24 Sep 2023
False teachers in Colossae were teaching philosophies and empty deceit that are based on human traditions. They seek to "kidnap" Christians from Christ by their false teachings that are not according to Christ. They teach the elemental principles of works-based religion- consisting of food and drinks regulations; observances of festivals, sabbaths and new moons; and severity to the body and asceticism, amongst other things. These beliefs and practices are not in accordance to the gospel of grace, but are legalistic and self-righteous. These things do not save. They also do not confer "extra spirituality. " Paul therefore warns them to watch out for these false teachings. In essence, he reminds them that in Christ, they have everything. But apart from Christ, they have nothing. Jesus is the source of all wisdom and knowledge. He is the reason why we can have power over sin, and how we are delivered from the penalty of sin.
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Today we're going to look at Colossians as usual. And it's not an easy passage in that there are many verses, some technical things again for us to look at. So it would be wonderful if you could hear this sermon with your Bibles open so we can see the entire passage and link the various verses up together. That's all I'm asking you to do, maybe hear the sermon not just with the verses on the screen but also verses on your lap.
Do you know what's the hardest thing for you to do in terms of dieting and exercising? What's the hardest thing about diets and exercise? I think it's never about the start. It's always easy to say, I'm going to eat healthy today, I'm going to exercise today. But the hardest thing about diets and exercises is always continuing in it. It's about the consistency, isn't it? If you really want to be fit, if you really want to be stronger, you want to lose weight, then consistency is the key.
I think consistency is also the key to the spiritual life. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians that they should continue in their faith walking in Jesus. We've been looking at some of the things he's saying. He says to the Colossians, continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard.
He goes on to say in chapter 2 and verse 5, he rejoices that they have this good order and the firmness of faith in Jesus Christ. And then last week we learned how he commanded them to walk in Christ. That is a way of saying, live in Christ. What do you mean live in Christ? In what way? It means be stable, rooted, built up, established. Consistency is the key.
You see, there is a false teaching that is a serious threat to the church at Colossae. The Apostle Paul says in verse 4, I say this in order that no one may delude you or deceive you with plausible arguments. The Greek there means enticing speech. There are people today who want to seduce you away from your good order and firmness of faith in Jesus. So I'm writing these things to you, I'm warning you, I'm encouraging you by way of this letter and I'm praying for you that you will not fall away, that you will not stray from Christ.
Today he becomes a little bit more explicit in the verses that we are going to read and in essence the sermon is going to be, do not be kidnapped by false teaching. That is almost literally taken from chapter 2 and verse 8. Paul says, see to it that no one takes you captive. The Greek word there means no one robs you by force or no one kidnaps you. In Singapore we don't hear of many kidnaps. The last one I heard of is the mother of a famous supermarket owner. But we don't hear of many kidnaps.
But there are many who may be kidnapped today spiritually by false teaching. They have been robbed or taken away from true faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And Paul says, I want you to see to it, I want you to watch out, be aware, be vigilant, be sober, that you do not get kidnapped by false teachings. He says, do not be taken captive by philosophy and empty deceit according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world and not according to Christ. It's quite complicated. He likes to have this kind of complex sentence structure in this letter to the Colossians. So for us, we may not be so familiar, we may have to break it down a little more.
So first of all, he says, be careful that you're not kidnapped by philosophy and empty deceit. The word philosophy in the Greek is philosophia. So it's philosophia. Philo is a word that means love. Sophia, what we learn in chapter one is? We learned in chapter one. Sophia in the Greek is the word translated wisdom. Very good. Thank you.
So philosophy of philo-sophia, philo-sophia is the love of wisdom. So he says, do not be taken captive, do not be kidnapped by the love of wisdom. Now, we must be clear that Paul is not necessarily against reasoning and logic and wisdom. He cannot be because he earlier on also said, Jesus is the Source of all wisdom. In Him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
So wisdom itself is not a bad thing. Wisdom is what we should seek. But when Paul says philosophy and empty deceit, he qualifies them at the end by saying these philosophies that you are being exposed to are dangerous because they are wisdom that is not according to Christ. They are Christless logics and reasonings and that's what you need to be careful about.
He goes on to say these kinds of wisdom, empty deceit are according to human tradition. Now again, it is not saying that all tradition is bad. Because again, in chapter 2 and verse 6, he says you have learned of Christ, you have received Christ. The word received in chapter 2, verse 6 is a very special word that means to receive by tradition.
Tradition itself is not a bad thing. Tradition is what has been passed on to you by others, that's what tradition is. But this human tradition here is dangerous again because this is human tradition that is not according to Christ. You are receiving teachings from men who are not teaching you truths that are centred on Jesus. That is the problem. So he's not against philosophy in and of itself, he's not against tradition in and of itself, but he's warning the people against wisdom and tradition that are from humanistic sources and not Christ-based teachings.
Now so far I think it's quite easy, but we come to this phrase, according to the elemental spirits of the world. Wow, this, this is like, what in the world is this? Elemental spirits of the world. So I'm going to take some time to explain this, because it's maybe the crux of the matter even as we will look into the sermon next week.
So the word elemental spirits of the world, elemental spirits, in the Greek is the word stoicheia. And it really is just elemental. You check the Greek, there will be no pneuma there, pneuma is the word spirits. There's no pneuma in the Greek. So literally, when Paul wrote this, he's saying, he's just writing according to the stoicheia of the world. There's no stoicheia pneuma, there's no spirits there. And the word stoicheia means rudiments or constituents, they are the basic elements. That's why elemental, basic elements, it's used perhaps in describing the elements of this world, earth, wind, fire.
It's also a word that can be used to describe the constituents of your alphabet, the letters of the alphabet. The ABCs are the stoicheia of the language, of the alphabet. Or it can be a word that refers to the rudiments or constituents or the elements, basic elements of religion. I think that's what it should mean in this context.
Now I, I can understand why people would say basic spirits, because later on you'll read about the worship of angels. And so translators sometimes, commentators sometimes, interpret this as referring to the demonic spirits. But rightly, if you compare Scripture with Scripture, and if you look on later on in Colossians 2 verse 16 onwards, as I would explain, it probably should not have that addition by the translators of the word spirits there.
Now, so elemental principles, that's the idea. What are the elemental principles that are so dangerous? Comparing Scripture with Scripture, the Apostle Paul, he wrote to the Galatians. Now this is not the Colossians, huh, he's writing to the Galatians. Some of you may be very familiar with this letter written to the people there. He is warning the Galatians about this danger of works-based religion, of the danger of legalism, of the works of the law that you have to obey so that you can somehow earn your way to God.
Galatians is all about that. Please don't drift into legalism. Please don't think that it's your obedience to the Ten Commandments or your obedience to circumcision that makes you accepted before God. You're not accepted by your works, you're accepted because of Jesus and Jesus alone. So that's the context of Galatians.
And there he writes, in the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the stoicheia of the world, that's the word there. And he goes on to say, how can you turn back to the weak and worthless stoicheia of the world? So this is seen in a negative light. These basic principles that are being taught to the Galatians that they should obey. And we see further that the stoicheia involves observing days and months and seasons and years.
So the stoicheia here, the basic elemental principles are teachings that say you've got to be circumcised, you've got to do the works of the law, you've got to observe the days and months and seasons and years, you've got to keep these festivals and days so that you may be accepted by God. And Paul says that's the wrong thing. How can you go to these stoicheia?
So now coming back to chapter 2 of Colossians, we read a little bit about the stoicheia. In a similar vein, when Paul says, if with Christ you died to the stoicheia of the world, why as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations? These works that say, do not handle, do not taste, do not touch, because if you do these things you may not be accepted by God.
He goes on to say, referring to things that all, that all perish as they are used according to human precepts and teachings. Sounds very familiar like the human traditions. And he goes on to say, therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.
So I think contextually this is not so much about elemental spirits like demonic spirits, but the basic principles of works-based religion. So coming back, so far only one verse ah. We have eight verses to go through. But if you survive verse 8, I think the rest easier lah hah. Ah,see to it, guys, stay in Christ. Be stable and steadfast. Don't shift, walk in Him and be very careful, watch out, that no one kidnaps you with the love of wisdom and empty deceit.
These things are according to human Christless teachings. And they are according to the stoicheia of the world, according to these basic principles of legalism and works-based religion and they are not according to Christ. So hang in there. Why would you want to shift away from the works of Jesus Christ and to depend on yourself right now? He says for, the word for connects it. Because why would you want to shift? Why would you want to be seduced by the stoicheia of the world? Because for, in Jesus, the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.
The logic is, why would you shift from Christ if Jesus is fully, truly God? Now this is a, a kind of reminiscent of chapter 1 and verse 19, for in Him, all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell. That poem, you remember? So Paul is saying, that poem I wrote about, Jesus is fully God. Why would you want to shift from Him? And he goes on to say, and you have been filled in Him. The word means complete.
In what way is a Christian complete and filled in Jesus? Paul just writes this, but he doesn't quite elaborate further immediately. But I think it's important for us to understand, how is Jesus our everything? I think this is the whole point. Guys, don't shift from Christ because Jesus is God and Jesus is our everything. How is Jesus our everything?
Well, again, we must be reminded, earlier on, Paul already said, Christ is the One in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Don't shift from Christ because all wisdom and knowledge is found in Christ. Why are you following all these false teachings? Unnecessary. You are filled in Christ.
Number two, I think Christ is our everything, as Paul will later on explain in the verses we are going to read from verse 11 to verse 14. Now, I know sometimes the font is very small, you all complain, but I got to squeeze everything here ah bopian. So this size, I just want to highlight to you that in Christ, the blessings of salvation are richly given to us.
And in all these verses, whether it's about our circumcision, burial, raising, made alive, forgiven, cancelling the record of debt, they deal with the blessings of salvation. And I think it involves two things. We are, we are given the blessings of salvation with regards to the power of sin and also the penalty of sin. Two major things. We're going to look at that in a while. But that's the idea. Don't shift from Jesus because He's God and you have been complete in Him. In Him, you can find all wisdom and knowledge and the salvation from the penalty of sin and salvation from the power and dominion and authority of sin.
And He is the head of all rule and authority. Jesus is King over all. This word, all rule and authority, can refer to human rulers and kings. We say Jesus is the King above all kings. True. But I think this all rule and authority is probably more than just human kings. But I think it refers also to the angelic or demonic realms. See, this phrase, all rule and authority, is repeated elsewhere in the Scripture. Ephesians, I'm not sure why, my words always become bigger at the bottom. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities. And we know this is not just about kings and governors, but against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly. So the idea here is that Jesus is Lord over all angelic beings, including the demonic beings.
He goes on to say, let no one, uh now, I think this is relevant to understand it's against demonic or angelic realms, because chapter 2, verse 18, as we'll look at next week, there is this part of false teaching that involves them with asceticism, that is a kind of a humility of mind that denies some bodily functions or indulgences, and also the worship of angels. That's why this is important.
And the Head, that He is the Head, why is He the Head? Because He's the Creator. That's the song we looked at, the poem we looked at, He is the Creator of all things, including rulers and authorities, visible and invisible. He's the Head also, as we are going to read, because He's the One who will disarm the rulers and authorities. He's the One who strips the angelic or demonic beings.
So, do not want you to be lost or confused, the point so far is that Paul is saying, be careful, don't be seduced by false teachings, because in Christ you have everything. He is God and He's the Ruler overall, why would you want to worship angels and not be rooted and built up and established in Christ?
I think about a playboy who comes to seduce a wife of a husband, and someone else comes and say to her, why are you going with this man? He will give you absolutely nothing, he's just toying with your feelings. In your husband, you have everything, stay faithful to him. And I think that's probably that parallel that we can think of, except that you multiply the importance of 10 billion times.
So, Paul goes on to say now, what are your spiritual blessings in Christ? He, I think, is laying out the details. What are your spiritual blessings in Jesus? Well, he says that you're delivered from the power of sin. In Christ, you have true freedom from the dominion and authority of sin over your life. How does he explain that? He explains that with a Jewish ritual, circumcision.
He says, in Him also, you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands. Now, circumcision is the cutting of the foreskin amongst the males in the Jewish community. When a baby boy is born into this world, on day eight, he will be circumcised. It's really interesting for me medically to know that in day eight, that's where the baby boy has sufficient vitamin K, correct, John? Huh huh, huh, huh, huh. Sufficient vitamin K, which is essential to the function of blood clotting.
So, if you cut too early, they bleed a lot. But on day eight, enough vitamin K activates your clotting pathway, you have good clotting. So, Jewish males are circumcised on day eight. Very scientific. But the point of circumcision, when God made this agreement with Abraham, their father, is that this act of circumcision will be a reminder for the entire nation of Israel that God will bless Abraham and his descendants. And they are to be His people.
Later on, God also explains, he adds on to the significance of circumcision. Later on, God says that this act of ritualistic circumcision of the foreskin is meant to be a picture and reminder that you need to be circumcised in your heart. That filth of sin in your heart is to be cut off. We see that in chapter 10 of Deuteronomy. Circumcised, therefore, the foreskin of your heart.
It is a picture, a reminder that you are to be no more stubborn against God, but you would be obedient. He also says in Deuteronomy 30, and the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring so that you will love the LORD. So, circumcision becomes not just a reminder of God's blessings, but a reminder that you need to have a divine operation of your heart so that you can love God.
And so, the Apostle Paul, understanding these teachings in the Old Testament, would write in Romans chapter 2, no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision, nor is circumcision outward and physical. Ah, this is where many Jews go wrong. The Jews have always thought because we were circumcised on day eight, I belong to God. No, a real Jew is a Jew who is circumcised inwardly in the heart. The outward circumcision does no good spiritually, except to remind you of the need to be circumcised in your heart.
And this circumcision of the heart is not something that you can do by yourself. By the way, you can do circumcision, uh physically, yourself. If you're a surgeon, you can do it. But spiritual, spiritual circumcision, you can't do it. It's got to be by the Spirit. And that's where you link in the promises of the New Covenant, right? Where God will take away the heart of stone and put in you the Spirit. And I think this is what Jesus was talking about when He met with Nicodemus, except a man be born again by the Spirit, he cannot see the Kingdom of God, he cannot love God.
So, all this is saying, you are now circumcised, not physically. He's not saying the Colossians all had to go to KK Hospital to be cut. But He's saying you guys have come to know Jesus. You have been saved. In Him, in Jesus, you were circumcised in your heart, because this is a circumcision made without hands. It's not an external circumcision, it's an internal circumcision that takes away the principle of sin with regards to its dominion and authority and bondage over your life. You have been delivered from the power of sin by the Spirit of God.
Okay, by putting off the body, I just want to very quickly say, if we are not careful, we may almost think that Paul is saying, you put off your body, don't, don't do anything with your body. Because the body is bad, the body is sinful, the body is not good. Now, this is absolutely not what he's saying. This, putting away the body, is what the false teachers are saying.
The false teachers are saying that you've got to be involved in some kind of asceticism, some kind of denying your body, and having that severity of the body, because they say this is where all the problem is, your body. But Paul actually says, this asceticism and severity to the body, this kind of bodily denials, are of no value, useless, in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
And by the way, do you know that the Christian theology says that this body that you have, is not a bad thing. You are to use this body to serve God. You are to yield your members, your body parts as instruments of righteousness. Romans chapter 6.
So, banish that thought that the body in and of itself is a bad thing. That's not what Paul is saying. But he's talking about the body of the flesh. Now the flesh here refers to that sin principle in a man. That part of man that is hostile against God, that will not listen to God, that will not be subjected to God. And what Paul is saying is that when you came to know Jesus, He performed a surgery in your heart. He cuts off that body of the flesh.
Not that there's no more possibility or potential for sin, but there's no more power and dominion and authority of sin in your life. And this is all because of Jesus. By the circumcision of Christ, or in union with Christ, because of your relationship with Christ. This divine operation took place in your life.
Now I think this concept is repeated in different words elsewhere. For example, in Galatians 5, and those who belong to Christ, you experienced the circumcision of Christ, you belong to Him, you are united with Him. You have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. You have nailed that sin principle on the cross, in that it is now no more king, or tyrant, or ruler over your life. You don't have to follow or listen to sin anymore. You are set free from the bondage of sin. That is the main idea.
And this is also repeated in Romans 6. We know that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that the body of sin, the body of the flesh, the body of sin might be brought to nothing, in other words, rendered inoperative, no more authoritative over your life, so that we will no longer be enslaved to sin. And all this is possible because of God's divine operation in your life. Having been buried with Him, crucified with Christ, in baptism.
Baptism, now, He invokes a second ordinance. We looked at circumcision, he invokes baptism. Baptism is a picture of the burial and resurrection with Jesus. So, for those who are new, we have a secret contraption here. Uh, once in a while, once in a few months, we open this screen up and reveal that there's a baptismal pool behind. Why do we build a pool so leche? Might as well just take a fire, fire, not a fire hose, a water hose and just baptize people lah. Why, why build a pool? A lot of work know.
Well, the reason is because we, we think that it's important to portray what baptism is supposed to portray, that burial and resurrection. Now, I want you to be very clear. I don't think Paul is saying baptism is the means by which you die and rise to Jesus, it's not. I, we often say that the water that we use is from PUB. It can never wash away your sins and it can never give you new life. But just as physical circumcision represents that spiritual circumcision, that spiritual new life is reflected or pictured in the ordinance of baptism.
So Paul is just saying baptism reflects or pictures our death and resurrection with Jesus. And that is the reason why you can be delivered from the power of sin. And we know that actually at the end of the day, it is about faith, not about just going through a ritual.
Now, I know you're lost, so let me bring you back to what it is saying here. Now, in Jesus, you have everything. What do you mean by that? I think we're all familiar with the concept that Jesus died for me, right? The Christian message is not you earn your way to God because you can never pay for any of your sins. The Christian message is Someone is willing to pay for you. His Name is Jesus.
He's the only One who's truly able to pay for your sins. He's the Son of God, born into this world to die, to be a Substitute for you. So the message of salvation in the Bible is essentially a message of substitution. I can't save myself, someone got to save me, someone got to pay for me, and His Name is Jesus. He paid for the penalty of my sin.
When I commit a crime in Singapore, I got to pay a fine. When I commit a sin against God, I got to pay for the penalty of my sin. And because I can't, Jesus pays for me. And so He gives me salvation, sets me free from the penalty of sin, so that I may now be rightly related with God. Now, we are all very familiar with Jesus died for me.
But according to Paul's theology, Romans, Galatians, Colossians, there's another aspect of the cross that many people don't know. Do you know? So far, Colossians 2, 10 and 11, saying this one thing. I hear someone, yes. Very good, John. Thank you for helping us move on. I died with Jesus. That's what he's saying, right? Buried with Him, raised with Him.
Jason died some 2,000 years ago. What do you mean you died? You're alive, what? No, I died. Spiritually, positionally, I died with Jesus. When He died on the cross, those who believed in Him died in Him. That's the amazing miracle. This is a truth about union with Christ. Joined with Him in His death and resurrection.
So that we can say we are delivered from the power and dominion and authority of sin over us. I used to be a slave of sin. I can't do anything else but to obey sin. But when I believed in Jesus Christ, supernaturally that old slave of sin died with Christ. So that I have a new identity. No more slave to sin but a servant of righteousness.
The story I always tell, I don't have time to tell, is that I have a sergeant who tekan me. And when he tells me to do push-up, I have to do push-up, no choice. But on the day I came out of the army and received my pink IC, I don't have to listen to that sergeant anymore. If he comes into my life and says, Jason knock it down 20, I say, who are you? Last time I don't dare to say, who are you? Because I am his kah kiah, I'm a recruit.
But now I have a new identity, I don't have to listen to Sergeant Yong. Sergeant Yong, if you're listening, no more. But you know if I'm stupid, I can still listen to Sergeant Yong and I, I, I'm scared of him, I do push-ups. But that's how Christians, Christians are supposed to live. Sin has now no more dominion over me. I die with Christ, I have a new life. I don't have to be your slave anymore.
And so this is essential to understanding sanctification. It means to live a holy life. No more under the power and dominion of sin. All this is available to those who are in Christ.
True sanctification, true godliness, is not found in asceticism. It's not found in the bodily denials. It's found in union with Christ. So guys, why would you want to be seduced by these false teachings when Christ is God, He's the Head over all angels and demons, and in Him you are completely filled with wisdom and knowledge and deliverance from the power of sin and the penalty of sin. So that's what I think is all about here. Verse 13, and you who were dead. You were unresponsive to God. You would not seek God. You were stuck in your sin. That's who you were. This is about death before you come to know Christ, not the death with Christ. There's a bit of a subtle difference there. You were dead in Christ but now God has made you alive, a union, that new life, that's what he's saying.
Having forgiven us all our trespasses. Now, this power of sin is given to you even as the penalty of sin is dealt with in your life. So we come to the second big blessing in these verses, and that is the deliverance from the penalty of sin, which is described in more graphic terms with cancelling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This is set aside nailing it to the cross.
Central to all this is this concept of record of debt. Ugh, when you think about that, you don't feel good, right? OP owe money, pay money. You, you don't like this kind of owing things. Now, we owe God something. We don't owe God money, but we owe God the punishment that is due for our sins. There is a record of debt for all of us.
Imagine you write all your debt on a piece of paper, super small font size. I think your scroll will wrap around planet Earth many, many times, at least mine will be wrapping around planet Earth many times. And this thick or this long scroll can be rolled up into a thick bundle. This record of debt stood against me. When I stand before God, God is going to see that record of debt unless it's dealt with. But this is what happens, that long, thick record of all my sins is now nailed to the cross. To the cross of Jesus and it is now cancelled.
The word cancelled is to erase or to block out or to made, to be made illegible, can't see. Why? Because Jesus paid for me and now I can be truly forgiven. This is what Jesus did for us when He died on the cross, He paid for my debt so that it may be obliterated, so that God may show kindness. The word forgiven there is not the word to send away, but it's the word that means to show benevolence and kindness. God showed that to me because of Jesus Christ and what He has done.
And finally, last verse, maybe I'll just very quickly say He disarmed. The word there is the word stripped, because that's how it's translated in chapter 3 in verse 9, stripped. The demons, Satan himself, have been stripped. The rulers and authorities, I think, are the spiritual authorities, and God puts them to open shame.
So this is the irony. This is the amazing comeback. Jesus was stripped and nailed to the cross. But in that stripping of Jesus, actually, the demons are being stripped. This is the paradox and the power of the cross. When the world is saying, we can, we can crucify the Son of God, that's when the Son of God emerges victorious. That it is through His death that He defeats death. It is through His sacrifice that we can be forgiven. And it is through His sacrifice that we can be set free from the bondage of sin.
So the demons are put to open shame, and God triumphs over them in Him. The word triumph is the word we learn in 2 Corinthians chapter 2, a very special word that refers to the Roman procession, after the general has won the victory. Graphic picture, but I'll stop here for now.
What's the whole summary? Wah, this is something very chim ah, you say, I, I understand it's a bit chim, but I hope this will help. The Colossians face a certain threat of false teachings. False teachers are wolves in sheep's clothing. They come and they tell the Colossians, you need to do more, guys. Whatever you're believing in from Epaphras or from Paul is not enough. You've got to do more. Do more what?
Well, you've got to keep the food and drinks regulations. You've got to do these things. You've got to observe festivals and new moon and Sabbath. I'm just using the words from Paul's letter. And you, you need asceticism, angel worship, and visions. You need to do more. Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch. And the Colossians are in danger of being seduced by them by these enticing words because they're so Jewish, they're so established over history, they seem so right.
And so the Apostle Paul comes in and says to them by means of this letter, guys, see to it that no one takes you captive, no one kidnaps you by Christless love for wisdom and empty deceit. These are according to human or humanistic traditions. And they are according to the basic principles, the stoicheia of works-based religion. And they are not according to Christ. For in Christ, everything dwells in Him. The, the whole of divinity or deity dwells in Him. He's fully, truly God. And you have been filled in Him. You have all the wisdom and knowledge in Him.
You have all the blessings of salvation in Him. You are set free from the power of sin and set free from the penalty of sin. You are spiritually circumcised, you are given a new heart by Him. You are delivered from the dominion, authority, bondage of sin through union with Him in His death and resurrection. Your debt of sin is nailed to the cross. It is erased, it is taken away. You are forgiven in Him.
Jesus has stripped and defeated the powers of darkness. So continue in the faith of Jesus, remain stable and steadfast, do not shift from the hope of the Gospel, do not be deluded by enticing speech, continue to live in Christ because that's what it means to be rooted, built up, established in Him. See that no one takes you captive.
In Christ, you have everything. Apart from Him, you have absolutely nothing. That's what Paul is saying in these words. Let's bow for a word of prayer.
Thank you for bearing through, I think, not an easy passage. But I think these are very powerful truths for one and all. If you're here today and you are asking, what is Christianity all about, I say it is found in this one word you just asked, Christ, Christ, Christ. Because in Him, the debt of sin that we owe to God is nailed to the cross, erased and obliterated, taken away so that we can be forgiven. We can be shown benevolence, so that, so that we can be lavished with kindness. There is no one who is made acceptable before God because of his own works. But anyone would stand before God, would stand because of what Jesus Christ has done.
So I say to you, my friends, if you're here today, you ask, what's Christianity? It is this, Jesus paid it all. We sang that song earlier, O, my sin, not in part, but the whole, was nailed to the cross and I bear it no more. Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul, it is well. The only reason we can all be so comforted and assured it is well is because Jesus paid it all.
So today, would you turn from your sin and believe in Jesus Christ? He cancelled the debt when He suffered and died on the cross. You today can be saved, forgiven and granted eternal life. And God commands men everywhere today to repent and to believe. Jesus died, Jesus rose again, salvation can be found in Him.
And to all my brothers and sisters in Christ, maybe today you are tempted by false teachings. Maybe someone around you is saying you need more of this, you need more of that. Maybe you are tempted to occults and mysticisms and other deviant cults. Stand in Christ, be rooted and established and built up in Him. Maybe you know of people around you who are tempted by false teachings. What can you do? How can you pray? How can we all fight false teachings? How can we all do our best to hang on, to hold tight to our Head, that is Jesus?
Lastly, take time to reflect upon the wonderful goodness and generosity of God in our lives. Before Christ, we are dead, we have nothing. We are in fact enemies of God, but in Christ today, we have everything. O weary one, cheer up. Lift up your voice, lift up your hands, march onwards to the celestial city. We have everything in Him, in Christ, our Saviour.
So Father, thank You today for Your Word, grant understanding. Even as some complicated things may be spoken, I pray at the end of the day, Your Spirit would make these truths understandable, relevant, alive and applied in our lives. May we stand firm in Jesus, Your Son. Thank You, we praise You. We ask all this in Jesus' Name, Amen.
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