Reaching Out

Col 4: 5, 6

5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.

6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Paul never had a question as to how his world was divided. Although there were various divisions related to race and nation and culture, the primary division was Jesus Christ. Either you were inside or outside. There was nowhere else you could be. We have kind of lost that distinction. Many in the church think that unless you are a declared atheist, you must be a Christian. This is borne out in surveys were most of the people who never go to church or read their Bible think they are Christians.

But Paul understood that there was a vast difference between those on the inside and those on the outside. And here Paul is instructing those on the inside how to reach those on the outside.

I.         Walk in wisdom

            A.        Now we would all like to think we are wise.

                        1.         For some this is more shrewd, crafty, or cleaver.

                        2.         That is not the idea here.

                        3.         All those ideas have to do with benefitting ones self.

            B.        But this is not worldly wisdom of which Paul speaks.

                        1.         Paul is not looking for the Christians to come out on the better end of a deal here.

                        2.         He is looking at influence for good, for righteousness, for the kingdom of God’s sake.

II.        Toward those who are outside

            A.        Outside what some might ask?

                        1.         Outside of Christ.

                        2.         Outside of grace.

                        3.         Outside of hope.

                        4.         Outside of acceptance with God.

                        5.         Outside of righteousness that comes only through Jesus Christ.

                        6.         Outside of holiness, without which no one shall see God.

            B.        It is not that Christianity is an exclusive community that only a few can enter.

                        1.         Rather it is a community that has but one door, Jesus.

                        2.         It is a organization that has one Lord and Master, Jesus.

                        3.         It is a faith system that has but one creed, God’s Word.

                        4.         It is a group of the One.

                                    a.         One Lord

                                    b.         One Savior

                                    c.         One Redeemer

                                    d.         One founder

                                    e.         One Master

                                    f.         Etc.

            C.        The commission of those on the inside is to get those on the outside to come in.

                        1.         That is what Paul is concerned about here.

                        2.         He is concerned about the result of the lives of Christians on those on the outside.

                        3.         How are we affecting people who are not Christians?

                        4.         Do the want to have what we have?

                        5.         Do they want to be like us?

                        6.         Do they want to know our Jesus?

III.       Redeeming the time.

            A.        The term literally means to buy back or buy up.

                        1.         It comes from the word market, the place where you come to purchase things.

                        2.         We all have the same time. Paul goes into the open market and buys it up by using it rightly. See the same metaphor in #Eph 5:16. RWP

            B.        I think Paul is telling them to make sure that they use all the time they have.

            C.        He is telling them to not waste the time God has given us.

            D.        Jesus said that the children of the world were wiser than the children of light in some ways.

                        1.         Luke 17 1 He also said to His disciples: "There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. 2 "So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.3 "Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. 4 ‘I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.5 "So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?6 "And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.7 "Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ So he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.8 "So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light. 9 "And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home.

                        2.         What is going on here?

                                    a.         Is Jesus commending dishonesty and miss appropriation of anthers funds?

                                    b.         Honesty is not in view, wisdom is.

                                    c.         Jesus is telling us that we too are stewards and not owners.

                                    d.         We too must give up our stewardship and give an account.

                                    e.         Then let us use the things we cannot keep to gain eternal benefits that we cannot loose.

IV.      Let your speech

            A.        He refers to speech, not because it has the greatest affect but because it is one of our weakest points.

            B.        James 3:2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. 3 Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.

            C.        So then our speech takes special care.

            D.        Paul was observing that while the Christian fellowship does (and should) make some allowances for the mistakes of its own, the world will not. Christiansbehavior toward unbelievers should be above reproach. LAB Commentary

V.        Always be with grace,

            A.        Our words can be truthful but still gracious.

            B.        Our speech must reflect the claims Jesus has on our hearts.

            C.        If our words are cutting and cruel, how can we know the gentile Savior.

            D.        If we are prone to use our tongue to cut people up and destroy their reputations we do not understand why Jesus came to die.

            E.        Grace means we speak of them better than they deserve.

            F.        Grace means we do not tell everything we know.

            G.        Grace means we never jump on the gossip wagon.

VI.      Seasoned with salt

            A.        Salt has two uses.

            B.        One, it seasons

                        1.         Our speech should be the spice that adds good things to the conversation.

                        2.         It should not be that which spoils or ruins the conservation.

                        3.         Neither should it be flavorless for Jesus said that salt that has lost its saltiness is good for nothing.

            C.        Secondly it preserves

                        1.         It keeps perishable things from corrupting.

                        2.         Let our speech be so.

                        3.         When our speech comes into the conservation, then let it disrupt those words that would corrupt.

VII.     That you may know how you ought to answer each one.

            A.        Christians have done more harm to the cause of Christ by running down other Christians in front of non-Christians than any other cause we have to deal with in this world.

            B.        God help us to use our words to bring people to Jesus and not drive them away.

Our vision ought to be not ourselves but those on the outside. We need to do all we can to bring those outside to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.