Summary: Sermon 17 in a study in Colossians
“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; 3 praying 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; 4 that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. 5 Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”
In this portion of the letter to the Colossians which we call ‘practical’, meaning he is giving admonition to the Christians there for the practical application in their daily lives of the doctrines he taught earlier, he has finished with his exhortations pertaining to individuals and the way they relate to one another in their various roles in life.
Now he is again addressing the church as a whole and beginning to close out his letter with some final words of wisdom. This portion of this letter contained in the verses of our text today could be lifted out and printed on post cards and mailed to every true follower of Christ anywhere in the world in any time in history.
Well, of course we could say that about any part of Scripture and it would be true, wouldn’t it?
But the reason I say that here and now is because these exhortations from the Apostle are so rich with Godly wisdom concerning the life of the believer that I dare say we could each take them and post them in a prominent place where we would be sure to see them each day, and each day as we seek to obey them, they would be a tremendous help to us and to the forward moving church of Jesus Christ.
Be reminded at this point, of the things Paul said to them earlier in this letter pertaining to their spiritual state. They have died, he tells them in verse 3 of chapter 3, and their life is hidden with Christ in God.
What he is teaching there is that they have a new life. This is not the old life, renovated. When he says they have died he means that they have died to sin, died to their old life and their old manner of walking. They have died to the world and the world’s way of thinking, which is diametrically opposite of God’s way of thinking.
So what we have before us in our text today is an exhortation from the Apostle to live according to this newness of life. Our conduct now must be the sort of conduct that marks the new man, again, diametrically opposite of the conducts that marked the old man.
You have been made radically brand new, he teaches, and now you must, with the Spirit’s empowering, conduct yourself as a radically new and different person than you were.
Friends, the Bible does not call for the haphazard, half-hearted effort that we usually tend to give toward living the life of the believer in Christ.
The Bible teaches us that to be in Christ is to be a new creation and the Bible calls us to act and live accordingly.
Once more I will point out to you that if you just let your eyes scan down through these verses we’re studying today and think about it, none of these things are anything you or I are likely to want to do in our own nature. Some of them, like prayer, are impossible for us in the old nature.
Therefore the very first thing we have to do if we are going to get any help from studying them at all, is to be conscious of this fact, that we cannot do them and in reality don’t even want to do them. It is only if we have the Holy Spirit in us that we are able to say, ‘Yes, it is true that my flesh rejects these things, but in the spirit I want to obey because this is Godly behavior and my Lord wants me to, and the Lord will help me’.
If we can say that, then we are ready to proceed.
So I am going to assume that you are ready, and let’s go take a look.
Paul calls them to prayer. That is not new or unusual, is it? None of this is new or unusual. But let’s spend some time on these descriptive words he uses in reference to prayer.
Devotion. To attend to continually. To adhere to steadfastly. To persevere and not grow weary. This is the essence of what he is calling them and us to. How devoted are any of us to prayer? How do we line up behind this word, ‘devote’?