1. In the last two chapters in his epistle to the Colossians, Paul encourages them to live the kind of life that shows their faith in Jesus Christ
a. Basics of Christian living - Colossians 3:1-11
b. Christians' apparel - Colossians 3:12-17
c. Guidelines to govern Christian families - Colossians 3:18-4:1
2. Prior to making his closing comments, he now gives three exhortations to his brethren to:
A. PRAYER THAT IS EARNEST
1. As Paul writes, "continue earnestly in prayer"
a. Just as he wrote to the Romans - Romans 12:12
b. And also to the Thessalonians - 1 Thessalonians 5:17
2. That people faithfully continue in prayer was a concern of our Lord - Luke 18:1-8
3. Many people pray only when there is a crisis - may that not be true of us!
B. PRAYER THAT IS VIGILANT
1. Or as Paul put it in our text, be vigilant in it
2. Jesus warned His disciples to be watchful in prayer - Matthew 26:41
3. Through "watchful" praying, we will not be caught unprepared by:
a. Satan, and the temptation to sin
b. Death, and the judgment to follow
c. Christ, and the glories for those who are ready when He comes again
C. PRAYER THAT IS THANKFUL
1. "with thanksgiving", Paul says
2. Throughout his epistle to the Colossians, there has been an emphasis on being thankful - Colossians 1:3,12; 2:7; 3:15,17; 4:2
3. As someone said, "We should thank God just as diligently in our prayers as we make requests of Him." - Philippians 4:6
4. Let's be sure to "abound with thanksgiving!"
a. Especially in light of Romans 1:21
b. Where we see that ingratitude was one reason why God's wrath was being revealed from heaven!
D. PRAYER THAT IS PURPOSEFUL
1. Prayers are often too general in their requests, lacking specific purpose
2. But as here in our text, Paul often asked for specific prayers on his behalf - Romans 15:30-32
3. From our text in Colossians and elsewhere, what specific requests can we make for teach God's Word?
a. Opportunity ("an open door") - Colossians 4:3
b. Wisdom ("as I ought to speak") - Colossians 4:4
c. Boldness - Ephesians 6:19-20
A. CHRISTIANS NEED TO BE CONCERNED WITH HOW THEY WALK
1. In other words, how they conduct themselves
2. We are to walk in wisdom especially "toward those who are outside"
a. By proper conduct, we can influence them for good - 1 Peter 3:1-2
b. The world is constantly making judgments concerning us by our conduct, and according to Jesus, this is their privilege - John 13:35; 17:20-21
B. ANOTHER REASON SUCH WISDOM IS IMPERATIVE IS TIME - Ephesians 5:15-17
A. THE POWER OF THE TONGUE IS VIVIDLY ILLUSTRATED IN JAMES 3
B. THEREFORE WE NEED TO LEARN TO SPEAK WITH GRACE - Ephesians 4:29
1. Our speech is to be "seasoned with salt"
2. We especially need to watch our language around those who are NOT Christians.
3. Are we as careful with our own speech, as we want others to be with their lives?
1. These three simple exhortations, if truly heeded, can have a powerful impact on our lives:
a. Our "prayer life" will likely be very different!
b. Our "walk" (conduct) will be noted for its wisdom.
c. Our "speech" will be a source of encouragement to others.
2. This is the essence of following Jesus Christ! To allow Him to so live in us that by God's grace we experience a transformation that affects every aspect of our lives!
3. Speaking of the GRACE of God, have you taken advantage of what TIME it is? 2 Corinthians 6:1-2
-- Don Treadway, June 2009 --