1. We now come to the concluding section of the book of Colossians.
2. In this section, after concluding the body of the letter, Paul sends salutations and short personal messages from various servants of the Lord to the believers in Colossae.
3. The first servant of the Lord mentioned is Tychicus… a name which means “fortunate.”
His Personal Character
A. The Beloved Brother
1. Tychicus was beloved of God.
a. This is one of the designations of a believer: he is beloved of God.
b. Rom. 1:7 – “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints.”
c. God loves all of us. His love for us is everlasting.
d. This is our position as a believer: beloved! That is something to meditate upon… there is a depth is this statement that will take us all a lifetime and then some to fathom.
e. But God even loves those who are quite unlovable…
• He loves the whole world… that’s why He sent His Son to die for the world.
• God has an agape love for the world…
• But God does not have phileo love for the world. That is the family love and warm affection that He reserves just for His own people… those born into His family through the new birth.
• God has agape and phileo love for us.
• It is a wonderful thought to be doubly loved of the Lord!
2. However, it appears that Paul uses the term beloved here to refer to the fact that Tychicus is “beloved of Paul and the other believers.”
a. To be beloved of God is wonderful, but since His love is given graciously—it has nothing to do with us or with our behavior.
b. To be beloved of the brethren—that requires some effort… humility… selflessness… willingness to be defrauded… turn the other cheek…
c. God loves us all to the degree of infinity… but not every brother is so beloved by the rest of the Christian brotherhood.
d. We should demonstrate agape love equally to all believers, but we don’t.
e. Col. 2:2 – pray with Paul that our hearts might be knit together in love!
f. Col. 3:14 – Paul calls this the “bond of perfectness.”
g. To be a BELOVED brother is a tie stronger than any earthly tie. It speaks of the brotherhood of Christians in the family of God… and the affection that is part of it all.
h. However, sometimes the warmth and affection we should have towards each other is hampered by our own behavior.
i. Sometimes we make it HARD for others to love us…
j. Sometimes we are proud, selfish, gossip, we backbite, we harbor bitterness, we have chips on our shoulders, we have unforgiving spirits… sometimes we are cranky, irritable, grouchy, mean…
k. Yes, you and I are sometimes hard to love!
l. By our behavior and our attitudes, we do not always endear ourselves to the rest of the Christian brotherhood.
3. Tychicus DID endear himself to Paul and to the other believers.
a. He is called THE beloved brother.
b. A nearly identical verse appears in Eph. 6:21 and Tychicus is also called there “THE” beloved brother.
c. In both passages it is translated “a beloved brother”… just because it is an unusual expression.
d. The definite article appears for a purpose: to mark him out as THE one who was especially beloved by Paul and the brethren.
e. He’s the one… he’s the one all the brethren love.
f. That’s quite a statement!
g. The apostle John is known as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” (John 20:2 – phileo love)
h. Tychicus is known as the brother “all the believers loved.”
4. He especially endeared himself to Paul.
a. He was beloved of Paul.
b. He ministered to Paul in prison…
c. He made great personal sacrifice in order to minister to Paul.
d. What a blessing from God! God gave Paul a friend who stuck by his side… when Paul’s life came to a screeching halt when he was imprisoned.
e. Many abandoned Paul… but not Tychicus. No wonder he was beloved.
f. There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
B. Faithful Minister
1. He was PAUL’S servant… (diakonos) minister.
a. He ministered to Paul’s personal needs while he was in prison.
b. God took care of Paul while in prison. And God used Tychicus to accomplish that.
c. Christ dwelt in Tychicus… and Christ’s love for His Body was manifested TO members of His body THROUGH members of His Body.
d. Tychicus was a channel God could use to minister to His servant Paul.
e. Hence, Tychicus was like a personal servant for Paul during those many months of his first imprisonment.
f. He came there to provide fellowship for Paul.
g. He came, no doubt, for some other mundane ministries: bring him fruit… parchments to read… inform him as to what was happening in the Roman Empire… perhaps to bring him some warm clothing… perhaps doing his best to clean his wounds—prevent serious infections… and restore his health…
h. This kind of brother we would ALL like to have.
i. Perhaps more to the point: this kind of brother we should all seek to BE!
j. “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly.” (Prov. 18:24)
k. To be a beloved brother and faithful minister to the brethren does not require a high IQ… it does not cost a lot of money… it doesn’t require many special skills… you don’t need a degree from Bible college to minister like this.
l. It simply requires a HEART for God and God’s people!
m. It requires a heart surrendered to the Lord and willing to be a vessel… a conduit of God’s love and compassion… and to simply be available to be used of the Lord to accomplish His will.
n. Tychicus was that kind of a servant… of the Lord and to Paul directly.
o. He was FAITHFUL in his ministries to Paul.
p. His selfless, ceaseless ministry to Paul endeared him to Paul and to the other believers.
q. Paul was a special servant of the Lord and he too NEEDED to be ministered UNTO.
r. Paul is the name we all know… he is the great apostle. Anybody that knows anything about church history knows of the ministry of the apostle Paul.
s. But his ministry was supported… and encouraged… perhaps thereby enabled to continue… because of men like Tychicus who were faithfully serving in the background unseen and unknown by most men, but certainly NOT unnoticed by God.
t. And faithful servants like him working in the background are just as vital to the work of God as the famous ones like Paul or John.
u. There is greatness in humble service.
• Tychicus was just a delivery boy—but how important was that delivery!
• “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Matt. 23:11)
• That’s God’s definition of greatness! Doing small things for the Lord is greatness in His sight.
• God doesn’t need any big shots. But He delights in using nobodies like you and me…
• Tychicus delivered the highest and loftiest theological thought ever written (Ephesians and Colossians). But no one ever would have read it without the faithful ministry of Tychicus.
• He wasn’t a writer; he wasn’t a theologian; he wasn’t an apostle; he didn’t establish churches; he was a servant—and the churches of Jesus Christ are much richer because of this faithful, humble delivery boy!
• Do not despise small things.
• For the local church to function as God designed, it requires lots of unseen service going on in the background.
• There are ministries that we all SEE (pastor; Sunday school teacher; choir; etc.)
• But there are lots of other ministries that take place and are NECESSARY for the Body to function!
• Some folks take time to come and clean the church…
• Somebody has to take out the garbage… wash the floors… mow the lawn… even do windows!
• Someone is watching the young ones in nursery that you may not notice…
• We have folks who meet together for prayer at their homes… to pass out tracts… to make hospital and nursing home visits… that no one knows about…
• Someone has to write the checks and pay the bills…
• And nowadays… maintaining the web site… recording and making CDs… printing literature…
• This God’s design… (I Cor. 12:22 – even the so called “feeble” ministries are necessary.)
• It’s the folks who faithfully serve in the background that enables this body to continue… that enables the word of God to be preached… who undergird the entire church…
• These are men and women with a spirit like Tychicus… willing to serve in the background for the glory of Christ… and may their tribe increase!
• Perhaps some of you folks have been attending Salem Bible Church for some time now and do not yet have a ministry… there are LOTS of ways to serve Christ through His Body.
• If the Lord so leads, speak to one of the elders or deacons—or ask anyone—we will find a place of service for you!
2. His Faithful Ministry FOR Paul
a. Eph. 6:21 – Tychicus with Paul in Rome during Paul’s first Roman imprisonment.
• From there, Paul sent him out on dangerous journeys to deliver important letters to the churches: like Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon.
• To get from Rome to Colossae:
» He would have to travel across Italy… and then cross the Adriatic Sea.
» Then he would have to travel across Greece, and take a ship across the Aegean Sea to get to Asia Minor.
» Then he still had another 100 mile trip on foot to get to Colossae.
• Paul could count on Tychicus. He was FAITHFUL.
» He entrusted 3 books of the New Testament with this man!
» Imagine the consequences if he was NOT faithful? The churches never would have had the books of Ephesians, Colossians, or Philemon!
» What good would it have been for Paul to write these wonderful letters if Tychicus did not deliver them?
» With such an important package, Paul sought a man who was FAITHFUL… someone he could rely on…
» I doubt if the importance of this delivery was fully appreciated by Tychicus as he delivered these letters. When he left Paul and headed off on his journey, it is doubtful if he realized that the pieces of parchment in his pouch would outlast the Roman Empire—be translated into hundreds of languages… and distributed around the world for many centuries to come!
» He saw himself as a delivery boy for Paul… and he wanted to be faithful in what he thought was a LITTLE task.
» Oh how important it is to be FAITHFUL… this is one of the greatest qualities a believer can have!
» Oh that we had more faithful servants in the little details of the Lord’s work!
» There are consequences when WE are not faithful too. On a much lesser scale… but serious consequences nonetheless.
• Suppose a Sunday school teacher doesn’t show up… or the clean up crew… or no one to work in the nursery…
• It has happened… and it can be disturbing…
b. Acts 20:4 – With Paul on His 3rd Missionary Journey.
• Tychicus was from Asia Minor.
• He went with Paul to bring the love offering from the gentiles to the poor saints in Jerusalem… who were suffering because of the famine.
• Tychicus, a gentile, went with Paul as a representative of the gentile churches.
• It was no luxury vacation trip either.
• Travel was difficult and dangerous in those days.
• He had to leave his job, family, and local church for months to accompany Paul.
• And Paul had mentioned several times that bonds and afflictions were waiting for him there. (Acts 20:22-24)
• Knowing all that, Tychicus willingly followed Paul to minister for him.
c. Titus 3:12 – Paul has been released from prison at this point in time.
• Tychicus is still on hand to help the apostle.
• Paul planned to send him to Crete to fill in for Titus
d. Sent By Paul to Ephesus (II Tim. 4:12)
• This is near the end of Paul’s life…
• This was Paul’s last imprisonment in Rome… and Paul is STILL sending Tychicus around on missions for him.
• To stick by the side of a prisoner—as Tychicus did with Paul—was dangerous in itself.
• He was a faithful servant—faithful to the very end for Paul… IN Christ.
C. Fellowservant in the Lord
1. He was a servant TO Paul.
a. He did errands for Paul… he served him by trying to meet his needs in prison… he delivered messages for Paul…
b. He was in a sense at Paul’s service. He submitted to Paul’s authority as an apostle… and worked under him as a servant for Paul.
2. But IN the Lord, he was a fellowservant TO GOD along with Paul.
a. Tychicus was a FELLOW servant WITH Paul for Christ.
b. They worked together … they were BOTH servants for Christ… the great apostle and the lesser known minister. They were equals IN Christ.
c. They were fellow slaves serving the same Master: Christ.
3. Working with Paul as a co-worker with a political prisoner was risky business. There were a lot of people who hated Paul… he was seen as a troublemaker by the Jews… and by the Romans… to them he turned the world upside down…
4. I Cor. 3:9 – as great an apostle as Paul was, he could NOT serve the Lord alone. He never could have accomplished what he did for Christ were it not for many other (often unnamed) servants working behind the scenes… aiding him… helping him… we are laborers together.
5. We are all familiar with the horrible sufferings of Paul associated with his travels. (II Cor. 11: 23-27)
a. Paul is known, respected, and admired for all that he suffered… and he suffered much.
b. But what about Tychicus? He chose to FOLLOW that man and function as his servant. No doubt Tychicus also suffered some of those things…
c. Tychicus doesn’t get the credit or glory… nor did he want it. He chose to serve Paul—knowing fully the potential dangers—and did so willingly… joyfully… selflessly… for the glory of Christ.
d. He was a faithful servant IN the Lord.
6. Tychicus was BOTH faithful and beloved.
a. That is a great balance.
b. Some men are faithful to the Lord… and stand for righteousness and truth… and yet are so stern and critical that they are not beloved of God’s people.
c. Others may be warm and affectionate and beloved… but are so at the expense of being faithful to the truth.
d. Tychicus was BOTH—well-balanced… faithful and beloved!
His Present Mission
A. Sent to Declare Paul’s State (Col. 4:7; Eph. 6:21)
1. Paul did not share his personal estate with the Colossians through this letter.
2. He sent Tychicus (and Onesimus) to do this for him… personally.
3. “All my state” = “All the things according to me.”
a. His concern for the Colossians—a desire to hear how they were doing.
b. His desire to see them grow spiritually
c. His desire to see them seeking things above… and that the Word would dwell in them richly in all wisdom…
d. His concern that they would be good witnesses for Christ in their city…
e. His present imprisonment… his needs… his burdens…
4. Unfortunately for us, Paul did not RECORD his estate for us to read in this letter.
a. He evidently TOLD Tychicus orally how he was doing… and asked him to communicate it to the Colossians.
b. Paul knew his writings were inspired… and that their audience would be wider than just the one church at Colossae. (Actually, these letters were originally to be read in various other churches in the region – 4:16).
c. Perhaps he had told Tychicus some personal information that he did not feel would be necessary to include the letter itself for all generations to read… though the Colossians themselves might be interested in.
5. Paul’s purpose in this was not to elicit sympathy or to use his sufferings as a fund raising ploy (as some do today!).
a. Paul simply wanted the believers to be praying for him… intelligently.
b. And to pray intelligently for someone—we need to know about them…
c. That’s why our church prayer meetings are so important. We really get to KNOW the needs of one another there… to support one another in prayer.
B. To Know Their Estate (vs. 8)
1. Paul, even while in prison, sought to edify the churches.
a. The condition of the churches was a constant burden on his heart. He bore it daily. (II Cor. 11:28)
b. Though his body was confined to prison, yet his heart went out to believers far and wide.
c. Paul is in jail for the gospel… and yet he continues to be engaged in promoting the spread of the gospel and the edification of the churches.
2. Paul longed to know how the Colossians were doing.
a. He agonized over their spiritual condition.
b. Col. 2:1 – he had a great conflict over them.
c. Col. 2:8 – He was concerned about the influence of pre-Gnostic cult that had infiltrated the city with their philosophy and vain deceit.
d. He was concerned that they might be taken in by the Jewish ritualism…
e. He had LOTS of concerns for them… (How many believers had defected with the false teachers? Was this affecting other churches? How widespread was this infection in the Body? Did it affect the morale of the believers? Were they discouraged?)
f. He wanted to pray for them too… and perhaps to keep in touch with them through letters… to help them grow in Christ.
C. To Comfort Their Hearts
1. They were experiencing great trials. Thus, Paul wanted to minister to them.
a. The false teachers stole away disciples after themselves.
b. This would have caused friction in the assemblies.
c. There would be families divided… some would be loyal to Christ and some to traitors…
d. There would be hurt feelings over discipline issues that had to be carried out… people polarizing and taking sides…
e. Paul wanted to send Tychicus to comfort the hearts of the believers… to wait out the storm and rest in the Lord to bring peace to the churches…
f. “That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love.”
2. Here is a great secret for living the Christian life and dealing with our daily struggles and trials.
a. Reckon SELF to be dead and buried. (The old man doted over himself… and HIS circumstances… over HIS finances… over HIS health issues… over HIS trials… over HIS troubles.
b. Reckon that old man to be DEAD.
c. And thereby we free the new man in Christ to function… the one who thinks on things above…
d. The new man who has a new mind—the mind of Christ: ?Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” (Phil.2:4).
e. This is the mind Paul demonstrated while in prison.
f. Paul did not dote over his own personal troubles or trials.
g. He sought things above. And from HEAVEN’S perspective—he saw the condition of the churches as being far more important… than his own circumstances.
h. Oh for a heart like that… for that kind of heavenly perspective!
i. With that heavenly mindset, we will be “looking on the things of others” to minister to THEM…
j. Aren’t we often just the opposite?
• We have trials and struggles and sit around complaining because no one is paying any attention to me, myself, and mine?
• We hold our pity parties… and look down on others as being negligent of their duties to me, myself, and mine!
• We begin to grumble about others: they have no love… they don’t really care about me…
• The mind of Christ doesn’t grumble about others. It ministers to others!
• That’s the mind Paul demonstrated. In prison—and suffering—he sought to comfort OTHERS in their sorrow and suffering.
• This ought to be the NORM for believers… Christ working in us both to DO and to will of HIS good pleasure… caring for His Body… dead to self.
• Ministering to others in the midst of his own suffering brought JOY to Paul in prison. He wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!”
3. They were also troubled by Paul’s imprisonment… (Cf. Eph. 3:13)
a. When one member suffers the whole body suffers.
b. Knowing that Paul was in prison for preaching Christ must have caused them sorrow and grief for him…
c. Perhaps they were also wondering if they were next!
d. Thus, Paul sent Tychicus to comfort them in all their anxieties and concerns… to teach them to learn to REST in the Lord… to SEEK things above… to let the Word of Christ dwell richly in your hearts… and to REJOICE in his sufferings for you! (Col. 1:24) Don’t worry—rejoice!
4. What Paul did here was quite magnanimous, selfless, and gracious.
a. He was in prison and had few friends like Tychicus… few people to minister to his needs.
b. However, Paul saw fit to put the needs of the churches at Ephesus and Colossae above his own needs.
c. 8:1 – Whom I have sent!
d. Paul sent the few faithful servants he had away on a long journey to minister to the believers in other cities…
e. That meant they would no longer be in Rome to minister to his needs…
f. This was a sacrifice for Paul… but he was dead remember… dead to self and alive unto God.
g. He wasn’t thinking of his own welfare, but the welfare of others. Paul denied himself to serve others… even in prison.
h. A lesser man might have reasoned that he had “too many problems of his own to worry about others… much less sacrifice for them. They should be coming to MY aid, not I theirs!”
i. Not so with Paul. He did not reason like the world. Christ dwelt in him and he manifested the life of Christ… even in sending his friend to minister to others.
j. And it was probably hard for Tychicus to leave him… but he obeyed and went.
k. God’s ways are not our ways… thankfully! God’s ways are perfect.
5. Tychicus was a delivery boy for Paul… a servant… not a name history well remembers.
a. But don’t despise small things. They are just as vital to the whole as the big things.
b. In the Revolutionary war, there was a shot heard round the world. But who knows the name of the man who made that shot?
c. Do you know the name of Charles Lingbergh’s mechanic?
d. Heb. 6:10 – the world will soon forget me and you. But the Lord will NEVER forget the works we have done in His name!
e. God never forgot Tychicus.
f. His short life came and went… and so will ours. Tychicus left this earth on God’s honor roll… a beloved brother engaged in faithful service.
g. May that be true of each of us here!