Summary: Message 28 in our study of Colossians exploring the elements of an effective witness.
Chico Alliance Church
“An Effective Witness”
Only second to Paul’s passion to talk to the Father was his passion to share Christ with those “outside”. He instructs the church regarding our witness in the world.
Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person. Col. 4:5-6
Listen to his passion for sharing the Gospel of Christ.
I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. Thus, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH." Romans 1:14-17
Sometimes we forget that people aren’t amazing, they are dead in their trespasses and sins.
Paul identifies the object of this instruction
“those without”, “those outside”
Paul uses an interesting term to describe a non-Christian. Ephesians 2 describes those away from God. Ephes. 2:12-13 Ephes. 2:17-22
The Jews used this term to refer to Gentiles and those outside of Israel. Paul uses this term to describe those outside of Christ. He writes here how we are to respond and relate to “those outside”. It is easy to develop an elitist attitude or a smug contempt for “those outside”. Paul calls for a special attitude toward outsiders. Paul communicates a heart that has a deep concern for those outside. They need to be inside. They are outside the ark and will perish if they remain outside. They are sheep outside the fold and need to be brought into the protection of the Shepherd’s sheepfold. We are God’s chosen instrument to draw others into the fold. To be ambassadors for Christ and urge others on God’s behalf to be reconciled to God. By our life and by our lip we are God’s way of making “those outside” into citizens of the kingdom of His beloved Son.
LET YOUR WALK BE WORTHY
Paul continues to describe the kind of walk he prayed for at the beginning of his letter.
Paul uses this word for walk here to describe a way of life or a course of life. It is used of people. It is used of Satan “walks around” as a roaring lion. It is a present tense verb.
1. A wise walk
“walk in wisdom”
He urges these believers to live the kind of life that demonstrates God’s way of doing things. Wisdom has to do with applied knowledge.
Wisdom describes a way of doing things based on a system of beliefs or a basic philosophy. If one believes that this is all there is and when you die life is over, it is wise (according to that philosophy) to live life to its fullest without any restraint or consideration of others. There are two basic belief systems, God’s way (communicated by him in His word) and man’s way as developed and directed by Satan. James contrasts man’s wisdom and God’s wisdom.
Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:13-18
Peter also urges us to live in such a way as to influence those around us.
Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:11-12
When “those outside” look at us and our lifestyle, our talk, our walk, our priorities, our passion, our life, are they grabbed by any difference? Does the way we live look any different than theirs? Does our value system result in a lifestyle that looks any different than our neighbors? When people watch how we treat people, how we respond to tribulation and suffering, how we treat one another, how we spend our time, how we invest our financial resources, are they compelled to conclude that somehow there is some fundamental difference in our belief system from theirs? Are those around us drawn to wonder why our life seems so different? We say our belief in Christ makes a difference, does it really? A worthy walk is wise walk. Paul urges us to live is such a way as to demonstrate God’s way of functioning on this earth which Paul previously detailed in his letter to the Colossians. Paul not only calls for a wise walk but an urgent walk