As you pray for yourself and family, remember to lift up those who labor in the word and live to reach others for Christ. You heart felt and sincere prayers will strengthen and help open doors for those called into the fivefold ministry.
Colossians 4:3-4 “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.”
This is an interesting comment from Paul who was in prison at the time and one similar to that of the Apostles in Acts 4:29 after they had been threatened to not speak the gospel by the “religious” Jewish priests. The world wants to shut the mouths of Christians from spreading the gospel because of the blindness of their hearts as I mentioned in Colossians 4:2. There are also numerous “religious” leaders of today, many of whom call themselves Christians who resist the preaching of the grace message insisting that it is only pleasing the flesh of the hearers. These “religious” are still trying to keep righteousness tied to works of the flesh and they are actually walking in spiritual blindness of heart, not being able to see into the spirit realm of God. This spiritual blindness which leads to works of the flesh for righteousness is the direct result of lack of thanksgiving and meditation of the good things of God, Philippians 4:6 & 8, Philemon 6, & 1 Titus 4:15. The mystery of Christ mentioned by Paul is fully expressed back in Colossians 1:27, “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” This hope of glory is the grace of God to receive complete salvation and be able to enter into His presence freely on our faith of Jesus Christ and the blood He shed for our sins. To understand grace is to understand Jesus’ perfect work on the cross.
Paul reminds us that he is in chains for preaching the gospel, but wants the opportunity to preach the gospel even more. Many Christians today walk in fear of ridicule for sharing their true faith with their friends, fellow workers, and acquaintances. In the US we are nowhere near the level of persecution as many of our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world are, but we are heading that way if righteousness does not stand in the streets. This Grace of God message has to start in your own backyard so to speak. Missions are great and I praise God for those who are called to go into foreign countries and risk their lives to spread the gospel. The problem is the spreading of the gospel in the United States is basically left up to TV and when a seeker stumbles into the right church. There are other religions that see the US as their mission field and two of them are “look a likes” to true Christianity. These two religions are anti-Christ in that they cannot say that “Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior”, the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Paul’s prayer needs to be ours as well that we too can make the gospel manifest as we ought to. Notice that Paul says that he should still be making the gospel manifest even after he is in prison for doing so. All Christians are called into a commission with Jesus Christ to spread the gospel in our daily lives. I am not saying that every believer is called into the fivefold ministry, but all can share their faith in Christ Jesus and as a whole Christians do not. The reason the ministry of the gospel is not fulfilled by the saints, is because there is not enough of the knowledge of the gospel of Christ in our hearts. Many may have it in their minds, but according to Jesus it is not what goes into a man that is of any importance, it is what comes out of the man’s mouth that reveals his true heart, Matthew 12:34 & Luke 6:45 “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”, and Matthew 15:18 “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.” What is in your mind that comes out of your mouth?
Here is the truth of spreading the gospel, Acts 4:1-8 tells us that the evangelism of the gospel was never meant to be done by churches, the pastor, or the clergy. Saul, long before he had his Damascus road experience after which God changed his name to Paul, thought he was doing a great work for God by persecuting the church at Jerusalem which scattered the believer’s abroad preaching the gospel; only the Apostles stayed. Saul did more for spreading the gospel back then most people realize. Had he not first disbursed the church into all regions around Jerusalem with his hate letters from the Pharisees, the spreading of the gospel would have been crippled. The gospel must be spread door to door, friend to friend, and acquaintance to acquaintance. Many Christians including pastors believe inside the church is where the gospel is to be spread, but Paul knew that evangelism had to be done outside the church building and by the saints, not the pastors and clergy. That is why he knew how he ought to speak, verse 4, and why he asked for prayer for the door to opened for him to go spread the word of God. Many people will argue that Paul was a pastor and taught in churches. No Paul was an evangelist and teacher preparing the saints for the ministry of the gospel. Read his words from Ephesians 4:11-12, “11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” The fivefold ministry was never meant to be the hierarchy of authority that some religious people try to make it. The fivefold ministry was given as servants to God and to the saints, “ for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry”. The fivefold ministry is to buildup, teach, and encourage the saints in Christ Jesus, the saints are the ones to spread the gospel with what they have learned and know in their hearts.
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