Wise-Guys (peoples) – Colossians 4:5-6 10/04/20

Wise-Guys (peoples) – Colossians 4:5-6 10/04/20

Introduction ~

Our passage opens with the exhortation to walk in wisdom… but how is this wisdom gained? In the world around us, it tends to be based on experience, which is really just another way of saying, “trial and error.” This may be true in the natural world, but in the Christian faith “wisdom” is not limited to learning from our mistakes (although it is certainly wise to do so!). In Christ, wisdom is freely available to us; all we need to do is ask.

So let’s turn to the final passage that we’re going to examine in the letter to the Colossians. The final exhortation to the church addresses their relationship with the surrounding culture;[1] the text is Colossians 4:5-6, which, as usual, I will leave to you to look up. The “wisdom” referenced is (σοφίᾳ),[2] and it has been a reoccurring theme throughout the letter.[3] This wisdom was fundamentally different from what was being taught by the heretical teachers that were troubling the church.[4] In context, this “wisdom” has to do with a knowledge of God’s will. That will result in each believer walking worthily before the Lord.[5] This kind of wisdom is, fundamentally, a practical wisdom.[6] This kind of wisdom accepts, understands, and responds appropriately, to the reality of Jesus’ supremacy over creation, over the church, and over their individual lives.

Paul actually makes two appeals, first addressing how they live, and then addressing a tangible example of this wisdom in action, how they speak.[7] We have the metaphor of “walking” (περιπατεῖτε)[8] again. It literally means to move around on our two feet. Metaphorically it references our conduct, or more generally how we govern our lives.[9] The underlying idea is thoroughly Jewish, true wisdom is intended to be reflected through appropriate actions.[10]

In one sense, we shouldn’t care at all what the world thinks about us.[11] Our Lord is Jesus, not anything or anyone that we’ll find in this world.[12] And yet, in another sense, we need to live carefully before outsiders. In a negative sense, we want to avoid bringing unwarranted offense and dishonor to Jesus’ name.[13] But in a positive sense, we desire that those people we come into contact with will be attracted to Jesus through us.

Then we find this interesting statement, “redeeming the time.” This exhorted exercise of wisdom is both a responsibility and an opportunity as we’re called upon to make the most of each opportunity while it lasts.[14] The word translated as “redeeming” is (ἐξαγοραζόμενοι),[15] There’s no exact equivalent in English, but it is a term coming from the commercial world meaning to buy out or purchase completely.[16] “Redeeming the time” could be restated “buying up every opportunity.”[17] We should seek to make full use of every opportunity God brings across our path.[18] One sweet saint who used to attend our church called them “divine appointments.”

The word “time,” here, is (καιρὸν).[19] There are two words for “time” in Greek, there’s (χρόνος), which conveys the general sense of “time” as in linear time, or the passage of time.[20] In our text today the word is (καιρὸν).[21] This word has the sense of a “decisive moment.” [22] Here, this word doesn’t reference a specific point in time, rather it references opportunities, “decisive points.” Paul is telling us to make the most of those points.

This passages envisages a church engaging the community around them.[23] When we’re approached by people with questions about our faith we should be prepared to answer.[24] However, our answers must habitually express grace to those being addressed.[25] This word “grace” is (χάριτι),[26] and it usually serves to denote divine favor.[27] Here, it’s more likely that the word is used in the broader sense of pleasantness or attractiveness.[28] Our words should be attractive, well spoken, and gracious.

Note that this wisdom is reflected in our words, actions, and attitudes, but it’s supernaturally enabled. It all starts with a response of trust as we take God at His word and believe that Jesus can save us; Ephesians 2:8-10. This faith response triggers all kinds of things, starting with our own conversions; Acts 3:19. When this happens the Holy Spirit comes and begins to make a lot of changes; Titus 3:4-7. These changes are so fundamental that God actually sees us as new creations; 2 Corinthians 5:17-19. The net-net of all this is that we’re not limited to our own wisdom or resources. We have the full power of God working through us to accomplish His purposes; Galatians5:25.

Our conversations are able to take on a truly winsome nature as we’re empowered and guided by the Lord who is at work through us. As this becomes ever increasingly truer, we don’t need to artificially insert the Gospel into our conversations, our perspectives will naturally reflect our priorities.[29] This won’t be a reflection of a church huddled behind its walls in fear, it points to a church that holds its own in the market place of ideas without fear.[30] This will result in sharing the amazing message of Jesus Christ with grace, and even beguiling wit, in a way that’s highly attractive.[31] This is simply assumed, this is what is supposed to characterize the life of each Christian.

In the give-and-take of life, both the content of the words spoken and the method of speaking matter.[32] Those words should not be statements about what we oppose. Christianity is so much more than a protest against the sin in our culture. It offers a positive response. That response has power because it will be reflected by what we are in Christ. That only happens as our faith moves out of the church and is integrated into our workaday lives.[33] That happens as all of our lives, not just our witnessing, is done in reliance on the work of the Spirit.[34] This is reflected in a lifestyle that is fully informed by following Christ as Savior and Lord.[35]

[1] James Dunn, The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon, The New International Greek Testament Commentary, eds., I. Howard Marshall, W. Ward Gasque, and Donald Hagner, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 264. [2]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (Interlinear with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993), Col 4:5. [3] Peter O’Brien, Colossians, Philemon, Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 44, gen. eds. David Hubbard and Glenn Barker, NT ed., Ralph Martin, (Word Books Publishing, Waco, TX.: 1982), 241. [4] Peter O’Brien, Colossians, Philemon, Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 44, gen. eds. David Hubbard and Glenn Barker, NT ed., Ralph Martin, (Word Books Publishing, Waco, TX.: 1982), 241. [5] Peter O’Brien, Colossians, Philemon, Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 44, gen. eds. David Hubbard and Glenn Barker, NT ed., Ralph Martin, (Word Books Publishing, Waco, TX.: 1982), 241. [6] Peter O’Brien, Colossians, Philemon, Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 44, gen. eds. David Hubbard and Glenn Barker, NT ed., Ralph Martin, (Word Books Publishing, Waco, TX.: 1982), 241. [7] Curtis Vaughan, Colossians, in The Expositor’s Bible commentary: volume 11, Ephesians - Philemon, gen. ed., Frank Gaebelein, assoc. ed., J.D. Douglas, NT eds., James Boise and Merrill Tenney, manuscript ed., Gerard Terpstra, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1978), 222. [8]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (Interlinear with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993), Col 4:5. [9] James Strong, Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon (Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1995). [10] Eduard Lohse, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Colossians and to Philemon, Hermeneia – A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible, trans., William Poehlmann and Robert Karris, ed., Helmut Koester, (Fortress Press, Philadelphia, PA.: 1971), 167. [11] Leon Morris, Colossians, in The Biblical Expositor: The Living Theme of the Great Book, Volume III, consulting ed., Carl Henry, (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1960), 330. [12] Leon Morris, Colossians, in The Biblical Expositor: The Living Theme of the Great Book, Volume III, consulting ed., Carl Henry, (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1960), 330. [13] Leon Morris, Colossians, in The Biblical Expositor: The Living Theme of the Great Book, Volume III, consulting ed., Carl Henry, (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1960), 330. [14] F.F. Bruce, The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, gen. eds., Ned Stonehouse, F.F. Bruce, and Gordon Fee, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1984), 174. [15]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (Interlinear with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993), Col 4:5. [16] Curtis Vaughan, Colossians, in The Expositor’s Bible commentary: volume 11, Ephesians - Philemon, gen. ed., Frank Gaebelein, assoc. ed., J.D. Douglas, NT eds., James Boise and Merrill Tenney, manuscript ed., Gerard Terpstra, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1978), 222. [17] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume V, 1 Corinthians – Revelation, (Thomas nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1983), 363. [18] Curtis Vaughan, Colossians, in The Expositor’s Bible commentary: volume 11, Ephesians - Philemon, gen. ed., Frank Gaebelein, assoc. ed., J.D. Douglas, NT eds., James Boise and Merrill Tenney, manuscript ed., Gerard Terpstra, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1978), 222. [19]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (Interlinear with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993), Col 4:5. [20] Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich, and Geoffrey William Bromiley, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1985), 1337. [21]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (Interlinear with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993), Col 4:5. [22] Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich, and Geoffrey William Bromiley, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1985), 389. [23] James Dunn, The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon, The New International Greek Testament Commentary, eds., I. Howard Marshall, W. Ward Gasque, and Donald Hagner, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 266. [24] Eduard Lohse, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Colossians and to Philemon, Hermeneia – A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible, trans., William Poehlmann and Robert Karris, ed., Helmut Koester, (Fortress Press, Philadelphia, PA.: 1971), 169. [25] Peter O’Brien, Colossians, Philemon, Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 44, gen. eds. David Hubbard and Glenn Barker, NT ed., Ralph Martin, (Word Books Publishing, Waco, TX.: 1982), 242. [26]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (Interlinear with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993), Col 4:6. [27] Curtis Vaughan, Colossians, in The Expositor’s Bible commentary: volume 11, Ephesians - Philemon, gen. ed., Frank Gaebelein, assoc. ed., J.D. Douglas, NT eds., James Boise and Merrill Tenney, manuscript ed., Gerard Terpstra, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1978), 222. [28] Curtis Vaughan, Colossians, in The Expositor’s Bible commentary: volume 11, Ephesians - Philemon, gen. ed., Frank Gaebelein, assoc. ed., J.D. Douglas, NT eds., James Boise and Merrill Tenney, manuscript ed., Gerard Terpstra, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1978), 222. [29] James Dunn, The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon, The New International Greek Testament Commentary, eds., I. Howard Marshall, W. Ward Gasque, and Donald Hagner, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 267. [30] James Dunn, The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon, The New International Greek Testament Commentary, eds., I. Howard Marshall, W. Ward Gasque, and Donald Hagner, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 267. [31] Earle Wilson, Alex Deasley, and Barry Callen, Galatians, Philippians, Colossians: A commentary for Bible Students, Wesleyan Bible commentary Series, gen. publisher, Donald Cady, exec. Ed., David Holdren, managing ed., Lawrence Wilson, theological ed., Stephen Lennox, snr. ed., Darlene Teague, (Wesleyan Publishing House, Indianapolis, IN.: 2007), 341. [32] Richard R. Melick, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, vol. 32, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1991), 324. [33] James Dunn, The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon, The New International Greek Testament Commentary, eds., I. Howard Marshall, W. Ward Gasque, and Donald Hagner, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 267. [34] Earle Wilson, Alex Deasley, and Barry Callen, Galatians, Philippians, Colossians: A commentary for Bible Students, Wesleyan Bible commentary Series, gen. publisher, Donald Cady, exec. Ed., David Holdren, managing ed., Lawrence Wilson, theological ed., Stephen Lennox, snr. ed., Darlene Teague, (Wesleyan Publishing House, Indianapolis, IN.: 2007), 341. [35] Ralph Martin, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon, Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, ed., James Mays, NT ed., Paul Achtemeier, (John Knox Press, Louisville, KY.: 1991), 129.

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