THE REFUGE DEVOTIONAL
About 100 miles east of Ephesus sat a city named Colosse. It was a city that was encompassed in darkness, void of the true knowledge of God. This city was made of a mixture of both Jews and Gentiles, and it was steeped in mysticism, the worship of ideologies, and the practice of magic.
During worship, they would try to move themselves into a religious frenzy, a trance-like state, involving an experience that transcends beyond the ordinary limitations of human nature. This city was also heavily influenced by the temple of Diana in Ephesus, which was a fertility goddess.As they engaged in the perverse acts of worshipping this goddess, they believed she would bring them the promise of fertility, long life, and sexual fulfillment; the seductive sexuality of her worship led to gross idolatry. It is here that God moved upon the heart of a man named Epaphras.
By God’s providence Epaphras was led to Ephesus, where the apostle Paul had been preaching. As he listened intently to The Apostle’s teaching his heart became awakened to the reality of truth. He saw the deadness of his estate, that he was under the eternal wrath of God’s vengeance, and was deserving of His full justice. He would put his faith and dependence upon Jesus Christ, accepting Him as his personal Lord and Savior. The authenticity of his faith would be proven by the life that he lived out in the days ahead.
He would travel back to the city of Colosse with holy zeal to stand against the perverse corruption, risking his life to bring the teachings of the apostle Paul to a darkened region. This was an area in which no Apostle had ever visited.
Upon returning to his native city, he began preaching the saving grace of the gospel of Jesus Christ to all peoples, and out of it a church was born. His obedience and dedication to Christ would forever alter the lives of multitudes. As time went by, false teachings started to arise in the church that denied the deity of Jesus Christ. The people began to pray to angels, boasting in their visions, associating the Gospel with their pagan roots.
So Epaphras, moved with love for the people, took out on a 1000 mile journey to Rome to get a letter from the apostle Paul. The journey was very laborsome and paved with great difficulty; at times it seemed impossible, but the cause was worthy so endurance marked his pathway. As his journey came to a close, his body had reached the limits of physical fatigue. He became ill and was imprisoned in Rome, but not before God granted success to his journey.
The letter was written by Paul and sent back to the church of Colosse by a man named Tychicus; this inspired letter by God would reach to the ends of the earth. In the God breathed letter, Epaphras is called a bondslave of Jesus Christ.
May the testimony of this man’s life spark a fire in the heart of every believer to surrender all and become a bondslave of Christ. Let us travel back in time for just a moment to December 18, 1722, where a young man named Jonathan Edwards, at the age of 18, would begin to write a series of resolutions seeking to be enslaved to the obedience of God’s holy word. Over the next year he would continue to add to these resolutions as the struggles of life arose. This young man would set a course for his life in which God would use him to change an entire culture, becoming an example for future generations.
This was a time where the power of God’s word came forth life thunder, shattering the darkened heart’s of the people, bringing thousands to repentance. In these resolution’s, he stated in number 5, “Resolved: Never lose one moment of time; but seize the time to use it in the most profitable way I possibly can.” Number 17 stated, “Resolved: I will live in such a way, as I will wish I had done when I come to die.” Number 17 stated, “Resolved: Never to do anything, which I would be afraid to do if I expected it would not be more than an hour before I would hear the last trump sound (second coming of Christ).”
Oh, The power of God that works in those who have been taken captive to the obedience of Christ!! May God inflame us with the same passion for lost soul’s that we would be resolved to lay our lives down for the sake of the Gospel.
“Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ,” Colossians 4:12 NASBS