of marbles that bounce together and don't touch each other's lives except to make noise. We're a container of grapes. We bleed into each other.

We blend together. We rejoice when others rejoice and we weep when those among us weep. May the light that we send burn brightly. May it attract those who live their lives in darkness and despair. May our lives as we touch theirs become for them a point of hope, a reason to go on, a discovery of the greatest individual who ever lived. That's why we give our gifts today, Lord, that this message may continue. May every penny that is given be handled with integrity and spent with wisdom. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Everyone said, amen.

You're listening to Insight for Living. To search the scriptures with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures studies by going to slash studies. And now the message from Chuck called A Fond and Friend-Filled Farewell. And you get to this little letter of Colossians and he's written of the majesty of Christ and he is our all in all and the significance of our savior and the importance of his presence as we work our way through life. And then he gets to the end and he gets very personal, almost nostalgic, as he names 10 individuals, men and women, in these 12 verses. First there are the two friends who carried this letter to the church at Colossae. They're mentioned in verses 7, 8, and 9.

They took the document, they made sure it was safe, they put it in the pouch, they carried it with them literally from Rome over to the little, we would call little, to the town of Colossae. When you get to verse 10, the category changes to those six who remained with Paul in Rome. They're there to comfort and to be his companions because remember he's chained to a Roman soldier.

He's under house arrest and he is literally bound to a soldier who had the duty to guard this prisoner while he's awaiting trial. The last two, Nymphae and Archippus, were two who lived in Colossae whom the apostle and others with him greet. They will be the recipients of the letter that is sent to them and carried to them by Tychicus and Onesimus, the letter that Paul has written named Colossians. At the end of it all is a very touching moment, very intimate moment, where Paul personally takes the stylus in hand and though manacled, signs his name with his own signature. It we were able to have a copy of the original Greek document on which Paul wrote this letter in Koine, common Greek, we would see that the penmanship changes at verse what we call verse 18. The end of the letter, it is Paul's own hand that he writes with his own penmanship and then adds a couple of thoughts that are so meaningful for him and the people in Colossae. Now then, with that as a background, let's meet these ten people.

First, the two who carried the letter. Tychicus will give you a full report about how I am getting along. So who is Tychicus? You will see three things about him as you read on. First, he is a beloved brother. So he's a much-loved and admired friend in the faith. Second, he is faithful.

See the word? He is a beloved brother and faithful. So he is consistent and loyal and trustworthy and reliable in his ministry.

That's why he would be trustworthy to take the letter from Paul in Rome and to get it all the way into Asia where Colossae is located. And then third, we notice in this same verse, he is a helper who serves with me in the Lord's work. He is a fellow servant, literally a fellow doulos, slave. We are both slaves of Christ. He is a fellow slave. I looked up the name Tychicus. I found that he's mentioned in Acts 20 verse 4.

We know from that that he is a native of Asia. I found in Ephesians 6 verses 21 and 22 that he is a bearer of that letter. Paul wrote that letter and had it sent to Ephesus and Tychicus carried the letter of the Ephesians to that church.

So he is a man so trustworthy he is able to do that on more than one occasion. It's verified in the words of 2 Timothy 4.12 where he says, I sent Tychicus to you. He says in Titus 3.12, when I send Artemis or Tychicus, and then he gives the message to them. The reason I know the verses is I've checked them all in the concordance.

I'm not bright enough to remember them. So I need a book that will help me. So I need a concordance. Another study book you need in your own research is a lexicon. Lexicon will give you the meaning of words. Often when I give you the meaning of a word, I found it in one of several lexicons that are in my library. And so when you do serious work and the Bible becomes more than just a coffee table book, when it's more than a paperweight in your home, when you begin to live in the pages of this book, you will realize the value of a concordance and a lexicon.

The words will make sense, they will come alive, and the names will become familiar to you as a result of your work. I think of Tychicus as sort of the FedEx representative of Paul. Just one of my wild imaginations, so that we're not offensive, the UPS representative. They were the brown that were able to carry the message. Tychicus and the other, Onesimus.

Look at what it says in verse 9. I am sending Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, one of your own people, he and Tychicus. So they're traveling together. When you read your Bible, think, imagine it, it tells you the truth, these two men travel together to take this letter to Colossae. He and Tychicus will tell you everything that's happening here. So Paul was an open book.

When you have friends that are as close as Tychicus and this man Onesimus, you have nothing to hide. And they knew how things were going there, and when they arrived, they had more than a document, they had news they could share verbally. As they explained to the people in Colossae how things were, today we pick up a phone, today we get an email. In those days, there was none of that. And so if information was going to be shared, it was written or it was said and was repeated or read.

So these men will be the ones who carry that. In case you haven't remembered, Onesimus was once a runaway slave. When you read the little one-chapter letter of Philemon, who was the slave owner, you will read the name Onesimus, who did a scandalous thing. He escaped from his master and he fled the streets, going all the way, all the way across the Aegean, across the Adriatic, all the way to Italy, and of all things by God's providence, God brought him, Onesimus, to Paul. Paul leads him to Christ and he's now converted. He was once a worthless runaway slave, but now he is invaluable.

He is in fact one of Paul's trusted messengers. A little touch of application, if I may. Every one of us has something ugly about us that we hope no one else knows. Heads are looking around other heads right now.

Yes, me too. We all have done things that we're ashamed of. Many of them were done before we knew Christ. And as a result, they're under the blood. They're forgiven. And there's no reason to make mention of them.

It would scandalize others if we camped on those things that once made our lives a scandal. Isn't it gracious of Paul not to mention that Onesimus was once a runaway? He saves all that. He simply says, my friend is a faithful and beloved brother. He's one of your own people. People of Colossae knew him.

What an endorsement, huh? Here is a man who had known days of darkness and despair and disobedience, who was now on the list of Paul's friends. How great of Paul to include Onesimus. Paul relied on Tychicus and Onesimus to carry the message. Okay, that's two of them.

Look at the next six. Aristarchus is mentioned down in verse 10. Look at what it says about Aristarchus.

Read it in your own Bible. He is in prison with me. He's actually under arrest as I am. The Greek says he is a fellow captive with me. We learn more about Aristarchus from other sections of Scripture, which I found in my concordance. Acts chapter 19 verse 29 identifies him as one alongside Gaius who is dragged out into an amphitheater in a mob setting in Ephesus. If you travel today to ancient Ephesus, you will walk into that theater and you're able to actually see the place where Paul was and where Aristarchus and Gaius were dragged out in the mob. Their lives were preserved, but they had known of suffering and persecution. They were Paul's traveling companions.

In Acts 27, 2, you will trace Aristarchus as he travels from Caesarea by the sea all the way to Italy, all the way to Rome. He was one of his traveling companions. So there's a closeness to Paul. Probably so close is the reason he became arrested. We have a saying today and we still use it, and they had the saying in ancient days, the friend of my enemy is my enemy. That's the way the Romans looked at it. The friend of Paul, who was under arrest, ought to be under arrest. In those days, if you visited someone who was captured, you often put your own life at stake, at risk, because you were now seen to be a friend of the one who was under arrest in another country. Perhaps for that reason, we don't know. He simply says he is in prison with me, but he sends his greetings. Isn't it interesting? There's no bitterness mentioned.

There's no pity. There is greeting. He sends his greeting, and while you're marking them, I hope you're underlining the names. Tychicus, verse 7. Onesimus, verse 9.

Aristarchus, verse 10. Mark, now we meet in verse 10. Mark. Mark. Barnabas' cousin, we learn here and nowhere else in the scriptures are we told that. So we learn that they are related, which explains, stay with me, when Paul and Barnabas did their first missionary journey, they took along with them a young man named John. John Mark. This Mark. He's young.

He's a tenderfoot. And he made it the first part of the journey, but when they got to the shores of Pamphylia and the rugged rocks that were there, and no doubt the infestation of mosquitoes, some of them carrying malaria, perhaps it was there, Paul contracted a terrible disease, he became discouraged, he panicked, and no doubt in the middle of the night fled. He abandoned them. This is John Mark. This is the man mentioned here among Paul's friends.

It gets better. When you get to Acts 13, you read of his abandonment. When you get later to Acts 15, you read of the argument that broke out between Paul and Barnabas as they were discussing whether they should take John Mark with them on the second journey. And Paul said no. I'm sure he quoted a verse like, confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth and a foot out of joint.

That's a proverb. You know, you quote verses when you want to verify your reason for holding that opinion. And I'm sure Barnabas had a verse about the forgiveness of God. I mean, Paul, don't forget, I'm the one who introduced you to the apostles back when you had no reputation.

The reputation you had was scandalous and I was there for you. We need to be there for John. Paul said no. Barnabas said yes.

Paul said no. Barnabas said yes. And it was so severe, so severe an argument that Barnabas took John Mark and they set sail for Barnabas' homeland in Cyprus.

He was a Cypriot by birth and Barnabas and his cousin John Mark sailed together and Paul chose Silas to travel with him on that journey. Years have passed. Years have passed. Through the years, John Mark has begun to mature. He's become reliable. He's seen the failure of his early decision when he abandoned these wonderful friends and he has probably come full circle and maybe even made it right with Paul. So much so that Mark, Barnabas' cousin, he says, welcome him if he comes your way.

Isn't that great? Here's a man who had been abandoned by Mark now saying, I speak in his behalf. By the way, next time you read the Gospel by Mark, remember John Mark. He's the one who wrote it. Isn't it remarkable how in the process of time after a terrible mistake which we have all made, some moment of failure where we abandoned our post or we didn't keep our word or we proved unfaithful, isn't it great that God in his grace has a way of picking up the pieces, blending them back together in our lives. We seek the forgiveness of those we hurt and he puts us back on our feet.

So it was with Mark. Then we get to a man who has a name nobody wanted, verse 11, Jesus. Do your son a favor and don't name him that. I'm not surprised that he's the one we call justice.

Well, I don't want to be silly about it. There's a reason for the change. Jesus was his Jewish name. Justice is his Latin name, not uncommon in those days. But they called him justice for obvious reasons. He sends his greetings. What about him? We know nothing more.

You will not read of justice anywhere else in all the Bible. But to Paul, he's a friend. I could at this moment name two or three people who are dear friends of mine and have been for several years whom not one of you would know. They are my justice and you have a friend like that as well. You are becoming a friend to another as well. Not all friends make a name for themselves.

So the application here is it's okay to be a sheltering tree that doesn't have a name known by others. The branch that reached out over Paul's life named justice was a branch that brought him comfort and companionship. By the way, Hebrews 11 comes to the end of the long list. Time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah and David also and Samuel and the prophets who through faith subdued kingdoms and wrought righteousness and stopped the mouths of lions and quenched the violence of fire. It says in Hebrews 11. Then it says at the end of that, then there were others of whom the world is not worthy.

It's always been one of my favorite lines out of Hebrews 11. Here are some I won't even name, but their lives were so significant to the cause of Christ that the world wasn't worthy of seeing their shadow. You may be living your life not known by that many people, not doing something that seems all that significant.

If your name were put up in a public place, people would drive right by not knowing what that represented. I want you to know you're in the company of justice and nymph. You're aware there's nothing else known, but God knows and you have played a role as the branch that's brought shelter to the lives of another or the lives of others.

Now look at what he says about justice. These are my co-workers. They're working with me here for the kingdom. What a comfort they have been, but I missed something important. Look earlier in the verse, verse 11. Justice sends his greetings. These are the only Jewish believers among my co-workers. I don't know about you, but that surprised me to read that. By now, because Paul has ministered to the Gentiles, a number of the Jewish companions have moved elsewhere and been involved in their ministry. He's really surrounded by Gentiles, but there were still a few who were Jewish who were standing beside him.

Justice is one of them. Chuck Swindoll is working his way through Paul's list of friends and the warm greetings he sent from his prison cell. And there's much more to discover in this fourth chapter of Colossians. You're listening to Insight for Living.

Chuck titled today's message A Fond and Friend-Filled Farewell. It's the 10th and final sermon in the brand new teaching series that concludes tomorrow called Jesus Christ, Our All in All. To learn more about this ministry, visit us online at As we wrap up this study in Colossians, I'll point you to two collateral resources. Insight for Living has developed an interactive study tool that Chuck calls Searching the Scriptures. And there's a sequence of study notes prepared for every sermon Chuck presented in this brand new series, including the one you heard today. It's interactive because you can jot down your personal notes online or print out the PDF for safekeeping. We invite you to point your friends to this free resource as well. Take a look and discover what's available to you by going to slash studies. If it's a book you're looking for, I'm pleased to remind you that Chuck wrote A Living Insights Commentary on Colossians.

It's laid out in a format that's clear and easy to understand. This is one of the last times I'll mention this resource because Chuck's teaching series will conclude tomorrow. To purchase a copy of The Commentary on Colossians, go to slash offer or call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. We rely on your support to make these daily Bible studies with Chuck possible. And if it's been a while since you've responded to the need or you've never stepped forward with a contribution, we invite you to give a donation today. Just give us a call. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or give a donation online at slash donate. I'm Bill Meyer, urging you to join us again next time when Chuck Swindoll concludes his brand new study in Colossians, right here on Insight for Living. The preceding message, a fond and friend-filled farewell, was copyrighted in 2014 and 2022, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2022 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-08 15:00:47 / 2023-05-08 15:09:52 / 9

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