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The Plan of God.
(Being a series of studies in the Scriptures, made for broadcasting in America.
They have the beginner and even the unbeliever in mind,
and are an attempt to present the Truth of the Scriptures in the simplest possible way.)
The Epistle to the Colossians (11).
pp. 1 - 5
The Apostle Paul now issues his final instructions. He stresses the importance of
intercession, a ministry in itself of great importance as we saw when we studied the
parallel section in Ephesians (6: 18). There is no doubt that prayer along the lines of the
Lord's will accomplishes much, and the believer who neglects it does so to his great
"Continue steadfastly in prayer, watching therein with thanksgiving; withal praying
for us also, that God may open unto us a door for the Word, to speak the mystery of
Christ, for which I am also in bonds; that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak"
(Col. 4: 2-4, R.V.).
The plural pronouns `us' doubtless include Paul's friends who were free, like Timothy
and Epaphras. The idea of a `door being opened' is characteristically Pauline (ICor.xvi.9;
IICor.ii.12), a new opportunity being given by the Lord for witness. In Eph. 6: it is to
make known the good news concerning the Mystery, the great secret revealed in the
earlier chapters. Here it is the secret concerning Christ and His exaltation which has been
so stressed in this epistle as the antidote to the error which was circulating at Colossae.
Both these secrets are stressed in Eph. 3: and both are necessary to get a balanced view
of the prison ministry of the Apostle Paul for us Gentiles. First we must have our eyes
opened and our minds enlarged to grasp the greatness of the Lord's exaltation `far above
all' in the heavenly places (Eph. 1:). Only then can we begin to appreciate what it means
to belong to a newly created company of believers taken from Jew and Gentile and linked
with Him there (Eph. 2: 6). With such a great stewardship of Truth it is no wonder that
the Apostle asks for prayer so that he may make it manifest, for according to Col. 1: 27
God wills to reveal the greatness of this secret to His people and in the first place used
Paul as a channel so to do (Eph. 3: 3, 8, 9).
The Apostle goes on to exhort believers to walk carefully in view of those `without',
that is, those who are non-Christians, for the unbelieving world cares little about
Christian doctrine, but carefully notes the words and actions of those who profess to
name the name of Christ. We are to be epistles `known and read of all men' (IICor.iii.2),
specially to those who do not read the Bible and, as living epistles, we must `redeem the
time' (Col. 4: 5), in our witness to those who know not the Saviour. Kairos is not the
ordinary word for `time', but means a special opportunity which may soon pass. "Buy it
up", says the Apostle, "while it lasts", and those who are keen for Christ and the
stewardship of the `good deposit' which Paul was ministering, will be eager and vigilant
to seize every such opportunity for witness that presents itself. The speech of all such