Monday, February 16, 2009

Is the Gospel coming out of you?

Read Colossians 4:2-6

The Gospel message must be received and planted in us and then it needs to flow out of us for others to see too!

Look at the word, Message/utterance. This means logos the word as in, “our God reigns,” the Gospel, the good news of Christ, who He is, and what He has done for you and me. This means the redemption that gave us salvation and the kingdom of God paid for by the work of Jesus, preached by the Apostles, and stated in the Bible that Jesus Christ suffered and then died as a sacrifice for our sin. He died for us and was buried; He then rose again to prove His divinity and power, giving us victory over sin and death. The Gospel is good news because it is the news of forgiveness of our sins through a free, unearned gift of God who reconciles us to Him. We have no means to earn it by our work, beliefs, penance, or self-improvement. It is only by Christ’s accomplished work (Psalm 16:10; Isa. 52:7; 53:8-10; Matt 5:2-11; 11:1-5; Mark 1:14-15; Luke 4:16; 7:18-23; John 3:16; Rom 1:3, 16; 2:16; 3:2; 5:8-11; 6: 1-4; 10:1-21; 15:19; 16:25; 1 Cor. 9:12, 18; 15:1-9; 2 Cor. 2:12; 4:4; 5:14-19; Gal 1:6; 3:8; Eph. 1:13; Col 1:5; 1 Thess. 1:5; 2 Tim. 1:10; 2:8; Tit. 2:11–14; Rev. 14:6).

The point that Paul gives us, is the call to Proclaim!

Meaning we are called to speak as a messenger of our Lord with gladness, to proclaim His Good News. This shows a passion for our faith and the conviction to know our Lord and do as He modeled and taught. We declare Christ in our lives as individuals and decree Him in unity as a local congregation. This comes from our Lord’s work that gives us an inner connection of Word and Spirit, solidified and known by the facts that we believe, His commands that we obey, and the promises that we can trust and will one day have (John 1:40-42; 2 Cor. 5:20-21).

This passage is also about what we do with the call, gifts, resources, and opportunities at our disposal. Paul was concerned that this church would be ingrown and unconcerned about other churches or personal opportunities to spread the Gospel. Thus, he implores them to keep him in prayer and be aware of open doors to let people know about the Gospel. This all starts with our obedience and willingness to do as we believe and to pray for open doors and the ability to be used. This passage is set in the context of a second set of aspects which we are to follow, what we are to put on and to put off, and what blocks us from our growth in Him and our character towards others. It is a laundry list of desires that can easily become who we are and distract us from our call. Since we are in Christ, we are to live in response to what He has done for us. Not out of obligation, but out of gratitude so we can, as Lazarus demonstrated, (Luke 11:44) take off the grave clothes of sin and put on His clothing. Although in whatever we face, we may think we are surrounded by our fears and the “I can’t do it” thinking may come into play, more importantly, we are surrounded and indwelt by our Lord!

We are called to go beyond ourselves and into the lives of others. We are to seek those who are saved and spur them on further in the faith. We are to seek those who are not saved and make Christ known to them by our attitudes, lifestyle, and deeds. The way we become a good effective witness for our Lord is to remember we are doing it for Him. It is about Christ’s work, not our efforts. Then, we can be better at walking closer to and wiser in Him and seeing the opportunities He has for us. We can do them, not by our abilities, but by allowing Him to work in and through us. Paul was in prison when this letter was written. He did not seek to be released even though he must have wanted to be; rather, he sought how the Lord could use him regardless of his situation. He sought opportunities for ministry not opportunities for his freedom. In other words, he placed the call of God over his perceived needs and desires, even if they were good. Perhaps, with such a mindset, we can grow ever so much more to see opportunities to make our Lord known and not just to make ourselves feel good (1 Cor. 16:9; 2 Cor. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:15-17; Rev. 3:7-8).

1. What are the qualities you like to see from people with whom you want to be friends? How is this like being contagious for the Gospel?

2. How can you be more effective and content in Christ’s Kingdom and be used more effectively and with more power?

3. What do you need to do to have a sense of gratitude for Christ? How can this fuel you, mold you, and encompass you so your day and life goes well?

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