Summary: Second message in a series through Colossians
OPEN: So last week we started our journey through this wonderful book named Colossians. And I've got to tell you this is an absolutely wonderful passage of Scripture to dwell on. - Get a handle on this book and it will produce in you that which God has planned for you. It will grow on you, better yet -- it will grow in you.
What specifically is God trying to produce?
We started out last week by asking the question, "Have you grown?" But maybe there was a question that needed to be asked about the question: "Grow into what?"
What is it that I am to be growing into?
God has a goal for all us -- and that goal by the way is the same for all of us. It's been the same goal for every single saint since the Church was birthed. (Rom. 8:29)
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
God's goal for you is to do have the heart and the mind of Jesus. He wants you love like Jesus loves. To have compassion like Jesus had compassion. To stand for the truth like Jesus stood for the truth. To serve others the way Jesus served others. To teach, encourage, to train, care for others the same way Jesus did. Are you growing into Christ- likeness?
What's the Big Idea? The Comprehensive Sufficiency of Jesus Christ.
To possess the Lord Jesus Christ is to have every spiritual resource you could ever need. All strength, wisdom, comfort, joy, peace, meaning, value, purpose, hope, and fulfillment in life now and forever is bound up in Jesus. Christianity is an all-sufficient relationship with an all-sufficient Savior. We are complete in Christ. When Jesus completed his work on Calvary He cried out triumphantly "It is finished!" Nothing was omitted. Peter says that we have been granted everything pertaining to life and godliness through the knowledge of Christ.
We talked last week about the problem Epaphras was facing in his church. He was facing ongoing constant challenges this basic reality. People were coming to the church with what they thought were sophisticated approaches to the issues they were facing. Every generation of Christians are going to face their battles. Epaphras had his, and we are going to have ours. Every generation has new set of novelties and man-centered philosophies and approaches to the issues they face. Every generation has to rediscover the Comprehensive Sufficiency of Christ as the head of the Church for the issues of their time. Every generation has to rediscover the comprehensive sufficiency of Jesus Christ in relation to their unique problems, circumstances, the issues they face -- both individually and as the people of God collectively. -- the unique times in which they live. The greatest discovery any person can make is awakening to the reality that Jesus is sufficient. His power and His wisdom and His strength and His grace and His mercy and His love and His faithfulness and His counsel and His knowledge and His compassion and His forgiveness all come together in one word -- sufficient! - the only reliable answer for the problems we face are going to found in Christ.
- Jesus is the only perfect blueprint for the issues we face as individuals and as a congregation. If we try to build according to any other plan we are erecting a structure that will unacceptable to the Master Architect.
Now the problem Epaphras was facing is there were people in his congregation that were either attacking this one basic fundamental truth of Christianity. If you asked them about the sufficiency of Jesus Christ they would say,
"Yes He is sufficient, but..."
And what they were trying to do was add to Jesus that which was their particular interest. The prominent ideas of their culture was beginning to infiltrate into the Church. For some is was philosophy, for some it was the Old Testament rituals and shadows of Christ, for some it was some kind of paranormal experience. And it's no different in our day -- the specific issues may have changed but the basic reality of what is being said hasn't. For some it might be psychology, or a new methodology or a new or an old tradition or whatever novelty presents itself. Basically it is someone saying, "Jesus is sufficient but ...." Church listen to me, anytime you hear someone saying something equivalent to "Jesus is sufficient, but . . ." Reprove them. Correct them. Set them straight.
So someone might ask, "Is there nothing to be learned outside of the Bible and Jesus that can be useful for us?" Useful, perhaps. Necessary, no. If they are necessary, they are the Scripture. Otherwise God has left us short of what we need and that would be unthinkable. Human ingenuity occasionally intersects with truth. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. But that's far short of the total, comprehensive, absolute, complete sufficiency of what we find in Jesus.