God’s Word for You
Colossians 4:4 make it clear
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, September 28, 2019
4 Pray that I may make it clear, in the way I ought to speak.
Paul had hoped to travel to Spain with the gospel, reaching the most distant corners of the Roman Empire. From there, he might even have been able to travel south into Mauretania or north into Britain. But God had opened a door much closer, right where he was in Rome. Here he is praying that he would speak the gospel clearly, the way he should. In Philippians 1:13 we learn that “the whole palace guard” heard him speak, and learned “that I am in chains for Christ.” Lenski estimates that the palace guard would have amounted to about 9,000 soldiers. These details tell us (a) that Paul did indeed make the gospel clear, again and again, and (b) that Philippians was written after Colossians.
Paul’s hope of going to Spain is revealed in Romans 15:24 and 15:28. We don’t know whether he made it, but a curious detail about this is that sometime in the early 60s, after Paul was released from Rome and perhaps before he wrote to Timothy and Titus, Peter wrote a pair of letters encouraging the Christians of Galatia and Asia Minor (1 Peter 1:1-2), letters which mention Paul by name (2 Peter 3:15-16). Why would Peter write to Paul’s churches? This question, together with a two-year gap in the timeline of Paul’s life, suggests that Paul was out of contact with the rest of the world for a while, perhaps attempting to sail to Spain and possibly even arriving there.
Opportunities to share the gospel don’t always come twice. Seize whatever moment God provides to confess your faith in Jesus with anybody who asks. If they don’t react well, don’t let it get to you. Your words and the words of Christ will stay with them. Sometimes the gospel is like a raw apple, delicious and enlivening from the first bite. Other times the gospel needs to stew a while, and won’t be savored until later. Don’t let that stop you from tossing in more pieces to the stew.
Pastor Timothy Smith