Summary: Pentecost 8(C) - Believers always thank God for the Gospel’s growing season. God’s gospel takes root in our hearts. God’s gospel bears fruit in our lives.
ALWAYS THANK GOD FOR THE GOSPEL’S GROWING SEASON (Outline)
July 26, 2009 --
PENTECOST 8 --
INTRO: Scripture often uses extreme adjectives. The Lord requests believers to live the Christian life “always”, “continually”, “without ceasing”. These are only a few of the extreme adjectives that our gra-cious God uses to encourage faithfulness. We may wonder to ourselves how it is possible to “be joyful always”? On our own we cannot come close to doing what the Lord desires. By our own strength we will always fail. It is the powerful word of God, specifically the Gospel that gives us the motivation to walk in the ways of the Lord. "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile" (ROMANS 1:16). God’s powerful, saving gospel is planted in each one of our hearts and overflows into our lives.
ALWAYS THANK GOD FOR THE GOSPEL’S GROWING SEASON.
I. God’s gospel takes root in our hearts.
II. God’s gospel bears fruit in our lives.
I. GOD’S GOSPEL TAKES ROOT IN OUR LIVES
A. Verses 1,2. God called Paul to service. With Timothy Paul blesses them with God’s grace and peace.
1. Verse 3. Paul “always” thanks God in prayer for these believers.
2. Verse 4. Even in prison in Rome Paul has heard about the faith of this congregation.
3. Verse 5. Paul uses the triple blessing of being a believer: faith, hope, and love.
B. Verses 7,8. Epaphras traveled to Rome to share the faithful love of this church, 1,300 miles one way!
C. Verses 13,14. Paul clearly defines God’s saving, powerful gospel: salvation, redemption, forgiveness.
1. Verse 9. In prison Paul has lots of time to pray for the believers in Colosse and elsewhere.
2. Paul’s prayer is for God’s gospel, planted in their hearts, would now take root in their hearts.
D. By God’s grace his word has been planted in our hearts. For many, if not all of us, God’s word was planted in our hearts because of faithful parents and/or grandparents. Once planted in our hearts there were many faithful believers praying for that word of God to continue to take root in our hearts. What a beautiful description to describe the faith of believers. A seed is planted and it miraculously grows. God’s divine plan causes the plant to grow for his purpose. "He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field’" (MATTHEW 13:31). The mustard plant provides shade and shelter for the birds of the air. The gospel planted in our hearts takes root and grows. This “faith-plant” provides eternal shelter for us and others around us.
E. At times we may not feel that our faith is very great or strong. We may feel totally inadequate con-cerning our own Christianity. We come back to the simple fact that God’s gospel is the only nourishment that can and does feed the seed of faith planted in our hearts. The strength of God’s gospel is guaranteed by the Lord God Almighty himself. "Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness" (2 CORIN-THIANS 9:10). Righteousness cannot be measured with earthly standards. The harvest of righteousness is faith, hope, and love. The Lord provides us with this harvest far exceeding what we can ask or imagine.
F. How shall we remind ourselves of the great power of God’s gospel? How shall we always give thanks for God’s growing season? Those extreme adjectives used by God can seem all too difficult to do. Paul reminds us of the divine power always at our disposal. Prayer is that power which God also gives to every believer to use constantly. "And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ" (EPHESIANS 3:17b, 18). Pray for yourself and for others to better understand God’s great love.
THANK GOD FOR THE GOSPEL’S GROWING SEASON.
God’s gospel takes root in our hearts.
II. GOD’S GOSPEL BEARS FRUIT IN OUR LIVES
A. The gospel of God came to the Apostle Paul. God’s gospel came to these believers. All by grace.
1. The great effect of God’s gospel for Paul, these believers, and all believers was great change.
2. Verse 6. The gospel was also working powerfully in all of creation. It is God’s word of truth.
B. Verse 9. Thus Paul prays for these believers to continue to grow in God’s wisdom and understanding.
1. Only when believers grow in God’s grace and knowledge will their lives produce fruit.