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Friday, May 5, 2017

Be Careful How You Speak to Outsiders

 

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:5-6

 

Regarding people who are not members of the church:

1.    Walk in wisdom.

2.    Make the best use of your time with them.

3.    Let your speech be:

a.    gracious.

b.    seasoned with salt. Salt does two things: it gives flavour, and it preserves. But also, ‘speech seasoned with salt’ was a figure of speech used in the ancient world of speech “dotted with witty or clever remarks.” (Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament). But wit can be a turn-off, so be careful!

4.    So that we may know how to answer each person. All people are individuals, and therefore different.

 

Question: How does gracious speech, that is seasoned with salt, enable us to know how to answer people outside the church? We ask this question because the text says that we speak with grace, also seasoned with salt, or even ‘seasoned with the salt of grace,’ so that we always have the right answer for people. It’s quite difficult to know exactly what the verse is saying. But perhaps the point of Colossians 4:5-6 is that the more we answer people’s enquiries in a gracious way, the more we learn from experience how to respond to those who challenge or question us. In other words, we should answer enquiries in such a way that we do not drive people away, but, instead, surprise them and even attract them when we do not appear defensive. Add some flavour to your conversation! Aim to build a friendly, lasting relationship – more than just a one-off, passing comment. Appropriate for each individual, rather than the same response to everyone. For example, trying to force Jesus on people, instead of gently trying to introduce Jesus to them, will rarely be seen as gracious or seasoned with salt. I’ve tried both methods. Do you recall Peter saying that we should always be prepared to make a defence to those who ask us to give a reason for the hope within us – but with gentleness and respect? 1 Peter 3:15. Ah yes – gentleness and respect, grace and salt. Flavoursome evangelism, not bullyboy tactics. It all sounds a bit like Romans 12:17-21. Never respond as though you’re feeling threatened. And observe that in Colossians 4:4, Paul asks for prayers so that he can proclaim the gospel clearly. Think about how you speak as well as what you speak. And how you answer as well as what you answer! Matthew 12:34-37 and James 3:17-18 have some helpful thoughts.

 

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

 

Someone coined this gem: "It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought of as a fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubts!!"

 

We learn much from studying how Jesus responded to questions he was asked. Sometimes he answered a question by asking a question. Sometimes he used a parable. But he always challenged people to think about where they stood with God. That’s what we should strive to do. As nicely as possible, challenge people to think about where they stand with God. We should always want to save a soul, rather than win an argument.

 

And isn’t that really what it means to have our speech always with grace … the saving grace of God in Christ?

 

 

Salvation Explained Properly: You’re mad if you don’t read this!

 

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:9-10

 

Why salvation? What does salvation or being saved mean? Why did Jesus come to save us? Why is it so important?

 

“Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of

death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:54-57

 

We all die, but it’s not so simple – for all of us have lived lives that contained a lot of sin. Death has a sting in it,

and the sting is sin. Ouch! If something is not done about it before we die, that sting means eternal destruction

in hell. “The power of sin is the Law.” God’s law. God’s broken laws come back and bite us at death and judgment

unless atonement has been made for us.

 

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and

body in hell. Matthew 10:28

 

when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marvelled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10

 

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen. Galatians 1:3-5

 

Salvation is a rescue from the power of sin - whose ultimate power is in God sending its victims to hell. If we don’t trust in Jesus to rescue us by freeing us from our sin, we will all die in our sin, with hell awaiting us. Hence the following discussion between Jesus and some Jews:

 

So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father. So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” As he was saying these things, many believed in him. So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house for ever; the son remains for ever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:21-36

 

That long Scripture contains the crux of the matter. Jesus has come from above where His Father God dwells. He came on His Father’s mission with His Father’s words. Jesus came without sin to set us sinners free from our sin. To be set free from sin, we sinners must believe in Jesus and obey Jesus.

 

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, Hebrews 5:7-9

 

--David Hunter

 

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