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Gospel Gratitude

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Gospel Gratitude (Colossians 1:3-8)

-          There are some advertisements that promise a whole lot more than they can perform

An advertisement for a recent skin cream goes like this, "The past forgiven. The present improved. The Future Perfect." 

-          The paid commercials on TV, teaching you the best techniques, how to get rich

-          The Gospel message is the greatest message in the world, the power to change lives forever, it makes a great promise but can also perform, quote Romans 1:16

-          Testified to by a great number of men who have had their lives changed by it

The gospel is like a fresh, mild, and cool air in the extreme heat of summer, a solace and comfort in the anguish of the conscience.Martin Luther (1483–1546)The gospel to me is simply irresistible.Blaise Pascal (1623–1662)The world has many religions; it has but one gospel.George OwenThe glory of the gospel is its freedom.A. W. Tozer (1897–1963) 

-          What do you say of the gospel message?  Hasn’t it completely changed your life?

-          The gospel message is something to be thankful for, there ought to be a whole lot of Gospel gratitude

-          Paul the Apostle was a man who was extremely thankful for the Gospel, the message had completely changed his life, and he spent the rest of his life sharing the gospel message with others

-          And he was so thankful that the gospel message had come to that city of Colossae, so thankful for the change that the gospel message had made in their hearts, and he tells them that in this letter

-          Read the passage, it is all one sentence in the original Greek

-          Paul was thankful for what was going on in Colossae, He was praying for them in Colossae and he did not even know them, or most of them.  How about that, being thankful for what God is doing in other people’s lives, not just stuck on ourselves

I.                     The Glorious Gospel

A.        Message of the gospel (5b, 6)

·         Good News

Ø          As many of you already know the word gospel simply means “Good News”, and the gospel message certainly is good news

Ø          With so much bad news in the world isn’t it great to get some Good News, the Gospel is the greatest News you could ever receive

Ø          The Greek word is Euangelion

Euangelion (which we call gospel) is a Greek word, and signifies good, merry, glad, and joyful tydings, that makes a mans heart glad, and makes him sing, dance, and leap for joy.William Tyndale (c. 1494–1536) 

Ø          Why is it that so many evangelists look so sour, and so somber when they preach the gospel message?

Ø          Some don’t emphasize it as the good news of salvation but rather as the bad news of condemnation

A church was in need of a pastor. A candidate came who preached on hell. The next Sunday another candidate came whose sermon was also on hell, and his fundamental teaching was the same as that of the first one. When the members of the church were called upon to vote, they voted for the second candidate. When they were asked why, the answer was, "The first one spoke as if he were glad that people were going to hell, while the second seemed sorry for it." 

Ø          This is something that we are not to keep hush about, it is not a message that we are to only debate privately, it is something that we are supposed to announce

Ø          An evangelist is someone who is a herald of the gospel, an announcer of the gospel, not afraid to shout it from the mountain tops!

Ø          And since it is the good news of the Gospel, I think our faces should reflect good news

   Charles H. Spurgeon in training young ministers said to his students, "When you talk about heaven let your face light up with a heavenly glory. When you tell about hell, your everyday face will do." 

·         The grace of God (Details of the gospel)

Ø          Heard and knew the grace of God in truth……this is how the gospel is referred to

Ø          The Good News of the Gospel is the fact that there is a God who made us, who loves us and wants to reach out and save us and bless us even though we do not deserve it

Ø          Grace means that God is willing to give us something that we do not deserve, God is willing and able to save all who will trust Jesus Christ

Ø          Gospel message: the good news that Jesus Christ has solved the sin problem for humanity through his death, burial and resurrection

Ø          Epaphras, the founding pastor of the church in Colossae, shared with them the gospel message

Ø          He told them of their sin, that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God

Ø          He told them that because of their sin they deserved punishment, eternal separation from God

Ø          He told them that God loved them so much that He sent His only Begotten son to die on the cross for sins, to take the punishment which they deserved

Ø          He told them that Jesus rose from the dead on that 3rd day and that if they accept Him they can be forgiven of their sins, they can be saved, they can be guaranteed a spot in Heaven

Ø          That is the message…..but it needs to be received

Ø          They “heard and knew”:  Know: epiginosko: To become personally and thoroughly acquainted with a concept, to have apprehended it, to have grasped it, to take ownership of it

Ø          Beginning of verse 4: faith in Christ

When John Paton was translating the Bible for a South Seas island tribe, he discovered that they had no word for trust or faith. One day a native who had been running hard came into the missionary's house, flopped himself in a large chair and said, "It's good to rest my whole weight on this chair."    "That's it," said Paton. "I'll translate faith as 'resting one's whole weight on God.'" 


B.         Dispensing of the Gospel (7–8)

·         Preached by messengers

Ø          The gospel message is for the most part received through other human beings who bring the message

Ø          That was certainly the case with the church in Colossae as we see in verse 7

Ø          Paul the Apostle shared the gospel with Epaphras in Ephesus, Epaphras went to Colossae and shared the gospel with them

Ø          | Romans 10:14 through Romans 10:15 (NKJV)
14How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:      “How beautiful are the feet of those who £preach the gospel of peace,     Who bring glad tidings of good things!”£   |

The Gospel message comes through people, you hear it from people

Ø          How did you get saved?  You heard the gospel message.  Someone preached to you.  Someone announced it to you……you responded you got saved.

Ø          God has chosen to get His message out through His people, He gave His people the Great Commission

Ø          Listen, we are not all evangelists but we are all called to share the gospel with people

Elton Trueblood, the Quaker scholar, once compared evangelism to fire. Evangelism occurs, he said, when Christians are so ignited by their contact with Christ that they in turn set other fires. It is easy to determine when something is aflame. It ignites other material. Any fire that does not spread will eventually go out. A church without evangelism is a contradiction in terms, just as a fire that does not burn is a contradiction.  

Ø          Nothing thrills me more than hearing about one of you leading a friend or a neighbor to Jesus Christ

Ø          I love all the wonderful things that I am hearing about in this fellowship

·         Conviction of the Holy Spirit

Ø          Now having said all that, please understand that you can’t save anybody, the only thing that you can do is share the gospel, tell people the good news

Ø          Billy Graham’s poll: 51 percent whose biggest problem was the fear of how the other person would react

Ø          | John 16:8 through John 16:11 (NKJV)
8And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.  |

The Holy Spirit convicts people of their need for Jesus Christ, we must simply let the gospel message out, let it loose, all the power of salvation is inherent in the gospel message itself

Ø          Just share and watch the Lord work

Ø          Daniel T. Niles: Evangelism is witness. It is one beggar telling another beggar where to get food.”


C.         Results of the Gospel (4-6)

·         Production of fruit (6a)

Ø          The gospel is bringing forth fruit, and the tense here indicates that the gospel is continually bringing forth fruit, God’s Word never comes back void

Ø          People are getting saved, Lives are changing for the better, communities are shaping up for the better

Ø          Corporately: enough people get saved and you will see a community change, you will see a whole city change, you will see an entire culture get cleaned up

Ø          There are those who do not agree with the whole premise of taking the gospel into other cultures……How dare you change somebody else’s culture, challenge the only things they have ever known

Ø          Well, lets talk about some of the things other cultures believe…….In the nation of India, they worship not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of different gods

Ø          There are places where people are dying of hunger while the cows get bigger and fatter, they are worshipped as gods

Alila stood on the beach holding her tiny infant son close to her heart. Tears welled in her eyes as she began slowly walking toward the river’s edge. She stepped into the water, silently making her way out until she was waist deep, the water gently lapping at the sleeping baby’s feet. She stood there for a long time holding the child tightly as she stared out across the river. Then all of a sudden in one quick movement she threw the six month old baby to his watery death.Native missionary M. V. Varghese often witnesses among the crowds who gather at the Ganges. It was he who came upon Alila that day kneeling in the sand crying uncontrollably and beating her breast. With compassion he knelt down next to her and asked her what was wrong.Through he sobs she told him, “The problems in my home are too many and my sins are heavy on my heart, so I offered the best I have to the goddess Ganges, my first born son.”Brother Varghese’s heart ached for the desperate woman. As she wept he gently began to tell her about the love of Jesus and that through Him her sins could be forgiven.She looked at him strangely. “I have never heard that before,” she replied through her tears. “Why couldn’t you have come thirty minutes earlier? If you did, my child would not have had to die.”Each year millions of people come to the holy Indian city of Hardwar to bathe in the River Ganges. These multitudes come believing this Hindu ritual will wash their sins away. For many people like Alila, missionaries are arriving too late, simply because there aren’t enough of these faithful brothers and sisters on the mission field.        1993 issue of Christianity Today 

Ø          Ever heard of Louis Paleau?

The British missionaries who led my family to Christ made all the cultural mistakes in the book. I remember as a little boy sitting in the front row, watching this poor man. It was hot as blazes in the summer. Being a proper Britisher, he not only wore a tweed suit but a vest and thick socks. He would stand there sweating and sweating. I remember looking at the poor fellow and saying, "Why doesn't he take his coat off?" But a proper Britisher in those days kept his coat on and toughed it out. He massacred the Spanish language and had strange foreign habits. But because of that fellow, my father went to heaven.  Luis Palau, "Go to the Ends of the Earth," Preaching Today, Tape No. 124. 

Ø          The gospel needs to be bearing fruit all over this world


·         Authentic Christians (4-5)

Ø          Individually: when a person receives the gospel message and begins living for the Lord Jesus Christ, there will be huge changes, you will see the change, you will notice

Ø          People will hear about you, and they will hear good things about you, some may think they are hearing crazy things about you, notice Paul had heard of their change

Ø          I remember how blessed I was the day I heard that somebody I used to know who was at that time living in Guam found out about my new commitment to Jesus Christ

Ø          There is a familiar triad of Christian Characteristics which should be common to all Christians, you should see it in every Christian

Ø          The triad of genuine salvation: faith, love and hope, Paul is fond of this triad

1 Corinthians 13:13 (NKJV)
13And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Ø          You become a Christian by having faith in Jesus Christ for your salvation, but it does not nor should it stop there

Ø          The Christian is to continue to walk by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, walking by faith is a cardinal characteristic of the Christian

Ø          Love, true agape love for your brothers and sisters in Christ, love has been called the badge of Christianity, the distinguishing mark of Christianity, that’s how Jesus saw it

John 13:34 through John 13:35 (NKJV)
34A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Ø          Here hope does not mean the attitude of waiting for something, it refers to that for which a person hopes in

Ø          The hope of heaven, the certainty of heaven….we have hope in that

Ø          The hope of Christ’s presence and help today

Ø          These three cardinal values work together beautifully and should characterize all of us as Christians

Ø          I am thankful that the gospel can come into a hopeless, helpless life of hatred and turn it into one of hope, faith and love

Conclusion

-          Let us be as thankful for the gospel as Paul was, let us thank God that He has provided such good news for us

-          Let us be thankful for what the gospel has done in our lives

-          Let us be thankful for what the gospel is doing in other people’s lives

-          And let us be Announcers of this Good News, letting it loose, setting fires everywhere we go

Skin Cream can’t do what that advertisement promised: Only Jesus can forgive the past, improve the present and perfect the future.

 

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