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Lucas: sees a twofold division:

1) speaking to God about people (:2-4)

2) speaking to people about God (:5-6)

I. (:2-3A) CONSISTENT PRAYER – (directed to God)

A. Consistent Dedication –

“Devote yourselves to prayer”

Wuest: “to give constant attention to a thing, to give unremitting care to a thing, to persevere, to wait continually upon, to be in constant readiness for”

B. Consistent Concentration –

“keeping alert in it”

Lightfoot: “Long continuance in prayer is apt to produce listlessness. Hence the additional charge that the heart must be awake, if the prayer is to have any value.”

Mark 14:37-38

C. Consistent Thanksgiving –

“with an attitude of thanksgiving”

Phil. 4:6

Transition: Purposeful Prayer – not some vague generalities; Prayer is essential for the spread of the gospel

II. (:3-4) MISSIONARY FOCUS — (intercessory prayer for the effective testimony of others)

A. Intercessory Prayer is the Missionary Opportunity for All Believers

“praying at the same time for us as well”

us = Paul, Timothy, Epaphras

B. Intercessory Prayer Opens Doors for the Gospel

“that God may open up to us a door for the word”

Acts 14:27; Eph. 6:19-20

Paul was behind prison doors at the moment, but still preaching the gospel effectively

C. The Gospel Message Offers All Men Everywhere Union with Christ

= “the Mystery of Christ”

Gentile emphasis here

D. Missionaries Must Remain Faithful to the Gospel Message –

“for which I have also been imprisoned”

Paul was not going to modify his message to avoid persecution

E. Missionaries Need Prayer to Effectively Communicate the Gospel Message –

“in order that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak”

we want to communicate the simplicity of the cross and of the gospel;

we don’t want to confuse the issue, complicate things or muddy the waters

II. (:5) EFFECTIVE TESTIMONY – (towards unbelievers)

A. Requires Some Street Smarts –

“Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders”

B. Requires Seizing Every Opportunity –

“making the most of the opportunity”

cf. book: I’m Glad You Asked

III. (:6) GRACIOUS SPEECH – (towards all – but especially towards unbelievers who raise


A. Fundamental Characteristic –

“Let your speech always be with grace”

has not always been the reputation of Fundamentalists!

Kent: “Our speech to others (including unbelievers) should be characterized by the same kind of grace whereby God has dealt with us. Love, patience, sacrifice, and undeserved favor are aspects of grace which our speech should display.”

B. Defining Bite –

“seasoned, as it were, with salt”

Kent: “This vivid metaphor suggest either the attractiveness of one’s speech (from the use of salt to make food palatable and savory) or its wholesomeness (from the common use of salt as a preservative). In the Old Testament salt was used in the ritual of making a lasting covenant because its preserving qualities supplied an appropriate symbol of endurance (Num. 18:19; II Chron. 13:5). Favoring the latter emphasis is Paul’s reference elsewhere to ‘corrupt speech’ which should not issue from the Christian’s mouth (Eph. 4:29).”

C. Overall Objective –

“so that you may know how you should respond to each person”

emphasis here is on being prepared to respond to questions and openings to witness rather than to force the word on others in an unnatural way; this is a good verse for lifestyle evangelism; but it must be coupled with the thrust of preaching from the preceding verses