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The Character of the Christian part 2

Notes & Transcripts

Colossians 4:2-6

The Character of the Christian

Part 2

SERMON

WE are back in Colossians chapter 4, if you would open your Bibles with me there, Colossians chapter 4, and let me know when you get there by saying amen.

Last week we began talking about the criteria of how a Christian should act.

If we say that we are Christians, a person who follows that way of Jesus, but yet always keeps that same way of life, the same way of thinking, the same hatred that same old sinful life- the question comes; how can we be separated from the rest of the world? If we are living the same way, then but preaching another then how can God receive the Glory from that?

You can look in the bible, the people that Jesus healed, for example, the people who tracked Jesus down, to receive healing, to heal their families, to heal their slaves, Not just the Jews but the gentiles as well you can see a difference in them and you can see their change because of how Jesus treated them, how he healed them and how he gave them hope as God on the flesh.

So it changed people, like a man named Zacchaeus, who was a hated tax collector, he cheated his own people so that he could become wealthy and well off, while paying taxes for those who he collected from. He was so disliked that even the people he collected the money for, knew he was a cheat and that he cheated his own people for his own personal gain. He heard one day that Jesus was passing through the area, by this time Jesus was the buzz, people where flocking to see him, and Zacchaeus being a small man in stature, he was short, he wanted to see Jesus, so he climb a tree, the reason he climbs the tree is because he can’t see over the crowd, and he needed to see this Jesus that was all the talk. Jesus came through and looked at him and called him by his name, Zacchaeus come down of the tree, because Jesus was going to have dinner at his house. The Pharisee did like that fact that Jesus was having dinner at a sinner’s house. But what happened in this story? Did Jesus run because the religious authorities thought badly of him talking to a sinner? NO, what happened, was Zacchaeus became a believer and promised to pay back anyone whom he cheated- you see His life was instantly changed; it was impacted because of Jesus and he began acting like he was a child of God.

The Apostle Paul, this is the man from whom we are reading his letter to the church in Colossae, Paul is a respected theologian, he worked hard at spreading the gospel, everywhere he went he talked about Jesus and his life reflected that, as we can see in the letters he wrote in the New Testament such as Romans, 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, 1st and 2nd Timothy, Titus and Philemon, 13 books in all in the New Testament bear the Apostle Paul’s name. But did you know that Paul was abducted…….. One day he was had an encounter and was abducted by Jesus on the Damascus road, You may remember that is was after Paul went out and began persecuting the Christians, he was there when Stephen was stoned to death, Christians would flee if they knew that Paul was coming, because he would beat them, twist their words into lies and throw them into prison, all because they were believers in Jesus Christ. But one day God said enough and he met Paul and it changed the life of Paul and as we can see that it was a life changing, The Apostle Paul wrote 2/3 of the New Testament. The significance of the Damascus road affects Christians today. And I want to tell you that your Christian Character does the same.

And our scripture shows us that affect today:

If you are there in Colossians 4 read with me verses 2-6,

Now before we read this, I want to add a disclaimer, we are talking about this change in our lives and our character and today many people walk around caught up in the dream of what it must be like to be a real Christian, but the fact is, it is harder to be the “REAL”Christian.

So when people begin going to Church after the honeymoon period, and they find out that it isn’t just reading your bible every now and then and going to church on Sunday and being happy, most people become Church drop outs. Because it is harder to do the will of God, then it is do Tim’s will. I don’t know if you have found that out in your life, you see it is much easier to do my own will, than it is to do the will of God everyday in my life. And so people run into other people, generally church drop outs who say “well you’re saved and that’s all you need”, or “if God loves the world no one will go to hell”. I heard one person say “My God wouldn’t do that”.

So they make up all these rules how God is going to treat them and it is not biblical. God gave us the Bible so that we would have a manual of what to do, who to do it too and when things go wrong, because things will, when the enemy is knocking at the door what to refer too and most of all to remind us of his Saving Grace through His Son Jesus Christ. It is His word and His word alone, Scripture says that Word is “God Breathed”, it has the same breath of life in it that God breathed into mankind to make us a living being in the beginning. So my disclaimer is the Word of God will change us. If everything goes as plan it develops our Character.

So Paul tells the young church plant while he is in prison (Remember that Paul is in prison because of his Christian Character) and I am at verse 2: of chapter 4

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison:

Remember what we said last week about these verses?

That it is our responsibility as Christians is not only to KNOW Jesus, but also make Him KNOWN to the world.

And we said that in order for us to accomplish this we must first know Jesus, but not just know him, but have a relationship with him.

Then the second step of to make Jesus Known to the world comes by the way of Prayer and listen our prayer develops our character.

How the way we live is a form of evangelism. Our lives and the way people view us as people are for one side or the other, either our character and values show others that we are for God, or our character and values show that we are for the Devil. There is no in-between, there is no middle of the road. And because of these false teachers in the church Paul explains that we are to be watchful in prayer- being spiritual awake for the things to come from God. And to be spiritually awake for things that the enemy is doing.

In an active church the devil is always around doing something, contaminating someone, making people mad at each other, trying to break apart what the people of God are doing.

Paul says We are also to be thankful in prayers, to be thankful for Jesus dying on the cross and for what God is doing in our lives in and out of the storms, right now and we are to pray that God opens a door so that while still we are in this prison, in the storms, in the problems we can still advance the gospel, where we have an opportunity to share what God is doing right now in our lives and tell others how great even in the trail Jesus is.

I am blown away that Paul, before being converted, was persecuting the Christians and twisting their words and placing them in prison because of following Jesus, Now Paul himself is in this very situation, in prison for being a Christ follower, a Christian.

At the heart of the message today we find our Big Idea;

Our Big Idea today is

We are to put aside the things of this life to advance the kingdom of God.

Folks, That is Character.

When you place the need of the Kingdom of God above your needs, that is Godly Character. When you are in your own prison, when you are in the down trials of life and yet you still want to press forward with the Kingdom of God.

That is life changing

So Paul says:

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison:

Look at verse 4

4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

5 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person”.

I want to spend some time with you today to preach the message of verse 4.

This verse provides us with two rules to follow when presenting the Gospel from our character.

If you read it fast you will miss the point of this verse, the verse is in two parts and if you have your own Bible you may want to separate them with a hash mark, but look at the verse closely . the first half of the verse 4 provides of the first rule

The first rule is to Speak with clarity

Paul says “that I may make it clear”

Well make what clear?

The previous verse tell us it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the way Paul puts it is, That he wants to make it clear as he declares the mystery of Christ.

The phrase “make it clear” means to make visible that which has been hidden, to cause to become visible, cause to be seen, make known.

It literally means here to proclaim

Paul's desire was that could give the gospel in a plain and in such a clear manner that the gospel would be readily understood all who had ears to hear and such should be the desire of every Christian who proclaims the mystery of Christ because in us is the hope of glory in Christ.

Remember that Paul is In prison and the there were other people around but, he was mostly in contact with the guards who were Roman- He wanted to speak about the Gospel and make it clear that the others who were not like him could understand.

How often so we see others who are different than us and wont engage them because they are not like us, they are different than us, they are on the outside of the fence, I make that comment because Wednesday evening I was reminded that People were standing outside of the fence at faithfest and we did not have a team of people ready to engage them. I spent my time taking care of the people that were on the inside of the fence, when the people who probably needed Jesus the most were on the outside on the outside of the fence. Someone needs to write that down to have a gospel team for outside of the fence next year. Paul’s Guards were on the outside of his prison cell, he wanted to tell them about Jesus, he knew that there would be implications in doing so, they could beat him starve him, they could do whatever they wanted then, but he wanted to make the Gospel Clear.

We should do that same in our life, we should make the gospel clear in the way others can understand it.

When our grandson had undergone the 16 hour brain surgery to remove the tumor attached to the base of his spine and brain, we spent all night there; I did not sleep at all. I was up all night long praying and passing the floors, I would sit for a while we would all talk and them I would get restless and begin walking through the halls, praying. The Surgeon came out after the long enduring surgery and when he spoke with clarity so everyone could understand what he did and what the current situation was and where we were to go from there.

When you tell someone about Gospel and you do it from your heart, it won’t matter that you don’t know every single piece of scripture, what matters is are you telling people that Jesus Died for them clearly, in a way that they can understand, it doesn’t matter who they are, where they come from, what they dress like, Folks everybody needs someone and everyone needs Jesus.

Look at The second part of verse 4 Pual says:::::::

“which is how I ought to speak”.

The second rule is to speak it because that is how we ought to speak.

Paul says That I might make the Gospel clear which is how I ought to speak.

It is the speech that should continually come from us.

Have you ever heard the Dr martin Luther King JR’s I have a dream speech? This Saturday people celebrated the 50th anniversary of the I have a dream address and the march on Washington.

It is captivating, did you know that Dr Martin Luther King Jr was chosen to lead the way, and he first turned them down, but then this unknown Preacher said yes and when He spoke, if you have never seen it before, it is captivating, he speaks with such eloquence, he speaks with such authority, he speaks as a person not just for the Black men and women of that day in 1963 but for those who come after, for those immigrants and for the United States of America. He speaks in such a way that No president of the United States of America has ever come close too. He spoke of a person who wanted others to embrace what he had, He knew that if people were to change it would not come out of the goodness of their hearts, but would need to a change that came within their souls, they needed what he had, but what is it that he had? He had what Paul has… Jesus.

Quoting the Bible Dr Martin Luther King JR said:

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."2

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

That freedom he spoke about was not of this work but of the eternal life that Jesus Christ brings to all who believe.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr, spoke to the American people some 50 years ago and he did so with these two rules in place:

One Speak with clarity

TWO he spoke because it is the way he ought to speak.

When we speak about the Name of Jesus Christ, when we speak about the Gospel whether at home, on the bus, in your work place you can do it with boldness, with clarity, without being scared or intimidated.

Listen, The apostle Paul was physically in prison, Dr Martin Luther King Jr was emotionally and physically in this prison of a racial equality that still exists today, but they both spoke clearly and boldly of the Gospel and what it means to everyone who accepts it.

You can be in the place where you are today, maybe it is in your own personal struggle maybe you are in a place where you feel like it is your own prison, we all have our things in life are not working out the way you expected them to.

We are to put aside the things of this life to advance the kingdom of God.

That is Character.

One speak with clarity

TWO because it is the way we ought to speak.

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison:

4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

I want to leave you with a question today; If the authorities would begin putting people in prison because of being a Christian, would you they arrest you?

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