During his first Roman imprisonment, the Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Church at Colossae. In that letter he said, "We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.
"Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing -- as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth." (Col. 1:3-7 ESV).
Paul wanted them to know, and he wants us to know, that a glorious future is available to anyone who will accept the truth of the "gospel." The gospel is the "good news" that Jesus died on the cross for our sins; that he was buried; and that he raised on the third day from the dead.
Paul said, "the word of the truth of the gospel has come to you and me." In his letter to the Romans he said, "The gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes."
God reaches out to us in grace and we respond to him in faith.
Everyone has faith in something. Some people have faith in their own intellect; others have faith in their finances; and some have faith in an idol of some kind. The message of the Gospel is not to believe in ourselves; or in a church; or in a doctrine but in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul commended the Colossians for their "faith in Christ Jesus."
Having faith in Jesus Christ implies that we have placed our confidence entirely in His finished work on the cross. We recognize that He forgave our sins and gave us eternal life and it's in him that we have a glorious future.
Many people today are rejecting the "truth of the gospel!" They're rejecting it because our culture tells us there is no such thing as "absolute truth." They believe there are no moral or ethical standards. They say things like, "What's true for you may not be true for me."
The motto of the day has become, "WHATEVER!" Believe "whatever" you want. Do "whatever" seems best to you. Live for "whatever" brings you pleasure. And most of all; be tolerant. Don't try to tell anyone that their "whatever" is wrong. Life is filled with gray areas and choosing right from wrong isn't always easy.
However, when we make a choice to follow Jesus, he lays a foundation of "absolute truth" in our life that will guide us in every decision. His word is the source of "absolute truth." There is "absolute truth!" Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life."
Some things are always right, and some things are always wrong -- and these things aren't determined by the cultural climate or personal whims; they're determined by the word of God. It's always right to do right."
Paul said, "The truth of the gospel was bringing forth fruit in the entire world." Wherever the gospel goes it produces results! It brings forth fruit! When you and
I choose to follow Jesus, our lives will be productive. The gospel is not a social program; it's the power of God to change people's lives forever. When we reach out to others in his name we are doing the work of the gospel. And the gospel always bears fruit. It gets results. Our efforts will not be wasted. I'll continue with these thoughts next week.