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Preeminent Goliness

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*Sermon Type: Expository                                                                             

Title:    Preeminent Godliness                                                                                        


Passage: Colossians 4:2-6

Theme of Colossians:  In all things, Christ has Preeminence.


Subject Compliment:  Christ’s preeminence demand godly living.


PropositionChrist’s preeminence must drive us to godly living. 


            In chapter one Paul began writing to the Colossians about Christ’s preeminence.  In that first chapter he proved Christ’s preeminence over all things.  In chapter two, Paul addresses the problems that the Colossians were having with false teachings.  Paul showed that Christ had preeminence over all those teachings.  In Colossians 3:5 Paul starts to show how Christ is preeminent in the Christians life.  Paul is now showing how Christ’s preeminence demands godly living.  His preeminence demands godly living in our prayer, our actions, and our speech. 

Because Christ is preeminent, we don’t need anything more than what he has given us.  Christ completes us!  We have Christ, we do not need the pleasures of the world nor  the sins of our flesh, Christ completes us! 


I.  Preeminent Prayer.  4:2-4

Verse two is started with “continue in prayer”.  The in the Greek, the word for continue- προσκαρτερειτε is a present active imperative.  This is usually used as a command.  It is a command that could mean: adhere to, to persist in, to busy oneself in, or to be devoted to.  Paul wanted the Colossians to realize the impact that prayer had on their lives.  Paul already told the Colossians that he spent much time in prayer in chapter one.  The Colossians were to realize that they to were to spend much time in prayer.  They were to preserver in prayer.  Even when God did not answer their request immediately, they were to persist in prayer.  Praying at all times is not necessarily limited to constant vocalizing of prayers to God.  Rather, it refers to a God consciousness that relates every experience in life to Him.  That does not, however, obviate the need for persistence and earnestness in prayer. 


A.  With thanksgiving   v. 2

Verse two says to “watch in the same”.  This could mean, being awake and watchful.  It means to physically stay awake unlike the apostles at Gethsemane when Jesus found them sleeping.  It has a deeper meaning though to stay alert for what we should pray.  We must stay alert during prayer.  We must also be concerned about what we are praying.  If we are not concerned about what we pray for we will never continue in prayer.

Verse two ends with “watch in the same with thanksgiving”.  This goes hand in hand with continual, fervent prayer.  If one is going to be in constant prayer, they must have a spirit of thanksgiving.  Christ’s preeminence was a definite reason to be thankful.  This was not the first time Paul mentions thankfulness in this book.  He also mentions it in 1:12, 2:6, 3:15, and 3:17.  Prayer and thanksgiving can never be separated.  If prayer is separated from thankfulness, our prayer will have no power.  Be watching for God to answer the prayer.  Be actively helping in the request.


Ill/App:  How many times have you woke up early in the morning and put off time with the Lord in prayer.  You say, “I’ll do it when I have a break.”  That break never comes.  You get home and get busy on a project or have some activity planned and never pray.  You say, “I’ll do it before I go to bed.”  Then you get in bed, pray for 20 seconds, and fall asleep praying about sheep jumping over a fence.  How do have any impact with God if you do not pray!  Praying is humbling yourself to tell God that you do not have sufficient power to do this.  A person without prayer is a person without influence with God and a person without power.


Application:  What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use -- men of prayer, men mighty in prayer.  The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men -- men of prayer.


Quote:  He who has the spirit of prayer has the highest interest in the court

of heaven.  And the only way to retain it is to keep it in constant

employment.  Apostasy begins in the closet.  No man ever backslid

from the life and power of Christianity who continued constant and

fervent in private prayer.  He who prays without ceasing is likely to

rejoice evermore. — ADAM CLARKE


            B.  For opportunities  v. 3

Paul then asks for prayer for himself and his co-workers.  Paul knew that he could not go on without the prayers of others.  This was a key to his ministry.  He knew the power of prayer. 

The first request that Paul makes is for an “open door of utterance”; literally, “That God would open to us a door of discourse”.  The door that Paul was talking about was a door for preaching.  This was to be the subject of the prayer.  God was the only one that could open a door of opportunity up for them.  As Paul states in Acts 14:27 after he and Barnabas reported to the church “all things that God had done with them and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles”.   Of all people, Paul could give out the Gospel better than anyone could.  The reason for this was Gods hand on his life giving him opportunities to speak. 

With this open door, he would speak “the mystery of Christ.”  Christ is the subject of this mystery.  As in Col. 1:26–27, the term mystery refers to something hidden in the Old Testament but manifest in the New.  In the present context, it refers to the content of the gospel.  Paul asks the Colossians to pray that he would have an open door to speak the full truth of the gospel.  Paul was not just going to proclaim the message, but rather make it manifest (make it clear for people to understand.)

This was the reason that Paul had been placed in prison.  He had made known the mystery of Christ.  He had been imprisoned for preaching it, and continued to preach it in prison, and would preach it if he were released from prison.  This was a good reason for the Colossians to pray for Paul.  His place in the prison had hindered his ability to give out the Gospel.  He longed to be able to give out the Gospel. 

            C.  For clear speech v. 4

The second request that Paul makes is for him to “make it manifest, as I ought to speak.”  This phrase, “ought to speak” can be taken two different ways.  Some would say it means that Paul is saying that he should speak.  It is his job and duty to preach.  It could also talk of the God-ordained method in which it is to be spoken.  Both of these could be right. 

I believe that it would refer to Paul making it know as he was supposed to do.


Illustration:  Your prayers helped me take advantage of the doors of opportunity in China. 


Application:  Do you regularly pray for you missionaries and their opportunities.  We have tons of opportunities around us, but many times we don’t take advantage of them nor do even know they exist because we are so wrapped up in ourselves.  Some of the missionaries that we have do not have easy open opportunities all the time.  Some of them have to be very careful about their opportunities. 

            Notice what Paul wanted them to pray for- opportunities for the Gospel to be spread.  Look at Col. 1:9-14.  What did Paul pray for them about?  He prayed for their spiritual condition!  He didn’t pray for Billy Janes in-grown toenail.  He prayed for their real needs!


II. Preeminent Action  v. 5

A.  Walk in Wisdom v. 5a

            Paul uses the present active imperative again; now giving a command to “walk in wisdom.”  The believers to act according to what they had been taught.  This would be walking in the wisdom that they had learned.  Paul had already prayed for them to have wisdom (1:9), now he wanted them to walk in it.


            B.  Concerning the Unsaved  v. 5a

They were to walk in wisdom or prudence to those not in the church.  This could include those that were saved but not walking in wisdom, the unsaved, and the false teachers.  Those that were saved but not walking in wisdom would be able to see the clear testimony of those that were walking in wisdom according to God.  This would also make a good impression on the unsaved.  The unsaved would think highly of the gospel and possibly come to Christ.  Paul had already discussed the false teachers.  They would need to walk in wisdom toward these false teachers.  Paul did not want them to fall back into these false doctrines.


            B.  Redeeming the Time  v. 5b

This verse parallels with Ephesians 5:16.  The word redeeming literally means to buy at the marketplace.  This gives it the idea of buying back the time that God gave to us.  Paul wanted them to make the most of their time.  Christians must buy up and make the most of every opportunity for witnessing to the faith.  The time left here on earth is short.  Christians must buy up all the time with things for Christ.  Nothing else matters in light of eternity. 


Application:  Does your life represent Christ?  Are you walking as a spectacle to the world.  In I Cor 4:9 Paul was made a spectacle for the world to behold.  What does you life say to the world?  Does it say I want to be just like you is it saying that you want to be like Christ?

Illustration:  The story has been told about the king that wanted someone to drive his buggy.  One could get 6 inches to the edge of the cliff, one 3 inches to the edge, one could even get one wheel to be halfway off the edge.  The last one said that he wanted to stay as far from the edge as possible.  He won the job.  How close do you want to be to Christ and how close do you want to be to the world.


III.  Preeminent Speech  v. 6

A.  Tactful speech

Paul now speaks to the Colossians about their speech.  This is not talking about the way they live, as the word conversation is used in other places.  Nor is this talking about how they preach, but he is talking about their speech in their everyday lives.

1.  Full of Grace  v. 6a
            The first part of tactful speech, “always with Grace”, needed to be a part of the Colossians lives if they were to be an example to all the world.  A gracious spirit rules gracious speech.  This grace can take the meaning of charming speech.  "Grace" (charis), which in the NT usually denotes divine favor, seems here to be used in the broader sense of "pleasantness," "attractiveness," "charm," "winsomeness."  These ideas are all implicit in the word.  This speech should be present in any situation, whether trail great or small, a believers speech should be graceful.


            2.  Seasoned with Salt  v. 6b

The second part of tactful speech, “seasoned with salt,” could be taken in a few different ways.  Salt had three purposes during the NT times.  It could preserve food, sterilize food, or season food.  I believe that all these are to be the ways in which speech seasoned with salt will perform.  Speech should be preserved from corruption and unwholesome talking.  Matthew 12:36 says, “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”  Speech should also be sterilized; this means it should be purified, cleansed, uncontaminated, untainted, and fresh.  Their conversation was also to be seasoned.  This would mean that their conversation would be acceptable and full of flavor in the discourse.  Believers are to make their speech like Christ.  Our conversation is watched by unbelievers and therefore must always be appropriate and pure so that we may represent Christ.

Illustration/Application: This is convicting for me!  I am terrible at holding my mouth  back from saying something that is not seasoned with salt nor full of grace.  How do you control you tongue and speech?  When your upset, what comes out of your mouth?  Let me hit your thumb with a hammer and see what kind of speech comes out. 

            Is your speech edifying to others in the body of Christ or is it criticizing?  Your conversations also should be uplifting to the leaders of the church, not criticizing or subversive or rebellious. 


            B.  Tactful  response  v. 6c

By having speech that is full of grace and seasoned with salt, they would be able to answer every man.  Some would have questions about the message they were preaching or some would have complaints or objections.  The believers were to be ready to give an answer to all these.  The conversation must not only be opportune in regards to time; it must also be appropriate in regards to the person.  They needed to know how to answer every objector.  They must know how to say the right thing at the right time. In Peter’s words, they must be “ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Pet. 3:15).

Application:  Are you ready to defend your faith?  Are you able to give out the Gospel to anyone?  Can you make the most of the doors of opportunity that are opened up to you?           



            Godliness will be the response when one sees that Christ is truly preeminent.  This will be displayed in the Christians prayer, living, and speech.  You must obey Gods messages for godliness.  If your prayer life is not what it should be, then your life will not be in line with what God wants, and your speech will not be edifying others.

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