Colossians 4 Lesson

Serving others, not ourselves

Before we move onto the final chapter of the book of Colossians, we will first review what we have learned from Paul’s letter up until this point:

In chapter 1, Paul prays that the Colossians will:

  1. Be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.  In other words, they will know exactly what God wants them to do.
  2. Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.
  3. Bear fruit in every good work.
  4. Increase in the knowledge of God.
  5. Be strengthened with all power.
  6. Attain steadfastness.
  7. Attain patience.

Our study looked at how these seven items can serve as an outline for Christian living.

In chapter 2, we looked at Paul’s words from Colossians 2:10, and how Christ is the head over ALL rule and authority. In the world, rule and authority come in many forms. There are governments, schools, businesses, etc., and Jesus is the head of them all!  We talked about how there are only two possible choices when it comes to Jesus:

  1. We can follow Jesus and His commandments.
  2. We can reject Jesus and follow the things of the world.

Chapter 3 talked about, “Setting our minds on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” – Colossians 3:2.

We discussed six things that we can do every day to be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of our minds:

  1. Start every day with a prayer.
  2. Set aside time to study the Bible every day.
  3. Give thanks to God.
  4. Be kind to others.
  5. Serve others.
  6. End our day with a prayer.

Now in chapter 4, we are going to talk about how God wants us to think and act when new people come into our lives. In Colossians 4:5-6, Paul writes:

“Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.  Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”

It is important to note that Paul referred to new people (“outsiders”) as opportunities. Not opportunities for them to do something for him, but opportunities for him to do something for them!

Consider these words spoken by Jesus in Mathew 20:28:

“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.”

When new people enter our lives, like Paul, we should view them as opportunities for us to serve them.   This is one of the best ways to spread the Gospel!  

A great way to meet new people is to be active serving in our communities. The following excerpt is taken from our study entitled, "Evangelism through works."

There once was a Christian evangelical conference where the speaker was teaching the class the importance of being active in our communities, and how serving others can help spread the Gospel. The speaker talked about how the early disciples were regularly out in their community working for God.   The people they were serving in their community would then ask questions, but not until the disciples had put in some “sweat equity.”   The work they put in opened the door to meaningful conversations about people’s faith.

The speaker then talked about how the effectiveness of our evangelical efforts increases dramatically when we are active in our communities. He stressed not to be the one to bring up the Gospel first.   Simply be with the people and get to know them, while serving their needs. Eventually, as the relationship forms, they may ask a spiritual question. The answer must always come from the Gospel. 

Quoting the right scripture at the right time is one of the best ways to evangelize.  Paul wrote in his second letter to Timothy:

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a worker who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth." - 2 Timothy 2:15.

Here is how the speaker explained the idea of evangelism through works:

  1. Disciples actively work in their communities.
  2. The Holy Spirit moves.
  3. The people that are the recipients of the disciple’s work will eventually ask questions.
  4. The Gospel is always the answer.

As discussed, people do not care how much we know until they know how much we care.  We should intentionally, with purpose, look for opportunities to serve in our communities. This is one of the greatest and most practical ways we can glorify God.

While working in our communities, the Holy Spirit will work in us. Eventually, when we are asked a question or questions, we need to provide an answer from the Bible and quote scripture."

This speaker did an amazing job of sharing practical ways that we can serve others, and explaining how this glorifies God.  When people see us serving selflessly, they see God's plan being executed.  This makes the world a better and more loving place.  Our desire to see others come to know and follow Jesus should be what motivates us.  

We will conclude today’s lesson with the encouraging words found in Mathew 5:16:

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”



It's important to remember that Christ wants our head, heart, and hands. We are to be thinkers, feelers and doers of God's Word. People will notice all three and they notice when one or more of these is missing from the life of the person who professes.