Colossians is such a wonderful NT book. A casual reading reminds us that even in the earliest days of the Church, there were those bent on sowing error through false teaching - actively working to lead followers of Jesus away…not to mention consume the time of the Apostles in contending with error. But it’s out of this incredible strife/in response to the False Teaching that we are reminded of these truths:
A more careful look and we see the Apostle Paul demonstrate the preeminence of Christ is one’s:
ministry integrity (Chapters 1 & 2),
commitment to sound teaching (Chap 2),
personal life (both hidden and public),
doctrinal integrity - not majoring on minors,
ethics at home and in work (Chap 3-4)
appropriately sharing Christ with those around indirectly and directly (Chap 4)
relating to leadership and congregations of other churches (Chap 4)
Greater men than I have given time to the divisions and carving up of this letter into significant courses for study and devotion. John Piper, among many, even delineates our text this morning…I find it helpful:
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
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—
that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
Summary: All 3 of these are essential ingredients in a successful and fruitful Gospel encounter.
There's no use sharing without an opportunity (Open Door) to share.
If the door's not open, you can't force entry
There will be no fruit without an Open Heart touched by the Holy Spirit to be receptive to the glorious Gospel.
Everything can point to a particular moment. We can say, "surely this is it!" But a response is required.
And until someone uses words (Open Mouth), there is nothing to respond to. Nature and Conscience are not enough.
This may be the hardest for some in the room. The first word is always the hardest. Remember, we're not selling a good - a philosophy - a way of life...we are introducing them to the person of Jesus Christ - the lover of their souls.
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
Then it will affect the Way we pray; What we pray (less about us and more about His Kingdom); and What happens as we pray this way!
1. Not a Christian:
* Are there circumstances in your life that are too important to brush off? Could the Lord be opening doors in your life so that you might come to know him and the power of His resurrection?
* The writer of Colossians was a Christian-hating, Jesus-bashing, know-it-all...until he surrendered total control of his life to Christ.
* Is your heart open today? Are you at least intrigued about coming to know a God who made you, knows everything about you...
Today is an open door - come as you are, leave different.
You're a Christian
who needs to pray specifically...
who forces entry (You earn the right be be heard by sincerely listening to others)
who has been quick to speak...but not really depending on the Spirit
who needs to see some fruit in your own life from Kingdom-focused praying