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
7. Christ’s death brought about the true “circumcision” which is of the heart as seen in the words of Paul
a. Rom 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
b. Phil 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
8. The first little picture is that which speaks to circumcision
B. The second little picture is baptism: Col. 2:12 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.
1. I believe Paul is still seeking to show the new believers that there is no need for circumcision because baptism is the Christian outward sign of what has happened inwardly.
2. In baptism the believer is signifying that he has been buried (being dead to sin) and raised again to new life in Christ.
3. Please note the phrase through the faith of the operation of God
a. Baptism can no more save a person than circumcision, for salvation is by faith – faith in the provision God made in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ yet it is an outward show of an inward reality brought about by faith.
b. Christ’s death becomes our death and His resurrection guaranteed our quickening to new life NOW!
4. And all is by faith – we are complete in Christ.
With these smaller pictures in mind, Paul goes on to give us
II. THE BIG PICTURE, Col. 2:13-15 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. The Big picture is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
1. Being born of woman places us in a precarious position – that of a sinner
a. You and I don’t become sinners because of something we do, we are sinners because that is what we are.
b. David wrote in Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
c. He was not saying his mother did something sinful wherefore He was conceived – no, he was saying from the very point of conception he was sinful – as are we all!
d. And Paul wrote to the Romans, For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Rom 3:23
e. Hence we are dead to God in our sin - And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh
2. It took a mighty miracle of God to bring us spiritual life
3. Listen to Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
4. The Apostle John writes of this miracle in John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
B. You see it was Jesus’ death on the cross that was payment for our sin
1. Listen to verse 14 again, 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;
2. The phrase handwriting of ordinances translates a Greek word which speaks about a certificate of debt – we all have one because we have not kept the law and we are in debt to God for that – to pay it back without Christ’s intervention means an eternity in hell.
3. But Christ, though His death on the cross cancelled the debt on our account and applies his righteousness to us when we come to Him by faith!
C. Today, my dear friend, if you are depending on “doing” to get to heaven you will find yourself in hell one day.
1. Titus 3:5-6 states Not by works of righteousness (circumcision, baptism, going to church, giving to charities, etc.) which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
2. You must come to God through Jesus Christ for Luke wrote in Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
3. And Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6
D. Paul was again telling the Colossians that they needed nothing more than faith in Christ, crucified, buried and risen again to be complete and have all they needed for life and godliness!
1. Folks, you can know the saving power of Jesus Christ this morning
2. Do you understand you are a sinner by God’s standards? If you can say yes, God is working in your heart.
3. Do you believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose again? If you can say yes, God is working in your heart.
4. Is there repentance in your life, right now?
a. Repentance is a godly sorrow for sin, accompanied by a great desire to turn from your sinful ways and give your all to God.
b. This means you desire Christ as Savior & Lord!
c. If this is true in your life right now, God is working in our heart and you can be saved.
5. How you ask? That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:9-10, 13
6. Would you come to Christ this morning?
A. As we close note Col. 2:15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
1. Christ won the victory on the cross and in control of all things
2. If you accept Him as Savior and Lord you will find rest for your soul, peace of mind, and joy in your spirit because He is the Faithful Sovereign God!
3. His resurrection (how He showed it openly) is our guarantee:
a. He is alive
b. Therefore, in Him, we are made alive
c. And He is coming back!
B. Now that is the whole picture and it is worth more than a thousand words!