Jesus is Enough

The next part of our series in Colossians: ‘Jesus Changes Everything.’

Each week, we producing notes, discussion points and application questions for the Sunday talks — helping you go deeper into everything we’re looking at together and resourcing our Small Groups during the week. Use the embedded player to listen to the talk, or click here to download it on a PC.

Key Passage

- Colossians 2:1–15

Notes

Paul begins by identifying a problem that has taken root in the Colossian church: that they’ve fallen under the sway of false teachers preaching a false gospel (verses 4 and 8). The temptation for the Colossians was to try and add something to what Jesus has done through his life, death and resurrection, and it’s a temptation that we are no less vulnerable to today. There is always the danger that we will take an ideology, a political, economic, cultural or technological system, and add it to Jesus as the foundation of who we are and what we do in the world. Even good things — social action projects, worship, Bible-reading plans — can cause problems if we make them into ultimate things and try to live out our faith as if we are living in a system. God calls us to live not in a system, but in His son.

The solution for the Colossians, and for us as well, is to take a step back and see again the magnitude of what Jesus has already accomplished. Paul gives us a number of images to help us do this, that we are UNITED to him, we’re BURIED with him, we’re RAISED in him, we’re FORGIVEN through him, and we’re VICTORIOUS alongside him, and spends the rest of the passage expanding on each of these.

UNITED
6–7: “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

9–10: “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.”

This Jesus who is the fulfilment of everything that’s been promised since the creation of the world, everything that we have to hope for in the future, this one who is the whole fullness of God in bodily form, who created everything and sustains it every moment by the power of his word, this Jesus is ours. He’s the root that gives life, he’s the foundation that sustains, he withholds nothing of the goodness of God from us, and in Him, we have fullness.

BURIED
11–12a: “In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self, ruled by the flesh, was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism”

The reality is that humanity was spiritually dead. Each of us have chosen for ourselves a life where we put us at the centre, where we live for our wants and our desires and our needs, where we spurn goodness and justice and love in favour of pride and selfishness and indulgence. In our reasoning, our choices, our desires, our actions, we’ve chosen to live for ourselves — we’ve walked away from God and from others. We’re buried. So, what does God do? He is born as a man, lives a perfect life, and dies that he might be buried with us. In doing so, he takes that sinful nature, that flesh, upon himself in order that he might carry it to the grave once and for all.

RAISED
12b-13a: “in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ.”

But just as he is buried with us, so too are we raised with him. The resurrection stands as the centrepoint of history and the centrepoint of the Christian faith. It’s a new beginning, a new Eden, a re-establishing of all that God had once declared good, the new creation inaugurated in the midst of the old — God and man restored to right relationship through the God-man, Jesus, that they might once again walk together. And we’re caught up in that! God is doing through the gospel what He always intended to do, what he’s always called for his people to do, to enter into the fullness of the life he invites us to, the resurrection life in Christ

FORGIVEN
13b-14: “He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.”

Sin is something which ultimately robs us of our humanity, and it takes one who lives a ‘sinless’ life to show us what it is to be truly human. Yet, thinking of Jesus as ‘sinless’ can come across as a bit dry, bland and lifeless — whereas the Jesus revealed in the gospels is one who is overflowing with life, with authority, kindness, power, generosity, and purpose. Jesus is the first and only person to keep and fulfil the law of God in its entirety by truly loving God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength and truly loving his neighbour as himself. As he is nailed to the cross, he takes our sin upon his sinless self, nailing it there with him and brings to us the loving relationship that he has always enjoyed with his Father in order that we might know forgiveness and be filled to express and offer that forgiveness to others.

VICTORIOUS
15: “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross”

Jesus’ death — the very instrument of disgrace and death by which everything in the universe that’s opposed to light and life and goodness thought had conquered Jesus forever was turned by him into the instrument of their defeat and disablement. What appeared as his moment of greatest defeat was in fact his moment of greatest victory, by which he achieved all that we read about in this passage. Jesus is the undisputed Lord of the Universe, who conquers by his death, and in whom we’re found. What confidence this gives us for whatever situations we’re facing! The promise is that this Jesus, risen, conquering and victorious, is right there alongside us in the midst of it.

The invitation is to lift our gaze to see that there is nothing to add to Jesus — no philosophies or systems that go higher or wider or deeper or further that what he’s done — that there’s nothing more comprehensive or necessary than his finished work. The message at the heart of the gospel is simple: that Jesus is enough.

Application Questions

Reflect
- What aspect of Sunday’s talk particularly spoke to you?

About God
- Why is it such good news that Jesus is enough?
- What do the two images Paul uses (rooted and built up) tell us about our union with Christ?
- Why does the incarnation mean that Christ can be buried with us, and us raised with him?

About Us
- What are you tempted to try and add to Jesus which begins to define who you are and what you do more than him? What systems can begin to replace him at the heart of how you live out your faith?
- How can we more consciously live in the knowledge that Jesus is enough? What practical steps can we take? How can this free us from fear? How liberating might this be?
- How does the knowledge that Jesus is victorious comfort us in whatever circumstances we’re facing?

About the World
- How do we express the forgiveness we’ve been shown in how we relate to those around us?
- How do we proclaim that Jesus is enough in our everyday lives? How does it affect the way we treat our work / our ambitions / ourselves / each other?

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