Colossians 4:7
Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a beloved brother, a faithful minister, and a fellow servant in the Lord.
Sermons
The Bearers of the Epistle to the ColossiansT. Croskery Colossians 4:7-9
Christian Commendations and SalutationsJ. Spence, D. D.Colossians 4:7-11
Side Lights on Church Life in the Early TimesG. Barlow.Colossians 4:7-11
The Sympathetic SpiritColossians 4:7-11
TychicusBp. Lightfoot.Colossians 4:7-11
Tychicus and Onesimus, the Letter BearersA. Maclaren, D. D.Colossians 4:7-11
Value of a ComforterBp. Taylor.Colossians 4:7-11
Christian GreetingU.R. Thomas Colossians 4:7-18
Personal Salutations and Pastoral CaresE.S. Prout Colossians 4:7-18
The Apostle's EntourageR.M.e Colossians 4:7-18
The PersonalR. Findlayson Colossians 4:7-18
Though the apostle had but few friends at this time in Rome to comfort him in his "bonds," he spares two of them to comfort the Colossians.

I. THE PERSONS WHO CARRY THE EPISTLE TO COLOSSAE. Tychicus and Onesimus.

1. Tychicus.

(1) His history. He was a native of Asia Minor (Acts 20:4), and probably of Ephesus (2 Timothy 4:12). He accompanied the apostle at the close of his third missionary journey (Acts 20:4). He was now again with the apostle at Rome, near the end of the first Roman captivity; and he appears again with him at the very end of the apostle's life, when the apostle is sending him to Crete and to Ephesus (Titus 3:12; 2 Timothy 4:12). The name Tychicus appears on Roman inscriptions as well as on inscriptions in Asia Minor.

(2) His character and work. He receives three titles of distinction and praise.

(a) A beloved brother, in relation to the whole Christian Church;

(b) a faithful minister, in relation to his evangelistic services to the apostle (Acts 20:4);

(c) a fellow servant in the Lord, a cooperator with the apostle in Christian labours.

2. Onesimus. This was doubtless the runaway slave of Philemon, whose conversion is recorded in the Epistle to that Colossian brother.

(1) He was a native of Colossae - "who is one of you."

(2) His changed character - "the faithful and beloved brother."

(a) He was lately unfaithful, now he is faithful; he was lately an object of contempt and dislike, he is now an object of love.

(b) The repentance of a sinner is a fact to be gratefully recorded. His former sins ought to be no disparagement to his present standing and repute. "Where God forgives, men should not impute."

(c) The apostle is not ashamed of a poor slave, and commends him to the love of the Church.

II. THE DESIGN OF THE SENDING OF TYCHICUS AND ONESIMUS TO COLOSSAE. "Whom I have sent unto you for this very purpose, that ye may know our estate, and that he may comfort your hearts." There are two objects.

1. To make known the affairs of the apostle and of the Roman Church. It was not necessary, therefore, that he should give them any information about himself or the cause of Christ in Rome. The Colossians would hear all by word of mouth.

2. To comfort the hearts of the Colossians. They would comfort them

(1) by their very presence;

(2) by bringing the Epistles from Rome;

(3) by their news concerning the apostle;

(4) by their practical exhortations, enforcing the doctrine of the Epistle and the duty of perseverance in faith and grace to the end. - T.C.







All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you.
"What is in a name!" Nothing, is the ordinary reply, but there may be much. The names of Solomon, Alexander, Napoleon, and Paul are associated with important events in history. Each is a record, and stirs up admiration, desire, dislike, or sorrow as the case may be. If the names of great men interest us, those of the good men who shared the labours of St. Paul may also do so. Those labours are more important than the conquests of captains and the speculations of philosophers. Note —

I. THE VALUE OF CHRISTIAN FRIENDSHIP. True friendship will —

1. Show a kindly interest in the welfare of its objects. Paul had such an interest in the Colossians and vice versa.

2. Mutual interest will lead to reciprocal communications. Paul could not go to Colossae so he sent Tychicus and Onesimus to inform them of himself and the affairs of Christ's kingdom, to comfort them and bring back a report.

3. Distance and difficulty will not be allowed to stand in the way. Colossae was far off and Paul was in prison, but both were surmounted.

4. Written messages will not be allowed to supersede personal communications when the latter are practicable. So Paul sent his Epistle by trusted friends who were charged also with verbal communications, better spoken than written,

II. THE PROPRIETY OF CHRISTIAN COMMENDATIONS. In naming the two messengers he speaks of them in high terms, but not in the style of fulsome eulogy.

1. Tychicus is(1) "a beloved brother" which indicates his relation to the Church.(2) "Faithful minister," or attendant, which indicates his relation to the Apostle as a trusty helper.(3) "Fellow servant in the Lord," which indicates his relation to Christ — a coadjutor of the apostle in the service of the same Master.

2. Onesimus, the whilom runaway slave, is now a faithful and beloved brother a commendation which would secure for him the welcome that he sorely needed.

3. The spirit of this commendation should be cultivated. The true ground of honour is not in a man's social standing, but in his moral worth and relation to Christ.

III. THE FORCE OF CHRISTIAN SALUTATIONS.

1. Christianity sanctifies the commonest things. How common for us to send our respects to some friend through the letter of another. "Give him my kind regards," etc. We have only to think of St. Paul as here using the expressions equivalent in his day. Little did these good men think that their simple expressions of affection would be handed down to prove the sympathy and the unity of the Church throughout the world and time.

2. The saluting brethren were Jews, which would show to the Gentile Church that they had learned what the apostle would teach them, not to call anything that God had cleansed common or unclean.

IV. THE SOLACE OF CHRISTIAN CO-OPERATION.

1. Loneliness is very depressing, but the apostle was spared this.

2. Co-operation in labour divides its burden and ensures success.

3. Unity in Christian toil brings the greatest in touch with the humblest, and gives the humblest a share in the glory of the greatest.

(J. Spence, D. D.)

A straw will indicate the direction of a current; a bit of glass will reveal a star; a kick of the foot may discover a treasure; a word, a look, an involuntary movement will disclose the leading tendency of an individual character; so, on the crowded stage of life it is not always gigantic and public scenes that are most instructive, but rather trivial, undesigned incidents unnoticed by an ordinary observer. We learn —

I. Christian sympathy.

1. As fostering mutual interest in tidings concerning the work of God. The apostle, though in prison and separated from the Colossians, does not abate anything of his interest in their welfare.

2. As a source of encouragement and strength in the Christian life. "That he might know your estate and comfort your heart."

II. CHRISTIAN COMMENDATION (ver. 7). The apostle speaks of his two messengers in a way calculated to ensure their favourable reception by the Colossians, and a respectful attention to their message.

III. CHRISTIAN COURTESY. Those who sent their salutations were of the circumcision. The Christian spirit triumphed over their prejudices, and their greeting would be all the more valued as an expression of their personal esteem, their brotherly affection, and their oneness in Christ. That courtesy is most refined, graceful, gentle, and acceptable that springs from a Christian spirit.

IV. CHRISTIAN HELPFULNESS (ver. 11). How consoling is the sympathy and co-operation of a faithful few.

(G. Barlow.)

I. OUT OF A COMMON FAITH IN CHRIST SPRINGS A COMMON SYMPATHY. Here is a man who never saw the Colossians writing to them as a mother might write to her son. Epaphras, not he, had brought them to Christ, yet he loves them as much as though they had been his own children in the faith. This arose out of the simple fact that they both believed in a common Saviour. And as it was with them it should be with us. Man is a social being, and there are many points in his nature which are sympathetic. There are intellectual affinities and moral affinities; besides which there are extra grounds of sympathy. But apart from blood relationships there is no sphere in which the sympathetic spirit works so mightily as in the Christian Church. The same faith incites us believers of the nineteenth century as incited those of the first. Our faith was theirs: their sympathy should be ours.

II. CHRISTIAN SYMPATHY WILL SEEK AND FIND OUTLET AND MANIFESTATION.

1. Paul's heart is touched with sympathy; how can he show it. He is a prisoner. It is true he clings to the hope of revisiting Asia, but sympathy does not like delays. And as he cannot go himself he sends Tychicus as his deputy. Here, as in other things, "Where there's a will there's a way."

2. Where there is genuine sympathy the best way for its manifestation will somehow open up. That was the ease here. Tychicus was an Asiatic (Acts 20:4), and was therefore a convenient messenger. Perhaps he had offered himself for the mission. And besides, Onesimus had to go to Colossae to his master.

III. CHRISTIAN SYMPATHY IS HARD TO SATISFY. When it is at full heat it does not ask how little, but how much it may do. The letter itself indicates the deepest thought and care for their welfare; but this is not enough. Tychicus and Onesimus must be bearers of oral messages of comfort. You manifest sympathy as you run down a steep hill. When once you set off you must go on; only there is this difference, when the foot of the hill is reached you stop, but in the path of love there is no stopping.

IV. THE SYMPATHETIC SPIRIT WILL AS A RULE ACT WISELY. The messenger in this case was the best who could have been selected.

1. He was "the beloved brother" (Ephesians 6:21); a brother who had a large heart, and who, consequently, had insinuated himself into the good graces of his fellow Christians. He was a favourite among them, they all liked him, and so he was just the man to send.

2. He was "a faithful minister." The apostle speaks from personal experience. Tychicus had taken care of Paul, and was therefore a tried man. His conscience was as largo as his heart; his kindness was not at the expense of his justice. Faithfulness was needed at Colossae as much as kindness, her Paul had a great conflict about that Church.

3. "A fellow servant." Whoever went to Colossae must be armed with authority, and therefore Paul places the messenger on the same footing as himself.

V. THE SYMPATHETIC SPIRIT IS BOTH CONTAGIOUS AND INFECTIOUS. Some things are contagious which are not infectious; sympathy is both. Tychicus and Onesimus caught it; it was conveyed to the distant Colossians. I can touch my neighbour and make him sympathetic too, i.e., if there be any affinity between us; and I can also send its electric current to my friend thousands of miles away. It can be transmitted by the simplest implement — a pen.

VI. THE SYMPATHETIC SPIRIT NEVER FAILS. It is a form of charity. It is like the sun — only let it shine on, and as it shines stronger and stronger, the hard frost will relax its deadly grasp, winter will disappear, and spring with its flowers and music will come.

VII. WE CAN ALL ACQUIRE THE SYMPATHETIC SPIRIT. There is nothing to show that Tychicus was a great man. He was not an apostle, but he had a large warm heart. If we cannot render Christ head service we can heart service. (A. Scott.)

I. TYCHICUS.

1. The man and his mission. He was probably one of the fruits of the apostle's residence in Ephesus. On his way to Jerusalem after the riot he was joined by seven friends. Tychicus was one of the two from Asia; the other was Trophinius, whom we know to have been an Ephesian (Acts 21:29), as Tychicus probably was. This was about Then came an interval of three or four years, and then the apostle is in Rome. Whether Tychicus was with him all the time we do not know, but these verses, written A.D. 62 or 63, imply a considerable period of service. He is now sent to Colossae. The same words are employed about him in the contemporaneous letter to the Ephesians. Evidently, then, he carried both letters on the same journey, and one reason was that he was a native of the province, and probably of Ephesus. "You go, Tychicus. It is your home; they all know you." The most careful students now think that the Ephesian Epistle was meant to go the round of the Churches of Asia Minor, beginning with Ephesus. If that be so Tychicus would necessarily come to Laodicea, which was only a few miles from Colossae, and so could conveniently deliver this Epistle. After this we get two more glimpses of the man; one in the Epistle to Titus, when the apostle intended to despatch him to Crete, and the last in 2 Timothy 4:2 ( A.D. 67). "Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus," as if he had said, "Now go home, my friend! You have been a faithful servant for ten years. I need you no more. Take my blessing. God be with you!" So they parted — he that was for death to die I and he that was for life, to live and treasure the memory of Paul for the rest of his days.

2. His character and work.(1) As for his personal godliness and goodness, he is "a beloved brother," as are all who love Christ.(2) He was "a faithful minister" or personal attendant. Paul always seems to have had one or two such about him. Probably he was no great hand at managing affairs, and needed a plain common-sense nature to act as secretary and factotum. Men of genius, and men devoted to some great cause, want some person to fill such a homely office. Common sense, willingness to be troubled with small secular details, and hearty love for the chief, and desire to spare him, were the qualifications. Such probably was Tychicus — no orator, thinker, organizer, but a plain soul who did not shrink from rough work if it would help the cause.(3) He was "a fellow-servant in the Lord." As if he had said, "Do not suppose there is much difference between us. We have both, as I have been reminding you, a common Master." The delicacy of the term thus given to the commendation is a beautiful indication of Paul's chivalrous nature. No wonder that such a soul bound men like Tychicus to him.

3. Lessons.(1) Small things done for Christ are great. In some powerful engine there is a little screw, and if it drop out the huge piston cannot rise nor the huge crank turn. There is a great rudder that steers an ironclad. It moves on a "pintle" a few inches long. If that bit of iron were gone what would be the use of the ship. There is an old jingle about losing a shoe for the want of a nail, a horse for want of a shoe, a man for want of a horse, a battle for want of a man, a kingdom for loss of a battle. The intervening links may be left out — and the nail and the kingdom brought together. What is the use of writing letters if you cannot get them delivered? It takes both Paul and Tychicus to get the letter into the hands of the Colossians.(2) The sacredness of secular work done for Christ. When Tychicus is caring for Paul, his work is "in the Lord." The distinction between sacred and secular, like that of great and small, disappears from work done for and in Jesus. All done for the same God is the same in essence, for it is all worship.(3) Fleeting things done for Christ are eternal. How astonished Tychicus would have been if anybody had told him that those two precious letters in his scrip would outlast all the pomp of the city, and that his name, because written in them, would be known to the end of time all over the world.

(a)They are eternal in Christ's memory, however they may fall from man's remembrance.

(b)They are perpetual in their consequences.True, no man's contribution to the sum of righteousness can very long be traced, any more than the rain-drop that refreshed the harebell can be traced in a burn, or river, or sea; but it is there. The Colossian Church, with its sisters, is gone; but Christian men all over the world owe something to Tychicus' care. Paul meant to teach a handful of obscure believers; he has edified a world.(4) As the reward is given not to the outward deed, but to the motive which settles its value, all work done from the same motive is alike in reward, however different in form. Paul in the front, Tychicus in the rear, shall share alike at last. "He that receiveth a prophet," etc.

II. ONESIMUS.

1. The man and his character. He is the same as we read of in Philemon. He had been a good-for-nothing servant, and apparently had robbed his master and then fled to Rome. Somehow or other he had found Paul, and Paul's master had found him. And now he goes back to his owner. With beautiful considerateness the apostle unites him with Tychicus, and refers the Church to him as an authority. But with sensitive regard he omits the "fellow-slave," which might have hurt, but he cannot leave out the "faithful," because Onesimus had been eminently unfaithful. There is no reference to his flight, etc. The Church has nothing to do with these, only Philemon.

2. Lessons.(1) The transforming power of Christianity. Slaves had well-known vices of which Onesimus had his full share. Think of him as he left Colossae; and think of him as he went back Paul's trusted representative. What had happened? Nothing but this — the message had come to Him. "Onesimus! Christ has died for thee and lives to bless thee. Believest thou this?" And he believed. It had changed his whole being, He is a living illustration of Paul's teaching, lie is dead with Christ to his old self; he lives with Christ a new life. The gospel can do that. Nothing else can. The gospel despairs of none; none are beyond its power.(2) The power the gospel has of binding men into a true brotherhood. We can scarcely picture to ourselves the gulf which separated master from slave; Christianity gathered both into one family. All true union must be based on oneness in Christ. The world must recognize that "One is your Master," before it comes to believe that "All ye are brethren."

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

was a native of proconsular Asia (Acts 20:4), and perhaps of Ephesus (2 Timothy 4:12). He is found with St. Paul at three different epochs in his life.

1. He accompanied him when on his way east ward at the close of the third missionary journey, A.D. 58 (Acts 20:4), and probably, like Trophimus (Acts 21:29), went with him to Jerusalem. It is probable that Tychicus, together with others mentioned among Paul's numerous retinue on this occasion, was a delegate appointed by his own Church according to the apostle's injunctions (1 Corinthians 16:3-4), to bear the contributions of his brethren to the poor Christians of Judaea; and, if so, he may possibly be the person commended as "the brother," etc. (2 Corinthians 8:18).

2. We find Tychicus again in St. Paul's company here, probably towards the end of the first Roman captivity, A.D. 62, 63.

8. Once more at the close of St. Paul's life (about A.D. 671 he appears again to have associated himself with the apostle (Titus 3:12; 2 Timothy 4:12). Tychicus is not so common a name as some others, but it is found occasionally in inscriptions which belong to Asia Minor, and persons bearing it are commemorated on coins.

(Bp. Lightfoot.)

But so have I seen the sun kiss the frozen earth, which was bound up with the images of death, and the colder breath of the north; and then the waters break from their enclosures, and melt with joy, and run in useful channels; and the flies do rise again from their little graves in walls, and dance a while in the air, to tell that there is joy within, and that the great Mother of creatures will open the stock of her new refreshment, become useful to mankind, and sing praises to her Redeemer. So is the heart of a sorrowful man under the discourses of a wise comforter. He breaks from the despairs of the grave, and the fetters and chains of sorrow; he blesses God, and he blesses thee, and he feels his life returning; for to be miserable is death, but nothing is life but to be comforted. And God is pleased with no music from below so much as in the thanksgiving songs of relieved widows, of supported orphans, of rejoicing and comforted and thankful persons.

(Bp. Taylor.)

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