The past few weeks we have been looking at the letter to the Colossians and the world has been turned upside down by a virus known as the Coronavirus. It is important to understand that no matter how the world looks from a physical standpoint the Lord Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega. He is and was and will be! If you are struggling because you are out of work, sick, or simply are worried you will contract the virus remember to trust that if our faith is in Jesus Christ we will taken care of even if it looks dark and not possible at the moment. Jesus said…
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
I believe this message is timely for the current world crisis!
Chapter 4 of Colossians is in two parts: teaching and “practicing what he is preaching”, because of this I will only focus on the teaching part.
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Paul ends this letter with a few verses that are packed with wisdom for the Christian! I believe God wants to share two main ideas to us in this time of crisis:
Be Devoted to Prayer
Be Devoted to making the MOST of every Opportunity
These are always important, but today it is more important that we are DEVOTED to these four things Paul mentions. No matter what is happening in the world or what we see on the news if we are devoted, persevering, or waiting upon prayer we will be able to weather the storm in God’s Grace.
Be Devoted to Prayer
Paul writes that we must be devoted to prayer, but recognizes that prayer is not something done is a bubble. I have heard it said…
Faith is not Lying to yourself.
While we pray we must remain watchful or vigilant to what is happening. There is a peace that comes from keeping watch. It is important that as we pray we watch for the Lord to move and to speak.
Noah was a man who kept watch throughout his life. There are two main times in the life of Noah when he kept watch as he prayed or talk to God.
9 This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God. 10 Noah was the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
11 Now God saw that the earth had become corrupt and was filled with violence. 12 God observed all this corruption in the world, for everyone on earth was corrupt. 13 So God said to Noah, “I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence. Yes, I will wipe them all out along with the earth!
The Lord God and Noah had a close relationship, but the rest of the world was corrupt and evil. Noah kept watch for his family. He spent time with God, but that wasn’t enough to lead his family. He kept watch over the well beings of his sons and when the Lord planned to destroy the earth Noah’s sons joined them on the ark. Devote yourself to prayer, but keep watch for yourself and those around you.
Jesus said on the night He was betrayed
41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
We are weak and will fall into temptation if we are not keeping watch over our households. Noah spent much time with the Lord, but he also kept watch over his household so he and they did “not fall into temptation.”
The next place Noah kept watch was during the global crisis…I mean flood…
Noah and his family entered the ark and it rained and rained. They were stuck in the ark for 150 days. All the time Noah trusted and watched for the sign God would deliver them from the flood. In Genesis chapter 8 it says;
But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.
Noah did nothing until he was sure God was ready. No matter how long they were in the ark or in the middle of the crisis He prayed and watched for the sign that God was ready for them to exit the ark. After the watch receded Noah send out some birds. He sent the raven to be his eyes…watch for him…but it came back without any sign of life. Then he sent a dove, but it too did not find a sign of life. All the time Noah is trusting that God did not forget him, but he was doing his best to be watchful to be ready when God began moving again. Then he sent the dove out two more times once it came back with a branch then it did not return.
We must be vigilant knowing that because the answer hasn’t come yet doesn’t mean we should simply give up and not try again.
Devote yourself to Prayer and BE Watchful!
God is moving more than we know! This is the same as Noah; he was watchful over his family then he was watchful over his family and the earth. Most children’s stories jump from the dove not returning to Noah leaving the ark. However there is a very important action that Noah did before taking that step.
12 He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.
13 By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. 14 By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry.
15 Then God said to Noah, 16 “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives.
Noah was watchful and saw the earth was dry and it was ready for them to leave the ark, but he waited for the Word from the Lord to come to him before he left the ark. Noah was a man of prayer and who was watchful. We must pray and be watchful to the Word and moving of our Lord God! If we see things happening and it seems good or bad; continue to be devoted or wait upon the Lord Jesus Christ to give us the answer and direction. But if we are not praying and being watchful we will miss what God is doing.
Elijah experienced this on the mountain when a mighty wind passed, and an earthquake should the mountain, then a great fire burned through, but God was not in those. God was in the small voice after those. We must not allow the distractions of this life to sway us away from what God is speaking!
Back to Noah…Before the flood it said he “walked in close fellowship with God.” He was a devoted man, but while in the ark it does not say God talked to him until it was time to exit the ark. Don’t give up!!!
Noah was a man of prayer and was watchful to what was happening and for when God was moving. This is why he was able to be thankful when the time came.
20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it.
Have you ever prayed for something for a week, month, year, many years and it seems as though God is not listening?
Noah was in the ark for over a year! He was in the middle of his storm for much longer than most of us will ever experience. It has been a global crisis for a few weeks and it is wearing on people.
This is why we must be DEVOTED to prayer and BE watchful knowing that the day will come when we are rescued from our person ark situation and if we were faithful then when God speaking…
16 “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives.”
We can thank Him for protection and provision THROUGH the storm. Paul knew that life is not a cake walk, but it is worth it. Because we will be winners in the end if we preserver in prayer and commitment to Jesus Christ. But not sticking our heads in the sand praying (wishing) the rain and waves go away, but being watchful trusting that Jesus is our way and truth THROUGH the storm!
Follow Noah’s example Be Devoted to praying, watching, and being thankful for God seeking you through this global crisis!
Paul continues this section with
3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.
As you devote yourself to prayer remember your prayers should not just be for yourself but for those around you and those who lead and share the Gospel like Paul did. This leads into the next point.
2. Be Devoted to making the MOST of every Opportunity
5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Be devoted to making the most of every opportunity to share the love, grace, and gospel of Jesus Christ with those around you! We are currently living through a global crisis like we have not seen before, but that is not a reason to fear that is a time to build: build relationships, build families, build our witness, build our faith.
Noah did not hear the word of the Lord and panic! He heard Lord and began to build!
We, too, must make the most of this opportunity. We can see it as a crisis or we can look at it as an opportunity for God to show Himself in a powerful way to many people. We must have a different perspective and this comes from prayer, being watchful, and thankful; because we have faith that God will triumph over the earth! But be wise as Paul wrote; to be full of grace and season our words with salt. This is important because it is easy to go so far toward faith and prayer that again we put our heads in the sand and begin ignoring peoples pain and fears. We must make the most of these opportunities with grace and love; to build up those relationships not tear them down.
Jesus Christ is the giver of life and if the crisis has you in fear, panic, dread, or depression; know that He loves you so much that He died for you so you can have freedom from sin and death.
The story of Noah is a sad story. Many, many people died; they were living in sin and as enemies of God. Today we are living in a time when we will also experience death and on that day we will stand before God for judgement for our life. Those people were judged as evil, but Noah was judged as righteous. Don’t miss your opportunity to BUILD YOUR ARK! If you don’t make the most of that opportunity today you may be like those people who were swept away with the waves of that flood. Don’t allow the waves of fear, depression, worthlessness sweep you way.
Make the most of this opportunity to build your ark through the payment of Jesus Christ! If we will accept Jesus as king of your life He will put you on the ark because He has already died for you so when you find yourself at the judgement of God; Jesus will stand for you as your righteousness just like Noah you will be kept safe for eternity!
Devote yourself to prayer, be watchful and thankful so that you can make the most of every opportunity all the while listening and believing Jesus is your ark that you can ride to safety NO MATTER WHAT IS HAPPENING!
God Bless and BETheLIGHT!