Continue In Prayer (Continuing our Colossal! Series)

Man Praying

I don’t remember where I heard this – I am sure it was in a sermon I heard – but it came to my mind as I was praying over and studying this final chapter of Colossians.

One Sunday morning at a small church, the Pastor called on one of his older members to lead in the opening prayer. The member stood up, bowed his head and said,“Lord, I hate buttermilk.” The Pastor opened one eye and wondered if he had made a mistake. The older gentleman went on “Lord, I hate lard.” Now the Pastor was totally perplexed. The Elder went on, praying “Lord, I ain’t too crazy about plain flour. But after you mix ’em all together and bake ’em in a hot oven, I just love biscuits. Lord help us to realize when life gets hard, when things come up that we don’t like, whenever we don’t understand what You are doing, that we need to PRAY AND WAIT TO SEE WHAT YOU ARE MAKING. After you get through mixing and baking, it’ll probably be something even better than biscuits. Amen.”

As we come to this last chapter of Colossians I can tell you many people – preachers included – have skipped over this chapter. Yet the Bible tells us that all Scripture is given of inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Colossians chapter 4 is the shortest chapter in this Book, but it isn’t unimportant. The focus of this chapter is prayer.

Every time I turn around someone is coming out with another PROGRAM, something that is supposed to revolutionize the Church and turn our culture around.

We don’t need another PROGRAM, we need PRAYING PEOPLE.
We don’t need another CELEBRITY. We need to CALL ON CHRIST.
We don’t need another PERSON. We need the POWER OF THE SPIRIT.
We need the PRESENCE OF GOD.
We need to get serious about PRAYER.

The Church began with PRAYER and therefore began with POWER. Jesus told a little gathering of 120 people – about the size of most small churches today – to go into an Upper Room and PRAY. On the Day of Pentecost the Apostle Peter came out preaching Christ and the 120 became 3120. Three THOUSAND souls gave their lives to the Lord Jesus that day. Was it because Peter preached a phenomenal sermon? Absolutely not! If you read Peter’s sermon in Acts chapter you’ll see that the sermon was only about 25 verses long. It wasn’t a long sermon, nor was it particularly eloquent. But 3000 people came to Jesus in a Jesus hostile environment that day. Why? Why? WHY? Because the Church prayed. Let’s read our text today:

Colossians 4:2-18 (KJV) Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; 3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: 4 That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. 5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. 7 All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord: 8 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts; 9 With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here. 10 Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;) 11 And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis. 14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you. 15 Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. 16 And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it. 18 The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.

1 Every Person Mentioned By Paul In This Text Is Someone Who Was Once Lost But Is Now Found. People Are Saved Only Through Prayer. No one is born saved. All are born needing to be born again. All are born in sin. King David – a man after God’s own heart – said:

Psalm 51:5 (KJV) Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.

No one is born saved. Every person who enters this life enters it naked, but also dead in trespasses and in sins. The Bible unashamedly declares:

Romans 5:12 (KJV) Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned–

Romans 3:23 (KJV) …. for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

If all have sinned, and all are in darkness and in the death grip of sin, then how can any be saved? How can the dead live? How can the blind see? How can the deaf hear? Only God can open the eyes. The Apostle said:

Colossians 4:2-3 (KJV) Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; 3 Withal praying also for us, that God would OPEN UNTO US A DOOR OF UTTERANCE, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:

Continue to pray, Church”. Pray that God will open the eyes of the blind. We are in a battle for men’s souls. Pray! The Bible says that Satan is continually standing against the Gospel, that Satan …

2 Corinthians 4:4 … the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

God must open the eyes. No one is saved because of the expertise of the preacher nor because of the beauty of the facility. The Pharisees were lost, and refused to come to Christ to be saved. They led the worship in a beautiful Temple. They followed hard after religion, and did all the acceptable rituals. No one but the Holy Spirit of God can open the eyes of the blind. The Apostle said “With all – with all other believers – PRAY FOR US that GOD would open unto us a DOOR OF UTTERANCE to SPEAK the MYSTERY of CHRIST”. Oh Beloved, I wish that you all understood how important your prayers are to the success of God’s Gospel.

Prayers open doors.
Prayers open hearts.
Prayers empower the preaching.
Prayer releases the Spirit.
Prayer opens the eyes of the heart and the ears of the soul.
I have heard people say “Oh that my child or my loved one would be saved”
Have you prayed for them? Do you continue in prayer for them?

The Gospel will save whosoever calls on His name – but THEY MUST CALL. We cannot save them, but God can. But their eyes must be opened.

  • TYCHICUS came to Christ because God intervened. Tychicus was a Roman who gave his life to Jesus. The Apostle said of Tychicus that he …

Colossians 4:7-8 (KJV) … is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord: 8 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts;

Who was Tychicus? He was someone who was born into this world lost, but born again by faith in Christ. Saved by faith in Jesus, he became through the operation of God’s Spirit a beloved brother, a faithful minister, and a fellow servant in the Lord. Tychicus was gifted with the ability to encourage and build up others. Paul sent him to Colossi to comfort their hearts.

  • ONESIMUS is a runaway slave that came to God in Christ by faith.

Colossians 4:9 With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you.

Onesimus was a slave to a Christian named Philemon of Colossi. Only in America was slavery a white and black thing. In the ancient world conquered people were often made slaves. Onesimus was someone who had been conquered, and who ran away from his master Philemon.

Running Away From Philemon, Prayer Brought Onesimus Face To Face With Christ

When Onesimus gave his life to Jesus the Apostle sent him back to Philemon carrying a letter. That letter is found in our Bibles, and encourages Philemon to receive Onesimus as not a slave but now a brother in Christ, saved by the Blood of the Lamb. Tychicus went with Onesimus to Colossi to see Philemon. The Bible says:

Galatians 3:26-28 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Oh how I wish I had time to tell the story of each of these precious Saints that we will one day see in Heaven. Read with me:

Colossians 4:10-14 (KJV) ARISTARCHUS my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and MARCUS, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;) 11 And Jesus, which is called JUSTUS, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me. 12 EPAPHRAS, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis. 14 LUKE, the beloved physician …

  • Aristarchus who was arrested with Paul for preaching the Gospel
  • and Marcus or John Mark who abandoned Paul during his First Missionary Journey. The Bible says in Acts 13:13 that John Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem. John was uncomfortable with carrying the Gospel to the non-Jews so he abandoned Paul and Barnabas (his uncle). Eventually John Mark returned to the faith, and became a blessing to Paul and the Church.
  • Justus is a converted Pharisee
  • and Epaphras of whom little is known, but he is loved of God in Christ.
  • Luke is a Gentile Doctor, the Blessed Physician, who accompanied the early Apostles and recorded the work of the Gospel in the books of Luke and Acts.

Prayer opens the heart doors. Oh that believers would pray! When we pray lives are changed. When we pray OUR LIVES are changed. When we pray our community changes. Prayer changes lives.

2 How Does God Ask Us To Pray? Prayer is not to be a spare tire that we pull out only when we get in trouble. We are told

Colossians 4:2 (KJV) CONTINUE in prayer …

a We Who Are His Children Are To DEVOTE Ourselves To Prayer.

The word translated “continue” is the Greek Present Active Imperative of προσκαρτερέω (proskartereō) which means “be steadfast in” or “devote yourselves to”. This is a command, not an option. The Bible says “keep on devoting yourselves to prayer”.

Be persistent. The Apostle commended Epaphras …

Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always LABORING FERVENTLY FOR YOU IN PRAYERS, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

Persistent prayer is like a wrestling match. It is a LABOR OF LOVE. Epaphras kept on praying for the Church at Colossi that the Church would succeed in the world, being the Light that Christ meant it to be.

Are you praying for your Church?
Are you praying for its workers?

The early Church grew by leaps and bounds because:

They all joined together CONSTANTLY in prayer” (Acts 1:14).

They DEVOTED themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42).

Pastor S.D. Gordon wrote: “The greatest thing anyone can do for God and man is pray. It is not the only thing, but it is the chief thing. The great people of earth are the people who pray. I do not mean those who talk about prayer; nor those who say they believe in prayer; nor yet those who can explain about prayer; but I mean those people who take time to pray.”

God loves to hear from His Children. We are told in …

Proverbs 15:8 (KJV) The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the PRAYER OF THE UPRIGHT IS HIS DELIGHT.

God loves to hear from His Children, adopted by faith in Christ. He “delights” in our prayer. We are told in

Isaiah 65:24 (KJV) And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

The Bible tells us in Revelation 5:8 that God keeps the prayers of His Saints in a golden bowl in Heaven. Oh how God would bless if we would but pray. God is glorified when He answers our prayers. His power is magnified. God wants us to understand that He is the El Shaddai, He is the God Who provides, He is the God Who Sees, the El Roi. When we pray we recognize that we are helpless but He is mighty to help. We recognize that we are powerless but He is Almighty.

b We Who Are His Children Are To BE ALERT In Our Prayers. We read:

Colossians 4:2 (KJV) Continue in prayer, and WATCH in the same with thanksgiving;

Be alert and pray. Pray frequently. Pray without ceasing. Pray!

Speak to Jesus your High Priest. If you are saved by faith in Christ He is our Advocate.

1 John 2:1-2 (KJV) My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, WE HAVE AN ADVOCATE WITH THE FATHER, JESUS CHRIST the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Jesus Christ died for our sins, and rose again to be our Advocate and High Priest. The Bible says that you are kings and priests unto God:

Revelation 1:5-6 (KJV) And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and PRIESTS UNTO GOD and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

You, dear Christ Follower, are a King because the King of Kings died for you. You are a Priest because Jesus Christ your High Priest has brought you into the Family of God. We pray because of who we are and because of Who He eternally is. Prayer keeps our eyes on the Lord Who loves us and protects us. One of the people that Paul mentions in this text is a man named Demas. Of the others mentioned in this text Paul commended nearly every one – but he had little to say of Demas. We read:

Colossians 4:14 (KJV) 14 …. and Demas, greet you.

Demas says “Hi”.

That’s it. Who was Demas? Demas was called a fellow laborer by Paul in the Apostle’s letter to Philemon:

Philemon 24 (KJV) Marcus, Aristarchus, DEMAS, Lucas, my fellow laborers.

He’s mentioned with John Mark (the writer of the Gospel of Mark), Aristarchus (imprisoned with Paul for preaching the Gospel), and with Luke (the Gentile Physician who wrote Acts and the Gospel of Luke). Demas is in GREAT company. There are great believer’s with him. Yet when Paul writes to to the Colossians he merely says of Demas

Demas says “Hi”

Why was that? Because Demas had begun to backslide. Look around the Church of God and you’ll find someone whose name will begin with “whatever happened to”. You know what I mean. “Whatever happened to _____”.

I had a Deacon years ago at another Church that loved to come into my office on Monday morning. Every time I saw him I’d roll my eyes. Monday’s are hard days for Pastors. Some people make it harder. Nearly the first words he’s say every time he came was …

Whatever happened to …”

then he’d throw a name in there. I’d tell him “I don’t know”. BUT I DO KNOW. They walked the walk of Demas. They professed Christ, they joined the Church, then they disappeared off the face of the map. What was the problem? I guarantee you the problem is they slipped away from God. They ceased praying. They stopped looking to the Master. When the Apostle wrote his letter to young Timothy he wrote:

2 Timothy 4:10-11 (KJV)10 For DEMAS HATH FORSAKEN ME, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica … 11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.

Demas hath forsaken me. He has wandered from the Church. He loved this PRESENT world. He is not living for the Master nor for His Kingdom, but for “THIS PRESENT world”. He stopped praying. He stopped seeking Christ’s face. He turned his eyes from Jesus and instead chose this world.

We need to watch and pray. If you are Christ’s then you need to watch and pray. Peter tells us that we need to be …

1 Peter 5:8-9 (KJV) Be sober, be vigilant; because YOUR ADVERSARY THE DEVIL, AS A ROARING LION, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom RESIST STEADFASTLY IN THE FAITH, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

The Devil is always looking for someone to destroy. He looks – like a roaring lion – for the sheep that have wandered from the Shepherd. If you stay close to Him, close to Jesus the Great Shepherd of the sheep, you cannot be harmed.

Prayer is the cry of the sheep.
Prayer is the call to the Great Shepherd.
Jesus will not chase you. He loved you, but He will not chase you.

God our Savior says in Jeremiah 33:3 :Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Be watchful. Pray. Keep your focus on Jesus, or else become a “Happy Meal” for the Devil!

c We Who Are Christ’s Children Are To Pray With THANKFUL Hearts.

Colossians 4:2 (KJV) Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;

Prayer will fill your heart with thankfulness. Prayer will remind you – as it does me – that the trials of this life are only temporary. Prayer reminds us that this world is but a passing place. One day we will pass from Here to There,

from Corruption to Incorruption
from Sin Infested to Eternally Blessed
from Weakness to Power

One day we will be with our Jesus forever. One day we will be given glorified bodies, and sinless souls. One day we will walk in eternal day and leave this sometimes endless night.

Psalms 107:1 (KJV) O give thanks unto the LORD, for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.

Ephesians 5:20 (KJV) Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Hebrews 13:15 (KJV) By {Christ} therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. I am looking for the Church. Most of what I see today is not the Church, but clubs, where members sit in padded pews and drink deeply of self. I am looking for a people willing to be righteous not self righteous, serving not served, In short, I am looking and praying for a people who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. I hope I find this people before it's too late.
This entry was posted in General. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s