I want to speak to you from Colossians chapter 2. Let us begin with verse 8, reading through verse 10. "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. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power."
Let's go ahead and read the next two verses as well to finish the sentence. "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: 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."
Now the thing we want to use as our theme in this message is the fact that a Christian is complete in Christ just as he is. He doesn't need a lot of other things. He doesn't need ceremonials and rituals and all the things that men constantly try to add to make a Christian complete. All he needs is that completeness which he can have ONLY in Christ. And that's what we want to think about with you for a little.
When a man first comes to know the Lord, when he first comes to know that pardon which can only be known by coming to receive Christ as Savior and King, for a little while, oftentimes, he's content with this gift of forgiveness. And he is satisfied with that. He's too overjoyed with this freedom or this sense of freedom from bondage to sin that he has no worry about anything else, and so happy that he's freed from the bondage to Satan that he doesn't think much about anything else! But after awhile he begins to think of his position and his needs and his prospects.
Oftentimes, he goes the wrong the way at this point. How he goes the wrong way at this point is this, he begins to look for feelings! Yes, he begins to look for "feelings". And when he begins to look for feelings, then he sometimes gets sucked into one of these cults that are all around us, these various charismatic messes that we have all over the Republic and all over the world. Or into one of these "non-Christian" cults like the Mormons or the Jehovah's Witnesses or the Muslims, and various others.
But if he looks around with his spiritual eyes fully opened, then he discovers with rapture that the same pardon that he's already received from the Lord is the key to wealth untold. It's the key to all the privileges that man could desire. It becomes a title deed to all needed blessings when one truly is saved. We don't need more than that, more than what we obtain through Christ, and in Christ.
If a man looks the right way rather than looking towards feelings or cults, then he looks to that cross on which the blessed Savior died. And he sees it begin to blossom with mercy and peace. And it begins to bear fruit like a tree. It bears many kinds of fruit, all manner of fruits. As it speaks of the tree of life in the Scripture, bearing twelve manner of fruit, each fruit in its season. And that's the way it is about this tree of mercy that we have, that we see, which we find when we come to Christ. And if a man looks at this, then he sees and he finds all that he needs for life, for death, for time or for eternity. And he doesn't need anything except what he can find at the foot of the cross.
At the foot of the cross he finds plants that grow for his healing and flowers that grow for his delight. From the bleeding feet of the Savior flows a directing love to guide him. And from the pierced side comes cleansing water to cleanse him from the power of sin. The spikes from the crown of thorns become a means of fastening him to righteousness. Meanwhile, the crown of thorns also reminds him of our crowns as a reward for faithfulness. And while we sit in the shadow of our Lord, it seems as if we can hear the angels sing. The angels are singing a song that says, "Ye are complete in Him."
Notice the wording here from our text that we read in Colossians 2, verses 8 through 10. It speaks and emphasizes this idea that we are complete in Him. Out of Him, without Him, out of salvation, all is poverty, woe, sorrow and destruction. And yet, in Him we are complete, we have everything in Him.
Let's think about several different meanings of this expression, "Ye are complete in Him," today.
First, we are complete in Him in all matters concerning spiritual welfare. We're complete in Him in all matters concerning our spiritual welfare, our soul's salvation or anything else of that nature, we are complete in Him! We don't need anything else. That is sufficient! He is sufficient!
We are complete without the aid of the Jewish ceremonies. This is what Paul was particularly aimed at when he wrote this passage. But it's also a good lesson for us today. We don't need these Jewish ceremonies. We don't need to be careful to worship on the seventh day. In fact, it's not difficult to show in Scripture that the New Testament church worshipped on the first day of the week, not on the seventh day, as many try to say. We don't need these Jewish ceremonies. All we need, when we think about these Jewish ceremonies, is to remember that they are just types or pictures; but in Christ we have the real thing. He is the real thing! He's not just a picture, and we are truly complete in Him! We have everything we need in Him. Circumcision, the sacrifices, the Passover, all of the temple service; to follow those things now would be like using a little small torch to try to light your way in the midst of the blazing midday sun, wouldn't it? We are complete in Christ and He is the real thing, the real light, not just a little torch guiding the way.
Colossians 2:17 teaches that the ceremonials were only a shadow of good things to come. "Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." So the ceremonials were only a picture or a shadow, but now we're complete in Him. There are no shadows in our salvation. We have the real thing, don't we. No doubts, no worries, no problems about our spiritual position.
Hebrews 10:1, and again skipping on further down in that chapter to verse 14, let's read those together. "For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For by one offering," now down to verse 14, "for by one offering he," that is, Christ, "hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."
Now what does perfect mean? Perfect, as used in the Scripture, generally means complete, doesn't it? Complete! Yes, and we are or have been perfected forever in Christ or we are complete in Christ as we read in our text today. We're perfected by this one offering on Calvary. We don't need other things. We don't need the ceremonials of the Jews, because we are already complete in Him.
We are complete without the help of human philosophy. You know, most so-called religion today has nothing to do with God, nothing to do with God's Word, except they just use it as an excuse for whatever they want to do. Modern religion is just a little man-made scheme or philosophy that has been worked out. They use it to make themselves feel better. That's a pretty good description of modern "religion"! We don't need help from human philosophy. We have the real thing. We have everything we need in Christ.
Just as in Paul's days, men today want to mix man's philosophy with faith. They can confuse every revelation by another word. They confuse every revelation by speculation. But we're complete in Christ. We must stick to the glorious simplicity of the gospel and the cross. If we do this, we not only will be complete in Him but we can guide others to become complete in Him! We don't need any "scientific facts" to prop up our faith. We don't need human speculation to show what God says is true. God said it, we believe it, that settles it! That's all we need!
Let me ask you a question. I've asked this question in other sermons before, on other subjects, but let me give it to you again today. Did you ever in all your life hear of a dying believer asking the aid of a worldly philosophy (or philosopher) to give him comfort? Did you ever hear of anything as silly as that? No, you never did and you never will! You may find some fellow who's been following some worldly philosophy on his death bed wanting to get the comfort that we have in Christ. You may find that. But you won't find any true believer wanting comfort and aid from some human philosophy on his deathbed. It never has, and never will happen!
II Timothy 1:12 is one of my favorite verses, and I often use it. It says: "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day," meaning that day of going to meet the Lord, either at His coming or at our death.
Now that's sufficient! That's more than enough! We're complete without the inventions of superstition. You know, if you have ever done any visitation much, how we come across people who seem to be completely wrapped up in superstition. You say, "Well, how can you call their religious beliefs superstition?" Well, that is what it is if it is not coming from the Word of God --- nothing but superstition!
God is the only author of true religion, but man wants to add an appendix to it! Man wants to add various things like deeds of penance, acts of mortification, etc., and people want to talk about these. But the Scripture doesn't need those things. The Scripture doesn't teach those things. Under man's system the problem is that he is never sure if he has done enough to be saved. He never can tell under man's system. There is no way he can be sure. If he fasted to exhaustion, if he did deeds of penance and acts of mortification daily, if he gave all he had to the poor, if he did everything you can imagine, every kind of good works, he can never be certain he has done enough to be saved! What a miserable system!
But we are complete. "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day." We don't have to worry about it, we are complete in Christ.
The true Christian can glory in the fact that he is complete in Christ. It was completed, our salvation was completed, when the Lord there in agony on the cross said these words, "It is finished." And that moment, that very instant, the most glorious event in all eternity took place, God's marvelous plan of redemption was complete! "YES, it is finished!"
We are complete without human merit. We are complete without our own works. Before God, our works are as filthy rags as Scripture teaches. So how could we depend on our filthy rags to get us into heaven? It is ridiculous to think such a thing. We can and must rest alone in the righteousness of Jesus since we have none of our own!
Isaiah 64:6, and again this is a favorite passage, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags."
Since we have no righteousness of our own, the only righteousness we can have is that which we have in Him. Just remember --- If we are perfect or complete in Him, there is a corollary that goes with that --- we are complete ONLY in Him. Not only are we perfect or complete in Him but we are complete ONLY in Him. And in no other way can we be complete!
The Christian needs to remember always that we are complete in Christ. Think about this — Our sins are covered by robes of righteousness. The white robe of righteousness made white by the blood of the Lamb. We can never be whiter than that, more perfect, more righteous than that because that is complete righteousness in God's eyes, as we are complete in Christ. We are, in Him, entirely clean.
Our strength is complete in Him. We have unlimited power in Him. Our safety is secured, our arrival in heaven is certain. No doubt about it at all.
Remember Job,after he'd been through a lot of suffering, his friends all abandoned him and his wife had told him to curse God and die. He said: "I know that my redeemer liveth, and that in the latter day He shall stand upon the earth: And though after my skin worms have devoured this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." Think about that. That's what Job said, and he knew what he was talking about. He knew about being complete in Christ. Even though he was born long before the time of Christ, perhaps as much as 4,000 years before the birth of Jesus, he KNEW! He knew about being complete in Christ. He experienced it!
Now look at our own nothingness --- We need to do that once in awhile! We get to feeling, "Oh, I'm a pretty good fellow," you know. "I'm a pretty sharp cookie. And besides that I'm handsome and smart and modest, too." We like to think of all those things, but our close friends know better. We must look at our own nothingness and be humble, then look at Jesus and be glad! That's what we need to do.
Remember, Christian, we are complete in Him. And we are complete ONLY in Him and in no other way. There is no need to look for more. We have it all in Him.
There is another great way we can interpret this text, "Ye are complete in Him". We can interpret it without changing the meaning at all, as saying "Ye are fully supplied in Him." In other words, having Him, we have all that we could possibly require. What else could we want? What else could we need since we have Him? We have all we could possibly need, being fully supplied in Him. There's no shortage, nothing missing, nothing we've got to seek after. WE'VE GOT IT! HE'S IT, AND WE'VE GOT IT!
Do we need forgiveness? We find real forgiveness only in HIM! Ephesians 1:7 says this, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." Colossians 2:13 says, "You hath he quickened," and then goes on in the verse and says, "having forgiven you all trespasses." Yes! "Having forgiven you all trespasses!"
Another need that men often find, is a need for wisdom. Remember we're thinking about the fact that we are fully supplied in Him. We often lack wisdom. But the finger of Christ points the way at midnight in the desert, in the midst of the wilderness. James 1:5 says: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally." Christ is the source of true wisdom, isn't He?
If we need strength to battle the enemy, He supplies that as well. In Isaiah 40:31, he says: "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." How could you beat that? This is the most marvelous promise of strength for the battle. The battle is before us. But our armor and strength are supplied by God. And we have no need for anything else except what He supplies.
When we recognize and deplore our ignorance, as sometimes we do, He gives us knowledge! Daniel 2:22, says: "He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him."
He supplies every need and supplies all we need. "Ye are fully supplied in him", is one of the meanings of "Ye are complete in Him."
We need not seek comfort; He can supply all the comfort we need. II Corinthians 1:13— "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort." He's the source of all comfort. Did you know that?
We need not the pleasures of the world. We have infinitely more joy than they can possibly give. The source of this joy is in Him who has made us complete. He who has fully supplied us and who still does fully supply us. Colossians 1:19 says: "For it pleased the Father that in him," it didn't say "in our own work" or "in the efforts of our hands," but, "it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell." All we ever need is to be found in the storehouse of all mercy that is Jesus Christ!
He is the believer's wisdom, the believer's righteousness, the believer's sanctification and the believer's redemption. What more could we need than that? We can well sing that song which says:
"All that thrills my soul is Jesus.
He my every need supplies."
Isn't it wonderful to think of that old song?
Every mercy we may want, every blessing we receive, is found only in Him and in no other place. We should constantly sing also that song, "I am satisfied with Jesus."
The word translated in the text here, complete, is the same word used by the famous orator Demosthenes when he was describing a ship as fully manned. Our Christian ship is well-manned by her Captain from bow to stern. Our Captain steers the vessel. But not only does He do that, He stills the storm, too! He speaks and the storm ceases. He feeds the crew. And not only that, but when the wind is not there to blow the sail, He fills the sails with the wind, doesn't He? He can move our ship.
Another thing we must remember, thinking of Him as the ship's captain, He brings us all safe to our haven. He never loses one. Not a single one of His sailors has ever been lost. Not a single ship or crew member of His has ever been lost. They all come safe to the haven despite any danger, or troubles. "In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."
Now let me ask you another question. Can you imagine, (and I know this is easier to say, than to practice, believe and follow in every day life), can you imagine the One who created the universe being unable to supply the needs of His children? Preposterous, isn't it? Incredible that we should have these fears from time to time. And yet, we do. But when we ask the question in that manner it shows it to be as ridiculous as it is!
A third way that we could read this text is, "Ye are satisfied in Him." We are completely satisfied in Him. We don't need to be like worldly people. You know, one characteristic of most unsaved people and sometimes it creeps in on saved people as well; they are always dissatisfied. Have you noticed that? Have you ever seen an unsaved person who was truly satisfied? I've never seen one. I've seen many thousands of them. I've known tens of thousands of them closely enough to notice things like this. And yet, I've never seen one unsaved person who was not dissatisfied!
The businessman is never satisfied with his wealth. He may have made three hundred thousand last year to his part, after taxes, and yet he's not satisfied. He's trying to scheme to get five hundred thousand next year. Of course, he can't spend that much. There's no way that a man can spend $500,000 a year, unless he just makes a complete fool of himself. He can't do it! But he's scheming to get more added on next year, even if he's already got more than he could ever use. His children will fight over it when he's dead and gone! Yet he's trying to get more next year.
Seekers after knowledge of the world soon find the truth of what Ecclesiastes 12:12 says. This is a good one for you students or school kids to remember. "Much study is a weariness of the flesh." That's what Solomon said in Ecclesiastes. Men who constantly seek after the knowledge of the world, soon learn this is true; "Much study is a weariness of the flesh." It doesn't really satisfy, does it? Of course, there is a place you can study where it satisfies — this book right here. (hold up Bible). It satisfies when you study it. But the things of the world never satisfy.
Pursuing the pleasures of sin only ends in sorrow and disappointment — it never ends in satisfaction. You can pursue all kinds of things that men count fun, the pleasures of sin, you can just follow that and think you're having fun and when you finish, it's like bitterness in your mouth! You realize how silly the whole thing was when it's over, with no real pleasure, no real satisfaction in it. Only in the Living Water, the Christ of the gospel, can man be fully satisfied; there is no other way!
There is something in every man, (I'm not talking about a divine spark, there is no such thing in the sense the world uses the term), but there is something in the conscience that God put there, which leaves him feeling incomplete without God. There is a drawing, a pulling, a tugging at his heart to bring him to God. And he's never fully satisfied until he comes.
Christ quenches man's thirst for peace, for joy, for purpose and satisfaction in living. There is no other way to have these things except in this completeness that we have in Him. The soul anchored in Jesus says like Jacob, "It is enough." He says, "I am full, eternity is mine."
The saved person doesn't have to worry about the shortness of life, since we have a glorious eternity ahead! All those good things, those wonderful things that we wanted to do though we never had the time or the money, we've got eternity to do those things. If they're good and worthwhile, we'll have the opportunity to do them in eternity. Isn't it great to think about it? All those things you wanted to do, those wonderful things, but you never had the time or you never had the money, we'll have that opportunity, and plenty of time. Time will be nothing in eternity.
The text also carries another meaning. We could translate it like this and say, "Ye are filled in Him." We are filled up! "Ye are filled in Him." Wycliffe translated the passage this way, and it gives a true interpretation of the meaning of the words. Wycliffe translated and said, "And ye been filled in Him." "Ye are filled up with Him," in other words. You are complete in Him.
Nothing can fill the whole man except Jesus. Nothing else can! Oh, I know you can pour education into a person and think, "Boy, he's really improved, isn't he?" BUT HE'S NOT REALLY CHANGED UNLESS HE'S BEEN SAVED. NOTHING CAN FILL THE WHOLE MAN EXCEPT JESUS. But He fills the heart, the mind, the body, the soul and the spirit as nothing else can.
Man's efforts to fill himself never work! Some men go out and study philosophy, go out and try to find peace and satisfaction and security of heart and mind and soul in good works and in various other things. Man's efforts to fill himself, never work. He never feels complete. He never knows when he's done enough. He can never be complete.
The fact finder feasts his head and starves his heart. The sentimentalist, lets emotion destroy understanding and knowledge. The poet grows a big imagination and dwarfs his judgment. The serious student refines logic while his conscience may die. So he can never be filled, can never fill himself.
Christian, although your soul is filled in Him, don't think you know all about Christ crucified. We need to keep learning more about Him. We are supremely blessed with salvation, but yet just at the beginning! When ten thousand times ten thousand, times ten thousand years have rolled away, we're still at the beginning of our eternity with Christ
My friends, at this moment in our Christian life, we have only a faint understanding of the glory to which He has raised us. But someday, we'll understand it.
As the old song says:
"We'll understand it better by and by.
By and by when the morning comes,
all the saints of God are gathered home.
We will tell the story, how we've overcome.
We will understand it better by and by."
We are just beginners taking sips from the cup and crumbs from the table until we cross Jordan, yet we can rejoice because we are complete in Him.
The unsaved one is not so. He is not satisfied, and never can be or feel complete. He must forever be one of the weary-footed seekers of joy, which they will never find outside of Christ. All they need is found in Christ. Our job is give them the gospel, to lead them to understand and accept the fact that only Christ can fill their heart, satisfy, enrich and gladden them. They need to taste and see that the Lord is good.
Close — Invitation, or prayer or ? ? ? ?