Welcome back everyone to our Summer Bible Study on Colossians.  We hope that you are enjoying this series as much as we are as we dive deeper and deeper into this letter from Paul.  We hope that you are not only enjoying it, but that you are really slowing down, and reading through the scriptures in a way that you can understand and personalize what Paul is writing to us all.  That is such a big deal, that we read scripture in such a way that it comes to life for us because when it does, we can apply it to our lives…which makes all of this real, and not an empty exercise!  I know that reading and studying the Bible can present some challenges to us.  For some it is the challenge of carving out the time and space needed to actually spend time reading the Bible.  Look, we know you’re busy, but we often find that while we are busy, and very proud to tell people how busy we are, we do all find time for the things that truly matter to us.  And this matters.  For some of us it’s not about time, but we get to this spot where we don’t feel like we are good at reading and retaining Scripture or anything really…we find the people that say that can recite all the building codes, in a code book, or their employee manual from cover to cover…so I don’t think it’s about not being able to read and apply…I’ve had someone tell me that they just can’t read and remember stuff which is why they don’t read the Bible, but then that same person can name every Super Bowl winner and the MVP of each one of those Super Bowls!  So, I’m not sure it’s a learning or memory issue but there is the challenge of opening our minds and hearts up to the Bible.  It’s challenging, and we are hoping as we do this study here on Sunday mornings, you are also seeing how to read Scripture in such a way that it comes to life and is applicable to your life…not just for this study, but for each day of your life.  When we dive into the Bible there is so much there for us, if we allow it all the way in, to do that we must slow down, pray for open hearts and minds and process what we are reading so that we can understand it and apply it to our lives!  This is why we ask questions as we read like, “What is Paul trying to say? or “What does this thought truly mean to my life today, as I do life here in 2021?”  So we hope that you are not only learning from this awesome letter from Paul, and the profound thoughts inside the letter but also that you are learning how to dive into Scripture, not just for this study but for your personal walk with God!

If you have been tracking with the series so far, we saw a theme really building in chapter One and that theme was about all about how magnificent and supreme Christ is!  Paul just kept building and building, trying to get us to center or recenter our lives on Christ as ALL and ENOUGH because it truly is all about Jesus.  We learned all through Chapter One about the supremacy of Christ.  Which really set up Chapter 2 which Ken opened up for us last week looking at the first 5 verses.  I loved Ken’s talk last week, he really focused us on this section of verses two and three…

Colossians 2:2-3 …that you will have the rich experience of knowing Christ with real certainty and clear understanding.  For God’s secret plan, now at last made known, is Christ himself.  In him lie hidden all the mighty, untapped treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  TLB

Think about this.  In chapter one Paul is explaining that everything got started in Jesus and finds its purpose in Jesus, and if everything in God finds its proper place in Jesus, doesn’t it make sense that we would center our lives on Him?  If remembering your grace story gives you passion, gratitude, and humility, doesn’t it make sense that we should center each day on Jesus?  If Jesus made it all, reveals it all, shows it all, gives it all away and paid it all for us, doesn’t it make sense that we should focus on Jesus each and every day?  Then Paul says that it’s his prayer that we are experiencing Jesus?  Because Paul knows that it’s a true relationship with Christ that will give you and I everything we have always been searching for in life.  It’s all found in Jesus; this is where that elusive abundantly full life is found as a Christian…it’s found in Jesus!  We echo Paul’s prayer for you here at MRC, that you truly experience Jesus.

I’m really excited to continue this study today because we are looking at two verses, but I’m just going to tell you that a lot is said in these two verses!  Paul is going to make a huge point for us today in Colossians 2:6-7!  So to get started, let’s read it in a couple versions, this gives us plenty to talk about!

Colossians 2:6 My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. 7 You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving. MSG

Let’s read it again this time in the NIV…

Colossians 2:6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. NIV

So, Paul seems to be doing two things here, first he is making a gigantic point in verse 6, then in verse 7 he seems to be showing us how to actually live out this gigantic point.  So, what is the big point that Paul is making here?  Paul is saying that we should continue to live in Christ just as you received Him.  He is saying that the Christian life is not lived any different than that beautifully pure moment that you first received Him in your life.  Let’s really think on this for a moment and just focus on verse 6 here…

Colossians 2:6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him NIV

You know as I really started to focus on this verse, I had two thoughts that I think both really apply here.  First, when we read this, it should make us think about the passion and energy we have when we first come to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  I can look back on those days for me, and kind of laugh at the passion, and joy, and just the energy levels I had back in those days.  So pumped about what Jesus has done in my life and just wanting to share that with anyone and everyone who would listen.   It reminds me a lot of the “Honeymoon stage of marriage!”  The passion and energy and romance of those early years…no kids, no real worries, or stressors just love, secure in the knowledge that that love would get us through anything!  Remember how you and your spouse just couldn’t keep your hands off each other?  Well, fast-forward twenty or thirty years or so…lol…ok, if you have been married a while you probably get what I’m saying…if you are young married or dating, you maybe in here holding hands right now, shaking your head, gazing at your mate thinking “No, that will never be us baby, don’t listen to him” Ha!  I get it but there is something to this.  Paul is saying something similar to us here in verse 6…

Colossians 2:6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him NIV

The other thing that really stands out to me in verse 6 is how often and consistently Paul keeps reminding us of those early moments where we found Christ and how important it is to not drift away from Jesus as our Lord, as “All” and “Enough” in our lives.  A couple of weeks ago in Chapter One we really paused in this warning from Paul, that we must not drift away from Jesus, and I told you something important about what he was saying…do you remember this?

Colossians 1:22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. 23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. NLT

Now I’m really going to break down Scripture here for you so stay with me here, the reason Paul warns us not to drift away from Jesus and the Good News is because we people tend to drift away from Jesus and the Good News in our lives.  So not only is Paul trying to keep us as passionate and pure hearted and energetic as we were when we first received Jesus, but He is also warning us not to drift away from Jesus…yet so many of us do.  Which is really interesting, because you would think with each passing year after receiving Jesus we would be growing in Spiritual Maturity, and that we would see more and more people living with passion and joy and freedom and strength and energy…you know that elusive abundant life in Christ…but we don’t…we tend to drift away, and I think we need to ask ourselves why and how this could happen.  Let’s think back to those early days when we first received Christ that Paul is trying to help us focus on in verse 6…

Colossians 2:6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him NIV

I want you to know something, Jesus is “ALL” and “ENOUGH.”  This means there is nothing for us to add to the Jesus Christ who you first put your faith in and started to follow.  We do not start with receiving Jesus, and then progress or move on to bigger and better things as Christians…no, it’s all about Jesus!  That’s it…and that is enough…this is a major reason that so many good people who love God can drift away from Jesus, because they want to add to The Message.  Christ is always the biggest and most important thing, Christ is the one who takes care of it all for us, Christ earned our salvation, and won the victory for us all in it’s finality on the Cross…everything is about Jesus and nothing needs to be added to Him.  I think it’s really important to look at why Paul would keep coming back to this idea of Jesus as ALL and ENOUGH.  Why he continues to do it, thought after thought, letter after letter…why we center our focus and thinking and preaching here at MRC on Jesus as ALL and ENOUGH…it’s because we people tend to drift away from the depth, profoundness, and truth of Jesus as ALL and ENOUGH in our lives.

So the question has to be asked here, how does that happen?  How do we drift away from Jesus?  How do we lose our focus on Him?  Well, I think everything in this world pushes against us living out this life in Christ.  We experience so many distractions and so much clutter in our lives.  We also live difficult lives dealing with so much pain, so much adversity, with so many hurts and wounds to push through in life…and it’s hard, and it’s discouraging at times, and it can drain away our energy and steal our focus.  We also deal with the spirit of religion which is so sneaky and always trying to add things to Jesus…people around churches who are elevating themselves or other people, or programs, or things to places only Christ should be…and I haven’t even brought up the fact that we sin, mess up, and continue to battle our flesh as we live our lives here on this Earth.  It’s tough, and all of these things contribute to us drifting away from Christ as central to our lives.

It’s amazing to watch someone come and receive Christ in their life.  The joy, the passion, the pure-hearted energy and gratitude that flows through them is just a joy to be around…but I will say if we aren’t careful something really tough can happen to us over time where in the name of Spiritual Maturity or reaching some new “level” in our faith we start to elevate things, people, special teachings, or experiences to the place only Jesus should be.  We decide we need these things in order to grow or be more spiritual…but Paul is making it abundantly clear…Jesus is ALL and ENOUGH and we do not add to Him.  It’s all about Jesus.  Now for some of you, this can sound disappointing and a little too simple…and for others you may be getting a little nervous because you think I’m saying that we should not pursue holy lives or spiritual growth…and that isn’t what I’m saying at all!  Yes, we should study!  Yes, we should grow each day towards spiritual maturity!  Yes, we should pursue holy lives!  But we never add to Jesus Christ…all that we need to grow and mature and truly live is found in Him!  We do not add anything to Jesus.  He is all and enough.  It’s funny how we receive things like what Paul is saying here.  We hear this and think well, Paul is promoting spiritual laziness, and doesn’t want us to grow…well that isn’t true at all.  He actually wrote this at the end of Chapter 1 of this letter…

Colossians 1:27 God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple. That is the substance of our Message. 28 We preach Christ, warning people not to add to the Message. We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity. To be mature is to be basic. Christ! No more, no less. MSG

Paul absolutely wants us to grow into Spiritual Maturity but continues to try and lead us to where it is found…its isn’t found in some dynamic spiritual leader, or someone who tells you they are holy or a prophet of some kind.  It isn’t found in any special additional teaching or program, and it isn’t found in any experience from any other person on this planet.  It is found in Jesus Christ…this is the message, and we must be careful not to add to that message. Now I know, some wrap this thought up in a bow and say, “Well MRC just doesn’t like discipleship programs, or things like that.”  No, that isn’t the case, but if you are thinking that, you are probably already in danger of pushing other things into the place only Christ can be.  He is ALL and He is ENOUGH.  Yes we study, and try to use things like Bible Study and discipleships to grow in our faith, but they all point to Him not to a person, place, program, or thing…it’s all about Jesus.  So no, this isn’t a call to be spiritually lazy…NOT AT ALL!  This is a call to be actively walking with Jesus!  So if verse 6 really leads us to this call to actively walk with Jesus it’s verse 7 that shows us how.

Colossians 2:6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. NIV

I love this and would like to take the rest of our time and just work through a few things that Paul tells us that we must do to actively live in Christ.  Paul says we should be rooted in Christ.  We should be built up in Him.  We should be strengthened in faith in Him…and overflowing in thankfulness because of Him…this is beautiful and while it’s just a few phrases, these are life changing instructions for us on how to actively live in Christ.

We must be rooted in Christ!  So, verse 7 begins with Paul saying we must be rooted in Christ.  Let’s use the imagery of a tree for a moment.  Just for fun, I want to ask you where you come out on this old exercise.  “If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?”  Let’s think about it, where do you come out on this?  The clear answer is…yes, it does…whether you see it or not, it crashes down in the woods and makes a lot of noise…but that little exercise says a lot about us people though.  Maybe we could update this exercise for today.  “If you do something special with your family and don’t post about it…did it actually happen?  Or just for fun maybe this way, “If you did devotions this morning and didn’t post about it, did it actually happen?” Well, just like the tree makes a sound the clear answer is yes, even without everyone knowing it…it happened, and it’s still a good thing…maybe it’s just not as satisfying for you if the world doesn’t know…which I think we should talk about some here today.  Let’s go back to our tree…

You know the funny thing about the tree is while we see the trunk, and the branches and the leaves…the most important part of the tree is the roots.  It’s the roots that are gathering the things needed for that tree to live…it’s also the roots that somehow hold those massive trees up reaching far into the sky.  If you think about it, without the roots there is no way that tree lives, and there is no way it would ever stand tall, especially in the wind, and storms…the roots are essential to a tree.  You know what is really interesting to me about the roots which are so essential to the life of the tree?  It’s the fact that they are so important, yet they are unseen, aren’t they?  In so many ways this is the perfect imagery of you and I living in Christ.  It’s what we do when no one is looking, in our private time with Our Heavenly Father that leads us to becoming deeply rooted in Christ.  It’s the things no one sees that are so essential to living in Christ…but that is just so opposite of the world we live in today.  It’s so opposite of the way we instinctively would want to live, isn’t it?  We live in a world where we get to see what everyone is up to in real time, all the time.  Well, maybe not the truth of what everyone is up to, maybe a better way to say it is we get to post imagery of what we would like others to see about our lives in real time, all the time.  This world of social media and sharing it all with the world is setting a new behavioral pattern for our lives.  I mean what good is a family vacation if you aren’t sharing every second of it on social media with all your friends and family that couldn’t come?  It’s important that they know you are disconnecting and having quality time with your family, right?  I mean why get in shape or lose weight if we aren’t sharing every moment of that online?  How motivated can I be if it’s just something I’m doing for myself?  And if we are really honest, what is the point of doing devotions if others don’t see it on my Instagram or Facebook page…I mean, they need to know how Holy and Spiritual and deep I am right?  So what Paul is saying is to be rooted in Christ, this is counter cultural but important, the roots keep the tree alive, and the roots aren’t seen.  Your spiritual roots are grown through your relationship with Christ, which is between you and Him…it doesn’t matter how you look to others…it matters who you are in Christ.  I would encourage you to dive into that relationship and not be distracted by others or sharing with others…don’t worry about what others think of what you are doing, it’s what no one sees that really is essential here.  This reminds me of Jesus when He taught us how to pray…

Matthew 6:6 “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. 7 “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. 8 Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need.” MSG

Paul says we should be deeply rooted in Christ, the roots aren’t seen, but they are so essential…they are the true lifeline of the tree just as our relationship with Christ is to us.

Paul then continues, saying we must be rooted in Christ, built up in Christ, established in faith, and growing up into Christ.  You know, all of what Paul is talking about is just so counter cultural, which does make it challenging today.  We discussed just how important that private life with Christ is, but Paul just keeps going, talking about being built up in Christ, established in faith, and growing in Christ.  And we need to see that all of these things take time.  This is where so many of us can drift away from Christ as All and ENOUGH in our lives…because it does take work, and time and just isn’t going to be easy at times to grow up in and live in Christ.  We live in a world where everything is supposed to be quick and easy, and I think we can get this idea that we ask Jesus into our lives and it flips a switch in us, like a light switch on the wall and from that point on life will just sing like a song, we will experience that life to the full…and all will be well in our hearts, minds, lives, and souls…but it’s not our reality is it?  The reality is the road to Spiritual Maturity is slow, and steady and an intentional process where we walk through all the ups and downs of life.  And I think we can say it…that just is not the world we live in today.  Today we want it all and we want it all right now!  We don’t have to wait for anything, and we certainly don’t want to have to work for everything.  I feel like I’m really bagging on social media today, but I don’t think that helps as we see the perfect highlight reel moments from someone’s life…it is just another way to forget the process and the time and work it took to make that highlight reel moment happen.  Jesus talks about this a lot…as Christians I think we read this but maybe pass over it without understanding how true this is for our lives…then we end up disappointed in the process and can drift away from Jesus.

Matthew 7:13-14 “Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do.  The way to life – to God! – is vigorous and requires total attention. MSG

Paul is hitting some huge points in verse 7 that can give us true handles on a life lived in Christ…but they are so opposite of our instincts and our culture today. We have seen that being rooted in Christ is essential and the priority is in the time between you and God that no one sees.  We are also seeing that being built up in Christ, and established in Faith, and growing up in Christ takes time, and work, it’s a slow and steady process that happens through our lives and experiences and all the ups and downs that come with life.  I feel like in many ways Paul is just echoing Jesus here from Matthew 7 where He lets us know that there are no shortcuts to God, the way to life to God is vigorous and requires our total attention…a huge point…and one that is hard for us humans because we like the short cuts don’t, we?

Then Paul ends verse 7 with one more important thought to keep us centered on and walking in Christ…

We are to be overflowing with gratitude!  I love this and want you to see that this heart of thanksgiving is another thing that Paul comes back to a lot!  In fact this is the third time he has already brought it up in this letter already and it won’t be the last!

Colossians 1:3 We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. NLT

Then here again just a few verses later…

Colossians 1:11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, 12 always thanking the Father. NLT

This thankfulness or heart of gratitude will come up at least three more times in this letter alone…and it’s important to see, if Paul keeps coming back to it, we need to think to ourselves…this must be a very important point or tool for our lives…and it is.  Think about the big challenge we all face to stay centered on Jesus as ALL and ENOUGH in our lives.  We humans have a tendency to drift away from Jesus and we have been outlining a lot of reasons why and just how challenging it is for us to stay the course.  Well, it’s this heart overflowing with gratitude that will keep you on course.   So, let’s go back to our big thought from today in verses 6 and 7…because it will help you see Paul’s point here…

Colossians 2:6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. NIV

Have you ever noticed how a grateful person, someone who is just so positive and thankful about a situation they are in…they just have an ability to see that situation through in a way someone who is negative, complaining, and maybe frustrated just can’t?  Let me explain it this way, let’s say you have four kids…and you are going on a long road trip with the family.  Some of the family members may be somewhat indifferent…but one of your children is super excited about the trip.  They are so thankful and happy to look out the window and see all the new sites.  They are so happy and to them the trip felt easy, light, and fun.  But you have that other family member on the trip who is miserable in the car…they complain and are frustrated the whole time…to them that same trip is brutal, it’s so much work, it felt like they were in the car for a year instead of a couple of hours.  What was the difference?  It was the same trip.  It was the same distance in the same vehicle on the same route.  The difference was their outlook…one was positive, excited, and thankful…the other miserable, complaining, and not thankful for the trip…this person who struggled is the opposite of overflowing with gratitude!  Paul is helping us see something here, when we stay grateful, overflowing with gratitude we will not drift away from Jesus as all and enough in our lives.  Do you see it?  This heart that overflows with gratitude is essential, and if you think back to when you first received Christ, you had that heart, that gratitude, that positive outlook on Christ and who He is and what He did for you and how you now live!

So, how are you doing with all we are talking about here today?  I love these two verses and think there is so much for us to see and grab hold of for our lives in them.  Again, we want you thinking this all through, personalizing this for yourselves…so to close today, I just want to ask you a few questions.

  • How is your Spiritual Walk going?  Be honest here…there may have been a day when you were super passionate about Jesus, but have you drifted away from Jesus as ALL and Enough?
  • Have you concluded over time that you need to add to Christ in your life?  Think about that…what are some things that you may be adding to Jesus Christ in your life?  Is it a person or people?  Is it a place, building, program, or experience?  Think about what you may be adding to Jesus.
  • Do you see the dangers in adding to Jesus or how it can cause you to drift away from Jesus over time?
  • Does Jesus mean as much to you today as the day you received Him?  Do you have that same passion and life and energy?  If the answer is no, what has changed?  Remember that if your walk with Jesus is feeling flat or routine we need to remember those early days of what He meant to us when we first received Him.
  • What needs to change for you to truly be rooted in Christ, built in Christ, established in faith and truly growing in Him?
  • What would life look like for you if you were truly overflowing with gratitude for God?  What needs to change for you to find that grateful outlook on your faith?

Listen, we love you and just are so excited to keep pushing in on these amazing words from Paul and it’s our prayer that you will accept this call to actively live in Christ.  It may be challenging…it is most definitely counter-cultural, and it will take effort, focus, and time…but it’s where this abundant life that we all want and are searching for is truly found!  It’s all found in Christ.

Colossians 2:6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. NIV