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Faithful Minister; Faithful Flock

Faithful Minister; Faithful Flock

Words of Faith 9-20-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Colossians 1

[7] You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, [8] and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

 

    And how was it that the Colossian believers became faithful and loving?  Where was it that they gained such a strong response to the word of truth?  Where was it that they learned the hope that is stored up in heaved for believers?  Paul says they learned from Epaphras, a dear fellow servant and faithful minister.

     One might surmise that Paul was simply making a polite gesture regarding the pastor of the church in Colosse, but that is not likely.  Paul was not one given to empty flattery.  It is far more likely that Paul realized that this pastor had indeed given faithful service as a minister of the Gospel in both teaching and living the truth of Christ among the Colossians.  Of course, Paul would undoubtedly point out the dynamic work of the Spirit in shaping the Colossian believers, but he also did not want to overlook the powerful tool in the relationship of a local pastor, God's chosen minister.

      Paul described Epaphras as a faithful minister of Christ.  He actually had some exceptional qualities.  He was very committed to Paul as a leader to the point that he went and stayed in prison with him for a time.  But he was also a pastor who was deeply committed to the people in Colosse. 

      Later, Paul pointed out that Epaphras was "one of you.”  He was not one who set himself above others or wanted to be put on a pedestal.  He shared his humanity and common struggle with those he taught, led, and served.  He was also a servant of the Lord Jesus and a man of great prayer.  Paul noted that Epaphras was "always wrestling in prayer for you that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured" (Col. 4:12).

      What a remarkable legacy.  We don't know that Epaphras was an outstanding preacher or "rhetorician" (skilled arguer). It does not appear that he was a writer of theological letters or treatises.  We don't know that he had a dramatic healing ministry or was a worker of miracles.  But he was a man who wrestled in prayer for his people. This is a powerful mark of a faithful pastor.

       Epaphras didn't pray only for the obvious or simple things like general blessings, better life conditions, and provision.  He prayed for the deep things-- for his people to stand firm in ALL the will of God, not just part of it, and to grow to be mature and fully assured.  That is a powerful pastoral prayer.

       Epaphras understood that to grow in our walk with the Lord means that we grow to stand in the Lord during hard times and through disappointments.  To stand in ALL of the will of God means to stand firm not only in the good times when things are easy and prosperous.  He prayed for his people to stand strong even amid the circumstances we don't really understand and might very well have prayed to be delivered from! 

     This is at least part of what it means to be mature and fully assured.  Epaphras prayed that the believers entrusted to him in Colosse would grow to trust God in full assurance even when things were not going their way or the circumstances of life seemed to have passed them by. That is a rich pastoral prayer.

       The challenge here is twofold.

       Pastors, are you teaching faith in Christ Jesus and love for all the saints?  Are you teaching faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and expressed in the Gospel?  Are you wrestling in prayer for those entrusted to you that they may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured?  Are you praying for a faith that endures in the difficult times?

       Believers, are you connecting with your pastor in order to learn faith in Christ Jesus and love for all the saints?  Are you seeking to learn faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and expressed in the Gospel?  Are you sharing the needs and concerns of life so that your pastor can wrestle in prayer for you so that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured?

        A pastor cannot pray for your maturity and assurance if they do not know your needs and life concerns.  A television personality, book author or talking head cannot do that.  We must connect with a leader who will wrestle on our behalf when needed.  That takes a two-way commitment.

 

        Father God help me to make the vital connections.  Give me the grace to connect in a pastoral relationship-- to pray and be prayed for.  Teach me through the leaders that You have appointed in my life.  Show me how to support the leaders You have chosen and how to receive from them effectively.  In Jesus' Name.   

 

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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