Peninsula Community Church
How Easter Gives Hope to Overcome
March 20, 2016
Colossians 2:8-15 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. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
The week we continue our look at the strongholds that impact our life. If you remember last week we defined a stronghold as a mindset or a thought process that controls our lives. Last week we looked at the fact that we walk in the flesh but we do not use the armaments of the flesh to fight our battles. This week we want to look at the victory that has been won on our behalf. Because of Christ’s death on the cross we have been positioned for complete and total victory. Now before we get into the details of strongholds and mindsets I want to set the stage by talking about the power of God and work of God on our behalf. That is our focus today.
The passage we have before us today issues us a warning but it also gives us a solution for winning the battle for our minds. Paul begins where we left off last week. He states 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. He offers us a warning to watch out for philosophies and empty words that control our way of thinking. In essence, Paul is saying that the ideas presented by a worldview which is not secured in Christ will be found empty and useless.
Paul continues by stating that the full authority of God is found in Christ. Paul states that in Christ the whole fullness of Deity dwells bodily. In other words, Christ is the manifestation of God here on earth because He is God. While that is pretty awesome, Paul goes on to say that we have been filled in Him. What is Paul saying? While it is true that all of the power of God is in Jesus, it is also true that we have Jesus in us. Therefore, we have the fullness of who God is in us. Remember last week we stated that greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world (1 John 4:4). Paul explains why here. Jesus who is full of everything God, and who lives in us, has all authority and rulership over the kingdoms of our lives. That makes Him greater than any force that can come against us. So why would we not choose to follow Him and obey His commands.
At the end of this passage, Paul makes an incredible powerful life changing statement. He says look not only was Christ raised from the dead but you were too. Listen to Paul’s words. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
There are a couple of things in this that bears comment. We have been made alive in Him. We who were dead in our trespasses and in the works of our flesh have been made alive in Christ. In so doing, we have been forgiven and the sin debt we had was cancelled. So the shame, regret, and desire to control has been dealt with on the cross and we are free today as a result.
But there is a problem in that the enemy of our souls loves to bring accusation, lies, and half-truths against us (Revelation 12:10). His very nature is to be deceitful and to distort the truth we need (John 8:44). When this occurs we have a choice to make. Will we allow false accusation to rule us and therefore walk in the lie of misinformation; or will we reject the lies and live in the truth that is ours through Christ. What truth is that? It is the truth of forgiveness and the fact that our debts have been paid. The debt we owed has been cancelled and it is been discarded as if it never existed.
A few months ago I received a bill from a doctor who was looking for a payment on some medical work that Michelle had done back in 2006. They had attached a note that read if I did not pay the bill I could be taken to court and I would be reported to the credit bureau. Their note was an attempt to intimidate and pressure us to pay a debt that had already been resolved. But heres the deal. Yes! There was a time that I owed that bill but the debt had been paid and it had been paid in full. Fortunately, for us I had all of my receipts and I was able to go back and locate the bill and the check that that had been written to pay off the debt. I contacted the company and sent them a copy of the check and the paid invoice as well as the monthly statement that showed we were paid in full. There was nothing they could do.
You see in our life the enemy of our souls loves to bring up past due bills that have in reality already been paid. He loves to remind us where we have been and what we have done. He loves to remind us how many times we have been rejected and how many times we have done things that have brought us guilt and shame. He is so good at reminding us of our past but when He does that we can go to the file cabinet of our heart and pull out the paid in full receipt that we were given when we came to know Christ and have confessed our sin. Christ paid the debt. What receipt do we have? Spiritually, we have the cross because it was there that our debt was nailed to the cross. Therefore the cross serves as a reminder that the debt has been paid and it has been paid in full. The debt no longer exists.
Let me give you another illustration. A number of years ago I received a call from a collection agency demanding the payment of a debt we did not owe. Even though I provided evidence that I was not the person they were looking for, they continued to call. Each time they demanded payment of a debt that we did not owe. In fact it was a debt that was never ours. Each time they called they agreed they had the wrong person and said they would not call again. Then one night they called and got Michelle on the phone and started pressuring her with scare tactics and manipulation. It upset her. About the time I got home they called again and I had enough. I asked for a supervisor and after some hesitation they finally had a supervisor come to the phone. Because I had journaled all of the dates and the times they called when the “supervisor” finally came to the phone, I let them have. I told them that I was tired of the accusation and the phone calls. I began to list the dates of the calls and who I had spoken to each time they called. I demanded in that moment that the calls stop or else the next person they would be speaking to would be my lawyer. I must have gotten to them because we never got another call again. Here is the point. The pressure to pay the debt was not removed until I threatened to bring in an advocate to handle my case. You see Jesus is that advocate and he is ready to stand in the gap on our behalf. But we must be willing to stand our ground and make the call for Him to do His work. That is why we pray Your kingdom come, Your will be done. We invite God into our world and into the issues we face.
The scripture here today says that Jesus has disarmed the rulers and authorities. This word disarm literally means to strip or to deny power to. In others Jesus by way of the cross has stripped the enemy of his power to effectively accuse us or use any false accusation against us. Listen to me this morning the debt of your sin and past mistakes have been paid for on the cross. Yes in some cases we suffer the consequences of what we did but the guilt, the shame, and the power of the enemy to hold that over you has been dealt with at the cross and you are free today as a result. The power of that sin has been disarmed and the accuser of the brethren has been shamed and defeated. You have been forgiven so forgive yourself. You must walk in the righteousness you have been given. When the debt of guilt comes knocking, let God open the door. When the debt of past failures comes knocking, let God open the door. When the debt of past sin comes knocking, let God open the door. He has come and we are free because of Him.
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14
Copyright © 2016 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom