01 Oct 2023
The basic religious principle of the world is "legalism. " It means "I have to earn or deserve" the better life. It is a works-based religion where I have to do more. It is about self-righteousness. But the only way to God according to the Bible is via grace. This is the good news or the gospel of Jesus Christ. Instead of "do more", we are told "It is done!" Jesus said "It is finished" on the cross. Our debt of sin is fully paid by Him if we believe in Him. And the gospel says "Jesus alone is enough!" But it is always so tempting to combine these 2 (legalism and the gospel) together. It is easy to think Jesus alone is not enough, and that we need Jesus plus something else. This is the Jesus plus (Jesus +) religion. See how Paul argues against it in Colossians 2. And learn along the way what "the worship of angels" is in the Bible. May you discover true freedom in Jesus, and live lives of genuine worship unto the Lord
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Today we continue our tour through the book of Colossians, and if you have your Bibles, I think again it would be a great practice for you to have it opened before you that you may see the connections in what we are talking about today.
I start with a story, familiar, I've said this and shared this several times. In a room in England some years ago, many years ago, there was a group of people talking about religion, and they were discussing the distinctive or the uniqueness of the Christian faith. So they asked, what's so special about Christianity? Some say it's special because of the incarnation, but there are others who say, no, that's not quite special. There are other religions who also teach something along the lines of incarnation. So they say it's about the resurrection, but again, there are others who say that's nothing special because in several religions, the resurrection is also spoken about, although in different forms.
So they have a kind of a debate, and in the midst of that debate, someone walked into the room, his name is C.S. Lewis, and they asked him, what's so special or unique about Christianity, to which he replies, well, it's simple, it's grace. You see, the whole world and every single religion in this world operates on the principle of works.
You do more, you try harder, you try to earn your way to your deity or to your God or to your better life, that's the operating system of every religion in this world, legalism or works or self-righteousness. But the Christian faith is absolutely unique in that it is saying, it's not what you do, it's not what you can do, it's what is already done for you. It's not about you, it's about what God's Son has accomplished on the cross.
So you see, human religion is about our way to find God, and it is about earning your salvation by your own works. So it says, what I must do, legalism, self-righteousness, works-based religion. But the Bible speaks of an entirely different way, unique and special, it's grace. It is about the Good News of Jesus Christ, we call this the Gospel. It means Good News, because it's not so much what you need to do, but what is already done for you by Someone else. He has deserved it for you.
And it is about God's way to find sinful and lost men and women. This is not what we earn by our works, it's a free gift of unconditional grace. And it is not what I must do, it's what Christ has done.
Now, instinctive in human hearts is, I think, this basic operating system of man's own religion, self-righteousness, working your way to God. So when someone truly understands the Gospel, when someone believes in Jesus Christ, believes that it is already done, it's already finished in Jesus Christ, I think it is quite understandable that they would still have difficulty fully shifting to this position of grace, especially, I think, for the Jews.
You see, the Jewish people are brought up with an entire history and system of laws and sacrifices and ceremonies. The Jewish people in the times gone by, they are familiar with animal sacrifices, they are familiar with food laws, what is clean and unclean, what they can touch, what they can eat, and what they can't. And the Jewish people observe many festivals and sacred days, their calendar is littered with many kinds of regulations and observances. Their baby boys are all circumcised, and so they are filled with such rituals and ceremonies and laws and observances.
So when someone who is a Jew turns to Jesus Christ, there may be this question in their minds, is Jesus really enough? What about all the thousands of years of our observances of the sacrifices and the rituals and the ceremonies, do we really say we don't have to do them anymore? So it's very tempting when someone comes along and says, well, Jesus may not be enough. Jesus is good, but you need more than Jesus, so let's have a Jesus-plus kind of religion.
And that is the issue, I think, facing the Colossians, for there are false teachers coming amongst them and say that you need to have these observances, these rituals, ceremonies with regards to food and drinks, festival, new moon, or a Sabbath. You got to follow these regulations, do not handle, do not taste, do not touch. And they all sound very enticing, and so Paul writes to say, make sure you guys are not deluded or deceived with these enticing arguments, uh enticing words. Be careful that you're not taken hostage or captive or kidnapped by these false teachings.
So today we're going to look at this false teaching in particular in Colossians 2, verses 16 to 23. I've entitled this sermon simply the Jesus-plus religion. What's wrong with it? What is this all about? And I would say that this is probably not so simple a passage, and I have adopted to take on a verse-by-verse rundown of these verses. So you don't have three points, four points, it's just a simple rundown of the verses. I hope this will allow you to see the truth in this text a lot better.
So let's begin in verse 16. Paul says, 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. We begin with the first word, therefore. The word therefore reminds us of what he has written beforehand. That's why I say it's great to have your Bibles open before you.
Paul in verses 11 to 15, just verses before this, has been saying that Jesus is enough. You have been filled in Jesus. You are complete in Jesus. You don't need anything more than Jesus. You're filled in Him because Jesus is the One who enables you to be fully forgiven and set free from the bondage of sin. He says that the record of your debt of sin is nailed to His cross. It is blotted and erased, it is cast out. You are fully forgiven.
And not only that, you are circumcised in Jesus. Your heart is cleansed because of Jesus. You are buried with Jesus. You are raised to new life in Jesus. So because Jesus is enough, you are filled in Him. Therefore, guys, don't let anyone pass judgment on you with regards to these things. Don't let anyone come along to condemn you and say, you don't have enough if you only have Jesus. You need more. You need to observe the food laws, the drinks laws, the festivals. You need to do these things. No, because you have everything in Jesus, Paul says. Don't let anyone condemn you in these things.
These are very Jewish things. You can appreciate with regards to new moon or Sabbath. These are very Judaistic things. So it is apparent and actually quite clear that the false teachers are saying, Jesus is not enough, you need to add to what Jesus has done with what you need to do. And these are very familiar words and concepts, especially when you compare them with Galatians.
Everybody, I think, knows that Paul wrote the book of Galatians to warn the Galatians against a Jesus plus religion. You don't need to go back to circumcision to be saved. You don't need to observe the Ten Commandments to be saved because Jesus paid it all, that's Galatians. You're free. And actually, he uses similar ideas. How can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles, the stoicheia of this world? What is the stoicheia? What's the elementary principle of this world?
Legalism, works-based religion, self-righteousness. How can you go back when you understand grace in Jesus? Why would you want to observe these calendrical things in order to get yourself justified before God? You don't have to. Jesus paid it all. So in a very similar vein, this is what Paul is writing to the Colossians about. There are people coming to tell you, you need to do this, do this, do this, do that. No, no, you don't have to. Don't let them condemn you. Jesus is enough.
You see, these things are just a shadow of the things to come. This gives you a vivid picture. Let's say you're walking along the road and you see behind a wall an, a shadow emerge. It's a shadow with an outline like that of a man. And as you observe a few more seconds, after the shadow passes, a man comes from behind the wall. The shadow foreshadows the coming man.
And so the law, the festivals, the feasts, the food and drinks, they are just a shadow. They are just a foreshadowing. They are just an advance notice that points to the ultimate fulfilment, the substance, the body, that's the actual word in the Greek, the body, which is Christ. So guys, why should anyone be able to condemn you for not keeping the food laws or the calendrical laws when actually all of them ultimately point to Jesus only? And you have Jesus and Jesus is enough.
That's the same logic in Hebrews chapter 10. For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, the Hebrews author has been always saying, Jesus is the One who saves. The law, they're just a foreshadowing.
Let me give you another example, if it helps. Does anybody recognise this road? Where is this? Where? Dunearn Road, that's right. This is where our other building is, 360 Dunearn Road. And this is Dunearn Road. This is a picture I took some five years ago, I think, six years ago. Uh, and along the road, I saw, this is 2017, I saw some cables that are tied to the roof of these walkways. And I see plants planted by the side. I was curious, I was wondering what it was.
Now, today, maybe you're all familiar, aiyah you're so stupid, of course. But that was six years ago,liak bokew, first time I see. And so I was curious, I took a picture. And two years later, near the beginning of 2020, I came back and I, and I took another photo. And I realized things have somewhat changed. So I Googled and found out that this is path, this is not accidental, it is intentional. This is part of our NParks City vision to create or build more green walkways. We have an amazing country, isn't it?
And so what they do is that they, they tie these cables, these ropes, that allow the plants, which are not that strong, to grow in the right direction, right up to the top. So that it is a suitable shield from the sun. It's a nice walkway. When you today walk by this path, you would probably appreciate these green plants. Because they are the ones that offer you shield.
But I suppose none of you would go up close and look for the cable and say, wow, I thank you cable. You shield me from the sun. Because the cable is just a scaffold. It does not offer you real shielding nor protection. That's what I think about the law, the festivals, the sacrifices, the rituals, they are just a cable. They kind of point you, allow us to see the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.
But they do not save, they do not shield you from God's wrath. Only Jesus alone and He is enough. Today we don't have to look at Jesus and say, I also need cables to save me. You don't. Jesus is the Substance. The law is just the shadow.
He goes on to say, let no one disqualify you. Now this then is a parallel, isn't it? The first one is let no one pass judgment on you. Like as in a court of law. Here let no one disqualify you is a similar idea, don't let anyone condemn you, except that this is in the arena of athletics. Because this word is speaking about an empire who empires against you, who judges against you. The idea is the same. But different arenas, different word pictures, and Paul is saying, don't let anyone pass judgment on you, and don't let anyone disqualify you.
Insisting on asceticism. Now asceticism is a chim word, huh. What in the world is asceticism? Well, asceticism simply, I think in this context, refers to that abstaining, refraining of some of the things you will personally like. So a fast is a kind of ascetic practice. You deny yourself some things. So you do not handle, do not taste, do not touch, and then the idea of asceticism is related to severity to the body. Some kind of pain or denial you give to yourselves.
So there are false teachers in those days who are coming along to the Colossians and say, you guys say Jesus is your Savior. I think you need more. You need to fast. You need to obey the rituals and the commands in the Old Testament, the Mosaic law. And if you don't do so, you're not accepted by God. That's what they are insisting on, asceticism.
The word itself simply translated asceticism is the word humility in the Greek. It is generally used in a positive light. But in the context here where it is clearly negative, the translators have translated it to be asceticism or ascetic practices. Now this is not hard for you to grasp, I think, but the next one will be extremely tricky and I would add the word controversial.
Because the next phrase is worship of angels. Now this is thorny, this is difficult. The false teachers have come in and if we read it right here, they are insisting that the Colossians should do some kind of asceticism and that the Colossians should do some kind of worship of angels. What is worship of angels? In the Greek, it allows for an understanding of worship to angels or worship via or by angels. It allows for that.
But I think the first option is not quite reasonable, because to all Jews, it is very clear that we should worship only one God. You shall have no other gods before Me. So worship in a Jewish mindset is only to be given to God alone. So if the false teachers are coming and say you need to worship angels or give worship to angels, Paul would have reserved a lot harsher words to deal with that. But he doesn't.
So the other option, possibly, is that you worship via angels. Worship by angels. Some kind of intermediary that you get when you get into some kind of visions. So the understanding that many commentators have is that the false teachers say you need to fast till you blur. You fast until you get into this mystical state where you enter into visions and you worship God via or like the angels.
They are like your intermediaries. So they boast of this elitist uh, status where, whoa, the false teachers come closer to God as they fast, as they enter into this kind of mystical trance and vision, and they worship via angels. Some of you look at me with this. You go check out your commentaries. It's the vast majority of scholars who think that, because it's a difficult phrase to understand the worship of angels.
But is that really what it is? I'm sticking my neck out this morning. I may have stones thrown at me by the end of the day. But I want to offer to you another take, which is hardly common. The word worship, so let's look at the words, look at the context, look at the comparison of Scripture and try to come to an understanding of what I think Paul is saying.
The word worship is an interesting word. It's not the usual word that we use like proscuneo, which is to lie prostrate before God, and that's worship. It's a word that is used only four times in the New Testament, and it's a word translated elsewhere as religion. For example, James 1:27, pure religion and undefiled is this, that you visit the fatherless and orphans and so on.
So properly translated, it could be they are, these false teachers, insisting on asceticism and angel religion. Now what is angel religion, or the religion of angels? In the Bible, angels are very associated with this unique thing. It's not that they have wings and they shoot arrows, but angels in the Bible are very related to the Ten Commandments.
You say, how do you get that? Well the New Testament tells us that the Ten Commandments are given to man via angels. Not my words, but in Acts 7:53, you who received the law as delivered by angels. Galatians 3 and verse 19, the law was put in place through angels. And then most obviously, Hebrews chapter 2, the message declared by angels and every transgression received a just retribution. The law was given by angels.
I want you to take a step back. This is a little bit complex, but I think it's helpful to understand. Years ago, we were at Furama Waterfront, remember? And we were going through the book of Hebrews. To many people, Hebrews is a complicated book, but actually it is not. It is a very logical, reasoning book. And the whole book of Hebrews is actually the writer saying, Jesus is greater. That's the main message of Hebrews. That's why our sermon series was called Greater. Jesus is supreme. Jesus is greater.
Why does the Hebrews author emphasize that? Because he's writing to people who are very tempted, after coming to know Jesus, to go back to Judaism, to go back to the sacrifices, to circumcision, to the law, just like the Galatians were facing. They were tempted to go back, so the author of Hebrews proves, or seeks to prove that Jesus is greater. You don't have to go back to these things. Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment. All these rules and laws and rituals and ceremonies are just a shadow of the reality who is in Christ.
So the Hebrews author makes comparisons throughout the book of Hebrews, saying Jesus is greater than the angels. Jesus is greater than Moses. Jesus is greater than Joshua. Jesus is greater than Levi. Jesus is greater than the animal sacrifices. He makes all these comparisons. So why then does he start with angels in Hebrews 1 and 2? Reason is because they all understand that the angels are the intermediaries, they are the mediators, they are the ones through whom the Ten Commandments are given.
So there is a high regard for the Ten Commandments because it's given by angels. But the Hebrews author is saying, why would you think that Jesus is not greater? Jesus is greater than the angels. So the Old Covenant, the, the religion that is associated with legalism, is not greater than the New Covenant. Jesus and what He has done is greater than the Old Covenant. And therefore, the angels are referred to in Hebrews.
Coming back, we see in Colossians 2, I think Paul is saying, the false teachers are insisting that you observe the food and drinks laws, the festivals, the fastings, and they're insisting in angel religion, religion associated with legalism, with the Ten Commandments, with the observing of them in order to gain righteousness or justification before God.
Now, he goes on to say that these false teachers insist on these two things, and these false teachers are also people who go on in detail about visions. Let me say this, when it is translated as visions in the ESV, you will tend to read this, thinking that this is some supernatural vision, isn't it? Some kind of mystical trance, because the word visions tend to lead you there.
But if you look at it in the Greek, the word visions is a common garden word that means to see or to behold or to perceive. It's a, it's a common word and there is no need to attach some kind of supernaturalness to seeing. And then, Paul says that these false teachers are puffed up without reason, they are giving baseless assertions, they're not from God, and this is all from his sensuous mind. Again, the word sensuous may communicate some kind of experiential experience, this kind of mystical experience, but actually the word sensuous in the Greek is the word sarx. Not S-U-C-K-S, but S-A-R-X, if you want to pronounce it, sarx, which means flesh.
So it's not sensuous mind, as in experiential, but it's a fleshly mind, a mind that is hostile against God. So, this is what I think Paul is saying. I don't think Paul is in the middle of it, highlighting that the false teachers are guilty of teaching legalism and Judaism, plus adding on some mystical worship of angels, entering into some supernatural vision, and having some ecstatic sensuous experience.
But that Paul, consistently in Colossians, is talking about a Jesus plus religion. About regulations, do not handle, do not touch, do not eat, about food and drinks, about calendrical laws, severity to the body, and so he's saying let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism or angel worship, which is legalism. That's the whole context. That's what Galatians 4 is about, that's what Hebrews is about, that's what I think Colossians is also about.
For they go on in detail about what they perceive, what they see, what they behold by themselves, and they are conceited with baseless assertions from a fleshly mind. These false teachers teach these things of their own. See, this is not from God. And that is re-emphasized in verse 19, the following verse, saying that these false teachers are not holding fast to the Head who is understood to be Jesus in the earlier verses. So let no one condemn you or disqualify you because these guys are not of God, their message is not from God.
So like I said, I stick my neck firmly out this morning. To be clear, the Colossian heresy, in my opinion, is not Gnosticism. Some person in time past suggested Colossians is about Gnosticism, which is actually at the heart of it all, a worship of another deity and the belief that all material things, your body and so on, is are dirty or sinful or evil. That is an imposition into the text. It's really not what this text says.
So, I think in recent years, scholars have understood it's not Gnosticism. But I think a lot of them suggest that the Colossian heresy is some kind of syncretism. Syncretism just means a kind of combination of things. Everybody understands that there must be some Judaism here. There, there's a lot of Jewish element in this false teaching, and that's legalism. But they also add that there must be some kind of mysticism because of the worship of angels and visions and so on.
I hope, now I may not say that this is totally impossible, but I think, as I've mentioned, a proper study of the words, the context, and the comparison of Scripture leads me to think that Paul is dealing with the false teaching of legalism in the church at Colossae. I think this is the toughest part. We kind of dealt with it, so let's finish up verse 20 to 23. I'm glad no tomatoes and eggs are thrown. That's why we say no food in the auditorium.
If with Christ, you died to the elemental spirits of the world, this is unfortunate again, like I said. There is no spirits in the Greek. It's elemental, stoicheia. We have learned that last week, so I will not rehash it. It's translated elemental principles in Galatians 4, but somehow because translators read the angel worship part very strongly, so they kind of would have to add, I think, spirits to keep this consistent, but really you don't have to.
But I want to emphasize this thing, to observe the structure of this text. We have already seen verse 16 and verse 18 are parallels. Do not let them condemn you. Do not let them disqualify you. And now there's another structure because if with Christ you died, is to be read together if then you have been raised. This is what Paul was talking about in chapter 2, verse 12, buried with Christ and raised with Him.
So this segment forms a bridge between the refutation of the false teachings and what it means to live life with Christ. We are going to look at that in the next few weeks. But I just want you to see the structure here. And Paul is bringing together what it means now to refute these false teachings and to live a life in Christ. He says if with Christ you died, died to what? Died to the elemental principles, no spirits, of the world, which is, I think, legalism, self-righteousness, works-based religion.
Now this concept was already, again, alluded to last week. The doctrine of the cross involves how Jesus died for me and this side is, I died with Jesus. Jesus died for me is substitution. He paid for my sins. I can't pay, He paid for me. I died with Jesus, is I'm united with Jesus. That old Jason is dead and in that place is a new Jason. Did I actually die? No, I, I did not kill myself. But in a very amazing way, when Jesus died, I died with Him.
That's what Paul is saying, we died with Christ and we are raised with Christ. And the implication is that the doctrine of substitution gives us salvation from the penalty of sin and the doctrine of union with Christ gives us victory over the authority or the power of sin. I am no more needed to live as a slave to sin. And so if this gives me salvation, this grants me the potential for sanctification, which is being more like God.
But today we learn that there's an additional understanding of what it means to be united with Christ. Not only are we circumcised and delivered from the power of sin, but we are also delivered from having to fulfill the elemental principle of legalism, of works-based religion, of self-righteousness before God. I am dead to the law. That's what Paul is saying.
I don't have to obey the law as a means to be justified before God anymore. No, it's not that we throw the baby with the bathwater. We're not saying that the law is bad or that the ceremonies in time past are bad, but we don't need these things to find salvation in God anymore. So I've died, I've died to this elemental principle of legalism of this world, which is really at the heart of it just about regulations like do not handle, do not taste, do not touch.
And these things are, according to human precepts and teachings, they are not from God. Do they work? Do they help? Nope, not at all. Because Paul's logic is, all these things, food laws and so on, they deal with things that perish. How can perishable things result in an imperishable life? That's his line of reasoning. And these are just humanistic, they do not work.
And even though they look good, they have an appearance of wisdom. You know a man who fasts? A man who does a lot of religious rituals, he looks godly, but actually there is no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
Last week I came for the mid-autumn carnival and wanted to support some of the stalls and events here. So bought a stack of coupons, didn't know how to spend it, Uh, I mean, so much food, right? Uh, decided to buy something and I bought this plant from one of the plant stalls. And there are many, many plants available there, I just chose this one. And people ask me, why did you choose this one? I say, because I want to be holy. This plant cannot make me holy! Although it has many holes.
But it's as funny as saying that if I fast, I will be holy. Now I'm not saying that fasting is bad, please don't misunderstand me. If fasting helps you to concentrate, to humble yourself, to afflict yourself, so that you are in a better position to seek the Lord, that's great and that's fine. But if you think that fasting alone makes you more holy, you have a big problem. Because you are contradicting what Paul is saying, they have no value, this severity to the body has no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. These are all self-made religious practices.
Congratulations, guys, we survived, verses 16 to 23. But I don't want you to walk out losing the big picture. Having gone into the details, the technicalities, I think we need to take a step back and understand what is this Colossian heresy all about. There are false teachers who are like wolves in sheep's clothing, coming to the Colossians, saying, guys, I know you believe in Jesus, but Jesus is not enough. You need to do more. You need a Jesus plus religion. You need to keep the food and drinks regulations. You need to observe festivals and new moon and Sabbath. You need asceticism and angel religion, which is legalism. You need to keep these regulations. Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch. This is what you need, guys, the false teachers come along and say.
The Apostle Paul, caring for the Colossians, burdened for them, praying for them, wrote this letter to them and tells them, guys, don't listen to these false teachers. Do not be deluded by their enticing speech. See to it, beware that no one takes you captive by their love for their own human wisdom that is not according to God, and their empty deceit, all hoh kwa, bohoh jiak.
These are according to human tradition, according to the elemental principles of the world, and they are not according to Christ. These things that they teach to tell you to do, do, do, do, to add on to what Jesus is doing, these are not according to Christ. For in Jesus, the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily. Jesus is God, the very God, and you have been filled in Him. You are complete in Him.
What do you mean by that? It means that you're spiritually circumcised. God has cleansed your heart. God has delivered you from the dominion of sin through union with Jesus, buried and raised with Christ. 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.
Therefore, guys, let no one condemn you for the food laws and the calendrical laws. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and angel religion, which is legalism, these false teachers are on their own here. They do not hold on to our Head. They do not come from God. You need not submit to these regulations for justification.
Legalism is the basic religion principle of the world, but not of God. They revolve around things that perish. They look good, but of, are of no value. Therefore, remain stable and steadfast. Do not shift from the hope of the Gospel. Continue to live in Christ, to walk in Him, which means to be rooted and built up and established in Him. In Christ, you have everything. Apart from Him, you have absolutely nothing. That's Colossians 2, in a different way, but I think same way.
So for the Jews, they are familiar with sacrifices, food laws, calendrical observances, and circumcision. And it's very tempting to think, I need a Jesus-plus religion, but you don't. We are not Jews, but today maybe we may be guilty of some kind of legalism in our lives, when we think that we need to read the Bible, if not God is going to send me to hell. Do you know there are people like that? I read the Bible, aiyah God, I'm sorry, I didn't read the Bible today, please don't send me to hell. You may not say it like that, because that would be quite ridiculous, but you kind of believe it like that. That if I don't read, if I don't pray, if I don't go to church, that's why you came this morning, if I don't put money into the offering box, God is going to send me to hell, I'm no more a Christian. You see, that is legalism, that's the basic stoicheia of this world. It's not according to Christ.
The radical teaching and the freeing message of the Gospel is that Jesus paid it all. Now guys, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying, wah, Pastor Jesus said no need to read the Bible leh. He said no need to pray and no need to come to church. Wah! This religion is amazing ah! No, I'm not saying that. I'm saying you don't do these things in order to be earning righteousness with God.
But if you really know God and Jesus, if you know His love for you, I tell you, a miracle will take place in your life where He will give you a heart that loves Him, and when you love Him, you will now read your Bible. But for a totally different reason. You will pray, but for a totally different reason. You will come to church, for a totally different reason. You will give offerings, for a totally different reason. It is no more about self-salvation, but because you truly worship Him and you want to serve Him.
See, legalism at the heart of it all, is selfishness. The only way you can be purged from selfishness to true worship is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus paid it all, and now I can give my all for God, truly.
Tozer says, it is not Christ plus something else. Jesus is enough. And let me end with a mathematical equation for you to think about, and it is simply, Jesus plus nothing else is everything, with regards to our justification before God. Jesus plus nothing is everything. The moment you add something, you lost everything. Let's bow for a word of prayer together.
The whole world and every religion in it operates on legalism, on self-righteousness, on work it, do it, deserve it, earn it. But the Gospel, the Bible declares, it is done. It is finished. It is paid for. My Son has paid it all. Humble yourself and receive My gift freely. And then and only then can men and women truly worship God.
The world tells you, Jesus plus. The Bible says, Jesus plus nothing is everything. Our justification is found in Jesus Christ alone. And my friends, if you're here today and you do not know what Christianity is about, I pray today you would see that it is all about Jesus. When He went to the cross and died and shed His blood to wash away all our sins.
That's why He's called the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. It's not that He takes some and you take some. We can take none. But He took it all. And in Him, we find our justification and righteousness and salvation. So would you come to God today in humility and look to Jesus to save you from your sins. For God so loved this wicked world that whosoever believes in Jesus will not perish but have everlasting life.
And I say to my brothers and sisters in Christ, again I'm not saying throw away your Bible, throw away prayer, throw away ministry. No, I'm not saying these things. I, I'm saying don't do these things to earn salvation.
But if you really know God and you know the Gospel, then stand firm in the Gospel. Realize that the Gospel has given you liberty. Liberty, liberty, freedom from the law. But use that freedom to serve God today. To worship Him, to honour Him, to make His Name known in the land that we live in.
What a beautiful Gospel this is. Jesus paid it all and all to Him I owe. So Father, bless Your Church today. Spare us from self-righteous, legalistic mindset. Help us to revel in the depth of the freedom and generosity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. May souls be saved. May worship be rendered unto Your Name.
And what is worship we ask? We're going to learn that from Colossians and I pray that you will teach us in the weeks to come. But make us a worshipful people. For Your Name and Your Name alone, we pray in Jesus' Name. Amen.
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