Summary: A sermon that talks about bearing fruit as a Christian.
What does it mean to live a life that pleases God?
Our main text is found in COLOSSIANS 1:9-14.
’For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you, and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may have a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God being strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption - the forgiveness of sins.’
The first thing we learn from this passage is that the Apostle Paul wrote some very long sentences, didn’t he? But what else can we take from this passage?
1. THE LIFE THAT PLEASES GOD BEARS FRUIT
The idea of "bearing fruit" is not that foreign to us. If we purchased a fruit tree, planted it, and took care of it, we would expect it to bear fruit within a couple of years, wouldn’t we? If it did not bear any fruit, or if it didn’t bear the fruit we were expecting, we would consider the tree defective.
In MATTHEW 7:15-17, Jesus says the same is true of people who profess having a Godly faith.
’Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.’
How can we tell if someone is saying they are a Christian but in reality, they aren’t? We can tell by watching their lives. If there is not a change in they way they live their daily life, then we can conclude there is no change in their hearts. Our heart and our lives go together - they are not separate.
Now it is important that when we plant a tree, it will take a period of time before it can bear fruit. You don’t get any good fruit the first year you plant a fruit tree. It takes time for the tree to mature. The same is true for followers of Christ. The change might not be immediately discernable. However, over time we should be seeing a difference in the way people live.
Even the disciples, who showed much fruit in their lives, took three years of constant training by Jesus. So, do not be quick to judge, but rather patient in your understanding of others who have received Jesus as Savior.
Listen to these words of Paul to the Galatians. Paul contrasts the life of the sinful nature and the "fruit of the Spirit." Listen to the way it is worded in the New Living Translation,
’When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law.’
When a person makes that bold decision to follow the Lord, the Holy Spirit will start changing their hearts from the inside out. Among the changes will be:
... Those who had been selfish will begin sharing in the name of God.
... Those who cheat others will begin to be honest.
... Those living a contrary to God’s law will change their lifestyle.
In other words, if we are in the Lord and He is in us, and if our desire is to please our Lord, we will bear much fruit.
2. IF YOU LOVE GOD, YOU WILL WANT TO KNOW HIM BETTER
The life that pleases God is the one that is always trying to know Him better. But in order to understand what I am talking about, let me state two negatives.
Knowing God better is not the same thing as getting more from Him. Many of us are only concerned with how we can have God do things for us. We want to know how to get our prayers answered, or how to get God to fix all our problems so we can go on and keep living the happy life we want to live.