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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

FRUIT OF THE GOSPEL

Colossians 1:5b-6 (Paul and Timothy gave thanks to God for the Christians at Colosse and for their faith in) ...the truth of the Gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth fourth fruit, as it does also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth.

In Acts 16, we find Paul entering the cities of Derbe and Lystra where he met the disciple Timothy, a young man, which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium (Vs. 2). At Paul's request, Timothy allied himself with Paul and together they traveled throughout cities and towns in Asia Minor establishing and strengthening churches which increased in number daily (Vs. 5). Their travels took them ...throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia.

It was at this time that Paul probably entered neighborhoods around Colosse, or possibly in the city itself, which was located in the province of Phrygia. Because Paul says, in Colossians 2:1 that many there had not seen him face to face, the gospel of Christ either reached some of these Christians directly from Paul or through Paul's friend and co-worker, Epaphras. Paul referred to Epaphras as a fellow servant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ (Col. 1:7). This we know for sure, that the Colossian brethren heard, received, and obeyed the truth of the gospel. It is this same truth of the gospel, the message of Jesus Christ, that was preached in all the world by Paul, his fellow servants, as well as all other apostles and faithful disciples of Christ. They preached Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Savior of the world, through which eternal salvation may be attained, as designed by God, from the beginning of time. It is the preaching and teaching of this gospel that bringeth forth fruit.

Having heard, received, and obeyed the gospel of Christ, it did not lie dormant within the Christian brethren at Colosse, but was fruitful. Wherever the gospel is preached and received throughout the world the result is the same - it brings forth fruit. Through Christians, the gospel of Christ reproduces itself in like kind. To be fruitful means to bear much fruit - to be profitable, productive, and to prolifically bear fruit. What then, is the fruit of the gospel?

Quoting from Psalm 112:9, Paul says, As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; He hath given to the poor: His righteousness remaineth forever (2 Cor. 9:9). He follows this quotation in verse 10 with this teaching: Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness. The analogy here is made to a sower of seed. A person plants seed in their own garden for the purpose of harvesting its fruits for their own use. However, this is not what is meant by the Psalmist or by Paul when they wrote about the fruits of your righteousness. Righteousness is demonstrated when the fruits of one's labor is dispersed abroad - given to others that are in spiritual need. The source of the seed one sows is from God, as are all blessings of life. Although seed are sowed, and when harvested, the increased grain serves to sustain your physical body. However, the harvest referred to in the lesson text results in a righteousness that remaineth forever - that which sustains your spiritual soul; that offers eternal salvation. This is the multiplying effect of the gospel of Christ. Sharing the gospel you have received with others, that are in spiritual need, is the only way you can increase the fruits of your righteousness.

Paul gave the Galatians, as well as us today, examples of the fruit of the gospel, that we are to share with others. He wrote, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Gal. 5:22-23). The gospel of Christ is not to be received, and kept within us, for our own benefit. As a matter of fact, the lesson text teaches us that the gospel is of no benefit to us until we share it with others.

The word of God is meant to grow and multiply (Acts 12:24). We are spiritually sustained by God through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the vine; we are the branches. He sustains us. Through Him is our only hope of salvation. If we faithfully abide in Him we will bring forth much fruit (See John 15:4-7). We are the benefactors of God's holy word. Share the fruit of the gospel; share salvation with others.