Welcome to The Daily Platform. Our program features sermons from Chapel Services at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Every day, students are blessed by the preaching and teaching of the Bible from the University Chapel Platform. Today on The Daily Platform, we're continuing a study series entitled, Seeking Things Above, which is a study of the book of Colossians. This study explores and applies the timeless truth that Christ is our sufficiency in all relationships, responsibilities, and circumstances.
If you would like to follow along in the study booklet, you can order a printed copy from the Bob Jones Store website, shop.bju.edu. Let's listen to today's message from chapter 3, verse 11. Paul lists a diversity of people groups, Greek, Jew, Barbarian, Scythian, Slave, and Free. But as we'll learn in today's message, Christ is all in all. Turn with me to Colossians chapter 3.
Last week, we started out on our introduction of our theme of seeking things above. And this morning, my message is actually not going to go directly into the beginning of the passage, which is Colossians 3 one. But I'd like to do one more message that sort of sets up once again the big picture of what Paul is talking about, because we're starting in the third chapter and basically skipping the first two, but we don't want to skip the main points or the main emphasis. And so I'd like to read the text this morning that we will focus on, and that's Colossians chapter 3 in verse 11, where the Apostle Paul says these words, Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all and in all. Now, last week we saw that the purpose of Paul's letter to the Colossians was to address a certain kind of false teaching that had worked its way into the Colossi church.
And in particular, it was affecting or impacting the life of the Christian. So it's a teaching that didn't have to do with specifically how to be saved, but more after your salvation. And essentially, these instructors declared that the gospel that had been preached by Epaphras, and I'll remind you, Epaphras was the man who came to visit Paul in prison, that the gospel that he was preaching was actually good enough or sufficient enough to save them, but it was not sufficient enough to complete them. And Epaphras essentially had given them a message that was not sufficient, and they needed something more. They needed more advanced teaching.
And essentially, what the teachers claim to be able to provide for the Colossians was two things. Number one, a fuller, or if I could say, a deeper knowledge of God. And secondly, a greater freedom over sin. And I think we all realize that as a Christian, we want to know the Lord in a greater way, and we want to have more power in our life to overcome the struggles of our life, the sins of our heart. And so therefore, it's a very appealing message.
The problem was the focus of the teaching, and that is it emphasized what we simply call add-ons. In other words, a higher plane, a deeper life, but the focal point is away from Jesus. And I urged you to do this. I'll urge you again to take time to read through the book of Colossians. It's only 95 verses.
You can easily read it in a week if you read it once a week. And what you find, especially in chapter two, is Paul addresses some of these issues, things like mystical experiences, or secretive knowledge, or philosophical knowledge beyond Christ, or legalistic rules, or severe bodily discipline. And the message or the problem with these teachers is that they were implying that the gospel that had been preached was insufficient, and it was incomplete, and they did not make much of Jesus. If Jesus is not the center, the sum, the substance, the source, the start, the finish of our message, then what is our message really all about?
Because Paul says Christ is all, and He is in all. So Paul begins the letter by confirming the ministry of Epaphras. He endorses him as a legit preacher of the gospel, and he accurately preached the right message.
He further confirms Epaphras's credibility by announcing that the message that he was preaching was a message that God had blessed throughout the world. And what we call that message historically is Orthodox Christianity. And by simply defined Orthodox, we're talking about that which conforms to the truth of the gospel.
We don't have a corner on the market to the truth. The truth is revealed in God's word. And so Paul establishes the ministry of Epaphras, and then he focuses our attention on the supremacy and the sufficiency that is in Jesus Christ. And the key word that unlocks the theme of Colossians is the word all. In the Greek, three letters, P-A-S, P-A-S. And Paul uses this adjective to emphasize Jesus Christ, who is the one who is everything to everyone.
And that's summarized here in verse 11 of Colossians 3, where there's neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision or uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all and in all. So this morning what I'd like to do is say two basic things, and that is I want to explain what does it mean when it says Christ is all, and what does it mean when it says Christ is in all. So let's start with the phrase where Paul says Christ is all, and essentially what he is saying is that Jesus Christ is the source of everything.
That's the truth. He is reality because when you say Jesus, you have said it all. And so Paul in Colossians 1 in verse 15 reveals Christ, first of all, as the source of the created world. Look at verse 15 of Colossians 1, who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature, for by him were all things created.
And I know in the book of Genesis, in the first verse of chapter one, that Moses announces that all creation, everything that exists, what we know as reality came into being through the power of God in the beginning, God created. And when you read the Old Testament, it reveals the name of the creator. His personal name is we would translate it in English as Yahweh or Jehovah. And essentially the meaning of that name is the phrase I am. And what that means is he is. He's the reality. He's the truth. He's the one who is the self-existing God. He always has been.
He always will be. He lived in eternity past. He lives in eternity future.
Time means nothing to God because he's eternal. And God is a self-sufficient being. He doesn't depend on anybody else for his existence, but we depend on him for everything.
He is our reality. And everything in creation finds its source in its sustenance in the God who made everything. So what is Paul telling us in Colossians one? He is saying that this self-sufficient one took on human flesh and became a person. His name is Jesus Christ. And the moment Paul does this, he is declaring that Jesus of the New Testament is Jehovah of the Old Testament. And we know that Jesus said this about himself because in John 8 and verse 58, he said, he said, verily, verily, I said to you before Abraham was, I am. That is, he was taking the place or declaring himself as the one revealed in the Old Testament, the creator.
And so what is the arc? What is the incarnation? It means that God has come to reveal himself to the world in the person of Jesus. There is no clearer picture of God than Jesus. He is the image of the invisible God. And so Paul announces here in Colossians that Jesus, who is God, is the creator for by him all things were created. He's the one who made everything, everything that's real, everything that exists, physical, spiritual, visible, invisible, human or angelic. Everything finds its source in Jesus. And because he's the source of everything, he's the one who sustains everything. Look at verse 17, and he is before all things and by him all things consist. Hebrews says it this way, upholding all things by the word of his power.
God spoke and creation came into existence and is not only created by him as the source, but it is sustained by him. Jesus is the one who keeps all things together. Everything would fly apart or everything would fall apart without him. And you know, that's true of our lives. You know, we all fall apart without Jesus. Our life is a mess. You ever heard anybody say I'm a mess? Of course you are a mess. We're all messed up. But Jesus and through the power of his spirit and through the power of his word is what brings our life together.
You want to get your life together? Then it comes through Christ. Nothing in creation will ever find its meaning in life apart from being connected to Jesus.
Verse 16, he says all things were created by him and for him. Everything finds its purpose in Christ. If you want to find purpose in life, don't look for something outside of you. Look for Jesus who lives within you.
Get to know him and he will direct your path. If you don't live for Jesus, you'll really never understand why you're alive. So what is he saying? Christ is a source of all creation. But he also says in verse 18 that Christ is the source of the new creation. And that's what he means by the church.
Look at verse 18. And he is the head of the body, the church. Jesus came into the world to start a new race.
The first race, Adam's race, fell in sin. Jesus Christ came to start another race. And that is, it is alive or resurrected in him.
The church came into existence through Jesus by his death on the cross, his resurrection from the grave, and his ascension into heaven. And through his blood and through the power of the Holy Spirit, spiritually dead sinners are made alive. And what does he do with us who he resurrects? He places us. He immerses us. He baptizes us into his body, an organism that is called the church. You see, you just don't go to church. You are the church. And Jesus is said in verse 18 that he is the, and Paul says he is the head of the body.
Obviously, if you separate the head from the body, it's called decapitation. And it means you're dead. Our life is dead without Christ. Jesus said it in another way in John 15. He said, I am the vine that provides life to the branches. Jesus sustains the church by his power. Jesus supplies the church with his strength. Jesus guides the church with his wisdom. He is the source of life for the church.
For in him, we live and move and we have our being. And let me say this, that when Jesus is diminished in the church, it will begin to shrivel up and die. My oldest daughter, a number of years ago, was living with her grandmother for a summer and she was working in a sales job. And she had been there about nine weeks. And I called her one day and she was attending church. And I said, sweetheart, I said, how's church?
And it was dead quiet. And when I hear it's dead quiet, it's like it's like a lot is being said. She said, Dad, I just really struggling with the sermons.
It's like it's all rhetoric. And I said, OK, I want to encourage you to go to this church on this Sunday morning. And I went in and I want you to go and just listen to the sermon.
And she went. And after the service, I called her up, I said, how was church? And she said, Dad, I sat through the service and I cried the whole time because the preacher preached on Jesus out of Colossians Chapter one. Everybody in this room who is born again, you have the spirit of God living inside your body. What is the work of the spirit but to magnify Jesus in our life? Jesus is the source of everything.
So this is what Paul means. Christ is all. My prayer for us as a student body, as a university, is that Christ will be will be big in our life. He will be magnified.
He will be glorified. And then notice, secondly, he says not only is Christ all, but it says he is in all. He's not only the source of everything, but he is to become the focus of everyone. The idea that Christ is in all in this passage of scripture is speaking of the unity of the church, of the solidarity of believers, because all believers from all places at faith are connected to Jesus.
They are united to him. And let me just say this is by way of an announcement. During our Bible conference this year, we have our special speakers. Our theme is on sanctification, that spiritual growth. But we're also going to do something this year that is, I think, pretty unique, and that is about 45 minutes before the morning in the evening services at 915 and 615.
And there'll be there'll be six opportunities. I'm going to show a video series of a man who's probably the foremost teacher and preacher on the theme of our union with Christ over anybody in the whole world. His name is Dr. Sinclair Ferguson, and I've worked with we've actually contacted Ligonier Ministries. They're allowing us to show the videos for basically almost nothing.
They've been very gracious to us. And next Monday in chapel, I'm going to show one of those videos. His sermons are about 22 minutes. It's basically like it's like a shortened chapel service. And I just if you're hungry for that kind of teaching of your union with Christ, I think you will be super blessed to attend these.
It'll be a video series. And so next Monday we'll show that. And the reason I emphasize that is because this is what Colossians 3 is really all about. The church is a body into which all believers from every background are joined or united together in Christ. Christ is all racially, culturally, geographically and economically. And believers, though they are united, are actually very diverse because they come from all kinds of different backgrounds. But what Paul is telling us in Colossians 3 is that we though we are unified and though there is a diversity, there are some commonalities. In other words, because we're united, we have certain things in common with believers all over the world.
What are those things in common? Number one, we actually have a commonality in doctrine. All believers, regardless of their background, embrace the same truths of the gospel. By the way, that's why we say the creed every day. Those are the commonalities of the Christian faith. Paul said in Colossians 1 5, he said, it is the word of the truth, the gospel.
These truths are not mysteries hidden from people. Paul declares them. Jesus is divine. His death was sacrificial as an atonement for our sins.
He resurrected from the dead. Paul tells the Colossians that this is the same message that is preached by others all over the world. It's been my privilege to preach in, I don't know, 25, 30 foreign countries.
And you know what? Everywhere I go, I preach the exact same message, whether it's in a tribe in Africa or a village in India or a city in Russia or whether it's an island in the Caribbean or whether it's a town in South America. And I've preached in all of those places.
I don't preach something new. I preach the same message, the gospel, because there is a commonality in what we believe. Secondly, there's a commonality in what we experience. Everybody is saved the same way. It's not that you get into heaven one way and somebody else gets into heaven another way. Paul says we're saved the same way. It is by faith. Verse four of chapter one, we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus.
Chapter two, verse six. As you have therefore received Christ Jesus, the Lord, all believers are saved by grace through faith in Jesus. And Paul says that when we are saved the same way, we have the same experience.
What do we all experience? We're forgiven. We're redeemed. We are reconciled and we become new creations. And that all happens the moment that you're saved. But also the work of Christ not only saves us at that very moment, but it is through his life that we find victory over sin. Jesus's death on the cross is the power to overcome our own flesh because we die with him. Christ's resurrection is the power to live the new spiritual life because his life is literally in us. He has canceled the debt of our sin and therefore we're freed from the laws demands. We don't have to live in perpetual guilt because of our failure. We live in perpetual victory because of what Jesus did for us. Christ has defeated the demonic powers and therefore we are freed from those evil spirits. All believers share in these victorious experiences through Christ. And then the final commonality we have is not only in doctrine experience, but actually we have a commonality in conduct. As I've traveled around the world, you know, I've learned about Christians.
They essentially live the same basic way. I'm not talking about cultural traditions or practices. I'm talking about a behavior that is reflective of the nature of Jesus Christ. We talk about Christian morality as a connection to spirituality because you can't separate the two. The old life of sin is put off. The new life of righteousness is put on. That's what Colossians 3 is all about. It's talking about putting to death sin.
It's talking about putting on Christ. So what do we find about believers? They avoid immorality all over the world. They are kind to one another. They don't live in greed or malice or envy or jealousy, but they are holy. They are humble. They are thankful. They are grateful people.
They are joyful people. And so you find there's a consistency in conduct, in doctrine and in experience. And the point that Paul is making in Colossians is that Jesus is to be everything to everyone. Christ is all in all.
He is totally sufficient. The word of Christ is sufficient for our preaching. The presence of Christ is sufficient for our living. The power of Christ is sufficient to overcome sin. The fellowship we have in Christ is sufficient for our unity. The peace of Christ is sufficient to rule the church. And the relationship we have with Christ is sufficient to build the family of God.
So what should our response be? And that's what Paul concludes with in Colossians 1. He says that in all things, he might have the preeminence.
What does that mean? It just simply means he's in first place. So I ask you in conclusion, is Jesus in first place of your life? I got saved at the age of 19 years old, and I can honestly say for about a year and a half, God was constantly working on me to surrender every part of my life.
My future, my family, my hopes, my dreams, my education, my finances, my hopes for marriage, what I was going to do with my life. And I finally came after about a year to a year and a half after I got saved, where I came to the place where I believe that Jesus Christ had preeminence over my whole life. I want to ask you, is Jesus Christ preeminent over your whole life? Why? Because Christ is all.
It's the reality. Bow the knee and make that a reality in your life. Father, thank you for your word. And we thank you that Jesus is everything to everyone. And may you grant us the grace to live under your preeminence in Jesus name.
Amen. You've been listening to a sermon from the study series in the Book of Colossians by Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. For more information on Dr. Pettit's series, visit the Bob Jones University store website shop.bju.edu, where you can get a copy of Steve's study booklet entitled Seeking Things Above.
That's s-h-o-p dot b-j-u dot e-d-u. I'm Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. Thank you for listening to The Daily Platform. Please visit our beautiful campus in Greenville, South Carolina, to see how God is working in the lives of our students both spiritually and academically.
For more information about Bob Jones University's more than 100 accredited academic programs, visit bju.edu or call 800-252-6363. I'd like to thank you for listening to The Daily Platform. I hope that you've enjoyed it. I hope it's been a blessing and an encouragement to you.
We're living in very unusual times. And this is just such a crucial time for all of us as believers to walk closely with the Lord. So I hope you'll take the opportunity to follow us up on these other things that we have at bju.edu and find out what it is that God is doing in through the ministry of Bob Jones University with our 2,500 students who are coming here to get a biblical worldview and see life from God's lenses and then go out with an accredited first-class education and go out into the world and make an impact for Jesus Christ in the workplace as they go out and serve in local churches not only here in the United States, but our students are globally in-demand Christ-centered servants who are trying to serve the Lord throughout the world for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So thank you again for listening. I encourage your friends to listen and to be nourished and strengthened through God's Word. God bless you. Thanks for listening and join us again tomorrow as we continue the study in Colossians on The Daily Platform.
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