Faithlife Sermons

Final Thoughts

Not Just a Trend: A Deep Dive into Colossians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  32:32
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As we wrap up our series on Colossians, Paul has some final thoughts to share with us about prayer and wisdom in our conduct.

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as we wrap up our series in Colossians, I hope you’ve been blessed by the deep dive. Maybe you learned things about Colossians you didn’t know. Maybe you’ve been challenged to go deeper into your faith. Maybe it has answered some questions about faith, and maybe it has stirred up new questions or more questions. All of these things are good and I just have this to say. If you have questions, please voice them in the comment section and our hosts would be more then happy to help in any way that they can
My other hope is that you’ve been reading the chapters through out the week. I know the reading plan didn’t really work, but if you read 3 or 4 verses a day, you could easily read a chapter of scripture a week. If you have troubling with reading, then start small. Don’t get caught up thinking you have to read two or three chapters a day to be a good disciple. I would way rather you read 4 or 5 verses a day and have them stick in your mind and heart then for you skim a chapter a day and walk away forgetting everything you read.
To conclude our series, we are going to be looking at a very small portion of chapter 4. From 7-18, Paul is just recognizing those who have been at his side and helping him as he’s been imprisoned, as well as those who have faithfully served in the Colossae church.
But verses 2-6 we will really be looking at. Before we do, I want to start with this question:

Question 1: What podcasts do you listen to on a regular basis?

obviously this is other then me.
I guess I would follow this question up with why? What is it about those podcasts that you really enjoy?
As you share, I just want to share some more about this thought. Some people really enjoy speakers and preachers who are long winded, and some like those who get to the point.
One of the interesting things that has happened recently is the development of Ted Talks, and these have become the staple of accomplishment. The opportunity to share at a TED Talk is the ultimate affirmation of your accomplishment from a worldly perspective.
However, there are strict regulations that go into a TED Talk, and because of these restrictions, it actually creates a better, more engaging presentation. One of the precepts of a TED Talk is the ability to present something new, but do it without repeating yourself and without a lot of filler. If you can present a groundbreaking new idea in 10 minutes before filler and repetitions start coming in, then you do it in 10 minutes.
When I read Colossians 4:2-6, I think of a TED Talk. It’s only 4 verses, but there is so much packed in that it is not hard to take a whole message trying to unpack it all. So that’s where we are going to spend the majority of this morning, and touch briefly on Paul’s final greetings to the church and some specific people within the church.
So let’s read these 4 verses and dive in.
Colossians 4:2–6 CSB
Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us that God may open a door to us for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains, so that I may make it known as I should. Act wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.

1. Devote Yourselves to Prayer

This is not something new for Paul to say. 1 Thessalonians he tells us to pray without ceasing. Prayer is our primary way of connection and conversing with God. Jesus says that man lives on every word that comes from the mouth of God. We need that constant downloading of God’s plan and love for us daily.
But there’s more to that word devote. Paul is actually telling us to not be lazy in prayer. What does it mean to be lazy in prayer? That could be any number of things. It could be only praying when we need something. It could be praying only when we want to complain about something. Devotion to prayer is making prayer the priority. First thing you do when you wake up, when you start work, when you do anything.

2. Stay Alert

As Darren and I have said over the last three weeks, there are so many deceptions in the world, so many things competing for your attention and devotion. We need to be alert at all times about the things that are trying to take centre stage of our lives.
This is the other thing that prayer does for us. One of the most powerful things King David asked God was to search him for any unworthy thing. That may be a hard thing to do the first couple of times, but no one knows your heart and intentions the way Jesus does. The more God searches us and reveals things that need to go, two things begin to happen.
The list of things he finds gets shorter as we deal with them.
It becomes a source of encouragement, knowing that we are working out our salvation and we are being refined in his Spirit.

3. Thanksgiving

Paul is talking about the kind of thanksgiving that comes out of contentment. It is the result of not settling for happiness and pursuing joy. Thanksgiving is not something you do only when things are good. This kind of thanksgiving overflows from us whether we are discouraged or encouraged; uplifted or downtrodden.
It is the state of mind that says, “I don’t care what the world throws at me because my God is always good!” The world can do its worst, yet we know that God is going to do his best.
This changes our approach to every situation. It is the ability to see the silver lining in even the darkest cloud.

4. Opportunity to Share

Paul tells the church to pray for an open door. Now this could be interpreted two different ways. First, he could literally be asking them to pray for God to open the doors of his prison and let him out. That would certainly help in the preaching of God’s word to world.
The more likely explanation is that they have opportunity to preach even behind bars. This is a prayer that I would love for you to pray for myself. I welcome any and all opportunities to preach God’s word. I would go a step further and pray it for yourself.
I know the idea of sharing your faith can nerve racking, but it is important for the development of our faith and the furthering of God’s kingdom. In fact, before we get to verses 5 and 6, I want to ask this question:

Question 2: Why is sharing your faith so hard? What about it makes you most nervous?

There really is no right answer here and nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, the more answers you give, the easier it is for me to address them. As with anything, it is hard to address an issue if I don’t know what is wrong.
The most important thing about sharing is a willingness. Without a willingness to share, there is no amount of strategy or training anyone can do that will make a difference.
If you’re unwilling, even that is OK. When we recognize what is at the core of the problem, it is easier to come up with a solution. God can change an unwilling heart. God can change circumstances. All those things that feel like they’re beyond our control are not out of the control of God. We just have to recognize what the change needs to be, and trust God with the process.

5. The Strength of our Witness

Colossians 4:5–6 CSB
Act wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.
When Paul is talking about outsiders, he is talking about those who are not part of the family of believers.
The wisdom Paul is talking about is a practical and transformational wisdom, not an intellectual one. We talked about this a few weeks ago, how intellectual wisdom can actually cause more harm then good when we are talking to those outside of the faith.
So what is Paul saying in verse 5? The time is short. The Apostle Paul believed that Jesus was going to return in his time. He lived in the reality that today could be the day. Any moment we could be hearing the trumpets of heaven and seeing the Son of God descending on a cloud to gather his people to himself.
In light of that awareness, Paul encourages us that we need to be wise with every moment, every word, every interaction. The truth is that as believers, we are to be gracious with one another when we make mistakes. However, the opposite is true. The world is looking for opportunity to reject the gospel and reject our witness, so in God’s wisdom, we have to minimize the potential stumbling blocks that we could inadvertently put in people’s way.
Which brings us to verse 6. When your speech is gracious and seasoned with salt, it is pleasant and easy to hear. It makes an otherwise difficult truth easier to hear.
Now when I say that, I want to clarify what I am and am not saying. I am not saying we are to soften the message of the gospel. We are not to change the words of God to make them easier to hear. We need to use wisdom and present it in a way that palatable. Mark Driscoll said this recently. The message of the gospel is offensive, but the messenger can’t be. There is a big difference when someone has a problem with God’s word, and when they have a problem with God’s messenger.
In light of the wisdom and praying for opportunity, Paul closes this section by reminding us that we need to be ready to share at all times. Jesus said, Paul says it lots. We must be ready. Part of being ready is living a life that has Christ at the centre; if you are constant in prayer and sensitive to what God is doing in your life, it makes it easier to share what God is doing in your life. That’s what Paul is talking about.

Question 3: Can you tell people what God is doing in your life or has done in your life?

your testimony is a story about what God is doing in and through you. You are actually the support role, and God is the main character.
Part of the problem is we get the roles reversed. We talk about all the amazing things that has happened in our lives, and plug God in as a punch line. In fact our testimony should be a reflection of how our lives are lived.
Let me close with this thought. Who is the main character of your life? Let me tell you, when I try to be the main character of my life, I find that I’m undisciplined, I’m selfish, and my ambitions begin to rule my life. When God is the main character, it just takes the pressure off and everything just seems to be better. I can feel God’s inspiration flowing through me; I can feel his directing. I’m more relaxed because I’m connected to the Spirit that created everything in a word.
If you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, I would encourage you to take a step back and let God take centre stage in your life. Jesus says that if you are weary and heavy burdened, come to him because his yoke is easy and his burden is light.
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