The Character of the Christian
Open your Bibles with me to the book of Colossians the fourth chapter, and when you get there let me know by saying amen.
In our scripture today and it the next few weeks we find that The Apostle Paul comes near to the end of His letter as he writes to this New Church in the city of Colossae, he writes to them while He is in prison, This is important for all of us to keep in mind that while Paul wrote the Letter he was in prison.
And Paul as you read some of his letters you find that he is a masterful writer. His intent comes at the end of the letter is to remind and urge the church to remember that the Gospel is the greatest news not only to have, but to spread as well, in fact Paul is saying to the church is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ, well it is something that one is no to keep to one’s self.
You have to understand that that the Gospel came to the city Colossae, when a man by the name of E-pa-Fras heard Paul Preaching one day at Ephesus. He then became a believer in Jesus like many of us today, and many of the people yesterday. He went back to his home town and began preaching and telling people about Jesus.
A few years later after Epafras goes out to find Paul because of the church has begun to listen to outside influences – false teachers saying that Jesus is a nice Guy but in order for you to be religious you have to be and have more than Him. They need something more than Jesus.
Let me ask you has someone ever told you that you are not religious enough? I remember one time in church I had a person turn to me and tell me that I wasn’t worshipping that Quote unquote Right way. So I know that things like that happen even in today’s church, some people tell others that they are not good enough for church or tell others that a certain people that a church isn’t good enough for them.
So what Paul did was he wrote this young church reminding them, that there may be many people out there who think they are the saviors of the world, many false teachers, but there is only one true Savior named Jesus Christ.
Now I Know that some people think that being spiritual means that a person goes one day from not being religious to being religious--- that’s not it
What it means is when we go from the being dead in our trespasses against God, to being alive through Christ, Then faith becomes matured through our relationship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit- we begin to have a deeper relationship with understand Christ more and applying it to the non- spiritual places in our lives, the harder places of our lives, such as our Marriages, husband, wife, father, mother, our families, in our work environment, and even in our neighborhoods. Our Faith grows and Faith Matures through this process.
So this early Church plant was struggling in some areas and Paul closes his letter reminding them that their responsibility is not only to KNOW Jesus, But to make Jesus KNOWN to the world.
And that is our big Idea today:
Our responsibility as Christians is not only to KNOW Jesus, but also make Him KNOWN to the world.
This isn’t a job just for the foreign missionary, as people might think it is but it is the job for all Christians- it’s what we are all called to do.
John chapter 20: 2 “Jesus says as the Father has sent Me, I also send you."
And In Acts Chapter 1:8
Jesus says “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
You might be wondering why I am saying this the day after FaithFest- Because we always should be reminded. That just because we had this great event called faith fest where we had probably the biggest turn out ever, we need to be reminded to continue to be witnesses, And although the word of God, and the Gospel goes out from the pulpits from Pastors and evangelists, there are people who don’t come to church- they don’t do go to the faith fest yet, but you see them every day. In these early churches being a follower of Jesus was something new because there were no churches.
So in our lives all of us are preachers for one side or the other, every Christian preaches, some preach the greatest sermons ever heard, while others preach the worse sermons and we all do that with our character, our conversations, through our marriages, our families, through our relationships with friends, we preach at home and at work everyday not with the words of a sermon but by the character and content of how we live when we say that we are Christians.
This sermon miniseries is really more about have great character as a Christian than anything else
God has given us these tools to do God’s mission, and a lot has to do with how we act as a Christian, will see that more next week but that’s really what Paul is getting at in this part of Letter.
If you are there in Colossians chapter 4
Read with me verses 2-6
2” 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.
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”
Have you ever thought about your conversation with someone, not specifically quoting scripture, the Roman road, quoting John 3:16, but have you ever thought about what you say in the conversation and how you speak? It really has an impact on your character.
I know that living a irreligious life or a non religious is easy, I done both, it is easy to live without religion or a system of religion, but what is really hard is to live a radically transformed life where you begin living for the kingdom of God
not or the current life in which we live, but for your future in Heaven. Picking up your cross every day, and that is hard, because the world’s priorities and temptations distract us.
And the truth is many people and their importance in this life- for the here and now is what they live for, they hope the eternity works out for them in the end, their life right now truly outweighs to living for Jesus and the values for which the Kingdom of God Stands for, and It is hard.
So when it comes to Knowing Jesus and making Jesus Known to the world Paul gives us this great wisdom. in this letter.
Earlier in this letter, I want to encourage you to go home and read the four short chapters of Colossians, but earlier in the letter Paul lays out that the first thing we have to do To have this great character is that we need KNOW Jesus.
He says in chapter one: flip over there with me verse 15
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. (DID YOU HEAR THAT? JESUS IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH)He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Later in Chapter 2 he goes on to tells us about redemption- how we are redeemed through Jesus cancelling out our debt of sin.
13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
Then he tells us in chapter three- that those of us who are Christians- those of us who have given our hearts to our Savior- the who confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, we are saved, then we should be putting on the New Self that Christ Has given us. Putting on the Character of Jesus Chirst… That if God sees us with His Sons robe of righteousness on then 0thers should see as well.
So the question is do you KNOW Jesus. If you are here today and you have never given your heart to God, believing that Jesus is your Savior, will you confess with your mouth that today, will you change your life today and believe in your heart.
Would everyone close their eyes and bow their heads with me right now. If you have never accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior I want to give you the opportunity right know to do that. Would you pray this prayer with me right now?
Thank you Jesus for dying on the cross for my sins, you say that no one can come to Father God without coming through you, today I am asking to forgive me of my sins, place your robe of righteousness around me, come into my heart and change my life today, I confess my sins to you. In your magnificent name Jesus Amen
If you prayed that prayer today welcome to the family of God,
The Reason I did this is because the Apostle Paul as he wrote in the part of the letter about having this character, he assumes that everyone who hears this letter is saved by the blood of Christ Jesus
The Second step is found in our text -once you KNOW Jesus, how do we make it Him KNOWN throughout the world. In our character and our evangelism? They are not two separate issues.
if there are two things that Christians have problems with the first is prayer and the second for some reason is evangelism, and Paul shows us we can’t do one without the other.
So Paul tells us about some steps to do about character and evangelism.
And I want to talk to you about the insight that Paul gives us - look with me at verse 2, He says
Continue steadfastly in prayer,
The word “continue” implies that we are already doing it and we should keep doing the practices of what we are doing.
The bible tells us several things about prayer, the word Pray is mentioned 313 in the bible, prayer 114, prayed 45 times praying 20 times for 512 times.
Jesus not only expected us to pray but in the bible we are taught by Jesus how to pray.
We are told to “pray without ceasing 1st Thessalonians 5:17
Ephesians 6:18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.
So Paul expects the Christian to be in a prayer mode in the life, the church is suppose to be prayerful church, it is an activity that we do continually.
Continue steadfastly in prayer,
Steadfastly means to be fixed or unchanged, to be firm, to be loyal- faithful,
Folks, prayer should come before anything we do in the Church, first the church should be an example of what to do. We should be an example of prayer, we should lead people in their lives to pray for everything in their lives no matter what it is.
So Paul explains to continue to be loyal- unchanged, faithful in prayer. Second part of that verse is Paul says: Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Here is what we have been taught to do in prayer- to pray for what we want and then move on with our life. When people talk about prayer it is basically asking for God to help them in their situation and then life moves on from there. That’s how I have been taught and I did that for a long time and sometimes go back to that here and there. But you know what this verse says;;;;
We should be spiritually awake! When we pray we are to be spiritually awake. Too often I think that we talk to God on a one sided conversation and we are not spiritually awake for the answer, we pray and say amen and move on with our lives, when first we should be in continual prayer and second we should be expecting something from God. Like the miracle. I have been in constant prayer for two things lately and expecting a miracle for both, One is faithfest the weather amen,,, and the people to hear the Name above all names Jesus, through everything we have done..
Second is our Grandson Sammuel, many of you Have been praying for him. I was devastated to hear that he had this massive brain tumor at the age of 11 months. But I began praying for God to do a Miracle, and so far he has, the 14 hour brain surgery was successful, they retrieved 90% of the tumor. This weekend was his first weekend home and he is doing great. He needs chemo therapy but I believe and as I pray I know God is doing something in His life. Amen the doctors are astounded that he is doing so well but I am not.
Yesterday one of the performers is pregnant so I asked to lay hands on that baby and I prayed that God will do a Miracle through that child and I believe that he will.
Being watchful also means spiritually alert for the enemy. We have to be careful not to let the enemy because of the circumstances that we are sneak in.
Something may be wrong and we are letting the enemy walk us around on a leash instead of praying for the will of God to be done.
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
What are you thankful for, the bible tells us that we are to be thankful for what Jesus Did on the cross, we should be thankful for the all great things God does for us.
3 At the same time, (So while we are in steadfastly prayer being watchful and in thanksgiving for what God has done for you, Paul says, 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—
I am going to close with this thought about verse three and we are going to pick it back up next week, but remember I said that we have to remember that Paul is in prison? Look at this verse, with me again, Paul says to the church,
pray also for us, that God may open to us a door (open a door for what? I mean The Apostle Paul is in prison and look what he is asking the this new church to pray for) for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—
Folks I have to tell you that Paul is not asking for them to pray for the door to opened for his freedom from prison, freed from his bondage Paul was in chains in was beaten for being a believer, he was locked up tighter than a drum. He is asking to pray for the door to be opened so that he may have a chance while in the present circumstance in his life. To pray for him where is right now in the storm that he is, not to get him out of the storm but to have the opportunity while he is in the storm to spread the Gospel.
I know that many of you are on in a prison today, I know that some of you have some circumstance that might be holding you down, something today might be keeping you in some sort of bondage today, but it can’t and should not stop you from praying steadfastly and to finding an open door to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Step one Know Jesus
Step two Let the World KNOW Jesus
Remember your Character defines who you are.