I Heard It First
When we hear of a Christian’s new life in Christ, and his desire to live for the Lord, what a testimony to God’s glorious work in him. That life of faith evidencing the fruit of the Holy Spirit cannot be dismissed nor discarded in the local assembly of believers. Truth does not stand alone, and truth alive and lived will stand as a testimony before others and has to be addressed by all. When the Lord is alive in hearts, the folks living the new life will rejoice, and those just professing salvation will have to come to a decision in their own lives: “do I want just to bear the heavy yoke of religion or do I want an enjoyable relationship yoked up with my Lord (Matthew 11:29)?” When a life of genuine faith, being filled with the Spirit of the living God is presented as real Biblical Christianity, the local assembly takes notice. Then, when that life touches another life, with that life walking with God, things get spiritual in the church. Spiritual lives become a testimony of God-changed hearts, influencing another life of faith. Then, that spiritual life is a living example to another life of faith plus another life of faith, all adding up to a fellowship of Spirit-filled lives of faith in a church of faith alive. So it was at the Colosse church, as that fellowship had sounded out their testimony of real genuine lives of faith. In Colosse was found such a model of a joyful church of living faith vs joyless dead religion - they had a walk with God in His Spirit. The Colosse body of believers had a faith-life which became compelling news, reaching the ears of fellow believers in surrounding churches. “Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and the love (only possible through a Spirit-filled life) which ye have to all the saints” (Colossians 1:4). Here’s a simple, but profound truth: a testimony of one’s faith to be heard by others must first be heard in the heart of the one giving out his testimony by the Holy Spirit. His Spirit speaks to us first regarding our faith, in order for that faith to be sounded out to others. We need the testimony of the Spirit bearing witness with our spirit (Romans 8:16), that we have received His life-giving, life changing gospel, all made possible and powerful with His life within. It all begins with “the word of truth in the gospel … and bringeth forth (Spiritual) fruit, as it doth also in you since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth” (vs. 5-6). The gospel has not only power to save us from sin (Acts 1:8), but has power for us to live a renewed, regenerated, changed (from the old), born-again life in Him. We need to hear the truth from the Author of truth clearly defined in our hearts (not just in our heads) in order to possess a testimony to be shared with others. As God speaks the good news within us, we become the testimony of a gospel-speaking life with life changing truth to bring to others. The gospel that “bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you” carries a special challenge to every believer. The true gospel received has power to bring forth fruit only when God has “granted repentance unto life” (Acts 11:18). May it be said of us “since we heard of your faith” we are rejoicing in the reality of true faith from “the word of the truth of the gospel” (v. 5). It all begins with the good news FIRST HEARD in our hearts of “the word of truth of the gospel” (v.5). Others can only hear the good news from you if you can say: “I HEARD IT FIRST” from my Lord, His Spirit, and His Book of Truth.