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  • Writer's pictureBro. Caleb Taft

Knowing our King | Colossians 4:15-16 | A Letter for Laodiceans

Sealed Letter

Colossians 4:15-16

Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.

As the letter is closing The Holy Ghost Stirs Paul's heart to salute the Brethren at Laodicea, and instruction is given that this epistle is for them to read as well. This was a common practice in that day, The Letters written by Apostles or trustworthy companions of the Apostles would be read in circulation to the Churches of that area. Many verses in scripture show us this 1st century practice, [Col 4:10, Col 4:16, 1 Th 5:27, Rev 1:4]. This is more than an interesting fact, but shows us the intended practice, that as it was then so it is now. This letter was written to Colossae but intended for every believer who will read it. Its words were as much a message of encouragement and warning to Laodicea as it was to them and us as well. 

The Epistle to the Laodiceans is most likely the Ephesian’s letter, I don’t think that there is a lost Epistle out there, and if there were it was not inspired or it would have found its way into the Canon of Scripture. There is one that was labeled the Epistle to the Laodiceans but has been proven to be falsified. Notice what the verse says carefully, “likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.” The instruction is not to read the Epistle to the Laodiceans but from the Laodiceans. Because of the rotation of Pauls letter’s the Letter to the Ephesians would have gone to Ephesus first then the next city in line would have been Laodicea and then to Collosae, this seems to be the most reasonable understanding of what is meant by “the epistle from Laodicea.”

Nymphas, is a bit of an enigma, we don’t know anything about him, whether he was in Colossae, in Laodicea, or if this was the host of the Laodicean church or just another brother holding church in his home. Church’s were few and far between and most people travelled by foot so it would be natural for a man to host a church in his home if he was miles away from the nearest fellowship. Either way, He is a he. Other versions translate this as a woman but we can rest assured he was a man. Not that a woman couldn’t host a church in her house we know Lydia did, but we can be sure the Bible is perfectly preserved, if The Authorized Versions says Nymphas was a he, then that is a full stop for me.

This also gives us some insight into Laodicea, the church known for its worldliness and lukewarmness. Laodicea was not always “Laodicea.” Let this be a warning to churches and Christians alike. That Laodicea was at one time a good church even receiving epistles, but over the years they drifted to a place of conformity to the world, and 30 years later we get a snapshot of a dying church; Jesus on the outside, no longer comfortable in their fellowship. Blind, naked, and wretched was how our Lord described them, and one last call to repentance is given. How did they get there? Was it persecution and trials that finally broke their will to live for God? No, it seems to be prosperity and gain that delivered the death blow. Be warned, Laodiceans aren’t born in affliction but in comforts, not in poverty but in wealth, actually, they are not born at all, but grow over a process of time, colder and colder every day until we hear the voice of our Saviour saying “You are blind and poor and wretched.” As we are "Increased with Goods and have need of nothing" we fail to see our need to be filled with the "Fulness of all things," Jesus Christ. Let this Epistle redirect your eyes toward heaven, to "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." Jesus is the fulness of all things, is he what you are filled with?  

Our verses this morning put this letter into context and remind us this is not just an ancient writing for a 1st-century group of believers in the Lycus Valley. It is for Laodicean’s as well, One pastor I have studied after called this letter, “A letter for the Last Days.” Take its warnings, its instruction, its information, and let it be read and lived among you.

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