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!