Of this you have heard before in the word of truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth./em>
The hope of Heaven is a powerful thing, and it is that which Paul is referring to when he says, “Of this you have heard.” Additionally, as he starts this letter, he continues to emphasize the familiar triad of faith, hope, and love. These were not merely theological ideas and exercises that Paul was working through…they dominated his thinking, writing, and actions as a Christian. When you combine all of these things, the Christian life begins to leap off the pages of Scripture as we journey our way through this terribly broken and hurting world.
The Believers in Colossae were facing some difficult circumstances. They were being assaulted by false teaching within the church as well as persecution from the surrounding community. Our situation in 21st century America is not terribly different. There is plenty of bad teaching in many churches across the land and anti-Christian bias is most certainly on the rise. A recent study (April 2021) showed that only 6% of Americans actually hold and operate out of a biblical worldview while 88% borrow from multiple and sometimes contradictory worldviews in order to form their beliefs and habits. Like the Christians in Colossae…we also live in a pagan nation. They had Rome…we have America.
“…the gospel, which has come to you…”
Praise the Lord! Despite the spiritual blindness that has overtaken the majority of our fellow countrymen, those of us in Christ can rejoice because the Gospel has already come to us! And because of that, we have the hope of Heaven and through us, it is bearing fruit and increasing…not only here in many ways, but even more so across the globe! So, even though we live in a modern-day Colossae, we can still rejoice! Not only for our own salvation, but also for the spread of the Gospel worldwide! Despite the covid lockdowns in 2020, one ministry, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, saw professions of faith grow by over 300,000 compared to 2019. And that was not an isolated occurrence. Ministries across the globe have reported spikes in professions of faith.
“…it is bearing fruit and increasing…”
Jim Elliot, martyred missionary to the Auca Indians of South America said before his death that “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose”. Are you leaning into your walk with Christ to bear fruit and see the Kingdom advance…or are the negative forces outside and inside the church pressing you down? Perhaps the words of Charles Spurgeon will spur you on towards more love and good deeds (Heb 10:24):
“Our hope in Christ for the future is the mainspring and the mainstay of our joy here. It will animate our hearts to think often of heaven, for all that we can desire is promised there. Here we are weary and toilworn, but yonder is the land of rest where the sweat of labor shall no more bedew the worker’s brow, and fatigue shall be forever banished. To those who are weary and spent, the word ‘rest’ is full of heaven. We are always in the field of battle; we are so tempted within, and so molested by foes without, that we have little or no peace; but in heaven we shall enjoy the victory, when the banner shall be waved aloft in triumph, and the sword shall be sheathed, and we shall hear our Captain say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’”