Last year he led us into Galatians by way of Bridget Jones...
This year he arrived on stage with a pot plant!
We were kept us in suspense for a moment about his pot plants whilst getting us thinking about why we want more in the Christian life.
In our quest for more we start to set down roots in other pots. We put down roots outside of Christ. All such other pots may look appealing but they're hollow and empty.
2v6-8 are the answer we're looking for....
"Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. 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. "We need the positive and negative of this:
Positive: Keep going with Christ (v6)
Negative: Don't get taken captive (v8)
There are three false ways here. Three empty pots.
The Negative: Don't get taken captive
1. Religious ritual (16)
Such things are only shadows. The reality is Christ. Don't get judged by people because you don't do religious stuff. Today - could be Islamic religion. Could be Catholicism. Could be evangelical piety of church attendance or books or quiet times. We need to make sure we don't judge others in Christ, imagining our ritual makes us better. Don't get decieved! Think carefully, don't get offended.
2. Mystical Experiences (18)
Paul himself got caught up into heaven. But he's concerned about people who go into great detail, who are puffed up their experiences... they disqualify others as second rate believeres. Today? Buddhist meditation? Some charismatic experiences. Paul is fine about experience but the problem is if we make them THE mark of fulness... so much that we disqualify others proudly. Think carefully, don't get offended.
3. Harsh Discipline (20)
v23. They try to overcome sin by getting tough. With harsh physical discipline. Da Vinci code flagilation? Closer to home? We think that if we get up to pray at 5am we'll be more holy. Single for the gospel? No TV? No pub? And so we judge others. There is a right discipline - and right practice and right experience... but its not the way to fulness with GOd.
We find invitations for "more" very attractive... they make us feel better than others. But they are all hollow and deceptive (8). And moreover they cut us off from the head (19) - Christ! The tragic irony - we chase after more and end up with less. We need to be warned. We need to hear this!
The Positive: Stick with Christ!
Why? In Christ we know God fully! So why go anywhere else.
1. Christ is fully God (v3,9)
All of God. All wisdom. All knowledge of God. Its all in Christ. There is no-where else to go. Nothing to know of God outside of Chirst. Christ is God! 2v10 - in Chirts we have fulness. Wake up to what you already have! We already have it all. The struggle is to believe that.... a struggle because of our sin.
2. Christ has fully dealth with our sin (v13)
Pre-Christ (13) we were dead.
Why? (14) Sin, a great debt to God. Linked to law that exposed our debt.
(15) Powers and authorities were against us knowing God.
The devil would stand between us and God and say you can't come - showing us a list of sins. But that is nailed to the cross. Its gone. The problem is that we still believe what satan says. But he has no accusations that are real.
v13. God made us alive. God forgave us. The code was cancelled. Sin is nailed to the cross. Our sin is counted as Jesus' crime. Jesus is punished for our sin. All gone! No barrier between us and God. Satan has nothing on us. No accusations.
The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. The accusations are true, but they're cancelled. Believe this! No condemnation anymore. No barrier between me and God. We're fully accepted. We can't improve on it. We can't improve on complete. We can't get better than perfect acceptance. Christ is fully God and fully dealt with our sin.
QN: What is Christian life then?
QN: Is there a right sense of "more"?
Rooted - founded on him!
Built - like him!
Strengthened - empowered!
Thankful - overflowing!
So keep going, keep growing! There is room to grow. There is room for more. But it is more in Christ! All of Christ and more of Christ! Its like being married and living as married... not more outside of Christ but more in Christ! More of what we already have. Practice, discipline and experience are good if they take us deeper into Christ. Authentic Christianity.