Summary: How we as Christians are to relate to unbelievers in our world.
The Church In The World
As we worked through Colossians chapter 3 - we were given very specific information about how Christians are to live out the Christian faith -- at home - as husbands - wives - parents - children - slaves and master -- its all about how we are to related to those who are closest to us -- how we express our Christian faith in the context of our closest relationships
Now as we come to the last chapter in Colossians -- we are going to take a look at how we are to relate to those who are out side of our faith
How do we relate to the people in our world who are not believers.
When we start thinking about sharing our faith with outsiders -- we might start thinking about things like:
- going down the street trying to convince people to become believers
- passing out gospel tracks or Bibles
- inviting people to church
But the Apostle Paul doesn’t suggest any of those things.
When it comes to relating to non-believers in our world the very first thing the Bible tells us to do is sometimes the very LAST thing we think of doing.
Lets look at it together:
2Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; 3praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; 4that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. 5Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 6Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
When it comes to the unsaved people in our world:
Prayer Must Be Our Top Priority
"devote yourselves" (nkjv = "continue earnestly") lit="to be courageously persistent"
"to hold fast and not let go"
GOD WORKS THROUGH PRAYER
Jesus taught his disciples the connection between prayer and their ministry to the world of non-believers
36Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then He said* to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38“Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
Prayer always seems to preceed great movements of God -
In Acts 2 is probably the greatest spiritual awakening ever seen--
in one day 3000 people believed in Jesus Christ as Lord God and Savior
But if we look at what was happening before that incredible day we find them in prayer
Acts 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication
Acts 2 says that the Lord was adding to their number daily
Over and over in Acts we read the report that the church was devoted to prayer- it was clearly a priority.
The church had grown to such extent that there we complications - and there was a need for more leaders to help with all the needs of 5 or 6 thousand people
Apostles had them select people to serve -- deacons SO the Apostles could devote themselves to the ministry of the Word and to Prayer -- WHy? It was a priority.
So when we come to the very practical instructions given here in Colossians its no surprise that the Apostle Paul instructs them to be diligent about prayer as a church
(APP) New Life - will not grow - until we pray (goes for any church)
(Spurgeon - took some guests downstairs early one Sunday morning - there were hundreds of people gathered for prayer
"Nothing gets done upstairs until it firstly gets done down here."
(VBS - bragging on New Life because you really rise to the occasion - and do what churches 3 or 4 times bigger can’t do -- There is a pressing need - to rise to the occasion and pray as a church --)
"keeping alert" (nkjv= "being vigilant") Keep a sharp on out - looking for and responding to specific needs about which to pray --- rather than vague - unfocused -- be specific
-- people to be saved
- Ginger/Dave and Christian Challenge
- Aaron/Kim and The Bridge
- Fernando/Donna - Ethnic ministry
- Brother Oscar and Hosanna
-- church members - business owners - job issues
-- church members - health issues - family issues
now also note the phrase " attitude of thanksgiving"
That is the opposite of bitter -- also it is the attitude of someone who trusts and believes in the goodness of God and His willingness to hear - to answer prayer