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                     "THE EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS"

            Essentials For Living The Christ-Like Life (4:2-6)

INTRODUCTION

1. In the last two chapters in his epistle to the Colossians, Paul
   exhorts them to live the kind of life that demonstrates their faith
   in Jesus Christ as the "All-Sufficient And Pre-Eminent Savior"
   a. In Col 3:1-11, he describes the "basics" of Christian living
   b. In Col 3:12-17, he describes the Christians' "apparel"
   c. And in Col 3:18-4:1, he discusses "guidelines" to govern
      Christian families

2. Prior to making his closing comments, he now gives three exhortations
   to his brethren that I am calling in this lesson, "Essentials To
   Living The Christ-Like Life"

[Beginning in Col 4:2-4, then, the Colossians as well as all Christians
are exhorted to...]

I. CONTINUE IN PRAYER (2-4)

   A. PRAYER THAT IS "FAITHFUL"...
      1. As Paul writes, "continue earnestly in prayer"
         a. Just as he wrote to the Romans - Ro 12:12
         b. And also to the Thessalonians - 1Th 5:17
      2. That people faithfully continue in prayer was a concern of our
         Lord as well
         a. He taught a parable that men always ought to pray - Lk 18:1
         b. He was concerned that when He returned, He might not find
            faith on the earth! - Lk 18:8
      3. We have several wonderful examples to serve as role models...
         a. David, a man after God's own heart - Ps 55:16-17
         b. Daniel, a man greatly beloved by God - Dan 6:10
         c. Anna, an elderly widow blessed to see the Christ-child
            - Lk 2:36-38
         d. Of course, Paul himself- Col 1:9
         e. And also Epaphras, himself a member of the church at Colosse
            - Col 4:12
      4. Many people pray only when there is a crisis - may that not be
         true of us!

   B. PRAYER THAT IS "WATCHFUL"...
      1. Or as Paul put it in our text, "be vigilant in it"
      2. On several occasions, Jesus warned His disciples to be watchful
         in prayer - Mk 13:32-33; Mt 26:41
      3. So His apostles warn us...
         a. Paul, in Ep 6:18
         b. Peter, in 1Pet 4:7
      4. 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 - Col 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." - cf. also Php 4:6
      4. Let's be sure to "abound with thanksgiving"!
         a. Especially in light of Ro 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. As Paul requested of his brethren in Colosse, "praying also for
         us..."
      2. Prayers are often too general in their requests, lacking
         specific purpose
      3. But as here in our text, Paul often asked for specific prayers
         in his behalf - e.g., Ro 15:30-32
      4. From our text in Colossians and elsewhere, what specific
         requests can we make for those preach and teach God's Word?
         a. Opportunity ("an open door") - Col 4:3; cf. 2Th 3:1
         b. Wisdom ("as I ought to speak") - Col 4:4
         c. Boldness - Ep 6:19-20

[As we endeavor to live the Christ-like life, make the right kind of
prayer a crucial element!  Prayer that is:

               *  faithful
               *  watchful
               *  thankful
               *  purposeful

The exhortation in verse 5 of our text is also crucial to living a
Christ-like life, especially when among those who are not Christians...]

II. WALK IN WISDOM (5)

   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 - e.g.,
            1Pe 3:1-2
         b. The world is constantly making judgments concerning us by
            our conduct, and according to Jesus, this is their privilege
            - cf. Jn 13:35; 17:20-21

   B. ANOTHER REASON SUCH WISDOM IS IMPERATIVE IS "TIME"...
      1. To be exact, the lack of time!  - cf. Ep 5:15-17
         a. The time we have in this life is short
         b. We cannot afford to waste much of it through foolishness
         c. And there are some people who need Christ whose time left on
            this earth is even shorter than ours!
      2. So we need to "redeem" the time; i.e., make the most of the
         time we have

[Finally, as we consider these "Essentials To Living The Christ-Like
Life" found in our text, let's remember that it was said of Jesus that
people...

   "...marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His
   mouth." (Lk 4:22)

As His disciples, we should also...]

III. SPEAK WITH GRACE (6)

   A. THE POWER OF THE TONGUE IS VIVIDLY ILLUSTRATED IN JAMES 3...
      1. It effects the entire body - Jm 3:2
      2. It can have great destructive power - Jm 3:6
      3. It is inconsistent for us to use it for both good and evil
         - Jm 3:9-12

   B. THEREFORE WE NEED TO LEARN TO SPEAK "WITH GRACE"...
      1. As Paul also commanded in Ep 5:29
         a. No corrupt communication is to proceed out of our mouths
         b. Only that which edifies, imparting "grace to the hearers"
      2. Our speech is to be "seasoned with salt"
         a. Not to be confused with the "salty language" of some
            sailors!
         b. But rather speech properly flavored so that it well received
            by others
      3. We especially need to watch our language around those who are
         NOT Christians
         a. "that you may know how to answer each one" - Col 4:6
         b. "a servant of the Lord must not quarrel..." - 2Ti 2:23-26
      4. Are we as careful with our own speech, as we want others to be
         with their lives?
         a. Do we, who claim to be the disciples of Jesus Christ...
         b. ...speak the words of truth that come by Him in the same
            gracious manner He did?

CONCLUSION

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!

Speaking of the GRACE of God, have you taken advantage of what TIME it
is...? (cf. 2Co 6:1-2)
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