Proclaim 2018 Closing Sermon by Dr. Philip Lee (October 31, 2018 at Yeoju Retreat Center)
Attracting the Multitude
In today’s text, a servant by the name of Epaphras served in Rome with the Apostle Paul as a slave for Christ who had the power of attracting others. Likewise as preachers of Redemptive History, we must be able to attract multitudes of people to the church and be faithful servants of Christ (Col 1:7).
Faithful Servants of Jesus Christ
The word “faithful” in Greek is πιστός (pistos), meaning trustworthy, loyal, and faithful. Therefore, like Epaphras, we must be faithful servants of Jesus Christ. In order to be faithful servants of Christ, we must first be servants who execute the command of the master Jesus Christ. Whatever Jesus commands us to do, we must do it (John 2:5). Secondly, in order to be faithful servants, we must serve others (Matt 20:6). A pastor is not a king but one who serves others and most importantly, one who serves Jesus Christ. Thirdly, a faithful servant is one who belongs to the master. Servants who belong to the master do whatever the master says and all things belong to Him, Jesus Christ. May we all be faithful servants of Jesus Christ in all things.
A Praying Servant
Those who do whatever they want to do are not servants of Jesus Christ, but those who pray are the true servants of Jesus Christ. Epaphras always labored earnestly in prayer for the saints (Col 4:12). Therefore we must always pray with all of our strength with labor in prayer. Secondly, most of us only pray for ourselves and our immediate families and our churches. However, we must pray for others, and for the saints. How often do we pray for others? Colossians 4:12 states, “That you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.” Here, the expression of “you” is referring to the saints in the church of Colossians. Thus, as a leader of the Colossian church, Epaphras prayed for the saints to “stand perfect” with the full assurance of God. I pray that in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that you will become leaders who pray for the church, your mission from God and for all saints without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17). When we pray for others, we can be true servants of God, servants of prayer. Thirdly, as a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, Epaphras had a deep concern for spreading the gospel (Col 4:13). What was the depth of Epaphras’ deep concern? He worked to the point of physical pain (Rev 16:10-11; 21:14). He worked and desired to expand the church not only for the church of Colossian but also for the nearby churches in Laodicea and Hierapolis (Col 4:13). Epaphras did not want the gospel to remain only in his region but desired that the gospel be spread all around to other regions and the world. The Word of Redemptive History is God’s powerful tool for global missions and for spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world in the end times. I pray that all of you will work hard to expand the Church through the Word of Redemptive History all over the world.
Conclusion: Epaphras never changed and remained the same in all situations. In Philemon 1:23 it states, “Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus.” When the Apostle Paul was in prison, Epaphras became a prisoner with the Apostle Paul in order to serve and minister to him. Even in prison, Epaphras never stopped serving Apostle Paul. Ephesians 6:24 says, “Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.” My co-workers here today, may your love for the church and for Jesus Christ never change until the day you enter His kingdom! May God continue to bless your homes, your work places and churches with all the glory and grace from heaven.