Epaphras Our Fellowservant (Colossians #14)

Text: Colossians 1:7-8

Fellowservant in the gospel

  • Epaphras preached the gospel to the Colossians
  • As ye also learned of Epaphras speaking of the gospel of truth that Epaphras taught them.  (He is probably the same Epaphroditus in Philippians.)
  • Epaphras probably started this church in Colossae.  It was built on preaching the word of God just like any true church is built on preaching the Lord Jesus Christ by the word of God.

Fellowservant in the yoke

  • Fellowservants are those who have the same master
  • …dear fellowservant…
    • Like coworkers, but spiritual coworkers serving the Lord.
    • They are yoked together by the master’s yoke.
    • 1 Timothy 6:1 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour… so he likens service to a yoke of oxen pulling a plow.  The master owns the yoke that the servants are employed in.
    • Epaphras has put his head in the same yoke Paul has and is pulling the Lord’s plow along with Paul.  Epaphras is called a faithful minister of Christ in Colossians 4:7.
  • …faithful minister of Christ…
    • Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
    • What makes a job easy or lightens the load?
    • One thing that makes a yoke easy is the reward that comes with it.  Jesus Christ rewards his laborers better than any master because he is generous and because he has the ability to. Colossians 3:23-24 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
    • Another thing that makes a yoke easy is honest work.  Moral compromise that goes against your conscience is a heavy burden to carry.  2 Peter 2:6-8 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; 7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 
    • Another thing that makes a yoke easy is its compatibility with God’s will and order.  Anything that is outside of the will of God is at some stage of deterioration. And the longer it stays outside of God’s will the more it will cost to keep it propped up and functioning until it dies.  2 Corinthians 6:14-18 …unequally yoked together…  Choosing who you’ll serve with is how you’ll choose your master.
    • Another thing that makes a yoke easy and a burden light is an obtainable goal.  Acts 15:10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?  Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Fellowservant in the Spirit

  • Epaphras reports their love in the Spirit, not too concerned about the love in the flesh.
  • Though the Colossians and Paul’s companions are separated physically, they are united spiritually.
    • The same gospel
    • The same master
    • The same yoke
    • The same mind
    • Philippians 2:1-4 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.