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Colossians: Epaphras, A Man of God

Large rocks remind us of enduring strength despite the storms.
Photo Credit: Mark Shutt Images

June 26, 2024

Praying Friends,

Do you have a good person in your life, someone you can turn to in need, someone you can depend on at any time?

Epaphras was that man for Paul. He was a good man! He is only mentioned three times in the New Testament: twice in Colossians and once in Philemon. Each of the three references have something commendable to say about him by Paul.

The first two details that Paul gives us about Epaphras was that he was marked by grace and faithfulness. “In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God's grace. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit” (Colossians 1:7-8 NIV).

Epaphras was a man who lived the gospel he preached. As Paul speaks to the Colossians about the gospel, he highlights the grace of God that they had learned from this man Epaphras. 

It is one thing to preach about grace, it is yet another to live in such a way that commends it. There is a certain attraction that visible grace has that cannot be denied. 

We extend grace to the unbeliever with the desire to see them brought to Jesus, but often we fail to exhibit this same grace to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ with whom we have daily contact. May we all learn from Epaphras.

He was also called a faithful minister or servant. He was true to his God and to those he spoke to. His word could be relied on without the listeners wondering if there was a hidden angle or agenda. 

In the parable of the talents, Jesus commends the servants who honored their master by bringing gain to him. “His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!’”

At the end of the day, when all is said and done, these are the words we all desire to hear from the lips of our Savior and Lord.

The next quality that emerges is that Epaphras was a man of prayer. “Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured” (Colossians 4:12).

Epaphras was a warrior in prayer. He contended earnestly for the blessing of God’s people. For him, it was not just a one-off, but the continual habit of his life to be engaged in spiritual battle for the kingdom of God.

He knew that if God’s people were standing firm in all God’s will, growing in maturity, and living with the assurance of God’s truth, there would be blessing and progress leading to God’s glory.

While every believer has the awesome privilege to pray to her or his God, and we should all take advantage of this birthright, it seems that there are special prayer warriors among us that need to be encouraged. I know of a few and they need to be commended because the labor of consistent struggle in God’s presence on behalf of others is not an easy task.

As Paul gave final goodbyes to Philemon who also lived in Colossae, he spoke of Epaphras as a prisoner for Christ. “Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings” (Philemon 1:23).

Epaphras was a man of courage. He was willing to take a public stand for what he believed and thus became a fellow prisoner with the Apostle Paul. 

First century prisoners endured physical punishment, and public shaming, as well as filthy and unsanitary conditions. Often prisoners slept on cold floors with only their outer garment as bedding. And the guards were well paid for their harshness with the prisoners. What a comfort it was to Paul to have Epaphras with him.

May God give each of us courage to be like this man of God Epaphras. Thank you for praying for our prodigals and for revival.

Love in Christ,

Bryan and Rachel 


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