Christ + Nothing = The Key to Spirituality
When it comes to preaching Christ, there is no epistle that keeps us more on track than the Book of Colossians. The sufficiency of Christ is the bottom line answer to all that plagues us in our struggle against sin and the flesh and Satan. Any man-made attempts to add on to the finished work of Christ are exposed as futile and deceptive.
The Key To Spirituality Is Living Out Our Union With The Supreme And Sufficient Christ (Understanding That We Are Complete In Him)
Colossians 2:10 “In Him you have been made complete”
1. (1:15-23) The Supremacy (Preeminence) Of Christ Displays The Fullness Of God
2. (1:24-2:15) The Sufficiency Of Christ Makes Us Complete In Him
3. (2:16-3:11) True Spirituality = Living Out Our Union With Christ
4. (3:12-4:6) Union With Christ Manifests Itself In Godly Relationships And Effective Communication
WHY STUDY THIS BOOK?
• We are reminded to continue on to maturity the same way we entered into our Christian walk = by Repentance + Faith. We are grounded with renewed depth and stability.
• We are encouraged to live in the freedom from the shackles of sin and bondage that our union with Christ empowers us for.
• We are instructed regarding the person of God by focusing on the one who is the image of the invisible God.
• We are warned against turning to worldly philosophy, or mysticism, or asceticism, or legalism to try to gain spirituality.
• We are guided in practical ways to live out our union with Christ in our relationships with others.
Warren Wiersbe: “The message of this letter is greatly needed today. I hear too many voices telling me that I need something more than Jesus Christ – some exciting experience, some new doctrine, some addition to my Christian experience. But Paul affirms that what I need is appropriation of what I already have in Christ. ‘And ye are complete in Him.’
I also hear voices that want to judge me and rob me of the glorious liberty I have in Christ. How encouraging to hear Paul say: ‘Let no man beguile you, let no man spoil you, let no man judge you. The fullness of Christ is all that I need, and man-made regulations and disciplines cannot replace the riches I have in God’s Son.”
J. Hampton Keathley III (quoting Dr. S. Lewis Johnson from Dallas Seminary): “Without doubt Colossae was the least important church to which any epistle of St. Paul is addressed.” So wrote Bishop Lightfoot some years ago in one of the finest commentaries on New Testament literature. Colosse had been “a great city of Phrygia,” but it was in the afternoon of its influence and importance when Paul wrote the house-church there. And yet the message to Colosse, so bright with the light of the apostle’s highest Christology, has become amazingly relevant in the middle of the twentieth century. With the sudden and startling intrusion of the space age and its astrophysics, nuclear power, missiles and rockets, the church of Jesus Christ has been forced to relate its Lord and Master to the ultimate frontiers. Colossians, which presents Him as the architect and sustainer of the universe, as well as the reconciler of all things, both earthly and heavenly, provides the church with the material it may and must use. Suddenly the epistle to the little flock in the declining city has become perhaps the most contemporary book in the New Testament library.
The usefulness of Colossians, however, is not a recent phenomenon. The epistle is no late-blooming flower, although its grandeur and brilliance may strike one’s eyes with increasing force in the present time. The Christology and the ethics of the letter are important for all time. It has always furnished a proper antidote to humanly devised schemes of salvation. As A. M. Hunter puts it; “To all who would ‘improve’ Christianity by admixing it with spiritualism or Sabbatarianism or occultism or any such extra, it utters its warning: ‘What Christ is and has done for us is enough for salvation. We need no extra mediators, or taboos, or ascetics. To piece out the gospel with the rags and tatters of alien cults is not to enrich but to corrupt it.’”
John Calvin: “In writing to the Colossians Paul teaches that all parts of our salvation are to be found in Christ alone, that they may not seek anything elsewhere; and he puts them in mind that it was in Christ that they had obtained every blessing that they possessed, in order that they might the more carefully make it their aim to hold Him fast to the end. And indeed even this one article would be perfectly sufficient of itself to make us reckon this epistle, short as it is, to be an inestimable treasure. For what is of greater importance in the whole system of heavenly doctrine than to have Christ drawn to the life, so that we may clearly contemplate His excellence, His office, and all the fruits that accrue to us therefrom?”