Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
Through our study in Colossians, Paul has challenged us to understand that Jesus is the head of the church. He is not only the head of the church, but He is in charge of our lives as well. We understand who we are and what it is that we should be doing through Him.
He has saved us for a purpose and that purpose is to honor Him in all that we do!
In the passage today, I want us to think about Working Together. Paul wants to challenge the church of Collasae forward as together they and Paul do the work that God has called them to do!
We work together in prayer
Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
We need to continually be reminded that prayer is not a passive activity. Prayer is active.
He tells the church to devote themselves to prayer -
In he states:
pray without ceasing,
1 Thessalonians 5:17
We need to continually be reminded that prayer is not a passive activity. It is not a waste of time! It is active and a vital part of the Christian’s life.
Andrew Murray says,
“Christ’s life and work, His suffering and death, were founded on prayer – total dependence upon God the Father, trust in God, receiving from God, and surrendering to God.
watching and praying in an attitude of thanksgiving!
Your redemption is brought into being by prayer and intercession. The life He lived for you and the life He lives in you is a life that delights to wait on God and receive from him.
To pray in His name is to pray as He prayed. Christ is our example because He is our Head, our Savior, and our Life. In virtue of His deity and of His spirit, He can live in us.
We can pray in His name because we abide in Him and He abides in us.” – Andrew Murray
watching and praying in an attitude of thanksgiving!
Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;
The New King James version says being vigilant. The term implies that we are alert.
Two men were talking together. The first challenged the other, "If you are so religious, let's hear you quote the Lord's Prayer. I bet you $10.00 you can't." The second responded, "Now I lay my down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. And If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take." The first pulled out his wallet and fished out a ten dollar bill, muttering, "I didn't think you could do it!"
Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.
Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
We are to pray being alert to the circumstances of life, what is going on in our society and particularly how they are impacting the spread of the Gospel. Informed prayer is personal, purposeful and powerful. It does not merely present words before the throne of God, Watchful prayer calls out to God to act in and through and against the circumstances that we are facing.
We are to have an attitude of thanksgiving as we pray! We pray out of the overflow of everything that God has already done on our behalf. What are some of the things that God has done for you?
Thankfulness is the right environment for praying. We do not approach God as beggars - as those who have no one to turn to. We approach our Father who has already expressed how much He loves us through His Son and we are able to come before Him as His Sons and Daughters.
Paul’s circumstances could have been discouraging as he waits in prison. A prayer rooted in Thankfulness acknowledges the obstacles and difficulties, but looks past those to the One who is able to work in spite of it all.
meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
Paul also calls on the church to pray for Paul and his co-workers.
Pray For An Open Door
Some of you have been asking what it is that I will be doing now. I will not be bored! I have two tasks with an overarching purpose. I will continue to work as the Associational Missionary for the Yuma Southern Baptist Association. I get the privilege to work with 16 churches in Arizona and four partner churches in Mexico.
Through this work, we are encouraging every church to have an effective Evangelism Strategy - that is a way to engage their members in reaching out to others with the Gospel. A Leadership Development process to help their members grow in their relationship with God and in effectiveness in ministry, and an effective Prayer Strategy - engaging us together in praying for our region. I have the opportunity to meet with pastors and church leaders and to provide training and opportunities for us to do these things together.
I also work as a Leader Care Facilitator for Arizona Baptist Children’s Services. I have the opportunity to come alongside pastors, church leaders and their families and encourage them as they continue to serve God in our region.
Both of these tasks have a common purpose. God has placed us here to reach every person in our region with the Gospel. That means we have a responsibility so that every person in our region has the opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel. This is a huge task.
So as Paul asked for the believers to pray for him and his co-workers, I will ask you to pray for me and those that we are working with that there will be an open door to the Gospel.
Pray with us so that we might have open doors, be able to present the mystery of Christ and speak as we should! We need to be faithful to meet every open door with the words of the Gospel.
Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.
Paul goes on to challenge the church to be walk in wisdom towards those who are outside the church.
We have been talking about our FRANS. Our friends and relatives, our co-workds, our neighbors and the strangers that we meed. God has given each of us the opportunity to encourage those in our circles to continue in a relationship with God, or to encourage them towards a relationship with God.
If we are to do this, we must be careful in our conduct. Our testimony is not just the words that we speak, it is the life that we live.
When we walk in the wisdom of God we have a positive witness in the world. We must make the most of every opportunity, redeeming the time.
As Paul is waiting in prison, he may well have been reminded of his limited opportunities. Perhaps out of that thought comes this challenge not to let these opportunities with our friends to slip past us.
Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
Grace, seasoned with salt. To be able to answer everyone.
Grace - we love one another and we speak graciously to one another and to those we meet. We extend grace to one another and we care for one another.
Seasoned with Salt - We tell the truth to one another. We hold each other accountable and love our Friends by telling them the truth about God and what He says about each of us.
This was the pattern of Jesus!
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
We follow His example!
This is for each person. There is no one size fits all conversation. It requires that we know them and apply God’s word to each life.
I am looking forward to what God will do in and through us in the days ahead as we Work Together!