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Monday, January 18, 2010

EFFECTIVE FAITH - Colossian 4 (part 2)

Title: Effective Faith - Witness
Text: Colossians 4:5

At the end of Colossians, Paul closes his epistle by writing his farewell to the church at Colosse with words of encouragement. Also he gives specific encouragement to people serving in the ministry.

Colossians 4 is a combination of exhortation and salutation. He encourages the believers to live holy by having an effective faith that demonstrates the grace of God to all men.
The main theme of these verses is be active and ready in Christ, living with an effective faith that changes peoples live through the Gospel.

Having a Good Witness
I. Walk wisely (v.4:5a)

Looking at several different translations gives a better rendering of this verse to its true meaning:

“Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.” NKJV

“Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time.” ESV

“Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunities.” NET

“Live wisely among those who are not Christians, and make the most of every opportunity." NLT

I. Walk Wisely
Colossians 4:5 has three main principles concerning our witness:

1. Walk upright - Do what is right and be an example to others. (v.4:5a)

2. Shine your light – Shine God’s character around others. (v.4:5b)

3. Have spiritual sight – look for opportunities to share your faith in Christ with others. (v.4:6c)

1. Walk upright (v.4:5a)
Walk – This word is a common NT idiom for one’s lifestyle, behavior, or manner of conduct. It is noteworthy to see this word is used in Hebrew as a suggestive form to live, to regulate one's life, and to conduct one's self.

Ephesians 5:15-17 explains how to walk:
“Therefore be very careful how you [walk] live – not as unwise but as wise, taking advantage of every opportunity, because the days are evil. For this reason do not be foolish, but be wise by understanding what the Lord’s will is.”

Notice: To walk wise means to know God’s will! So can you know God’s will? Only in God’s word can you find His will!

1. Walk upright (v.4:5a)
Wisdom – Walking in wisdom means to be saturated in all the riches, treasures, knowledge, and wisdom that are found in Jesus Christ.

Jesus is wisdom incarnate, the very essence of ultimate wisdom. (1 Cor. 1:24, 30; Col. 2:3)

The word of God contains true wisdom. Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

Walking in God’s wise truth is the right way to live and honor Christ in our daily activities.

When Jesus sent out His disciples to go preach the gospel, He said to them in Matthew 10:16, "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

Therefore, we need to be walking upright, living in holiness, bearing fruits of righteousness, and avoid all worldliness.

Be wise by making sure you walk the walk and talk the talk.

2. Shine your light (v.4:5b)
Outsiders – It is another name for ‘non-believer’. They are an outsider because they are not presently in the kingdom of God (e.g. not saved)! This word expresses the kind of person who is a foreigner, who is from another nation or world. Believers are not of this world but of the God’s holy Kingdom, however the non-believer is not and therefore is an outsider.
We are to walk uprightly so we can demonstrate our faith in action.

Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Being God’s workmanship means “we are poetry in motion.” We are God’s gracious outworking of His Spirit manifesting His image to those around us.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:14,16 that we “are the light of the world. Let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven.”

Someone once said, “I would rather see a sermon than hear one, any day.”

This is exactly what Paul is exhorting the Colossians to do. To properly live a manner of life saturated in the wise truth of Scripture and demonstrating God’s character to the lost to bring them to Christ.

Philippians 2:15 teaches us to walk uprightly “so that no one can speak a word of blame against you. You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people. Let your lives shine brightly before them.”
We need to walk in such a way that our lives define who we are a Christians. People need to see our love for God and others!
Effective faith

3. Have spiritual sight (4:5c)
Redeeming is the time – This can be better translated, “to buy up the opportunity.” Paul is teaching the Colossians to look for opportunities to share your faith in Christ with others. (v.4:6c)

Paul always had this in mind. He taught this to the Romans in Romans 15:15-21.

Paul also instructed Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:2. Paul used an analogy of a farmer to explain how we are to be ‘ready’ in season and out of season to preach the gospel. This simply means to always share whenever and wherever!

Wrapping Up.
1. Walk upright - We need to obey God’s word and be an example to others.
2. Shine your light - We need to be a radiant witness for Jesus Christ to others.
3. Have spiritual sight - We need to seize the opportunity to share the gospel with others.

Questions to ask:
Are you walking with the Lord faithfully as you should be?
Do you demonstrate God’s character at school and home?
When is the last time you shared the gospel with someone?

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