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Grace With A Dash Of Salt


"Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; 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; 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. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person."
Good Morning my beloved,
Welcome to worship! We're so glad to have all of brothers and sisters from around the word here with us today. We continue to all of you in our prayers.
"This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it."
As we near the conclusion of our study in the Book of Colossians, my primary goal today is not to heap more guilt on you, but to send you off on an expedition of grace. You already know by now, that the Christian life is the right way to live. Am I right?
Now, before you shut down and take your little mental guilt trip at the mention of prayer and evangelism, let’s allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us through this passage. I know we have all heard the messages on the need to pray and the need to witness, yet most of us struggle. Why is that? I believe its because we know we’re not doing enough. We know that prayer makes a difference, that we have direct access to God, the Creator of the entire universe, that we can have peace as we pray, and that without prayer, we are powerless. And yet, most of us don’t pray like we should.
Allow me to share something with you. Even though I love to pray, I find that there is nothing that my flesh resists quite as much as being still and seeking the Lord. Though communion with the Lord is life’s greatest pleasure, in the past, I have been know to neglect it as if it were not even a priority. Prayer is the greatest honor, the most supreme privilege we will ever enjoy on this earth, and yet, it is also the severest struggle we endure.

On one hand, prayer is simple. Yet, on the other hand, it is also the most difficult part of the Christian life. Ask any believer about their battles, and nine out of ten will tell you that maintaining a warm, deep, meaningful prayer life is one of their greatest challenges. Because many have struggled for so long, it’s often tempting to not pray at all. However, then we feel guilty for not trying harder to cultivate a meaningful life of prayer.

Let us bow our heads in prayer.
Heavenly Father,
Father, thank You for this Word for us today. I believe that You will bless and enrich our hearts with the truth that is about to be revealed to us. Thank You for Your grace, Your patience with us, as we struggle to become what You desire us to be, help O' Lord.

Lord, help us to be watchful, that we might be sensitive to the needs of those around us, and to act according to Your will, especially when they're not expressed to proud to ask. Help us see the needs of our brothers and sisters around the world, remind us to care and pray. Lead us Lord, to be faithful and consistent in our prayers for the needs of others, not just our own. Remind to be merciful, extending forgiveness toward others, as we our selves have been the recipients of Your mercy and forgiveness.
We pray this in Christ's name
Today's Message: Grace With A Dash Of Salt
How can we expect to experience the full-time joy and peace of the Holy Spirit when we are living as a part-time Christians? How can we expect to be always rejoicing in the Lord when we are living life for yourselves? Will the Lord continually fill a life with the Holy Spirit when our aims and purposes are so similar to those of the unregenerate world around us? We are to seek to serve God continually in our daily life. If we don’t, we will be living life for ourselves and not for God. The Christian life is an opportunity for adventure for all who will venture to take their faith opportunities seriously. In order to continually experience the joy and peace of God, we must be constantly walking in the wisdom and knowledge of truth of God. I believe it is only when we truly realize the grace of God, will we be brought humbly to our knees.

Open your Bibles with me to the book of Colossians chapter 4. As I began studying the verses for our message today, reading them over and over, it became clear to me that what is Paul is talking about, is that Christians should speak differently than the world around us. What comes from our mouth reveals what we are on the inside.
I would like to encourage you to follow along with me as I read to set the text in our minds.
"Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; 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; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.  Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.  Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person."

As the letter to the Colossians nears its end, Paul turns the emphasis to speaking with God, so that we might properly speak to others is stated. Verse 2 opens by encouraging us to devote our self to watchful and thankful prayer. "Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving"

To devote "proskartereo," means to adhere firmly, it implies unrelenting persistence, to be ready at all times. Devoted to prayer refers to a God consciousness that comes from walking with Him and relating each experience in life to Him.

Prayer is the most important expression of our New Life in Christ. It is the means of obtaining for ourselves and others the satisfaction of needs both physical and spiritual. It is a divinely appointed weapon against the sinister attacks of the adversary and his demons. The channel for confession of sin. The instrument by which a grateful soul pours out spontaneous adoration before the Throne of God on High.
Prayer is the power behind many people coming to Christ. The importance of prayer in seeing people come to Christ is often minimized today in our fast-paced society. That is probably why people are not moved by the Word and message of God. Their hearts have not been prepared first by the convicting power of the Holy Spirit to see their need. They believe they don’t need to go to church, they don’t see a need for the Lord. They think they can "do life" by themselves.
When God is at the forefront of your life, no matter what happens, instantly you respond by taking in prayer it to God. The instruction that Paul is giving us is actually quite simple: Keep praying. Don’t bail out. Don’t give up. Be committed. Be faithful. You may have dry times and days when you don’t know what to say, but keep praying anyway. In other words, Paul is saying, "Always be ready to break into prayer, and do it instantaneously, at all times." That’s precisely the admonition in I Thessalonians 5:17, where we’re exhorted to "pray continually." Thankfully, Paul doesn’t just leave us with just an exhortation. He also gives us some great advice as to how to remain devoted in our praying.
First, he says to "stay alert in it." This exhortation brings to mind the words of Jesus to His disciples the night before He was crucified in Mark 14:34, "And He *said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch." Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.  Watchful prayer provides the spiritual fortitude to face down temptation. Because Peter could not stay awake when he was supposed to pray, he fell in to temptation and denied Christ, just a few hours later.
Beloved, I ask you this: "Who will be more watchful? The one who realizes he’s in a battle." Because we are engaged in a spiritual batter, we need to stay on high alert at all times. I Peter 5:8 paints a real picture of the war we are in: "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."
Secondly, Paul instructs us to pray with thankfulness. Pray with thankfulness. We should never pray without thinking of something to thank God for. Gratitude is a stimulus to prayer. When we see answers to prayer, we will pray more. He’s given us so many things. We can thank Him for His presence, His provision, His pardon, His promises, and for His purposes. I have so many things that I am personally thankful for, in fact, in consumes the majority of my prayers. I give thanks for all of you, for the honor and privilege of being able to pray for you, for the call to teach His Word, for His Word, for the Holy Spirit Who enables me to discern the Word and so on.
Remember what Paul said in Colossians 1:3, "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you" And in verse 12, "giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light."
Verse 2 asks the question, "How do we pray?" and focuses on the characteristics of prayer. We do so with devotion, watchfulness and thankfulness. Verses 3-4 pose another question, "What do we say when we pray?" 
Let’s look at those, verse 3 and 4. "At the same time, pray also for us that God may open a door to us for the message, to speak the mystery of the Messiah, for which I am in prison, so that I may reveal it as I am required to speak." There are at least two things we should say when we pray. 

Ask for open doors. It’s amazing to me that while Paul is under house arrest he doesn’t ask for prayers for his release, or for better food, or anything like it. He simply wants an open door for the gospel message. Even though he was chained up in prison, he was able to effectively minister, however he needed the prayers of God’s people for the doors to open. I just love the picture. A prisoner telling a guard how to find freedom! My guess is that this inmate was praying for an open door, and he probably had others praying with him as well. Keep in mind, in Scripture, a door is an opportunity, or ability. Jesus opens and shuts doors for us as we seek Him in prayer. Paul too craved the prayers of people because he knew it would lead to increased opportunities to proclaim the gospel message.
Let’s pray that Jesus Christ will continue to open doors for this ministry and may they stay open and that He opens up even more opportunities to serve Him! God to give each of us open doors with the lost people in our lives. It brings tears to my eyes, to hear you guys pouring out your hearts on behalf of those you love  who don’t yet know Christ. And for those around the world, caught up in false religion, being deceived by the leadership with satanic doctrine. I am deeply moved to tears by your passion and amazed at how many people we are individually and collectively are praying for all around the world to receive salvation. It deeply touches my heart. I know that without the prayers of God’s people, I could never effectively serve the Lord. I humbly thank you for keeping me in your prayers!
Just think of the potential doors that can be opened, ­if we all pray for one another! 
I just love what I Samuel 12:23 says "Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way."
Next, we should pray for clarity. Pray for clarity. Once God opens a door, it’s essential that we have the ability to proclaim the mystery of Christ with clarity. The goal of evangelism is to make the cloudy clear. As we’ve learned in Colossians, the mystery is that Christ has died for the sins of the whole world, and that when we receive Him by faith, He comes to take up residence in our life. 
Would you please pray for me? That I would be able to effectively communicate the Word of God with clarity.  I can’t think of anything more comforting and reassuring than to know that  you are praying for your pastor every day.

When we speak to God about others, Paul urges us to be devoted, to be watchful, and to be thankful. When we wonder what we should say when we pray, we’re given two practical requests ­ pray for open doors and pray for clarity when those opportunities come. As we study verses 5-6, we’ll gain some insight into how to speak to others about God. This is where prayer dovetails with evangelism as we discover that our ability to impact people is directly related to the intensity of our intercession.

Verses 5 and 6, "Act wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person."
In verse 5, Paul focuses on how we walk. Then, in verse 6, he emphasizes how we talk. I believe that is a concern for the church today. We must balance the life we proclaim with our lips. In other words, the world around us should be able to identify by our speech toward those we disagree with that we are a true follower of Jesus Christ. What comes out of our mouths reveal who we truly are on the inside. We must be wise. Now, I believe to be wise in the way we walk means that we’re careful not to say or do anything that would make it difficult to share the gospel. Simply put, this means that we need to remember that those who don’t yet know Christ are watching us.

Romans 16:19 challenges us to be "For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil." Beloved, as Christians, we must be mindful about the way we conduct ourselves because people are making decisions about the validity of Christianity based upon what they see. When we pray, for God to  open doors for us,  let’s not shut them by our behavior.  We must make the most of the opportunities we are given to bring others to Christ. We must take full advantage of every opportunity we're given to speak for Christ, praying for Him to reveal them to us.

We must be gracious. In verse 6, the Apostle Paul challenges us to guard what comes out of our mouths. Our wise walk should lead to wise words: "Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.
I cannot stress enough, how important it is, that we communicate with words of grace when we speak with those who don’t know Christ. Unfortunately, many times believers go off on people who are living in sin. Or, we let loose about a moral issue in our culture, forgetting that there may be someone listening who is caught in that particular sin. When we’re filled with hatred and rage, people feel judgment and condemnation, not hope. This in no way means that we condone the sin, but speaks to how we should handle the conversation about it. 

If we are to claim that we are a follower of Jesus Christ, then we must exhibit behavior that is more like Him. And Christ was the perfect embodiment of both truth and grace. Even when He dealt with sin, He spoke words of grace. 

Luke 4:22 says "And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips; and they were saying, "Is this not Joseph’s son?"
Therefore, our conversations need to be seasoned with salt. When we talk to unbelievers about our faith, how can we not be speaking about the grace, love and forgiveness, that we ourselves have received? Our "seasoned speech," when talking about Jesus Christ, should cause the hearers mouth to water! I believe that our words are like a verbal offering to the Lord, just as our words of praise are spiritual offerings unto Him. Taking care to recognize that what comes out of our mouths is a sacrifice to God should help us to be both gracious and truthful.
I believe the key to praying and witnessing more, is to cultivate intimacy with Christ. To view prayer, as a way to express our love to Christ and recognize that He is even more eager to meet with us than we are to meet with Him.
Opportunities to share Christ with others abound, yet our words are often graceless. The best place to witness is where ever God puts you.
May it be so... 
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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