This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE
8 BIBLE STUDY AND NOTES- COLOSSIANS 4:5-18
PART 1: JESUS OUR MINISTRY COSOSSIANS 4:5-6
For the last few weeks, Victoria has led us beautifully with what Paul is teaching about building authentic Christian communities in Colossians 3:16-4:1.
Last week, Paul turned his attention to prayer within the context of community and ministry in sharing the gospel(Col 4:2-4). Victoria concluded ‘to pray for one another to be prayerful in our relationship with God, to be readers of the Word and sharers of the Gospel, like Paul’. If you have yet to read and ponder these studies, I would encourage you to do so. It is clear and very helpful in understanding and applying what Paul is teaching us in this amazing letter. They are on this CBC Grace Place Website, under the heading of 2019-2020 Colossians: Rooted.
Paul is drawing the letter to a close. When the Gospel bears fruit in our lives we will be dependent on God through prayer, as we learned last week. We need to keep this in mind as Paul continues to write that, as we depend on God, we are encouraged to actively seek opportunities to proclaim the gospel to the world around, working together and standing firm as a body of believers.
“Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive[seasoned with salt], so that you will have the right response for everyone.” Colossians 4:5-6 New Living Translation
Most believers spend large amounts of time with people who don’t believe in Christ, and so these verses about how we’re to live among outsiders are immediately relevant for our day-to-day lives. These verses come right after Paul has been speaking of his mission to declare Christ (4:3) – with the point being that believers are also called to declare Christ.
1. Be Wise and Recognize the Sense of Urgency – read also Colossians 1:9-10, 2:3, 2 Peter 3:9
Wisdom is summed up in Christ. Paul prays that the Colossians might have wisdom to live lives worthy of Christ. Being wise toward unbelievers then, involves putting Christ on display as we live for Him. What does that look like? Mark Meynell: “That must in part mean being sensitive to the circumstances and concerns of those we are seeking to reach. Of course many of us (myself included) find it much easier to do this than to ‘make the most of every opportunity.’ We can use our sensitivity as an excuse to overlook the opportunities that come our way.” This is not an easy thing to do; that is why we need each other to encourage, pray, and spur one another on in sharing Christ. Paul wants us recognize the sense of urgency and ask the Lord for these opportunities.
How can unbelievers see the wisdom of your life today? What will draw them to Christ through you?
What practical steps can we take to ensure that we pray with these priorities? That we are proclaiming the mystery of Christ clearly?
2. Conversation: Full of Grace- read also 1 Peter 3:15
“The key thought is grace: for if the message is one of grace, then the way it is communicated must be characterized by graciousness.”Mark Meynell. It may be helpful to look at what conversation would look like if it were characterized by the opposite of grace. Some expressions may be ‘know it all,’ sarcastic, arrogant, critical, flippant, self seeking…..even unkind and angry. These expressions are not the fruit of the message of the gospel. We need to speak in a way that engages people and the excitement of the good news. Our conversation is the medium for the gospel message. How we converse also conveys the gospel message. People need to see the freedom we increasingly have in Christ, not a killjoy! This is indeed a challenge. We need to remind each other this: “God is the one who opens doors (v3). God is the one whose message is being preached-He kept it secret until the right time to open up the mystery of Christ’ to the Gentile world (v. 3); He gives the opportunities to proclaim it (v5) and by implication is the one who provides answers to every question. (v 6)” Mark Meynell Thank you Lord!
What do you spend your time talking about with unbelievers?
What practical steps can we take to ensure that we fill our conversation with the salt of grace?
Prayer: Thank you Lord, that You give us everything we need for life and godliness. Forgive us when we are not wise and gracious in our conversation and dealings with unbelievers. Continue to make us more like our Lord Jesus Christ and that you so capture our hearts to be able and willing to share the hope and freedom we have in Christ. Amen.