Col 4:2-9 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here.
Paul's final instructions to the Colossians can be summed up in one word--missional. As far as Paul is concerned, the church exists to fulfill God's missional agenda to "declare the mystery of Christ". So these are his final words:
- Missional Prayer: Paul calls the church at Colosse to remain steadfast in prayer with thanksgiving. Missional prayer is not trying to get something from God for which He is most unwilling to give. Prayer with thanksgiving implies that our prayers are always answered because God has already intended for us to receive whatever we ask in Christ and for Christ. But most importantly, prayer that is answered are Kingdom and God-focused: "pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word to declare the mystery of Christ" (Col 4:3).
- Missional Lifestyle: Paul reminds the church that they exist for outsiders and therefore should adopt a missional lifestyle: "Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time" (Col 4:5). We are constantly being observed as God's people and our conduct and lifestyle must reflect the gospel's truths. We have to be careful how we speak among outsiders: "Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person" (Col 4:6).
- Missional Encouragement: Paul send Tychicus to the Colossian church to report on Paul's missionary progress in order to encourage them: "I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts" (Col 4:8). We are to provoke one another to love and good works.
So, let's take our focus off ourselves this weekend: let's focus on the gospel and how we can live a lifestyle "worthy of the gospel of Christ" (Phil. 1:27).
Father, the Gospel You came to proclaim through Your Son has been and is still the main reason for the church's existence. May You deliver us from self-centredness so that we may be kingdom-focused and Christ-centred. Amen.