Colossians 2:1-5 (Week 7 – Jesus Plus Nothing Series)
Jason White



Satan will use fine-sounding arguments to deceive us of the truth. Colossians 2 shows us that if we understand the fullness of Christ and the treasure of wisdom and knowledge found in Him, we will not fall for the false teaching of a “Jesus Plus Gospel.”

Colossians 2:1-5…I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. 2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. 5 For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.





Sermon Audio Transcript
If you have your Bible with you or device with a Bible app on it, we're going to be in Colossians chapter two, we're going to be looking at the first five verses in Colossians chapter two. We'll be there in just a moment. Since we are starting a new chapter today, I thought it would be a great point for us to just kind of review where it is that we have been over the last several weeks, we've been in this Colossians message series where we've been going verse by verse, we made it all the way through chapter one, the 29 verses that are there and today, since we're starting this new chapter, I think it will be helpful to give us the context of where it is that we are going and where Paul is leading us. You may remember the very first time that we met, if you were here in the introduction, we kind of showed you this map, this is modern day Turkey, and this is where Colossi is, we can see here that this is where emphasis is and we believe that most likely Epaphras, who was someone who lived in Colosse, a traveled to Ephesus heard Paul preached the gospel, became saved, went back to Colossi and shared the gospel with his friends and his family and his co workers and all of those things. People came to receive new life in him in a church was started there. There used to be a major road, we talked about this between here and Colossi. And because of that, and this being a major port city, there were a lot of people who would travel in and through Colossi and a number of people who eventually would settle there. And one of the things that we highlighted in our introduction to this to give us some context was that this was a diverse population, that there were a number of different people who were traveling through or living in this particular city, who had different backgrounds, they were exposed to different religions potentially growing up, they had different affiliations and viewpoints on things. There were all these competing ideas and philosophies and and worldviews it was a very pluralistic society that they lived in. And with the church being planted right in the middle of all of that, there was a temptation to be deceived by these different religions, or these different viewpoints on things, these different philosophies. And we know aside from all of the different things that were being talked about all of the time, there were these false teachers who had infiltrated the church, and they were teaching about these rules and these regulations that the church needed to follow that Jesus was good, he was necessary. But if you follow these rules, and these regulations, then you would have everything, then you would finally be where it is that you need to be. And so we talked all along about how this is what the gospel that was being presented in this area was, again, Jesus plus, fill in the blank these kinds of spiritual experiences. If you can get here and have this spiritual high, then you'll finally have everything or you follow these rules, or Jesus plus, maybe these other so called God's and it was just a number of different views that they were dealing with. And so Paul wrote this letter to the church at Colossae. To combat this false teaching of Jesus plus gospel, it's a Jesus plus nothing equals everything kind of gospel. And so all throughout it, you see Christ being proclaimed over and over and over again, how he is superior to anyone or everyone and everything, and that he is sufficient. And so in the very beginning, when Paul started this letter, he gave a brief introduction, we're not going to go all the way through all 29 verses, we're just going to highlight a few things that we noticed in here. So this was an introduction, he was saying that he wrote the letter, but one of the important things that we made mention of is how he addressed the people that he was writing to. He says to God's holy people, or a lot of translations say, saints, to the saints, who live in Colossae, the church who are there, and we said, it's really important for us to not skim over that too quickly, and not realize how Paul viewed those who had put their faith and trust in Jesus for salvation. They were not poor, old sinners who were saved by grace, they were saints who do still sometimes sin and there is a big difference between the two. Because the most natural thing in the world for someone who is just a poor old sinner to do is sin, if that's what you really believe about your self we live out of what it is that we believe if we believe that we are saints, because that's the way that Paul describes us under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit than saints do saintly things. And the more we believe and walk by faith and trust that this is true of us, even when we don't feel like it's true of us. We'll see the expression of that Saint hood be lived out in us and through us as soon as he enter traduced himself and the things that he said here. He said, Man, we just thank God for you guys. And here's why he says, we thank you, that we thank God for the faith and the love that sprang from the hope stored up for you in Heaven, and about what you have already heard in the true message of the gospel. See, once again, he's trying to combat the false gospel. He's already in the first few verses of the opening letter, pointing them back to the true gospel. They're hearing all these other gospels that Jesus plus gospels, and he says, let me remind you of the true gospel, the one that produced faith and love that sprang from the hope stored up for you already in heaven, because you're already in Christ, and you're already spiritually seated there. He goes on and says, Man, we pray for you, we pray for you a lot. And here's what it is that we pray for you. And we'll just quickly go through these things. What he says we're praying for is that you'll bear fruit, that you'll grow in the knowledge of God, that you'll be strengthened with all power. Notice, again, and we talked about this, when we went through this section, the difference between baring and producing, he's not praying that they would produce fruit, that they would get busy working and trying to, you know, make sure that there's love and peace and all of the fruits of the Spirit being manifested that they would simply bear it as they keep their eyes fixed on Jesus, and he's being used as His instruments, he would produce those fruits in and through them growing in the knowledge of God, we talked about this, and we won't spend a lot of time but this is written in the passive voice. So he's not saying, Hey, you're the one actively going to do the growing in the knowledge, you need to become responsible for that. He's saying, Only God can reveal God to you. And we're praying that he will do the growing, that he'll reveal Himself to you, as you keep your eyes fixed on him. And then we're praying that you'll be strengthened with all of his power, his power dwells in you. And we're just praying that you'll begin to experience that power as you're strengthened for it. And that's what will give you the endurance and the patience to continue in the Christian life in the middle of all these false teachings that are going on. And then the last thing he says the fourth thing in his prayer is that they would praying that they would give joyful thanks to the father. And he describes why because this father has qualified them already to share in the inheritance, they've met the qualifications, there's no more qualifications that have to be met to share in the inheritance. They already have it because Jesus has met the requirements for them. That's not a Jesus. Plus, he's saying you've already got it in the Father through Jesus Christ, right. He also goes on and finally says, At the end of this prayer, these are some of my favorite verses in I mean, literally all of the Bible, because he says, He has rescued us past tense, it's already happening. He's not going to rescue you with Jesus. Plus, once you start having these spiritual experiences, plus when you start following the rules that we're talking about here, know he's rescued you already from the dominion of darkness, you were in the dominion of darkness because of sand had had a hold and a strangle on you. But now he's brought you out of that and into the Kingdom of the Sun. Did you know that you're already in the kingdom, you're already in the kingdom, you're already spiritually seated in heaven, right now, in this moment. And he also goes on to says, you already have redemption, you've already been brought back or bought back from him. And you have right now forgiveness of sins, not will have it one day, not once you confess your sins or any of these things, you've got complete forgiveness of sins, there is so much to be thankful for, for who Jesus is. And what it is that Jesus has already done. You can see, really, through all of the stuff that he's saying has already happened to you is Jesus plus nothing in Him and Him alone who's qualified you who's rescued you, who's already put you in the kingdom, whose you already have redemption and forgiveness of sins, man, you've got everything in just him, right? This is what you have and who you are in Christ and why you can't fall for those lies of the Jesus plus,he says, if that's not enough, let me point you to who Jesus is so you don't miss who Jesus is and how much you really have in him. He says, The Sun is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. He's the exact representation of God because He is God, For in Him and through Him. And for him. He's the location He's the source and he's the goal of all All of creation, all of that has been created in Him. And He says He is before all things. And in Him, all things hold together. This is who Jesus is. He's trying to make sure they understand how big that if this is who he is, how could you be missing out on anything, if he's the one who's before all things and holds all things in together in his hands. And as he went to next, you're reconciled to Him, you're in union with Him, because that's what he goes on to say at the end of this. And that's no small deal, because Paul reminded us next that we were enemies. He says, Once you were alienated from God, you were enemies. In your minds, we talked about that word being your disposition. It's who you were in your nature, because of your sin and your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled, it's already happened if they've put their faith and trust in Jesus. He now he has reconciled you by Christ, physical body, through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation. It's, you're, you're, you're a saint. You're without blemish in Christ. And you're free from accusation because of his finished work, not because of what you're doing, not because of you cleaning your act up one day, and finally getting it right and getting out from under it. And one of these days, I'm gonna get there. No, it's a work of him. He does at the moment you put your faith and trust in Him, and you become these things here. Paul goes on and says, because that's true. And because of all that you have in him, I'm rejoicing in my suffering, to make sure that you don't miss this true gospel message. This is how he ended up the chapter. He says, I rejoice in what I'm suffering. But why is he suffering because he's in jail, and he suffered because he was presenting to them the word of God in all of its fullness. It's okay that I'm in jail. I'm rejoicing, because if I can get you the Word of God, and all its fullness in all its completeness, then you'll know you have everything it is that you need for life and godliness. And here's the Word of God and all its fullness, Christ in you the hope of glory. He referred to this as a mystery in the chapter that it was hidden in the pages of the Old Testament and revealed now in the person and the work of Jesus Christ. This is what I want you to know. And that's why he says in verse 28, that he Jesus is the one we proclaim, we don't proclaim the rules and the regulations and the spiritual experiences are the 10 commandments. Jesus is the one that we proclaim, because Christ is in you, the hope of glory, and you have everything that you'll ever need in him. And so he says, To this end, I strenuously contend, I labor I toil, not with all of my energy, but with Christ energy that so powerfully works in me and through me to make sure that you don't miss that you don't settle for a less than experience than you could have in Christ. And in Christ alone. If you fall for the false gospel of Jesus, plus all of these things that have to happen, you'll finally get there one day and have everything. So this is where we've been. And this is where we turn the corner in to chapter two. Now, we have this big number that starts there, and these little numbers, but again, this is a letter, there were no chapter, there were no verses. And so Paul's just going to start writing the next sentence based on what it is that he said, here. And so it's tied very closely, and you'll see it because you'll see this exact same word in verse one of chapter two. So he says, I want you to know how hard I am contending for you. And for those at Laodicea. For all who have not met me, personally. So we're reminded again, that Paul didn't plant this church. He hadn't even met them. But he is continuing. He's working hard to make sure they get the true message of the gospel. And he's he's kind of anxious for them. He's worried about the false teaching and knowing that, that what it could do in their lives. He even mentions Laodicea. I don't know if you saw it on the map earlier. It's a little bit hard to see I could have got a better map for you. I apologize. But this is Colossi This is Laodicea. They're only about 1012 miles apart here. And so evidently, there were people in Laodicea, who had heard the gospel from the papyrus and others in the area and there was another church they are maybe they joined together at times for different things, but he's saying I'm praying for them and for you, because I know that these false doctrines could take your eyes off of Jesus and Everything it is that you have in him. And I don't want you to be deceived by those things. I don't want you to fall for the lies. And so he's agonizing over them and contending for them laboring and toiling to make sure that they don't miss out on Jesus. He goes on and verses two and three, he says, my goal, here's, here's what I'm hoping will happen, here's what I want to happen in this is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Now, I know you're not really listening to me, because if you had heard what I just read, then you might have shouted, amen, that particular moment or set up and got a little bit excited about the fact that Christ in him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom, and knowledge. We'll talk about that in just a moment, you may notice that these are progressive statements that Paul makes here that are introduced by these three phrases, my goal, and then he shares his goal. But he says that my goal is this, so that something else will happen. And then when that something else happens, that's going to happen in order that the ultimate final thing will happen in this particular moment. So let's divide those up and talk about those just a little bit more in depth. He says, My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love. So encouragement, is what Paul is talking about here. His goal is that they will be encouraged. Now, one of the things you don't really see in this translation, and the way it comes out here is that this is written in the air just tense. And in the passive voice, we've talked about this a little bit, as we've gone in, not to go in great detail. But what that means is again, that something happened at a point in time, right there in that moment of time, alright, they were walking along, and something happened to you here. And then things change, and then it just keeps going on and on for forever. And what he's saying then, is really, this. My goal is that you may be encouraged by your having been past tense, knit together, in love, or united in love. He's saying, This already happened to you. In other words, the moment you put your faith and trust in Jesus, at that point in time in your life, you were knit together in love. You know why? Because you're in union with the God of the universe, who is love, the Bible says, so you're united in love, you're knit together in love. But it's not just you. Because you have brothers and sisters in Christ, you're united to Jesus as the head, we as the church are the body. And you and I are all united as different members of the body. And so we are knit together, in his love united to the God who is love, and we will be forever and ever and ever already, spiritually in gate or in Heaven with Him and as part of his body. Now, so he's saying, since that's happened, and keep in mind when we were looking at chapter one, and we're talking about the mystery, and he refers to the Gentiles, that even the Gentiles have Christ in you the hope of glory, this mystery from the Old Testament that it's not just the Jewish people, but everyone, no matter who you are, no matter where you've been, no matter what it is that you've done, can come to know Christ in you and experience this knit togetherness as the family of God, and that you'll be encouraged by that knitting together, that you're united in that love together.I think Paul is bringing this up because he understands and he knows with this false teaching, that he's really trying to combat that false teaching always divides. false teaching always divides the family of God. It leads us into separation and isolation, which of course is exactly what Satan wants. Because he knows the Christian life is body life, that it is not a lone ranger, just you and God kind of thing that you've been united together as a body and you have a corporate Identity, you are not just it's not just you, and God, here's a group, a corporate identity that you share in with brothers and sisters in Christ. And so Paul wants them to be encouraged by the truth of the fullness of Christ they have as a body, united in his love together as the church, and he wants the same thing for you. And the same thing for me, we would be little wise to lean in and really listen to this, because Satan, if you haven't noticed, is doing a huge work in our world, in this area of the church today. The data shows it, it's all over the place. As a matter of fact, I received an email just this week from another Christian leader who dives into all of this kind of trends and data and research. Here's the first three lines of his email. Hey, Jason, it's no secret that the number of people who attend church is declining at an alarming rate. Even churches that are growing are noticing that many of their attenders show up sporadically, not regularly to in person services, the majority of people he says, who call your church home, are away on any given Sunday. And it's true. It's not just true in our church, it's true in churches all over Satan is deceiving us into thinking that Christianity is a lone ranger experience that you can get the content that you need through YouTube, that you don't have to show up and be at something and be in it with other people. But that is a lie. It is not just between you and God or me and God and about the content. It's about Christ in us and through us as his family. I don't know about you. But when I'm here, and I look around, and I see you worshiping and you worshiping, and I know that you're struggling with something and you're in it and singing God's great and I know things aren't great in my life, but I'm trusting him with it anyway, man, that is does something in my heart that can only happen when we are together in Christ is expressing himself through you to encourage me because of the knitting together that we have in love. Hopefully, that's what you experience, every time that you show up. And the reason that you want to go, I can't wait to get together in biblical community and experienced corporate worship with my people, not because I've got to check off a box, not because it's religion, because of Jesus plus church attendance. But because it's part of my corporate identity, it's part of who I am. And I'm not going to experience that part of my identity in any other way, if I don't show up with other people who I'm united to. So maybe that's one of the things that the Lord wants to speak to you about today. Maybe you've gotten in the habit of just, oh, come once a month, maybe twice a month, once every six weeks is okay. And again, this is a Grace Church, nobody's calling you nobody's trying to guilt you. Nobody's trying to shame you. In any principle. I'm just trying to say, man, if this is part of who you are, you're gonna miss out on experiencing Christ in you, and maybe have a less than experience than you would otherwise. Because this is one of the ways that Christ works in you and through you. It's in us and through us together. Paul says, This is my goal. And he says, I want this to happen for a reason so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, notice the word full. Notice the word complete. We've already seen that in Colossians, we're going to see it again. Again, if the false gospel is Jesus, plus something equals everything, then you're not full until you fill in the blank. It's not complete until you fill in the blank. And he's saying no, my goal is that you'll be knit together and experience the love that you have and be encouraged by that. And this truth that through that love that you share in together you have the full riches of complete understanding, in that it is Christ in Christ alone. Sometimes this is translated assurance that you'll have the full assurance of understanding anyone ever doubt. God You don't ever doubt their experience you doubt your salvation you doubt you'll be in Heaven you doubt you have everything it is that you need and him and find yourself always searching for something else besides just Jesus. I know about Jesus, that's the Sunday School Lancer, get me to the real stuff I'm supposed to know. We're looking for the blank and we're going we're missing it. Just Jesus. goal is that so that you'll have the complete and assurance of understanding? And here's the ultimate reason, in order that they may know the mystery of God. Here we go again, mystery. What is it this time, Paul, namely Christ? Jesus? No, no, no, no, no, no, Paul, there's more. It's more than just Jesus. That's the Sunday School answer. I know, it's Jesus. But what's next right now know, you'll know the mystery of God, namely Christ in whom are hidden, all not some, all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. It's not Jesus plus a certain amount of wisdom you need to acquire that equals everything, not Jesus. Plus, you're missing some kind of hidden knowledge out there. In Jesus, all of these things are found. I think a lot of us when we see that we go, yeah, I know that. Yeah, I'd say that Jesus, it's all it's Jesus. Right? We said, it's the Sunday School answer. But how many of us fall for the trap of looking for something more? How many of us look past Jesus, and for something out in the world that we're missing? Right? That's basically all that sin is. Every time we're sitting, we're going, I feel like I'm missing something on the inside, I don't have what it is that I need. This thing that I'm being tempted with will give me more of what it is that I'm needing in this moment. So I had to Jesus plus whatever that thing is, and we step into sin, we're looking for that all the time. But it's not just sin, a lot of times, we're looking past just Jesus, and we're looking for a system to follow, we're looking for the steps that we need to follow we're looking for the more knowledge or the more wisdom, even Christian literature is filled with systems and programs and steps that you need to follow in order to find the treasure that you feel like you are missing. Go through any Christian books that you have in your library, or walk through it, go search it on Amazon, and you'll see the reason that a lot of them are making so much money is because we feel like we're something men and missing. It's gotta be more than just Jesus, I know about that. So these show me the steps. I've got to follow these show me the systems I need. These show me the things that I'm not aware of. So I'll have more out of that, and God will be more pleased with me. And he's going, Wait a minute. Here's it is namely, Christ. It's just Jesus. How many of us are often Australia somewhere, looking for a treasure there? When the treasure is underneath the foundation of your home right here in Tyler, Texas. That's what it's like to be looking for a Jesus plus or the more of that we're out hunting treasures, the treasure is somewhere else. But Christ in you the hope of glory is the treasure in Him are all the wisdom and all of the knowledge and everything that you'll need for life. So let's quit chasing more than just Jesus in realize that we have all we need in him. Which is why Paul says what he does next, I tell you this, why why don't you tell us it's about Jesus, so that no one may deceive you buy what fine sounding arguments. Sometimes the arguments are like so stupid, you can go fallen for that one, right? But sometimes they are fine sounding arguments.And when they're fine sounding arguments ago, that could be true. And it sounds like Jesus plus this really is and we're able to, he says no, I don't want you to be deceived by that. And so what is Paul telling us? What is the this?Because if we understand the fullness of who Jesus is, and all that we have in Him, then we're going to look at these fine sounding arguments and go, Oh, I'm realized that that is a lie. I am not deceived by that. Because I know the fullness of who Jesus is, and all that I have in him. So I'm not falling. I'm not going to be deceived by those things. So I think that's why the Apostle Paul tells us all of that stuff we looked at. Here's who Jesus says is so that if you get anybody telling you that you have less than whatever it is that you need be reminded that this is the guy who you're united to. He's the one who's before all things. and in Him all things hold together. He's the One in whom you've already been rescued from the dominion of darkness, you were enemies. But now you're without blemish and holy and free from accusation. You have Christ in you the hope of glory. Now, you have a treasure of wisdom and knowledge. Once you know those things, and I'm struggling, I'm rejoicing that I'm suffering to make sure I'm totally in laboring to get this to you. Because once you see that you will not be deceived, you will recognize it all over the place. Oh, that's a Jesus plus sermon that I'm listening to click. That's a Jesus plus book that I'm reading right now. You don't fall for those particular things. So Paul is saying, this is so important, that I'm willing to suffer to make sure you do not miss out on the Jesus plus nothing equals everything gospel. Paul finishes up and says, this last verse we'll look at today, for though I am absent from you in the body. So we're reminded that he's in jail, he's not with them. He says, I'm present with you in spirit, and I delight what it is that what is it the Paul delights in to see how disciplined you are, and how firm your faith in Christ is. When Paul makes this statement, he is not talking about the size of their faith, which again, is something else you'll hear a whole lot about, right? The Jesus plus all, you know, if you're gonna waver, but he's not he talked about the object, what he's so delighted in is that they're not falling. For the Jesus plus gospel equals everything. They've been disciplined and firm in the object of their faith, just being Christ, not the object of their faith being the rules, or the experiences, or anything else, but the object of their faith, being Christ, not the size of your faith. It's the object of your faith. Listen to this, a little faith in a God who holds all things together is sufficient. True, says the mustard seed, Jesus said, write a little faith in a God who holds all things together. That's why he's promoting Christ as being so big and superior and sufficient in all that you have in him, even just a little faith in that guy. sufficient. So this is the way Paul starts off the first five chapter, verses of chapter two, what is it that stood out to you from this passage today? What is it, that God brought you here for today, to reveal to you to apply to your life, because God's not up to waking you up in the morning and bringing you here, just so you could check a box that you were here, he brought you here, so that his spirit could illuminate his truth to you, and to then show you how it applies to your life today? What is that thing for you today? Is it the fact that maybe you're falling for fine sounding arguments that are about more than Jesus, that you have found yourself falling for a Jesus plus gospel, when you talk about all of those things, you're missing something in him, you're searching for a treasure. Maybe that's what he brought you here to learn about today, how to lean and clean to Christ in you the hope of glory, the new identity, the new creation, all that you've already become in him, rather than all that you're trying to be that he's already made you into. And just learning how to live from that place. Maybe he brought you here today to get your attention about the knit togetherness in love and the encouragement that we get through our corporate identity. And you've again found yourself kind of drifting away. And it's just not really that big of a deal if I'm in biblical community or not. And it is. Maybe he brought you here today to show you that you've never put your faith and trust in Jesus, the Son of God, the fool God, just like Sasha had to have her eyes open to the truth, and begin to read it for herself and the Holy Spirit revealed himself to her. And then she came to a point where she says, Oh, I'm missing Jesus. And it's only through him I can have real forgiveness and new life in Christ. And so she took a step of faith and we celebrated her new life here and maybe that's you. Maybe you've never received that new life. And that's what he brought you here today to share it with you. Well, if that's you, and you're ready to receive His forgiveness in that new life, I want to give you the opportunity to receive him in this moment. Would you pray with me