Bearing Gospel Fruit

A sermon by Michael Pahl on July 14, 2019, called “Bearing Gospel Fruit,” reflecting on Colossians 1:1-14.  It is the first in our summer series on “Colossians: The Fullness of the Gospel.”

Here is a written excerpt:

If we want God’s “full life” of love and faith and hope, we need to allow the gospel story of Jesus to permeate our lives, to seep into the deep places of our inner thoughts and feelings, to change the way we think and feel about God, ourselves, others, and the world around us.

This is what it means to “abide in Christ” (John 15:4). This is what it means to “be transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Rom 12:2). This is what it means to be “filled with the Spirit” (Eph 5:18). This is what it means to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,” as Paul puts it in Colossians 3:16.

And when we do this, allowing the good news story of Jesus to soak into our imaginations and saturate our inclinations, the fruit of the gospel will grow in our lives: Jesus-faith, Jesus-hope, and Jesus-love.

Funny thing about fruit, though: the fruit is also the seed.

In fact, from the plant’s perspective, that’s the whole purpose of the fruit: to bear the seeds of future life and growth. Faith, hope, and love are not only the fruit of the gospel of Jesus, evident in our lives. They are also the seed for the future spread of the gospel, the growth of God’s kingdom in the world.

This points us to a truth that we will explore more in the coming weeks as we walk through Colossians: the “full life” God desires for us is not just for us. It’s for all people. It’s even for all creation.

As Christians, then, aspiring to “live a full life” means pursuing the fullness of life not just for ourselves, but for others, for all people, even for all creation. As we respond to the good news story of Jesus in Jesus-faith, Jesus-hope, and Jesus-love, we sow that gospel fruit as seeds in the world.

And if we do this, if we persevere in this, God assures us that our sowing and reaping in the gospel will indeed bring about ever more faith, ever more hope, ever more love in the world, until justice and peace and flourishing life abound throughout the earth.

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