Colossians


I could have used a solid hit from the “evangelism linebacker” today. I had a great opportunity, but I did not take it because I was blinded my selfishness and pride.

Tonight in our small group we had a great talk about evangelism, and I am stoked for the next opportunity the Lord gives.  Here are some highlights from our discussion:

Unless otherwise noted the Biblical text for the following points comes from Colossians 4:2-6.

1.  Pray for opportunity

2.  Go!  It may be right next door or moving a conversation to the next level or it might mean moving halfway around the world. (Matthew 28:18)

3.  Be ready to share about Jesus

4.  Be gracious in your conversation

4b.  This means to listen to what the other person has to say.

5.  Redeem the time – because I don’t know how long I will be here or anyone else for that matter – we need to proactively seek opportunity to speak for and about Jesus.

Colossians 4:2-6, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (NIV).

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My wife and I recently got to spend a few days in Asheville, NC. In many ways it is similar to our hometown Athens, GA. We stopped in a local bookstore, and I was looking for a good book to read while sitting on the deck and looking out at the mountains. I made my way to the Religion section (which was proportionately larger than most) and then found the “Christian” section. Of the 100 or so authors to pick from C.S. Lewis was the ONLY one who’s writings were worth the paper they were printed on – and his much more than that. So I am very thankful for Lewis – because the truth of Scripture he reveals is put in bookstores even when every other book in the “Christian” section is there to fabricate history and/or present a different Jesus.

I wanted to share, summarize, and expand on some thoughts in his famous sermon “the Weight of Glory”. When approaching this subject of reward for how we live the Christian life, we often think of 2 possibilities on either end of a spectrum.
On the one side we have a reward (a glory) that seems to us self-centered and arrogant, and on the other side a reward that seems frivolous and all-together inconsequential. (I mean what does it matter as long as I make it to heaven.) As usual with these sort of spectrums the biblical truth is no where to be found on it. The biblical truth is distinct – not a degree between 2 falsehoods.

C.S. Lewis in his sermon “The Weight of Glory” speaks of these things and helps us see the glory that the Scriptures give us with clarity of sight. The glory that God gives us is indeed this, “Well done my good and faithful servant…” It is as Col. 3:23-24 states, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”

The proper desire for this glory is healthy for all Christians to have. It is the natural desire of a child to hear her parents say, “Good job. I’m so proud of you!” and notice how she smiles and laughs and her face lights up like a jar of lightning bugs. It is this desire that is true and pure. (Lewis notes we are talking about the brats here.) It is very similar to the desire we should have to please our heavenly Father. It isn’t so that we can brag about our conquests and boast around like a peacock. It is so we can hear that strong Voice – the Voice we long for – say those precious and kind words to us… ”Well done my good and faithful servant.”

Lewis notes 5 basic promises we as followers of Jesus have been given. I will give Scripture to back each of these up and a call for how to live now in light of our future:

Future 1: we shall be with Christ (Colossians 3:1-4)
Now: don’t get stuck living for the temporary
Future 2: we shall be like Christ (I John 3:1-3)
Now: put away sin
Future 3: we shall have glory (Romans 2:6-11, 8:18)
Now: be persistent in doing good
Future 4: we shall feast with Christ (Revelation 19:6-10)
Now: be prepared to meet Jesus and rejoice
Future 5: we shall have some sort of ruling position in the universe (II Timothy 2:11-13)
Now: be faithful and endure

(Note that we have the primary promise – to be with Christ – and the other promises are descriptive promises of what that is like – so we don’t jump to our own (wrong) conclusions of what this will be like.)

Finally: Lewis concludes with such great power that we are to love God and love our neighbor. “There are no ORDINARY people…” His point is that we shouldn’t be overly concerned with our own glory, but we should be very concerned with the glory of others.  We are helping people become children of God or playing a part in moving them further away….that each person will ultimately be – eternally with Jesus or a hideous creature – eternally apart from God. We should take each other very seriously and should be burdened to help every one we can (as the Apostle paul would say) be presented complete in Christ Jesus.

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”   Colossians 3:1-2

All true followers of Christ were raised with Him.  What does this mean?  It means that as Christ rose in newness of life we who believe became participants with Him. He gave us a new life, a life that is to be centered around Jesus and the eternal as opposed to ourselves and the temporary.  We need to ask ourselves this question often, “do I have a heavenly or an earthly mindset?”  In a complex world that begs us to strive for bigger and better, for the here and now, for you and yours, Jesus calls us to something higher. He calls us to have a total “other world” perspective, and this “other world” perspective will cause us to live in this world a life of self-sacrifice, humility, and profound purpose: to love God and neighbor.  Today let’s seek this “other world” in prayer and practice.