Andrew Fountain - Truth that brings life - Col 1:1-9

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Sermon notes - Truth that brings life - Col 1:1–9

  • Need: packet of seeds

Intro Speaking the Words of Jesus

  • I was thinking and praying about what to preach on this week
    • I was reading

John 12:49,50

  1. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.
  2. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.

-Why did Jesus say this? —was he ignorant so that he needed the Father to tell him what to say?

-No, he is setting an example to us of how a perfect man should behave

-That is in dependence on the father

-Jesus teaches us that his relationship with the Father is a model for our relationship with him

  • “As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.” (John 6:57)
  • So if we are to not speak our own words, but the words Jesus has given us, how do we do this

John 14:23–26

  1. Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
  2. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
  3. “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you.
  4. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
  • Now this is a challenge to any preacher
    • We always want to “add value” to what God has said
    • This, by itself, is not enough to change lives!
      • It needs my help!
      • My wonderful insights and inspirational thoughts
      • My motivational illustrations and stories
    • Why is this?
      • We lack confidence in the power of the Scriptures
      • Do you believe these seeds would sprout and grow if you planted them?
      • Really? Why?
    • Is this just as powerful?
  • So I felt my challenge this morning was to let Jesus speak for himself, and not get in the way
    • That doesn’t mean I just read it and sit down
    • A seed still has to be sown as effectively as possible
    • So it means that my one focus is trying to understand what Jesus is saying, and do my best to explain what this means in our lives.
  • So I felt it would be good to go through a book of the Scriptures, and I have settled on Colossians
    • Short, practical (and it is one of my favourites)
    • We can get through it in 9 weeks. (Job would have taken 2 years)

Colossians - The Passage

Colossians 1:1-9

  1. Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus
    by the will of God
    and Timothy our brother
  2. To the holy ones in Colossae—faithful brothers in Christ.
    Grace to you and peace, from God our Father

  1. We give thanks to God, the father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
    always praying concerning you,
  2. having heard
    of your faith in Christ Jesus,
    and of the love which you have towards all the saints,
    because of the hope laid up for you in heaven,.
  3. of which you have heard before
    in the word of truth, the gospel,
  4. which has come to you
    even as it is in the world
    bearing fruit
    and growing
    even as it does among you
    since the day you heard and came to recognize
    the grace of God in truth;
  5. even as you learned from Epaphras.
    our beloved fellow-slave,
    who is a faithful servant of Christ on your behalf
  6. and who has told us of your love in the Spirit
  7. Because of this, we also, since the day we heard,
    have not ceased praying for you

NET Bible

  • note “hearing”,“learning” or “preaching”
  • show with lines highlighted:

Col 1:1-9 - highlighted

  • This is an amazing piece of writing that Paul has done
  • Actually it is a precision work
    • Didn’t use bullet points
    • A “mirror” style of writing (the second half mirrors the first half)
    • Not just a casual letter—he realizes that this is something of lasting importance, and they are to pass it on...
    • I don’t usually like to bring technical stuff into my sermons, but if God has put something there, we have a responsibility to find it.
    • I’m going to show you Paul’s literary style, which is very poetic, and beautifully intricate
  • We don’t usually pay much attention to literary and poetic features in the Bible, for a couple of reasons
    1. We simply don’t notice them because they belong to another culture
    2. We have a cultural assumption that beauty and truth are different categories
      • If you want to say something in a beautiful way, we say, ah, that was nice
      • But truth is a different category—you just stated it as clearly as possible. Don’t try to make it beautiful
      • This is a very modern assumption: In ancient times, the more important it is, the time you should put into the form of the words.
    • So I’m going to simply show you what is there, because if God’s put it there, we can’t just ignore it.

Structure of 1:3-9

Structure of 1:3-9

  • If the Holy Spirit caused Paul to write it like this, then we should pay attention
  • At the centre of this passage is the phrase, “bearing fruit and growing”
    • This image is taken from the creation account in Genesis,
      • where God told the new creation to bear fruit and grow and fill the earth
    • The image is of a seed, growing and spreading
  • What is the seed?
    • the word of truth, the gospel, the grace of God
  • How did it get planted?
    • It “came to them”, they “recognized”/accepted it
  • What fruit has this word of truth produced?
    • faith, love, hope
    • Faith in Jesus Christ
    • Love for one another
    • Hope —not a vague hope, but the certainty of their destiny
  • So think of it. Simply because of this truth coming in, there is now
    • a people of Faith in Jesus
    • a people who are radically loving one another
    • and a people secure in their destiny
      • It has transformed them!
    • the rest of the letter expands on these
    • we will see that in these coming weeks
  • What does this news cause Paul to do?
    • pray for them
  • What does he pray?
    • see in a minute
  • If we were writing this today, we would probably lay it out logically in order,
    • Starting with the truth of God’s grace
    • Then the fact that they heard it
    • They that it brought forth fruit?
  • Why does Paul put it in this inside out way?
    • He actually does follow this logical sequence
      • from (in the word of truth) back to the start (so it is in reverse order)
        • and then
      • from (the grace of God) to the end normal order
    • This style of writing it twice, once in each direction, was a common one.
    • That way, the most important thing was right in the middle
      • That the gosepel was bearing fruit and growing


  • salvation comes through truth—it does not bypass the understanding
    • It is true that understanding is not enough (people talk about the head and the heart)
    • but there is a doorway between the head and the heart, that that is the one truth goes through
    • It doesn’t get to the heart directly (wake up one morning)
  • Think of this for a moment. Paul has not yet visited Colossae
    • Imagine you are walking through a desert, and suddenly you read an area that until recently was just a desert, and now fruit trees...
  • Isn’t this amazing: here is a loving community in the city of Colossae
    • It is created entirely by the seed of truth, taking root and growing by the power of the Spirit
    • Now there is a fruitful loving community, where previously there was just dead soil
  • Show video clips (no theological value at all)



  • This is similar to our Newlife church image
    • and in fact this is what our name as a church is all about!
  • Do you believe this can happen?
    • Tony page 34.

Paul’s prayer: Col 1:9–11

  1. and asking
    that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will
                in all spiritual wisdom and understanding
  2. so as to walk worthy of the Lord,
          in all ways to please him,
          in all good work bearing fruit and increasing
                            in the knowledge of God,
  3.       in all power being empowered, through his glorious
          in all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks
                            to the Father
  • Hang on a minute, there is a problem here Paul: How can knowledge change people?
    • What you need is some experience
    • You need a radical encounter that changes your life
  • If you were to say to Paul, what good is head knowledge, is information?
    • Paul would probably say: These are the words of God. They have life in them. These words can transform nations, and give life to the dead.
  • Paul really seems to believe that if you are really filled with this knowledge, it will bring fruit
    • Look at the list of fruits he expects
  • In fact, he spends the rest of the letter unpacking this
    • A quick preview:
      • 3:12–15
      • 3:18–22
      • 4:5,6
  • So what is this truth, that produces these dramatic changes?
    • That is what we will look at for the next three message
    • Essentially is it Grace, but grace can become a very empty word if we talk about it a lot
    • words get “devalued”, like “awesome”
    • so we will learn next time about the extrordinary destiny God has, that is truth “awesome”
  • Do you believe that the “word of truth” is life-changing and brings fruit?
    • If so, then spend some time reading it this week
    • Anne recorded a video of a TV programme on the development of the English Language
      • We watched a TV documentary about the story of the translation of the Bible into English
      • The presenter was extremely perceptive (truth=power for Catholic Church) (BBC are not ususally!)
  • Story of girl from Tehran

Nat Geo KJV

Nat Geo KJV

  • Application
    • This is how the gospel works
    • Reading of Rom 8:37–9
    1. …in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
    2. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
    3. nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Updated on 2016-09-19 by Andrew Fountain