VICTORY IN JESUS COLOSSIANS 2:11-15
J. Alistar Brown wrote about an experience he had of walking through a park.
He said, “I passed a massive oak tree. A vine had grown up along its trunk. The vine started small….nothing to bother about. But over the years the vine had gotten taller and taller. By the time I passed, the entire lower half of the tree was covered by the vine’s creepers. The mass of tiny feelers was so thick that the tree looked like it had innumerable birds’ nests in it.
Now the tree was in danger. This huge, solid oak was quite literally being taken over. The life was being squeezed from it.
But the gardeners in that park had seen the danger. They had taken a saw and severed the trunk of the vine----one neat cut across the middle. The tangled mass of the vine’s branches still clung to the oak, but the vine was now dead. That would gradually become plain as weeks passed and the creepers began to die and fall away from the tree.
How easy it is for sin, which begins so small and seemingly insignificant, to grow until it has a strangling grip on our lives.
But sin’s power is severed by Christ, and gradually, as we yield daily to Christ, sin’s grip dries up and falls away.”
Well, everybody likes to win, right?..... Nobody enjoys being a loser.
In the game of life, God has equipped us as Christians to be winners.
He certainly doesn’t want sin to grow in our lives until it has a strangling grip on us.
God doesn’t want any of us to live such a defeated life.
In Colossians 2:11-15, I believe we can see some of the things God has done to help us get to the winner’s circle…..for He loves us and wants us to be victorious.
First, God Has Given Us Purity Through Jesus.
“In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ,”
Jesus gives us purity in that we have been circumcised with a spiritual circumcision.
The circumcision done by Jesus is not a physical circumcision…..it is a circumcision of the heart.
“A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical.  No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God”.
When we have the circumcision done by Jesus, we no longer trust in our flesh.
“For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh”.
That same spiritual circumcision also removes our sins so that we have been made near by the blood of Christ.
“Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called ‘uncircumcised’ by those who call themselves ‘the circumcision’ (that done in the body by the hands of men)--  remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ."
Simply stated, we have put on the new man.
“Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices  and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
You and I have had the body of sin destroyed.
“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.”
Consider the often repeated phrase “New and improved.”
There is something appealing about that statement.
We all like to get new things.
We are attracted to things that are advertised as “New and Improved”.
We like to have the latest computer or the latest cell phone or electronic game system.
The words, “new and improved” sell a lot of things.
We like new clothes…..We like new cars.
The list can go on and on and on……We like new things.
All of this points to the biggest need people have.
It is the need for a new life.
The reason why so many people are unhappy with what they have is because they are unhappy with who they are.
Paul is telling the Colossians to get rid of that which is merely outward.
The real circumcision is the New Birth.
He explained that to the Galatians in Galatians 6:15 :
“ Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.”
We become new creatures when we come to Jesus and trust Him as our Lord and Savior.
He makes us a new creation.
Not just improved……but brand new!
2 Cor. 5:17
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
Col. 2: 12 goes on to further explain the purity we have through Christ:
“ having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.”
Did you get that? ………Christ buried us with Him in baptism.
We are buried with Christ by baptism into His death.
“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.”
We’ve been baptized into one body.
1 Cor. 12:13
“For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”
We have put on Christ.
“ for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
Verse 12 also says we have been raised with Christ through our faith.
The fact is, we have been raised with Christ to a totally different,.. new life.
“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.  For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.  The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
You and I have been raised and there is a sense in which we sit in heavenly places even now.
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,”
We have been saved to do good works.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--  not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Just as he used the word circumcision in a figurative sense in verse 11, Paul used the word baptism in a figurative sense in verse 12.
No amount of material water can bury a person with Christ or make him alive in Christ. Water baptism by immersion is a picture of that spiritual experience.
When we are saved, we are immediately baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ.
It is the power of God that changes us, not the power of water.
Water baptism merely symbolizes that we were buried with Him, raised with Him, and made alive with Him!
We are joined to a living Savior.
There are absolutely no outward ceremonies that can bring us to Christ.
The issue is whether or not we are born again, whether we really know Christ as our Savior.
That’s what makes us one with Him..
Our salvation is accomplished by the resurrection power of God.
It’s not some philosophy; it’s not some gimmick; it’s not about some system.
It’s not about adhering to some program taught by some preacher who says his teachings will enable us to live for God.
Salvation doesn’t come by keeping the Jewish law or the 10 commandments.
Our salvation is brought about by Jesus and Him alone.
Because God raised His pure and holy Son from the dead, we have eternal life…..thus we have purity through Him.
God Has Given Us Purity Through Jesus.
Secondly, We Have A Pardon Through Jesus
“ When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our 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.”
Salvation is not the improvement of the old nature; it is the impartation of a new nature.
Our old nature works through our old habits, old desires, and old temptations.
How can anyone bring that under control?
There is a vast assortment of things that are set before us today that will supposedly help us to live the Christian life.
People collect all kinds of self-help books and materials that then collects dust.
Look at some of the book lists of the prominent Christian book sellers…..a lot of those books are supposedly written to help people live the Christian life.
It is a fact that many people are not very successful in living the Christian life.
Why is that?
We need to understand what Paul says within the context of his writings: we are joined to the living Lord……united with Christ.
Now, if you are joined to Him, it seems to me that you are going to try to live like you are.
How close are you to Christ this morning?
Are you walking with Him?
Do you turn to Him in all the difficulties you encounter in your life?
Is He the One who is the very center of your life….or are you listening to other voices?
Think about what Jesus has done for us….consider what we have been saved from.
When Christ found us, we were dead in our sins
We were following a bunch of dead works.
We were dead even though we had physical life
Yes, we can be dead even though we live.
The Bible says that the body without the spirit is dead.
“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead”.
But look at the marvelous words in Col. 2:13:
“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins”,
Christ made us alive and forgave our sins!
We who were dead have been made alive .
Luke 15 tells the story of the prodigal son….Verse 24 says…
For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’
That boy wasn’t just backsliding…..The Bible says he was dead….He was lost.
But he turned from his sin….he repented…..and came to his Father.
The Bible makes it clear….we are no longer to live for ourselves .
2 Cor. 5:14-15
“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.  And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”
We have had all of our sins forgiven through Jesus.
His blood cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:7-9
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
But our pardon gets even better than that!
Christ blotted out the sins written against us.
“ 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.”
God blots out our sins.
In Isaiah 43:25, He speaks of it.
“I, even I, am he who blots out
your transgressions, for my own sake,
and remembers your sins no more.”
Our sins are blotted out when we repent.
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,
Neither God the Father nor Christ the Son will remember our sins when we come in faith.
“For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.’
 By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.
Jesus has removed our sin and He has nailed it to His cross
Christ offered Himself to take away our sins.
Our Lord has obtained eternal redemption for us through His blood.
What a glorious pardon that is, my friends.
What more could we possibly need?
We have experienced the power of God through faith in Christ.
When Christ died on the cross, He didn’t die because He had broke any commandments. No, …He was sinless.
He died because I broke them, because I am a sinner, and because you are.
Romans 3:23 …….. “ for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
But there is even more to our pardon!
Jesus not only took our sins to the cross, …..He also took the Law to the cross and nailed it there too.
The Gnostics at Colosse were trying to lead people back into legalism with some of their false teaching.
Paul brought up his teachings about circumcision, baptism, and the law to counter those false teachings.
The law demands perfection but we can’t live up to it.
God demands absolute righteousness,….because He is absolutely righteous, holy, and perfect.
But none of us can pay that price.
We can’t produce God’s righteousness in our lives.
The Bible describes our righteousness as a filthy rag.
The law clearly proves that we are sinful.
Therefore, the law drives us to Christ as our only hope. (Galatians 3:13-14).
The law says “You shall not.”
But something inside us says “Oh yes I will!”
Whenever anybody says we can’t do something it makes us want to do it.!!
There is a deep-rooted and ingrained rebellion in all our hearts.
If we see a sign that says “Wet paint…….do not touch”, we want to touch it to see if it really is wet.
The law provokes the very thing it forbids. (Romans 8:3).
While Christ has freed us from the law, He has also put a new heart within us that enables us to obey Him.
We now live in grace….and grace is effective where the law fails.
Jesus completely, eternally and adequately settled the issue of the law on the cross.
In Christ, God has forgiven us all our sins and trespasses so that we have a perfect standing before Him.
Why would anybody want to go back to a system of law that was impossible to keep in the first place?
There isn’t one of us who can keep the law in our own strength.
You see, the law was given to discipline our old nature.
But now believers have been given a new nature, and the law has been removed as a way of life.
“ But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code”.
“For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”
Our relationship with Jesus Christ enables us to obey God out of love,… not as fearful slaves.
We Have Purity Through Jesus
We Have A Pardon Through Jesus
Third, We Have Victory through Jesus
“And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
Jesus has defeated all powers and authorities.
He has disarmed them all.
Satan’s judgment has already been declared
Jesus said in John 16:11
“….the prince of this world now stands condemned.”
Jesus has defeated Satan who has the power of death.
Christ has triumphed over all.
He will one day cast Satan and every power allied with him to the earth .
“The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.”
Jesus will one day cast Satan into the lake of fire.
“And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever”.
Our Lord personally defeated demons publicly on the cross.
Many Christians worry unnecessarily about demons.
They believe that demons have some mysterious power that they can use at will to shipwreck the Christian life.
They think that they are totally at the mercy and whim of demonic powers even though the Bible tells us that Jesus has triumphed over them.
Jesus triumphed over the power of every evil power at the cross.
As Christians who are now united to Christ, God expects us to use the spiritual weapons He gave us to defeat all “the powers and authorities” in our daily lives.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Col. 2:15 says that “he made a public spectacle of them”
The death of Christ on the cross looked like a great victory for Satan, but it turned out to be a great defeat from which Satan cannot recover.
Jesus had that great victory on the cross.
That is the Good News for us this morning!
Have you claimed His victory as your own?
Since we are united with Him, you and I had that victory with Him.
The question is……Are we living up to it by faith?
Imagine the impact we could have on our family, upon our friends, upon our country if every one of us who claims the name “Christian” chose to live a life in accordance with
Philip. 1:21 .... “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”