How to put Christ first - Colossians 4



Colossians (chapters 1 - 2) shows that Christ is first. He’s first in creation, first in the church, and first in the resurrection from the dead. The word for "first" (protos), means first in time, and/or rank. The opposite of "first" is "doulos" (servant), "eschatos" (last), or diakonos ("through the dust", i.e. a servant). God's intention is that in everything, Christ should get first place.

Colossians also shows that Christ is all we need for salvation from the penalty, power, and presence of our sin. He’s fully God, in human flesh. He’s the total salvation package. We died with Christ to sin. We rose with Him to newness of life. In Him, we have everything we need to live a godly life. We don't need any "deep", mystical wisdom. We need to know Christ. In light of this, Colossians 3-4 tells us how to put Christ first in your daily walk.  You should put Christ first:

1. By devoting yourself to prayer (Philippians 4:2-3). We should be watchful and thankful in our communication with God. What should we pray for? Pray God will open doors for ministers to proclaim the mystery of Christ. Pray they may proclaim it clearly as they should.

2. By acting with wisdom (Philippians 4:5-6). This seems to be aimed at how we behave towards those who are "outside" the faith, but it could apply to believers as well. We have a limited time to minister for Christ on this earth, and we should make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt. Salt is a preservative, that helps prevent corruption. Spiritually, we should be a restraining influence in the public square, against immorality and sin. Grace is unmerited, or ill-merited favor. We should be full of ill-merited favor towards the lost and other believers, when we speak. Our goal should be to lead them to salvation and God's favor and blessing. We should also know how to answer everyone. Think about the needs of others before you meet with them, and prepare what you should say to them. If you get stumped by something they ask you, note the question, and find the answers later. Next time, you'll know how you should respond.

3. By keeping in touch (Philippians 4:7-9). We should want to know how other Christians are doing, especially missionaries, and those who are proclaiming Christ and serving God. Find out what's happening with them. We should also make an effort to keep others informed of our ministry and needs. They didn't have email or postal delivery in Paul's day. They had to send someone with a message. Since it's so easy for us to communicate with each other to day, we should keep in touch with other Christians.

4. By greeting each other (Philippians 4:10-15). Paul not only acknowledged them by name, but he recognized the work they were doing for the Lord. Our attitude towards other believers should be such that we want to greet them, and acknowledge them for their service to the Lord and us. We should also pray for each other (12). What kind of prayers was Epaphras was offering for other believers? He prayed the Colossians would stand firm in the will of God, mature and fully assured. When’s the last time you heard someone pray for such things? When’s the last time someone asked you to pray for their spiritual growth and maturity. We can certainly ask God for help with our finances and health, but isn’t even more important that we stand firm in the faith, and grow into spiritual maturity. We should pray for people’s souls, and not just their material and physical well-being.

5. By reading your Bible (Philippians 4:17-18). Paul assumed the Colossians would read this letter. He also wanted them to read the letter he sent to Laodicea. It’s good if you can go deep into God’s word, but at a minimum, we should be reading it. We should read it publicly. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

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