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Eternity 81 - The Gospel Bears Fruit Everywhere

Colossians 1:5-6 LITV because of the hope being laid up for you in Heaven, which you heard before in the Word of the truth of the gospel, (6) coming to you, as also in all the world, and it is bearing fruit even also among you, from the day in which you heard and knew the grace of God in truth;

Colossae was a lax, declining city, with many Jews and traders. It tended to worship the angel Michael, who it is said, saved the city from a flood. Overshadowed by wealthy Laodecia it was nonetheless the home of such NT luminaries as Epaphras and Philemon. It seems to have been evangelized by Epaphras and Timothy. Over the next few weeks we will look at key verses from this epistle which gives some of the key teachings about Christian living, the deity of Christ and the cruciality of the cross. Today we will look at the "fruitful gospel".

Paul writes to the doctrinally lax and theologically laid-back Colossians and describes the gospel as "the Word of truth" and tells them that they "knew the grace of God in truth". Paul is saying that gospel is a lot more than a bunch of nice.warm, fuzzy words that make good song lyrics on Sunday morning. Paul is saying the gospel is the truth about the future - about the real hope laid up in Heaven for those who believe.

It is true that we will be raised from the dead, it is true that we will face judgement and it is true that on that Day we will have hope - not despair, if we have believed in Jesus. If it is true it cannot be replaced by an alternative philosophy - for instance one that says we ought to worship angels. When something is true, then it is fixed. it cannot be altered by doctrinal fads. If there is a judgment to come, and that fact is true, then no amount of pooh-poohing the idea of judgment will alter it. Jesus will return even if no-one believes it at the time. Truth is like that - fixed, powerful, unalterable. Its like wishing Maths was different when you get the credit card bill. But its isn't - and you have to pay.

Now truth can be relied on and when the Colossians relied on it, it bore fruit. And it started to bear fruit instantly "from the day in which you heard and knew the grace of God in truth;". Many Christians testify to a major change occurring at the moment of conversion. From the first moment of belief the gospel went to work in them. God wastes no time in making His saints. The gospel bears fruit because it is alive. Only a living tree can bear fruit and the gospel is the gospel of Him who said "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life". True Christian faith is quick, alive, full of sap, and bursting with life. Deadness means that something has gone wrong, that some fundamental disconnection from God has occurred.

The gospel is alive and delicious - it bears fruit not cactus leaves! The gospel is winsome with life and joy, it is not a sharp, prickly holiness or a tart, acidic disapproving legalism. The real fruit of the gospel is in changed lives and transformed temperaments. Its moving from the anxious clamor of the self-life to joyous, loving, peaceful, kind, gracious, patient, gentle, meek and humble Christian living.

This fruitfulness comes from hearing and knowing. From hearing the gospel, believing the gospel, and apprehending the gospel in our inner self so that we know deeply that it is true - and its truthfulness can transform us. Hearing and knowing is the "from faith to faith" pathway of the Christian life. Christianity is internal, no ritual or external observance can cause us to "hear and know". Spiritual life is not transmitted via rituals or given in buildings nor does it flow from statues or dwell in temples. Rather spiritual life flows from Spirit to spirit.

Spiritual life flows to receptive people who are able to hear the gospel with their spiritual eyes and ears and know the truth of the gospel in their hearts.

Christians need to stop, become quiet and listen for spiritual things and then take those spiritual truths deep into their hearts and treasure them and meditate on them. This process of hearing and knowing the truth will cause the gospel to bear fruit in us and may often result in instantaneous spiritual transformations.

Why do I say instantaneous? Firstly because Paul says "from the day you heard" and secondly because there is no time with God, eternal things can happen instantly and last forever. The lame man did not slowly get well - he jumped up. People can and do change overnight under the power of the truth of the gospel and as we keep on "hearing and knowing' we may find instantaneous changes happening as truth impacts our lives. .

Blessings And Peace!

John Edmiston

 

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