The passage today is Colossians 2:6-15 and the notes have been prepared by Bill.
The dictionary suggests that ‘the full monty’ might have come from the habit of Field Marshal Montgomery (known as ‘Monty’) ordering a full English breakfast every day. It reminds me of a time when I was going on holiday with a friend and we stopped at a transport café for breakfast. There were bacon, eggs, tomato, black pudding and every kind of fried food imaginable. The lorry driver in the queue in front of me placed his order – ‘the lot twice’. The phrase stayed with me ever since.
Fullness is a theme of Colossians. Paul has prayed for them to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will 1.9. He has said that God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Christ 1.19. Today the idea of fullness comes again.
Paul gives the Colossians two instructions in these verses. The first instruction is in v6. “Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him…” What happened when they received Christ runs right through today’s passage (see verses 6,10,11,12 and 13 twice). They were given fullness in Christ, Christ had operated on their hearts with a spiritual circumcision, they had been united with Christ in his burial and resurrection, had been made alive in Christ by God and forgiven all their sins. In other words they had ‘the lot’. It seems that false teachers were saying they were missing something, but Paul says no, not so.
Paul then gives three pictures of the people who continue to live in Christ. First they are rooted and built up in Christ. They began their life of faith by being united with Christ, it cannot be a surprise that they should also grow in him. The second picture is of being strengthened in the faith as they were taught. This is why we teach the Bible at Ebenezer Church. We need to grow in the historic faith of Christ, as we have it in our Bibles. In contrast to that, it is possible to spend all your time looking for the latest thing, like the Athenians who liked nothing better than listening to the latest ideas Acts 17.21. That is not the way to grow as a Christian. The third picture is “overflowing with thankfulness.” In Christ we have so much to be thankful for and a spirit of praise and thankfulness to him is a great blessing.
Paul’s second instruction is in v8, “See that no-one takes you captive …..” The alternative to fullness in Christ is hollow philosophy. It was a form of legalistic, empty teaching, and we come back to it tomorrow. Empty barrels make the most noise.