By Karen Polich
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:2-6
Christian life is difficult at times because we keep getting in the way – Michael M. Cook
Pastor Michael M. Cook continued the Fragile Growth, sermon series in Colossians, with Dealing with Others. Listen to the podcast here.
Christ followers have an important responsibility in how we deal with “outsiders”. The differences between someone who knows Christ and someone who doesn’t are huge. Jesus was separate from sinners in that He was set apart (Hebrews 7:26), but he was a friend of sinners (Matthew 11:19). He kept Himself separate from the sin while being a friend.
We are to emulate Christ as closely as we can. Christian separation does not mean isolation. We should be insulated, but never isolated. The Gospel is needed most in the darkest places. To live as God as called us we can look to Colossians 4:2-6. Pastor Cook’s key sermon points give us clear direction from God’s Word.
Our character must be prayerful. We are instructed to pray continually, to be devoted to it. This can be difficult because most of us would rather do something than pray for something. In prayer, we are lifting it to God. Prayer lifts the Gospel above the circumstances. As we focus our character, it needs to be anchored in prayer.
Our conduct must be careful. Paul is calling Christ followers to live with purpose and action. We will not win people to Christ with passive niceness. When we exhibit love to others, it is the argument of all arguments. It demonstrates who Christ is. We are not called to isolate ourselves, but to engage.
Our conversation must be graceful. Our words are important and should be full of grace. God is pouring grace into our lives which allows us to pour His grace out to others. When others can see the Gospel in us, something can happen.
I’ve never won anyone to Christ in a debate. It is possible to win the argument but lose the person. – Michael M. Cook
Not only are we in Christ, but we have the responsibility of winning others to Christ.