"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"
Father God, thank you for the love of the truth you have given me. Please bless me with the wisdom, knowledge and discernment needed to always present the truth in an attitude of grace and love. Use this blog and Northwoods Ministries for your glory. Help us all to read and to study Your Word without preconceived notions, but rather, let scripture interpret scripture in the presence of the Holy Spirit. All praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour
Saturday, May 8, 2010
What Does God Expect of Us
The gospel… is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth.
First, we should note that Paul says the gospel is constantly bearing fruit and increasing. This is the nature of the gospel and the reality of the Colossian experience. We have to consider the fact that if we are not bearing fruit and constantly increasing as Christians, we may not have fully heard and understood the grace of God. If we are not producing fruit, then we need to examine ourselves and determine why, for it is the expectation of God that we do bear fruit.
Let’s examine this bearing fruit and how it occurs. When we first hear the gospel and understand it, we are the fruit. Lots of people hear the gospel but not so many understand it. What is the difference? Why some and not others? It has to do with the will. Many people are not willing to believe in the gospel. They may believe parts of it but not accept the whole thing. Their will is closed to the reality of Jesus Christ. They may be afraid of what others might think or say. They may have had some bad experience with a “Christian” in the past and painted all Christians with the same brush. They may be angry at God for some circumstance that caused them great pain in their lives. Whatever the reason, they are not willing to subject themselves to the Lordship of Christ.
Others may be open to the Lord and so His Spirit can come alongside and reveal the truth of the Gospel to them. This is really the only way to truly understand the grace or the gospel of Christ, if the Holy Spirit reveals it to us. The Colossians, having fully heard and understood, were certainly aided by the Holy Spirit. If we are not open to the Spirit, if our will is not open to believe the truth, no matter how disagreeable it may seem to us at first, then we can never, ever really hear and understand the truth and the reality of the gospel and the grace of God.
You are the fruit of another’s branch. Someone led you to the Lord and possibly nurtured you along the way until you grew. Then you were either picked or just dropped off the branch. You were either eaten by someone or something(s) until your flesh was nearly gone and there was little left. Then you were either thrown to the ground or left there to rot away or to be eaten by birds or insects.
I’ll skip the next little bit, but eventually you end up on the ground again as nothing more than a seed; everything else has been stripped away. Once it is stripped away, the seed can sprout, take root, grow and produce fruit of its own. But the seed can never reproduce while the flesh is strong. We must be willing to die to ourselves, or as Oswald Chambers put it, we must give up our right to ourselves.
The Holy Spirit is planted in you as a seed. It needs the fertile soil of the word of God, it needs weeding from the Truth, and it needs the early and the latter rains which is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We receive the Truth and the outpouring when we enter into the Presence of the Living God in worship or in prayer.
As the seed grows and the flesh dies, a glorious harvest will be the most natural thing in the world. Are you producing fruit?