And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you fulfill it.
A sharp message that, and especially sharp as being sent through others. If this Archippus were a member of the Church at Colossae, it is remarkable that Paul should not have spoken to him directly, as he did to Euodia and Syntyche (Philippians 4:2). But it is by no means certain that he was. He is named in the Epistle to Philemon in such immediate connection with the latter and his wife Apphia, that he has been supposed to be their son. At all events, he was intimately associated with the Church in the house of Philemon, who, as we know, was a Colossian. But, on the other hand, the difficulty referred to, and the fact that the whole section is concerned with Laodicea, points to the conclusion that Archippus, though perhaps a native and even resident at Colossae had his ministry in connection with a neighbouring Church. But what does it matter where he worked? Not very much perhaps; and yet one cannot but read this grave exhortation to a man who was evidently getting languid and negligent, without remembering what we hear about Laodicea and its angel when next we meet it. It is not impossible that Archippus may have received the message more awful than Paul's. "Because thou art neither hot nor cold," etc. Be that as it may —
I. EACH OF US HAS A MINISTRY, or sphere of service. We may fill it full, with earnest devotion and patient heroism, as some expanding gas fills out the silken round of its containing vessel, or we may breathe into it only enough to occupy a little portion, while all the rest hangs empty and flaccid.
II. A SACRED MOTIVE ENHANCES THE OBLIGATION. We have received it "in the Lord." In union with Him it has been laid upon us. No earthly hand has imposed it, nor does it arise from mere earthly relationships.
III. THERE MUST BE DILIGENT WATCHFULNESS TO FULFIL OUR MINISTRY.
1. We have to take heed to our service, reflect upon it, its extent, nature, imperativeness, the manner of discharging it, and the means of fitting us for it. We have to keep it before us. Unless we are absorbed in it, we shall not fulfil it.
2. We have to take heed to ourselves, ever feeling our weakness and the strong antagonisms in our own natures which hinder our dis charge of the plainest and most imperative duties.
3. Let us remember, too, that if we begin, like Archippus, to be a little languid and perfunctory in our work, we may end where the Church at Laodicea ended.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.