Saturday in the Eleventh Week of Ordinary Time

Colossians 4:2-6

Speaking to Outsiders

We are headed to the end of this letter.  But as usual Paul refuses to close without some parting exhortations to holy living.  The exhortation which follows concerns dealing with “outsiders,” that is, the unsaved, unbelievers, or those who are not part of God’s Church.  It is my opinion that we should return to the word, “pagan,” as that was the ancient word the Church used to describe unbelievers (other than Jews), and because it also captures the ignorance, immorality, and idolatry among most unbelievers in Europe and America today.  Yes, it’s an ugly word, but perhaps its very ugliness will encourage us to see unbelievers as people desperately in need of Christian witness.

And Christian witness is what this passage is about.  First Paul asks prayer for himself.  Far from being arrogant, as some people charge, Paul was a humble man who was not above begging prayer from the churches for his mission endeavors.  And he prays for two things: first, that a door may be opened for preaching and testifying to the saving gospel of Jesus Christ; and second, that he “may make [the mystery of Christ] clear, which is how I ought to speak.”  The gospel must be spoken.  Good deeds are important, but without a word about Jesus, the person receiving our good deed will more likely praise us instead of God.  And that word must be understandable to the hearer.  He also wants us to tell others regardless of our setting—Paul was in prison when he asked the Colossians to pray for an open door!

And then Paul turns to the Colossians, themselves.  Paul says, “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.”  Be discerning.  Some are ready to hear the gospel and some aren’t.  Be alert to opportunities to say a word for the Lord.  It need not always be a full-throated evangelistic presentation; sometimes just a passing word about Christ will plant a seed for another opportunity.  On the other hand, if the person is interested, don’t shy away from presenting as much as he will hear.  Be patient; don’t act like a salesman.  And then the Apostle says, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”  We must practice being gracious people so that such a manner will be second nature for us.  People are disarmed by gentle people.  And we must be in the word that salt may accompany our speech; that is, speech that is full of the wisdom of Scripture and godliness, speech that will leave one thinking and perhaps even convict him.  Yes, “A word in season, how good it is” (Proverbs 15:23).

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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