Our lesson covers Col 4:7-11. In Col 4:11 Paul wrote, “These only are my fellow workers unto the kingdom of God.” In this lesson we will get a little insight into Paul’s fellow workers.
Tychicus – Col 4:7-8 – first mentioned in Acts 20:4 “of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus.” He was with Paul in Rome but he was not in prison. Tychicus was Paul’s amanuensis for the Epistle to the Ephesians, Eph 6:24, and the Epistle to the Colossians, Col 4:18. Since Paul was under arrest, Tychicus delivered Paul’s letters to the churches in Ephesus and Colossae, Col 4:7-8, Eph 6:21, 2 Tim 4:12. Paul was also minded to send Tychicus to Titus, Titus 3:12.
Paul described Tychicus as a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord. These are three of the most outstanding characteristics of any helper in the ministry. Tychicus declared Paul’s state to the Colossians, and he was sent to know their estate and comfort their hearts.
Onesimus – Col 4:9 – a faithful and beloved brother. This is a remarkable description of the degree to which a man’s life can change after he gets saved. Onesimus had been an unprofitable servant of Philemon, Phm 11, who ran away from his master, Phm 15. Paul returned Onesimus to Philemon as a profitable servant, Phm 11, a minister to Paul, Phm 13, a brother beloved, Phm 16. Whereas he had been unfaithful, now he was a faithful, beloved minister. Apparently, Onesimus was from Colossae, as Paul wrote, he was “one of you.” Onesimus and Tychicus filled the Colossians in on “all things which are done here.”
Aristarchus – Col 4:10 – a Macedonian from Thessalonica, Acts 27:2, 19:29, 20:4. He was Paul’s fellow prisoner, as well as his fellow laborer, Phm 24. Sometimes, when you help a man in the ministry, you suffer the same persecution that he does, Jn 15:20. Aristarchus didn’t forsake Paul at this point, like Demas eventually did, Col 4:14, 2 Tim 4:10.
Marcus – Col 4:10 – this is John Mark, Acts 15:37-39, whom Paul refused to take on the second missionary journey because he had defected on the first, Acts 13:13. His mention here and in Phm 24, as Paul’s fellow laborer, and in 2 Tim 4:11, as Paul’s profitable minister, confirms that broken fellowship can be restored and improved.
Jesus, which is called Justus – Col 4:11 – Jesus and Marcus, who were “of the circumcision,” were converted Jews. We are reminded that in Christ, “there is neither Jew nor Greek,” Gal 3:28.
Conclusion: Paul wrote, “These only are my fellow workers unto the kingdom of God.” There were very few who were still with Paul at this late stage in his ministry. And these men were a comfort to him. This small group reminds us that God is more interested in quality than he is in quantity. Zech 4:10 says, “For who hath despised the day of small things?” In 1 Sam 14:6, Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few.” God did great things with these few men.