Summary: Religion that focuses only on the details of things you’re allowed or not allowed to touch or eat is dealing with worldly and perishable things. God is much bigger than that!
“A Big Sigh of Relief”
As Christians, it seems like we are always trying to add more stuff...
…rules, regulations, don’t do this, don’t say that…
“…you gotta have this, you gotta have that…”
But in our Scripture Lesson for this morning, Paul is telling us that Jesus Christ is all we need.
A wealthy art dealer once sent his agent to find and purchase a certain set of paintings that he desperately wanted.
After searching and searching the agent returned to report to his boss that he had finally found those paintings.
They were in the dealer’s own warehouse.
He already had what he desired.
He already possessed that which he pursued.
Have you ever found yourself searching for something…
…something you know you need so bad…
…only to find you already have it?
I remember, as a new born Christian in college, feeling so bad about my inability to “live up” to what I thought Christianity was about.
I felt as if I were a person living in the hands of an “angry god” whom I had to act and do things a certain way in order to please.
And so I sought, and sought and sought to do what I perceived was God’s will.
But I kept falling short.
And every time I fell short I became more and more discouraged.
And with that discouragement came depression, guilt, hopelessness and a general feeling of unhappiness…
…even a bit of self-loathing, if you will.
I felt like there were a whole long list of rules and regulations that I needed to follow in order to be on “God’s good side,” or to be “saved.”
But I couldn’t follow them.
I couldn’t measure up.
I was lost!
I was steeped in darkness and sin.
There seemed to be no way out!!!
Have you ever felt like this?
Perhaps you feel this way now.
Maybe, you imagine that God is looking down on you with either a great big disgusted sneer or a hopeless tear.
Or even worse, perhaps you feel as if God has given up on you—turned His back on you!
Do you feel as if you are not good enough?
Have you missed the mark?
Has your train derailed?
I remember feeling that way in college.
And during one of those unhappy spells I opened my Bible to this passage from Colossians and read:
“When you were dead in your sins…God made you alive with Christ.
He forgave…all [your] sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.
And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
Can you sense the “sigh of relief” I felt when reading those Words for the first time?
I was already complete in Christ!!!
I didn’t need anything else, just more of what I had!!!
Anyone looking at the Cross of Jesus with a normal understanding of the first-century world would think: “the rulers and authorities stripped Him naked and celebrated a public triumph over Him.”