Colossians 4:2-6 Mission
The Evangelism Linebacker
? Why do we think that being on mission would mean that we have to look & act like that?
Every Single One of Us is Called to Be a Missionary in Our Community
v.5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.
· There is never a time when our responsibility to the “outsider” can be out of mind.
· Make the most of every opportunity
o Not most
o Not some
We’ll get into the “how to’s” in a moment, but first let me make the case that this calling is for everyone.
1) The Earliest Call to Discipleship is a Call to be Fishers of Men
Matt 4:19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” (see also Mark 1:17)
· The call to follow Jesus is not one of Study
o We aren’t called to only know Him more
· The call to follow Jesus is not one of Comfort
o We don’t follow Jesus to riches, luxury and a sheltered world
· The call to follow Jesus is not one of isolated community
o Jesus never owned a home
o Jesus would pull away from the crowds to pray and get ready, and then stepped into mission again
o It would have been very easy to stay on the Mount of Transfiguration
§ Small Group of Moses, Elijah and three disciples
2) Jesus’ Authority Claims the Whole World
Mat 28:18-20 "Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”"
(From John Piper, What Jesus Requires of the World)
Authority refers to the right and the power to hold sway in a given relationship.
ILL - Roman Solider in Matthew 8:8-9
That is the authority Jesus has over everyone and everything.
Jesus’ authority in:
· How Jesus handled the Scripture Mark 1:22; Matt. 5:17-18).
· How Jesus dealt with Demons (Matt. 4:10 Mark 1:27).
· Healing all kinds of diseases (Matt. 4:23)
· Turning water into wine (John 2:9; 4:46)
· Calming the storm: “He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (Mark 4:39).
· We see Jesus’ authority in the matter of life and death, both his own and other’s—and ultimately in the matter of eternal life.
o He raised people from the dead (Mark 5:41-42; Luke 7:14-15; John 11:43-44)
o He ruled over his own death and resurrection: “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again” (John 10:18).
· And he holds full sway in the final judgment. He said that God the Father “has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man” (John 5:27).
· And God has “given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom [God has] given him” (John 17:2).
Based on this authority, we are called to “make disciples of all nations”
- Jesus lays claim to the whole world
“To the end of the age” = this mission lasts until Jesus’ second coming … not just for the first generation of disciples.
3) We are In Debt to People Wandering Away from Jesus
Rom 1:14-15 "I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome." (Romans 1:14-15, ESV)
4) Even in Our Worship Services, We Need to Be Open to “Outsiders”
"But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all," (1 Corinthians 14:24, ESV)
5) Summary = This is a Crystal Clear, Non-Negotiable Command
- I could spend hours elaborating how clearly Jesus Called us to this
- Its non-negotiable
B/c Life naturally produces Life
Jn 15 – Vine & Branches
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned." (John 15:5-6, NIV)
Mark Dever: Dead members spread the diseases that can decompose the soul…all of which are gangrenous forms of unrepentant sin.
- A Christian that is on mission is growing more healthy
- A Christian that refuses to reach out has deeper soul issues
o Fear of Man
#1 Reason to be a Witness = What Jesus Did For You (THE GOSPEL)
- Your own testimony
o You were the lost sheep
o You were the lost son
o You were the older brother
o Your name was written in the Book of Life
o Every day now is Grace
o Every day now is the Gospel
If Jesus hasn’t turned your heart alive, don’t worry about the mission – deal with your own soul.
If he has, how can you not share this with others?
[TS] What can an ordinary group of Christ-Followers do to make sure that Outsiders hear about Jesus?
! 1. PRAY – Talk to God about People Before You Talk to People about God
v. 2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful
- The mission begins with persevering prayer
- implies unrelenting, non-stop prayer
R.C. Lucas “It is in a prayerless church that the enemy can best do his work of disruption.”
William Cowper’s Hymn
“And Satan trembles when he sees
The Weakest saint upon his knees.”
Interesting- What Paul Asked for prayers about.
v. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.
· Paul is in Jail
· Locked up in chains
· Aches and Pains from the old beatings and stonings
· Bad eyes – can barely see
· A door closed, locking him away from the world
· He prays for a door to open for the mission
o Let me fulfill my calling to preach!
o Don’t open the door to my cell, open the door for the mission!
B. How are we doing with Prayer?
Application: Target List of 3 People – Start praying for Easter
ILL – Doug Weaver & Steve Gonzales
2. Mission – Talk to People About God (v.4-6)
"Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."
There are Two Sorts of Evangelism People Use
1) Direct Evangelism = Preacher Evangelism
2) Responsive Evangelism = Fireman Evangelism
Direct Evangelism = Paul’s Job
Clear proclamation of Jesus’ message
- Not many of you will be called to do this
- You do have a calling in this though
o When I get up to preach, your job is to pray
o When we have outreach events, pray!
o When WORD is meeting, pray!
Most Christians are afraid of being a missionary / evangelist because they think that evangelism means this.
There is another form of evangelism that happens more regularly
Responsive Evangelism = All of Our Jobs
- Be Wise in the way you act towards outsiders, making the most of every opportunity.
- Fireman Evangelism
o Firemen don’t start fires
o They don’t show up at a corner and wait for a fire to break out
o They respond to calls
§ When that bell rings, they are all over it
§ Every resource, every ounce of strength
§ The bell could be a simple microwave that smoked up the house, or it could be the next 9/11 – they don’t pause to reflect on the gravity of the situation, but every call, every time they gear up and hit the street.
- Our call is to be missionaries who respond as urgently and faithfully as the fire department.
“Make the most of every opportunity” = Urgency
Lit = “buy out” every opportunity
ILL – bargain hunter fighting & scrapping for the deal
“Let Conversation be Always Full of Grace Seasoned with Salt”
Balance Zeal & Tact
· Don’t “Bible Verse” people
o It looks impressive, but really doesn’t do much good
· Salt=humor, wit, sarcasm, appealing
What does this look like?
30 sec elevator pitch to “What do you believe?”
“I believe that people stink and that Jesus is the only way out.”
This style of Evangelism is NOT Retreat
Opportunities can be found everywhere
Forces us to be aware, wherever we are.
Benefits of Fireman Evangelism
- Direct assaults on apathy don’t work
- This can be done 24/7 in our interaction with people
- We go to the office to work, not to evangelize
o But at the office, we are ready & willing to respond with a sensitive but powerful witness
o Answers are suited to the individual
o But when the wanderer has chosen the subject, the time and the place – how much more free we can be to tell them the Gospel
The Evangelism Linebacker isn’t always there, ready to blow you up.
But … there is never a time when our responsibility to the outsider can be out of mind.
- Always praying for opportunities
- Always gladly taking those opportunities
- Always seeking more wisdom to help people closer to Jesus
Missions exist b/c worship does not.
All this is about the Glory of God
(prep for Missions’ Flame)