Talking To People About God, Part 1 April 29, 2013
I’ve been pondering (andwriting about) Colossians 3:3-6 for several weeks:
Prayfor us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaimthe mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that Imay proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in theway you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that youmay know how to answer everyone.
Verses 3-4 are primarily about talking to God aboutpeople. Verses 5-6 shift focus to talking to people about God. Notice what Paulhighlights first: “Be wise.” Sometimes evangelism requires hard intellectualwork. When people finally open up to you about spiritual things, it’s notuncommon for them to have at least a couple complex issues they are wrestlingwith. So you might find that it takes 10 hours of preparation to do 10 minutesof talking about God! But that’s where your time in God’s word and in church gatheringsand around Christian friends is so important. Don’t waste or neglect theseopportunities to grow in wisdom.
Have you ever thought about the implication of thispoint that the gospel is real and true wisdom? It is. The message we aresharing is not our opinion or values. These are the facts! Sharing the gospelis no more an imposition than it is for your doctor to tell you not to eat ratpoison. He’s not imposing his values on you; he’s using the truth to save yourlife! As one Puritan said, “Outside of Christ, God is terrible!” That’s not ouropinion; that is fact.
Notice as well that Paul says we should “make the mostof every opportunity.” It takes the pressure off a bit when we realize we don’thave to create the opportunity. We’re free to have normal, everydayconversations with people. And if we’re faithfully talking to God about people(remember verses 3-4!), God will often direct the conversation to Himself quitenaturally.
“Make the most” doesn’t mean, though, that we have tosay everything every time. A better approach is to leave people thinking,“Hmmm… That’s interesting. I’d like to talk to her about this some more.”Practically, this means we ought to provide clear places in the conversationwhere they could quite easily move on to something else, if they wish.