Faithlife Sermons

2022-2-6, Christ Above All, We Speak Out About Christ, Colossians 4:2-6

Christ Above All  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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INTRODUCTION

OPENING

One of my families favorite bands to listen too. The Petersens
They have an amazing story
Up, In, Out
Up- discovery, change happens
They went to PA to a Bluegrass festival and loved that kind of music.
Talked to a bunch of families, bought a bunch of instruments.
Bought musical instruments
In-
As a family, they learned to play songs with one another. They learned to harmonize simply for the love of the music. They got pretty good.
They didn’t expect the next thing to happen...
Out-
They started playing for other people. They used their gifts to entertain people. They played at churches and fairs. Then they got a show in Branson. Then, in the last couple years they’ve really established a presence on Youtube.
Up, In, Out
There are somethings that you discover that change you. We give ourselves to knowing them. Then they require us to share with the world.
More than bluegrass music for the Petersens
Christ does this in our lives.

REVIEW

Colossians is Paul’s letter to a good church he’s never been to which is struggling with encroaching heresy (pre-gnostic, Jewish legalism & folklore, asceticism). They face the temptation to diminish Christ and His work.
Paul’s counter to heresy by exalting...
1) Christ as God…Col 1:15-18
2) His gospel (specifically that the Colossians were transformed by it)…Col 1:19-23
and therefore
3) reminding them how the Lordship of Christ impacts touches every part of their lives…Col 3:1-3. This manifests itself in putting off the deeds of the old unregenerate heart, and putting on the deeds of the new self in Christ. He’s applied this to the church, home, and work.
The book follows the Up, in, out pattern.
1. He starts by looking up (Chapter 1)
2. Then he encourages everyone to look inward to see the transformation which impacts their inward relationships (3).
3. In this passage we see Paul moves from in to out, as he instructs the Colossians to conduct themselves in a certain way toward the unsaved. The conduct Paul emphasizes deals with speech. (4)
Like the Colossians, our faith must finally make it’s way out…out of our mouths.

MAIN POINT

We are called to speak of Christ correctly to the unsaved.

BODY

SPEECH IN PRAYER

Colossians 4:2

Explain

Throughout the letter, Paul has been working to shore up the base at Colossae. It would do no good for the Colossians to be a vocal witness if they are led astray to a false gospel.
First step- be steadfast in the true faith.
Paul instructs them, first, to be devoted to prayer.
Colossians 4:2 ESV
2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Prayer is speaking to God and listening to Him. It is a spiritual communication with the Creator. Prayer connects us with God, who is our source. Prayer is a means to living with God (John 15:5).
Prayer reveals God to be different than the false gods of history because He is personal and relational.
“However, the prayers of the Old Testament differ in many respects from those of the surrounding ancient Near Eastern cultures. The biblical examples of prayer portray Yahweh as a God who listens, not a deity who is distant or must be cajoled into attending the affairs of humanity.”
The earliest biblical prayers stem from a conversational intimacy with Yahweh and include spontaneous and unfiltered requests.
LBD
Into the NT, prayer is scene to reveal an intimacy between God and His people.
Jesus’ address of God as “Abba, Father,” communicates an intimacy with God that was absent from Jewish prayer of His day (Mark 14:36).
LBD
Through prayer, be it in our prayer closets or more standardized in the congregation, so long as it be done with a humble & right heart, it involves our interaction with the trinity.
We pray to the Father for provision, in the name of the Son who grants us access & credibility (John 14:13-14), with the help of the Holy Spirit who intercedes on our behalf Romans 8:15-17).
The result is our maturity.
Significant Point: Through prayer faith is strengthened.
Paul instructs them to practice prayer so they will be faithful to God. So Paul tells them to continue steadfastly in prayer. It should be done constantly and often, individually and as a church.
They should be watchful in prayer. This means to be awake, mental alertness.
1. They should be attentive to needs around them and within them which they need to lift up.
2. They should also pray as if dangers lurk about and prayer protects them. Remember this is a church dealing with encroaching heresy. Pray will keep them correct in the gospel.
Paul also tells them to pray with a spirit of thanksgiving.
“This is the fifth time that Paul has mentioned gratitude in this epistle.” (MNTC)
Melick says, “Thanksgiving is the environment for good praying.” It helps us to stay in the right heart as we pray and to avoid sliding into grumbling or praying with entitlement (old self).
So Paul tells them to use prayer to strengthen their faith.

Apply

Do you live like this is true?
Do you pray like it is the difference between us staying strong in the Lord or growing weak.
Do we pray like that?
We do what we believe.
Personal devotion, The Lord’s Prayer Template, Prayer at 9 AM, Prayer with those in our GGs.
Next, Paul tells them to use prayer to help the gospel to go out into the world.

Colossians 4:3-4

Explain

Colossians 4:3–4 ESV
3 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— 4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
If you recall, Paul was under house-arrest in Rome. Yet, he was not focused on his suffering. He was too busy focusing on how to leverage his current situation to expose more people in the Roman Empire to the gospel message (the Word, Acts 4:4, Mystery of Christ, Col 1:27).
He spread the gospel to those within earshot
Philippians 1:12–13 ESV
12 I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.
He awaited his trial before Caesar (Acts 25:11-12), in order that he would have the greatest platform in Rome to able to declare the gospel.
“No one had better skills to turn any situation into an opportunity for witness.” NAC
Yet, even with God-given skill, Paul knew spreading the gospel was fundamentally a spiritual endeavor.
So he asked the Colossians to pray for God providentially to open doors of opportunity.
This meant to prepare circumstances (issues of time, space, weather, etc.), person’s of peace, and to condition hearts to be receptive to the message.
He also asked them to pray that God would anoint him with clarity of speech about the gospel.
He says that clear is how the gospel ought to be (God’s standard for proclamation).
The gospel needs to be clear, succinct, ready on our lips.
Paul asks the Ephesians for boldness to walk through the doors.
Ephesians 6:19 ESV
19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel,
So, Paul urges them to talk to God to assist him as he goes.

Illustrate

Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations 4544 Moravians’ Hundred-Year Prayer

4544 Moravians’ Hundred-Year Prayer

When God was visiting the Moravians in the early days, they organized at Herrnhut two praying bands, one of men and the other of women, each with twenty-four members. These bands set apart one man and one woman to pray every hour of the day, so that the men in their place and the women in theirs were praying continuously during the twenty-four hours.

This double prayer, unbroken through every day, was maintained for a hundred years. During this period there emerged the Moravian Mission movement in which the missionary church grew three times as large as the home church. The Moravians were used to give new light on essential Bible truths to John and Charles Wesley, thus preparing them for the revival that swept England and reached America.

—Sunday School Times

Apply

We should pray for others to have open doors and clarity in the gospel
This challenges us to be diligent in prayer for open doors for those whom we have commissioned to go on our behalf.
There are those whom we know personally- E.T., Mitch and Teresa Hamilton;
There are those whom we partner to send, (IMB, NAMB, look at the missionaries on the back of the bulletin)
We pray for opportunities, we pray for boldness, but also pray that they will have clarity (phaneroso) in communicating the gospel. Manifest it, reveal it, make it clear in word and deed, cause to be seen
So Paul wants them to speak to God for their own faith. He asks for them to pray for him as he talks to the unsaved.
Lastly, he challenges the Colossians about how they relate to the unsaved in word and deed.

Colossians 4:5-6

Explain

He calls on them to speak well about Christ to unbelievers
Colossians 4:5–6 ESV
5 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
First Paul tells them to walk in wisdom toward outsiders.
This is a basic appeal to live consistently with the gospel as outsiders watch.
This includes walking according to the new self, as those hidden in Christ. It means outsiders are watching how the church treats one another, how Christians act in their homes and at work. There is to be integrity between testimony and ethic.
Ephesians 4:1 ESV
1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,
Given the flow of the passage, an argument can be made that the kind of living that Paul has in mind is more than simply moral living. It is actually how we speak the gospel to the unsaved.
Paul tells the Christians to let their speech toward the unsaved to be gracious (goodwill, favor, grace, kindness).
Seasoned with salt
Speak well- grammar, wit
Speak whole- word becoming of a Christian
Ephesians 4:29 ESV
29 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.
3. Speak of Christ
In terms of speaking to the lost, our words need to be flavorful and beneficial to those who listen.
Ephesians 4:29 ESV
29 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.

Apply

More than by being interesting, honest, or thoughtful, our words are seasoned when we speak about Christ.
In fact, this is not only advice, but a command that we speak of Christ out in the world. So it is obedient
It is moral and compassionate...
The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. LVI (Faith Justifying Speech (No. 3,200))
We believe that there is a full and free pardon for every sinner who believes in Jesus, that there is acceptance with God through the righteousness of Christ for every sinner who truly repents and believes, that there is regeneration, that there is adoption into the family of God, that there is salvation here, and eternal glory hereafter, for everyone that believeth in Jesus; and believing all this, can we remain silent concerning it?
The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. LVI Faith Justifying Speech (No. 3,200)

You have no right to say, “I am a believer in Christ, but I do not make a profession of my faith.” The profession of your faith is, under the gospel, just as much your duty as the faith itself is. Indeed, I venture to say that true faith necessitates a confession of some sort. If a man believes the great truths of which I have been speaking, he cannot altogether conceal his belief in them; his conviction of their truth is bound to come out sooner or later, and the sooner it comes out, the better.

And as we talk about Christ, we need to use our best words. We need to speak with Clarity and grammar
Paul adds a dependent clause, “making the best use of our time.” This suggests that the wise living we are to do is time-sensitive. It is not going to last forever, so we need to be productive while we still can.
This is similar to Paul taking advantage of open doors or opportunities.
The Colossians need to do the same.
The participle for that phrase can also mean to redeem the time. The idea is that when Christians live wisely, take the opportunities to speak the gospel, they are reclaiming time that has been tarnished by sin for a noble and godly purpose.
Psalm 90:12 ESV
12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
and…John 9:4
John 9:4 ESV
4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.

Illustrate

Clock Of Life

The clock of life is wound but once,

And no man has the power

To say just when the hands will stop;

At late, or early hour.

Now is the only time we own

to do His precious will,

Do not wait until tomorrow;

For the clock may then be still.

—Selected

Lastly, Our words need to provide an answer to those who speak falsely or those who seek.
We need to use our best language, and persuasion (know a thing or two about rhetoric).
So that as much as depends on us, we can give a reasonable response to the unsaved who have questions which, answered well, may precede saving faith in Christ.
How you ought to answer.
1 Peter 3:15 ESV
15 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,
Further, in the church, the Christians needs to have convincing rebuttals to the false claims of the heretics.
Logos
Ethos
Pathos
A word of caution...
Too much salt can be deadly. The wrong kind of speech can do harm rather than good.
Love (you are giving good news with no advantage to yourself).
Justice (they need to know about sin and judgment to understand the cross)
Grace (tact)

SUMMARY & CHALLENGE

Up, in, Out
We are called to speak of Christ correctly to the unsaved.
Through prayer faith is strengthened.
We should pray for others to have open doors and clarity in the gospel.
More than by being interesting, honest, or thoughtful, our words are seasoned when we speak about Christ.

INSTRUCTIONS & CLOSING

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