The Tree of Gospel Hope

October 9, 2022

David Sorn

The opening section of Colossians gives us a way to grow fruit on our trees that other people can be blessed by.

The Tree of Gospel Hope

October 9, 2022

David Sorn

The opening section of Colossians gives us a way to grow fruit on our trees that other people can be blessed by.

SERMON TRANSCRIPT | 1 Corinthians 1:1-14


(Jesus Over Everything Series Slide)

Good morning. My name is David Sorn, and I’m the Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.

You know we live in a culture where ideas on what is true and what is right as often as the seasons change in MN.

And what that does is it creates a dizzying effect on our society.

It’s like this.

The other day, I was at a playground with my kids, and they had one of those old school merry grounds

(merry go round picture)

Remember these things?

How many of you broke an arm on one of these back in the day?

And I thought, it’s been a while since I’ve been on one of these, so I’ll get on.

I got on, looked at my kids, and said: “Spin it fast”

And, it wasn’t as fun as I remembered.

And when I got off, there’s that moment, where, in your dizziness, it’s hard to figure out which way is which.

And I think that’s an apt summary of how many people are experiencing our culture right now.

If we were to look at news headlines from 1992, 2002, 2012, and 2022 on a topic like sex or sexuality, pornography, marijuana (pick any big issue)…

And you tracked the “public’s view of truth" over time, you would see that it changes constantly

Your head would be spinning like you just got off a merry go round by how much those articles (each claiming truth) contradicted each other

But there is a worldview, a way of life, that never changes.

And I want to talk about the beauty of that this morning.


(Jesus Over Everything Series Slide)

If this is your first time here today, you came on a great day because this morning, we are starting a brand-new teaching series where we will be teaching through the Letter of Colossians in the Bible.

Since this is our first week in this letter, I want to take a few minutes here at the outset and give you the historical background of this letter so you can understand the context in which it was written better.

Colossians was written by one of the early leaders of the Christian church, a man we call the Apostle Paul.

A once fierce opponent of Christianity that had his life turned around when he had a powerful experience with Jesus.

Paul then began to share his faith in Christ around much of the Roman empire, but was eventually put in prison in Rome for his faith, and he’s writing this letter (from prison) to the Colossians sometime around 60-63 AD…

…so about 30 years or so died & resurrected

So who are these Colossians?

They are the people of Colossae, a smaller town in what is now modern-day Turkey

(Show Colossae map)

There’s the boot of Italy, Greece, Israel is over here.

And Colossae is here in Turkey

And we’re going to find out in our passage today that one of Paul’s friends, Epaphras had planted a church there and told these people in Colossae about Jesus.

And this Epaphras had then gone to visit Paul in prison in Rome and told Paul about his church in Colossae and the problems they were dealing with.

So Paul has agreed to write a letter to the Colossian Christians

So, let’s open up together to the very beginning of the Book of Colossians

Page 804

Colossians 1:1-6

While you’re finding it, let me tell you another fascinating fact

Back in May, we did a short 3-week series on a little letter in the Bible called Philemon.

Philemon was a slave owner who had a runaway slave named Onesimus who became a Christian when Onesimus met Paul in Rome.

And Onesimus and Philemon, interestingly enough, were from the city of…Colossae.

In fact, the letters of Philemon and Colossians were delivered at the exact same time.

So, kind of neat that we’re doing them in the same year.


(Colossians 1:1-6a) - NIV

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

2 To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father.

3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel 6 that has come to you.

(Jesus Over Everything Series Slide)

What’s interesting here is that the people living in Colossae were living in a culture just as confusing as our modern day American one.

The people of this region had been conquered by the Greeks and introduced to the Greek gods and ways of life…

And then they were conquered by the Romans, and many started following their gods.

For the Colossians, paganism abounded, and you could pick whatever god or lifestyle you wanted.

Even legalistic Jews had reached their area and told them how to live by rules and moral standards.

And it’s the midst of all of that, while the Christians of Colossae are watching their culture spin around them, that Paul writes this letter about how Jesus is…over everything.

And Jesus is oh so different than everything else they’ve seen.

Jesus is not a lifeless statue

Jesus is not just a moral philosophy just for their day

Jesus is the real-life Son of God

And what Paul describes in our passage today is a picture of what we can call “The Tree of Gospel Hope”.

(Title Slide: The Tree of Gospel Hope)

The Gospel, if you’ve never heard that word before, is the good news that when we believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for us, and we make Him the Savior and Leader of our lives, that He forgives us, comes into our lives, and grants us eternal life here and with Him forever.

That’s Good News!! The Gospel.

So what is “The Tree of Gospel Hope?”

Look at look at verse 5 with me again:

5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel

Okay, so keep that in front of you, and let me show you all of those terms in a word-picture


Paul says, verse 5, that faith and love spring FROM hope.

Which is what we see on this tree.

And let me point out, the Bible uses the word “hope” differently than we do in modern-day America.

I say today, “I HOPE the Timberwolves actually win a playoff series this year”

Which means, I personally want it to happen, but it’s been 18 years so let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

But Hope in the Bible is when we are CONFIDENT our desire will be fulfilled in the future.

So what is the “hope” described in our passage.

Verse 5 says it’s “The hope stored up for you in heaven”

This is the Gospel hope that you have…the hope that your faith in Jesus Christ will one day be vindicated, and you will spend eternity in paradise, forever changed, by Jesus.

And THAT hope leads to you living a life of faith and love.

Let’s talk through how this practically looks:

Here’s the first truth I want you to see about this Tree of Gospel Hope (which is just a metaphor of your Christian walk)

The Tree of Gospel Hope

1. It is PLANTED in hope

This is one of the more unique things about the Christian today: You are planting yourself…rooting yourself in a fixed worldview.

The Christian is saying, “I have this unchanging HOPE that Jesus died for me, and so I’m planting my life on Him, and His teachings”

Psalm 1 and Jeremiah 17 both uses similar imagery.

Look at Jeremiah

(Jeremiah 17:7-8) – NIV

7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,

whose confidence is in him.

8 They will be like a tree planted by the water

that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes;

its leaves are always green.

It has no worries in a year of drought

and never fails to bear fruit.”

There is such wisdom, my friend, in planting your life in Christ.

(Tree Sketch)

In fact, let me address a particular group in our church.

Over the last few months, I’ve noticed so many more of you in your twenties that have started to come here, many of you even in your early 20’s.

And you’re coming in part because you know this is a place you can learn the Scriptures

To you, in your early adulthood, who feel the spinning culture around you maybe even more intensely than others…

To you I say, root yourself deeply in God’s Word.

Plant yourself in unchanging truth.

And His streams of Living Water will do amazing things for you in the many decades you have left.


Okay, so we see that at first, we must plant ourselves in hope…to ground and root our lives in a worldview that doesn’t change.

Let’s keep reading now…we left off a few words into verse 6

Page 804

Colossians 1:6b-12

(Colossians 1:6-12) - NIV

In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. 7 You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, 8 and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

Here’s the 2nd thing we see about our “Tree of Gospel Hope”

The Tree of Gospel Hope

1. It is PLANTED in hope

2. It GROWS to be strong

Look at verse 6…the Tree of Gospel hope has been planted, (you’re a follower of Jesus) but now the tree is growing…to the point that it’s growing fruit (more on that in a minute)

And not only that.

Paul goes on to talk about how he prays for the Colossians that their faith would grow and grow!

What does that look like?

(Verse 9) In knowledge and wisdom

(Verse 10) In a Godly life

(verse 11) strengthened in God’s Power…so that you might have endurance…and patience

(Tree Sketch)

It’s saying as you put your roots down into His Truth, and you spend more time next to His Living Waters, the trunk of your walk with God will grow stronger and stronger in all of those things.

People should start to notice the fruit of change growing on your life.

Now let me say something…because some of you (particularly if you’ve been a believer for a while) are looking at your life, and you’re saying, “What change?”

Last weekend, my father-in-law was over at my house, and he commented on a tree in my front yard.

He said, “When did that tree get so huge?”

My wife and I bought our house in 2011, but the previous owners had planted a River Birch Tree in 2010

It was just a little tree, but now, 12 years later, it’s huge.

(Show River Birch Tree)

But let me tell you? we never walked outside and said, “Ah, it’s an 1/8 of an inch bigger today”

Change is hard to notice in the moment.

Last week at House Groups, when I was in small group, I shared about a time where this happened in my life.

Before I became a Christian, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I hated other people.

There’s a verse in Titus 3 that talks about people before they came to Christ that says we were hated and hated one another…and whenever I read that, I think, “Yes, that was so me”

I would literally lie in bed at night thinking about all of the people who had even slightly wronged me, and how much I hated them.

And then one day, about 2 years or so after I became a Christian, this crazy observation came to my mind, and I thought, “Huh…I don’t hate anyone anymore. I literally can’t think of a single person.”

But I never methodically deleting people off my “hate list” one by one…

It was just, one day, I looked up, and said, “How did that tree get so big?”

And God will often grow your faith in that way: Over time.

It’s not always over night.

For me, the change happened because I planted myself in the Gospel Hope that God has forgiven me, a hate-filled person.

And so I can forgive others.

And over time, I just began to.

And he strengthened, the body, the trunk of my faith…

And often that process is beautiful to watch in other people, isn’t it?

And here’s what happens: On Tuesday this week, I was in my house, and one of my kids started singing this kids song that went, “The deeper the roots grow, the better the fruits grow”

And I thought, “C’mon now!”

And what are the chances you’re singing that song while I’m working on this message?

But that’s good! Because it’s true!

(Tree Sketch)

The deeper you press in, the more your roots reach that stream, and the more beautiful the fruit of your life becomes.


And that fruit is what changes the world around you.

Because people will see things in you that they don’t see in themselves.

Think back to where we started.

If a person’s worldview (how they think of life, morality, truth) is always changing…

…that’s like having a tree seedling, and planting it sand…letting it grow poorly for a year…

….and then ripping it up, letting it grow in frozen tundra for a year…ripping it up, and putting it in the desert

What will happen to the tree?

Not much.

But the Tree (the life!) of a Christ follower is so different.

The Tree of Gospel Hope

1. It is PLANTED in hope

2. It GROWS to be strong

3. Its FRUIT blesses others

We see this in verse 10…where Paul says, you will be bearing fruit in every good work.

And also back in verse 6…look at that one.

He says, “In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world”

People see your fruit, and they want it.

Because it is different.

My friends, we are different, and that’s okay.

It’s not only okay, it’s good.

Because this kind of different is:


And it is strong.

And it is beautiful.

The Christian life is rooted in something that is beyond us.

In a world of spinning confusion, and anxiety, and growing darkness, the fruit on the Tree of Gospel Hope, looks amazing.

If you can root yourself deep into Jesus…

And tell others of the hope you have…

The seeds will spread.

We will have a revival of hope.

A revival of changed lives.

(Title Slide: The Tree of Gospel Hope)

This summer I read for the first time about John Harper.

John Harper was on the Titanic the night it sank in 1912.

1,528 people fell into the frigid waters.

John Harper, after putting his 6-year-old daughter and his sister on a lifeboat, Harper then, purposefully, jumped in the ocean water, and began leading people to faith in Jesus.

Harper swam up to one young man who had climbed up on a piece of debris.

Harper asked him between breaths, "Are you saved?"

The young man replied that he was not.

Harper then tried to lead him to Christ only to have the young man reject him and Jesus.

John Harper then took off his lifejacket and threw it to the man and said "Here then, you need this more than I do..." and swam away to share with other people.

A few minutes later Harper swam back to the young man and succeeded in leading him to salvation.

John Harper though eventually succumbed to the frigid waters…and his last words before going under were, "Believe on the name of the Lord Jesus and you will be saved."

Of the 1,528 people that fell into the water that night, only six were rescued by the lifeboats.

One of them was this young man on the debris who went on to become a passionate follower of Jesus.

But think about the juxtaposition of people here.

We know from history, that many lifeboats were launched before they were even at capacity, and they were not steering over the save the drowning…even though they had over 500 empty seats.

But here we have John Harper who purposefully jumped in the water

His Gospel Hope (that’s stored up in heaven) is rooted so deep, his trunk of faith is so strong, that he’s in the water sharing the fruit of Christ’s love.

And it’s changing people for all of eternity!

I gotta tell you, over the last year or 2, I keep hearing Christians say to me, “The culture is spinning so crazy right now, that I just want to get out of here. Get out of MN, move to a commune…the people around us are crazy.

But here’s the truth:

Yeah, the culture around is shouting out, and in confusion, waving its hands…but they are doing so because they are drowning.

They’re drowning.

So don’t go away.

Don’t go hide on a lifeboat while others perish.

The message you have is beautiful and people need to see it.

They need to see your heart, the one that would give up a lifejacket for another, because it’s hope is planted so deeply in the next life.

They need to see it my friend.

And that’s how the Gospel continues to change the world.


And if you’re just beginning to have the Gospel make sense in your life, I want you to see something in our last 2 verses today (verses 13 & 14) as our band comes back on stage

Page 805

Colossians 1:13-14

(Colossians 1:13-14) - NIV

13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

This is what God has done for us.

Before I knew Jesus, I was in the dominion of darkness.

I lived a life governed by pride and sin…and it didn’t work.

But Jesus Christ came on a rescue mission for me you.

And He died on the cross for your sins.

And these 2 verses (look at them, they’re from God’s Holy Word, they’re not lying to you)

They say that you can have redemption.

That means you may be walking in the Kingdom of Darkness, but Jesus Christ pushed His way in and paid the price of justice for you to be redeemed.

And the ransom for your freedom was his death.

But He didn’t stay dead!

He resurrected.

And He’s Alive!

And He’s in this room right now, saying, “Come with me!”

And if you grab His hand, and you say, “I believe you died for me, I’ll follow you. Save me.”

He will.

And it says He will grant you forgiveness of sins.

And God will take you from the dominion of darkness to the Kingdom of the Son

And you’ll become a child of the King, and He’ll plant you right next to Him, your life will change, and your eternal soul will now be saved.

I can’t give you better news than that.

And so as we sing this last song (“Tremble”) about Jesus conquering over the dominion of darkness, if you need to walk out of that dominion of darkness today, and start following Jesus for the first time…

I want you to walk to the front anytime during this song.

And then I’ll pray for you at the end.



(If people come forward….)

The Bible tells us that in this moment we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths.

Repeat after me

Dear God

I confess to you, that I have sinned against you.

But God I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place

And God I thank you, for forgiving my sins.

And now I commit, to following you, with my life.

All right, for those of you that made this decision, hang out here for a few minutes, as I want to give you some important next steps.

For everyone else, Baptism Mtg starts right now w/ Pastor Josh

Bring back in:

Jesus Over Everything series theme.


When the Gospel is kicking around in side of you, it should be spilling out and bearing fruit.

Thesis: When you plant your life in the Gospel, its fruit changes you and the lives around you.

Why we spend the vast majority of our time teaching through books:

Josiah and the finding of the text

Martin Luther

The last movement of this was the Jesus movement… Calvary Chapel.

Young people are hungry. I’m seeing so many young people through the doors here.

We’ll break this down pretty well. Today’s 14 verses are the longest section of our series.

C H Spurgeon in a sermon on hope says that "Our hope ... is special, because it is a hope which is laid up for us in heaven, a hope therefore which the worldlings cares not one whit about. He hopes that tomorrow may be as this day and yet more abundant, but he cares nothing for the land where time has ceased to flow. He hopes for riches or he hopes for fame; he hopes for long life and prosperity; he hopes for pleasure and domestic peace; the whole range of his hope is within the compass of his eye. But our hope has passed beyond the sphere of sight, according to the word of the apostle, "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." Ours is a hope which demands nothing of time or earth but seeks its all in the world to come...Cultivate, then, your hope, dearly beloved. Make it to shine so plainly in you that your minister may hear of your hopefulness and joy; cause observers to take note of it because you speak of heaven and act as though you really expected to go there. Make the world know that you have a hope of heaven. Make worldlings feel that you are a believer in eternal glory and that you hope to be where Jesus is. Often surprise them as they see what they call your simplicity, but what is in truth only your sincerity, while you treat as matter of fact the hope laid up for you in heaven. The Lord grant it for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen."

Are you really a disciple if you don’t bear fruit?

What are you if you just learn the word? A Pharisee.

We thank God because of your:



That faith comes from:

The hope of the Gospel

That Gospel Hope bears fruit

In you (through Epaphras)

And throughout the world (through you)

We pray and ask God to:

Let you know His will

So that you:

May live a worthy life

Bear fruit in good works

Grow in the knowledge of God

Be strengthened

And give joyful thanks

God has rescued you from the dominion of darkness

And brought you into the Kingdom of His Son

Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.

OCTOBER 9, 2022