Colossians 2. 6-15: Mystery of Life in Jesus
October 23, 2011 Series: Colossians
Topic: New Testament Passage: Colossians 2:6–2:15
There is nothing more troubling
than an immature adult—physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Last
week, we saw that Paul’s stated mission was to bring as many people as possible
to maturity in Christ. In thinking about maturity, this week I read the story
of a California man, named Stanley Thornton Jr.
He is 30 years old, and chooses to live life as an “adult baby,”
complete with adult diapers,
bottles, an adult-crib, an adult high-chair, and a mother-figure caregiver. He has recently being investigated for suspicion
of Social Security fraud but will continue to receive his disability checks
because he suffers from a diagnosed medical.
Stanley is an easy target, so while I can easily judge what appears
creepy I can’t truly judge his heart. Regardless of his motivation, one thing
is for certainly, this is not how things ought to be. Stanley got me to thinking about spiritual
Grow up…In HIM
There are a lot of believers whose spiritual live
look like Stanley. And while many have their reasons and excuses,
biblically, it is not how things ought to be.
We use our parents, our childhood traumas, our marriages, our finances, our jobs, our time, our family commitments, our learning styles, even our theology to justify our delayed spiritual growth.
The truth is that we don’t try to grow up. Hebrews 5.11-14 11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you
again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who
lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to
distinguish good from evil. Acts
29 pastor Matt Chandler once said, “ A
two month old on the breast is cute, but a 20 year old on the breast is
disturbing.” (Elephant Room vol.1). The book of Colossians is as theological as
Romans and practical as James. This
letter is very Pauline, in that, he spends the first part establishing what the
gospel is, and the second part explaining how we should act in response to that
gospel. For Paul, it is
not enough that the Colossians got Jesus, if who they got doesn’t radically
transform every aspect of our life. 2Corinthians 5.17 says for anyone who is IN
CHRIST is a new Creation—maturity comes NOT when you simply agree that this is
true, but you actually live it. And living that it is hard—that is why most of
us fail to start—spiritual maturity requires effort, discipline, and courage to
work, not to be get a religious gold star, but to know HIM.
v. 6 -7 Walk IN HIM
Beginning in verse 6, Paul centers everything
on being IN CHRIST…Walk in him, rooted in him, built in him, filled in him,
circumcised in him, buried with him, raised with him, victorious in him….it is
truly all about Jesus. He is reminding
the Colossians to live in Christ as he was FIRST taught. 6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord,
so walk in him
Faith in Christ, or new life in Christ, begins when you confess Christ for who HE IS and
believe WHAT HE DID. And the growth of that new life comes from
the same thing—knowing Christ. Knowing
Christ changes you like a marriage changes you.
Just as marriage is more than a ring and some vows, walking in Him is more than just
intellectual agreement to facts about Jesus. But knowing him means
aligning how you live with how he livedThe
truth is that many speak of receiving Jesus as savior, but we are much slower
to speak of Him as Lord—the Bible is just the opposite. Charles
Spurgeon noted: It is interesting to notice that the Apostles
preached the Lordship of Christ. The
word Savoir occurs only twice in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 5.31;
13.23). On the other hand, it is amazing
to notice the title “Lord” is mentioned 92 times; “Lord Jesus” 13 times, and
“The Lord Jesus Christ 6 times in the same book. The gospel is: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou
shalt be saved.” Lordship is
not only submission to the authority of Jesus, it is a life where definitions,
decisions, and delight are found under His Lordship—bend your will to His,
submit your desires to His, deny your “self” and follow Him. Where you come to the conviction that
everything, your life, death and salvation is HIS and therefore, you will use
it to worship Him. This does not happen overnight, but it also doesn’t
happen sitting down. We
learn to walk by taking steps—like riding a bike.
Rooted & Built Up
And as we struggle to know the
Jesus of the Bible, to worship Him in the minutia that is daily life, our faith
becomes, 7rooted and built up in him and established. Roots cannot be seen, but their depth
is made evident in the health of the plant.
Roots provide strength,
nourishment, and fruitfulness. We need
DEEP ROOTS. Psalm 1 says that a man of
the Word is like a tree with deep roots.
Like a tree, faith with deep roots can weather storms, droughts, or
disease. Faith with deep roots produce
fruit and protection for others. And
Paul here is using active verbs, implying that we have an active role to play
in reaching depth in the riches of Christ.
We must take it much
more seriously than we do. You will
die or be easily hurt without roots. If
you lack deep roots, a commitment to learn, you are either a transplant, a
tumbleweed, or moss.
Transplants deliberately choose not to dig
in. Spiritually, they move from soil to
soil without ever taking time to establish roots. This is a commitment
phobe—they are afraid to actually have a relationship with Jesus.
Tumbleweeds are like the ADD of Christian
spirituality. They are allured with every
new wind that comes along, constantly questioning their faith, reading every
new popular book that comes out, reading every blog, going to ever conference
and ostensibly trying to maintain a teenage romance with Jesus.
The other kind of plant that lacks roots are
bryophytes—moss. They are considered the simplest of plants. They are colorful, appear to be full of life,
and grow on rocks. They don’t produce
anything but sit and get fat.
v.8 Captivated away FROM HIM Jesus is a person, and like any
person, it takes time to get to know Him. Building
deep roots requires time, discipline, and commitment. And Paul knows
that there is a lot in this world to amuse, allure, and distract us from that
effort: 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. Earlier, in verse 4, Paul warned
the Colossians about “plausible arguments” and here, about false teachers who
will come with their alluring lies that draw them away from Christ. Not
working sounds (even theological) good because lies all sound good. The lies
feel good. They lies even look good
(MORMONS). False teachers are not
“bad people” teaching bad morals. On the
contrary, they are often quite sincere, loving, and sophisticated. That is what makes them such effective
kidnappers. There is a danger of being
kidnapped in this world, not because we love bad things but because we love
good things so badly (Taken from Tim Keller).
And the most vulnerable people are spiritual children. You don’t see too many Amber alerts for 35-40
year old men. Children are
kidnapped. They are captured because
they are weak, vulnerable, and easily tempted. And spiritual children are
captivated because they don’t find Jesus more captivating. And though it is tempting to “be a child”
forever…it will lead you away from Jesus.
What is taught & what is caught?
And Paul says, “SEE TO IT” you don’t get grabbed. There are many things to draw us way from
Christ and enslave us—some taught directly others caught over generations. Paul
lists three different kinds: There are foolish philosophies taught as
wise by culture (man-centered ways of thinking). There are traditions handed down by family (man-made ways of doing
things)? There are religious and
irreligious spirits putting full systems forward, centered on false gods (demonic
teaching). What captivates you? What guides your decision making? Who or
what governs your understanding of manhood, womanhood, marriage, family, sexuality,
authority, success, suffering, communication, community, wealth, or power? If
it is not Christ, it is slavery.
FOR…..v. 9-10 Fullness of God &
Filled IN HIM
The word FOR is an important word in verse 9—it is like because—and
what follows it is the reason why we should be walking and growing in
Christ. Here Paul appears the reality
of our changed identity. We are captivated by lies and experience life
differently WHEN we lose the conviction of the basic truths of God’s Word—about
who we are in Christ.
The sermon begins with making Jesus big. We don’t have to spend our time denouncing
the evil of license or stupidity of legalism—hating those things can
become just as powerfully captivating.
Instead, we need to lift up Jesus as captivity, as the “the whole
fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him,
who is the head of
all rule and authority.” Chris is the most excellent of
all things. FULLNESS IN LIFE does
not reside outside of what resides right now in your heart. All
that there is to see in Jesus, is all that there is that is worth seeing. We possess right now all that can be ours
this side of heaven. We have been FILLED
up with Christ’s life, Christ’s joy, Christ’s endurance, Christ’s courage,
Christ’s patience, and especially Christ’s humility SO THAT we right now any
believer, regardless of our history or situation, possess the capacity to live
with Jesus as ruler.
v.11 Circumcised IN HIM
The fullness of Christ is who HE IS and WHAT HE did. It’s the gospel, namely, the life, death,
burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Paul
is hammering their identity shift—who they are IN HIM. 1 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made
without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, YOU HAVE BEEN
CIRCUMCISED. Circumcision was the
identifying physical characteristic of a Jew. Every male was circumcised on the
8th following their birth. Circumcision was the visible sign of being
God’s people, separated out from all people, an inheritor of the covenant
promises. Anyone converting to Judaism
would have to do this. It was the
“cutting off” of a former way of life a symbolic removal of the skin at the end
of a penis—never to be reattached—the true you has been revealed and
released to live. For the believer, this is a spiritual circumcision—one of the
heart—accomplished not by a man with a steady hand but Christ.
v. 12 Buried & Raised WITH
HIM in BAPTISM
buried with him in baptism,. in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead When did this circumcision
happen for the Colossians? How does Paul
know that these people he has never met are Christians? Because from Epaphras reports they have been
baptized as is the practice of all who believe.
is the gateway to the Christian life. It
demonstrates that being a Christian means dying with Christ and coming alive
into a new family with a new life.
what identified you visibly as a child of God.
Baptism was the funeral for your old self for the world to see. Romans 6.3-4 teaches us about the deeper
significance of baptism. 3 Do you not know that all of
us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just
as Christ was raised from the
dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Baptism was proclamation of your
resurrected life in Christ. It was the
public burial of your old self. It is,
it was, a ceremony like no other, giving us a new identity and new name—the
name of Jesus. Through this action we
declare that we are not fundamentally of Paul, Apollos, Peter, Luther, Calvin,
Wesley, of Republicans, of Democrats, or , of the 21st Century, or
even of or we are of Jesus, we are Christians,
bearing the name of and governed by the Lordship of Jesus. Your baptism meant something—it was your
spiritual puberty—first step toward adulthood. It is a confession of belief
that you are IN HIM.
Baptism is the turning point; it is the day a line is drawn; it is
the decisive moment that faith moves beyond words. It is when what is already
alive internally comes to life externally—conviction that my life is found IN
CHRIST. Galatians 2.20 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live,
but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the
Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. My
slavery to the flesh has been cut off. I am not going to go play with dead
skin. The sin I have committed AND the
sins committed against me have been buried.
I am not going to go and dig it up and let my past govern me. My life is new. I am not going to play dead as if I am still
sitting in the tomb with my sin.
v. 13 Made Alive WITH HIM
All the obstacles that kept you away from Christ, my dead mind, my dead
heart, my dead body, my dead passions, my dead desires, have been dealt with on the cross. That is who I WAS no longer WHO I AM. 13 And you, who were dead in your
trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our
trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal
demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. Maturity in Christ is about living in the truth of a resurrected
life. In Christ, you are FORGIVEN. In Christ, YOU ARE FREE. There is no condemnation in Christ, no guilt
in Christ, no fear in Christ. Living a
Christ-centered life is energizing because, not only does his life give us a
direction to walk, his resurrected life gives us the power to do it. And as we
walk, if we ever trip and fall in the ditch, he picks us back up and says try
again. And even if we fall a thousand
times, he will keep lifting you up out of the ditch, dusting you off, and help
you get going again. How many times do people say, “I have never felt so alive!”
CONCLUSION - v. 15 Victory IN
HIM For those who
put their faith in Christ, there is no power that can stop us because Jesus disarmed the rulers and
authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. In Him, we are victorious. Like
Joshua, all he had to do was put a toe in the Jordan, take a step onto the
Battlefied, start marching around Jericho—START
It is rare that we ever “feel” victorious before
we start, and it is quite common that we feel defeated or as if the battle is
impossible. The truth is that Jesus isn’t just
“winning”…He has already won. He has paraded his enemies, Rome, Religion,
Satan, Sin, like a conquering general exposing his prisoners to the shame of
the public—showing everyone there is nothing to fear. YOU HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR. Fear leads us to away from Christ;
Jesus just wants you to trust him and live as if you have nothing to lose.
It’s not about sitting like a child you’re your hands
covering your eyes saying Jesus please take it away. It’s eyes wide open, ready to fight, acting
like a man. 1Corinthians 16.13. 13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. And being a “man” is not finding strength in
yourself, on the contrary, it is losing
your “self” and finding strength IN HIM by walking IN HIM, dying in HIM, living
in HIM, and fighting IN HIM. Communion
is a confession of our weakness and that of the world, and a declaration of the
strength of Christ and hope in him.
Preach the gospel to yourself this morning. We are captivated by the world WHEN we forget
who we are in Christ. Stop listening to the lies of your
past, the voices of culture, the internal voices lie to us about who we are and
how we ought to think, feel, and behave.
And start preaching truth to
yourself. And being as Jesus IS THE TRUTH, we need to start preaching Jesus.
BENEDICTION2Corinthians 3.16-18 16
But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the
Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is