Summary: Conclusion to series on Colossians focusing on the need for prayer in fulfilling our God given calling.
Sermon-9/3/06-A Battle Plan for Advancing the Gospel
Intro.-We are in a spiritual battle-
Read Eph. 6:10-19-This is reality, we are in a spiritual battle whether we realize it or not. To often we approach life the same way most citizens in the US did before we became involved in WW II. Watch this:
Clip from Pearl harbor-
Are we building refrigerators or are we ready to engage the enemy in battle?
In col. 4 Paul lays out a battle plan for advancing the gospel.
I. Prayer Support (4:2-4)
4:2-4 “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.” (ESV)
Prayer support requires that we have a proper view of prayer and why we need to pray.
John Piper "I have often said that one of the reasons we feel so weak in our prayer lives is that we have tried to make a domestic intercom out of a wartime walkie talkie. Prayer is not designed as an intercom between us and God to serve the domestic comforts of the saints. It’s designed as a walkie talkie for spiritual battlefields. It’s the link between active soldiers and their command headquarters, with its unlimited fire-power and air cover and strategic wisdom."
That’s what prayer is for, our link to the power of God to His support as we engage in the spiritual battle.
How do we avail ourselves of this support in our spiritual battle? First we must,
A. Always remember to pray
Paul starts w/ a present tense command to calling for a continual devotion to prayer. Devote yourselves
If there is one thing that is crystal clear from this passage it is that it is God’s will that we pray to him. Sometimes we struggle to know the will of God for our lives. But there are some things that you do not have to struggle to know. One of them is that God’s will is that you pray to him. The text says, "Devote yourselves to prayer." God wills for you to pray to him.
I Thes. 5:17 “Pray continually” “Pray without ceasing”
-Paul is exhorting the Colossian saints (and us) to pray often and regularly. -Don’t take the privilege of prayer for granted or forget about it, it is an essential part of our spiritual life and walk w/ God.
"...prayer is not some small thing. It is not some marginal thing. It is not some incidental thing in the Christian life. Prayer is at the heart of why God created the universe…. the center of the created universe is man created in the image of God. And the meaning of man in the image of God is to display God’s glory. And the way God delights to display His glory in man is by being depended on through prayer." (Devote Yourselves to Prayer, a sermon by John Piper)
It is God’s will, that we always remember to pray. Secondly, we are to...
B. Lift up others in prayer
Paul request for prayer is not for himself, for any personal benefit, but he is asking them to pray that he might fulfill his calling to spread the gospel.
What does he ask them to pray for?
give them open doors
-Think of the people that Paul proclaimed the gospel to even through his imprisonment –Felix, the governor of Judea (acts 24), Festus, the next governor of judea & King Agrippa (Acts 25), possibly Nero (the emperor), his guards, others in the royal palace, and countless people through his letters.
Even in prison, in chains for the gospel, Paul was faithful to boldly proclaim the truth of the Gospel.
2. Give them the words to say
Paul knew that even after years of ministry and sharing the gospel, he still needed the Holy spirit to fill his heart and give him the words to speak. He still needed the prayer support of God’s people
After these verses on prayer, and our need to be in prayer for ourselves and each other in this battle, Paul shifts his attention to our conduct in the battle, how we behave around those who do not yet know X.
Paul give us...
II. A Plan of Action (4:5-6)
4:5-6 “Conduct yourselves wisely 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.”
This first step in this plan of action is that we will be wise in our conduct.
Wise in conduct
How we behave in our daily interactions with those who do not know X can have a tremendous impact their interest in hearing the truth of the gospel.