From the letter of Paul to Philemon
The way of the disciple is the way of spiritual warfare…”to Archippus, our fellow soldier…” Philemon 2
Archippus was, more than likely, the young son of Epaphras, the founder of the first church fellowship in Colossae. Epaphras had gone to Rome to minister to Paul in prison. That pastor/father would leave the church in the hands and heart of his son, Archippus. And why not? Discipled by Paul and his dad, Archippus, probably in his twenties or early thirties, was mature enough spiritually to know that there was an invisible spiritual battle going on in Colossae for the souls of lost men and the testimonies and hearts of the careless saved. Perhaps Archippus would follow in the footsteps of his faithful father and hear the call to pastor with his dad or eventually start another house church in the region. But what ever God chose for the young man, Paul described him as a fellow soldier in the Lord’s army.
Paul would remind the brethren in the church at Ephesus (chpt. 6) that their struggle was not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness in high places. He told them to put on the whole armor of God…then pray…and resist the devil. Paul considered himself a soldier in the spiritual army of Christ. And that is what he saw in Archippus. Soldiers are taught to fight and therefore they are not surprised when the enemy fires at them. And then they fight with the weapons that they have been given. Apparently, Paul and Epaphras had taught young Archippus to fight with the spiritual weapons of the Word, faith and warfare praying…for the brethren and against the schemes of the devil.
Now that we know that the way of the disciple is the way of spiritual warfare, how would that help us to correctly respond to people and circumstances? We would know that our real enemy is not our neighbor, or our careless friend. Our real enemy is the evil one, the devil. We would be alert for how he is out to destroy us and our loved ones. Thus, we will be ready at all times to resist him and his demonic forces as they march on hearts and lives of those about us. Thank you, Archippus. Now, we will not be surprised when the enemy fires upon us. And we will take up the sword of the spirit and fight back.