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Winsome Christianity

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A winsome Christian is one who is dependent on God, walks in wisdom towards outsiders, and is gracious in speech.

Notes & Transcripts | Sermon Questions
Introduction:
Polls tell us that the Religious Landscape in America is changing and has changed. Many people growing up in America have no religious affiliation and background. We have seen a moral and sexual revolution in our day. As the culture becomes increasingly secular, Christianity will continue to be increasingly marginalized. People tell us that we are experiencing a moral revolution because:
What was universally condemned is now celebrated.
What was universally celebrated is now condemned.
Dillusionned with Christianity.
Those who refuse to celebrate are condemned.
3 years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme court legalized same-sex marriage. This decision has definitely changed the political and religious landscape of the day.
In a Post-Christian society, Christians are now viewed as irrelevant, irrational, out-dated, discriminatory, and even dangerous.
And I believe that’s a good thing for the church. It will make fake Christians fall away because they will not want to deal with the threats and hostility of the culture. It will draw the lines for some churches on whether or not we are going to be faithful to the Word of God. It will make Christians more distinct and attractive when they live out true Christianity.
Eschatological mission to the world (vv. 2-6)
This is why I titled my message “Winsome Christianity.” Since we live in a Post- Christian World, meaning that Christian values are no longer valued or upheld in our society, it is more urgent that we truly life differently than the culture around us.
When I say different, I don’t mean that we completely escape from the culture and retreat into a holy huddle. But when I say different, I mean we engaged the world with a different set of convictions and values and engage with the unbelieving world with courage and conviction, kindness and humility. In other words, I believe if we are going to be a powerful witness for Christ, we need to be winsome Christians so we can win others to Christ.
“Being alert in prayer, believers are called to participate in the proclamation of God’s redemptive acts. They must pray faithfully for the expansion of the gospel, and their lives must also be a proclamation of the gospel.”
What does winsome mean?
The dictionary defines winsome as one who is attractive or appealing in character. Winsome as an adjective describes someone who is pleasant to be around. Someone who is engaging. Someone who draws others by his or her own life.
I think all Christians should be winsome. If we truly obeyed the Bible, then there should be an attractiveness about how we conduct ourselves in what we say and what we do. Jesus said we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Light exposes and makes dark places bright. Salt attracts and preserves to make things better. We are to live winsome lives.
1 Peter 2:11–15 ESV
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.
1 Peter 2:15–23 ESV
For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.
1 Peter 2:15 ESV
For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.
1 Peter 2:
Background
As we have been studying Colossians, we have seen that Christ is Lord over every area of life. We have died and been raised spiritually and joined to Christ by faith. Christ’s Lordship affects every area of our lives: from the church, to the home, to the workplace, and now Paul turns his attention to our role as Christians in the world. This passage deals with the Christians engagement with non-believers and the Church’s mission to the world to preach the gospel.
Question: How Can I be a Winsome Christian?
Main Proposition: In , we will look at three ways to be a winsome Christian, so that we can win others to Christ by the way we live.
Scripture Reading:
Colossians 4:2–6 ESV
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
Main Proposition: In , we will look at three ways to be a winsome Christian, so that we can be winsome to the unbelievers God places in our lives.

I. Be Prayerful (vv. 2-4)

Interesting is the fact Paul turn our attention to prayer. Why would prayer help us be winsome?
Prayer helps us be humble. Prayer helps us be dependent. Prayer helps us examine ourselves. Prayer helps us to confess sin. Prayer helps us be thankful people. Prayer reminds us of our hope. Prayer reminds us that Christ is coming again.
Colossians 4:2–4 ESV
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
Colossians 4:2 ESV
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Colossians
The command is to persist, continue steadfastly, or devote yourself to prayer. You remember Paul spend the first chapter in prayer for the Colossians. And he is calling the Colossians to imitate his example. Jesus taught us this very thing:
Luke 18:1 ESV
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
In another letter, Paul said to:
1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV
pray without ceasing,
“To Paul, prayer is not simply an act of presenting one’s personal wishes and desires to God; rather, it is a way for believers to participate in the unfolding of God’s redemptive plan in history.”
“Being alert in prayer, believers are called to participate in the proclamation of God’s redemptive acts. They must pray faithfully for the expansion of the gospel, and their lives must also be a proclamation of the gospel.”
We should be devoted to prayer. One of the ways we set our minds on things above, is through prayer. The early church was devoted to prayer.
Acts 2:42 ESV
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
The apostles delegated the ministry to the first deacons so that they could devote themselves to prayer:
Acts 6:4 ESV
But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
If we are going to be winsome, we need a vital dependence and communion with the living God. Because prayer shows us our need of God’s grace in every area of our live.
Prayerlesness
Application: We often fail to pray because we don’t plan to pray.
If you don’t plan to pray, you usually won’t pray. If I don’t plan to go to the gym the night before, I usually don’t go. My bed and my blanket are too comfortable. If you are not going to be intentional about praying, you won’t pray. So if you want to devote yourself to prayer, plan to pray. Schedule a time to pray. Calendar it in. What works for you? Is it morning? Is it afternoon? Is it a break from school or work? Is it evening?
Pastor, how should I pray?
The disciples asked, “Lord, teach us to pray.”
A. How Should You Pray?
Pray with watchfulness. Pray by “being alert”. The most obvious meaning to this means you are to pray when you are awake! Don’t pray right before you go to bed or when you are drowsy.
A. Pray with
“Being alert in prayer, believers are called to participate in the proclamation of God’s redemptive acts. They must pray faithfully for the expansion of the gospel, and their lives must also be a proclamation of the gospel.”
Mark 14:38 ESV
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Jesus time and again told his disciples to “watch and pray”. To “stay awake and pray”. We are to pray knowing that the end times are here and that Jesus is coming soon.
1 Peter 5:8 ESV
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:6–8 ESV
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:7–8 ESV
casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Pray with thankfulness. Again, in light of our union with Christ and the coming of Christ, we are grateful to the Lord for everything he is doing for us.
If thoughtlessness affects our prayers, the second thing that affects our prayers is selfishness. We only pray for our wants and needs. Thankfulness helps us combat a selfish attitude by reminding us of God’s blessing to us in Christ.
If thoughtlessness affects our prayers, the second thing that affects our prayers is selfishness. We only pray for our wants and needs. Thankfulness helps us combat a selfish attitude by reminding us of God’s blessing to us in Christ.
Pray with thankfulness. Again, in light of our union with Christ and the coming of Christ, we are grateful to the Lord for everything he is doing for us. Paul mentioned thanksgiving several times in his letter because of our reconciliation with Christ. Our union with Christ. We are to everything in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Pastor, what should I pray?
B. What Should You Pray?
1. Pray for Gospel workers.
Pray for us...
Paul is asking for prayer for both himself and Timothy to declare the the Word. This may include his fellow co-worker Epaphras and the list of workers at the end of the letter.
Spurgeon, considered one of the Greatest Baptist Preachers, who had a successful ministry in England, was asked how did he see so many people saved in his ministry. He simply replied “My people pray for me.”
Paul is asking for prayer for both him and Timothy to declare the the Word.
Application: Pray for your pastors. Pray for other local pastors. Pray for your missionaries. Pray for other members sharing the gospel at work. This should be a prayer request in our prayer meeting. Pray for us who declare God’s word.
2. Pray for Gospel opportunities.
Colossians 4:3 ESV
At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—
He prays for an open door. An open door is another way of saying for an opportunity to preach the gospel. You remember Paul is in prison. He didn’t ask to be healed of physical affliction. He didn’t ask to be released from prison. He didn’t pray for people to come visit him. He prayed for more opportunities to share the gospel.
Do your even know the names of your neigbors? Do you pray for opportunities for the gospel? Do you pray God would open more doors for the word to spread? Sadly, some of us haven’t pray for months in regards to gospel conversations and we wonder why our church isn’t growing?
What is the Mystery of Christ?
Mystery of Christ.
Mystery refers to God’s plan of salvation disclosed in Jesus Christ. The mystery was defined in .
Colossians 1:26–28 ESV
the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
Colossians 1:27–28 ESV
To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
Paul defined the mystery of godliness in as Jesus manifested in the flesh, seen by angels, vindicated by the Spirit, proclaimed to the nations, believed by the world, and taken up in glory. The mystery focuses on the person of Christ to save all who trust in Him.
Application: When is the last time you prayed for gospel opportunities? An unbeliever in your life? When is the last time you prayed that the gospel would be believed in the life of an unbelieving friend.
Application: When is the last time you prayed for gospel opportunities? An unbeliever in your life? When is the last time you prayed that the gospel would be believed in the life of an unbelieving friend.
3. Pray for Gospel endurance.
On account of which I am prison. We still have freedom to share the gospel in the States. Let us take hold of the opportunity before we don’t have it anymore. Sometimes we will have to suffer in the ministry. Paul was in prison for preaching the gospel. We need to pray for boldness and courage to articulate the gospel. We need to pray that we would even be willing to suffer for the gospel.
Sometimes we will have to suffer in the ministry. Paul was in prison for preaching the gospel. We need to pray for boldness and courage to articulate the gospel.
4. Pray for Gospel clarity.
Colossians 4:4 ESV
that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
We should pray that the message is plain and obvious, not confusing or obscure. Paul, one of the greatest if not the greatest preacher who ever lived, is asking that he would make the message clear and plain. It was a divine necessity laid upon him to preach the gospel. Our gospel should not be complicated.
Gospel
God made the world. We were made to obey Him, yet we turned from Him in our sin. We deserve his judgment because He is Holy. God sent Jesus into the world, born of a virgin, who lived a perfect life. He died on the cross suffering the punishment our sins deserved. And on the third day he rose again. He appeared to his disciples. Taken up in glory. He tells us to share this good news to others. He calls all people to repent and believe in Him before He comes a second time to judge the world.
How shall we devote ourselves to prayer?
Jesus
Mark 1:35 ESV
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.
Jesus even prayed with his final moments before death.
Christian
Plan to pray. Pray through the Membership directory. Pray for your Pastors. Pray for other local church pastors. Pray for Missionaries. Pray with other believers.
Church
Plan to attend our corporate prayer meeting once a month. We will devote ourselves to prayer in our services. We pray a prayer of praise, confession, pastoral prayer, thanksgiving and offering, and closing prayer and benediction. Our service shows us that we should be devoted to prayer.
Transition: If you are going to be a winsome Christian in this culture, you need to be dependent on God. Be prayerful. Secondly, if you are going to be a winsome Christian, you need to be wise...

II. Be Wise (v. 5)

Because we live in a Post-Christian culture, it is easy for Christians to be scrutinized more deeply than times past because of the convictions we hold to in regards to life, marriage, and truth. Evangelical has a bad reputation. When we think evangelical, we think republican who advocates for gun rights. When they think evangelical, they think prosperity gospel preachers.
Colossians 4:5 ESV
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.
Walk is an idiom referring to a way of life. In the OT, Wisdom refers to fearing God and applying his rules and commandments in everyday life. In this letter, wisdom comes from obeying Christ and our life and participation in Christ. Christ is our true wisdom.
KNOW WHO IS WATCHING: Your Testimony Matters!

You need to be wise because your testimony matters! People are watching whether you truly walk the talk. People are watching whether you are a Christian of integrity. People can smell hypocrisy from a mile away.
Outsiders refers to those outside the Colossian church. It is a reference to unbelievers. This passage assumes we are engaged with unbelievers in everyday life from the home, to school, the workplace, or the market. Unbelievers are watching how you live.
Bad Representatives
Have you ever been to a restaurant where you had a bad server? They missed your order. They weren’t responsive to when you needed them to get something. They were rude or not helpful. Your experience of the restaurant became sour even though the food was good. The bad server put a bad taste in your mouth and you probably didn’t go to that restaurant again because you were served poorly? The server in one sense represented the restaurant. And because he represented the restaurant poorly, you had a bad view of the restaurant itself because of the representative.
Some people are turned off to Christianity because some Christians are proud, self-righteous, rude, and selfish people.
Christian, do you realize you are representative of Christ? How we live can either attract others or divert others away from Christ.
Making the best use of the time the phrase is taken from the language of market place. This is the same word used in Ephesians:
Ephesians 5:15–16 ESV
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15–17 ESV
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
The word could be translated redeem or buy back or use take hold of every opportunity. Make the best use of the time. Paul believes we are living in the last days and therefore we should take hold of every opportunity.
As you rub shoulders with your fellow students, fellow coworkers, even family members, what type of testimony do you have before them?
“The key to effective evangelism is not so much to learn certain techniques of communication, but to work at being a godly person whose character will add credibility to his message” Pastor J. Phillip Arthur
There should be a sense of urgency in our evangelism because we are in the last days.
Jesus
Jesus was wise in how he conducted himself towards outsiders. He knew the traps of the religious leaders and he also knew when and when not to speak. He would speak to the oppressed and the needy. He would say silent and not respond to hypocrites. We need to be wise and discerning like our Master.
How can I be wise?
Christian
The proverbs tell us to seek wisdom. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Wisdom takes time and experience to develop. As we continue to walk with the Lord, trials and experiences he bring into our lives, we will grow in wisdom.
James 1:5–7 ESV
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
Walk in Wisdom towards outsiders.
Get to know the names of unbelieving friends. Pray for them. Develop relationship with them. Become friends. Extend hospitality towards outsiders. And pray!
Church
We should be sensitive to outsiders when they come. We should be warm and welcoming. We should be inviting. We should even extend hospitality to the home.
Transition: If you are going to be a winsome Christian, you need to be prayerful, wise, and finally, you need to be gracious....

III. Be Gracious (v. 6)

Jimmy Kimmel, the late night talk show host, has a section in his show called “Celebrities read mean tweets.” In this portion, celebrities read mean tweets from people who they don’t know. It’s comedic in some of the things they say, but essentially people who they never met before assassinate these celebrities behind a private screen.
In an online world, it is easy to demonize another person because they do not share the same political views, or religious views, or beliefs we hold to. And its easy for Christians often to actually turn off people by the things they say both online and in person.
Colossians 4:6 ESV
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
One of the ways we can be gracious is how we speak. Speech is very important in the Bible. Words matter. God created the world through words. He judges through His Word. Therefore we should not take words lightly.
Jesus said that how we speak will be an indicator of what is going on in our hearts.
Luke 6:45 ESV
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
You can judge a person’s character usually by what he or she speaks. The person’s character is eventually revealed by what he or she talks about or doesn’t talk about.
Proverbs 12:18 ESV
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 18:21 ESV
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
A. Gracious Speech
“To speak with grace means to say what is spiritual, wholesome, fitting, kind, sensitive, purposeful, complementary, gentle, truthful, loving, and thoughtful” MacArthur
Ephesians 4:29 ESV
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Our Speech should not be rotten (Corrupting).
Salt is a preservative in the ancient world. It adds flavor.
Our Speech should only build up.
Our Speech should be timely.
Our Speech should give grace to those who hear.
But aren’t some Christians the complete opposite? Their speech often looks no different from the world. Their words don’t give life, but instead destroy. Their speech doesn’t build up, but divides. Their speech is not timely, but used at the wrong time. Their speech does not give grace, but tears down.
We will not be winsome if we do not watch what we say both in person and online. In Russell Moore’s book Onward: How to Engage the Culture without Losing the Gospel, he says we need need convictional kindness.
“Convictional kindness means loving people enough to tell them the truth., and to tell ourselves the truth about them. Those who oppose us aren’t (necessarily) stupid. They’re not any more hell-deserving than we are, apart from our rescue by the grace of God in Christ. So we don’t just talk about them; we talk to them. And we don’t just talk to them; we plead with them. We seek to persuade. Preachiness never changed anybody’s mind. Preaching, on the other hand, can change everything.” 200
“We speak with kindness and persuasion not because we’re weak but because the gospel is strong. We speak the truth, with conviction and with gentleness, as those who have nothing to prove.”
B. Winsome Speech
“seasoned with salt”

Salt had three uses at that time. It could preserve a food, “sterilize” a food (antiseptic), or season a food. Here Paul took the last meaning. Conversation was to be seasoned, i.e., acceptable and inoffensive.

“Convictional kindness means loving people enough to tell them the truth., and to tell ourselves the truth about them. Those who oppose us aren’t (necessarily) stupid. They’re not any more hell-deserving than we are, apart from our rescue by the grace of God in Christ. So we don’t just talk about them; we talk to them. And we don’t just talk to them; we plead with them. We seek to persuade. Preachiness never changed anybody’s mind. Preaching, on the other hand, can change everything.” 200
“We speak with kindness and persuasion not because we’re weak but because the gospel is strong. We speak the truth, with conviction and with gentleness, as those who have nothing to prove.”
Listening is a great tool in evangelism. Four spiritual laws does not work when we don’t listen to where we people are coming from. Have you ever talked to a sales person who won’t listen to you or your needs but just keeps being pushy in trying to make his sale? Its the same way with some Christians.
Winsome speech is knowing when to stay silent and knowing when to speak. Sometimes, Christians speak without listening.
Proverbs 18:2 ESV
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.
Remember Job’s friends who try to give counsel without listening and empathizing with his suffering. Don’t be like them.
Listening is a great tool in evangelism. Four spiritual laws does not work when we don’t listen to where we people are coming from. Have you ever talked to a sales person who won’t listen to you or your needs but just keeps being pushy in trying to make his sale? Its the same way with some Christians. We try to push the gospel on people without hearing their stories and background.
C. Apologetic Speech
Apologetic does not mean to be sorry. Apologetic means to give a defense. In other words, the way you live and the way you speak should make unbelievers ask, why do you live so differently than my other friends? Why are you different than my co-workers who are always talking behind people’s back.
1 Peter 3:15–16 ESV
but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
“Convictional kindness means loving people enough to tell them the truth., and to tell ourselves the truth about them. Those who oppose us aren’t (necessarily) stupid. They’re not any more hell-deserving than we are, apart from our rescue by the grace of God in Christ. So we don’t just talk about them; we talk to them. And we don’t just talk to them; we plead with them. We seek to persuade. Preachiness never changed anybody’s mind. Preaching, on the other hand, can change everything.” 200
“We speak with kindness and persuasion not because we’re weak but because the gospel is strong. We speak the truth, with conviction and with gentleness, as those who have nothing to prove.”
The way we speak should attract others to Christ. It’s all about how we live that will provide an open door to proclaim the gospel of Christ.
Summary:
Are you a winsome Christian?
Are you prayerful? Are you someone who is devoted to prayer both privately and publicly? One who prays with watchfulness and thankfulness so that the gospel can continue to move forward?
Are you living wisely? Are you aware that your testimony matters? And the time is short?
Are you gracious in your speech? Is your speech gracious? Attractive? Winsome? And ready to share the hope that is within you?
Conclusion:
The
One of her neighbors who lived across the street was a man named Hank. He had a bulldog and was always to himself. He never came outside. But Rosaria, would always pray for her neighbor. She eventually developed a relationship with him as they had a common bond over their dogs.
One day, police arrested the man because he was
These are three ways you can be a winsome Christian. May the Lord bring others to faith by the way you live and the way you speak.
B. What--Gospel Workers
Gospel Opportunities
Gospel Clarity
II. Wise Living
A. Know Who is Watching You
B. Redeeming the Time
III.Gracious Speech
A. Different Speech
B. Apologetic Speech
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