Friday, August 11, 2017

Comfort Your Hearts

Heresy is a most hurtful cancer that can ravage a church congregation. One of Paul’s purposes in writing to the Colossian church was to address the false teachings that had infected a portion of the people there. In his letter he admonished the hearers to "see to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ" (2:8).

Right teaching is essential to keeping God’s people on the right track. Paul recognized that sending a letter was helpful, but there was more that was needed. Paul saw that he needed to send someone to the Colossians to help them in addressing the spiritual challenges they were having.

Paul chose to send a man named Tychicus. Why would Paul choose to send this particular man? He speaks of this elder as “a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord (Colossian 4:7).

Paul referred to him as a “brother” indicating a closeness and a bond that had developed in his work as an apostle. He knew the character of the man he had designated to travel from Rome to Colossae. Paul also notes that he was a “faithful minister and fellow servant”. Paul, with these words, expresses that Tychicus has been trained in the faith and has proven that he would adhere to the faith in working with the Colossian church. In other words, he had great confidence in Tychicus being able to point the Colossians toward sound biblical teaching which would give them stability.

Finally, he points to Tychicus as being a servant to the people of God. Service is the hallmark of minister and Tychicus had obviously displayed that in working for Paul.

So Paul was sending Tychicus to the Colossians to relay to them what was happening with Paul in Rome and to find out how the Colossians were doing.

Additionally, Tychicus was to do something most important for the Colossian Christians. “I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts” (Colossians 4:8). Tychicus was to learn their “circumstances” and to “comfort” their hearts.

Being a part of a congregation in which there is heresy is anything but comfortable. It creates division and stress for the membership. Additionally, if the false teaching is not eradicated, it will inevitably lead to division.

Paul tasked Tychicus with comforting the hearts of the Colossian church members. He would do this by encouraging them, teaching them the truth, and refuting the errors that were being propagated in their midst.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 states, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” Our God is a “comforter” and He works in us through the Holy Spirit to become men and women who can comfort and encourage others.

Paul had seen Tychicus grow as a Christian and a minister. Knowing his qualities allowed Paul to confidently send this faithful man to provide comfort and encouragement to the Colossians.

Hopefully, we are becoming men and women who can comfort and encourage the hearts of others in the congregation.

Have a pleasant Sabbath,

Gary Smith

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