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Complete In Christ – Part 1

Colossians 2:8-10 • May 8, 2024 • w1434

Pastor John Miller continues our study of the Book of Colossians with an expository message titled “Complete In Christ,” from Colossians 2:8-10.

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Pastor John Miller

May 8, 2024

Sermon Scripture Reference

I want to read Colossians 2:8-10. Follow with me in your Bible. “Beware lest any man spoil you,”—that’s primarily what Paul is trying to say tonight, “Don’t let anyone spoil your relationship to Jesus Christ.” He tells us how they spoil us, “through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in him,”—that is, Christ—“dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” That’s one of the most profound statements about Jesus Christ in all the Bible. Verse 10, “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.”

Paul the Apostle has been giving his heart to the believers at Colossae and, in a sense, praying for them and encouraging them after they’ve received Christ to walk in the Lord. I want you to go back and see that, verse 6. He says, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Paul is concerned that the false teachers that had come into the church at Colossae, and they had come into the church, would actually turn them away from their faith in Christ, from their fellowship with Christ, from walking in Christ, from growing in Christ; and, as he said in another place of Scripture, there is simplicity that is in Christ and that they would be spoiled in their relationship. Tonight, Paul gets into the heart of this second chapter, which is actually defending the preeminence of Christ against the false teachers who had invaded the church.

The danger to the Colossian believers was very real. They could look away from Christ to human speculation instead of divine revelation. My heart is really stirred tonight because this same issue is with us. There are people out there who would want to spoil you and your faith in Christ and turn you away from following Christ, and we must be discerning and grounded, growing, and overflowing with gratitude toward Christ. So, a grateful, grounded, growing, overflowing believer will not be deceived. But it’s still with us today, so there is a lot of stern warning here in this passage from Paul.

Paul basically does two things—three verses, two things—and I want you to see this. In verse 8 he issues a warning. Verse 8 is a warning. He warns us, “Don’t let anyone spoil you, beware.” In verses 9 and 10 he actually prescribes a safeguard. He tells us, “Beware,” verse 8, and then tells us how to protect ourselves in verse 9. Not only does he give us the negative, to beware, but the positive of how to protect ourselves against these false teachers who would come and seek to lead us astray.

Let’s look first at the warning, if you’re taking notes, in verse 8. Go back there with me. He says, “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.” He starts with the word, look at verse 8, “beware.” This is what’s called a present active imperative. What it means is that it’s a command, it’s not an option. He’s not giving us any suggestions here, he’s actually commanding us that we should be on the lookout and be careful and beware; and because it’s a present active imperative, it means that we are to continually, ongoingly, habitually be vigilant and beware. There’s no letting down of your guard. It means that we’re constantly on the lookout.

Kenneth Wuest, a Greek scholar who has done some excellent work on the Greek New Testament, translates this, “Be constantly looking out. Keep a watchful eye ever open.” One of the problems that we have in our Christian culture today is that we’re not vigilant, we’re not sober, we’re not looking, we’re not thinking biblically, we’re not rooted in God’s Word, we’re not careful. We need to be careful we don’t develop a critical attitude and we’re judgmental of others, but we should be discerning as to what is true and what is false. Basically, the idea here is that truth does matter, and the church has bought the lie that there is no truth—the truth doesn’t matter, truth isn’t important, or that your truth is your truth, my truth is my truth—and they have a relative kind of a view of truth that doesn’t really exist. It’s all relative. But the believer who is grounded and growing in Christ and is believing in God’s Word needs to understand that God’s Word is truth and that there is a devil who wants to deceive us and lead us away from our faith in Christ. Constantly be on the lookout is what that word “beware” means.

Write down Philippians 3:2 where Paul again says, “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.” Again, even in this wonderful, joy-filled epistle of Philippians, Paul’s worried about the Judaizers, which were putting legalism on the believers, and he warns them three times, “Beware of dogs,” and interestingly he calls Jews “dogs” here because they were trying to Judaize Gentile believers, “beware of evil workers,” they were fostering legalism upon them, and “beware of the concision,” it’s a play on words. The word means mutilators, and they were promoting circumcision as being necessary for being a Christian, so he calls them the mutilators. Remember, Jesus warned of wolves in sheep’s clothing, kind of the, “Grandma, what big teeth you have,” thing, right? He says, “Beware of wolves who come in sheep’s clothing. Outwardly, they look like sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” We need to be discerning and grounded in God’s Word.

Now, Paul tells us why, “Beware lest any man,” stop right there. Satan uses people to spread his lies. Anyone could be susceptible to being led astray if they veer from God’s Word. When you listen to a preacher on the radio, online, on television, wherever you may listen to a preacher, or you read a book—Oh, please when you read a book—always judge it by the Word of God. The Word of God is the plumb line. The Word of God is the authority. The Word of God is the final court of appeals, so don’t just say, “Well, I don’t care what the Bible says, I believe it’s true,” or “I want it to be true,” or “This is what I feel, this is what I want,” base what you believe on the Bible, the Word of God.

Let me give you a principle for interpreting Scripture: You never interpret Scripture by your experience, you interpret your experience by Scripture. You never interpret the Scripture by your experience, “I know it’s true!” “Well, how do you know?” “Because I felt it. I saw it. I experienced it.” I know experience is important, but the Bible is the final court of appeal. You bring your experience to the Scriptures, and if the Scriptures aren’t clear that that experience is valid and biblical and scriptural, then you reject your experience for the Word of God. That principle is so very important when you are interpreting Scripture. Too many people are going by their feelings or their emotions or what they were taught as children or what you grew up with or your tradition or whatever it might be. You need to be grounded on the Scriptures. So, be careful, “ . . . any man,” any man.

Paul said, “But though we, or an angel . . . preach any other gospel . . . let him be,” —anáthema, which is cursed to the lowest hell, which is pretty radical. I believe it’s the pastor’s job to faithfully teach the Bible so that the people are equipped to be discerning truth from error and to warn them against the wolves who would come in sheep’s clothing. It’s our job to be on alert, so don’t be unloving when you do that. Remember Jesus said in Matthew 7, “Judge not, that ye be not judged,” so that’s a critical, fault-finding attitude. You don’t want to be judgmental, but you want to be discerning. You speak the truth in love, you take a stand on truth, but you’re not being judgmental or critical.

Why is it so important to stay alert and know the Bible? “ . . . lest any man spoil you.” That, “spoil you,” literally means to carry you away as captive. That’s literally what the phrase means in the Greek. It means to capture you and carry you away captive. The picture is the taking away of slaves. “Don’t let anyone kidnap you,” some modern translations have.

Believe it or not, years ago I was kidnapped, and sometimes I forget about that, and I can’t believe it really happened, but I was with two other fellows, the pastor from my former church and another fellow who drove us to LA. Instead of going into the airport and checking on our flight and eating before we left on our plane, I had the bright idea, it was my idea, “So, let’s stop in town here, and let’s just get something to eat.” We went in the restaurant and came out, there were people waiting. There were a couple of guys in the parking lot hiding behind our car, and with guns took us captive and put us in our car. They began to rob us and told us to start the car and drove off. For about two hours or more, they held guns to our head and threatened to kill us and held us captive in this vehicle. It’s a pretty helpless feeling to have someone take you captive against your will. I remember thinking, I wish they would just get out of the car, leave us alone, let us go. I wanted to get back and get on the plane and still take off for our flight. We were on our way to Australia to do a Bible conference over there. I know the feeling of being captured or kidnapped and carried away.

The cults prey on weak believers and also false professors. When the cults knock on the door and they may be from the Kingdom Hall, they are Jehovah’s Witness or Mormons or some other cult group, if you don’t know your Bible, you can be very easily taken captive. You invite them in, they begin to bring confusion and doubts and concerns and you don’t know what the truth is. They use Christian language, but they give a different definition to it—the vocabulary is the same, but the dictionary is different—and they’re masters of deception. You need to be on alert and be careful that no one takes you captive.

How do false teachers captivate weak believers? What are their methods? Paul, in our text, look with me, lists five ways they take their captives prey. First of all, verse 8, “ . . . through philosophy.” This is the only time this word appears in the Bible, this word “philosophy.” It literally means love of wisdom. Paul was not against wisdom per se, he was against what we would call “worldly wisdom,” the wisdom of the world. Either you operate in the wisdom which comes from God, which comes down from above and is found in the Bible by revelation from God, or you operate in your own earthly wisdom, which is limited, or the wisdom of the world around you. The Bible says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” There’s nothing wrong with studying philosophy, but if it’s worldly philosophy, you better be very well grounded in the Word of God and discerning and very careful that you are not taken captive by worldly philosophy.

If you’re a high school student, or a college student especially, a lot of buzz about colleges today, right? You to go college and get all messed up. What do you get? Worldly philosophy, not the wisdom from above. The person that knows the Bible without a college education is way ahead of the person that has the college education without the Bible. I would rather have a knowledge of the Word of God than have a college education with knowledge that is contrary to the Word of God.

This philosophy that’s mentioned in verse 8, which takes men captive, actually is worldly philosophy, intellectualism, rationalism. Today, we see what’s called progressive Christians. I don’t really like that term, that’s the term they would give themselves. They’re known as liberal Christians. They deny the Bible is the inerrant, infallible, inspired Word of God. They deny the bodily resurrection, the deity, the virgin birth, all the essential Christian doctrines, but they say they’re Christians and they deceive people and lead them astray by their worldly wisdom. When you read Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he talked about not preaching the wisdom of the world, but the wisdom of God, so be careful. True wisdom starts with the fear of the Lord, centers on Christ, and is found in the Bible. Amen? “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” so learn to discern. Sadly, many in the church today are preaching the wisdom of the world and they’re not preaching and teaching God’s Word. Be careful.

Notice the second thing that takes people captive and leads them away and spoils them is, “ . . . vain deceit.” They’re preaching worldly philosophy, and they are preaching vain deceit, which is emptiness. It’s a description of the kind of philosophy Paul is warning about, which is vain, empty, and deceptive. It’s void of spiritual truth and power and real hope. Jude 1:12 describes them as, “ . . . clouds they are without water.”

We’ve gotten quite a bit of rain this past winter here in the Temecula Valley. When we first moved down here from where we lived up in Highland, the San Bernardino area, it was just a couple of winters there where it hardly ever rained. My wife said, “It never rains here. It never rains here. It never rains here.” Then, finally, “All it does is rain here. All it does is rain here. It rains here.” Praise God. I kept saying, “See, it rains here. There is rain here. Don’t freak out.” You know, when you need rain and clouds start coming, what do you do? You get all excited, right? “Hey! I think it’s going to rain. I think it’s going to rain.” Then, the rain clouds come, then the rain clouds go, the rain clouds leave, and it’s like, “What happened to the rain? Come back! You didn’t rain.” So, when you need rain, you look for rain.

Here’s what the false teachers were like, “Yeah, they’re going to bring the truth. Where’s the truth? There goes the truth. What happened to the truth?” They just blow right by. What a picture Jude paints of them, “ . . . clouds they are without water.” They don’t bring any refreshment or meet any need.

Also notice they’re not only, “ . . . vain deceit,” but are void of spiritual truth and real hope. J.B. Phillips translates this, “high-sounding nonsense.” I love that. Sometimes you listen to them preach, and forgive me because I’m a preacher, I’m always analyzing preaching, and say, “Wow! That’s amazing! What’s he saying?” “I don’t know, but it’s amazing,” real big and fancy words and deep things of God, and they’re getting a direct revelation from God. They’re sometimes talking to God while in the pulpit. Sometimes even arguing with God, “Okay, God. I’ll share that,” and then they turn to the congregation and say, “God said there’s ten people that want to give a thousand dollars right now.” They just have all these crazy things. They sound so intellectual, so impressive, so convincing, but there’s nothing there. They’re, “ . . . clouds . . . without water,” because they’re not preaching the Word of God which is what we need.

In 2 Timothy 4, it says, “ . . . having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” Paul said to Timothy, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine,” they want people to tickle their ears.

Notice, not only do they have, “ . . . vain deceit,”—but thirdly, they have—“the tradition of men.” Jesus warned of replacing God’s Word with man’s traditions. They negate the teaching of God for the traditions of men. Church tradition and tradition can be good if it is biblical, if it aligns with Scripture. One of the big errors that is made today is people put their faith in tradition rather than the Scriptures. The authority doses’t lie in tradition. There have been great periods of time in church history when the church has things wrong and needed a reformation, they needed a revival, or they needed to get back to the Book, back to the Word of God. They circumvent, is the word I want to use, the teachings of God’s Word for their own traditions. They know how to get around obedience to God’s Word to keep their traditions. We need to know the difference between tradition and the Word of God. We need wisdom that comes from divine revelation found in God’s Word.

The fourth thing is, “ . . . the rudiments of the world.” This is the one that is a little bit puzzling by the phraseology or the wording, “ . . . the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” The word “rudiments” is used of anything which appeared in a row, a sequential row, a series. It was used for the letters of the alphabet. We would say, “The ABCs.” Paul might be saying that to turn from divine revelation to human philosophy and human speculation is like going back to the ABCs or going back to the elementary issues. William MacDonald in his commentary said that these rudiments of the world are Jewish rituals, ceremonies, and ordinances by which men hope to obtain God’s favor. This is the element of the false teachers that was Jewish legalism. They actually liked to combine a little of this, a little of that, a little of this, and create their own belief system, so they gave the Christians Jewish legalism.

Some say it’s elementary spirits, and if you look at verse 18 for just a second, we’ll get there in a week or two, he says, “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels,” so the Gnostics were actually promoting this idea of worshiping angels because they believed that angels led to God or you had to go to God through angels, so you had the true God, emanations coming out of God, and you have to go through these emanations, these spiritual beings, and in some cases angels, to get back to God. This has happened in the church’s history up to today. People get all enamored by angels, and they forget about Jesus. Angels are great, and they’re created by God for His bidding and to help God’s people, but they’re creatures. Anytime anyone fell down in front of an angel, what did the angel say? “Don’t worship me. Get up! Don’t worship me.” If you saw an angel, you’d be tempted to do that, but “Don’t worship me, I’m just an angel.” They were worshiping angels or maybe praying to angels.

False teachers were giving a combination of Greek philosophy, which is intellectualism, Jewish legalism, and spicing it up with a little Eastern mysticism. This is today what comes in the form of what’s called Kabbalah, which means received tradition. I don’t know where she’s at today, and I don’t follow or really care to, but Madonna popularized Kabbalah a few years ago, which is Judaism mysticized. It’s taking New Age occult and demonic teaching and imposing it into Judaism and thinking you’re spiritual and that you’re something special, and it’s not after Christ. That’s the fifth, look at it with me, verse 8, “ . . . and not after Christ.” So, it’s, “ . . . philosophy and vain deceit,”—empty words—“after the tradition of men,”—manmade tradition—“ after the rudiments of the world,”—the elementary spirits of the world, but the big problem at the end of verse 8 in that warning verse—“and not after Christ.” It’s all about Jesus Christ.

It’s so very important that when you are studying the Bible that you understand it’s about Jesus. Do you know what the main theme of the Bible is? Jesus Christ. If you study the Bible and you don’t come to Christ, you’re not studying it properly. Jesus said, “ . . . the Scriptures . . . testify of me.” They need to point us to Jesus. It’s so very, very important. So, “ . . . and not after Christ.” This is the big problem that Paul saw the danger of in the believers there in Colossae, that they were being led away from Christ.

J.B. Phillips translates verse 8, “Be careful that nobody spoils your faith through intellectualism or high-sounding nonsense. Such stuff is at best founded on men’s ideas of the nature of the world and disregards Christ!” That’s a free paraphrase, not a translation, but it communicates what the text is about, “ . . . not after Christ.” Notice it’s, “ . . . not after Christ.” It doesn’t say not after His teaching, but “ . . . after Christ.” There are those that think, “Well, we should just follow Christ’s teaching,” but Christianity is Christ. It’s not His teaching. It doesn’t mean we disregard His teaching or we don’t follow His teaching, but you don’t become a Christian by doing what Jesus taught. You don’t become a Christian by following Jesus’ teaching, you become a Christian by knowing Christ, by having a relationship with Jesus Christ.

A Christian is an individual that has a personal relationship with Christ. When you become a Christian, you actually know the Lord. I know that freaks out non-Christians. They think you just have religion, and you just kind of do the religious thing, but you say, “No, I actually know God. I actually know Jesus. He’s my Savior, my Lord, and my Friend; and He walks with me, and He talks with me, and we’re friends, and we hang out. He’s with me. He’ll never leave me.” They just don’t know what to do with that. It doesn’t compute. “What do you mean you know Jesus? You know God?” But that’s the truth when you’re a believer. It’s knowing Him, loving Him, walking in Him, growing in Him. Again, go back to verse 6, you receive Christ; verse 7, you’re rooted in Christ, you’re built up in Christ, you’re taught in Christ, you’re abounding in thanksgiving for Christ so that you will not be led astray.

The safeguards are in verses 9 and 10. So, “Beware,” verse 8, and here’s the rationale behind it, verse 9, “For in him,”—that is, Christ, he just ends verse 8 by mentioning Christ—“dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye,”—as a believer—“are complete in him,”—which is Christ—“which is the head of all principality and power.” All these angels, all these ranking powerful angels, all these demonic spirit beings, Jesus Christ is over them. He is the head. Remember, He’s the Creator, the sustainer, and the goal of all creation.

Paul makes three profound affirmations about Christ. They’re simple, but they’re simply profound. It’s nothing new because it’s true. Write this down, the three profound affirmations of Christ. Christ has full deity. Notice that in verse 9, “For in him,”—that is, Christ—“dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” I don’t know how anyone can read that verse and study the Bible and not believe that Jesus Christ is not God. “ . . . all the fulness of the Godhead,” dwells in Christ, “bodily.” He is the eternal God. Let me give you some verses: John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In the Greek it’s even stronger, “And God was the Word.” So, He’s the eternal Word, “In the beginning;” He’s the personal Word, face to face with God the Father, “ . . . with God;” and He’s the divine Word, “ . . . the Word was God,” John 1:1. It’s so clear. Jesus Christ is God and, “ . . . in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”

Secondly, notice Christ has real humanity. I know you hear me say this a lot, and you think it is nothing new, but my topics are dictated by the Scriptures, okay? So, don’t get upset with me. “John, can’t you preach anything new?” I’m just going to preach the Bible. If you’re bored with the Bible, you don’t like the Bible, sorry about that. Real, full deity and real genuine humanity truly are really man and really God at the same time. Look at verse 9, “ . . . the fulness of the Godhead,”—dwells how?—“bodily.” Underline that word “bodily.”

Jesus was God in His preincarnate glory before the incarnation; Jesus was God in His incarnate humility; Jesus is God in His glorified majesty. Jesus Christ has always been God and always will be God. There was never a time when Jesus did not exist. He’s eternal, preexistent, and He was incarnate through the womb of the virgin Mary. He was God and Man in one Person—preincarnate glory, incarnate humility, and glorified majesty. Jesus is true deity and true humanity. Here’s the verse, John 1:14. Remember I just gave you John 1:1? Here’s John 1:14, “And the Word,”—which is mentioned in verse 1—“was made flesh,”—that’s His humanity—“and dwelt among us,”—that phrase means pitched His tent among us—“(and we beheld,”—saw—“his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” That’s His true humanity.

Here’s the third, verse 10, Christ’s complete sufficiency. So, full deity in Christ, full and real humanity in Christ, and complete or total sufficiency. Notice verse 10, “And ye are complete in him,” that is one of the great themes of the book of Colossians, our completeness in Christ. I’ll come back in just a second to that, but that word “complete” is actually a nautical term which means ship-shape, fully rigged, ready to sail. Now, I’m not a sailor. I think sailing is really cool, and the few times I’ve been able to sail on a sailboat, it’s awesome! But you’ve got to know what you’re doing out there. To feel the wind fill the sail and carry that vessel over the water is a real rush. But the idea that we’re fully rigged, we’re ready to sail, we’re complete in Christ is one of the most profound statements in the Bible for believers. It’s so very important because we as believers are in Christ, thus we are complete in Him.

Every spiritual need and blessing is ours because of our position in Christ. This is the believer’s position in Christ. Paul’s favorite term for the believer is that they are in Christ, in Christ Jesus, or in Christ Jesus the Lord. Every Christian is in Christ, and in Christ every Christian is complete. Ephesians 1 tells us, to summarize it, that we in Christ are chosen by God the Father, we in Christ are redeemed by God the Son, and we are in Christ sealed by God the Holy Spirit. Read Ephesians 1 and you read, “ . . . blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” That’s Paul’s theme there of all the blessings that we have in Christ. Every Christian is in Christ.

When does a Christian get in Christ and where did you come from before you were in Christ? Well, before you were in Christ, you were in Adam, meaning the Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. You know about that Adam, right? You were all in Adam. In Adam, positionally, you were judged and condemned and separate from God. When you put your faith in Christ—you believed in Christ, you repented and trusted Christ and you were born again—you were forgiven of your sin, you were saved. You were taken out of Adam, and you were placed into Christ positionally.

Now, I’ve had people argue with me, “Well, maybe you’re a Christian, but you’re not really in Christ.” It doesn’t work that way. You cannot be a Christian without being in Christ. And, if you’re in Christ, all these blessings are yours. You don’t have to work for them, you don’t have to deserve or earn them, they’re just because of Christ. They’re imputed to you. It’s called imputation—His righteousness, His holiness is all imputed to you. That’s why it’s so marvelous to be a Christian saved by grace. All of Christ is given to me, and I stand before God the Father complete. When God the Father looks at you, He sees the righteousness of His Son Jesus Christ, so don’t let the devil beat you up and tell you you’re not good enough to go to heaven. Just say, “Bug off, Beelzebub! I’m in Christ, and in Christ, I’m complete.” Amen? “I’m ready to go to heaven.” How marvelous that is!

If this truth can get ahold of your mind, if this truth grabs ahold of your heart, it’s a biblical truth, it’ll revolutionize your Christian life. Nine times out of ten when people come to me upset and frustrated about their Christian life, they don’t understand this truth. Now, there’s a thousand different directions I’d like to go, but I think if you read Romans 8, it’s pretty convincing to me that once you’ve been placed into Christ, that you’ll always be in Christ. It doesn’t mean that you’re always walking the way you should practically, experientially, and you should be growing and showing evidence of being in Christ, but you’ve been placed in Christ and that’s why the Bible says in Ephesians that, “ . . . ye are sealed,”—with the Holy Spirit—“unto the day of redemption.” That’s why in Romans 8 Paul says that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. That’s why Paul says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.”

Is that a license to sin? Absolutely not. Jesus told the woman in John 8, “ . . . go, and sin no more.” You don’t have to perform to be in Christ, you just have to be born by the Spirit into Christ. Here’s the verse to write down, 1 Corinthians 12:13. That’s one of the most neglected verses in the church today. It’s misunderstood, but it actually teaches, I believe, that all Christians, the moment they are born again, the moment they are regenerated that they are baptized by the Spirit into Christ, which is what’s called the baptism of the Spirit whereby you are identified with Christ. You know, baptism isn’t just about getting wet or just about being dunked in water, it’s not about just being immersed, it’s about identification with. The word baptízō has that idea of identified with. When you take a piece of cloth and you baptízō it, you put it in purple dye, it turns purple. It becomes identified with that purple dye. When the children of Israel went through the Red Sea and were separated from Egypt unto Moses, it says they were baptized unto Moses in Corinthians, so they were identified with Moses.

I happen to believe that every Christian, the moment they are born again, is baptized by the Spirit into Christ, and that’s how we get out of Adam and get into Christ. It’s the work of the Holy Spirit. You didn’t get yourself into Christ; you can’t take yourself out of Christ. You’re placed there by the work of God by His Holy Spirit. What a marvelous truth that is! How marvelous! How wonderful!

Now that we’re in Christ, born into His family, we need to grow—not by addition, but by nutrition and appropriation. That’s a very important distinction. When you’re born into God’s family—placed in Christ, taken out of Adam—you grow not by addition, which is what the false teachers were telling the Colossians, “You need Greek philosophy. You need some worldly sophía, some worldly wisdom. You need this experience. You need some Jewish legalism.” No, I’ve got Christ, I’ve everything I need. I need addition—I need to grow. When a baby is born, everything that baby needs to grow is in its DNA, all it needs is nourishment, right?

Our first three children were girls, we had three girls, and all three of them were born with hardly any hair. Our first daughter, Sarah, was born. She was as bald as you could be. I mean, she was like two years old and we had to Scotch tape a bow on her bald head, wearing a dress so that people knew, that’s a girl. “How old is your little boy?” “He’s not a boy. She’s bald, but she’s not a boy. It’s a girl.” We taped a bow on her head. In time, the hair came—nourishment, grow. You know, your baby is born without teeth. Do you freak out, “Ahh! It’s got no teeth!” No, everything is there. The teeth will come. So, a baby believer, everything’s there. You just need to grow. You need to, “ . . . desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby,” right? It’s not addition. The implications are staggering. Be careful. Don’t let anyone tell you, “You gotta have this,” “You gotta have that,” “You gotta have this,” “You gotta have that.” You have Christ. Feed on Him. Grow in Him. Get grounded in Him. Overflow with Him. Focus on Him. Feed on the Word of God. Let God grow you in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. It’s so very important.

Charles Spurgeon, taking this concept of “complete in Christ” said, 1) “We are complete without Jewish ceremony,” 2) “We are complete without empty philosophy;” 3) “We are complete without manmade tradition.” I love that! We’re complete in Christ without Jewish ceremony, empty philosophy, or manmade tradition. Jesus Christ is sufficient. Amen? Charles Wesley said, Thou, O Christ, art all I want, more than all in Thee I find. How marvelous!

In closing, verse 10, He, “ . . . which is the head of all principality and power.” If you have Jesus Christ, you have everything you need. Keep your eyes focused on Him. Amen? Let’s pray.

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About Pastor John Miller

Pastor John Miller is the Senior Pastor of Revival Christian Fellowship in Menifee, California. He began his pastoral ministry in 1973 by leading a Bible study of six people. God eventually grew that study into Calvary Chapel of San Bernardino, and after pastoring there for 39 years, Pastor John became the Senior Pastor of Revival in June of 2012. Learn more about Pastor John

Sermon Summary

Pastor John Miller continues our study of the Book of Colossians with an expository message titled “Complete In Christ,” from Colossians 2:8-10.

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Pastor John Miller

May 8, 2024