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Complete in Christ - Bible Survey Part 11

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
September 9, 2021 7:00 am

Complete in Christ - Bible Survey Part 11

So What? / Lon Solomon

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September 9, 2021 7:00 am

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Now, what about the book of Colossians? Well, we first need to talk a little bit about the city of Colossae.

The city of Colossae was located in central Turkey. It was part of a semi-circle of churches around the church of Ephesus. And these churches, many of them, were mentioned in Revelation chapter 2 and 3. They're often called the seven churches of the Revelation.

And yet, Laodicea was mentioned, which is right near Colossae, but Colossae wasn't. Now, all of these churches, but particularly the church at Colossae, was not started by the apostle Paul. It existed when Paul wrote to them in 62 AD from Rome in jail, but he did not start this church.

It was actually started by a gentleman named Epaphras. Look what Paul says. Paul says, for I want you to know, Colossians 2, 1, that I greatly strive in prayer for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not personally seen my face. Point is, the people at Colossae had never met Paul. They had never personally seen his face.

He'd never been there. In Colossians 1, 6, all over the world, Paul says, the gospel is bearing fruit just as it has been doing among you from the day you first heard it from, here's our friend, Epaphras, our dear brother. Now, if you'll remember, we said that when Paul was in Ephesus, he stayed there almost three years, discipling the believers there, preaching the gospel there, and that he used the honeybee strategy when he was there. And just to refresh your memory, the honeybee strategy says that Paul stayed in one place, and as people passed through the town of Ephesus, traders, sailors, merchants, he sought to bring them to Christ and to pollinate them, if you will, with the gospel so that when they went back to their hometowns, they took the gospel with them. And then they pollinated their hometowns with the gospel.

And this is exactly what happened with Epaphras. He came to meet Paul in Ephesus, and I bumped into him. Paul led him to Christ, and then like a honeybee, he took the gospel back to Colossae, back to Laodicea, and shared it with people, and began churches in both of those cities. Friends, this is why here in Washington we are so passionate about reaching and impacting and really saturating this city with the gospel, because this city is full of honeybees, foreign students, people at the World Bank, people working at the embassies, people who are doing internships, who are going to go back home at some point, and we want to pollinate them with the gospel while they're here. We want to lead them to Christ so that when they go back home, they will take the gospel with them to their home cities, just like Epaphras did to the city of Colossae and Laodicea.

Now, let's move on and talk a little bit about the letter itself. The letter to the Colossians, along with three other letters, are known as the prison epistles of the apostle Paul. And let's name them in order. They are Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. And why are they called the prison epistles? Because Paul wrote them from prison in 62 AD while he was in prison in Rome awaiting trial before Nero. We also said, if you remember, that Paul's letters to the churches, and of course Colossians is one of them, tend to break down into two very neatly defined sections.

Section number one deals with theological issues, and section number two deals with Christian living everyday practical issues. And nowhere is that more true than in the book of Colossians, where that dividing line comes right at the end of chapter two and the beginning of chapter three. So let's look at the first two chapters of the book of Colossians and talk about what was the theological issue that the apostle Paul was writing this church about. Well, in Colossians 4-12, we learn that Epaphras had come to Rome to visit Paul in jail, and he reported to Paul about false teaching that had crept into the churches at Colossae and at Laodicea. This false teaching concerned the person of Christ, specifically that people there were teaching that Jesus was a created being and not God himself in the flesh.

Now, why is this a problem? Well, it's a problem because if Jesus is not the sinless, incarnate, second person of the Godhead in the flesh, then his death on the cross is worthless to purchase your redemption and my redemption. It's worthless to purchase your forgiveness and your salvation and my forgiveness and my salvation, and so Paul writes the Colossians to address this very serious theological error. And in doing so, Paul gives us in Colossians chapter one and two the single most comprehensive passage in all the Bible on the person of Jesus Christ. So we want to look and see what Paul says in these two chapters about the person of Christ, five very important things he tells us about Christ. Here we go.

Ready? Number one, Paul tells us that Jesus, first of all and most importantly, is God himself wrapped in human flesh. Colossians 1 15 says, He, Jesus, is the visible image of the invisible God. Colossians 1 19, God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, Jesus Christ. And Colossians 2 9, for in Christ all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form.

Now can you say it any simpler than that? All the fullness of deity dwells in Jesus in bodily form. This is why Hebrews chapter one says, He, Jesus, is the radiance of God's glory and the, what's the next word? The exact representation of God's hupostasis.

You go, hupo what? No, hupostasis in Greek means essence. It means nature. It means someone's intrinsic being.

This verse is telling us that Jesus is the exact representation of the nature, the essence, and the being that is Almighty God himself. Now a lot of us have heard of the Council of Nicaea. I'll show you a map. It was a little city on the northern shores of Turkey right on the Black Sea.

And in 325 AD, Emperor Constantine, who had become a Christian a couple decades before, called a church council to meet here of all the bishops across the Christian world so that they could once and for all put on paper and codify the church's position on the deity of Christ. Now you heard Dan Brown in his book. What's in his book?

That's right. The Da Vinci Code. You've read his book.

I just want to see if you all are there. Come on. You've read his book, right? The Da Vinci Code. Yeah.

Okay. In his book, The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown tells us that at the Council of Nicaea, the church invented, made up the deity of Christ. They thought it up for the very first time. But that is so totally untrue. Right here in the book of Colossians, 250 years before the Council of Nicaea, what is Paul writing about? He's writing about the deity of Christ.

Do you understand? The deity of Christ was not made up at the Council of Nicaea like Dan Brown says. The deity of Christ was simply codified there in writing, but the church has always believed in the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is why Jesus Himself said, John 14, 9, He who has seen Me has seen God the Father. Jesus said that. And John 10, 30, I and the Father are one. From the days Jesus walked on the earth, the deity of Christ is what the church has always believed, as Paul says right here in Colossians. And out of that council came the Nicaean Creed, and here's part of what it says. It says, We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God of gods, light of light, very God of very God, being of one substance with the Father. This word, one substance, is the Greek word homoousios, homo meaning the same, and oousios meaning essence. And what the Nicaean Creed intended to affirm is that God the Son and God the Father are the exact same substance, essence, nature, and intrinsic being as one another. Got it?

All right. Number two, in Colossians 1 and 2, Paul says that Jesus is also the creator of the universe. Colossians 1 16, For by Him, Jesus, all things were created, both in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, that pretty well covers it, all things were created by Him and for Him. This goes along with John chapter 1 verse 3 where the Bible says that by Him, Jesus, all things were made, and without Him, nothing was made that has been made. And here we have another powerful affirmation of the deity of Christ because Genesis chapter 1 verse 1 says, In the beginning, God made the heaven and the earth, and Colossians 2 and 1 16 says, For by Jesus, all things were created. So if God created the earth and Jesus created the earth, then who could Jesus possibly be but God? Number three, in Colossians 1 and 2, Paul says third, Jesus is the owner of the universe. Colossians 1 16, All things were created by Him and for Him, which goes along with Hebrews 1 verse 2 that says, In these last days, God has spoken to us by His Son whom He appointed heir, the owner of all things. Now, right now, our world is in open rebellion against Jesus' ownership of the universe.

But friends, don't worry about that. That is a temporary situation because one of these days soon, the Lord Jesus is coming back, and when He comes back, He's going to lay claim to the universe that He owns. And in that day, there's not going to be one single person alive who argues with Him, which is why Philippians 2 verse 10 says, On that day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Case closed.

Yeah? Amen. Number four, the fourth thing that Paul says in Colossians about the person of Christ is that Jesus is not just the creator of the world, but He's also the upholder of the universe that He created. Colossians 1 17, In Him all things hold together, Paul says. Hebrews 1 3, He, Jesus, upholds the universe by the word of His power.

Who holds all the protons and all the neutrons and all the electrons and all the mesons and all the gluons and all the quarks together in this world? The Bible says Jesus does, and He does it, I love this, by the word of His power, meaning that Jesus doesn't even have to lift a pinky to hold the world together. All He has to do is speak the word, and it happens. Praise the Lord. Number five and finally, the Bible says that Jesus, last of all, is the redeemer of mankind. Colossians 1 14, In whom, that is in Jesus, we have, here's our word, redemption, the forgiveness of sins. But folks, it is so important that we understand the means that Jesus used to accomplish this redemption.

Watch. Colossians 1 20, He, Jesus, made peace between us and God by the, what? The blood of His cross. Ephesians 1 7, In Him we have redemption, there's our word, the forgiveness of our sins through His, what? His blood.

His blood, that's right. Look, it wasn't Jesus' teachings, it wasn't Jesus' good example. It wasn't His moral principles, it wasn't His philosophies, it wasn't His miracles, and it wasn't His healings that redeemed us back to God. Peter says, You were not redeemed with perishable things like silver and gold from your empty way of life, but by the precious blood of Christ. But remember, and this is really important, remember, Jesus' blood doesn't redeem everybody. It only redeems those people who choose to place their full faith and trust in His blood to redeem them. And if you're here today and you've never trusted Christ as your real and personal Savior, may I say to you that Jesus' blood is capable of redeeming your life. Jesus' blood is capable of forgiving your sin, but it is not activated in a person's life until we decide that we're going to stop trusting everything else we've ever trusted to give us forgiveness of sin and redemption. Our good works, our religious activity, keeping the Ten Commandments, whatever, and we're going to transfer that trust over to the blood of Jesus shed for us on the cross plus nothing. That's when we activate the blood of Christ and the redemption of Christ in our life.

That's when we turn it from potential to kinetic in our life. And if you've never done that, folks, don't think that because Jesus shed His blood that that's automatically going to redeem you. It's not until you make the choice to trust that shed blood of Christ as the one and only payment for your sin ever in eternity, that's when it happens.

And I hope you'll make that choice. Now, let's summarize. In the book of Colossians, the Apostle Paul gives us the most concise and powerful summary of the person of Christ anywhere in the Bible, and here's what he tells us. Number one, that Jesus is God Himself wrapped in human flesh. Number two, that Jesus is the Creator of the universe. Number three, that Jesus is the owner of the universe. Number four, that Jesus is the upholder of the universe. And number five, that Jesus is the redeemer of those members of mankind who will put their total trust in His shed blood to be the basis for their redemption.

Now, that's as far as we're going to go in Colossians 1 and 2 because we have our most important question to answer. So, all you guys at Loudon and everybody at Prince William, all our friends in the Edge community, everybody at Bethesda, all our friends around the world on the Internet campus, are you guys ready? Are we ready here at Tysons? Yeah? Yeah? All right, come on now. Here we go. Nice and loud.

One, two, three. Go Loud. Yeah.

You said, Lon, you know, hupa stasa wasas or whatever that was back there, that word, and homo usi wusi or whatever that stuff. I mean, that's all great. I appreciate that. But what difference does any of this make to my life?

Well, let's talk about it. There's another amazing verse in Colossians chapters 1 and 2 that I want you to see. And here it is, Colossians 2 10.

It says, as a follower of Christ, in Him, in Jesus, you have been made. Say the next word. You have been made complete. And then Paul goes on to explain what he means. Friends, this is awesome.

This is exciting. Listen to what Paul says. All right? We're complete in Christ as followers of His.

Why? Well, number one, we're complete because Colossians 2 11, Jesus circumcised us with a circumcision not made with hands. Circumcision was God's sign that a person had joined the family of God. And what Paul is saying is that in Christ, friends, you are in the family of God. You are as in as in can be.

Now, let's go on. We're also complete in Christ because Colossians 1 20 says that Jesus reconciled us to God. We're complete in Christ because Colossians 1 20 says that Jesus made peace between us and God through the blood of His cross. We're complete in Christ because Colossians 2 13 says when we were dead in our sins, Christ made us spiritually alive. We're complete in Christ because Colossians 2 13, He forgave us all our sins. And Colossians 2 14, He canceled the debt that we owed a holy God by nailing it to the cross. We're complete in Jesus Christ, Colossians 2 12, because He raised us up to eternal life. And because Colossians 1 27, He put himself inside of us the hope of glory in the person of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4 30 adds that by the indwelling Holy Spirit, we are sealed for the day of redemption. This word sealed is a Greek word that means to brand an animal. And why would you brand an animal?

You'd brand an animal so that everybody who ever saw that animal for the rest of time knew that animal belonged to you. And what the Bible says is when Christ put the Holy Spirit inside of you and me, He branded us spiritually for all of time in eternity so that every angel, every seraphim, every cherubim, every demon, every devil and Satan himself for the rest of eternity looks at us and knows we belong to Christ and nobody else. Hey, do you understand? Do you understand why the Bible says that in Him we as His followers have been made complete? Hey, we're in God's family. We are reconciled with God. We have peace between us and God. We are spiritually alive to God. Our sins are forgiven. The debt between us and God has been canceled. We've been given eternal life. Christ Himself lives inside of us and we have been branded as God's property for the rest of eternity when it comes to our redemption in Christ, when it comes to our salvation in Christ. There are no missing pieces.

There are no unanswered questions. There is nothing you and I need to do to supplement our salvation. Colossians 2 10, we are complete in Christ. Hallelujah. Huh?

How great is that? You know, a few years ago I was in New York with Jews for Jesus. I was handing out tracts down in one of the subway stations. I had my big Jews for Jesus t-shirt on and this ultra-orthodox Jewish man came over to me and he said, are you Jewish? And I said, yes, I am. He said, all right. He said, if you give me 10 minutes, he said, I can talk you out of believing in Jesus. I said, okay, I tell you what, I'll make you a deal. I said, here's the deal. I will give you 10 minutes and I won't open my mouth. You can have 10 straight minutes, but when you get done, I get 10 minutes with you.

How's that? Is that the deal? He said, that's the deal. I said, all right, go. And man, he went. He told me how I'd betrayed my people and about the Holocaust and about what a traitor I was and how could I let my grandparents down. And he just went on and on and on and on and on with this.

And so, you know, I'm just watching and watching. And when he hit 10, I said, okay, that's it, 10 minutes up. I said, now it's my turn. I said, and sir, I just have one question for you.

My question is, if you were to die tonight, are you 100% certain that you would go right to heaven to be with God, that your sins would be forgiven forever, that you would have eternal life for the rest of time and eternity, that there would be peace between you and a holy God, that you'd be alive spiritually to Him, and that He would claim you as His for the rest of eternity? And he said, no. He said, I'm not certain of that. He said, all right, well, I got just one more question for you. He said, how in Judaism would you get certain of that? And he said, I don't know.

I guess I'd be a good Jew, go to synagogue, keep the feasts, go to Yom Kippur, keep kosher. And he's just muddling all over everywhere. And I said to him, sir, may I just say, your problem is that you have a Swiss cheese plan of salvation. It's got holes all in it, and you're supposed to plug up all these holes, and you don't even know what to plug them with, much less how to do it. I said, sir, there are missing pieces to your plan of salvation. Can't you see that? The plan of salvation you're following is incomplete.

Can't you see that? And friends, this is not just true of Judaism. Every ism and every ology on the face of this earth is a Swiss cheese plan of salvation, where you got to do something. You got to supply something.

You've got to plug it up somehow to make it work. Biblical Christianity offers us, and that's what I told this man. I said, sir, the plan of salvation I got through Jesus the Messiah, I don't have any holes in it. It's a solid block of cheese, sir, and everything's done for me.

I don't have to add a thing. I said, I think I can help you. Well, he walked away, sadly, but I could help you.

I could have helped you. And isn't it wonderful to know, folks, that we have a plan of salvation that you don't have to supply anything? You don't have to do a thing. It's complete, and this is why Hebrews 8 verse 6 says Jesus is the mediator, look at this, of a better covenant that has been founded on better promises than any other plan of salvation in the universe. We are complete in him, and there is nothing we do that will ever make us more complete in him. So as Christians, we don't have to try to do anything that will make us more complete in Christ. All we have to try to do is fall more and more in love with Jesus every day for doing this for us. Amen? Amen?

So let me close with a question. And my question is, how about this issue of being passionately in love with Jesus? Remember, the Christian life is not about religious activity.

Please don't think that. It's about being passionately in love with Jesus. And it's about everything we do flowing out of that passionate love for Jesus. Why do I work hard at my job? Well, because I do it to please Jesus. Because he said, do all things heartily as unto the Lord. Why do I obey my boss? I do it to please Jesus.

Because he said, respect the authorities that are over you. And why do I work hard to share the gospel with people? Because I do it to please Jesus who said, you will be my witnesses.

Go in the world and preach the gospel. And why am I faithful to my family and my children? Because that's what Jesus told me to do and I'm trying to please him. Folks, everything in our life should flow out of one simple motivation. And that is, as a follower of Christ, I am passionately in love with Jesus. And everything I do is to please him.

This is what it's all about. And so we need to ask ourselves a question and that is, are we passionate in love with Jesus? I had to ask myself this question this week as I was working on this message. You know, have I lost my first love as Revelation 2, 4 says? You know, was I hot when I first came to Christ and passionate in my love for the Lord and have I cooled off? You know, am I like an Easter egg? You know, I'm all painted with great stuff on the outside and hollow on the inside in my love for Christ. And you know, I had to honestly get on my knees and repent and say, Lord, I'm not as hot as I used to be in my love for you. Forgive me.

I've got to get back to that. Some of you people need to ask the same question if you're really a follower of Christ. And if the answer is we've faded, Jesus has a simple solution.

Revelation chapter 2, verse 5, he said, repent and get back to the things that you did at first. So I'm here to call you, not to religious activity. I mean, it's great that we serve the Lord.

That's wonderful. I want you to serve the Lord. I like serving the Lord. But we've got to do it for the right reason, not because we're trying to supply something that's missing to our salvation.

There's nothing missing. Not that we're trying to earn our way into heaven. That's done. We do it because we love Jesus. And I hope, I hope that that'll be why we as this church do what we do.

So let's pray together. With our heads bowed and our eyes closed, I'd like to give you just a moment to talk to the Lord and to just ask him that one question. Lord, am I passionately in love with you like I used to be, like I ought to be? Or have I gotten so busy and so preoccupied, maybe even with good things like serving you? And if you need to repent, this is a good moment to do it. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.

Prone to leave the God I love. Lord, here's my heart. Please take and seal it.

Seal it for thy courts above. What a great prayer that every one of us who knows you, Lord, needs to pray every day because we have wandering hearts. And before we're so quick to condemn the Israelites for wandering from you so easily and quickly, help us remember we're just like they are. So, Lord, may the Spirit of God help us. May the Spirit of God guard our hearts and help us, Lord Jesus, in light of all that you've done for us to have only one response that's the basis for everything we do in life.

And that is we passionately love you. For those of us who need to repent, help us, Lord. And may this church be empowered by one single factor, and that is the people here love Jesus. Change our hearts because we were here, Father. Speak to us deeply and we pray these things in Jesus' name. And God's people said, Amen. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-11 13:48:22 / 2023-06-11 13:59:27 / 11

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