“We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; 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.” (Col. 1:3-6)
I am not writing anything new, but like Peter I am just trying to put you in remembrance of what you already know or at least should know. (“Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.” II Peter 1:12) There is a song that states, “I love to tell the old, old story.” If you are saved, it will just thrill your heart and if you are not saved, may it speak to your heart and soul.
Paul said if any angel or any man preach any other gospel than what he preached, “let him be accursed”--condemned to die. In other words let that individual be cast into hell fire. (“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” Gal. 1:8-9) He clearly stated that the gospel of Christ is the death, burial, and the resurrection of Christ. (“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.” And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” I Cor. 15:3-4) Therefore, we can say that we need to know the truth of the gospel.
1. The person of the gospel.
To know the truth of the gospel is to know the person of the gospel. The word “gospel” means good news--good news about the person of Christ. Paul said, “Christ died for our sins.” (I Cor. 15: 3) This is what is referred to as the vicarious death of Christ which means substitutionary death of Christ--He took my place by paying my sin debt (my hell) and died in my place. He was buried, but after three days and nights He resurrected.
For Christ to qualify as my sin bearer, He had to be virgin born, thus, not having the sin nature of Adam which enabled Him to live a sinless life so He could bear my sins. After He resurrected, He ascended back to the Father who was satisfied with His Son’s sacrifice of His blood by which He atoned for my sin. He then sat down at the right hand of God where He continues to make intercession for us. And one day He is coming back to redeem the bodies of all who are His--rapture.
For mankind to get in on the blessings of the gospel, the Holy Ghost must reprove (convince) of sin, righteousness, and judgment. (“And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” John 16:8-11) We call this Holy Ghost conviction and it must be complete in all three areas. When this occurs, a man is then able to obey the gospel which involves repenting and believing. Our Lord commanded this in Mark 1:15 (“And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”) and we are enabled to do so by the “sanctification of the Spirit.” (Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” I Peter 1:2) When we obey the gospel we receive Christ, the person of the gospel and have eternal life. (“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” John 1:12; “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” I John 5:12)
2. Product of the gospel.
When the gospel is received and believed, it brings about three things. This occurs in every person who is saved, without exception:
1) Spiritual Conversion.
The word converted is used in Peter’s sermon in Acts 3:19. (“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”) It means to turn again, to be changed in mind and conduct. This means that repentance was worked. Thus, there was double emphasis on repent in this verse. We are living in a day when many preachers are using the word “decision”--make a decision for Christ. Older preachers use to use the word “converted” but many today hate that word because that involves repentance and takes a work of godly sorrow (involved in Holy Ghost conviction). (“For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” II Cor. 7:10)
Have you been converted? “From what?” you may ask:
a) From the broad way to the narrow way. (“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Mat. 7:13-14)
b) From darkness to light. (“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” Col:12-13)
c) From death unto life. (“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” John 5:24) Without exception the product of the gospel is “spiritual conversion.”
2) Outward change.
Paul stated in II Cor. 5:17 that when one is saved he becomes a new creature in Christ. (“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”)
Verse 6 of our text says it happens immediately--“since the day you heard.” This is a product of the gospel without exception. Jesus said what is on the inside also comes on the outside. (“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.” Mat. 23:25-26)
When the maniac of Gadara was saved, the people found him that day in his right mind and clothed. (“And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.” Mark 5:15) And when the woman at the well was saved she evidently looked different, walked different, and talked different that day, for her testimony to the men of the village caused some to believe. (“And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.” John 4:39)
In Acts 2 those who believed were baptized and bore witness to the truth of the gospel--immediately not 20 years down the road. And in Acts. 8 when the Eunuch believed, immediately he was baptized and went on his way rejoicing. Also, in Acts 10 when the Holy Ghost fell upon Cornelius, he believed and was baptized. All of these were baptized because there had been a change on the inside--saved. They were not baptized to bring about a change on the inside--baptism does not save anyone nor cleanse one on the inside.
3) Continual growth.
Our text in verse 6 states the saints in Colosse brought forth fruit since the day they heard the gospel. “Heard” means to hear with understanding enough to exercise saving faith which had been given to them because a work of reproval had been done. This means to hear with the ears of the heart because it is not enough to hear with just physical ears. In John 6:45 Jesus used the phrase, “Every man therefore that hath heard and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” “Hath learned” means to have enough understanding to be good ground and be saved. (“But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” Mat. 13:23) Paul also said in verse 6 of our text. “And knew the grace of God in truth.” “Knew” means to become thoroughly acquainted with--to know accurately and refers to their having understanding and being saved.
All who are saved will have continual growth, without exception, from the day they are saved. Paul said he thanked God “since we heard of your faith.” (Verse 4) Faith (being saved) got out on them because faith works and continues. (“But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” James 2:20) James 2:24 (“Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.”) refers to others (“ye see”) saying that you are saved by seeing your works. This verse does not contradict Rom. 4:2 (“For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.”) which refers to being justified (saved) before God. God sees the heart and what is on the inside comes out because, without exception, there will be continual growth. Those who say they are saved and do not have continual growth are just stony ground hearers--just professors not possessors. (“Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.” Mat. 13:21) The saved in Acts 2:42 (“And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”) and in verse 46 (“And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.”) continued steadfastly and daily in the apostles’ doctrine.
When the gospel is received and believed, without exception, three things will be the product of the gospel: 1) Spiritual conversion, 2) outward change, and 3) continual growth.
This is not only true of those in Bible times but also in our time. The Bible states plainly in Heb. 3:14 that the saved will continue “unto the end.” Jesus stated plainly in John 8:32 that if one continues “in my word,” that he is truly His disciple. The opposite of that is, if you don’t continue then you are not truly His disciple.
Again I say, I am not writing anything new. This is the old, old story. If you have a problem with this, it would be a wise thing for you to get honest with yourself about your spiritual condition and search the scripture. (“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” John 5:39-40) Then come to the person of the gospel--the Lord Jesus Christ. (“He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” I John 5:12) And then you will have the product of the gospel:
1) Spiritual conversion.
2) Outward change.
3) Continual growth.
This is the truth of the gospel. I know it is only a skeletal outline, but if you have any questions concerning what I have written or want more in depth understanding, contact me. We have a lot of material written and on CDs concerning this subject and we would be glad to send it to you free of charge just for the asking. We care for your soul.
THE PERSUADER - July-Dec., 2014