Fellow Bond-servant, Faithful Servant of Christ
Colossians 1:7, “Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ.”
The Bible literally has thousands of names of men and women in its pages. Often times we know nothing about those names because they may only be mentioned just one time. The name Epaphras is mentioned three times by the apostle Paul, twice here in Colossians and once in the short letter to Philemon.
We don’t know much about Epaphras but what we do know is very instructive. Here in chapter 1 and verse 7 Paul mentions Epaphras who is with him while he is a prisoner in Rome, and he describes him as a “beloved fellow bond-servant.” A “bond-servant” was a slave, it was person who was owned by another person and thus served them in whatever way their master saw fit. To be a “bond-servant” of Christ meant that you were owned by Christ and served him as a lowly and humble slave. Epaphras apparently understood this, he understood that he had been purchased by God with the precious blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Paul also says that Epaphras is “beloved.” Paul loved Epaphras and deeply appreciated not only his care for Paul but his love for the Lord and for His church. Epaphras was so concerned about a growing heresy in the church at Colossae that he had traveled all the way to Rome to consult with the apostle about it. This no doubt was an encouragement to Paul and it shows us Epaphras’ deep love for Christ and for His church.
In the second part of verse 7 Paul writes that Epaphras “is a faithful servant of Christ.” The Greek word here for “faithful” is the pistos it was used to describe one who was “to be trusted or believed.” In Colossians 4:12 we learn a bit more about this faithful servant, “Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bond slave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.” What a wonderful servant! Epaphras we know from this verse was from Colossae and he spent his time laboring in prayer for his brothers and sisters. What did he pray for? That they would stand in their faith and that they would grow in the will of God.
I read Colossians 1:7 this morning and was deeply humbled by this man that we know very little about. As I read that verse over and over, I thought, “That is what I want to be known for. A humble slave of Christ who is beloved for his love for Christ.” That was Epaphras. O that we had more men like this in the church today. In a time in which celebrity is held up as so important, we need men like Epaphras. In a day and age when if you have a camera (and everyone does) you can be a preacher. In a time when far too many pastors spend far too much time promoting themselves on social media and building a brand and a platform we need faithful, obedient, humble bond slaves of the Lord Jesus Christ. We need men who will not compromise on truth and are willing to go to great lengths to defend it, just as Epaphras was willing to take the arduous journey to Rome for the cause of truth.
My simple prayer is that first of all I would be worthy of this and secondly that God will begin to raise a generation of churchmen who will cast aside the trinkets of this world and be willing to stand on the truth of God’s Word come what may. Just in the last few weeks we have seen what happens in this digital age when a faithful pastor simply expounds the truth of God’s Word to a culture that tries so hard to have that Word say what they want they want it to say. As faithful men of God we must be prepared to be scorned and even hated by those who profess Christ and claim they are the church.