Today’s Scripture Focus: Colossians 4:2-6, 18
The little letter to the little church in Colossae has had big things to say about salvation. Remember that in its chapters we learn of redemption (1:14), in which we are brought from slavery to freedom, reconciliation (1:22), in which we are brought from enmity to peace, regeneration (2:13), in which we are brought from death to life, and renewal (3:10) the “process” aspect of salvation, or sanctification. Becoming a disciple of Jesus is not something we earn—it is a gift of grace given in a moment of salvation. However, it does not end there, but continues until we are revealed with Christ at His coming.
Colossians also has big things to say about living out our salvation within our Christian community. Remember that Colossae was a small church that most likely met in the homes of believers. This made them like an extended family, and we all know how too much family togetherness can be! Careless words can lead to hurt feelings and division, and physical needs lead to broken marriages if proper boundaries aren’t set. Rather than just tell this church what not to do, Paul gave practical instruction on how to treat each other with tenderness and respect, based on love. The salvation the Colossians have received, they must then live and give.
Now as the letter concludes in chapter 4, Paul writes about dealing with “outsiders” (v. 5). An outsider here is a non Christian—someone who is not part of the church. While we spend a lot of time focusing on “outreach” today, and very little on loving each other, Paul took the opposite approach. He knew if believers would focus on loving God and each other, outreach would be a natural consequence. Paul just gave three simple instructions for dealing with the unsaved. First, he said to pray. Colossians were to pray that Paul may proclaim truth to unbelievers with simplicity and boldness. Prayer is essential in reaching the unsaved.
Next, Paul instructed the Colossians to watch. We must be so focused on reaching the lost that we don’t miss Spirit given opportunities to proclaim salvation. Paul also admonishes the Colossians to season their words. Salt was an essential, life giving mineral before mechanical refrigeration. It preserved, purified, and flavored. Our conversations with unbelievers shouldn’t be defensive or harsh. Rather, we must engage others with the preserving, pure, and interesting words of life. The salvation we have been given must not only be lived out in the walls of the church, but must be shared with “outsiders”. Paul signed his letter personally in verse 18 to emphasize these truths.
- Go around the table and share prayer requests. Have someone lead in prayer.
- Let everyone who would like to share anything exciting from their week.
- Ask these three questions. Let as many answer each one as they would like.
Why do you think Paul wanted to make sure he signed this letter in his own hand (v18)? What do you think he meant by “remember my chains”?
Do you think the average non Christian today feels loved by the average Christian? Why or why not?
As a class, pray for one another this week. Pray that you will be watchful, thankful, and seasoned as you encounter “outsiders”, and may speak the truth to them in grace.