Grace Family Bible Church
Hope Yields Fruit
By: Scott Morton
For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;  Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:
The Apostle Paul is continuing to discuss the position the saints in Colossae are in as members of the Body of Christ. Once they had put their trust in the gospel for today (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) they became members of the Body of Christ and certain things became true of them. These things Paul has been discussing are true because of the identity they have in Christ.
Paul starts here by speaking of a hope which has been given to them. This is something all individuals are looking for in their life. While some try to find hope outside of God, the only hope which can have a true influence on someone comes from God. Paul defines hope for us in his epistles:
For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?  But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
Hope can only be related to things which are not seen. If it was something which we had currently, there is no need to hope for it, as we would already have it. This is something many members of the Body of Christ struggle with, as they want to have the blessings now. Many have gravitated towards the idea of the physical blessings which were part of Israel's program. Those were never promised to us, as the Gentiles were without hope (Ephesians 2:11-12) prior to the Dispensation of Grace.
The blessings which are promised to us are spiritual in nature (Ephesians 1:3). These are blessings that we know we have, but cannot see them. There are also things Paul tells us are future, which is why we have to have patience to wait for these things. Paul tells us many times about the future things which are waiting for us:
For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.  For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Our future hope is tied in with the event known as the Day of Christ, when the Lord Jesus Christ returns for the Body of Christ and we meet Him in the air (commonly referred to as the Rapture). As this event is happening, we are receiving our glorified body, which is the hope we have. The Judgment Seat of Christ is also occurring, which is where we receive the reward, based upon the gold, silver, and precious stones which we have built during our life (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
The Apostle Paul identifies here another aspect of this hope. It is the promise of eternal life, which is something identified as a gift from God (Romans 6:23). We know we are going to spend all of eternity with Him in the heavenly places, ruling and reigning with Him. This is why he can identify this as a hope which they have heard from the beginning of the gospel.
1 Corinthians 15:51-57
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Pail identifies a couple of things for us in this passage. He identifies how there is a mystery, which is something which had not been revealed. Paul then goes on to define exactly what this mystery is, when he tells us that there is going to be a change in our body. We are going to receive a glorified body which will be able to exist in the heavenly places, as we rule and reign with the Lord Jesus Christ. This is something which had never been revealed, as this could only be the hope of the members of the Body of Christ.
The second part of this is the timing of this. Paul does identify this will occur at the Day of Christ, when He comes back for the Body. This is a future event which we are waiting for, knowing that this will occur before God pours out His wrath (1 Thessalonians 1:10), as our hope has nothing to do with wrath.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;  While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
As members of the Body of Christ, this is the struggle we have. We live in fleshly bodies here on earth and have to deal with many things which are occurring. These can sometimes feel overwhelming and it feels that these things will never end. This is why Paul identifies them as temporary and calls them light affliction. It is hard to grasp this concept at times, especially when we are in the middle of dealing with some problem in our lives. We have to realize that this is not where our focus is supposed to be.
We are to be focusing on the things of the heavenly places, which is where our rewards are and where we are going to be spending all of eternity. This means our focus is to be on the things of the doctrine which is laid out in Romans through Philemon, which is preparing us to be able to be in the heavenly places.
It is also this doctrine which is helping us to be able to deal with the problems which arise. Paul gives us a lot of practical information in his epistles, which is the key for us in being able to deal with these situations as they come up.
2 Timothy 4:6-8
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
The Apostle Paul wrote this as he knew that his death was at hand. He could look forward to the receiving of this crown of righteousness. This is something which all members of the Body of Christ are going to receive, as Paul states all who love His appearing are going to receive it. All members will love His appearing, as we will be with Him at that time. This will be a joyous occasion for us. The crown which the Apostle Paul is speaking of here ties in with the body we are going to receive, which is the hope that we have.
There is information which is given to us related to the timing of these events. Paul does not leave us confused on things, as these events are different from the things which have been promised to Israel.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
This is a description of the Day of Christ. This is where the Lord Jesus Christ is coming back for us. This is not the same event that we see in Revelation 19, as at that time He is going to return again to the earth. Here, we are meeting Him in the air and we will be receiving the promises which have been made related to our positions in the heavenly places.
Our position of rulership depends on the events which transpire at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The Apostle Paul describes what is going to occur with this:
2 Corinthians 5:10
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
1 Corinthians 3:10-15
According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;  Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.  If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
These two passages show what is going to happen with this. Each member of the Body of Christ is going to appear at this event. This is where what we have done during our life after salvation is going to be judged. There will be the things which have been contrary to the doctrine which has been laid out (wood, hay, and stubble) and there will be things which are according to the doctrine which Paul has laid out for us in Romans through Philemon (gold, silver, and precious stones).
Fire is going to try these things. The wood, hay, and stubble are going to burn away and only the gold, silver, and precious stones will actually remain. This is what will determine the position we will have in the heavenly places for all of eternity. These positions are presented in some detail later in this epistle.
The glorious thing is we do have the guarantee of our salvation (Ephesians 1:13-14). So, even if there is nothing remaining, we are still going to be saved and will be in heaven with Him for all of eternity. This is a glorious thing for us to understand, as it is important to know that we cannot lose this salvation.
As Paul continues to lay out this information to them, he speaks of the word of truth. This is something all members of the Body of Christ should understand:
1 Thessalonians 2:13
For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
This assembly took the Word of God and applied it directly to their lives. The end result was it had an impact on who they were. The doctrine influences the believer, which is what leads to the changes in the individual. This is why the study of the Word of God rightly divided is so important. It allows for these changes to occur, which is why the Apostle Paul can hold up in the people in this assembly as the example for other believers to attempt to follow in their lives.
The Apostle Paul speaks of the influence of the gospel. This is an important element, as this is where everything starts. The Word can only work in an individual once they have put their trust in the gospel. Paul gives us the gospel message for today:
1 Corinthians 15:1-4
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
This is the only gospel message which can provide someone salvation today. This is what Paul refers to three times in his epistles as my gospel. Our apostle is the one who gives us the message, which is where the foundation is laid, which can then be built upon by the believer through their study.
The simplicity of this message is what is attacked by many people today. They will speak about how it cannot be this easy and will attempt to attach some form of a work to what Paul says is the gospel. The moment a work is attached is any manner, the gospel becomes of no effect and the person is not receiving a message which would actually save them today.
Once a person has put their trust in this message, their identity changes:
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
We become identified with what the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross the moment we believe. This change in identity is what takes care of the issue of sin in the life of the believer. Paul identifies how there is hope which is present because of the gospel. The members of the Body of Christ receive His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21), which can have nothing to do with sin. This is why Paul over and over speaks about how we have been made free from sin.
This identity change is what is to influence us in how we live our lives. Paul speaks about the practical aspect of what is influence our lives:
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
We are to allow the Lord Jesus Christ to be living through us. When we are functioning properly, it is according to the doctrine which has been built up in us through our study. The renewed mind influences the rest of us, which functions to put off the old man (the flesh- Ephesians 4:22-24) and He is then functioning through us. We can never receive credit for doing the right thing, as He is doing it. When we try, the old man is going to functioning and we are going to make mistakes.
Paul can look at those who are believers and can see if they are functioning in the manner which the doctrine has laid out. He will hold individuals up as examples when he sees this, as he does with the assembly in Thessalonica:
1 Thessalonians 1:3
Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;
The Apostle Paul uses work and labour to describe what he sees in them. The influencing factors in this are faith (which comes from the Word of God- Romans 10:17) and love. It is the love which we are to demonstrate towards other people which is to have the influence on who we are and what we do (Galatians 6:10). Paul can see this when he is looking at them.
1 Corinthians 13:8-13
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
As Paul speaks about the sign gifts, which were present at the beginning of his ministry, he states they are going to end. These gifts end when the perfect thing comes, which is the completed Word of God. Many people do struggle with the fact that Paul states these things have come to an end. However, he makes it very clear that the gifts which were part of him functioning as a child are no longer in place.
They have been replaced with three things, faith, hope, and charity. These are the things which abide until the end of this dispensation. These are the things which he was holding up related to the assembly in Thessalonica, as they are the things which are demonstrated when the Word is working out of them. This is what he is telling the saints in Colossae that needs to happen with them.
The foundation of it starts with the gospel, which is why in our passage Paul takes it back there. He always goes back to what he identifies as his gospel, which is laid out in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. This is the only thing which can save an individual today. This is what will allow the Word to work in an individual. Paul explains who has access to this gospel:
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
It is very clear all of mankind has access to the gospel message for today. In time past, only Israel was being dealt with and had the hope. The Gentiles did not have this hope (Ephesians 2:11-12) and could only get access to this by joining themselves to Israel in order to have a chance at salvation. Paul explains how all men have had the opportunity to get saved.
This does create confusion for some, as they will state how can this be said when some people have never had the gospel preached unto them. There are places in the world where this message has never been preached and it will be said that these individuals could not be held accountable for this. Paul deals with this issue in the book of Romans:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,  And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Paul speaks about how these individuals have had an understanding of who God is. Individuals are able to look at the things of creation and are able to see there is God who made all of this. The problem becomes the rejection which individuals make, as they do not recognize God. Their rejection of God is what leads to the condition they are in, which is they have no hope. It is only by recognizing what has been accomplished for us that an individual can have the hope which is intended for us.
The result of putting trust in what was accomplished on the cross to take care of the issue of sin is there should be fruit which results from it. What was accomplished on the cross is the power of God unto salvation (1 Corinthians 1:17-18). God does not intend for this to be vain in our lives, as the goal is this message should produce a change in our lives:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Many individuals want to stop at the end of verse 9 when they are quoting this. It is true that our salvation has nothing to do with anything we do. It all has to do with what the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished for us and the trust we are putting in this fact. This is why it can be called a gift. We know it is His faith which is the issue (Romans 4:5) and it has nothing to do with our faith. We also know we are sealed with that holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:13-14), which is the guarantee of our salvation. There is nothing we can do which can undo what has been accomplished for us.
However, God also intends for us to do good works as a result of this salvation. There should be a change which occurs in us, where the Word works to produce this change. As we take the doctrine in, it is supposed to produce fruit in our lives. This is what is pleasing to God. The Apostle Paul identifies how this process is accomplished:
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.  These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
It is the grace of God which is teaching the individual what we are to do. The doctrine comes in as we study the Word of God rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15) and produces a renewed mind (Romans 12:1-2). It is this mind which influences our lives and helps us to live the life God intends. This is why the Apostle Paul can speak of fruit and the change which is supposed to happen in our lives.
Paul gives several examples to show the change and how we are supposed to be living our lives
The soldier: 2 Timothy 2:3-4
The athlete: 2 Timothy 2:5
The farmer: 2 Timothy 2:6
The ambassador: 2 Corinthians 5:20