The Tulip Driven Life Podcast

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Fruit-Bearing Life of the Believer


By: Nathan Fox

Introduction

I feel so compelled to write this blog post today. Not only do I work through books of the Bible at a time, but also have been blessed to read a little booklet everyday that provides tidbits of encouragement and sound Biblical advice. The book (Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest) covered one of my favorite topics today, and consequently the Scripture that I was covering in Colossians also speaks on this issue. The issue you ask? It is simply this: true faith in Jesus Christ bears fruit. 

Scriptural Text

Last week, we covered the first few verses in the book of Colossians, and talked about unity in doctrine and unity in love. Unity in doctrine is an imperative for a growing Christian and a growing Christian congregation, but it doesn’t just stop there! The doctrine of the Gospel has the potential to change lives not only at the moment of conversion but for all eternity. For our text today, we will look at Colossians 1:5-8 and in doing so I hope to show you the natural reaction of a human life to salvation.

Let’s start in verse 5 as it says this: “because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the Gospel...” In this verse we encounter a word that stands out (truth). The hope that we have as believers not only for this life but for eternity rests on the truth of the Gospel! If the Gospel is not true, then there is no hope for the believer in the Gospel. But if it is true, and I believe with all of my heart that it is, then there is something to rest our entire lives on! 

But it’s truth does more than just give us confidence; it goes way beyond that by changing our lives! How does it do that? Because the Gospel bears fruit! True faith in Jesus leads to a changed life and a life that bears fruit for Him! Take a look at verses 6-8: “it (the Gospel) has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth; as you also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.” Take a look at the content of those verses again before we try to break them down. 

The Gospel brings forth fruit, meaning that it has come to change lives. It is making a difference in the lives of those who believe in it. But it doesn’t just change our lives at the moment that we are regenerated, but is also something that should bear fruit as we go through our daily lives. Look at the latter part of those set of verses again. The Gospel bore fruit in the lives in the Colossians not only by leading them to salvation but also bore fruit through how they loved each other. And this is what I want to focus most on: the Gospel indeed bears fruit and changes lives the moment the Holy Spirit indwells us, but it also should bear fruit on a daily basis, and should be most evident through our love for each other. Just as Paul heard of the Colossian’s bearing fruit as evidence by their love, so too should Christians today bear fruit as a result of a changed life. 

Practical Application

Oswald Chambers had this to say in his book (and I must say that I love this quote): “The bearing of fruit is always shown in Scripture to be the visible result of an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.” If Jesus has changed your life, if you have heard the truth of the Gospel and as a consequence the Holy Spirit moved in you and now indwells you, then the natural reaction can only be this: bear fruit! Live as the people of Colosse did, and let people hear of your love. Let people see the church today bearing fruit as a result of their profound faith in Jesus Christ. 

Let me say this as well: bearing fruit doesn’t necessarily mean that you drop everything, give up all your money, pray 24/7, and become a foreign missionary overnight (though I have respect for those who have the dedication to attempt to do these things). Be practical in the way that you do things, and start off small. Small gestures of love and kindness is still bearing fruit, and still exemplifies the authenticity of the Gospel in which you believe. For example, I send a text to my fiancee’s sister after each of her basketball games to inquire how she did and whether she had fun or not. I attempt to encourage her in very practical ways and I am trying to give her the confidence needed to do her best. Now that might not be the biggest example of bearing fruit, and you would be right. But that’s my point! Do little things for people (believers and non-believers alike) out of a heart of love, and in doing so you are allowing the Gospel to bear fruit through you. 

It is my prayer that this week that you will bear fruit for the Gospel. I hope that everyone who reads this will be encouraged enough to live out a life of authenticity for the world to see, and that we as believers will be a light to all who encounter us. It is my prayer that you will display simple acts of love for the lost, and in doing so will gain the opportunity to display one of the most beautiful acts of love as you gain their trust to present to them the good news of Jesus. If you are looking for something to do that will be an encouragement and will allow you to exercise your faith then I have something that you can do for me. Pray for me as I go through an ACL surgery this Wednesday. Pray for the doctors who will work on me and for the tedious rehab process I will have to undergo. Somehow, I hope that your praying for me will bolster your faith in the best healer that I know (Jesus). Somehow, I hope that this small act of kindness that you display towards me will allow you to see just how fantastic it is to bear fruit for the glory of the Lord. 

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