Message given: 26 February 2012
Text: Colossians 2:6–15
Have you ever missed something that was right in front of your face?
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson go on a camping trip, set up their tent, and fall asleep. Some hours later, Holmes wakes his faithful friend. “Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.” Watson replies, “I see millions of stars.” “What does that tell you?” asks Holmes Watson ponders for a minute. “Astronomically speaking, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Horologically, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, it’s evident the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.”
After a pause, Watson says: “Well, Holmes, What does it tell you?” Holmes is silent for a moment and then he speaks. “Watson, you imbecile,can’t you see that someone has stolen our tent.”
Isn’t it easy to miss the important thing that is right in front of us? The scary thing is that we can be Christians here this morning and yet be missing the most important thing. We could be missing Christ.
Have you been missing Christ? Are you trying to learn to do this Christian thing, doing a bunch of things and feeling guilty for all things you aren’t doing? Or are you simply seeking to know and walk with Christ?
Walking in Christ is not just a good idea, or a smart move — it’s of utmost importance.
Three Steps to seeing the importance of walking in Christ
1. Know your Calling: Walk in Christ (v. 6–7)
The Christian life in each of us begins by receiving a gift. And that gift is Christ. He was taught to us.
Paul is not talking about “receiving Jesus into my life.” That idea of “accepting Jesus in your heart” is not a helpful way of talking about belief. The emphasis here is not so much on what you did, but on what was given to you. Christianity is a message that is passed down.
Also, Christianity isn’t primarily a body of doctrines or set of ideas, it is a person, who is unlike anyone else (1:15-20; 2:2-3). It is simply Jesus, who is the Christ (the source of all spiritual blessing) and the Lord (the one who we submit to).
Our Christian life then sprouts out of the message that we received for the rest of our lives. It’s like a seed that is given to us and planted in our hearts that continues to blossom.
We are not walking for ourselves, but walking for Christ. This means that we are submitted to Christ. He is the one (and no other) who is to shape all our character and behavior. Christian growth will not occur in richer soil or on some stronger foundation than the Lord Jesus Christ. All the treasures are to be found in him (2:3). He is the source of our growth and the foundation we are built on. Do not be deceived into looking elsewhere.
2. Heed the Warning: Ideas take you captive (v. 8)
No one likes hearing warnings. Like when your mom warns you to watch out to not walk too close to the edge. It’s mildly insulting, right? You realize that she thinks you are not able to manage yourself on your own.
Well, Paul gives us a warning here. And I know my knee-jerk reaction is to rationalize it away. “Well, that’s not for me.” But we each need to consider this warning, the threat that is before us.
Why? Because Christ is that important. If we are going to see the importance of walking in Christ, then we need to hear this warning loud and clear this morning.
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (Col 2:8)
“Taking captive” is a word used to describe kidnapping, the carrying off a person as in the slave trade. How does he kidnap? The captivity comes from any set of ides or man-made system of beliefs that deceives you and leaves you empty. It promises, but doesn’t deliver. These ideas are worldly and “not according to Christ.” Any ideology that leads away from Christ will ultimately fail you.
Philosophies that we can be attracted by:
social Christianity (habits, lingo, “fellowship”)
individualism (be your own person, self-made, you’ve got what it takes to be who you want to be)
dating-ism (I can date whoever just for fun.)
We can tend to think that the gap is really big between these “philosophy” and Christ, but Paul is warning us that it is a fine line. The scary thing is that one who is being taken captive by these things thinks that they are walking and growing in Christ, but they are deceived. This means that you could be here this morning and think that you are on the right track, but you may not be.
If we are going to see the importance of walking in Christ, then we need to heed the warning.
3. Cling to your Defense: Meditate on the gospel (v. 9–15)
Because the attack can come from all sides, Paul gives us a defense that centralizes us on the core.
Your defense is three-fold:
1. The nature of Christ (v. 9–10)
All deity is found in Christ. There is not one ounce of deity found anywhere else. He does not share it with anyone or anything. It dwells in him bodily. This is an amazing reality of the incarnation. Because Christ’s fullness of deity, we have been filled. We are on the side of the Lord of the universe and he fills us.
2. Your Union with Christ (v. 11–14)
You died when Christ died.
God’s resurrection power brought you back to life. This happens through faith. Faith is the link. In this new life, we are forgiven. ALL our sins.
3. The victory of Christ (v. 15)
He showed that these rulers have no power or authority. They are scams.
Let’s not miss the obvious. Walking with Christ is of life and death importance. We can’t afford to be kidnapped.