The Gospel and Fruit
The Gospel in Colosse
1. Which is come unto you…
a. Come = to be by, be at hand, to have arrived, to be present.
b. The gospel arrived in Colosse probably by means of Epaphras (vs.7-8).
c. He came to the city of Colosse and sowed the seed of the word of the truth of the gospel.
d. This message is quick and powerful… and a number of people responded in faith and were saved.
2. HOW did the gospel come to Colosse?
a. Do you think Epaphras first took a survey of the people of the city to see what kind of a church they would like to have?
b. Do you think he began by bringing in a big band to get the young people to listen?
c. Do you think he hired some actors and put on a play?
d. Do you think he put on a public debate with the local pagan priests?
e. Do you think he hired a few celebrities and Olympic athletes to say something nice about Jesus to attract some attention?
f. How DO you think the gospel came to Colosse?
• It came from a faithful servant of God who knew NOTHING of Madison Avenue tactics… who cared not to please men…
• It came from a servant of God who knew the Word of God…and was willing to follow the pattern found in the Word.
• What is God’s method? (It’s simple; you could memorize it right now!)
• II Tim. 4:1-2a – preach the Word! This is not a difficult concept to understand. (Note that there is no mention of big bands, celebrities, plays, skits, etc… just the WORD!)
• I Cor. 2:1-5 – a simple man came preaching a powerful message…
• God’s servants preached the word and cared NOT for excellency of speech.
• They came in fear and trembling – not trusting in their own abilities, but trusting in the power of the gospel message itself.
• I Cor. 1:18, 23-24 – They came preaching the word knowing full well that most would call it foolishness… but that SOME would respond in faith and see in it the very power of God!
• I Cor. 1:21 – it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe!
• I Thess. 2:2-5 – When Paul brought the gospel to Thessalonica, he came without guile, without tricks or gimmicks, and without trying to please men. His only desire was to preach the Word accurately and please God…
• He preached, knowing that work of preaching was his responsibility, and the work of saving was God’s responsibility.
• I Thess. 2:10 – and he came with a testimony of holiness and purity and separation from the world that backed up the message he proclaimed!
g. Col. 1:7 – Since Paul calls the man who brought the gospel to Colosse a “faithful minister of Christ,” it is fair to say that the gospel came to Colosse… in the same way that Paul brought the message to these other cities…
• The message came to Colosse after the same pattern we read in the Scriptures!
• He came preaching the Word… a simple man with a glorious and powerful message of hope…
• You see, if one really BELIEVES that the gospel is the power of God – he realizes that the gospel doesn’t NEED any gimmicks… it doesn’t need some slick new method of presenting it.
• It simply needs to be proclaimed for what it is!
• MOST true evangelism takes place one on one… one simple believer concerned about the spiritual well being of a friend or neighbor… and telling him the good news…
3. The city of Colosse was part of God’s grand and glorious plan to extend the testimony of Jesus Christ.
a. The gospel message came to Colosse and souls were saved.
b. The gospel message came to Colosse and lives were changed.
c. The gospel message came to Colosse and FRUIT was manifested…
d. The gospel message came to Colosse and a church, an assembly of fruitful believers in Christ, was established.
The Gospel in All the World
1. God’s eternal plan for the church was that it extend worldwide.
2. Matt. 28:18-20 – The Lord Jesus commanded His disciples to carry the good news of the risen Savior worldwide.
3. All the world is hyperbole that Paul often used.
a. Cf. Rom. 1:8; 10:18…
b. It was an expression for the known world.
c. Obviously the message had not yet reached China or what is now known as Australia or Antarctica.
d. But the gospel HAD arrived in the world and was available to the whole world… to whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord!
e. This good news was not limited to the lost sheep of the house of Israel any more. It was not limited to the Middle East. It was sent out for the whole world to hear!
f. The task of world evangelization was certainly not complete at that time… or even today!
g. In Paul’s day, the gospel was being sent out to all the world – wherever the Holy Spirit led.
The Gospel Brings Forth Fruit
1. The gospel… bringeth forth fruit…
a. Bringeth forth = bears fruit…
b. What is the fruit of the gospel? LIFE! The indwelling life of Christ manifest in our mortal bodies… and His character expressed through us… that’s fruit!
c. The gospel message reproduces the life of Christ wherever it goes… wherever it is received.
d. Wherever the life of Christ is reproduced, Christlike character is reproduced by the Holy Spirit – which is, the FRUIT of the Spirit.
e. This is the FRUIT of the gospel – Holy Spirit produced, Christlike character!
• We often hear the term “fruit” used as a synonym for winning souls.
• Are you fruitful as a Christian? Is your church or ministry fruitful?
• Often people mean, “Are many souls being won?”
• That meaning is found RARELY in Scripture.
• Most often fruit refers to inward character and the works that proceed from it… the fruit of the spirit… the fruit of righteousness… a holy life… Christlikeness… etc…
• Wherever the gospel goes – this kind of fruit is produced.
f. What a remarkable contrast between the law and grace.
• The law is a ministry of condemnation and death. (II Cor. 3:7,9)
• The gospel of God’s grace is a ministry of life and fruit!
• The law was restricted to one nation: Israel. The gospel of God’s grace is for the entire world!
2. This fruit was reproduced corporately in the church at Colosse.
a. “As it doth also in YOU…” (plural – the body of believers in Colosse).
b. There was evidence of spiritual fruit manifested in the assembly… evidence of life…
3. This fruit is produced in the individual lives of believers.
a. Paul states that when the gospel message “comes” to a person or a group of believes, it produces fruit.
b. The gospel, when received, ALWAYS produces fruit!
• It can’t HELP but produce fruit.
• The gospel is a seed of life. When it takes root in good soil, it always reproduces that life… that’s fruit!
• The seed of the gospel is sown… received in good soil (a believing heart) and germinates into a manifestation of LIFE… the life of Christ. That’s fruit!
c. There aren’t any exceptions to this rule either. There is no such thing as a true believer without any fruit.
d. I Thess. 2:13 – the word of the truth of the gospel EFFECTUALLY works in believers. It always works and produces fruit.
e. Heb. 4:12 – It is powerful and life giving. The word of God is quick = life giving! It always accomplishes God’s purpose in the heart… whether conviction… illumination… guidance… encouragement… and results in fruit.
f. Every true believer has experienced the life transforming power of the gospel. The gospel produces fruit wherever it goes… and into EVERY heart it enters by faith.
g. And this is universal. It produces the same fruit in Salem that it produces in the lives of believers in China or Uganda.
h. The gospel has gone into all the world and produces the very same fruit everywhere.
4. I Cor. 4:5 – every (Christian) man shall have praise of God!
a. When does every believer have praise of God? At the coming of Christ.
b. This refers to the time of the Bema Judgment Seat – when every true believer will stand before God to have his works judged.
c. This is NOT to see if he is going to heaven or not. In fact, the judgment seat occurs IN heaven! He is already there!
d. This is for believers who will be rewarded for their works done in the power of the Spirit and for the glory of God.
e. In that day, EVERY believer will have praise of God…
f. Yes, even the Corinthians! Yes even the carnal believer. Yes even the backslidden believer.
g. Every believer has done SOMETHING for the Lord in their lives.
h. Of course, there will be a great variation in the AMOUNT of praise and rewards believers will receive – but EVERY man shall receive some.
i. In context, Paul is defending his ministry.
• He had to say some pretty harsh things to the Corinthians because of their sins. He was quite critical in this book.
• Some of the believers evidently were judging Paul’s motives… they said he was just out for their money… that he was egotistical, taking too much power to himself.
• They criticized him because he was rebuking them… and they didn’t like it.
• Hence, Paul states here that one day the Lord will come and will reveal the “hidden things of darkness” and the “counsels of the heart.”
• The believers wrongly judged the hidden counsels in Paul’s heart… they didn’t KNOW his motives… and they accused him cruelly of all kinds of awful things.
• Paul says that at the Bema Seat, Christ will judge his motives perfectly… and the motives of other believers who were wrongly judged. And in that day – ALL men shall have praise of God… even if they received scorn on earth by men!
• At the Bema every man shall receive some praise from God… some reward… for even the carnal believer did SOMETHING right… he wasn’t ALWAYS carnal!
5. Matt. 13:1-9 – the parable of the soils
a. Jesus taught a parable about the relationship between the word of the truth of the gospel and fruit.
b. Vs. 18-19 – the word sown in soil by the wayside.
• This is soil that is hard packed… along side of a garden area where all the people walk.
• The seed lands on the hard soil, stays there, and is eventually eaten by birds.
• This individual hears the word, does not understand it, and the devil takes away what little understanding he did have.
• This seed produced NO FRUIT.
• This man is not a believer. The gospel produces fruit when received.
c. Vs. 20-21 – the word sown in rocky soil…
• This seed is sown in shallow soil… with a thin layer of soil over rock.
• A seed might begin to sprout there, but its roots cannot sink in.
• When the sun comes out, it withers up and dies.
• It produces no fruit.
• Hence, it pictures the man who hears the word, receives it superficially, but as soon as a trial comes, he departs, because his faith was not genuine. It was merely superficial.
d. Vs. 22 – the seen sown in thorns.
• This seed is sown in a thorn patch.
• As soon as it begins to sprout, the strong thorns choke it and it’s growth is thwarted.
• It might grow up tall and spindly… but does not develop properly.
• No fruit is produced. It becomes an unfruitful plant.
• This pictures the man who claims to receive the gospel, but because of the cares of this life… he is choked spiritually.
• This is not a true believer. No fruit is produced.
e. Vs. 23 – the seed sown on good soil.
• Here the Lord describes the one genuine believer.
• He is like the good soil. He receives the seed. The seed takes deep root… and it produces fruit.
• He understands the gospel and he bears fruit.
• True believers will bear fruit in differing capacities.
• Not all true believers produce much fruit… but all produce SOME fruit… every man shall have some praise of God.
• True believers exist in varying degrees of faithfulness and fruitfulness.
• Some believers waste precious time on things that do not result in fruit. Carnality… worldliness… sin… selfishness… or just trivial things…
f. Jesus clearly teaches here that when the gospel message takes root… when there is a genuine conversion… there will ALWAYS be some amount of fruit generated.
• A good tree bears good fruit.
• The branch that abides in the Vine bears MUCH fruit.
• John 15:8 – the Father is glorified when we bear much fruit… because the fruit borne reflects His image and His character… it is His work in us.
6. The fruit of the gospel is a demonstration of the power of God.
a. Rom. 1:16 – it is the power of God.
b. Only the power of God can take a sinner like me or like you – and transform that sinner into the image of His dear Son!
c. Only the power of God could take a cold, self centered, lifeless heart, and regenerate it… and then produce love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, meekness, temperance in it!
d. The gospel is the power of God.
e. Only the power of God can so completely win over a man’s heart… that He causes a former enemy of God to love the Lord with all his heart!
7. The fruit of the gospel is a demonstration of its veracity… its truthfulness.
a. A false gospel cannot produce Christlike character…
b. A false gospel cannot produce the fruit of the Spirit …
c. A false gospel cannot produce life or substantiated hope…
d. But a false gospel CAN produce imitation fruit…
• Consider the wonderful works of the Catholic charities… cf. Matt. 7:23…
• Consider the wholesome family values being promoted by the Mormons… which is but a cheap veneer for the underlying evil of polygamy which they have promoted for many decades – covertly and overtly!
• Consider the holiness movement in Colosse which were being promoted under the guise of ascetic practices (touch not; taste not; handle not). They assumed that this was the fruit of holiness. Paul exposes it as the fruit of self righteousness!
• The true gospel always exalts the Lord Jesus… not the flesh… not our works… not the traditions of men… but Christ!
• The fruit of Christlike character is a demonstration of the reality of the supernatural power of the gospel.
• The real gospel produces real fruit… when planted in good soil… namely, a receptive heart.
e. The fruit of the gospel proves that the message is genuine.
• II Cor. 3:1-3 – Paul didn’t need letters of recommendation. The Corinthians themselves were his letter!
• The fact that they were alive unto God – born again – was the proof of Paul’s apostolic ministry. It was proof that he was an apostle of Christ and that the message he preached was the genuine gospel.
• The proof: it saved! It transformed lives! It gave new life and produced new creations in Christ!
The Gospel Brings Forth Fruit Immediately and Continually
1. Since the day ye heard of it…
a. The very MOMENT a person is saved, there is evidence of it.
b. The moment a baby is born he begins to cry – evidence of life.
c. There isn’t any maturity there… but there is FRUIT… evidence of LIFE.
d. It does not take 10 years to produce fruit…
e. Some fruit will be instantaneously demonstrated… as evidence of genuine life.
f. That’s why at the Bema seat EVERY man shall have some praise from God… every believer has evidenced SOME fruit.
g. One of the first things a new converts says or thinks is THANK YOU LORD for saving my soul! That thankful heart is fruit… Holy Spirit produced.
h. Gal. 4:6 – Remember – the new believer is indwelt by the Spirit at the moment of saving faith… and he will instantly cry Abba Father! That too is fruit… a newborn son acknowledging God as his Father!
i. Rom. 8:15-16 – in addition to acknowledging God as our Father, there will be an acknowledgement of our position as SON… the witness of the Spirit that we now belong to God!
j. I John 3:14 – Instantly, there will be an appreciation for other believers in Christ. This too is fruit – the supernatural produce of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer.
k. All of this is FRUIT… the product of indwelling life… an evidence of a genuine conversion… of saving faith.
l. Religion can attempt to imitate this fruit, but can never produce it!
m. The fruit of brotherly love was evidenced in Colosse: showing love one to another…
2. This fruit was exhibited BEFORE the false teachers ever arrived!
a. Paul begins his epistle by subtly and gradually introducing ideas to support his purpose in writing: to oppose the false teachers in Colosse who were promoting “additions” to the gospel.
b. These false teachers were promoting angel worship; Jewish traditions and legalism; pagan asceticism, and Greek philosophy…
c. Paul carefully words this introduction to make it clear that the TRUE gospel they heard was BEFORE those false teachings later arrived in the city. (vs. 5)
d. Now in vs. 6 Paul states subtly, that the fruit of the Spirit was being manifested SINCE the very day they responded to the gospel in faith!
e. In other words, the message that SAVED them… the message that resulted in spiritual FRUIT was operating in and through them long BEFORE these other teachings came along…
f. They were already saved and bearing fruit long before these false teachers came along.
g. His point is clear: the word of the truth of the gospel is sufficient. You don’t NEED these other teachings. They are NOT going to help you bear fruit for the Lord. They will only hinder!
h. Worshipping angels isn’t going to bring you closer to God.
i. Touch not, taste not, handle not isn’t going to produce fruit.
j. Obsessing over foods and holy days isn’t going to produce holiness.
k. It will only produce self righteousness!
l. Paul begins this epistle by reminding his readers that the REAL fruit in their lives is to be traced back to the gospel message they heard long before the philosophers… and the legalists… and ascetics came along.
m. Their salvation, their spiritual growth, and the fruit borne through their lives was completely independent of these new teachings…
3. Paul lets the Colossians know that they didn’t NEED anything else… contrary to what the false teachers were telling them.
a. False teachers often scare new converts by stating that they are the ONLY ONES who have the key to heaven… the key to Christian living… the key to understanding truth…
• Ex: Mormons – adding another book to the Bible…
• Ex: 7th Day Adventists – adding Jewish law
• Ex: Rome – adding church tradition and ritual
• Ex: Many false teachers claim to have some special key that only they have… and that you need…
b. Paul strikes that down by stating that the true gospel came to Colosse AND it also is going throughout the whole world!
c. The truth of the gospel is not confined to one little elite group… no matter how loudly they claim it is so!
d. Truth doesn’t need to be amended!
• These false teachers came saying that it was good that the Colossians were saved, but they needed something ELSE in addition…
• Whether Jewish law or tradition… help from angels… Greek philosophy… etc…
• Their claims always imply that what we have in Christ isn’t enough… some special key is needed.
e. Col. 2:10 – they were complete in Christ.
• They didn’t need anything new added to their faith. He is ALL we need.
• That new born babe in Christ is complete in Christ.
• He has all he will ever need to grow, mature, and bear fruit.
• He has the indwelling Christ… the Scriptures… and now, eyes to see… and the illuminating & teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit!
• And he is part of the Body of Christ… the church… designed to help promote spiritual growth and maturity… till we all come into the fullness of the stature of Christ.
4. The gospel produced fruit from the very moment they KNEW the grace of God.
a. Knew: epignosko… (ginwskw with an intensifying preposition connected)
• It implies a FULL knowledge of; a deep understanding of…
• Lightfoot calls it: “a larger and more thorough knowledge; advanced knowledge through appreciation.”
• I Cor. 13:12 – now I know (gniskw) in part, but then, I shall be know (epignwskw) even as I am known.”
b. The Colossians heard the gospel and came to fully grasp the concept of grace. (Eph. 2:8-9)
c. Their salvation was genuine – for one MUST understand this concept before he can be saved… not of works… by grace through faith…
d. What does it mean to fully grasp the concept of grace?
• They recognized that they were unworthy…
• They recognized that they deserved hell and condemnation.
• They recognized that they were spiritual paupers and had nothing to offer God…
• They were destitute and could do nothing but to cry out for mercy… that’s understanding grace…
• They were like the publican in the temple. What a contrast to the proud Pharisee! He cast himself down in humility before God and cried for mercy… he knew he had no other hope!
• That is RELYING upon God’s grace… that’s faith!
e. Paul states that as soon as they understood and relied upon God’s grace – FRUIT was borne in their lives!
• At the moment they came to that full apprehension of… a full understanding of… from the moment the concept of salvation by grace really sunk in… and they received it… from moment on, they began bearing fruit.
• From the moment of saving faith, Holy Spirit produced fruit was evidenced in their new lives in Christ.
• Abba Father!
• Loving one another as brethren! That’s fruit! (vs. 4)
f. Thus, the Colossians – and anyone who truly grasps the concept of the amazing grace of God realizes that whatever men ADD to the gospel is not needed… it is not helpful… it can only be harmful!
• Hence, they should know that they didn’t need the traditions of men…
• They didn’t need the ascetic practices…
• They didn’t need the Greek philosophy…
• They had the truth of the gospel and they had Christ. They were complete.
• And the proof was all around them… they were spiritually alive and fruitful!
• And this new life and fruit was to be traced back to the gospel of God’s grace… and to nothing else.
5. The gospel bears fruit CONTINUALLY…
a. Brings forth fruit (one word) – present participle…continual action…it keeps on bearing fruit…
b. The bringing forth fruit BEGAN the moment they heard, and fully understood the gospel of God’s marvelous grace… and it CONTINUED to bring forth fruit… in the assembly… and in the individual lives of believers.
c. He who has begun a good work in us will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
d. Consider the illustration Paul uses here of the gospel.
• The gospel is like a seed… a living seed.
• This living seed is sown… received into good soil…
• It then grows and bears fruit… a fruit which contains the same living seed in it.
• And that fruit which carries in it the same seed, has the potential to spread the seed and further propagate this life…
• Some translations add the word “and increases” in vs. 6.
e. Paul then prays that these believers would continue to be fruitful in every good work… (vs. 10)
• Has the gospel come to you?
• Have you fully grasped the concept of the grace of God?
• Have you received this grace into your heart… like a soil receiving good seed?
• If not – then you need to be saved! You MUST be born again!
• If you are saved, is the word of the truth of the gospel producing fruit in your life? Is there evidence of the life of Christ in you?
» Yield yourself unto God and HE will produce fruit in your life for His glory.
» Abide in Christ… draw near to Him… the result of that relationship is FRUIT…
» The natural result of this close relationship to Christ (illustrated by marriage!)… is fruit. (Rom. 7:4)
» The closer we get to Him in our daily walk… the more of His character will be reflected in our lives. That’s fruit… the kind that glorifies God.