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Finding Our Sufficiency in Christ!  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The prayer for every believer ought to follow that of Paul's for the people of Colosse...that our walk with God produces greater spiritual fruit that leads to endurance.

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Have You Really Tried Everything?

A young boy was doing his best to lift a rock that was too large for someone his size. He grunted and puffed as he tried various methods for lifting the rock. But, in spite of all his efforts, the rock wouldn’t budge. His father walked by and, after watching his son’s struggle, asked if he was having trouble. The boy answered, “Yes, I’ve tried everything, and it won’t move.” The father replied, “Are you sure you have tried every possibility, that you have used every resource at your disposal?” The boy looked up with frustration and exhaustion filling his face and grunted out a “Yes!” With kindness, the father bent over and softly said, “No, my son, you haven’t. You haven’t asked for my help.”
How often are we like the little boy, struggling with our problems but unable to solve them––because we have not asked for our Father’s help...
Green, Michael P., ed. Illustrations for Biblical Preaching: Over 1500 Sermon Illustrations Arranged by Topic and Indexed Exhaustively. Revised edition of: The expositor’s illustration file. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989.
I ask you that question here this morning…are there things going in your life right now that are troublesome for you and you are searching for answers that just seem to elude you...
For example…have you been hurt by someone so deeply that the pain just doesn’t seem to go away?
It may have been from the hands of unbelievers…or even believers…you know what it is like to be hurt…to be crushed...
You come to me and pour out your heart and describe the hurt in great detail and my response to you is “you have to just let that go...”
You would probably want to punch me in the face and you say, you’ve got to be kidding me…just let it go…come on man, what kind of counsel is that…you just don’t understand how deeply I’ve been hurt, and you are just wanting me to bear it when all I want to do is get even...
and I say yes..
Your response at that moment reveals a cosmic problem…

Trying to face the darkness and pain of this world in our own strength reveals a heart that wants to do its own thing apart from God and without the help of the all sufficient Savior, Jesus Christ.

This has been the cosmic problem since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden…man attempting to live apart from God…obeying his own rules, setting his own priorities, relating to others his own way, trying to solve problems with his own understanding…in every way coming up short and not finding lasting hope or change...
Today we embark upon a new series in the book of Colossians and it addresses that cosmic problem...

Theme of Colossians — Sufficiency of Christ.

Key verse: …what does it mean to you that your sufficiency is found in Christ?…
Colossians 1:18 NASB95
He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
2 Corinthians 3:5 NASB95
Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God,
Col
The NT book of Colossians was written by the Apostle Paul
The audience for the book was both the church at the town of Colossae and the church at Laodicea ().
Because it is preserved inspired scripture—we are the audience today!
Colossae is located in SW Cental’ish modern day Turkey
Colossae was a part of a tri-city community within about 30 minutes of one another in a Turkish valley—Colossae, Laodicea, and Hierapolis.
These cities are mentioned in and other NT passages.
Paul had not personally visited the NT believers in these places
He was writing to reinforce and exalt the cosmic solution to the cosmic problem—Christ Alone.
While the specific circumstances are difference, His letters to the Galatians, Ephesians, and Philippians share the same theme—Christ Alone.

Colossian Heresy

Colossian Heresy

It was a combination of Eastern philosophy and Jewish legalism, with elements of what Bible scholars call gnosticism (NOS-ti-cism).
This term comes from the Greek word gnosis (KNOW-sis) which means “to know.” (An agnostic is one who does not know.)
The gnostics were the people who were “in the know” when it came to the deep things of God.
You will find Paul using the term knowledge and wisdom quite frequently in this book as a result.

Why Study Colossians?

This is a letter that is much needed today...
We live in a culture that is progressively seeking to unite all the world’s religions into one or eliminate religion all together...There continues to be a growing push towards the one-world church. Protestantism, Catholicism, Islam, Hinduism and others are being considered as all serving the same God.
There is also a movement gaining momentum to remove God and any reference to God from all levels of society...
We also live in a culture that is progressively seeking to unite all the world’s religions into one. There continues to be a growing push towards the one-world church. Protestantism, Catholicism, Islam, Hinduism and others are being considered as all serving the same God. It would be a body with no head.
Colossians tells us what God thinks about all that...().
We also live in a culture where truth is considered relative. All religions and their traditions are of equal value. To claim otherwise makes one a bigot and intolerant of others beliefs. Jesus is just another man in a long list of religious leaders. He is no more important than Moses, Muhammad, Confucius, etc.
Colossians reveals the true identity of Jesus Christ as fully God, not just a religious leader. (; ) As God, His word is absolute authority.
We also live in a time of pragmatism. People are not concerned about the truth claims as much as they are does it work. What difference will this philosophy or religion make in my life? Will Christianity make a difference? Colossians provides answers to many of those types of questions.
He changes lives -- ...He provides stability, causing us to be thankful -- … He fulfills all our needs, so that we lack nothing -- :10...He radically transforms us --
We live in a time of relational struggles. Many people do not know how to relate to their spouse, their children or even their employers.
Colossians speaks to this. and all deal with practical truths that will have a direct impact on relationships.
We also live closer to the end times than ever before. Threats of war and environmental disasters loom over every generation. People often wonder when will the world end and what is next.
Colossians addresses that issue. The world will not end in a cosmic, nuclear blast. This age ends with the glorious return of Christ in all his glory and every believer will share in that glory. ()

Finding Our Sufficiency In Christ Starts With God.

Finding Our Sufficiency In Christ Starts With God.

Before we can ever find solutions to all life’s problems, we must first go to the source of life itself.
Finding Our Sufficiency In Christ Requires Starting Well
Three approaches to God that will set the course for your journey of finding your sufficiency in Christ.

1. Praise God for the Provision of the Gospel (1:3-8).

Paul links faith, love and hope to the gospel in a marvelous way here...
The word gospel literally means good news and was used in classical Greek to express the good news of victory in a battle…the gospel is the good news of Christ’s victory over Satan, sin and death...
The very first step in finding solutions to all of life is to be properly related to the all sufficient Savior…

A. It Provides the Path to Faith.

Faith is the past tense of the gospel…it rests upon historical fact…the gospel declares this is what Jesus did for you and calls you to believe...God gave us the cross and asks us to look back and believe Him...
Biblical faith is not a blind faith…it is not a leap in the dark…it is believing God…it is taking God at His word and acting upon it...
1 Corinthians 15:1–4 NASB95
Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
1 Corinthians 15:1–5 NASB95
Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
Romans 10:17 NASB95
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
1 Cor 15:1
1 Corinthians 15:1–3 NASB95
Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

B. It Provides the Presence of Hope.

Hope = confident expectation...

B. It Provides the Power to Love.

Faith is based on the past, love is for the present...
Love for all the saints…there are always going to be believers that will never see eye to eye with us on 100% of the issues…until Christ comes again, we will all struggle with our own imperfections and the imperfections of others…even if we consider someone our enemy, we are still to love them…the gospel calls us to a greater way of living this life right now!
Paul was thankful for their response to the gospel that taught them to love in this way.
The gospel makes agape love more of a mindset instead of a feeling…through the gospel we learn what agape love is and then once we have responded to the gospel, we now can love like Jesus loves...
Agape love puts the needs and interests of others above our own, even if it means we have to suffer hardship for the sake of others.
Love in the Spirit…there is not a great emphasis on the Holy Spirit in this letter, but Paul makes it perfectly clear they would not have been able to show this love without the ministry of the Holy Spirit in them...

C. It Provides the Platform of Hope

As a result of their belief in the gospel, they now were able to love others correctly.
Hope = confident expectation, not wishful thinking…this is the future tense of the gospel…it is laid up in heaven…
Because of our union with Christ we have hope...
Colossians 1:27 NASB95
to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
No matter what struggles we face this side of heaven, genuine believers look forward to the day when we will see our Savior face to face…Paul would later remind them and us that our hope does not come from some man-made philosophy…
Colossians 2:8 NASB95
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.
As ones who have believed the gospel…our minds have now been equipped with spiritual discernment…we are to look to the truth of our future and know that no matter what our world tells us to believe, God has made it perfectly clear in His Word what we are to believe…our hope is in Him, not man-made solutions/philosophies...
We

D. It Provides the Practicality of Life-change.

Constantly bearing fruit and increasing…the gospel is not merely a stagnant system of beliefs…it is a living and growing reality…as people hear and receive the gospel, it bears fruit and spreads...
Constantly bearing fruit and increasing…the gospel is not merely a stagnant system of beliefs…it is a living and growing reality…it bears fruit and spreads...
It bears fruit in the internal transformation of the heart of the believer…it increases as the church grows (universal church grows with each person who believes by faith and accepts the truth of the gospel)...
When the Holy Spirit takes up residence in the life of the believer, He produces His fruit in them that helps them live this side of heaven for God’s glory…
The truth of the gospel says your life can be different... speaks of life change…those who have truly believed the gospel will experience life change!
understood the grace of God in truth…the truth of the gospel tells us that none of us can do anything worthy of God’s acceptance, that none of us can earn His favor, that none of us can cause our own salvation…
indicative is what has been done for you...
imperative is therefore, we must...
understood the grace of God in truth…the gospel truth tells us that none of us can do anything worthy of God’s acceptance, that we can earn His favor, that we can cause our own salvation…
the more we understand the gospel of grace, the more our life changes to be channels of grace...
Implications
Be sure you have responded to the gospel.
Live consistently in the knowledge of the gospel

2. Pray To God for Personal Growth (1:9-11)

For this reason also…because of Epaphras’ report of the wonderful believers of Colosse and the struggle they were facing, Paul prayed for them...
Prayer is a key element in finding our sufficiency in Christ. If we are not praying for the knowledge of God and understanding of the gospel, we could very easily be taken captive by man-made regulations and philosophies.
The NT exhorts us to be praying for one another...
Ephesians 6:18 NASB95
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,
1 Timothy 2:1 NASB95
First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men,
Hebrews 13:18 NASB95
Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things.
Because prayer was an important part of Paul’s ministry, he shared the nature of his prayer with them before he begins to teach them..

A. Pray for Growth in the Knowledge of His Will.

Filled = means to be completely filled, or totally controlled
Knowledge of His will…the word for knowledge here is a combination of two words…normal Greek word for knowledge (gnosis) with an added preposition…epi…which intensifies the meaning…the knowledge Paul speaks of here is that he wants the Colossians to be controlled by a deep and thorough knowledge...
We live in a culture right now that denies the existence of absolute truth…there is no source of authority to provide absolute standards so anything goes...
What ever morality we do possess as a culture is often based on human opinion...
For us…we have the absolute truth of the Word of God…it is the final authority for truth about God and all the standards of faith and conduct.
Our knowledge of those absolutes is the basis for correct behavior and ultimate judgment…the day is coming when believers will stand before the Bema and our works will be judged on God’s criteria…how we lived this side of heaven will be evaluated by God’s standard of how consistently we lived in light of His truth, not ours...
We cannot offer up the excuse that we didn’t know what God wanted from us, because He made it perfectly in His Word.
A recently married man loved his young bride intensely. He wanted to provide her with the best home, nicest clothes, and everything else she might want. Though he had to hold down two jobs to do so, he did not mind, because they enabled him to provide for her many good things. Time together was hard to schedule, but he figured that later on, once they were set financially, there would be plenty. Yet, as so often happens, within a few years his wife left him, not for more money or material things, but for a man who would spend time with her.
We often serve God and obey him, expending much time and energy in doing things that we believe will please him. But this is not enough. God wants us to know him intimately, to develop a relationship through the time we spend with him. Green, Michael P., ed. Illustrations for Biblical Preaching: Over 1500 Sermon Illustrations Arranged by Topic and Indexed Exhaustively. Revised edition of: The expositor’s illustration file. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989.

Knowledge of the absolute truth of His Word is foundational for godly living!

Knowledge of the absolute truth of His Word is foundational for godly living!

There is a direct link to godly living and your knowledge of the Scripture...
We should never be content with a lack of knowledge of His Word…one of things that breaks a pastor’s heart is when he hears people of his congregation say “they just don’t know enough about the Bible” and then they never take any steps to change that…it seems they are content to live in ignorance…
Proverbs 19:2 NASB95
Also it is not good for a person to be without knowledge, And he who hurries his footsteps errs.
Prov

You cannot please God if you don’t know what He expects of you, and you cannot know what He expects of you without knowing His Word.

You cannot please God if you don’t know what He expects of you, and you cannot know what He expects of you without knowing His Word.

...so it is imperative we take advantage of every opportunity we have to learn it and apply it!
His will is not a secret…he has revealed it in His word...
1 Thessalonians 4:3 NASB95
For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality;
When the knowledge of God’s will controls our minds, it controls our behavior...

B. Pray for Growth in the Practice of Your Walk.

all spiritual wisdom and understanding…these two words may be synonymous with wisdom being the broader of the two...
Wisdom here refers to the ability to collect and concisely organize principles from Scripture.
Understanding refers to the application of those principles to everyday life.
When we allow the Word of God to penetrate our thinking and behavior it becomes fruitful and productive...
When we allow the Word of God to penetrate our thinking and behavior it becomes fruitful and productive...
When we do allow the
Walk = pattern of daily conduct
Worthy of the Lord = reflecting the character of Christ
Notice what that kind of life produces...
Please God
Bearing Fruit in Every Good Work
Increasing Knowledge of God
not so that we are puffed up intellectually, but that knowledge leads to obedience...
Strengthened With God’s Power
present participle…continual action, not a boost and then left to your own..continually strengthened by the measure of limitless power of God...
Thru the Holy Spirit, God strengthens us as we grow in our knowledge of His Word.
Endurance
being patience in circumstances, endure trials joyously...
Implication…As your pastor, please pray for me that every week I am able to dissect the Word of God accurately and lead you to a greater understanding of it…pray that I continually grow in my own heart and that the teaching of God’s Word is clear and applicable to life...
...pray for your own heart that you would have a learner’s spirit...be receptive to the truths you hear and allow those truths to change your thinking and behavior…every time you come to the Word, you ought to be ready to change...
...pray for others that they too would have a learners spirit and that we would all see greater change in our lives as God’s people and as His covenant community that better reflects the character of Christ..

3. Praise God for His Plentiful Blessing (1:12-14)

Our hearts should overflow with thanksgiving for all that God provides for us…Paul specifically mentions things that should cause us to be thankful...

A. He Made You An Heir

Qualified us to share in the inheritance...
only used here and in …means to make sufficient, to empower, to authorize, to make fit…we are not qualified on our own, God qualifies us through Christ.
We were once unqualified because of our sin and now by grace God has given us our own individual allotment or portion of the total inheritance...
inheritance = eternal life, quality of life, heaven itself, ruling with him, all the promises of God..
This is an already but not yet truth...
This is a present tense participle indicating we have it now..we have already been delivered and transferred…already fellow heirs…
Full possession of our inheritance is yet future…the presence of the Holy Spirit guarantees it...
1 Peter 1:4 NASB95
to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
Ephesians 1:13–14 NASB95
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

B. He Delivered You From the Domain of Darkness

You have already been delivered from the domain of sin and Satan, so you don’t need to pray God deliver us from sin…we need to think and act like those who have already been delivered… tells us that...
It is important to understand that the philosophies of man find their origin in the domain of darkness. As believers, we have been freed from those making Christ our all sufficient Savior who completes us.

C. He Transferred You Into the Kingdom of Light

we are now in a new domain…transferred means to remove or change…the kingdom spoken of here is not just the millennial kingdom…it is not just the rule of God over His creation…this kingdom is a spiritual reality right now..
Romans 14:17 NASB95
for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
This brings great responsibility to us as members of Christ’s kingdom…we must represent our King properly…and when we search for solutions outside His realm, we fail to represent Him well...
Hebrews 12:28 NASB95
Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;

D. He Redeemed You and Forgave You.

D. He Redeemed You and Forgave You.

Before we could be fit subjects for Christ’s kingdom we needed redemption...
Redemption…to deliver by payment of a ransom…spoke of freeing slaves from bondage...
Redemption results in the forgiveness of sins…refers to pardon or remission of penalty…it is a composite of two words meaning to send…because Christ redeemed us, God sent away our sins, never to be found again...
Psalm 103:12 NASB95
As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Christ’s death on the cross for our behalf paid the price to redeem us…on that basis, God forgave our sins, granted us an inheritance, delivered us from darkness, transferred us into light and made us subjects in Christ’s kingdom…how could we not be thankful...

Implication — Why would we need to look anywhere else for answers to life when all we have and need finds its source in God?

The answer is we don’t…if you are struggling to find answers, look to God and your relationship with Him in Christ...
Why would we need to look anywhere else for answers to life when all we have and need finds its source in God?

Our journey towards finding sufficiency in Christ begins with acknowledging God as the provider of that sufficiency in the person of Jesus Christ, our Savior.

Are you increasing in your knowledge of Him?
Does your time with God in his word and in prayer reflect a heart that wants to know him deeper and be controlled by that knowledge?
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