Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea and also Nympha and the church that is in her house.Colossians 4:15(NASB)
As Paul draws his epistle to a close, we see his deep love and concern for the little flock of God at Colossae. Not only does he give them a final reminder of their Christian duty.. i.e. to devote themselves to prayer, maintain an attitude of thanksgiving, conduct themselves with wisdom and grace, and make the most of their opportunity to speak of Christ, but he also asked them to pray for his own ministry - that the Lord would open doors for him and his team to share the gospel of grace and the mystery of Christ.. and for him to receive wisdom to know when to speak and when to remain silent.
We also notice another lovely, human touch as he includes greeting from some of his fellow labourers. He mentioned that Aristarchus, one of Paul's fellow prisoners and also John Mark.. the cousin Barnabas, sent loving wishes to them, together with Justus - a Jewish believer, Epaphras, who was a brother from Colossae and Luke, the beloved physician - and of course Demas!
We further recognise the responsibility that Paul felt towards Christians throughout in Asia, because he added.. "when this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans, and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea". Paul even included personalised greetings to members of the Laodicean church in his Colossian epistle. He greeted Nympha, whose house was used as a meeting place for the Laodiceans and Archippus, who was instructed to "take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfil it.
It is lovely to think of this woman, Nympha, opening her home as a meeting house for the local Christians. We know very little of her circumstances although she is the only named woman who opened-up her home as a meeting place for the early Church. Maybe she was a wealthy widow, a mother with young children or a business woman. Maybe she was a woman of prayer or a lady who simply used her generous nature to encourage the saints and edify the body... but the name of 'Nympha' and her simple home-based ministry in Laodicea has been celebrated by centuries of believers who have read the book of Colossians.
In this section there is a wealth of information about the early Church and some important insights into Paul's deep love and compassion for his fellow believers, and in his closing comments we also identify a sense of urgency. The letter was not simply to be passed about from one person to the next. It was to be read aloud publically. The entire congregation was to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest what Paul wrote, and then it was to be sent to the Laodiceans and read to the Christians there - while the Colossian believers were to read the letter the church at Laodicea had received!
Paul knew his time was short and that the gospel he preached needed to become the secure rock to which these precious souls were anchored. Paul predicted that after his departure, savage wolves would come into the Church and would not spare the flock, and he wanted to ensure that the whole counsel of God was firmly secured in the hearts of ALL believers, if they were to stand firm in the evil day.
Paul wanted every believer to be fully protected from false teachers and demonic demons, for he knew that the public reading, preaching and teaching of God's word is a vital component in maintaining doctrinal purity - and this is as true today as it was in those early days of the Church.. when the people met to worship, at Nympha's house.
'Study to show yourselves approved unto God' was Paul's instruction to Timothy, 'rightly dividing the word of truth. And it is vitally important for us to be equally diligent in the study of Scripture today, because the word of God has been twisted, watered down and abused by an increasing number of cults and unscriptural movements
The letter that Paul sent to the Laodiceans, who met in the home of Nymph, may not be included in the canon of Scripture, but we have 27 New Testament books and 39 from the Old Testament, which are the inspired, God-breathed Word of truth... and God has ordained that the local Church is the place to meet and study His word - as far as this is possible.
May we be diligent to join with our brothers and sisters in Christ and be sure that we access scripturally sound teaching from a godly pastor, who interprets the Word of God literally, historically, grammatically, dispensationally and in the fear of the Lord.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the inspired Scriptures and the many truths that are contained within its sacred pages. Thank You for men like Paul whom You used to pen the Scriptures, and for the truth of the glorious gospel of grace contained within its pages. Help me to be diligent to meet together with other believers and to study Your word in spirit and in truth. Thank You for the example of Paul who recognised his responsibility toward his brothers in Christ, and for Nympha, the woman in Laodicea, whose home became the place where Christians met to worship You. I pray that You would use me in whatever way You choose for Your praise and glory - this I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.