Summary: Exposition of Colossians 2:8b dealing with the believer's sufficiency in Jesus Christ.

{Not a manuscript: transcribed from cassette recording}

Well I trust you have your Bibles with you, so please take them with me and let’s read our passage again this morning. Let’s open up to Colossians chapter 2 and let’s read verses 8 through 10 together. The apostle Paul writing to the church in Colossae warns them. He says:

"See to it (or beware) that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority".

The key verse in this passage, and that’s reflected in the title of our study the past two weeks, "Complete in Christ", the key verse in this passage is in verse 10 where Paul says, "in Him you have been made complete". In other words, the believer is in Jesus Christ, and in Jesus Christ the believer is complete. He finds his or her sufficiency in Him and in Him alone.

This simple but also neglected truth, the sufficiency of Jesus Christ, has been on my mind a lot the past few weeks, particularly how Christians so often live their lives in denial of Christ’s sufficiency, vainly trying to find fulfillment, answers, keys to spiritual growth elsewhere, other than through Jesus Christ. Maybe it’s through some extra-biblical revelation or through some experience, or through some new counseling technique, or through human ingenuity. Whatever it is, it’s not in accordance with the sufficiency of Jesus Christ.

During my study this past week, I read a story that illustrates the foolishness of looking elsewhere for fulfillment. It's a story about two men who lived earlier this century, two men by the name of Homer and Langley Collyer.

"Homer and Langley Collyer were sons of a respected New York doctor. Both men had earned college degrees. In fact, Homer had studied at Columbia University to become an attorney. When their father, the elderly Dr. Collyer, died in the early part of this century, his sons inherited the family home and the family fortune. And the two men, both bachelors, were now financially secure.

But the Collyer brothers chose a peculiar lifestyle not at all consistent with their new-found material status or their inheritance. They lived in almost total seclusion. They boarded up their home. They locked their doors. They shut off all their utilities, including the water. And no one was ever seen coming into or out of the house. From the outside, the house appeared empty.

Though the Collyer family had been quite prominent, almost no one in New York society remembered Homer or Langley Collyer by the time World War II ended.

On March 21, 1947, police received an anonymous telephone tip that a man had died inside the boarded-up home. They were unable to get in through the front door. So they entered the house through a second-story window, and inside they found Homer Collyer's corpse on a bed. He died clutching the February 22, 1920 issue of the Jewish Morning Journal, though he had been totally blind for several years. But then there was another equally grotesque discovery.

It seems that the brothers were collectors. They collected everything--especially junk. Their house was filled with junk, broken machinery, auto parts, boxes, appliances, folding chairs, musical instruments, rags, assorted odds and ends, old newspapers stacked upon end. Virtually all of it though was worthless. An enormous mountain of trash blocked the front door. Investigators were forced to continue using the upstairs window for weeks while excavators worked to clear a path to the door.

Nearly three weeks later, as the workmen were still hauling heaps of refuse away, somebody made a grizzly discovery. Langley Collyer's body was buried beneath a pile of rubbish some six feet away from where Homer had died. Langley had been crushed to death in a crude booby trap that he had built to protect his precious collection from thieves.

The garbage was eventually all removed from the Collyer’s house. And they weighed it and it totaled over 140 tons. No one every learned why the brothers were stockpiling for years their pathetic treasure, except one old friend of the family recalled that Langley once said he was saving newspapers so Homer could read them some day when his eyesight improved. They died as paupers, though they had an inheritance."

Homer & Langley Collyer make a sad but fitting parable of the way many true believers in Jesus Christ in the church live. The Collyer's inheritance was sufficient for all of their needs, yet they lived their lives in unnecessary, self-imposed deprivation, neglecting the abundant resources that were rightfully theirs to enjoy. Homer and Langley turned their home into a squalid dump, spurning their father's legacy. They, like the prodigal son of Luke 15, binged instead on scraps of the world.

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