Becoming Whole in Christ
Has the Gospel Come to You? – Colossians 1:3-14
Pastor Doug Klein
Has the Gospel come too you and if so, have you received it and is it bearing fruit and increasing in your life? That’s the telltale sign of whether you have really understood and received the Gospel. You must realize that the Gospel is not something we go after instinctively or intuitively. It comes to us from the outside and begins to pursue us. It’s a true sign that God is working in our lives. When the Gospel comes into our life through the person of Christ it does not produce only salvation, it is responsible for every bit of growth in our Christian lives until we leave this world. As Jesus enters our lives through the Gospel, He brings some incredible things into our lives. And more importantly, He brings His own life and presence. With that comes the wisdom, power, joy, and deliverance of God.
The first principle is 1.) The Gospel brings wisdom. Colossians 1: 9-10.
How are we supposed to navigate the tricky maze called life? There are so many pitfalls that can throw us off course. How can we overcome the pressures and anxieties of life and avoid impulse decisions? How can we be both patient and prudent at the same time?
Frodo to Gandalf
‘I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo. ‘So do I,’ said Gandalf,
‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we
have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.’
Let’s be clear about God’s will for our lives. Much of it is already laid out in Scripture. His purposes for us in growing and transforming to be like Christ involve much of the same thing for every one of us: things we must avoid and things we must pursue. But what about the specific decisions we face on a personal level: whether we take a job in Seattle, Portland or stay in Denver. Many believers spend countless time and energy trying to find out God’s “secret will for them.” On the contrary, the wisdom of God within us gives us the freedom to weigh decisions with the assurance that God is already directing our paths. In other words, let the story that God is writing in your life unfold and trust Him to open and close doors as you live your life with freedom and boldness. The wisdom you need is already available to you and working in your life because of the Presence of Jesus in you. Don’t try to overthink things. Just keep walking close to Jesus and let your life unfold. He is leading and you are following. He will make it clear when you need to make a sharp right turn.
The very wisdom of the all wise infinite personal God is shaping our lives. What a beautiful thing to rest in.
The second principle is 2.) The Gospel brings power. Colossians 1:11a.
God exhorts us to be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might. Now, here’s the key: the same power that saves us is the same power that grows us in His grace. Here’s what many Christians subtly assume: I am saved by the grace offered in the Gospel but the rest of my life I grow through my obedience to His principles. Now the Bible certainly places a premium on obedience. But the power to grow spiritually comes from the Spirit working within us not from us trying harder. He who began a good work IN US will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Christ in the Gospel brings the power for us to bear fruit and to grow. If you plant a flower in the right soil and nurture it properly, it will grow. The plant or flower doesn’t have to try harder to make growth happen.
The Gospel also provides us with the power to grow in hard situations producing endurance and patience with joy. The fruit that is produced in us is a life of works and service to God and a character transformation that produces the fruits of the Spirit in our character.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Take a look at any one of our problems. If anger and discouragement persists, we are failing to understand how the Gospel provides for us at that level of our struggle.
The third principle is 3.) The Gospel brings joy. Colossians 1:11b.
Many people perceive the Christian love to be an incessant struggle as we painfully try to climb up God’s hill of painful obedience. What a contrast between drudgery and joy. The joy of the Lord is our strength and our only consistent strength.
17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of
righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
When we fail to grasp Christ’s joy available to us, we begin to live like orphans, dominated by fear. Most of all, we feel very unqualified to be disciples of Jesus. But once again, the Gospel addresses our weakness. It affirms to us that Christ has qualified us to share in his inheritance. None of it is based on our own effort. It’s all because of His finished work.
We are reminded at every turn that Jesus endured the cross because of the joy set before him. We should do the same and live in the power of Christ’s joy.
The fourth principle is 4.) The Gospel brings the deliverance of Jesus. Colossians 1:13-14.
The Gospel is not a religious theory or a set of principles. It is a person (Jesus Christ) who is living his life through me. He delivers us from our kingdoms or selfishness and comfort. He exacts a real transfer from the kingdom of darkness into his own beautiful kingdom. Once again, the Gospel is not about Jesus – It IS Jesus. He becomes my actual righteousness and my salvation.
When I am tempted to throw it all away and run back to the idols of my life that have repeatedly failed me, I am stating that is not enough. It indicates that I really don’t know Him very well.
Once again, I am not just delivered from sin, I have been transferred into a very different kingdom. He has delivered me and He continues to deliver me every day. He changes me in the process so that I become just like Him. And that is worth everything in the world.
Faith Presbyterian Church
April 24, 2016