Discussion question: At the end of our series, why would you say you have faith in Christ?
Faith in Christ is about a certainty of God’s universal plans. These plans include all who call on the name of the Lord to be saved. The plans, according to the bible, are not simply for those who believe. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. In that simple statement, we are reminded that what’s true is true, even if you don’t believe it.
But for all who have believed and received Christ, to them (you) have been given the right to be called children of God. Faith saves. Faith goes all in. Faith is always at work. Faith opens our mouths to speak with God. Finally, but not least importantly, faith is for everyone.
Read Colossians 4:2-6
Q1. Discuss the attitude toward prayer that Paul has in Verse 2.
He instructs the church to be devoted to prayer: this implies dependence on God and a mindset that prioritises prayer – that prayer really is important.
He instructs them to pray being watchful – alert to the needs around them. If you are not watchful, then you are asleep at the wheel. What follows is Paul’s direction for the mission, and he starts with the need for prayer.
He instructs them to pray with thankfulness: this comes part and parcel with faith. We believe in a Sovereign God who has set us free already. The work of God is not dependent on us and often what we need is an attitude of thankfulness for all that God is doing in the world.
You may want to consider the Great Commission at some point in this study in order to see that Paul is doing exactly what Jesus commands us all to do. Matthew 28:18-20
Q2. Discuss what Paul requests in Verses 3 and 4. How can we apply this request as a church?
As a missionary of Christ, Paul asks for prayer for himself. For the Sovereignty of God to create opportunities (open doors) so that the gospel (the mystery of Christ) can be heard – despite the chains that Paul is wearing. He asks not only to proclaim the message but to do it clearly. He is asking for missionary support through prayer.
We have partners in the gospel through our CMS and BCA missionaries as well as two local missions with MIC and CAHSM. As well as these, we have many ministries that are set up to proclaim the gospel in our area. And it would be great to remember our weekly ministry of the word in our church services. Prayer for clarity from our preachers would be wonderful.
Q3. What advice does Paul have for the church in Verses 5 and 6?
Wisdom toward outsiders: there’s no formula or recipe for interacting with those outside the church but the direction of wisdom.
Make the most of every opportunity: being watchful in prayer and watchful in conversations.
Full of grace: work at filtering out anger, bitterness, envy and quarrelling. Give people grace and space. If Christ will work in somebody, he will do it.
Seasoned with salt: I suggest this means making your conversation attractive, interesting or tasty. A blunt bashing of the bible is rarely helpful.
So that you may know how to answer everybody: like our prayers, our conversations need to be eventful and meaningful – driven toward proclaiming the gospel or leading people to the community who have faith in Christ.
The bible directs us to be alert and proactive in mission. There are those who need our prayer and covet our support. A church who is on board for Jesus must be on board for the mission and be thoughtful about it. And we go beyond praying for others. We pay careful attention to our own conversations and interactions with the world. You never know when God will open a door for you to speak to someone with wisdom, grace, salt and light.
Application A) Devote yourself to prayer. We looked at prayer together last week but again we are commissioned to be prayers. Where and when are all a matter of wisdom. But a Christian who does not pray is like a human who does not breath. The content of our prayer must be for the mission. Jesus told his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations. We don’t do this alone. We do that as a local and global church and by the will and power of the Holy Spirit.
Application B) Practice the gospel. Being ready to speak about your faith starts with practice. Telling another Christian what it means to have faith is useful training and encouraging. Do you know how to guide someone into faith? What would you do if asked to explain what a Christian is?
Application C) God in 60 seconds. Showing my age, there is a movie with Nicholas Cage called Gone in 60 Seconds – it is about car stealing. We can adapt this title for personal mission and work out ways we can “steal” conversations and direct them toward God. How can you turn current affair statements toward God? Likewise with pop-culture or anything. Can you take a normal conversation and naturally steer it toward faith in Christ?
“Politicians are only in it for themselves.”
“Well, I know one leader who is totally trustworthy”
“Oh yeah? Who?”
“Jesus… have you ever thought seriously about him?”
This example may be a little artificial but the point is to look for open doors and do it proactively.