Colossians, It’s All About Christ#2: Christ, My Treasure
Text: Colossians 2Video Link
MS Word Doc
Joke: A mother and her 3-year-old daughter were riding in a car when suddenly the little girl put her head on her mother's chest and began to listen. "What are you doing?" mom asked. "I'm listening for Jesus in your heart," was the reply.
"Well what do
you hear?" The innocent child looked up with the satisfied look of
discovery in her eyes and said, "Sounds like he's making coffee!"
Sometimes I feel like that child, there is so much about the
miracle, wonder and power or Christ dwelling in me that I will never fully comprehend
it. But that will not stop me from rejoicing and growing in that incredible
relationship. Yet sometimes we are led to believe that there must be something
more. Some belief, some experience that I’m missing in my relationship with
Christ. Something better than having a living connection to God the almighty
through His son Jesus Christ.
Paul wrote to the church at Colossi warning them about the early Gnostics, who were trying to tell the church that there was something more, something deeper, something extra, that would supersede what they already had in Christ. The Gnostics and those who have been influenced by them, believed that only spirit was good and anything physical was evil. This meant that Christ could not have come to earth as a man for he would have been evil, therefore they denied the virgin birth, they denied what is called the hypostatic union, that Jesus was both fully man and fully God. Some of the Colossians were being seduced by the Gnostics because they claimed to be intellectuals and philosophers who in their great and superior wisdom had figured out who and what Christ really was.
Treasure Him – Colossians 2:1-3
1 For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; 2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Christ Our Treasure
Paul tells the Colossians and all those who might read this letter as it was circulated, that he was struggling, fighting for them. He was locked in a battle on their behalf. He fought this emotional and spiritual battle in his prayers and in his heart. He prays for the Colossian believers, the believers in Laodicea and any who have not yet met him, face to face. He prays to see their hearts comforted by being knit together in love. He is praying and hoping that they might love each other and in that love, one for another, find the comfort that comes with the shared love of God among brothers and sisters in Christ.
He also prays that in that unity and comfort of God’s love, they would come unto the riches of the full assurance of understanding. That they would see the wealth that is theirs through the full assurance of who Christ is, not what the false teachers were trying to make Him into but as he was fully revealed. He goes on and tell them he wants them to acknowledge the mystery of God and the Father and of Christ. This is the greater knowledge, this is the greater revelation it is what God has revealed to us, that Jesus was God in the flesh, that Jesus came to earth to save us. That truly is a mystery we need to acknowledge what could be more of a wonder and miracle that Christ in us the hope of glory?
Paul once again focuses in on Christ, the theme of this letter. He says, “In Christ are hid all the treasures.” All the treasure is in Christ, first in the gift of salvation but then in the wonder of experiencing and knowing Him more and more each day.
Our relationship with Christ is like a mine in which we go down, deeper and deeper every day, finding at each depth more precious treasure than we did when we first began.
Is Christ, My Treasure?
Paul knew that all that was or could be a problem in the churches could be overcome if the children of God just realized how wonderful it was to have the love of their brothers and sisters in Christ. If they would have unity in their churches nothing could come against them and be successful. And most importantly of all, they needed to acknowledge the wonder of God, the Father and to see Jesus as the most valuable treasure given to mankind. In him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He is worth everything, He is everything.
John 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
Colossians 1:19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
Illustration: Pliny’s Problem
Pliny, a powerful governor of the Roman Empire once wrote to the Emperor complaining about the problems he had with the Christians.
Pliny: I will banish thee. Christian: Thou canst not, for the whole world is my Father's house. Pliny: I will slay thee. Christian: Thou canst not, for my life is hid with Christ in God. Pliny: I will take away thy treasures. Christian: Thou canst not, for my treasure is in heaven. Pliny: I will drive thee away from men, and thou wilt have no friends. Christian: Thou canst not, for I have a Friend from whom thou canst never separate me. – Pliny (23-79)
Those early Christians understood the precious treasure of knowing Jesus Christ, in him was all they needed. To them He was not just a Sunday morning diversion, a duty or an entertainment. He was their all in all.
Paul through his prayer is telling the Colossians and all those who would read the epistle, that making Christ their treasure is the first step in overcoming the heresy that was coming into the church. Then in vss. 4-8 he tells them the next step in warding themselves from these errors, it is walking in Him.
Walk With Him – Colossians 2:4-8
4 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. 5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. 6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Safety in the Savior
Paul’s warning and admonition to the church, some were trying to beguile them with enticing words. He tells them to remember, that he is with them in spirit, joying in their order and steadfastness. He tells them that their protection against the false teachers was this, “As you have received Christ so walk in him. Rooted and built up in him.” They had been established in their faith in Christ and in that faith, they were taught, now remain faithful and abound with thanksgiving.
The words Paul uses are reminiscent of military campaign. The members of the church must be on guard for anyone trying to take them captive, like spoils or booty after a city falls and is looted. He is telling them to be on guard for these who are like an invading army trying to take them captive, to make them marks of conquest in the war of deceit that is raging against them.
Paul’s admonition to the Colossians was not to be smarter than the deceivers, or more cunning. His instructions had nothing to say about intellectual power or some hidden wisdom. No, Paul said to repel these raiders, to hold the walls of the church against these invaders do this, “Walk in Christ.”
Walk in Him, conduct your life in the power and companionship of Jesus Christ. And Paul goes on and says this is what you must understand, Walk in him as you have received him. They were saved by receiving Jesus Christ, the person, not a philosophy. This is what the must remember. Let me rephrase that, This is Who they must remember.
They are to be rooted in Him, they are to be built up in Him. The Gnostic were using the promise of some esoteric knowledge to capture the minds of believers but Paul is saying that kind of knowledge is just a vain deceit, it is Christ you must know.
Stay Close to Christ
Paul’s warning to the Colossians is even more real today. Gnosticism is alive and well in our world, under a hundred different labels. Believers are being taking like the spoils of war, in churches everywhere. Good people are being robbed of a closer relationship with Christ by preachers, charlatan, egoists and others even more deceived than themselves. They use enticing, beautiful words, empty deceit and false philosophies to make people believe there is something more than just knowing Christ. Something more than just walking in Him. If they would just listen these people will give them the hidden knowledge they lack.
Paul lists these weapons that would be used to take captives from the love of Christ; philosophy, vain deceit, the tradition of men and the rudiments of the world all these he points out are not about Christ.
Philosophy and vain deceit: This what the Gnostics were offering, philosophy, it literally means a love of wisdom, but it is empty and deceitful because it is loving a false wisdom instead of loving the true Christ.
We are surrounded by such attacks today. We have humanism, evolution, Christian cults, hedonism, the occult, at many others all of which try to take us captive by telling us they know a better way.
Here is what they all have in common, they are all is centered on man or one man’s philosophy and not on Christ.
Guard against the tradition of men, Paul warns.
These are things like legalism, works for salvation. These are the teachers who replace a close, walking, talking relationship with Jesus and instead replace him with rites and rituals, statutes and statues and repetitive prayers and repeated practices.
We can even see this in our own church if we are vigilant and on guard. If we are not careful, we can become so comfortable with our own traditions, rites and practices that they replace our walk with the Lord. I have to constantly ask myself, “Am I more in love with the things of God than with God Himself?”
The rudiments of the World: Here is the greatest danger, it is the world itself.
The things which draw me most effectively away from Christ are the rudiments of the world around me. The world tells me I need things, so I skip church and make work a priority. The world tells me what music is best, how to look my best, how to talk and think the best. Under the influence of the world, I don’t plan for what I desire to do serving Christ and preparing for the next world but what can I do to serve my needs and to make things better for myself in this world. Oh sure, Christ can come along for the ride, but I am firmly in the driver’s seat.
The attacks of the enemy against our relationship with Christ are effective because they don’t sound like attacks, they sound like invitations from a friend.
To forsake Christ for the world is to leave a treasure for a trifle ... eternity for a moment, reality for a shadow. - William Jenkyn
James the brother of Jesus is more direct. He says in James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
This world and all its philosophies and pursuits are nothing compared to trusting, knowing and walking with Jesus.
Illustration: The impact of Christ
An anonymous author made this striking comparison: "Socrates taught for 40 years, Plato for 50, Aristotle for 40, and Jesus for only 3. Yet the influence of Christ's 3-year ministry infinitely transcends the impact left by the combined 130 years of teaching from these men who were among the greatest philosophers of all antiquity. Jesus painted no pictures; yet some of the finest paintings of Raphael, Michalengelo, and Leonardo da Vinci received their inspiration from Him. Jesus wrote no poetry; but Dante, Milton, and scores of the world's greatest poets were inspired by Him. Jesus composed no music; still Haydn, Handel, Beethoven, Bach, and Mendelssohn reached their highest perfection of melody in the hymns, symphonies, and oratorios they composed in His praise. Every sphere of human greatness has been enriched by this humble Carpenter of Nazareth.
"His unique contribution to the race of men is the salvation of the soul! Philosophy could not accomplish that. Nor art. Nor literature. Nor music. Only Jesus Christ can break the enslaving chains of sin and Satan. He alone can speak peace to the human heart, strengthen the weak, and give life to those who are spiritually dead."
Paul now goes on to show just how great Jesus really is. Vs. 9
Complete In Him – Colossians 2:9-12
9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11 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: 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.
Christ, Completely God, Us Complete In Him
Paul says that Jesus was fully God, “in him dwells all the fulness of deity,” To know Him is to know God. In his body dwells the fullness of God. The incarnation of Christ showed us God.
Then Paul makes this connection, “You are complete in him, who is the head of all principality and power.” We share in the life of Christ, Jesus the Son of God, the One who is the head of all things, has made us a part of his life.
This is exactly what Jesus prayed in John 17: 20-23 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
What can the world offer that is greater than sharing Jesus life?
Christ Only, Completes Us
This world and all it’s philosophies and cults make empty promises of giving us what we need to make our life full and complete, but the fulfillment of that promise can only be true in Jesus Christ.
The unsaved wanderer is incomplete because he has no direction, the unsaved sinner is incomplete because he has no savior, the lost child is incomplete because he has no heavenly father, the unsaved creation called man is incomplete because he has no creator, the lost soul is incomplete because it has no home.
I cannot be what I should be what I was created to be until I am complete in Christ. In him, I am spiritual marked with the circumcision of my soul. I now belong to God. In him I have been buried and then raised from the dead, this reality symbolized by my baptism.
What can this world offer that is greater? What can philosophy teach that is truer? What can tradition promise that is more unfailing, than the completeness of knowing Jesus, my Lord and Savior?
This truth is also seen in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, chapter 1:3-12 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence
Illustration: Watchman Nee, Christian in Communist China
Watchman Nee was a Christian who wrote and preached from the 1920’s until 1952. When the communists overran China, Nee was arrested and put in prison. In prison he was starved, denied medical treatment, beaten by the guards and was only allowed visits from his wife. Finally, in 1972, six months after his wife died, Watchman Nee was delivered from prison by his own death.
His grandniece wrote this, “In June 1972, we got a notice from the labor farm that my granduncle had passed away. My eldest grandaunt and I rushed to the labor farm. But when we got there, we learned that he had already been cremated. We could only see his ashes...Before his departure, he left a piece of paper under his pillow, which had several lines of big words written in a shaking hand. “Christ is the Son of God who died for the redemption of sinners and resurrected after three days. This is the greatest truth in the universe. I die because of my belief in Christ.” – Watchman Nee
I wonder, if your life, your hopes, your future could be reduced to one last statement, would that sentence be about Jesus Christ?
Paul’s last letter was to Timothy written from prison and awaiting his death. This is what he wrote in 2 Timothy 4:16-18 16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. 17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. 18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
If my eternal life is built on the single truth of who Jesus is, then shouldn’t my life now reflect that? Shouldn’t I walk in Him, be firmly rooted in Him, and everything that comes from my life be built on Him? Jesus is the most important person in all of history, he will be the most important person in all of eternity. He should be the most important person in my reality today.