Dear Cornerstone brothers and sisters,
What a joy it was to worship our savior last Lord’s Day as we considered his resurrection and what it means for the Christian life. But the even better news is … that we get to do it again this Lord’s Day!! In one sense, each Sunday is resurrection day! This Sunday, however, we will be back in Mark looking at another confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees from Mark 7.
Also for adult Sunday school, after a 6 week break, we will jump back in where we left off in Ezra 6.
If you haven’t been able to make it to Sunday school, this week would be a great week to join us as begin a new-old series!!
Finally, this week’s devotion is a reflection from Colossians 4 on the theme of evangelism and the Christian life.
As always, I look forward to worshipping with you this Lord’s Day and never hesitate to give me a call with any questions, prayer request, or concerns.
From the Pastor’s Desk
“Walking and Talking”
Colossians 4:5, “Walk in wisdom towards outsiders, making the best use of the time.”
As the Apostle Paul brings his letter to the Colossians to a close, he leaves the young church there with a final evangelistic appeal. And the simplicity and the clarity of his instruction provide an excellent model for our evangelism today. To summarize, Paul focuses on two aspects of life: our conduct (v. 5) and our speech (v. 6). And he uses two Biblical qualifier to describe them: wisdom and grace. Put simply, Paul enjoins the Colossians to live wisely and to speak graciously.
First, the Colossians are to “walk in wisdom towards outsiders” (v. 5a). According to Scripture, one’s walk is the pattern of his life – the general tenor of his life – whether for the glory of God or for the glory of self. Thus, a godly walk is a life lived in the presence of God (Gen 17:1; 2 Cor 5:7; Gal 5:16; Rom 6:4; 8:4) and unto the glory of God. Paul writes that we should walk in wisdom towards outsiders; that is, we should live conscientiously and purposefully towards the lost. As the manner of our conduct reflects the condition of our heart, so the grace in our hearts must be demonstrated through our wise and purposed living in the presence of a lost and broken world. Paul crystallizes what he says by the phrase, “making the best use of the time” (v. 5b). This could be translated literally, ‘buying up the time.’ Paul employs the language of business or the market-place – language that connotes also an eagerness of attitude. In other words, just as the businessman is engaged, active, and eager in the discharge of commerce, so we must be engaged, active, and eager as we live our lives reflecting the glory of Christ to the lost sinner next door or down the street.
Second, the Colossians’ speech is to be “gracious, seasoned with salt” (v. 6a). Perhaps the chief way by which we reveal who we are is through our words (Matt 12:34-37). God is a personal God and He is a God who speaks. And He reveals himself to us through his word. Christ – the ultimate revelation of God – is also designated the Word of God (John 1:1-14). And as we are God’s image bearers (Gen 1:26-28), we are personal and communicative creatures revealing who we are through the words we speak. Put another way, words are not merely syllables put together, but they are revelatory of who we are. Thus, Paul says our words should be filled with the grace that fills our hearts. Moreover, our words are to be ‘salty.’ In the Ancient Near East, salt was both a preservative and a flavoring agent. Our words should have a ‘gracious flavor’ to them – they should have a ‘gracious punch’ to them. And the Lord uses such language both to restrain the sin around us and to point others to the gospel. Finally, the same words are not always applicable to the same individual. Thus Paul’s closing remark in this passage that we would “know how [we] ought to answer each person” (v. 6b). As people are different, so the words we will speak to them are different. Perhaps a gentle encouragement will break the hard heart of this neighbor; or a simple question (“Why would you think that?”) will restrain a sinful action of that neighbor. But ultimately, whatever words we speak should reflect the love and grace of Christ that brought us from death to life (cf. 1 Pet 3:15-16).
Paul sits in prison as he writes his letter to the Colossians. Yet his heart still burns with an evangelistic zeal. May we know something of that same zeal! May we conduct ourselves with wisdom and may we speak with grace. God’s grace captured us. Thus, may we reflect that grace to a watching world!