Colossians 2:6-7 (Week 8 – Jesus Plus Nothing Series)
Jason White



Paul gives his first command (imperative) of the letter in verse 6. He tells them (and us) to walk in Christ, but what does that mean? Well, Paul gives 4 participles that describe what it looks like to walk in Him.

Colossians 2:6-7… 6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him (walk in Him), 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.




Sermon Audio Transcript
So what do I do? Now seriously, what? What do I do? That's a question that I get a lot of times whenever we talk about the grace message. It's a question that I've gotten every now and then as we've walked verse by verse through Colossians, because we see the grace message presented so clearly through Paul, that Jesus plus nothing equals everything kind of gospel. And if that's true, if Jesus plus nothing equals everything, what am I supposed to do? Surely there's something I've got to do, right? Many of us when we hear this struggle, in that way, I'll be honest, I struggled for a while as God was grabbing a hold of my life and my heart and my mind and opening my eyes to see the truth of Christ being my life in this grace message that we teach and preach from God's Word. And I pushed back and I wrestled, I mean, I've got to do I'm a doer, I got to do something, I want to focus on the things that I do and, and wrestled with it for a long time. Well, if you're wrestling with that today, or you've been wrestling with that, throughout the series know today that Paul is actually going to give us his first command, were a whole chapter and five verses into Paul's letter to class, and he hasn't given one command yet. But today, we're going to see his first command. Now there will be more to come, there'll be a lot more to come, especially as we get into chapter three and chapter four, as we highlighted several weeks ago, the main flow of Colossians is for him to dive into the Indicative lives and the doctrine and the truth, and then to talk about how it applies to our lives after that, and we'll get into that main section later. But these two verses, we found our first command, and in these two verses, it's an important section of the letter. As a matter of fact, one commentator that I was reading this week from the pillar New Testament commentary, Douglas mu. Sure, if that's quite straight, you guys can see that says this paragraph, or these two verses, along with these closely related verses eight through 15. That follow is the heart of Colossians. He says, in these two verses, Paul succinctly summarizes the basic response that he wants from his readers, the basic response Meezan means he's going to tell us something to do. For those of you who have been waiting all of these weeks for Paul to say something for us to do, he's finally going to give us something. All right, let's dive right in. Then Paul says So then, but we got to stop already. All right, because again, that's a conjunction in a lot of translations. It's translated their foreign anytime we see the word therefore, we're gonna stop and ask what's it there for, because whatever he's about to say, is closely tied to what he has just said. Now, an argument could be made, that what he's basing this on is everything that he said all the way through chapter one, and the first five verses, but it certainly ties into what he said most recently, as well. And so let's look back just really quickly at what we talked about last week, to make sure that we understand the context of what Paul was about to say, he started talking about his goal, and what his main goal was, is that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, He says, and whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And he says, I tell you this, so that no one may deceive you by fine sounding arguments. And then he finished up the section and said, for all though I am absent from you, I am in body I am present with you in spirit in delight to see how discipline you are and how firm your faith in Christ is. Paul says that he he delights, what he's delighting to see is that they have not fallen for the fine sounding arguments that he just mentioned in the previous verse, verse four, they haven't fallen for the fine sounding arguments of the Jesus plus gospel that we've been talking about since we started this, because what they have instead done and they say, discipline to and they've been firm in their faith in Christ, and in Christ alone, not having their faith in the rules or the systems or the experiences or the religious activities, that the false teachers were saying, okay, Jesus is good, but you need to make sure you're doing these kinds of things in In order to have everything to have complete knowledge, complete wisdom to have the fullness of God dwelling in you and through you. But Paul says, no, no, no, you're not falling for that you're not being to see. So I'm delighted because you've been so firm in just focusing on Christ and all that you have in him in a lot of ways. That's what he's been really trying to encourage them to do, to talk about how big Christ is the sufficiency, the superiority of Christ, they'll, they'll know everything that they have in Him and in Him alone. So they'll continue to stand firm. And he can continue to delight that they aren't falling for these other things. So based on what Paul had just said, now he gets into and says, So then, or therefore, because of those things being true, your first faith, being firm in Christ, then here's what I want you to do. He said, Just as you receive Christ, Jesus, our Lord, continue to live your lives. In Him, here is our first command. This is our first imperative of again, the entire letter here, the command is to continue to live your lives in Him. So now you know what to do. I'm going to pray, and you will be dismissed. Thanks for coming. You got it. You're good. I mean, in some ways, maybe you can start to get at what it is that he's saying. But it feels like you might need a little bit of help with that. I mean, if this is a command, and he's saying, continue to live your lives in him, then he kind of want to know, well, what does that really look like? What again, is it that I'm supposed to go do and so he's going to paint a picture for us as he goes on. But let's talk a little bit about this right now, the first thing that hopefully jumped out to you and should jump out to all of us is that there is a qualifier, to this command. He doesn't just say, continue to live your lives in him. He says, To do that, in the same way that you received Christ Jesus as Lord. So you have to ask the question, how is it that they received Christ Jesus as Lord? Well, through faith through putting their faith in Him, and in Him alone, not faith in Jesus plus the rules, not faith in Him in the 10 commandments, not faith in Him in the system, not faith in Him in the religious activities, but faith in Christ, and in Christ alone, they received him by focusing in on who he was, and what he would bring them, and him and him alone, free gift of salvation. So Paul says, so if that's the way you received Him, then that is your same way that you continue to live your lives in him, with your faith fixed on Him and Him alone, and all that you have in him in what he's doing in you and through you, rather than your faith going to the rules and the regulations. And whatever else the false teachers were wanting them to believe, was the on the other side of the plus in the equation we've been talking about. Now, another couple of things to just highlight here, if you're following along in your own translation, it may have said walk in him, the Greek word that Paul uses here that's translated in the NIV continued to live is literally walk, it literally means walk. And so some translations say, so then just as you receive Christ Jesus as Lord walk in him. Now, of course, figuratively, when Paul says that it means to live or to behave to go about doing something in a certain way. So you get an idea of what Paul is saying here. The other thing I really want you to notice is who the walk is in, or he says, continued to live your lives in he says, In Him or walk in him. What does that mean? Well, it's a reference to our union with Christ, a phrase that Paul uses all the time in Christ over and over and over again, we've talked about it a number of times, but in Colossians, he's already talked about how they've already past tense been qualified, how they've already been brought into the kingdom of the Son, He loves how they already have redemption, they already have forgiveness, all of those things are true because of the spiritual union that they have with him. And so since they're united to him, they're continued to live in that union with Him.Now, the truth is, you can't not live in him in one sense, because it's an eternal union. Once you've said yes to Jesus, and you put your faith and trust in the end, and you enter into that spiritual union. It's a spiritual union that last for eternity but If you can live as if you are not in union with Him, it will still be true. But it's like you stepped out of that union, even though you really didn't. And you're gonna walk in your own flesh and in your own power and your own strength and according to your own truth, and all of those things outside of everything that you have in Christ, another way to put it, and we'll talk about this as we go on. I think what he's saying here is to abide in your abiding scripture talks about how you're already abiding in Christ, because of that spiritual union. But we're also commanded to abide at the same time, what's he saying? Well, if you're living in that union with Christ, and you're abiding in Him, then actually live in that union, drawing upon Him as your source and everything it is that you need, continuing to receive everything that you'll ever need from him, to provide for you in the Christian life. Here's a quote that I thought was really helpful about what Paul is saying here from FB, Meyer, he was a author and pastor in the late 1800s and early 1900s. And he says, we received Jesus into our hearts by faith, in the same manner, we must always in everywhere receiving from Him by faith, grace upon grace, and allowing what he works in to work out in all manner of godliness, tenderness, and Christ lightness, this practice of looking to Jesus, for grace in every circumstance of life, tends to become more and more habitual, I love that the more you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and the union that you have with him, drawing his grace and from everything that he is as your source, the more you'll experience, the fullness of Christ, and habitually just be gone, drawn back to him over and over and over and over again. You will abide in your abiding your walk in him, you'll continue to live your lives in him not in the rules, and in the systems, and then the experiences or the things that you're looking for life outside of him. Now, I mentioned earlier that after Paul said this, that he was going to help us understand a little bit more of what it looks like to walk in him and continue to live our lives in Him. And that's what he gets into in verse seven. There are four participles, in verse seven, that describe the walk in him command, the continue to live your lives in Him. And there are four kind of pictures of what it looks like to walk in him to continue to live our lives in him, here are the first two rooted in him and built up in him. So the first part of Sippel, the way to walk in him, what it looks like, is to be rooted in him. Now, we've talked about this, and I'm just going to quickly bring it up. But this is in the perfect tense in the passive voice, the perfect tense means that something happens, you're going along in your life here, and all of a sudden something happens and event. And then there are ongoing results from that event that happened. Right now, if you were here last week, I went back and I told the first services after watching it again, I made a mistake, I think I just got in a hurry. And what I'm planning on saying I talked about the heiress tense. And then mentioned the same thing here, the air is tense does refer back to the past, especially when it's being used in the form of a participle. But it doesn't emphasize the ongoing results, the perfect tense does. And that's what Paul is saying here, you have been rooted at a specific point in time, and you will always and forever continue to be rooted in Christ. The passive voice means that you did not do the routing. It wasn't anything that you did to route yourself. It's not anything that you will do to continue to stay rooted. It's an act of Jesus and it will continue to be an act of Jesus that keeps you rooted now. And forever. I love this image, right? I just, I mean, one of the things that I love about East Texas even is just the pine trees, everybody else just love pine trees. Maybe you don't like cleaning up the pine needles and all that stuff around them. But they're beautiful. I mean, they're just so tall and when you you see a row or kind of a an area where there's just a lot of them and I just can't help but my eyes being drawn to them but you think about Look how tall they are, and how beautiful they are from our perspective and what we see. But every now and then you probably have had the thought, Man, how deep to those roots have to go for that thing to not be blown over or to get to be that tall, it has to be very firmly secured in the ground and rooted deeply in that. And that's what Paul is saying about them. And about us who have put our faith and trust in Jesus, we have deep roots in him and we are secure. But that doesn't just mean security, right? Roots are not there just to keep the tree above the ground and from blowing over the roots are drawing from the nutrients in the ground, they're seeking out the nutrients, they're seeking out the water, the things that it needs, for it to be built up and to grow in. That is what Paul gets into next, right. So the first participle is rooted in him, the second participle is being built up in him. Now, the tense does change just again, quickly. This is in the present tense, and not the perfect tense, which means it is an ongoing thing, you will continue to be built up in him. But it is also written in the passive voice that we said you will not do the building up. Jesus will do it for you. But it will be an ongoing thing until he calls you home. The image of built up is like being built up on a foundation, right? It means Paul's kind of changing analogies a little bit on his He's given us the rooted and the plants and that stuff underground. This one's more like a foundation. So if you had your ground and you dug a little bit of a hole, and then had a foundation, and I mean, you poured the concrete, it was a solid foundation right here that you're building on. It's the idea of building up and adding on to whatever it is that exists. So maybe you're going to build a house or something right. And so it's building up on top of something that's already been built, he laid the foundation to go back even though it's kind of different in focus on here. It's the roots and you have kind of the trunk that's beginning but it's it's here now we're going to build up the trunk is going to continue to grow up and then develop into a nice tree. Isn't that the most beautiful tree you've probably ever seen. Right? So you get the idea though. There's something there, it's been rooted. And then it's going to be built up in you know, you get the image of the tree, it's consistently going to be built up into what it actually is. So to walk in Christ looks like living in the rootedness that he's established for us, and allowing him to be the one who builds us up. We are made into a new creation below the surface. This is the work that he does inside of us. But no one can see that. God wants to show you off, he delights in you. It's his work, he'll receive the glory if he did this work of transforming you into a new creation underneath the ground. He wants to bring that out into the open for the world to see his new creation so that he can receive the glory and honor for who it is that he's remade you and recreated you into. We even see this kind of rooted and being built up and drawing upon the nutrients and that kind of thing, not just in the New Testament. But in the Old Testament as well. The Prophet Gera Maya is quoted or he says this in Jeremiah 17. He said Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord that language sound familiar? Whose confidence is in him cast sounds like Paul, doesn't it? He will be like this. He'll be like a tree planted by the water that sends its roots out by the stream. Remember how Jesus talked about himself? He's the living what? The living water? Right he will be like a tree that sends its planet by the water that sends its roots out by the stream. It does not fear when he comes its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Why? Because it has all the nutrients and the things that it will need from the water that its roots had been sent out to so with the drought comes up here and things are happening. happening on the surface, there's things below the surface that can never be taken away. And so you'll continue to be built up in him. Because you're drawing from a deep well of living water within you.This is what it means to walk in him or continue to live your lives in him. Keep in mind that as we keep going, that you're made into what it is that you're going to be built up into, above the surface, the moment you say yes to Christ, right, I mean, in apple tree, you plant a seed, it's got everything that it needs to be built up into an apple tree, right? It already, it's just going to grow up into what it already is, right. And that's what you've been, you've been made into an apple tree, if you will. And you're going to grow up now on the surface, to be an apple tree that you've already been made into. So much of our focus in the Christian life is what I'm not doing or who I'm not, and I need to be changed. I need to grow into somebody that I'm not, but the gospel is you're going to grow into who Jesus made you into. He's done that work underneath now you're going to be built up and seen by the rest in Him, the third participle is strengthened in the faith, as you were taught, same thing, present tense. So it's an ongoing thing to be strengthened passive voice, you are not the one who's going to do the strengthening. The other thing that you need to see is maybe in your translation, it doesn't say strengthened. Stab hurts in a lished. It says established in the faith, as you were taught that Greek word that Paul uses that sometimes translated strength or established here means this, to stand firm and to grow in strength to where you are unshakable to stand firm and to grow in strength to where you are unshakeable. Now, what is the we're getting established in? We're being strengthened in Paul says, You're being strengthened in the faith. Now, what does he really mean by that? Well, he gives us clues. Right? He says, as you were taught, what is it that we're taught? Truth doctrine, right? So when he's using this being established in the faith, he's saying, you will be established in the doctrine in the truth of something well, what's the things that they have been taught? What was the doctrine they were taught that Paul was so worried about them leaving and falling for the Jesus plus nothing equals everything gospel, this is what Paul's been teaching them and reminding them about that they have been so firm in and he's delighted to see that they haven't moved from that. And so when you live in your rootedness, when you're allowing him to build you up from that rootedness, then you're also by Jesus going to be established in the doctrine of Jesus plus nothing equals everything. And you will be unshakable in that. In other words, when other things come in your the tree in the false doctrines come and are trying to blow you back and forth and knock you down, you're going to recognize the wind and the lies that are coming, the deceptions that are coming for what it is the fine sounding arguments that he talked about, and you're going to be unshakable because you've been established and strengthen in the truth of Jesus plus, nothing equals everything. And you've been experiencing it in your life. And so you're not going to be moved easily from those kinds of things. The last thing that Paul says the last participle in this area, he says is over, flowing with thankfulness. Now, the thing that we need to point out here is still in the present tense. So it's an ongoing thing. But it does change for the first time. This is actually in the active voice, not in the passive voice. This is not something Jesus is doing. This is something you are doing right. Their response is you're overflowing with thankfulness you're you're giving thanks for being rooted deeply in him. You're giving thanks for him being the one who's building you up into who he's already made you in to before. You're giving thanks that he's strengthening and establishing you in the Jesus plus nothing equals everything gospel that he has been teaching about. What I think this means and the way I kind of define this is that to be thankful, based on what Paul has been talking about already, because he mentioned bankfull, if you remember in chapter one, to be thankful then means that we focus on All that we have in Christ, and what it is that he's continuing to do in our lives, rather than focusing on what we lack. When we are focusing on what it is that we lack, do you find yourself being thankful? Not me. When I, when I'm feeling like I'm lacking something in my life, things aren't going my way or I'm not measuring up and Jesus is good, but I just need more in my life, then I'm focusing on that. And I'm not being thankful that I'm not experiencing the life of Christ in me and through me, I'm experiencing fear, worry, anxiety, I'm trying to control the situation and manipulate whatever and whoever I can to get what it is that I think I need, and that I'm lacking in. But if I'm being thankful, what am I doing? Jesus, even though I'm feeling like I have lacked in this moment, thank you that I'm rooted in you. Thank you that I'm not alone. Thank you that I'm being built up in you, thank you that even in these drought in these things that are coming, that I'm being strengthened and established in you, and then we begin to experience the life of Christ in us and through us in those ways. What do I do? Jesus plus nothing equals everything. What do I do? How about you start with giving thanks. That's a really good place to start. Why? Because giving thanks means you're, you're focusing on what you have in Christ, you're going to thank him for who he is, you're going to thank him for what it is that he's doing and what he's continuing to do. Even in the tough situations that you're in. You continuously walk in a prayerful manner of giving thanks for all that you have in Christ in all that he is doing to build you up andstrengthen you. Paul will even say we'll give you a little bit ofsomething that's coming later, right? When we get there in Colossians four, chapter two, he's going to give us another command. Here's what the command is in Colossians. Four, to Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Here's what you do. You Devote yourselves to prayer, a prayerful Thanksgiving, being watchful for where you're looking for lack, you're feeling lack in your lives being watchful for the false doctrines of Jesus plus, but when you live in a state of prayer, and thankfulness of prayer, your focus is on him and experiencing your life and him rather than what it is that you're trying to change about the situations or whatever it is that you're lacking. I have found this to be so helpful. In my own life, I have learned to go on walks of gratitude. Because my wife will tell you, sometimes I can get really focused on what it is that I'm lacking, because the results just aren't there. And you know, or whatever it is that's happening and me feeling down about those particular things. And then just the worry and anxiety, the fear or the things that I've got to control. But every time I've gone on a walk of gratitude, my whole mentality changes from what I'm lacking and feeling like I need to what I already have in Christ. And what it is that he's doing in and through that situation, because I'm rooted in him, because he's growing me up into who he's already made me to be. And he's using that to strengthen me and established me in the fact that he is the life not where I think I'm missing in whatever it is that I need in that particular moment. So that's my prayer for you this week. That's my what I'm hoping for you this week is that you will learn to go on walks of gratitude that you'll learn to stay in a state of prayer and thankfulness of prayer when you're driving to work. Whenever you're going to pick up the kids whenever you're walking in between classes at school. Whenever those moments are to be in a state of prayerful thankfulness and watch your focus go to all that you have in him and how you're rooted in him and being strengthened by him and being built up in him. Can we pray and thank him for those things.