“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” Colossians 4:2-6
Paul was not too proud to request people to pray for him to clearly present the “mystery of Christ.” He had been imprisoned for speaking about Jesus as the only way to be a child of God, and he didn’t want any opportunity to share the truth to be wasted. In his own words, Paul requested prayer on his behalf that, “I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.”
The one concern of the preacher is to keep the point of the message on Jesus. The major focus of a message is not on the messenger or the points of the sermon. Every sermon has points, but not every preacher delivers the message. The message is Jesus. Get the point?
Paul was called to deliver a message, not a sermon. He had a passion to preach about a personal relationship with Jesus. He shared the secret that would transform the world, one life at a time. This message is a simple one, but it can be lost in the fog of war. Satan doesn’t want people to hear and respond to the one thing that will keep them from crashing on the rocks. He wants them to settle for a religion without a relationship with JESUS, marked by consistent companionship.
Religion and relationship are two different things. Religion is a person sitting in a pew thinking about fishing. A relationship is a Christian sitting in a boat thinking about Jesus. Religion promotes great concepts about Jesus that fill the head, without engaging the heart or transforming a life. Relationship promotes consistent companionship with Jesus. A keen mind and a flaming heart are birthmarks of people in touch with and consumed by the fire of God. After embracing Jesus, believers are never the same.
Note to self: Fiery preaching thaws cold hearts. Avoid the thrill to chill.
Paul discovered the “mystery of Christ.” This great secret was God’s desire to fold into His family the Gentiles of the world. The people of Israel were chosen to light the way home for those who were outside of His love, and bring them inside.
The Jews had been given an inside track to the message of God’s love. Through His Covenant with Abraham, they were called to be a light to the Gentiles. Over the years they lost the point of the message and began to treat Gentiles as permanent outsiders.
God’s great secret was His willingness to send His own Son, Jesus, as The Lamb of God to remove the barrier of sin that separated people from His love. Through His Son, Jesus, God invites people on the outside to come inside, to receive The Father’s love. With open arms, God still desires to receive all those who are outside of His love, but are willing to come to Him in the name of Jesus.
As Paul closed his letter to the Colossians, The Request for prayer was a call for clarity. This kind of clarity can only be achieved by increased humility in the pulpit and improved intercession from the pew.
There ought to be a foghorn that sounds off above a pulpit every time a preacher feels compelled to say, “Let me clear.” It should trigger a flashing sign in every pew…PRAY NOW! When preachers in the pulpit and people in the pew pray together, there will be less mist in the pulpit and no more fog in the pew. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!