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Janet's Corner

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A Heart To See Others

Colossians 4:5-18

 

As we finish our study on Colossians, I want us to think on how Paul has given us a new perspective on God, ourselves and others.

Each of us sees things differently – from our perspective. You see circumstances and people from your position. For instance my perspective on what is happening in this room is far different than yours – because of my position in the room, as well as my focus and responsibility.

One position that can give us a common perspective is our position in Christ. Paul has encouraged our hearts and united us in love, as he has captivated our hearts – our attention – with a heavenly perspective from our position in Christ.

 

Read 3:1-4…As we look at everything – our circumstances, our lives, and others – Paul calls us to heavenly perspective, an eternal perspective. We are seated with Christ in the heavenlies – imagine sitting on a cloud – talk about a change in perspective. Well as we are seated with Christ in the heavenlies, the things of God should seem large to us. Things of earth should be fading away. As we gather together here around the Word of God, prayer, and worship, and as we encourage one another, we help ourselves and others maintain that heavenly perspective. This time together helps us keep God’s perspective! As we focus on things – life itself – from God’s point of view, a kingdom perspective, His qualities and characteristics spring up in our lives. Our attitudes and actions are renewed in Him. A kingdom perspective is a key to our relationships, attitudes and actions.

 

Read 4:2-4

We saw Paul’s kingdom perspective in verse 4. While sitting in prison, he asked the Colossians to pray that he might have an opportunity to share the gospel – to share the faith that actually was the reason for his imprisonment. Do you have this perspective? Whether it be in a time of illness, a time of trouble with your children, a disappointment, a time of unemployment for your husband or yourself, a change of responsibility – at home, your job or ministry- or a loss of someone you love? Do you see it as time that God can  use, that you can be used to bring glory to God?

 

Read 4:5-6

Paul doesn’t just ask for prayer for him to share his faith, but for the readers of this letter – you and I - to take the opportunities that are before us to share our faith with others. Just as Paul has a kingdom perspective of others around him, we need to also. Grasp those opportunities – Snap them up – don’t let them pass you by. When someone who doesn’t share your faith comes into view, look at it as a bargain you can’t pass up. The phrase here, Make the most of the opportunity, means to buy it up! The other day I couldn’t pass up buying gas at $2.89 a gallon. What a bargain!! I veered right off the highway, changing my direction and focus, because I saw an opportunity I didn’t want to miss. That’s how we are to look at sharing our faith with others – take the time and the occasion to tell them about Jesus!!! And your actions and words will be a key. Paul says conduct yourself wisely – walk with wisdom toward others, letting your speech be gracious to them and flavored with salt – with that which will preserve and perhaps even make your relationship with more flavorful. Our eternal perspective of ourselves will allow us to speak with grace, to give grace, to others. What have we learned about God’s grace toward us? He rescued us -others can be rescued as well. He bought us from slavery – others can be redeemed as well. He reconciled us to himself, when we were his enemies –and made us his friends! Is that your perspective for those you share your faith? Not only that they can become your friend, but a friend of God? God’s grace in our lives effects our graciousness to others. How you walk and how you speak are in themselves going to give you an opportunity to answer some questions. The last part of verse 6 implies that we will have “outsiders’ asking us questions about our faith – about your new life in Christ! Salt and grace can have an effect on your answer to them and their response!

Do you have a heart for those who don’t share your faith? Do you have a kingdom perspective on those opportunities to share your faith?

 

Paul closes his letter with examples of those who have kingdom perspectives. Think about people in your life that demonstrate these kingdom perspectives.

There is Tychicus (vs. 7) who is carrying this letter to the Colossians. He was a fellow believer and servant of the gospel, doing the will of God. On carrying this letter, he was to bring encouragement to their hearts –strengthening their faith.

Onesimus was carrying the letter to the Colossians along with Tychicus.  He was one of the Colossians who was actually a run away slave returning to his master. The letter of Philemon is written by Paul at this time and sent along with him. Paul was an advocate for Onesimus with his master.

Aristarchus was seemingly voluntarily in prison with Paul. He never deserted Paul whether it was a riot, a ship wreck or imprisonment. He was there ministering to Paul.

 

John Mark had deserted Paul on a previous missionary journey. He apparently is embraced by Paul, having overcome his first failure. He went on to write the gospel of Mark.

 

Justus, who as well as Mark and Aristchus, was a Jew, was an encouragement to Paul. I wonder how he did that as Paul was in jail…

Epaphras – the one who had started the Colossian church and was the one who prompted this letter from Paul because of his concerns for the new believers. Talk about a kingdom perspective – look at his prayer in verse 12-

Luke, the physician, was with Paul. What a valuable person to have traveling with them!  He was also the careful historian, writing the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts.

 

Demas was with Paul at this time, but would later fall away. II Timothy says he deserted Paul because he loved the things of this world. A man who lost his eternal, heavenly perspective.

 

A heart to see others from a kingdom perspective all flows from where we are sitting…
Are you sitting with Christ in the heavenlies? Are the things of God bigger than you or your circumstances?

 

Thinking on our theme for Colossians  - Captivate our Hearts - Paul warns us in Colossians that philosophy and empty deception based on tradition of men and the principles of this world can seduce or lead us away, can kidnap us…we can be enticed by these things allowing us to be the spoils of a war– a war for our souls - our very hearts. Paul says don’t get captured by these things…don’t be seduced by the wisdom of the world or the ways of man.

Rather be captivated or enthralled with God beauty and excellence. God would love to capture our attention, our love with who He is. To be captivated by Jesus is to be held in a positive way - not imprisoned, but free because of His love and grace.

 

Oh, that God could captivate our hearts, allowing us to set our eyes on Him - filling our hearts with thanksgiving, the knowledge of his will, with his wisdom, his preeminence, his holiness - with seeing God and ourselves and others with a kingdom perspective.

Where are you sitting?

 

And as Paul closed his letter to the church at Colossae, I close this time with you - Grace  with you…