Those whom you touch with your life, those whom you touch in any way are part of your responsibility before God.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Oh, I trust things are going well at your house. I’ve just been praying for all of you and for those, especially, whom I know and with whose circumstances I’m acquainted. My heart just reaches out to so many of you. And I’m praying that God will somehow, in these precious moments, which we invest together around His inerrant, infallible, eternal word, the Bible, that God may somehow let His love, and His blessing, and His truth, and His power, and His wisdom come through my voice, from His heart to you, dear friend.
Well, we’ve been looking at Colossians Chapter Four. And we’ve been talking about Epaphras, Epaphras who is one of you. This is Colossians 4:12. “A servant of Christ saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers.” The expression “laboring fervently” is our verb agonize, “agonizing for you in his prayers, that you may stand to perfect and complete in all the will of God.” He’s praying for them, not that their circumstances may change, but that they may be grown up. That word “perfect” has to do with maturing and growing up into perfection. When we say that’s a perfect ear of corn, what do we mean? We mean that it’s fully matured, and that it is properly developed, and that there isn’t any flaw in it. That’s what he’s talking about, perfect and complete. And that word complete, as I explained to you a day or so ago, has the idea of full to running over, Greek verb “pleroo,” just completely filled until you’re spilling over the blessing of God. That’s what Epaphras was praying for his friends.
Now, we got to Verse 13. The last time we got together, I think we were talking about a burden of prayer. He says, “I bear him record that he hath a great zeal for you.” And the word translated “zeal” means intense desire, labor, toil, or pain. I went back to my Thayer’s Lexicon to make sure I was talking about the right thing. Now, there are other words translated zeal in your New Testament. One of them comes from the verb “zeo.” I think it is “to boil,” boil over like a pot boils over. But this has to do with intense desire. Labor, toil, pain, what great intense desire he has for you. How he labors in his prayer, how he toils in praying for you, how his heart is touched with pain at your sufferings. See? All of that is wrapped up in that expression, “He has a great zeal for you at Colossae.”
And then, I think the last time we talked together, we mentioned that Colossae is mentioned first, then Laodicea, then Hierapolis. Why are these places mentioned? Well, because it was part of the situation. The Bible’s a very sensible book. You don’t have to wonder what it’s all about. And because Paul was talking about a definite human being, a person, Epaphras, because he was writing to people who lived in a definite place, and because this human being about whom he was speaking, Epaphras, had a special concern for the people in that place, why not mention that place? And then, because he was interested in other places, why not mention them? See, there’s the logic of it. But in the mention, there is a spiritual lesson to be gained. I wanna share it with you.
He said for you, that’s Colossae, start your praying, start your effective praying closest to home. Start with the people with whom you live in that home every day: Husband, wife, children, any servants, who either live in or come in, people who are tradespeople, who come into service at the various areas of the house. Pray about things and people closest to where you live, first of all. You know why? You’re praying for others outside of your inner circle, so to speak. Your praying for others will be much more effective, if you have learned the secrets of victory in prayer, for those to whom you are most closely attached in life. That’s a fact. Conversely, if the husband, or wife, or both of them have had a spat, and they are still angry, your praying for other people, is going to be shallow, and brassy, and empty.
That’s why we’re told in the Word of God that husbands should love their wives and be not bitter against them. Peter speaks about domestic harmony and he says, “Get together, and forgive, and be forgiven, in order that your prayers be not hindered.” One of the better-known writers tells a story about the fact, that on a given morning before he left the house, he’d had a spat with his wife about something or other, and now, he’s going off to an early morning meeting, a breakfast meeting with some other men. And he was supposed to talk with them, of all things, about the deeper life, how to be a more effective believer, how to be Spirit-filled, and Christ-honoring in your life, and how to grow up as a Christian, all of that. Well, he said when he got there, he was still steaming, because he’d had this disagreement, not to say fight. [chuckle]
And so when it was time for him to speak, he simply had nothing that he could really communicate with these people. And finally, he said in desperation… He just broke off his talk. He said, “Fellas, I really have nothing to give you today, because my wife and I had a spat before I left home, and I’m so upset, and I’ve nothing to… I wish you’d pray for me, that God will forgive me for my bad attitude and spirit, and that He’d make me right, and then help me to get right with my wife.” Well, at that point, three or four others of the crowd chimed in and said, “Yeah, that’s the way we feel too and we all need prayer.” So they got down on their knees and prayed earnestly for each other and got things right between the individual and His Lord. And then, this man, who was writing about it said… He went immediately to a pay phone, and called up his wife and apologized, and said what had happened, that he was sorry. He adds thoughtfully, after this, he said, “When I got home, there was a little wind damage to repair, but the storm had passed.” [laughter] Isn’t that nice?
Well, see, if you pray effectively for those who are closest to you, you’re gonna pray better for the heathen half a world away. That’s the point there. You follow that? Colossae, then he says, “Laodicea,” that was 20 miles away, I understand, or is it six? I guess it’s six miles away from Colossae. Hierapolis is 20 miles away. A nearby town, which brings up the subject of neighbors. How much praying do you do for your neighbors, people who are nearby, people who live in towns nearby? Well, ordinarily, we don’t do much about it, unless there is some aggravating cause, as the psychiatrist says. Aside, that is, from looking up and saying, “Oh, God, their dog is in my flower bed again.” That’s not the kind of praying I mean. [chuckle] How much intercessory praying, earnest laboring in prayer, do we do for neighbors and people who live nearby? Had you thought about that at all? Of course, the obvious question that’ll pop up, is to say, “Why should I?” Well, because… Now, if you can stand this… I hope you can. Those whom you touch in any way are part of your responsibility before God. Those whom you touch with your life, those whom you touch in any way, are part of your responsibility before God.
You’re responsible for the people with whom you have contact day by day, in some way or another. That is to say, the people you’ll see daily in the grocery store, or the butcher shop, or at the gas station, or at the post office, you’re responsible somehow to communicate the love and blessing of Christ to their lives. Oh, I wish that were more true of me, let alone you, dear ones, to whom I’m speaking now. This is a continual challenge to all of us. Pray for the people at the garage. Pray for the people at the post office. Pray for the people at the stores. Pray for these folk whom you touch with your life. That doesn’t mean that you’re going to go around and collar each one of them individually and say, “Listen, I wanna talk to you. Are you prepared to die?” That isn’t the point. You don’t do it that way. But somehow, as you pray for them, the Spirit, the gentle indwelling Spirit of God, arranges circumstances, so that you are able to minister to them about the things of Christ in the course of everyday living.
God is the God of everyday living, as well as the God of crises. You see what I mean? Have you prayed for your Laodicea? Now, you look up Laodicea, of course, and the thing that makes it famous is that it’s mentioned in the Book of the Revelation. And concerning the people at Laodicea, our blessed Lord Jesus said, “I know thy works.” He said, “I know all about you.” That’s the first thing you have to realize when you’re dealing with the Savior. He knows you. There’s nothing that you can hide from Him. And so, he says, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot. I would thou were it cold or hot. So then, because thou art lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth, because thou sayest I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be really rich, and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed. And anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see, as many as I love.” He still loved the people at Laodicea, you see. “I rebuke and chasten. Be zealous, therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at your very door and knock.” Christ, outside of the church trying to get in.
“And any man hears my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Laodicea, Epaphras probably knew that these people were well off, that they were self-satisfied, and that they needed a revival. It’s a sad thing to get into a church where people know that they have it good and they really don’t want to be any different. They’re just lukewarm. Jesus said that makes Him sick. And so, Epaphras was praying for these self-satisfied believers. Oh, I wonder if you ever pray for well-off Christians, who seem to have it all and who don’t have any spirit of revival? That’s part, beloved, of our responsibility. Interesting, isn’t it?
Dear Father, today, make us good prayers and good intercessors. I ask in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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