Summary: Finishing my series in Colossians, heeding Paul’s calling to pray for each other and live wisely. Also, a reminder that people are still being imprisoned for the faith, just as Paul was when he wrote this letter.

“Remember my chains” - Colossians 4: 2-6, 18

By James Galbraith

First Baptist Church, Port Alberni

December 9, 2007


Col 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

Col 4:3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.

Col 4:4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.

Col 4:5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.

Col 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Col 4:18 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.


These are parting words, the kind of thoughts that you might jot down if you were finishing a letter (or email) to a friend.

He’s affirmed their importance as a people,

for despite being such a remote and small church,

they are vitally important in the eyes of God and the development of the church.

He has clarified with them the importance of putting Christ first,

trusting that he is enough for their faith and salvation,

and that they do not have to add wealth or health or deed or ritual, or anything else,

to Jesus and his love in order to enjoy the salvation he gives.

He’s given them some new and improved rules to live by - the introduction of the Christian faith has turned their world upside down,

and they needed some guidance in how to best live their lives as followers of Jesus.

Against a world that was truly in favour of the rich Roman born male, he gives a code of conduct which brought all peoples,

male/female, young/old, slave/free, closer to equality and fairness.

Now he’s saying his final parting wishes, what we might call the

“Now that I’ve said all I needed to say, don’t forget to…”

A. Devote yourselves to prayer - vss. 2-4

1. when you pray,

be watchful for what you should pray for,

and thankful for God’s answers!

Not endless yak or selfish whims, but thoughtful, caring prayer

- thinking about who needs prayer and how they need it

- doesn’t have to be poetry, but it does come from the heart

2. pray for opportunities to share faith – “that God may open a door”

- we only fully appreciate the richness and depth of our faith when we share it

- that’s why Jesus used stories of seeds growing and vines bearing fruit

- he doesn’t just want us to be leaves, stems and roots,

we need to bloom and bear fruit to live!

3. pray for those serving God – “that I may proclaim (the mystery of Christ) clearly”

- those on the front lines need the support of the rest!

- the message itself is not complicated, but the methods we use can vary so much, and we want to make sure that we are “clear’ in what we share!

B. Be wise vss. 5-6

In the way you treat outsiders

- churches that simply tend to the needs of their own members grow a thick skin which newcomers find too hard to break

“ if they want to be their own little club, fine, we’ll go somewhere else!”

- our best demonstration of the love of Christ is letting his love flow through us to the people we meet in and out of church

- wisdom is not how intelligent we are, it is how well we apply what we know to any given situation

- wisdom in treating outsiders is simply doing what we know we should do – loving others – and doing it well!

Make most of opportunities

- we get chances to serve God every single day,

but we need to take them in order to help others and be blessed by them ourselves!

Conversations full of grace, seasoned with salt

- a good meal (for me) is a solid, substantial steak, seasoned well

(or a turkey leg with cranberries, or a burger smothered in mushrooms, or a pizza gooey with cheese…)

- Paul is saying that we can make our mouths produce good meals as well as eating them!

- he’s calling us to focus on those things which help and benefit others, just as God’s grace helps us

- seasoning our words with care, concern, good humour and love

An answer for all who want to know

- we may not be professors in the academic sense,

but we are professors in the sense that we can profess, or declare, what we believe, by what we say and how we live

And remember that “I don’t know, but I’ll help you figure it out” is always a good answer!

A life well lived for the Lord is answer enough for many, many situations, even when the questions are most difficult.

vs. 7-17 – not quoted, just referred to

Now after he’s called them to prayer and wisdom, he begins a long list of personal thank you’s and encouragements. We don’t need to sift through them all, but it’s important to know they are there.

They help us to see that these letters weren’t just rhetoric directed at a faceless crowd,

but that they are written to people Paul loved and cared for,

even if he hadn’t met them all face to face.

They also remind us of how organic the growth of the early church was – people spread the news as the travelled from place to place,

and as they connected with Christians in other cities and provinces and countries they began to cross-pollinate and share ideas and pool resources.

Our Bible, especially the New Testament,

is a product of these churches taking the letters written to them, gathering them into larger and larger collections until we have the Bible you see before us today.

I will finish my thoughts today by looking at the last verse in the book –

Col 4:18 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.

C. Remember my chains – vs. 18

Paul wrote this letter from a Roman jail cell,

having been imprisoned for his work in spreading the gospel.

Men and women today are still being imprisoned for this very same thing,

Some for simply being believers,

Some for simply owning a bible,

Some for simply going to church

Let me share one of their stories with you:

Mennonite Evangelists in Vietnam Receive Harsh Sentences

On November 12, after a four-hour trial, six Mennonite workers were convicted of "resisting officers of the law while doing their duty" and sentenced to prison. Pastor Quang, the general secretary of the Mennonite Church in Vietnam and a human rights activist, received a three-year sentence. The other five workers received sentences ranging from nine months to two years in prison. Apart from seven family members, all observers, including a representative from the Canadian Consulate, were refused entry into the courthouse.

Since the initial arrest of these workers in March and June, The Voice of the Martyrs has been closely following their ordeal. The situation began on March 2, when the workers confronted two undercover agents who had been watching the church headquarters, harassing church workers. The agents fell while attempting to leave and, within thirty minutes, dozens of officers converged on the building, arresting the workers.

Three months later, Quang was also arrested. It is suspected that "evidence" against Quang may have been coerced through torture from one or more of those previously arrested.

Human rights and religious liberty organizations from around the world have been monitoring this case, but the Vietnamese government has refused to yield to international pressure.

Pray for those serving these unjust sentences: Rev. Nguyen Hong Quang, Pham Ngoc Thach, Nguyen Thanh Phuong, Nguyen Thanh Nhan, Le Thi Hong Lien and Nguyen Hieu Nghia. Pray for their families and fellow Christians, as they suffer together with their loved ones.


Three weeks ago we remembered the sacrifice of those who kept this country free.

We as Christians must also remember those who are sacrificed simply because they are not free to believe and those who sacrifice so much to simply worship the same God we do.

D. Grace be with you

Paul’s version of a “power Good Bye”

God’s grace – his undeniable presence and his unmatchable power,

be with all of you!

So as we close the book on the people of Colossae for a while,

what can we take home with us?

- a sense that Jesus is enough – we don’t need Jesus plus this or that or any other thing – he is enough!!

- a certain hope that we can make a difference for him, no matter who we are or where we are

- a heart given to prayer and ready to serve

- a remembrance of those who are still suffering in order to minister to others, just as Paul suffered to get these words to us.

Does this have anything to do with the season we find ourselves in?

It certainly does:

Remember that phrase “the reason for the season”

Well, this letter can remind of the reason for the reason for the season.

If Jesus is the reason for the season,

this letter reminds us that he came because we need him,

and that he is enough for whatever we face.