Living Gospel Growth
All biologists know that growth is one of the properties of living organisms. It usually occurs by cell division and multiplication, so that new cells are formed, the body increases in size and learns how to coordinate its activities so that it functions effectively. The template for this behaviour is in the DNA which provides all the messages to tell the new cells how to function.
The gospel of God's grace is not sterile information but is vibrantly alive. It contains the message of salvation which, when grafted into the heart of those who believe it, will reproduce the eternal life of God in a human being. Wherever the gospel is explained, those who are hungry for truth will understand it (Acts 20:24). Wherever the seed of God's Word finds receptive soil it will germinate, grow and be fruitful (Luke 8:8). That is what happened at Colossae. Epaphras, who had been converted under Paul's ministry in Ephesus, took the message almost 200km east along the trade route, and preached the good news about Jesus in Colossae. Those who believed were born again by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5). They became the church (ecclesia - the 'called-out ones') and started living differently, because they had received the life of Christ.
In the same way that parents are excited at the wonder of a new life forming during pregnancy, so the Apostle Paul was excited to see how the gospel had produced the same life-changing effect in Colossae as it did wherever it had been preached. He commended Epaphras, calling him a 'faithful minister of Christ'. All he did was to deliver the message accurately, persuading people of the need to respond to Jesus. But its effect was profound, because it contained God's living Word (1 Peter 1:23). And the effect of the Holy Spirit's presence in these people was unmistakable!
Evangelism is not complicated. It is the simple task of delivering the truth about Jesus. In Paul's day the gospel travelled as people moved along trade routes; today it is transported wherever Christians go, and increasingly along the internet through email and apps like Word@Work. Although some people are 'full time' evangelists, every Christian carries the vital seed of gospel truth. But most believers do not realise the potency of the truth in their hearts and minds. If you know what it is to be saved through the cross of Jesus, are you telling other people? If not, make up your mind that you will ask your friends and colleagues if you can tell them. If you need a little help, click on www.crosscheck.org.uk and watch the presentation together with them. Then see what God does as they start to engage with the truth!
© Dr Paul Adams