Complete in Christ

29 04 2020

McKee Road Baptist – April 29, 2020 Wednesday Evening

Colossians 2:9-10 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye
are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

Introduction:

Sadly, many believers live as though they are spiritually handicapped.
They live every day without hope, without power, without confidence and without being
a witness to victories in their lives because they do not embrace the fullness of their
salvation. The Apostle Paul told us that as believers we are complete in Christ and He is
the head of all principality and power.

Jesus Christ alone holds the key to our every need. Children of God struggle in their
Christian lives primarily for two reasons: we do not know, and we do not apply. We are
either ignorant, or we are negligent, or both. We either do not fully realize, or we forget,
who we are in Jesus Christ. If we really believed that Jesus Christ is all we needed, we
would never be out there trying to fill voids and find answers to problems anywhere else
but in Jesus Christ; voids and answers to questions that only He can fill.

The prophet Jeremiah put it this way:

Jeremiah 2:13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the
fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no
water.

That is what it means to make Jesus Christ anything less than all-sufficient for
everything that you need, for everything that is your life. It is forsaking the fountain of
living waters for broken-down, polluted wells. Remember a few days ago we discussed…

Colossians 2:8 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.

Paul is calling the church at Colosse to be aware of hollow and deceptive philosophy
that is masquerading as true Christian teaching. Rather than focusing on Christ, this
teaching depends on human tradition and the basic principles of Judaism. This teaching
can captivate them and lead them astray, if they are not careful. He is telling the church
to beware!

Christ is All God

Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

This is perhaps the most definitive statement of Christ’s deity in the epistles. It is the
rock upon which all attempts to disprove Christ’s deity are shattered. “For in Him dwelleth” the word “for” continues the thought of verse eight. The word “for” means: “because.” This word is important, because it introduces another reason for abandoning false teaching.

Verse eight warns us against following false philosophy. This verse gives the positive reason, all the fullness of God dwells in Christ. That is why he is superior to any philosophy or theology. He is all in all.

The words “in Him,” indicate a mighty contrast between philosophy and the Son. The
Son is superior to any philosophy. The word “dwelleth” means: “to settle down and be at home.”

This means that God continually abides at home in Christ. He is fully God forever. And as the One possessing all the fullness of Deity, Christ is the head over all rule and authority. He is not less than God, as the false teachers maintained. Rather, He is God Himself.
Understanding that the word “dwelleth” means to permanently indwell, we now see what
permanently indwells Christ, “all the fullness of the Godhead”. The “fullness” is defined
by this verse as “Godhead.” He is God.

The word “fullness” is the same term used in 1:19. This was also a term used by those
that espoused false doctrine in Paul’s day. They believed that “fullness” meant you
shared a portion of deity but not all. Paul, however, insists that all the fullness of the
Godhead, not a part of it, dwells in Christ. Jesus Christ is completely God. He is exactly
what God is. Jesus Christ possesses the “fullness” of God, not certain aspects of God’s
character. Jesus Christ possesses all power, the all the attributes of God. He is not
merely godlike. He is God himself.

The fullness of God comes into your life when you receive Jesus. What more do you
need? That is Paul’s question. What more can these false teachers add to that? What
new experience, what additional divine person can you receive than what you have
already received when you have Jesus?

One evening Jesus was sitting around with His disciples. He asked them about people’s
opinions of him. Who were people saying that he was? The disciples gave him various
comments that they had heard. Some people were saying that He was a prophet.
Others were saying that He was John the Baptist, or Elijah, or Jeremiah. Then He
turned the question to them:

Matthew 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

Jesus was asking his disciples what they had come to believe about Him. Today, this is
still the central issue of Christianity. Who do we say that Jesus really is? If He is
anything other than our Lord and God, then we are not describing Christianity. This is
the Christ test.

In the church at Colosse, there were some that were teaching that Jesus was not God.
There are many today teaching that Jesus is less than God. They say that He was a
good teacher, a great moral philosopher, a prophet, and a good man. Beware of this
kind of teaching.

Jesus was not just a good man or a good moral teacher. He was not just a moral
philosopher. He was not simply a prophet pointing the way to God. And Jesus is not
simply one way out of many ways to God. Jesus claimed to be the only way to God. He
is the way, the truth, and the life:

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh
unto the Father, but by me.

Josh McDowell wrote that here are really only three opinions that a logical person can
come to concerning Jesus. Based on what Jesus himself said, He was either a liar, or a
lunatic, or the Lord. You see, if Jesus is not the only way, then He was either deceiving
us, in which case He would be a liar, or He was self-deceived, in which case He would
be a lunatic. On the other hand, if He is indeed the only way, then He is in fact the Lord.

Any teaching that does not place Jesus Christ as the only way to heaven is not
Christian teaching. Jesus Christ is the only way, not because we say He is the only way,
but because He says so. Often Christians are labeled as judgmental, because we say
Christ is the only way. We are not trying to be judgmental. We are simply trying to share
what we know to be the truth.

We are not prejudiced against other religions. We are simply saying that Jesus Christ is
the only true way to God, “…no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” John 14:6. We
do not say that in order to offend someone. We say that because we truly believe that it
is true.

Be on the alert. Do not be deceived. Be discerning. Put all the spiritual sounding
teaching to the Christ test. Who does it say that He is? What place does Christ hold in
the teaching? If He does not hold a central place as all supreme and all sufficient, then
the teaching is not of God. Don’t be taken in by it. Don’t be misled.

Now look at the last word that Paul uses:

Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

How does it dwell? In what way does it dwell? In what fashion? Bodily! This verse
proclaims the fact that God became a Man, bodily!

The word “bodily” means: “corporeally or physically, in physical form,” in the sense of
material in contrast to being symbolic. The complete content of deity exists in Jesus
Christ in real form, “…he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” John 14:9.

Philippians 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a
servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

The word “reputation” means: “to empty himself.” What exactly did Christ empty Himself
of? Not His deity, or He would cease to exist. Not the attributes of deity, it is impossible
to surrender an attribute without changing the character of the essence to which it
belongs. God cannot change. He is immutable! What, then, did He empty Himself of?
His Glory:

John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I
had with thee before the world was.

John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I
am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me
before the foundation of the world.

He surrendered His right to manifest Himself visibly as the God of all splendor and
glory. He emptied Himself of His legitimate and natural desires and prerogative as deity.
The natural desire and prerogative of deity is that of being glorified.

Christ veiled His glory by taking on humanity, but He did not diminish or destroy any
part of it. When the sun is obscured by a cloud, there is no real change of its glory. It
does not extinguish its sun-rays. The brilliance of the sun is obscured only for a time.
The sun was never affected by that cloud, but our vision of it was. Christ was never
diminished in glory, but He veiled His glory.

John said,” …and we beheld his glory,”

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his
glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Notice the two attributes of his glory, grace and truth. Through these attributes, Jesus
glorified God in his humanity, which is what all of us are to do, but the glory of His deity
was veiled. He looked like a man, like any other man, except for a brief time during the
transfiguration:

Matthew 17:1-3 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother,
and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2 And was transfigured before them:
and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3 And, behold,
there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.

Jesus literally lit the place up with His glory.

Philippians 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a
servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

In the Incarnation, Jesus took “the form of a servant.” The phrase explains how He
emptied himself by taking the form of a servant. When He took the form of a servant, it
veiled His glory. That is how He emptied himself.

The word “form” means: “essential nature.” This is not a mask or like a Halloween
costume. He became a servant. He came to do God’s will:

Matthew 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister,
and to give his life a ransom for many.

This is God voluntarily becoming a servant for us.

Philippians 2:7 goes on to say, “made in the likeness of men” the word “likeness”
means: “similarity, but difference”. Though His humanity was genuine, He was different
from all other humans in that He was sinless. We see this same word in:

Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God
sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the
flesh:

Jesus Christ had real human flesh. He felt pain, sorrow, wept, died, but He was sinless:

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we
might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Paul goes on in Philippians to say:

Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became
obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

The word “fashioned” means: “outer appearance.” People saw him only as a man.
Christ gave up the outward appearance of God, but not the essence of God. His glory
was veiled and He looked like a man.

The reality of Jesus Christ’s humanity is emphasized throughout the New Testament.
He had a human birth, His conception wasn’t human, but His birth was. He came
through the birth canal and was wet and wrinkled like any other baby. He had human
growth and development. He grew up just like any other human being.

Luke 2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the
grace of God was upon him.

Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and
man.

He had human experiences; emotions, feeling, desires and needs. He was hungry,
thirsty, weary, He sorrowed and wept. He had a human relationship with God. Jesus
said:

Luke 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to
pray, and not to faint;

Prayer is the necessary activity of a man who stands in a right relationship to God.
Jesus prayed, why? He was dependent upon God in His humanity. Jesus functioned in
the power of the Holy Spirit, not in the power of His deity. Why is that so important? His
ministry was marked with the repeated necessity of making choices, and He always
made the right choice. Of all men who ever lived, He alone could say,

“…for I do always those things that please Him.” John 8:29.

These choices were very real and involved the exercise of His will. Was it His human
will alone functioning on these occasions, or was His human will under the control of the
divine nature? If the latter is true, then it is hard to see how Christians, who do not
possess deity to control their human wills, can be called upon to look to Christ as their
example.

But if Jesus Christ did, indeed, divest Himself of the exercise of the divine
nature, and lived among men in real dependence upon His Father, and found His
strength and wisdom in a pure humanity empowered by the Holy Spirit, then we can
understand that His prayers were real prayers, His decisions were real decisions, His
actions and reaction were genuinely human, and He is, indeed, our example in all
things.

If Jesus Christ was dependent upon God for all He did, how much more should we be?
Now Paul gets to the heart of the letter. And the key verse, not only to this section, but
perhaps to the entire book, is:

Colossians 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and
power:

In Jesus Christ, if you know Him, if you have been born again, if you are a new creation
in Jesus Christ, trusting Him, you have been made complete. You’re complete. It has nothing to do with how you feel. You have been made complete. Christ is sufficient.
Your sufficiency is not in yourself; it is in Him.

“And ye are complete in Him.” The believer permanently holds that position before God from the moment of his salvation.

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you are in Christ. And because you are in Christ,
and because He is complete, you have been made complete. Get that? Because Christ
is who He is, we have been made complete in Him. His fullness is imparted to us. The
word “complete” means: “entire, finished, made full, perfect.” Our fullness of life comes
from Christ’s fullness:

John 1:16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

We need no outside help from any other source. Every Christian, at the moment of salvation, receives this fullness. God views us as pardoned and as righteous as Christ is righteous. God accomplishes this at the moment of salvation. We do not receive Christ on the installment plan.

We receive a complete Savior and complete results of our salvation at the moment we come to know Him. We may appreciate Him more as we grow in Him, however, we do not receive more of Him. “In Him” means: “in union with Jesus Christ”. This is the believer’s position before God.

As God views us, He looks at us exactly like He would look at Christ, perfect. We are
not perfect in our experience, but in our position before God forever. We share His
fullness. From God’s viewpoint, nothing is wanting in us because of Christ. Jesus fully
meets every demand of God for us.

This is true of every Christian, no matter what their experience of living may be like.
Jesus Christ is our substitute not only at the point of salvation but as an ongoing status
before God. We stand judicially right before God forever.  God’s estimation of us is equivalent to His estimation of Christ. God identifies us with him in everything.

2 Peter 1:2-3 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God,
and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that
[pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to
glory and virtue:

God’s Word says, that Jesus Christ has granted to you “…all things that pertain unto life
and godliness” When you were saved, you received all you needed to live the Christian
life. Everything. There’s no other experience you need. Nothing.

The second half of Colossians 2:10 reads: “…which is the head of all principality and
power:” The word “head” is used three times in Colossians. It’s used in chapter 1:18,
here, and in chapter 2:19. It is a word that is used of a literal head, such as a person’s
head as seen in Matthew 5:36.

It can also refer to a symbolic head, such as the head of a family as recorded in
Ephesians 5:23. When it is used that way, it has the predominant meaning: “authority
over.” To be the head is to be the one in authority.

I will close with a story. William Randolph Hurst, the wealthy newspaper publisher,
invested a fortune in collecting great works of art. One day he read about some valuable
pieces of art and decided that he must have them for his collection.

He then sent his agent out to locate these items and purchase them. Months went by, finally the agent returned and reported to Hurst that the items had at last been found. The agent discovered the items were stored in Hurst’s own warehouse. Years before, William
Randolph Hurst had purchased them. This is like the child of God who is in a desperate
search for what he already has. Do not be held captive by anything other than the all-
sufficiency of Jesus Christ. He is sufficient for our every need.

Child of God, you are well equipped. You are complete in Christ. Serve Him the rest of
your days!

Pastor Don Thomason


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