Knowing our King | Colossians 1:3-8
3 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, 5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; 6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth: 7 As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; 8 Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.
Our portion today is the second sentence in the Letter, something very helpful to do is to read until you see a period. Many times we let the verse markers act as punctuation but look for the colons, semicolons, commas, and periods to dictate how you read the Bible. When we read the sentence above it seems clear that the Gospel is the main theme of this sentence.
He starts by saying that they have been praying for them ever since they heard of their faith in Christ, their love for the brothers, and their hope in heaven. All of which was given unto them in the gospel. He goes on to say that the gospel is bearing fruit in them as it does everywhere it goes. The gospel is compared to seed many times in the scriptures, and rightly so, Jesus gave the parable of the good seed, and that is what the gospel is. The seed falls on good ground and brings forth fruit unto eternal life. As it fell into the heart of Paul on the road to Damascus and brought forth a hundredfold, so did it fall on the heart of Epaphras at Ephesus and brought forth fruit and then on to Colossae where it fell on the hearts of the Colossian Believers and has born fruit in them and even in me and you.
This is the nature of the gospel message, like a good seed it bears fruit. Dear Christian, if you would bear much fruit, sow the gospel. That is the good news of Jesus Christ, That he was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died in our place on the cross for our sins, buried our sins in the grave with him, and was raised on the third day and promises "Forgiveness of sin" and "Eternal life" to all who place their faith in him. "You shall reap if you faint not." Sow this seed, at work, at home, at school, in the market, at the gas station. Plant a gospel tract in your neighbor's hand, sow a word in your family's ear, and eventually, you will see the fruit of the gospel. What a wonderful thing this is, and is precisely what is happening in our scriptures today. Paul is thrilled to see Epaphras whom the gospel had changed but now he comes bearing fruit as well, with the news of more who have heard and believed. "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God" "and how shall they hear without a preacher?" How can they hear? You have to be the gospel witness that God has called you to be, I don't mean wearing a t-shirt that has a bible verse, or assuming that having the reputation of a Christian is a substitute for sharing the gospel message. If you would bear fruit it will be by the same method all those in the scripture saw many born into the family, by the proclamation of the gospel message. Don't allow yourself to assume people know the message, "How shall they know?" Our verses are a promise of sorts, Paul says this concerning the gospel " Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit." The Gospel brings forth fruit. If you long to bear fruit for the Lord, sow his gospel seed and water it, and soon he will give the increase.
The truth of the Gospel not only bears fruit by way of others coming to faith but by bearing fruit in you as individuals. Paul mentions faith, love, and hope. All three are self-propagating, I mean when others see a genuine Christ-love in you seed is planted and hunger or hatred is stirred for or against that true Godly love displayed in your life. When people see an exercise of faith in your life, they wonder what would cause a person to walk so boldly without the sight of a sure outcome, when they see the hope of a true Christian, who looks toward death as the greeting of a friend who will carry us to meet our Lord. A hope that carries us through trials, temptations, sorrows, and right over death's chilly waters.
The gospel is a seedbed for these fruits of the Spirit. At first conversion, our faith has rested in Christ, but our faith grows as we walk with him and he forms us into his image. Our love for the brothers will be immediate, a comradery is there but how close do the bonds of Christian brotherhood grow as we progress in this walk. We have hope for eternity and forgiveness but one trial after another draws our sights from this world to the next and our hope grows more and more for the glorious day of his appearing, either when my eyes behold him in the clouds or when they close in death and open in life.
These are just a few benefits of the gospel, and it is in line with the main theme of this epistle, the sufficiency of Christ. Not only is the gospel sufficient for the lost but it is sufficient for the saved. The Gospel that leads us to faith in Christ at the first now leads us to a deeper faith in Him. The gospel that displayed his love for us and drew us to love him at the first draws us to a deeper and more fervent love for him now. The hope that the gospel offered us at first, comforts our hearts and ensures our steps even more so now. Dear Christian, the gospel of Jesus Christ is enough!! It is enough to draw the sinners to Christ, It is enough to remind and strengthen those who have already believed, and how we need a return to the gospel message in our day! We see this demonstrated in the Church at Colossae as well. The gospel birthed them into the family and has grown them into a church of "Faithful brethren." If we would have our congregation be "faithful brethren" we had better get back to the truth of the gospel message. Where can a minister or a ministry find new life, have faith increase, love abound, and have hope settled? It is only found "in the word of the truth of the gospel."