Summary: Some thoughts on keeping the gospel flowing from Colossians 4:2-6; preached in preparation for revival services (Outline and material adapted from Lindsey Garmon in Carolina Christian Magazine, article entitled "Is the Message Flowing?")
Somewhere, sometime, somebody shared the “good news” of what Jesus did for you at the cross and the tomb! Who was that person or persons? How did that process occur for you? How grateful we are that someone helped us to come to the gospel!
Obviously, in that process that good news was flowing from one person to another person. “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”” John 7:38, NIV. Question: Is the gospel still flowing today? Is it flowing out of our lives? Or is there a clog in the system? The key is to keep the flow...flowing. Talking about outreach and evangelism. We have been rescued- saved. We have been forgiven and declared “no penalty for you” before God! The message has flowed freely into our lives and we are not the same. And now, we must find ways to release that life changing message and allow it to impact the lives of others. We must not withhold it! But how do we keep it flowing?
Thesis: Some thoughts on keeping the gospel flowing from Colossians 4:2-6
Open our eyes when we pray (Vs. 2)
What the church needs is a true revival. Revival starts with prayer.
Luke 18:1 Jesus said, we should always pray and not give up- Luke 18:1. In 1 Thessalonians we are told to “....pray continually, without ceasing;” These verses teach us that we should always be ready to pray.
This word devoted implies unrelenting persistence and is the opposite of “hit and miss.” This brings back to mind how steadfast the early church was in Acts 2:42: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Being devoted in prayer is similar to cheering on our favorite sports team, regardless of whether they are winning or losing. Paul is saying something quite simple: Keep praying. Don’t bail. Don’t give up. Be faithful. You may have dry times and days when you don’t know what to say, but keep praying anyway.
S. D. Gordon wrote, “The greatest thing anyone can do for God and man is pray. It is not the only thing, but it is the chief things. The great people of earth are the people who pray. I do not mean those who talk about prayer; nor those who say they believe in prayer; nor yet those who can explain about prayer; but I mean those people who take time to pray”.
The verb translated “being watchful” comes from a root verb that has to do with being awoken or what we could say in modern day terms, revived. This verb translated “being watchful” is a present active participle, meaning that those who devote themselves to prayer must at the same time be ever alert. Prayer is as much about keeping ones eyes open to the things around you as it is about keeping your eyes directed heavenward at the throne of grace. Persistent prayer is necessary when preparing for revival.
These verses come after a section on responsibilities of parents, children and employees. Also we are to Watch out for our neighbor – as we look at people, observe their lives, not so that you can find something to be critical about, but so that you can find something to pray about. You’ve got to pay attention to the spiritual needs of people around you. How much of our prayer time is devoted to praying for people who are unsaved? Jesus said something like this: “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” John 4:35, NIV. By keeping our eyes open in prayer we will see the people around us who need to hear the message.
Pray for opportunities (Vs. 3)
Paul of course wrote these words while under house arrest in Rome, chained to a Roman soldier. His incarceration gave him ample opportunity to share the Gospel with people who visited and with the soldiers who were assigned to guard him. Amazing to me that while Paul is under house arrest he doesn’t ask for prayers for his release, or for better food, or anything else like that. He simply wants an open door for the gospel message. Even though he was locked up he was able to minister effectively but he needed the prayers of God’s people for the doors to open.
An open door means looking for opportunities. We must look for opportunities and see the people around us who are without hope. We must be bold and take a risk: we must speak up and allow the message to flow. Paul craved the prayers of people because he knew it would lead to increased opportunities to proclaim the gospel message. I can open a door for you and you can open a door for me if we pray for one another.