Summary: This message is intended to help us understand our need for nothing but Christ for salvation, life and godliness - He accomplished all that is needed and we are complete in Him.
A PICTURE SPEAKS A THOUSAND WORDS
A. Look at these pictures for a moment (SHOW PICTURES)
1. Did any one stick in your mind?
2. What did you think?
3. Pictures can bring things to light: feelings, emotions, thoughts
4. There is an old saying – quit old in fact attributed to an emperor in the Xia (Shyah) Dynasty of China about 4000 years ago that says “A picture speaks a thousand words.”
5. It could very well be true.
B. This is why Paul used word pictures to help us understand some basic biblical principles.
1. In our passage for this morning he gives us some pictures to help us grasp our completeness in Christ.
2. He begins by proclaiming, Col. 2:9-10 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
3. What a wonderful thought – we are complete in Christ.
4. This was a problem in the early church, many were being told that they needed something more than Christ – thank God it is not true!
5. We are complete in Jesus Christ!
6. And He is over all things, even head of the church!
C. To help communicate this to the new Christians in Colosse, Paul as I said, gives us some pictures – listen and see if you can see them
1. Col. 2:11-15 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
a. In our first point this morning we will look two smaller pictures that help solidify Paul’s statement that we are complete in Christ.
b. In our second, and final, point we will see the big picture!
2. Paul’s message to the Colossians is for us today!
We begin this morning by taking a look at
I. TWO SMALLER PICTURES, Col. 2:11-12 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
A. First – Circumcision: Those who had infiltrated the church at Colosse were probably not trying to sell circumcision as a means of salvation, but rather as a means of becoming more spiritual
1. The idea might have been that if you go through this you show your commitment to Christ
2. Or it could have been seen as a “religious rite” - to this point R. C. Lucas writes it could be seen as, the outward act of stripping off of “the body of the flesh” so that the new initiate could expect to step forward to an experience of freedom from the dragging downward of the “flesh” and all its works.
3. But of this and all other outward forms of religion, whether it be getting rid of all earthly possessions or punishing the body or circumcision Paul says it is not necessary
4. Ye are complete in Christ!
5. Notice Paul’s words, In whom also ye are circumcised – the tense of the Greek word translate “are” tells us that it was/is a present reality
a. The nature of this circumcision is that it was accomplished – without hands: it was not a transaction of the flesh but of the Spirit
b. And the extent of this circumcision was more than just of a piece of flesh, it was of the body of the sins of the flesh – in other words they were freed from the slave nature of sin!
c. And it was accomplished by Christ.
1) The late biblical expositor Alexander MaClaren wrote Finally this circumcision is described as “of Christ,” by which is not meant that He submitted to it, but that He instituted it!”
2) The force of this statement is that the outward rite of circumcision was only a picture of that which is fulfilled by Christ
6. Folks, the real truth here is that true Christianity is not the outward change of some things (in rites, rituals and forms), but rather an inward surrender of all things to Christ