Summary: Only the Gospel 1) Gives us the assurance of heaven. 2) produces a changed life 3) Is based on God’s grace
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE GOSPEL
1. Illus. of Homer and The Odyssey (HNTC, page 276)
• Ulysses wanted to hear- plugged ears of crew and lashed himself to mast of ship.
• Orpheus- played and sang so beautifully that the siren’s song held no appeal to the sailors.
2. There are a thousand “siren songs” in the world today that would tempt us away from “Christ alone” and “His Word alone.” All of them seem appealing at first, but eventually lead to spiritual shipwreck.
Siren song of the cults. “You have the Bible, but that’s only half the story. The Book of the Mormon contains the rest of God’s revelation.”
Siren song of legalism. “Now that you are saved, here are a set of rules you have to live by. No hair touching your collar, no skirts above the knee, no missing your devotion. The Christian life is a checklist, and if you’re not checking everything off then you’re not pleasing God.”
Siren song of Faith teachers. “You’re not called to take up a cross- you’re called to be healthy and wealthy. Jesus death on the cross is not enough- there’s more, and only I can teach you the truth!”
Siren song of new age movement. “There are other powers and truths you need to embrace. There is nothing wrong with seeking a spirit guide or having your horoscope cast.”
3. How are we as Christians to protect ourselves? Should we follow the example of Ulysses, and stop our ears to all spiritual error? There is a lot to be said for that approach. However, so often we don’t realize we are listening to error until its too late. Paul tells us that we should follow the example of Orpheus. We should fill our minds with truth so that we instantly recognize error and so that it has no appeal to us!
4. Before he addresses the errors (chapter 2), Paul talks about truth (chapter 1): The truth about the gospel, the truth about pleasing God, and the truth about Jesus.
5. Text: Paul uses the personal testimony of the Colossians to remind them that the gospel of Jesus is all they need to be right with God.
6. Today: The gospel of Jesus is all we need to be made right with God.
7. Interrogative: Why is the gospel of Jesus all we need to be made right? Three reasons.
I. THE GOSPEL GIVES US THE ASSURANCE OF HEAVEN
Vs 3-4a- Paul rejoiced in the Colossians each time he prayed because of their saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Why did he rejoice? See vs 5.
2. For us, hope is when we are wishing for something to happen, but we are not sure that it will. Hope in the Bible is far different from that. Biblical hope is the attitude Christians have when God has promised us something, but it hasn’t arrived yet. Biblical hope is not a question of if, its just a question of when!
3. The NLT hits the nail on the head when it translates this verse this way: “You do this because you are looking forward to the joys of heaven- as you have been ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News.”
4. Principle: The truth is that the Gospel, without anything else, gives us the assurance of heaven.
5. Illus. of little Johnnie
• Had been promised a puppy for his 8th birthday.
• Dad carried him to local pet store, where he had a hard time deciding among the dozen or so candidates.
• Finally say one little puppy whose tail was wagging like crazy!”
• “I want that one daddy!” “Which one?” “That one daddy, the one with the happy ending!”
• Only the Gospel can give life a happy ending!
6. See John 14:1-6
7. Why should we pursue any way to God besides the Gospel? The truth of the matter is that the gospel can give us the assurance of heaven.
II. THE GOSPEL PRODUCES A CHANGED LIFE
1. See vs 6a. …the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you… What is Paul talking about? All across the civilized world, when people heard the Gospel their lives were changed. When the Colossians heard the gospel, their lives were changed too. They began to produce spiritual fruit.”
2. When Paul talked about spiritual fruit, he was referring to actions and attitudes that glorified Christ. Things like their love for the saints (vs 5) and their love in the Spirit (vs 8).
3. Principle: The Gospel, without anything else, can transform your life!
4. Illus. of Kathy Trocolli (Campus Life, 1994)