Colossians 4:16-18 Closing Exhortations and Blessing

16 Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, (R-CIP-US) “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” 18 This salutation by my own hand — Paul. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Amen (NKJV).

Now when this Epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. This is a circular letter meant to be read in the churches. Let’s understand that in the New Testament when the word “church” is used in the single, it is speaking of a “locality” or a city to be more precise. When the New Testament speaks of churches, it is addressing a “region” with a number of cities connected to that region.

The pattern of the New Testament reveals that God intended the church to be manifested in a city. A city has a government that provides order for society. God intended His church to affect society and begin the processes of discipling nations.

Many years ago, the Lord began to open my understanding to His New Testament plan for localities and regions. I began to understand that the Lord only has “one” church. There are many congregations of varying sizes, but they are all connected to one vine. Jesus speaks of this in John 15:5 when says, “I am the true vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do-nothings.” In this passage, the Lord is helping His disciples to understand that life is in the Vine. Without the vine, one would die. He is addressing our need to abide in Him.

Again in John 17, as Jesus prays to His Father His “High Priestly Prayer” on behalf of His disciples and also for those who will believe in Him through their word. Jesus says, “I do not prayer for these alone, but also for those who will believe in me through their word; that they all may be one, as You Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” Can you see a problem that we have today that the early church did not have? The early church was established in the “Word of the Apostles.” They did have, disunity problems because of outside forces trying to disrupt the word of the apostles. Each of the New Testament churches was established on the word of those apostles and their disciples who also carried apostolic authority.

Consider Acts 14:21-23, “And when they preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lys’tra, I-co’nium, and An’ti-och, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God. So when they appointed elders in every church and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they believed.”

Can you begin to see how those early churches were knit together, disciples in cities with a plurality of elders or shepherds? Then churches that made up the region on cities. These were FRUIT bearing branches of the ONE true VINE. Can you begin to understand how the gospel spread so fast?

The biggest issue was “Judaizes,” Christians who teach it is necessary to adopt Jewish customs and practices, especially those found in the Law of Moses, to be saved. Wikipedia. They were challenging the apostles because they perceived that the church was replacing Israel. They did not understand that the Lord was redeeming apostate Israel through repentance and faith toward God in receiving the Messiah as the foreseen redeemer. God was restoring Israel with the true glory of His presence in the Holy Spirit living in believers knit together as the Lord’s Body.

The other big issue was the false religions of the day that was invading the church through false religious philosophes and confusing the believers. The saving grace in the early church was their unity in the apostle’s doctrine.

Today, the church has been divided down through history with many assorted doctrines of men. There is no testimony of the one true church of Jesus. This goes to the very core of what the Spirit of the Lord has been doing for many years. He continues to pour out His Holy Spirit with moves of restoration to draw His people back together around the doctrine of the apostles. Prayer movements, Worship movements, Healing movements, and Kingdom of God presence, with supernatural manifestations, have filled the twentieth into the twenty-first century. We are on the cusps of another strong move of God. This time, it is the restoration of apostolic teaching and apostolic governmental order. That order must manifest in cities, regions, nations, and global connections.

The chaos of the present disorder is with the purpose of shaking up the Lord’s church and bring her back into the alignment that the Lord Himself initiated through those original apostles and was lost in the falling away after the first century. This alignment is to the true church in Heaven, gathered around Zion, the Throne of God, and His Christ (see Hebrews 12).

Vs 17 This concluding study in our series is based upon one of Paul’s requests at the end of his Letter to the Colossians:-

“Tell Archippus: (R-CIP-US) ‘See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord.’ ” (Colossians 4:17) It almost seems as if this personal note was added as a postscript at the end of his letter. Archippus is mentioned in Colossians 4:17 and Philemon 1:2. In his letter to Philemon, Paul refers to Archippus as a “fellow soldier.” In Colossians 4:17, Paul requests his readers to “tell Archippus: (R-CIP-US) ‘See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.’” Apparently, then, Archippus was a young man from Colossae tasked with some sort of ministry in the church.

Many believe Archippus to have been the son of Philemon and Apphia, close friends of Paul’s. The connection between Archippus and Philemon seems clear in Philemon 1:2–2, “To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker—also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier—and to the church that meets in your home. . . .” Paul is writing to a household. Philemon; his wife, Apphia; and his son, Archippus comprise the family unit. The church of Colossae met in their home.

Some believe Paul’s words to Archippus to “complete the ministry” are a gentle rebuke for having neglected certain of his duties. But a majority see Paul’s admonition to Archippus as simple encouragement, similar to Paul’s exhortations in his epistles to Timothy and Titus (see 2 Timothy 4:5). One tradition holds that Archippus was a leader in Laodicea, a city about 12 miles away from Colossae. It seems strange to send an admonition to Archippus through leaders of another church, but Paul’s intent was that the letter to the Colossians should be read in Laodicea, too: “After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans” (Colossians 4:16). In any case, Archippus would receive the message.

Ultimately, we do not know much about Archippus other than he was a Christian in the early church who was granted a ministry from the Lord and who soldiered for the faith. Paul’s encouragement to Archippus and his family should encourage all of us to also “complete the ministry” God has given us.