by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Colossians 2:1-7
I. When dealing with people, it should not surprise anyone that there will be disagreements.
A. Being people, each individual has his own mix of ideas and desires.
B. The true difficulty comes in getting others to do what needs to be done when they aren’t inclined to do it.
C. You find in the book of Acts Paul spending much of his time attempting to persuade people of the truth in the Gospel - Acts 13:43; 18:4; 19:8; 28:23
D. God’s word converts the soul - Psalm 19:7
E. As we go through the Scriptures, you will find that there are several related words being used:
1. Persuade: To convince
2. Exhort: To call near, to invite
3. Edify: To build up
4. Encourage: To inspire with courage, to stimulate by help, approval, or by some other means.
II. You can’t make people change, but you can encourage them to want to change
A. You can’t convince someone to change until you understand their point of view.
1. Henry Ford once said, “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”
2. People react to the things they want. They will gravitate towards the things they desire and avoid the things they dislike.
a. Thus, the ability to encourage change comes from knowing a person’s desires and dislikes.
b. Which means getting to know them well.
3. Please neighbors to edify - Romans 15:2
4. “Stan came home from work one evening to find his youngest son, Tim, kicking and screaming on the living room floor. He was to start kindergarten the next day and was protesting that he would not go. Stan’s normal reaction would have been to banish the child to his room and tell him he’d just better make up his mind to go. He had no choice. But tonight, recognizing that this would not really help Tim start kindergarten in the best frame of mind, Stan sat down and thought, “If I were Tim, why would I be excited about going to kindergarten?” He and his wife made a list of all the fun things Tim would do, such as finger painting, singing songs, making new friends. Then they put them into action. ‘We all started finger painting on the kitchen table – my wife, Lil, my other son Bob, and myself, all having fun. Soon Tim was peeping around the corner. Next he was begging to participate. ‘Oh, no! You have to go to kindergarten first to learn how to finger paint.’ With all the enthusiasm I could muster I went through the list talking in terms he could understand – telling him all the fun he would have in kindergarten. The next morning, I thought I was the first one up. I went downstairs and found Tim sitting sound asleep in the living room chair. ‘What are you doing here?’ I asked. ‘I’m waiting to go to kindergarten. I don’t want to be late.’ The enthusiasm of our entire family had aroused in Tim an eager want that no amount of discussion or threat could have possibly accomplished.” [Andrew Carnegie, How to Wind Friends and Influence People, p. 32-33].
B. A motivation of love - I Corinthians 8:1
1. Authority given for edification, not destruction - II Corinthians 10:8-9
a. Though will use terror if needed.
C. A duty
1. Preachers have a duty to exhort - II Timothy 4:2; Titus 2:15
2. We gather as Christians that we may exhort each other - Hebrews 10:25
3. Working together - Ephesians 4:16
D. Many people think they are persuading, but they are operating from personal pride
1. “I’m right and your wrong”
2. Paul feared problems in Corinth in part because of selfish ambitions - II Corinthians 12:20
3. It is in the list of works of the flesh - Galatians 5:19-20
III. You have to know where people need to go
A. Too many seek change from selfish motives
1. Let me give you a secular example: A young man wants to persuade others at his company to play basketball after work. So he tells them, “I want you to come out and play basketball. I like to play, but the last few times there haven’t been enough people to get a game going. Two or three of us threw the ball around the other night – and I got a black eye. I wish you would come tonight for a game. I want to play basketball.”
a. Notice that he only talked about what he wanted; nothing about what anyone one else might want.
b. He hints that no one else going.
c. He tells you that you might get hurt.
d. How many do you think will actually go?
2. Sadly, many approach religion in the same way.
a. I want you to go. We are a small group. There’s been several quarrels. I can’t get along with so-and-so, but I go anyway. I want you to go so I have someone I can relate to.
b. This is thinking only about self and not about the other’s needs.
3. In talking about false wisdom - James 3:13-18
a. Meekness is putting the concerns of everyone else before your own
b. Some mistake what they want as what everyone else should want.
4. False teachers are self-willed - II Peter 2:10-14
5. When Paul preached, he had nothing in which to boast because what he taught was not his - I Corinthians 9:16; Galatians 1:11-12
B. There are many who seek sin
1. Paul’s motives were not from error, uncleanness or deceit - I Thessalonians 2:3
2. Have you ever seen a child, who has been hit, decide how he is going to persuade another child not to hit?
a. The sad thing is that many people don’t grow out of this.
b. They attack to get their way.
c. Different methods, but never returning evil for evil - I Thessalonians 5:14-15
d. No retribution - Romans 12:18-21
C. Seek peace and edification - Romans 14:19
D. The motivation that works is a genuine concern for another’s well-being
1. A desire to see people saved - II Corinthians 5:10-11
2. What is needed for edification - Ephesians 4:29
3. Paul endured much that others might gain salvation - II Timothy 2:8-13
4. Pursue what is good for everyone - I Thessalonians 5:15
IV. Watch for teachable moments
A. Give attention to exhortation - I Timothy 4:13
B. Be ready at any moment - II Timothy 4:2
C. Walk while you have the light - John 12:35
V. Get the person involved
A. It is not a matter of telling a person what they should believe. It is helping them discover what is true.
B. That is why there must be the use of sound doctrine - Titus 1:9
C. When Paul taught the Bereans - Acts 17:10-11
D. When teaching others, show them from the Scriptures why it benefits them to follow God’s commands, don’t just tell them what they ought to do.
1. See how Moses exhorted the Israelites - Deuteronomy 10:12-22
2. He told them what they needed to do, but he showed them why it benefitted them both in the past and how it would continue to benefit them.
E. It hasn’t changed. God’s ways are for our good. They are for your good.