Summary: 1)Secret knowledge, 2)rule-keeping, and 3)mystical experiences do not make us better Christians
COMPLETE IN CHRIST (PART ONE)
1. Illus. of filling one gallon jug
• Half full- how much more can it hold?
• Three quarters full- how much more can it hold?
• One gallon full- how much more can it hold? (None)
2. In this chapter, Paul is going to tell us that Christ supplies everything we need to be spiritually complete (see vs 10). Some false teachers came to town saying, “you’re a pretty good Christian. But if you want to be a real Christian, a top-drawer Christian, you’ve got to add some things to what Christ gave you.” What the Colossians didn’t realize was that trying to add to what Jesus had already given them was like trying to pour water into a bucket that is already full!
3. Before we’re too hard on these Colossians, let me say that I know many who do the same thing today. They are always seeking some secret key that will instantly make them mature in Christ, or they become rigid legalists who are convinced they are more Christlike than the non-legalist, or they go from one place to the next seeking some new religious high that will make them a better Christian.
4. Text: Paul tells the Colossians that Christ supplied everything they needed to be spiritually complete. They didn’t have to add anything to what Jesus had given them to be all God wanted them to be!
5. Today: There is nothing we can add to what Christ gives us that will make us better Christians.
6. What does Paul tell us about becoming better Christians? Three statements.
I. SECRET KNOWLEDGE WON’T MAKE YOU A BETTER CHRISTIAN
Vs 1- Not just for Colossians, but for all churches.
Vs 2-3 Using language of false teachers. They taught that there was some secret (literal meaning of mystery) knowledge God hadn’t given to the Christian church. While the NKJV is a little difficult to understand here, listen to Paul’s reply from the NIV: My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
2. Did you catch what he’s said? “The only mystery God has is Christ. In Him God has hidden all the spiritual wisdom and knowledge we need!”
3. Principle: Christians sometimes fall into the trap of believing that some secret knowledge exists out there in the world system that will make them better Christians.
4. Illus. of my singing
• Always wished I could sing. Once had a man tell me, “Tim, you’re a prison singer.” I thought he was going to say something like, “you hold your listeners captive.” Instead he said, “you’re behind a few bars and looking for the right key!”
• Some Christians are prison seekers. They are always looking for some secret key of knowledge out there that will make them better Christians. !
4. “Are you saying I shouldn’t dig in the Word or read books about my faith written by godly Christian authors?” Not at all. Vs 8b- Paul is warning against seeking knowledge that is according to the traditions of men, and that is according to the abc’s of the world (read that as superstition), and that is not according to Christ. He is not warning you against having a devotional time or reading a book by Chuck Swindoll. He is warning against seeking knowledge in places like the Book of Mormons, the Divine Principle of the Moonies, or the Tao Te Ching of eastern mysticism, or the gospel of Thomas so often quoted by the new ager.
5. Acquiring secret knowledge from these sources won’t make you a better Christian. As a matter of fact, it will probably hurt you as a Christian. Why? Because they are based on little more than the ideas of men and empty superstition!
6. Acquiring hidden knowledge won’t make you a better Christian!
II. LEGALISTIC RULE-KEEPING WON’T MAKE YOU A BETTER CHRISTIAN
1. See vs 15-16 and 20-22. (especially note regulations… in vs 20, and commandments and doctrines of men.. in vs 22) These false teachers had come up with a whole list of regulations the Colossians were to keep if they were going to be spiritual. Some came from the Jewish Law, some came from other religious systems, and some were apparently just made up on the spot! A lot of them had to do with punishing the flesh: “you can’t eat this, you can’t touch that, you can’t even be around these sorts of things!”
2. The bottom line is that these false teachers had devised a whole list of rules and regulations, and said, “if you’re going to be a good Christian you need to check these off every day!”