Exercise in Evangelism 02 - How to Speak (Col. 4:4-6)
Exercise in Evangelism (02): How to Speak - Opportunities with Outsiders
Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962), the world-famous violinist, earned a fortune with his concerts and compositions, but he generously gave most of it away. . . .
Col. 4:2–6 - Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; 3 praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; 4 that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. 5 Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
01) We must walk wisely (v5). If we are to be obedient in evangelism we must cultivate wisdom in our conduct (lit. walk - peripateo) with those outside the Church so that we make the most of each opportunity. “Making the most” is literally “buying up,” as in a deal you can’t pass up. Evangelism should be done in a way consistent with the Gospel. This includes a sensitive prudence in relating to those outside and seizing each opportunity. We should be dependent on the Lord and ask Him to grant us wisdom. Seek opportunities with outsiders.
02) We must speak graciously (v6). If we are to be obedient in evangelism, we must cultivate gracious speech with those outside. This is qualified by the image of our words being “seasoned with salt.” The contrast is words that are harsh or bland vs those that are gracious, interesting, helpful, tasty or attractive. It is with wisdom and wit. Umami! We need wisdom (v5) to understand meaningful ways to address the culture (e.g., “be good” vs “be free”). Learn to speak about your faith with a gracious attitude vs a judgmental tone.
03) We must respond individually (v6b). If we are to be obedient in evangelism, we must treat people as individuals. Our response (apokrinomai) to “anyone who asks” for “the reason of the hope within us” (1 Peter 3:15) is to be tailored to “each” (hekastos) person and context. The foundation of this is to know the Word of God and to be sensitive to the culture and contexts. Grow in your ability to converse about Jesus.
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as receive a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more