Colossians 4:5-6 / Redeem the Time

Posted on November 15, 2015


This is the twenty-third in a verse by verse exposition of the book of Colossians. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the evening of November 15, 2015. This message deals with our outreach to unbelievers. This post contains an audio recording of the sermon, as well as my sermon notes (sermon notes are not necessarily a complete transcript).

Col 4:5-6


Those who are “outside” refers to unbelievers.

  • Ephesians 5:15–16

To live morally (Biblically) is to live wisely. Biblically, an “unwise” person is not unwise because of intellectual limits, but because of unbelief.

  • Psalm 14:1
  • Romans 1:22

He lives apart from God and against God’s law.

  • Proverbs 1:7
  • Proverbs 14:9

He can’t comprehend the truth or his true condition.

  • 1 Corinthians 2:14

Believers are called to live so that they reflect Christ and to make the most of every evangelistic opportunity. This requires God’s wisdom. Wisdom is something that God will freely give.

  • James 1:5

But there can be no Godly wisdom without a fear of the Lord.

  • Proverbs 9:10

The Greek word for “time” denotes a fixed, measured, allocated season. We are to make the most of our time on this earth fulfilling God’s purposes.

  • 1 Peter 1:17

In order to maintain a sense of urgency, we need to be aware of the brevity of life.

  • Psalm 39:4–5
  • Psalm 89:47
  • James 4:14

Indeed we should always be ready.

  • 2 Timothy 4:2

Because believers have been saved by grace and kept by grace, they should live and speak with grace. Jesus set the standard.

  • Luke 4:22

This is to speak what is wholesome, fitting, kind, sensitive, purposeful, complimentary, gentle, truthful, loving, and thoughtful.

  • Ephesians 4:29–31

Seasoned with salt” – Just as salt not only flavor, but prevents corruption (preserves), the Christian’s speech should act not only as a blessing to others, but as a purifying influence within the decaying society of the world.

So that you may know how you ought to answer

Paul is calling on Christians to speak with their unbelieving neighbors and friends with gracious words — all with the purpose of being able to “answer” unbelievers. By putting it this way, Paul assumes that unbelievers will be raising questions about the faith of the Colossian Christians. These questions may be neutral or even hostile. The same is true today. An appropriate Christian response will communicate the content of the gospel, but it will also be done in a manner that will make the gospel attractive. Peter makes a similar point:

  • 1 Peter 3:15

Simply put, we are to address the questions of the unbeliever, no matter where or when. When doing so, our words and actions should communicate love and grace, rather than bitterness or hostility.

When we tell others about Christ, it is important always to be gracious in what we say. No matter how much sense the message makes, we lose our effectiveness if we are not courteous. Just as we like to be respected, we must respect others if we want them to listen to what we have to say. Our words should be as honeycomb.

  • Proverbs 16:24

Time is our most precious and fleeting resource. It comes moment by moment, and flees in an instant, never to return. What are you doing to redeem the time?

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