In this sermon, Pastor Neil begins an examination of the men and women who helped Paul in the ministry of the Gospel– partners in ministry. Here are some excerpts:
Behind every great man or woman is another person, or a team of people, who help to make that individual great, people who help them to accomplish what they could not do without the support or encouragement or assistance of others
Let’s look at the partners in ministry Paul names here in Colossians 4. The cast of characters he names ranges from the famous to those who are virtually unknown, except for Paul’s mention of them here.
The first one Paul mentions is Tychicus (pronounced TICK-i-kus). Paul speaks of him in verse 7 as “a beloved (agapetos) brother, a faithful minister (diakonos), and a fellow servant in the Lord.” That’s high praise, don’t you think? Wouldn’t you want to be known as a beloved brother or sister, as faithful in your ministry, and a fellow servant of the Lord Jesus Christ? I would. That is how highly Paul thought of Tychicus, how greatly he valued him as a brother in Christ and partner in ministry.
Onesimus [became] useful not only to Philemon but to Paul as well, for he [became] a brother in Christ and a partner in the ministry of the gospel. Paul [sent] Onesimus back to Colosse with Tychicus, back to Philemon, hoping that Philemon [would] receive Onesimus back with forgiveness and grace as a fellow follower of the Lord Jesus.
Onesimus was one (one of millions of proofs) of the power – the dramatic power – of the gospel to redeem runaway sinners, to transform sinners into fully-devoted followers of Christ. Not only is Onesiums proof of God’s power to save sinners, he is proof of God’s ability and desire to use people like Onesimus – and you and me – as “fellow workers for the kingdom of God” (4:11). We don’t know for sure, but some biblical scholars believe this former runaway slave later became the bishop (episkopos) of the church in Ephesus. If God can take a runaway slave and make him useful in His service and a leader in His church, He can certainly use people like us. Like you and me.
[Pastor Neil mentions others who supported Paul in ministry–Aristarchus and Mark, and Barnabas.]
Remember this: There is a place in the work of God’s kingdom for you. There is a place for the most ordinary of the ordinary, and for the most extraordinary or the extraordinary. Like Paul, we are not lone rangers in God’s service. We are not meant to be lone rangers. We are meant to work together, to serve together, to live and love and laugh and cry and pray together as beloved brothers and sisters and fellow workers for the gospel.
Will you, like Tychicus and Onesimus, like Aristarchus and Mark, like Paul and Barnabas, give yourself fully to the Lord, to let Him have His way in your life? Remember, He can do more with it than you can.
Pastor Neil has a lot more to say on this topic– partners in ministry. Please click on the link below to hear this sermon in its entirety.