How can in have the answer if I don’t know the question? This is how most Christians feel when it comes to sharing our faith with the unbelieving world. We feel horribly unprepared. We feel like we are called to do the impossible. In a sense, we are. We are called to make dead men hear and respond to the offer of life. Yet, we are given that command and responsibility by the Infinite, Eternal God who has promised to make us successful at it. The fact that it is impossible without His work in us and in the person hearing us, should push us toward utter dependance on Him.
Grace in Our Outreach – AUDIO
As the Apostle Paul makes his final commands in the Letter to the Colossians, he directs them first to prayer, then to lifestyle and finally to answering the culture that they lived in. All of these are equally important in the sharing of our faith.
Colossians 4:2-6 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; 3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, 4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. 5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
After a brief admonition to prayer, Paul shares his own request with them. “Pray for the Gospel to have an open door.” It is not his prison cell, but the word that he is imprisoned for that he wants to be free. The importance of the Gospel going out from us is shown very clearly here. Eternity trumps time, every time. As the Apostle instructs them to pray, and to pray for the freedom of the Gospel message, his attention turns to the people in Colosse and their own testimony. The idea of praying for the Gospel seems to lead his mind to the testimony of the Christians he is writing to.
Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. (Colossians 4:5)
That is, live well and represent the Gospel well as Believers living in the world of unsaved people. Not only that, but live well in such a way as it gives you something with which to buy opportunities for the Gospel. This is what is mean as we see the words “redeeming the time.” It is literally making the most of or procuring OPPORTUNITIES. The Greek word translated time in the text is the kairon which is a season or an “opportune time” rather than a particular hour or moment. We are to live well so as to find that open door for the Gospel. Then we are to take use that opportunity by speaking well.
Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. (Colossians 4:6)
Our speech is to be graceful. That is, as we have received God’s undeserved kindness in our own lives, it should cause us to speak with grace toward our unbelieving neighbors. It is also to be “seasoned with salt.” This is somewhat of a strange term, but it relates to the Old Testament sacrifices. The Grain Offering was always offered with salt. It is a symbol of the purity and the perpetuity of the Covenant. Covenant is a concept largely lost in most of the Church in our day. The idea, I believe, we need to take away from this is that the Gospel is more than a “Just believe this set of facts” kind of thing. We need make sure we speak of the need for our own cleansing and the faithfulness of God. We do not simply believe something about God, but enter into a covenant with Him through Christ as we believe the Gospel. Our witness is an offering to God and it needs to be pure and related to His Covenant. The better we understand the Gospel, our sin, God’s promise and His faithfulness, the more ready we will be to give a good answer.
I really encourage you to listen to the audio this week. We live in a hopeless culture that basically believes they are the product of random chance. In that environment, there is no reality to what they value the most, love, relationship, honor, right and wrong. It is nothing but the motion of atoms in space. No one can live like that, so they borrow those concepts from God in order not to lose their minds. We do have the answer! We have the answers to the most important questions in the universe. Only by the God of the Bible, can we help them make sense of the world they live in. We are called to DO THAT! I will also be posting up some papers from my next Seminary Class (Apologetics) in the next couple of months. Some of the papers which are already there will help get the Gospel more clear in your minds. All of this is a response to what the Gospel has accomplished in my own life and I would love to share it with you in order to equip you to be able to share it with others. So, check out the audio of today’s sermon and, if you take the Gospel seriously, check back or subscribe to learn more.
Grace in our Outreach – AUDIO