Colossians 4:2-3

Steve Viars February 25, 1995 Colossians 4:2-3

- this morning we're going to move into a new section of our study of the
   book of Colossians.

- of course the theme of the book is well known by now -- the preeminence
   of Christ.

- he laid that doctrine out in the first chapter
   - then he said in chapter two -- he had a great conflict, or wrestling
       in his heart
         - according to verse 2:4 - because he was afraid someone might
             beguile them, or lead them away from the belief that Christ
             is preeminent.

         - He's sufficient for their salvation
         - He's sufficient as their model
         - He's sufficient for their growth
         - He's sufficient to help them solve the problems of life.

- he spent the rest of chapter two warning them of things that would draw
    them away from this belief and this lifestyle
       - legalism
       - asceticism
       - mysticism

- now, in chapter three -- he's saying -- here's what people who believe
    in the preeminence of Christ look like:

      - they set their affections on the things of heaven and not on the
         things of earth.
      - they put off sinful habits and replace them with godly ones
      - they let the word of Christ dwell in them richly
      - the preeminence of Christ affects their relationships at home
      - it affects their relationships at work (like we've been studying
          the last three weeks)

- this morning, we want to begin studying Colossians 4:2-6 //looking at
   the preeminence of Christ and the way we speak.

- read 4:2-6

- there are a lot of important truths in this passage...but you can see
   that the theme is communication, or speech, or what we do with our
   mouths.

- this is a very, very important subject...and it will probably take us
    at least three weeks to get through these verses.

- today, we're going to talk about:
     - the speech of prayer
     - then next week -- the speech of proclamation
     - lastly, -- the speech of purity


Introduction

   - let's think together about the power of a person's speech.

1. Words are very powerful
      - words, even a few of them, can make an incredible difference

    a) Ladies and gentlemen, have you reached a verdict?

        - yes, we have your honor, we find the defendant __________.

        - those are powerful words.

    b) You're sitting in the doctors office, your palms are clammy,
          you're nervous, the tests have come back...

          - the doctor says -- the tumor was benign.

          - powerful words

    c) Warren Wiersbe, in writing on these verses said, for every word
        contained in Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, 125 lives were lost in WW
        II.

    d) it's a small wonder that the Scriptures tell us, "Death and life
         are in the power of the tongue." (Prov. 18:21)

2) Words are also important because they reveal the heart.

    - one translation of Matthew 12:34 says; "The mouth speaks from what
        the heart is filled with."

    - Sigmund Freud went to great lengths to try to uncover the supposed
        unconscious
          - word association
          - dream analysis

    - of course the Scripture says nothing about the existence of the
       unconscious
         - but it has much to say about the heart -- the most
            comprehensive term to biblically describe our inner man
         - we are to give much attention to our inner man--we're to guard
             our hearts.

         - since that’s true, that makes the subject of these verses very
            important
               - "the mouth speaks from what the heart is filled with."

               - our speech is a very important subject.

3) Communication is one of the clearest areas of difference between the
    saved and the lost.  (MacArthur)

    a) the unredeemed mouth is characterized by:

        1. evil - Prov. 15:28
        2. sexual immorality - Prov. 5:3
        3. deceit - Jer. 9:8
        4. curses - Ps. 10:7
        5. oppression - Ps. 10:7
        6. lies - Prov. 12:22
        7. destruction - Prov. 11:11
        8. vanity - II Peter 2:18
        9. flattery - Prov. 26:28
       10. foolishness - Prov. 15:2
       11. madness - Eccles. 10:12-13
       12. carelessness - Matt. 12:36
       13. boasting - Rom. 1:30
       14. false doctrine - Titus 1:11
       15. evil plots - Ps. 37:12
       16. hatred - Ps. 109:3
       17. too many words - Eccles. 10:14
       18. gossip - Prov. 26:22

    b) the redeemed mouth is characterized by:

        1. confession of sin - I John 1:9
        2. confession of Christ - Rom. 10:9-10
        3. edifying speech - Eph. 4:29
        4. talk of God's law - Ex. 13:9
        5. praise to God - Heb. 13:15
        6. blessing of enemies - I Peter 3:9
        7. talk about God - Ps. 66:16
        8. wisdom and kindness - Prov. 31:26
        9. gentleness - Prov. 15:1

- obviously, we could add a lot more to these lists -- but as they stand,
    they provoke some important questions:

    1) How are you doing on this important matter of communication?

    2) Is the way you speak measurably different than those who don't
         know Christ?

- now, with that in mind, let's go back and begin a careful study of Col.
   4:2-6.
- as you look at the passage -- there are some clear transitions that
   explain why we're dividing these verses the way we are.

   - in verse 2 -- Paul is talking about what kind of speech?
        INPUT - prayer

   - but then in verse three -- there's actually a transition
       - he starts the verse talking about prayer (i.e. - pray for us)

   - but then right in the middle of the verse he begins talking about a
       different kind of speech
          - INPUT - what kind of speech is that?
                      - evangelistic speech, speech of proclamation

    - that continues through in verse 4

    - then verse 5 is a general verse--you kind of wonder how that fits
       in until you read verse 6, and you see that Paul is still talking
       about our speech.

- so again, we'll be talking about:
    1) the speech of prayer
    2) the speech of proclamation
    3) the speech of purity

- let's spend the rest of our time talking about this important matter of
    prayer.
- Paul gives us four things that ought to characterize the way we pray:

 

I. Pray With Perseverance

    A. Meaning and parallel passages

        - the word that is used here means "to be steadfast"
           - to hold fast and not let go
           - to be courageously persistent
           - giving constant attention to it

        - of course there are many other passages that make such an
           emphasis.

        1) Pray at all times - Eph. 6:18

        2) Pray without ceasing - I Thes. 5:17

        3) Be devoted to prayer - Rom. 12:12

        4) The disciples "all continued with one accord in prayer -
            Acts 1:14

        5) The early church "continued steadfastly...in prayers" - Acts
            2:41.

       - of course we're not talking about a constant vocalization of
          prayers
            - instead these verses are also talking about an attitude of
                prayer -- "having a God-consciousness that relates every
                experience of life to Him."
            - but these verses indicate a whole lot more vocalization of
                prayer than most of us do.

            - Paul is saying that our prayers ought to characterized by
                perseverance.

       - we're not going to take time to do so, but we could also look at
          two parables that our Lord told to illustrate this point in
          Luke 18:1-8, and Luke 11:5-10.

- one of the most important things we could say about this point is that
   we must be sure we are BEING STEADFAST by:

    B. Persevere to pray biblically.

        - it would be a terrible thing to be working at something and
            find out that our effort was taking us in a wrong direction.

        - so let's bring some other truths in here and tie them back to
            this idea of perseverance.

        1. Pray to confess our sins (I John 1:9, Matt. 6:12)

           - a good question to ask this morning would be, "Am I showing
              that I believe in the preeminence of Christ by steadfastly
              using my tongue to confess sin?  is that part of my speech?

        2. Pray to offer praise to God (Matt. 6:9)

        3. Pray for power to overcome sin (Eph. 6:18, Matt. 6:13)

        4. Pray for the needs of others (I Thes. 5:25)

        5. Pray for your own needs (Matt. 6:11)

        6. Pray in the name of Christ (John 15:16)

        7. Pray for the glory of the Father (John 14:13)

- now, let's tie this back in to what Paul said to the Colossians
   - how well are we doing at continuing in prayer?
   - are you steadfast?
   - are you persevering?

- are you steadfast in your prayers of praise?
- are you steadfast in your prayers to overcome sin?
    - (etc...)


- probably a good question to ask at this point is:

    C. Why we should pray this way.

        - there's a number of answers for why God wants us to persevere
           in our prayers:

        - INPUT?

        1. That’s often how long it takes to change our wills.

           - this isn't a matter of "talking the Lord into something."
           - prayer is an opportunity to remind us who we are and who God
               is.

           - often it takes time to submit our wills to the will of the
              Father---perseverance in prayer allows us to do that.

        2. To demonstrate the importance of the object for which we're
             praying.

             - if we persevere in our prayer for a person who doesn't
                 know the Lord, we have the opportunity to demonstrate
                 how much we love that person.

                 - etc....

        3. To show the genuineness of our faith.

             - often when we fail to do what this passage is commanding,
                we show the weakness of our faith.

                 - Faith doesn't say -- I know God will
                 - Faith says - I know God can.


- so let me ask you this morning...
    - when it comes to this matter of communication
    - when it comes to the matter of how you use your tongue
    - when it comes to the matter of praying....

        - is one of the words that would be used to describe your prayer
           life "perseverant"?

II. Pray With Alertness

    - the passage also says, "watch in the same" or "keep alert."

    - the word that is used there is the same from which we get the name
        "Gregory"
           - which means - "I am alert" or "I am awake"

    - of course, when you think of this word in the most literal sense,
        what event do you think of?
          - the disciples falling asleep in the Garden of Gethsemanea
          - Matt. 26:40-41 - "What, could you not watch with me one
               hour?"

    - Paul is talking about much more than just "staying awake" when we
        pray.

    - the idea here is being spiritually awake, or spiritually aware.

    - remember, many times the Lord used the phrase "watch and pray"
        (Mark 13:33, 14:38)


    - INPUT - what kinds of things would characterize "alert praying?"

- of course, this gives us another important question to ask -- when it
    comes to the matter of how you use your tongue in prayer
       - would it be accurate to describe your prayer as being "alert?"


III. Pray With Thanksgiving

    - this is the fifth time in this small book that the subject of
        thanksgiving has come up.  (1:12, 2:6, 3:15, 3:17)

    - INPUT - how is "praying with thanksgiving" different than the way
         many of us pray?  (simply pray for needs)

    - INPUT - what's wrong with that?  (views God as some sort of "cosmic

                vending machine")

    - INPUT - When is this especially difficult?  (trials--the very time
               when I should be careful to give thanks--for the
               opportunity to grow)

IV. Pray With An Evangelistic Heart

    - Paul says in verse 3, "pray for us, that we would have an open door
        of utterance."

    - we're going to talk about this more tonight in our commissioning
       service for the Stilwells.
    - are we praying specifically for our missionaries, and for
        OURSELVES,
           - that God would give us a door of utterance
           - and that we would be faithful to "go through that door."

    - we will study this matter more thoroughly next week, but how would
        you do if we evaluated your prayers exclusively on this
        characteristic?

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

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