October 28, 2023
Excerpt from a sermon preached on October 15, 2023 from Colossians 1:21-23.
Let me remind you of something the Lord Jesus taught us that’s recorded in the Gospel of Matthew. I was in this chapter as a part of my scheduled reading this morning and it just reminded me about the parable of the four soils, which are pictures of four kinds of heart that the seed of God’s word falls upon. Jesus interprets the parable for his disciples this way.
Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty (Matthew 13:18-23).
So, the Lord Jesus teaches us that when the seed of the gospel falls upon the soil of a person’s heart, there are four basic kinds of soil and only one of them in the end produces fruit. This is the soil that has been prepared by the Holy Spirit. This is the soil that is soft and ready to hear the word of Christ. This is the soil that recognizes its sinfulness before God in its desperate need for redemption by the Lord and that seed then takes root in that soil. And as the roots go deep and start to spread and take in the nutrients that God has provided in his word and through his people in time, that seed bears fruit. The size of fruitfulness or the measure of fruitfulness varies as Jesus says. But there will be fruit.
And that’s a consistent message throughout the scriptures. That is, when the gospel takes hold in a person’s life, when the Holy Spirit breathes new life into a spiritual corpse and we are born again by the very word of God, God begins a brand-new work in us that grows and in time bears fruit. Different measures of fruit, but there will be fruit. And that’s what we see happening here in Colossians chapter one this morning. What we see is the change that the Lord brings about in our lives as believers, which then results in us becoming very different people than we were before we came to know Jesus. And so, in Colossians one, if you just pick it up with me in verse 15, we’ll grab the context again, we’ve been hearing about the preeminence of Christ as Creator and as Redeemer. And then we’ve been learning about the Ministry of Reconciliation accomplished by Christ and then is fleshed out in the way that God changes us. In Colossians chapter one, verse 15. Pick it up with me: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”
Talking about Christ. Christ is the visible image of the Invisible God.
“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister” (Colossians 1:15-23).
What we see in verses 21 through 23 are some of the fruits of the work of God in our lives through the gospel. The fruitfulness for which Paul had earlier prayed. So, our big idea this morning is this: reconciliation with God produces fruits of godly character. You’ll notice back in verse 9, remember how the Apostle Paul prayed for the Colossians,
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:9-10).
So, the apostle Paul prays for these believers that they would become so rooted and built up in Christ that there is not one aspect of their life that is not being transformed by the Lord by the Holy Spirit, through the work of the gospel through the Word of God. That they will be filled with the knowledge of God’s will. That they would know the will of God, and therefore they will want to do the will of God. That they would grow in spiritual wisdom and understanding. Not simply knowledge for knowledge’s sake but wisdom. Knowledge is a lot easier to gain than wisdom. Knowledge you can gain through school. Wisdom you gain through life wisdom you gain through walking with God. And the mountaintop experiences and the very deep valleys. And as we continue to persevere and walk with God, He develops wisdom and understanding in us so that, notice verse 10, we would walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, pleasing to him and bearing fruit. This is the will of God for us that we would bear fruit. As Jesus says in John 15 it is the will of the Father that we bear much fruit and so prove to be his disciples.
Listen to the entire sermon titled ‘Fruits of Reconciliation with God’ from Colossians 1:21-23 here.