Colossians 2.6-15: Jesus is everything we need

Colossians 2.6-15

Jesus is everything that we need

That is one of the things that our verses from Colossians 2 are saying.

We are full, we are authentic, when we are 'in him'. 

That is a difficult phrase to understand. What does it mean to be 'in' Jesus?

I guess it is about being ‘in’ a relationship with him. We know him and we are known by him. When you know the Jesus who already knows you

But it is more than that

I often use this illustration. 
Imagine that this book is Jesus.[hold up a bible]
And this piece of paper is you. [hold up a piece of paper]
And you are placed in Jesus. [place paper in bible]

This is, though I say so myself, quite a helpful illustration (although of course it has its limitations).

This [hold up a bible] is a human book, written by men (and as far as we know it was men) at particular times in particular situations - with all their limitations. 
But it is a Bible, and we believe that through the power of the Holy Spirit, this is not just a human book, but Scripture, the Word of God. It contains the wisdom of God, the promises of God, the words of God. It contains all that we need to know for salvation, in order to get to know to God. If you listen to this, then you are listening to God.
And this book is not half human and half Word of God, as some people would claim: this bit is OK, word of God, but that bit is not OK, not Word of God. 
It is fully the words of humans and it is fully the Word of God.

And Jesus was fully human. He was a man born at a particular time in a particular place. He had flesh and blood. He had a human heart and a human mind and a human will. 
But as Christians, we believe that Jesus was also the eternal Son of God. 
“For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (v9).
So when we look at Jesus we see a human being living a completely God focussed, God centred life
But when we look at Jesus - and this is how Paul looks at him here - we see God living as a human being, as one of us.

There is no higher authority to which we can go.

Jesus Christ is, says Paul earlier, the visible image of the invisible God.
When you listen to him, you listen to God
When you obey him, you obey God
When you trust him, you trust God
When you pray to him, you are praying to God
When you worship him, you worship God
When you commit yourself to following him, you’re committing yourself to follow God

So this is Jesus [hold up bible], the eternal Son of God, who is inseparable from God, in whom all the fullness, all the wisdom and all the power of God lives
And this piece of paper is me [hold up paper]: with all my sinfulness and inadequacy and anxiety and fear and weakness and mortality.
And when a person becomes a Christian, we are placed by the Holy Spirit in Christ. [place paper in bible]

So, to be in Christ is to be in a relationship with Christ. It is to be surrounded by Christ, covered by Christ, connected to Christ, embraced by Christ, at the heart of Christ.
There is a verse of the hymn that we know as St Patrick's Breastplate:

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise
And once you are in Christ, it is almost impossible to separate you from Christ or to separate Christ from you. You become one of the pages of the book. If you tear that page out, then something is missing.

That is why - when we are in him - we are full.
V10: ‘And you have come to fullness in him’

And if we are full because we are in him, then we do not actually need anything else. 
There is nothing that you can do that will make you a more authentic believer or person. There is nothing that you can possess that will make you a fuller, richer and more authentic believer or person.

In Paul’s time, false teachers were telling the Christians in Colossi that they were not full, that they were lacking something, that they were not properly blessed, because they did not keep the Old Testament law

They were saying
You must be circumcised
You must worship on the Sabbath, on the Saturday. The first Christians had, very early on, made Sunday their day of worship - because Sunday was the day of the resurrection of Jesus.
You must celebrate certain feasts
You must refuse certain foods and you must eat other foods.
(You can read that in verses 17-18)

And these false teachers were telling the first Christians that if they didn’t do these things, if they didn’t keep the law, then they were not full Christians. They were only half Christians.

And Paul says to the Christians in Colossi - that is not true. 
If you are in Christ, if you are in a relationship with him, if you put your trust in him, then you have come to fullness in him. 

Listen, he says, when you put your trust in Jesus, when you were baptised, you were placed in Christ (v12 speaks of how we are buried with him in baptism)

Christ was circumcised. So, you don’t need to be circumcised, because you are in Christ and Christ has already been circumcised.
Christ kept the Old Testament law. So, you don’t need to keep the law, because you are in him and he kept it as it was meant to be kept. 
Indeed, more than that. When Christ died on the cross, you died with him. In Galatians Paul writes, ‘I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me’ (Gal 2:19f).
And when Christ rose from the dead, ‘you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead’ (v12)

So, in Christ, in relationship with Christ, surrounded by Christ, part of the body of Christ, you are full. There is nothing more that you need to do, apart from to trust Jesus, to continue to receive from Jesus and to remain in Jesus.

Today there are different issues, although there will be Christians who tell us that we can only be authentic full Christians if, for instance, we have had particular religious experiences or if we are part of a particular movement or denomination.

But there will always be people who tell you that in order to become an authentic human being, then you must - for example - have this specific product, work for a particular cause, be wealthy, be respected, have a partner or children or be sexually satisfied.

I’m not going to say anything here about those things, but I am going to say something about the little word ‘must’.
If you are in Christ, there is no ‘must’. If you are in Christ, you already are authentic. There is nothing more that you need. You are full in him. 

You are not perfect, there is so much more that you could become, and there is so much more for the Holy Spirit to do in your life.
But in Christ you are beloved: Christ is the beloved only Son of God the Father, and you are in Christ.
And in Christ you are forgiven; you died with Jesus on the cross; the price for your sin has been paid: so please stop trying to earn forgiveness - whether by punishing yourself or by trying to live a worthy life. 
And in Christ you have the Holy Spirit - the presence of God living in you, guiding and transforming you
And in Christ you have eternal life: you are in him, who rose from the dead.
And you are united with Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God. 
When God looks at you, he sees Him.

So, says Paul, ‘continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith as you were taught, abounding with thanksgiving’ (verses 6-7).

Thanksgiving to the God who gave us his Son, who has united us with his Son, who has placed us in his Son, who has forgiven us, cancelled the law that stood against us, who has given us all things in Jesus, who has raised us with Christ and given us new and eternal life.
Thanksgiving to the God who has lavished on us his love and his mercy, and who has given us in Jesus everything that we need.


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