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The Power of Words and Speech: Colossians 4:5-6

The Power of Words and Speech: Colossians 4:5-6
“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.” Colossians‬ ‭4:5-6‬ ‭ It is instructional how Paul moves from asking prayer for open doors to conducting yourself with wisdom toward outsiders. Casual contacts with strangers can lead to open doors for the gospel. Never prejudge people.
He then moves into grace infused speech. He says we should season our words as if with salt. He is not talking about flattering speech. He is simply pointing out the way we talk and the words we use can open or close doors. Our speech can build walls or construct bridges.
Ephesians 4:29 reminds us that our words can impart grace to people. Unwholesome and vulgar speech should be off limits for the child of God. The same is true of personality attacks.
We will most likely wrangle about concepts, ideas and differing opinions until consensus is reached, but personal put downs, digs and insults should be off limits. The key is to speak the truth in love and be ready to forgive.
Also, remember that most people need time to process, especially when they first hear a new concept or idea. Sharing the gospel is often compared to planting seeds. (See Mark 4:13-20) Seeds need time to take root and grow before they can produce a harvest. This is true of the gospel and many things in life.
Good thoughts and ideas will produce a harvest in the long run if you allow time for processing to work. I have seen numerous occasions where the worse critics become the greatest proponents “over time.” Forcing the process is of little value. Rather, season your speech as with salt and give time for God to work.
Years ago I walked into a chemistry class and the professor had a quote on the screen that illustrates this process. It said, “The human mind once stretched by a new thought or idea can never again return to its original dimension.” Be patient with the stretching process. It can be painful and will take time!
The old indium says, “The pen is mightier than the sword!” Gracious words over time brings better results than force. Never stop working on your communication skills and allow others time to process.
Also, allow yourself time to process as well. You will often be the one God is trying to stretch. Change takes time for all of us! I have often been the one kicking and screaming when first hit with a new thought or idea. Today I am an advocate of many things I formerly use to oppose and criticize. Am I double minded? Not at all, I’ve changed.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Devote Yourself To Prayer: Colossians 4:2-4

Devote Yourself To Prayer: Colossians 4:2-4
“2) 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) in order that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.” ‭‭Colossians‬ ‭4:2-4‬
Prayer changes things. It invites God to be the center and not the fringe. God centered activity is very different from self-centered activity. The word “devote” simply means that you faithfully cling to God in everything. Prayerless activity is Godless activity no matter what the activity entails. I maintain that all things go better when God is consciously invited to be at the center of it!
Maintaining an attitude of thanksgiving is important because it averts the “self pity party.” It ensures that God and others are considered in the matter. It forces us to see life through a different set of lenses.
The most important part of praying is asking God to open doors for the gospel. Keep in mind, Satan actively works to hinder the gospel. (See 2 Corinthians 4:3-4) This is true in Christian living, personal evangelism and formal ministry. Satan will do anything to hinder and marginalize the gospel. Every Christian should be motivated to advance the gospel.
Prayerless ministry is powerless ministry. Prayerless living is Godless living. Prayer is not about prayer… it is about God. Prayer was the fuel that powered ministry in the early church. Read Acts 4:29-31 and Acts 6:4. Intercessory prayer is directly connected to unction and anointing in ministry.
God honors prayer to open closed doors, change the spiritual climate over entire regions and soften people to the gospel. Coming boldly before the throne of grace invites the power and presence of God to undergird our lives and ministry. This kind of praying moves us to the center of Gods agenda rather than merely asking Him to bless our agenda.
The difference between Spirit anointed ministry and carnal ministry is profound. Spirit anointed ministry overflows with the presence and power of God in such a way that a sense of awe falls or comes over the people. (See Acts 2:43) Many begin to respond to the gospel and God shows up in miraculous ways. God and not man is in the drivers seat of this kind of ministry.
By contrast, carnal ministry is filled with self, stress, conflict, strife, grumbling, complaining, contention and personal agendas. The Spirit of God is grieved and marginalized. The emphasis is on “our plans and programs” and not the mind of Christ. Little of heavenly significance happens in these churches. I am at the place of loathing carnal ministry. It is an utter disservice to Christ and the gospel.
So how can you discern the difference between anointed and carnal ministry? Look at the emphasis on prayer, praise and worship in the life of the church or ministry. If prayer and worship is mechanical, approached with mere lip service and the Holy Spirit is marginalized… it is a sure sign it is a carnal ministry. But when Jesus Christ is exalted and sought with a sense of priority and urgency and the Holy Spirit is in the drivers seat, be ready for the overflow of heaven to baptize both the people and the ministry. The difference is profound!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

The Gospel Changes Culture: Colossians 3:22-4:1

The Gospel Changes Culture: Colossians 3:22-4:1
“22) Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23) Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24) knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. 25) For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality. 1) Masters, grant to you slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven. Colossians‬ ‭3:22-4:1
Some people are offended that the Bible talks about slavery. It was a universal practice in the ancient world. Changing culture and society is a monumental task, but that’s exactly what the Gospel and Christianity did in the Roman Empire.
The concept of slaves honoring their master and masters treating slaves with dignity and respect was foreign thinking in Rome. The book of Philemon adds the concept of brotherhood to the discussion. When both the slave and the master became Christians, they were suddenly brothers in Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 7:21, Paul encouraged slaves to work toward freedom. Ending slavery soon became the goal of the early Christians. Shortly after Christianity was embraced as the state religion of Rome, slavery was ended.
The Bible uses slavery as an example of what sin does to people. The gospel is about Jesus Christ “redeeming” us from slavery to sin and setting us free. The idea is that He purchased with His own blood on the cross to set us free. That is the root meaning of the concept of “redeeming.”
Soon, Christians in the early church started doing the same thing for those in slavery. They bought them to set them free. They “redeemed them.” This fueled the initiative to end slavery entirely.
We can see the early seeds to this movement in the Colossians text. Paul told slaves to serve as if they were serving Christ, and masters that God was going to hold them accountable for justice and fairness. Ephesians 6:5-9 drives these nails home with even greater force.
Christianity not only ended slavery, it also exposed prejudice, discrimination and racism. In Christ, Jew and Gentile, male and female, young and old, rich and poor, slave and freeman are the same. Jesus died for all. The ground is level at the foot of the cross. Jesus values all people and died for the whole world. (John 3:16, 1 John 2:2)
Jesus wants us to treat all people with dignity, respect and Agape love. When the gospel is embraced and applied biblically, it offers genuine healing for broken humanity. It embraces all people and not a select few. Only the true gospel can bring racial healing and reconciliation. The gospel fights against human exploitation and abuse. It values the widow and the orphan. (See James 1:27)
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

The Gospel Changes Culture: Colossians 3:22-4:1

The Gospel Changes Culture: Colossians 3:22-4:1
“22) Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23) Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24) knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. 25) For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality. 1) Masters, grant to you slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven. Colossians‬ ‭3:22-4:1
Some people are offended that the Bible talks about slavery. It was a universal practice in the ancient world. Changing culture and society is a monumental task, but that’s exactly what the Gospel and Christianity did in the Roman Empire.
The concept of slaves honoring their master and masters treating slaves with dignity and respect was foreign thinking in Rome. The book of Philemon adds the concept of brotherhood to the discussion. When both the slave and the master became Christians, they were suddenly brothers in Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 7:21, Paul encouraged slaves to work toward freedom. Ending slavery soon became the goal of the early Christians. Shortly after Christianity was embraced as the state religion of Rome, slavery was ended.
The Bible uses slavery as an example of what sin does to people. The gospel is about Jesus Christ “redeeming” us from slavery to sin and setting us free. The idea is that He purchased with His own blood on the cross to set us free. That is the root meaning of the concept of “redeeming.”
Soon, Christians in the early church started doing the same thing for those in slavery. They bought them to set them free. They “redeemed them.” This fueled the initiative to end slavery entirely.
We can see the early seeds to this movement in the Colossians text. Paul told slaves to serve as if they were serving Christ, and masters that God was going to hold them accountable for justice and fairness. Ephesians 6:5-9 drives these nails home with even greater force.
Christianity not only ended slavery, it also exposed prejudice, discrimination and racism. In Christ, Jew and Gentile, male and female, young and old, rich and poor, slave and freeman are the same. Jesus died for all. The ground is level at the foot of the cross. Jesus values all people and died for the whole world. (John 3:16, 1 John 2:2)
Jesus wants us to treat all people with dignity, respect and Agape love. When the gospel is embraced and applied biblically, it offers genuine healing for broken humanity. It embraces all people and not a select few. Only the true gospel can bring racial healing and reconciliation. The gospel fights against human exploitation and abuse. It values the widow and the orphan. (See James 1:27)
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Keys to a Happy and Harmonious Marriage and Family: Colossians 3:12-21

Keys to a Happy and Harmonious Marriage and Family: Colossians 3:12-21
“18) Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19) Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. 20) Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. 21) Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.” Colossians‬ ‭3:18-21‬
Paul looks at the family as the first and foremost place to apply the Christian character virtues found in Colossians 3:12-17. When these qualities are present in a family it quickly becomes a safe, loving, harmonious and peaceful environment. These qualities are what makes the biblical family roles work.
When the husband and father is full of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, agape love with a heart ruled by the peace of God… then submission is no problem for the wife and the children are drawn to their dad like nails to a magnet. Disrespect and rebellion come when demands of submission and obedience are made in the absence of godly character.
Over the years of doing marriage coaching, I have asked many wives who were bent on divorce if they would have any trouble submitting to Jesus? The answer is usually the same. I get a perplexed look and then they often respond with something like; “Who would have trouble respecting and submitting to a strong, gentle and loving man like Jesus?” I then look at the husband and say; “You just found the key to a happy marriage, you need to become more like Jesus!”
I then ask the husband who is packed and ready to leave a similar question; “Would you have trouble loving your wife if she was more like Jesus.” His answer is usually the same, “Who would have trouble loving someone like Jesus?” I then say to the wife, “You just found the key to happiness in your marriage, God wants you to become more like Jesus!
I then throw out my marriage motto:“Happiness in marriage is not so much about finding the right person as it is about becoming the right person!” Most people think “If I can just find the right person, he or she will make me happy!” That’s really short sighted, because the root of the problem is most likely in you. Unless you change… the next marriage will most likely be worse than the first.
When you stand back and take a broad look at Colossians 3:18-21, the keys to a happy marriage and family are given in the proceeding verses. (Colossians 3:12-17) Paul is not forcing high handed marriage roles on dysfunctional people and marriages. The broader context is calling everyone in the family to become more like Jesus so the marriage and family roles can work!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ

Radiant Lights for the Glory of God: Colossians 3:17

Radiant Lights for the Glory of God: Colossians 3:17
“17) Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” ‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:17‬
Every Christian is a servant of Jesus Christ. Everything we say and everything we do should should bring glory to Him. Trust me, plenty of people are watching and listening to see if our walk and talk compliment or counteract each other.
Our conversations and actions should lift up the Name of Jesus and express gratitude to the Father for our salvation. We no longer belong to ourselves, we belong to Him.
A simple question you might want to consider before opening your mouth or taking action is; “Will this make Jesus look good or bad?” Another way of asking the same question is; “Will this point people to Jesus or deter them from Him?”
Our casual speech and actions become our true witness. We are on display 24/7 for Jesus in this world. The way we speak and what we do have an influence on others. Make them count for the glory of God!
This is where Colossians 3:12-16 become so important. When we put on these qualities our walk and talk are automatically in harmony. Without thinking about it we become like neon signs for the glory of God. We become spontaneous radiant lights for the glory of God.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Build Your Life on the Rock: Colossians 3:16

Build Your Life on the Rock: Colossians 3:16
“16) Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians‬ ‭3:16‬
We now come to the greatest key to growth and progress in the Christian life; “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you…”. Be wealthy with the amount of Scripture you build into your life. Read it, study it, memorize it and meditate on it. Be a Psalm chapter one man or woman.
The Bible is an inexhaustible treasure chest of wisdom, knowledge, instruction, insight and revelation into the ways of God. Ephesians 6:17 calls it “the sword of the Spirit.” The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to accomplish His mighty work. Hebrews 4:12 says the Word of God is sharp and powerful, living and active, sharper than any two edged sword. It pierces as far as dividing between the soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and it is able to discern and judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus concluded His sermon on the mount with the contrast of two houses. One was built on the rock of Gods Word, the other was built on the shifting sands of worldly wisdom. When the storms of life hit, the house on the rock stood fast while the house on the sand collapsed. Which house are you?
There are several things I look for in finding a good church. Obviously their emphasis on the gospel, their focus on Jesus, their understanding of the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the presence of Agape love and their focus on missions are all important. But foremost of all is that the entire ministry is built on the Word of God. Do they stand on the solid foundation of the Word of God! Do they study it, teach from it, preach from it, base all counseling on it and encourage the people to dig deeply into it. Do they view Scripture as inspired and infallible or is it optional?
I loath shallow Christianity. It is the fault of the collapse of the Western Church and Western civilization. Biblically shallow Christianity is Satan’s play ground. I appreciate Spirit filled Christians, but if they are biblically shallow and ignorant they become walking heresies led by fleshly emotions.
The focus of the early church was to go deep in the Word of God. They made it the basis of all teaching, instruction, preaching, worship and counseling. Read 2 Timothy 3:14-5:5. Paul called judgement down on the pastor or teacher who refused to preach the solid word of God.
Colossians 3:16 is not optional. Let the Word of God richly dwell within you and abundantly flow through you. Spend abundant time daily in the Word of God. Build your life on the rock!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Guard the Throne of Your Heart: Colossians 3:15

Guard the Throne of Your Heart: Colossians 3:15
“15) Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Colossians‬ ‭3:15‬ ‭
This verse was churning in my heart and spirit all day yesterday. God was dealing with me all day about the need to let His peace rule my heart. Confession; I often get stressed over trivial stuff or self imposed deadlines. I need peace to take over the throne of my heart.
With all the unrest in the world, we need Jesus Christ as the “Prince of Peace” to sit on the throne of our emotions. (Isaiah 9:6) According to the Bible, peace can rule in our hearts even when everything around us wants to feed anger, stress and anxiety.
Let’s be honest, there is a constant battle for the throne of our emotions. The word “emotions” is a valid synonym for the word “heart” in this verse. Our emotions can work against us if we “let” them. Jesus wants us to “let” peace rule. We have a choice in this matter.
Just as Jesus is the prince of peace, Satan is the prince of these negative emotions. Anger, bitterness, stress, worry and strife lurk in the background every day for a chance to ascend to the throne of our emotions.
Anger and bitterness can do severe damage in mere minutes when they ascend to the throne of our emotions. The spirit of a marriage or the relationship with a son or daughter can be wounded deeply with a sharp or angry tongue like the strike of a sword.
Stress and worry also crave to ascend to the throne of our emotions. But they are far more cunning than anger or bitterness because they can wear the disguise of genuine concern. But make no mistake, the scepter of stress and worry is fear. Arch enemy #1 for the child of God is fear. Beware, for these emotions have the power to destroy both your health and your faith.
The only solution is found in Colossians 3:15, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body, and be thankful.” Notice the context is “one body.” Jesus wants peace to reign in the local church. Instead of grumbling and complaining, He wants every member to focus on thanksgiving. This produces an attitude of gratitude.
So, who or what is sitting on the throne of your emotions? Is it the Prince of Peace or the prince of anger, worry, stress, anxiety or fear? Paul admonishes us to “Let the peace of Christ rule in our heart.” We are constantly faced with this decision. Solomon said, “Guard the throne of your heart with all diligence, for from it flows the springs of life.” Ok, that’s my own paraphrase of Proverbs 4:23, but it illustrates well what Paul was saying.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

The Capstone of Love: Colossians 3:14

The Capstone of Love: Colossians 3:14
“14) Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.”Colossians‬ ‭3:14‬ ‭
Putting on Agape love is the big step that brings completeness. The New Testament does not use the word “perfection” for believers, rather it uses a Greek word that means “to bring to completeness.”
According to Romans 5:5, Agape love is poured out by the Holy Spirit in the heart of every true believer. This very special kind of love completes the testimony of the believer and brings unity or oneness to Gods people.
In John 13:34-35, Jesus identified Agape love as a “New Commandment.” He said, “35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Agape love is the distinguishing characteristic of true believers. It is the glue or bond that holds the body of Christ together.
It could rightly be understood that Agape love in Colossians 3:14 is the capstone of all other qualities mentioned in the broader context. This is the quality that completes the identity of being a Christian.
So what is a “capstone”? When building a stone arch, the capstone is the top centerpiece stone that finishes the arch. It prevents it from collapsing and makes the arch extremely strong. All other stones in the arch are literally held together by the capstone. This is the stone that completes or finishes the arch. Though not stated in the text, this illustrates the importance of Agape love in this context.
Colossians 3:12-17 should become the life expression of every true believer. But notice from verse 12, these qualities must be “put on.” Verse 15 says we should “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” All of these qualities are present in the Holy Spirit Who indwells every believer, but they are not forced by the Holy Spirit. The believer must yield to His work in their life.
I believe these qualities are what distinguishes a true believer from those who merely practice the religion of Christianity. The absence of these qualities leaves two options. Either the person is not a Christian or is trapped in infancy and carnality.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Put On A New Heart: Colossians 3:12-14

Put On A New Heart: Colossians 3:12-14
“12) And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13) bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14) And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Colossians‬ ‭3:12-14‬
As we scan this wardrobe we are to put on “in Christ”, it will change virtually everything in our lives. Our attitudes will change, our relationships will change, our circumstances will change, but most important, we will change. By putting on these qualities, we will become like radiant lights in the world around us.
Make no mistake in your thinking, grace and the Holy Spirit are the source of these qualities. They are not normal to our daily human experience. Fallen human nature dresses in a wardrobe that is just the opposite. The source of quarrels, conflicts, strife, human exploitation and a long list of sinful behavior that habitually dresses human depravity is sin and self centeredness.
When a person becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit starts changing them at the heart level. He literally gives them a heart transplant. That’s why verse 12 says; “put on a heart of…”. You cannot become a Christian and maintain a cold and calloused heart.
As we change at the heart level, healing begins in our lives. Relationships are affected and our very countenance begins to shine. As we spend time with Jesus in our daily lives, we become more and more like Him.
Are you ready for heart surgery? Are you inviting the Holy Spirit to change your heart? Are you ready to dress in a new wardrobe?
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global