Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. Colossians 4:12
In The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Colossians we read of a man named Epaphras. This man had traveled by unknown means to the city of Rome from the city of Colosse.
By stating unknown we realize that people in those days either walked or traveled long distances by caravan. However, we do not specifically know why Epaphras came to Rome. He could have come on business, been brought by Roman request, or have come particularly to seek out the apostle Paul for wisdom and direction.
Whatever his reason for coming to the capital of the Roman empire, he did wind up face to face with the apostle during the time of Paul’s confinement.
We learn several things about Epaphras during this particular period as stated in the epistle.
As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ. Colossians 1:7
A Saved Man
In Colossians 1:7 and 4:12-13 we learn that Epaphras was a saved man who served Christ.
His position in Colosse and the surrounding cities of Laodicea and Hierapolis was as a minister. Whether that was as the pastor of a church body or as a traveling evangelist or circuit preacher is of little consequence. He was definitely ministering and evangelizing the area.
A Faithful Man
The above verses also tell us that Epaphras was faithful.
Not only was he faithful to Christ, but he was faithful to those to whom he ministered. He spoke highly of the positive traits of the church.
By reading the account in Colossians we can also infer that he spoke of conditions concerning the church. Those were spoken of only because of Epaphras’ desire for help in his ministering to and the establishing of the saints in their personal walk with the Lord.
A Positive Man
Epaphras’s conversation was as any minister’s should be.
He spoke of the love shown by the Colossians toward each other, their faithfulness to Jesus Christ, their reception of the gospel, and the fruit that was being displayed by the church. He also spoke highly of their love of spiritual things (See Col. 1:4-8; 2:5). In no way was he negative of the members of the body of Christ where he served.
A Praying Man
We also see that Epaphras was a prayer warrior (Col. 4:12-13).
Scripture tells us that he was “always labouring fervently” in prayers. His prayers were not general; they were specific requests to God. Those requests manifest to us his desire to see the church “stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.”
His burden is further shown by his great zeal.
It is refreshing to hear a minister speak excitedly about his congregants and the growth that is being experienced by the individual members of the body of Christ where he serves.
Epaphras’s focus was on what was right about the church.
His concerns focused on what would help the church go further in their walk with Christ. He wasted no time in gleaning instruction from Paul that would help him further his ministry to these people.
There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Jesus. Philemon 23
A Standing Man
Epaphras is also mentioned in Philemon 23. Here he is described as being a “fellowprisoner.”
Was he arrested while visiting the city, arrested while ministering in Colosse and then brought forcefully to Rome, or arrested later and brought back to Rome, we do not know. We only know his stand for Christ led to his imprisonment of some sort.
The mention of his name in Paul’s letter to Philemon lets us know that Epaphras remained faithful in spite of difficult circumstances.
Faithfulness is a characteristic that each of us should covet especially in these times of uncertainty. Faithfulness, service, zeal, and prayerfulness should be the description of every saint’s character.
What characteristics show Epaphras to be a man of God?
What other characteristics should men of God display?
Are you faithfully serving the body of Christ? In what way?
How can others serve faithfully?