18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
Paul notes that Epaphras continued working hard for those back at home, even while he was in Rome. Presumably this was through his fervent prayers as well as time spent consulting Paul about proper doctrine. Luke, Paul's physician, was a close companion and also a historian who would later record the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. When Paul wrote this letter, Demas was at his side and presumably still a trusted friend. Unfortunately by the end of Paul's life Demas had defected to worldly ways and forsaken Paul (2 Tim. 4:10).
Paul sends greetings to brothers in the city of Laodicea. (This is the church chastised in Revelation for being lukewarm - "neither hot nor cold".) In this time before the New Testament, one body of believers would pass a letter on to the other cities in order to share information and doctrine. The letter to the Laodiceans has been lost to history, although another letter to the Laodiceans in included in some publications of the New Testament Apocrypha.
History tells us that churches did not own property for meeting until after 200 AD. Prior to this believers met at times outdoors or in synagogues, but often met in homes like the group mentioned as meeting at Nympha's house.
Archippus may have been the son of Philemon and Apphia and the leader of the church meeting in their home. Paul encourages him to fulfill his ministry as he combats the false teachers in Colossae.
Paul signs the letter with his own hand. This may mean that he wrote the whole letter, but more likely it means that he used an amanuensis (dictated to a scribe). Signing the letter would authenticate it and give emphasis to his words. He signs off by asking them to remember him and prays that they have grace.
As beleivers we should remember those laboring in our local churches and around the world, acknolwedging their service and lifting them up in prayer. We also should fervently pray for those persecuted and in chains around the world because of their boldness in sharing their faith. Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body (Hebrews 13:3).
The apostle had comfort in the communion of saints and ministers. One is his fellow-servant, another his fellow-prisoner, and all his fellow-workers, working out their own salvation, and endeavouring to promote the salvation of others. The effectual, fervent prayer is the prevailing prayer, and availeth much. The smiles, flatteries, or frowns of the world, the spirit of error, or the working of self-love, leads many to a way of preaching and living which comes far short of fulfilling their ministry. But those who preach the same doctrine as Paul, and follow his example, may expect the Divine favour and blessing. - Matthew Henry