Colossians 1-Philemon 1 (2.2.19)
Grab your Bible, and let’s go deeper into Colossians 2.
As you turn there, let me ask you to consider this: What are you confident in?
With all that is uncertain in this life–all that is truly unreliable and always changing– what are you confident to stand on? To hold to without doubt?
The reality is few people really know what this is like. Everything they know feels like shifting sand at some point: health, marriage, kids, finances, job, friendships, self-confidence.
I pray that our time today in God’s word brings you to or recenters you on the only thing that is sufficient for all of life: Jesus Christ.
In Colossians 2:6 Paul says “Therefore.” When studying the Bible and you see a “therefore,” you should always slow down and ask, “What’s it there for?”
Let me give us a quick summary of what we have studied so far in this letter so we can see what “therefore” is there for:
- Colossians 1:1: The Apostle Paul is our author.
- Colossians 1:2 & 2:1: The saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae and Laodicea are the recipients of the letter.
- Colossians 2:2-5 shows us Paul’s purpose for writing the letter: That the body of Christ would be encouraged in heart and united in love, and that they would combat false teachings and arguments of those who are not in Christ.
- Colossians 1:26-27 & 2:2: More so, Paul’s purpose is to bring clarity of the gospel, that which was once a mystery to the people.
This gospel tells us the following:
- Colossians 1:21: Each member of the Church was once alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, dead in sin, and desperate for the saving grace of God alone.
- Colossians 1:20: But, through the life and work of Jesus, God chose to reconcile us to Himself by the blood of Christ’s cross.
The result of Christ’s substitutionary atonement:
- Colossians 1:13-14: God has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, and life everlasting with God.
- Colossians 1:15-19: We see that Christ alone is sufficient for all we need and supreme over everything that is.
After all that, Paul says “THEREFORE”: Because of what God has done to make you His own people and reconcile you to Himself, and because Christ is sufficient and supreme …
Therefore what? Study God’s word occasionally, pray only when you are desperate, give financially only when you have extra, lean on each other only when you can’t go any further alone, and show up to church only when you feel like it? NO. NO. NO.
The problem is that sounds a lot more like modern-day Christianity than what Paul actually says next. Oh, how we need to REPENT. Repent that for far too long, far too many of us have taken our new identity in Christ far too lightly.
Instead–in summation–Paul teaches us today “Therefore, stand firm in Christ.”
Colossians 2:6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him
Do not turn to or rely on any other gospel! That’s Galatians 1:6.
In everything, you should walk in line with–in step with–the gospel. That’s Galatians 2:14.
We are to walk in line with the gospel every step of the way! Not because of Jesus, not with Jesus, but Christ in YOU!
Walk in it every day that God gives you, trusting in and hoping in Christ. Trust that He will finish what He started in you.
Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Christ Jesus the Lord is not just another thing that comes into your life and gets thrown on the pile. He literally changes your life. Your life experiences new birth in your salvation. Paul is saying, “Because you have Jesus, WALK in HIM!” It begs for the question to be asked: “If Jesus truly dwells within us, why would we do anything apart from Him?”
He takes it further. Look at verse 7:
Colossians 2:7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
First, you have to be rooted. You have to be grafted into the vine. Without the sovereign, saving work of God, we are literally dead branches (see John 15).
But when we are grafted into the vine who is Life, then we, the branches, have a foundation—a base—in a world that is absolutely uncertain and by which nothing is totally true or reliable.
We are desperate for a foundation to root our life in! His name is JESUS!
Paul says that we are rooted and built up in Him. You must take this into your core. It needs to revolutionize the way you think about and live out your faith. Jesus will not be “another thing” in your life. He is supreme and sufficient for all of life!
Do you see that there is no moving onto other gospels? There is no realizing that God is near when you feel tempted to sin. It’s bigger than that. YOU are IN CHRIST. You are rooted and redefined and built up IN HIM.
The problem is we relegate Jesus to the corner of our lives all too often, and in doing so, we utterly miss who He is to us and who we are in Him.
Paul is saying, “KNOW WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST! And STAND FIRM. He is sufficient.” You can’t just dismiss this or say, “Yeah, yeah.” It must make its way into your SOUL! It must redefine the way you think and feel and pray and interact. If you just don’t get it or you just don’t agree, then I beg you to fall down at the foot of the cross, because you might be devoid of the very satisfaction and power and grace and goodness that Jesus is to you.
We have to keep going.
Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
The lies of the devil and deception of this world is cunning; it is luring. The experiential lures of elemental spirits are attractive to our flesh. The traditions of man are powerfully alluring, because we want to fit in. Because we want logic to win. Because our flesh wants to be coddled and satisfied with temporary treasures of the here and now.
How does a Christian begin to develop discernment and wisdom? First, we submit every symbol and sign to the authority of the Scriptures.
Church, Paul’s warning is for us, too.
- Just because it is called a Christian music group doesn’t mean they are promoting the truth of the gospel.
- Just because it is called a Christian TV show doesn’t mean what they are teaching is accurate.
- Just because you received the “sign” you asked for doesn’t mean it is cause to act according to your will or desire.
- Just because it is called a Christian movie and deals with topics such as heaven doesn’t mean it is accurate.
In all these things, we must test them and hold them up to Scripture and the counsel of godly plurality.
1 Timothy 4:16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Brothers and sisters, we must stand firm in Christ and His word on all matters of life and faith. We are so susceptible to popular opinion, to sorcery, intelligent philosophical ideas, or logic. We must STAND FIRM on the only ROCK that will stand: Jesus and His living WORD!
Colossians 2:9-10 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him …
Because Christ is complete, those in Christ are complete!
Being filled is being complete! Nothing lacking. You are filled.
We are complete in Christ! This means Jesus is sufficient, because despite what Jerry Maguire says, no one else completes you but Jesus.
The problem is all too often those who claim Christ are so busy looking for something to complete them. Our identity and our satisfaction is not found in what we drive, what we wear, who we run with, who we marry, or what our kids accomplish; rather, our identity and satisfaction is complete in who Christ is and what He has done.
Colossians 2:10b who is the head of all rule and authority.
Again, Paul comes back to the Supremacy of Jesus! He keeps reminding us, “This is not just anybody who you are utterly linked to, empowered by, living for and through; He is SUPREME! He is the name above all names.”
This is so much bigger than whatever famous person you ran into once or know personally. This is so much bigger than the sweet contacts you have to get something done.
JESUS is not just your friend; He is your EVERYTHING.
The question is are you standing firm and walking every day in this truth?
If He is not enough, then you are an idolater. You still long for something else more than God–more than what you have already been given. Stand firm in Jesus!
Oh, how I pray that we are a people of God who are grounded in God. That we stand firm in Christ. That we hold fast to Christ.
As the storms rage, we stand fast because we are built on the ROCK, who is Jesus!
You cannot just hear this word and be emotionally charged; that is not enough. A good feeling or agreement with these things is not enough. You must take it into your soul and anchor it to Christ. Repent of the areas of your looking to other gospels or teachings as GOOD, and put your whole self back on Christ.
I am praying for you.
By His grace and for His glory,
Soldiers for Jesus MC