Col 1:3-8 What Grows in Our Garden

Colossians 1:3-8

What is the greatest compliment you have been given? What would you love to hear someone say that would light up your day?

Paul is excited about this small Colossian church and he commends them in this way: “We give thanks to God … praying always for you”. He encourages these Greek believers by saying, “I thank God for you!” It is God Who deserves all the credit for the fruitfulness of what is happening here.

Consider what gets Paul so excited. Is it the exponential growth of the church? Is it their hugely successful outreach strategy? Or their wild youth programme? None of the above. The fruit of the gospel is clearly seen in three fundamental elements of the Christian reality.

Faith in Christ Jesus: A sincere, personal, dependence on Christ Himself for all things. This is beyond “being a church member”. This is the everyday reaslisation that without Jesus I can do nothing. His Word is my food. His shed blood my rescued me from sin. His resurrection has secured my hope in this life and the next. He is my King, my Teacher, and my representative in Heaven.

Love for all the saints: Those who love Jesus and cling to Him, will love His people (His bride!) and join to them in the body of Christ. Genuine love for the brothers and sisters in the body flows from faith, and kicks into action (consider the “work of faith and labour of love” in 1 Thessalonians 1:3). The love amongst members in a local church is not a happy feeling that exists between people who happen to like each other. This love is a fruit of the Spirit, and the reflects the love that Jesus has for His sheep, that the Father has for His children.

Hope laid up for you in Heaven: holding on to Jesus and loving His people are not aimless actions. Faith and Love are energised by the sure hope that God has a purpose in this life for you, which will ultimately be fulfilled when you are with Him. This hope impacts life in this world, while you look forward to the greatest joy of Heaven, which is Christ Himself.

This is the fruit of the Gospel – the good news of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus that makes it possible for lost sinners like you and me to have the sure hope of Heaven. Christ gives hope in a world that offers none. Christ loves His people, who then love each other in a world that can love only itself. Christ is the firm Rock of truth to which we cling while the relativity of our post-modern world offers no foundation at all.

May we know Christ in this way!

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