Summary: We can promote the gospel by our prayers, our lives, and our words.
WHAT CAN I DO TO PROMOTE THE GOSPEL?
This passage talks about the two spiritual disciplines that Christians have the most guilt about: prayer and witnessing. Most of us struggle to faithfully pray and witness. My purpose today is not to make you feel guiltier. My purpose is to encourage you.
I want to talk to you today about what you and I can do to promote the gospel. The answer: We can promote the gospel through our prayers, our lives, and our words.
How should I pray?
1. Pray PERSISTENTLY
“Devote yourselves to prayer” (v. 2). Paul is talking about unrelenting persistence. Persistent prayer is difficult. Paul compares it to wrestling: “He is always wrestling in prayer for you” (v. 12).
“They all joined together constantly in prayer” (Acts 1:14).
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42).
“Be…faithful in prayer” (Rom. 12:12).
David Garland writes, “If Christians prayed with the same zeal that some people manifest to keep themselves physically fit for a longer and healthier life, they might see different results in the life and witness of their church” (p. 283).
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” (Quiet Talks on Prayer).
An old hymns says,
And Satan trembles when he sees
The weakest saint upon his knees.
2. Pray ALERTLY
“Being watchful” (v. 2; “keeping alert” NASB). Paul is probably talking about prayer as weapon against temptation. Publicly falling into sin destroys our ability to effectively witness (example: Ted Haggard).
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
“Then [Jesus] returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. ‘Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?’ he asked Peter. ‘Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak’” (Matt. 26:40-41). Earlier that night, Peter had said, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will” (v. 33). Peter was overconfident. He considered himself to be the most faithful follower of Christ. But Jesus told him, “I tell you the truth…this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times” (v. 34).
Some Christians may look at Ted Haggard and say, “That could never happen to me!” “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Cor. 10:12).
Example: Demas (see v. 14)
“Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica” (2 Tim. 4:9-10a).
How many times have you heard the excuse “I don’t want to have anything to do with the church because there are so many hypocrites in it”?