Colossians 4:2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; 3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, 4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. 5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. 7 Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. 8 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts, 9 with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening here. (NKJV)
In this passage, the Apostle Paul is writing of how Christians should approach non-Christians with the Gospel. He is writing this letter to the Christians at the church in Colossae while under house arrest in Rome about 61 AD.
Paul begins by writing “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving” (v. 2). Our prayers unleash the power of God to work in our lives.
This power is needed when seeking to spread the Gospel. We are unable to do so in our own power, and should not try.
Evangelism should aways be bathed in prayer. Only God can change hearts.
We should “be vigilant” in our prayers, always watchful, attentive to the will of God. Prayer requests that are in God’s will, will be granted.
We should always thank God, in advance, for His answer to our prayers. His answer may not be what we may like, but it will always the perfect answer, and the best thing for us.
Paul continues “meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word” (v. 3a). He is asking that the readers pray for the evangelism efforts of himself and those with him in Rome.
Paul’s prayer request is that “God would open to us a door” for their evangelism efforts. This is a reminder of the way God works.
Jesus said “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev. 3:20). Jesus knocked. He did not barge in.
Jesus knocked and waited for the door to be opened by the person that he wished to “dine with”, This was another way of saying that He wanted a relationship with this person.
God is always seeking a relationship with us. He began with Adam and Eve in the Garden, then with individual relationships with each of us on earth, and finally with each of us for eternity in Heaven.
On January 7, 1980 Houston Oilers head coach Bum Phillips exhorted the crowd at the Astrodome with his famous words “One year ago, we knocked on the door. This year, we beat on the door. Next year, we’re going to kick the door in.” While this attitude may work in the world of pro football, it does not work to spread the Gospel.
However, unfortunately, this is what some over-zealous Christians try to do. It does not work, and only results in pushing non-Christians farther away from Christ.
Christians cannot beat or kick on the door of someone’s heart. God is always working on that heart and, when the time is right, that heart will open to Jesus and His word.
Next, Paul writes ”to speak the mystery of Christ,” (v. 3b). God opens the door so that “the mystery of Christ” may be spoken to the non-Christian.
The “mystery of Christ” is that the Gospel, and salvation, is available to all people, Jews and Gentiles alike. The Messiah is not just the King of Jews, He is the King of all people.
Paul continues “for which I am also in chains” (v. 3c). This “mystery” is why Paul is in chains, under house arrest in Rome. The Jewish religious leaders rejected his ideology.
Paul continues with this sentence “that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.” (v. 4). As he continues to speak, and should, he preaches of this “mystery” to all who would listen.
This is what got him in trouble with the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, and resulted in him being imprisoned in Rome. Today, Christians can also get in trouble for speaking the Word of God, the Bible. It is called proselytizing, and is not allowed in many settings.
Next, Paul writes “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside” (v. 5a). He is saying that we should live our lives so as to bring non-Christians to Christ, and not to push them away.
Non-Christians look more at the way we live out our lives, than listen to the words we speak. We should always be ourselves, representatives of Christ, no matter what setting we find ourselves in.
Paul continues “redeeming the time.” (v. 5b). He is saying for us to make the best use of our time. Non-Christians are dying every day, without Jesus. Every day is precious.
Paul writes “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt” (v. 6a). As Christians present the Gospel they must be as careful with their manner of speech, as well as the words they speak.
We should speak “with grace”. Grace means undeserved and unmerited favor.
Even though we may be treated with disdain, we should not answer in kind. We should always be respectful and kind. We should speak the truth in love.
It is by keeping our cool and maintaining our thoughts “that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” (v. 6b). We will know how to answer any thing that the non-Christian may throw at us if we remember to speak in grace.
Paul completes this passage by introducing those who will be delivering this letter to the Colossians. He writes “Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts,” (v. 7-8).
He is sending Tychicus, a fellow Christian and “faithful minister” and a companion of Paul. Tychicus is to inform them of Paul’s circumstances and to learn the circumstances of the Colossian Christians so that he may comfort them.
Paul continues “with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening here.” (v. 9). Paul is also sending Onesimus, whom he introduces as “a faithful and beloved brother”.
This would be news to the Colossians, who only knew Onesimus as a slave who had escaped his master, Philemon, in Colossae. Onesimus is now returning as a Christian, and a fellow worker with Paul.
Tychicus and Onesimus would catch up the Colossian Christians with all the news of Paul and his work in Rome. Then, Onesimus would seek out his former master, Philemon, and deliver the letter that Paul had written to him.
Thus, Paul and his workers continue the work of spreading the Gospel. They do so by knocking on the door of every non-Christian’s heart, not by busting it down.
Online Bible Commentary