Tuesday 15th October 2019
Fullness in Christ
Audio / Teaching / Video

Fullness in Christ

Adrian Holloway on November 17, 2007 with 0 Comments

Colossians 2 – Preaching from ChristChurch London’s Sunday Service

SLIDE 1: Title: Fullness in Christ

Today we continue our series in Colossians, picking up in chapter 2 verse 6. Let’s read, and we’ll stop and comment as we go through.

SLIDE 2
6So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
8See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. (Colossians 2:6-8)

Here we have a reminder of why Paul was writing this letter. The Colossian Christians were in danger of being deceived by heresy. He tells them to watch out that they are not taken captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy.

Now what was the heresy?

Well, just look down with me for a moment at verse 16.

We’ll come back to the verses we’ve just jumped over in a minute, but you can see what the heresy was from reading verses 16 to 23.

SLIDE 3
16Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. (Colossians 2:16)

Clearly, the heretics looked down on Christians who failed to observe the Jewish festivals. The heretics were legalistic and judgmental. They had a sort of “holier than thou” attitude, because they meticulously and fastidiously observed all these special days that they’d imported from Judaism, and possibly from the Eastern mystery religions too.

Paul says:

SLIDE 4
17These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. (Colossians 2:17)

In other words, Paul is saying that the Jewish rules of what you should and shouldn’t do, are just shadows. Paul is saying: ‘Christ is the real thing.’ Paul’s saying, “don’t pay attention to shadows, you could and should be worshipping Christ.” And as we said last month, the heretics downgraded or relegated Christ from having a supreme place in the universe, and concentrated instead, on rules and regulations, which the heretics regarded as the gateway into ecstatic spiritual experiences. They saw rule keeping as a sort of super-highway, which leads to having fantastic visions of spiritual beings.

As we see in the next verse. Paul says . . .

SLIDE 5
18Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. (Colossians 2:18)

The heretics were going on weird spiritual ecstatic trips and seeing some far out stuff. So let’s try and imagine what was going on.

Let’s imagine that a Colossian heretic, called Henry Heretic, comes up to you in the stalls bar, let’s imagine what he might say. He might sidle up to you and say: “Hi, I’m Henry. And I’m [yawns] Oh, excuse me I’m a bit tired. I was up late last night.”

You’d say: “Oh really, what were you up to?”

He says: “Oh nothing, just praying, like normal, though I did get through to the angelic realm.”

You say: “You mean you saw an angel?”

He says: “Well yeah, don’t tell everyone, but I’ve actually seen 437 angels.”

And Henry Heretic goes into great detail. “Yeah, an angel’s wings are this big” and, as he goes on and on about his vision, his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions.

Folks, these heretics, in verse 18, were worshipping angels. That is something we are forbidden to do. Tragically, Henry Heretic from Colossae is so excited about angels that he has forgotten or ignored Christ’s position in the celestial scheme of things.

Paul says that Henry Heretic . . .

SLIDE 6
19He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. 20Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21″Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”?

SLIDE 7
22These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

And that’s the irony of Henry’s rules. They don’t actually work. They lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

So if I had to summarize Paul’s argument, Paul’s saying: Point 1. All you need is Christ. Point 2. All the heretics are offering you is worthless.

But Henry’s zeal and devotion still look pretty impressive don’t they? I am so easily impressed by people who have more self-discipline than I do, aren’t you? I think to myself: “If only I could get up as early as Henry does, and bring the kind of prophecies that Henry does. If only I was as serious and as committed as Henry is.”

You see if I asked Henry Heretic in the stalls bar.

“Henry, why do you think that I’ve never had a vision like you have? How come I’ve never seen an angel?”

Henry might reply: “Well, what are you doing on Thursday?”

You say: “Thursday? I dunno. Er . . . nothing special.”

Henry would reply: “Nothing special? It’s the New Moon festival. I fast for four days before every new moon. You’re not very holy. How long was your quiet time this morning?”

You say: “Er . . . fifteen minutes.”

Henry says: “Fifteen minutes! You’re not going to see any angels in fifteen minutes. I pray for fifteen hours on Saturdays. Now tell me, what’s in your fridge? What are you eating?”

You say: “Er . . . I dunno. I s’pose I eat the same stuff everyone else eats.”

Henry replies: “The same stuff that everyone else eats! Well there you go. You asked me why you’re not seeing any visions, and there’s your answer, you are not observing basic Jewish dietary regulations.”

You say: “Well, I thought that as a Christian, we don’t need to do all that stuff anymore.”

Henry replies: “Well that’s is really very naieve. Living a holy life is a lot more complicated than that.” Henry says: “If you want to come up to my level, you’ve got to observe the dietary laws. There are some things you can’t handle, some things, you can’t taste, some things you can’t touch. And if you obey all the rules, then you can be like me, you too can follow me, straight into the glory zone.”

You see the Colossian heresy appealed to Christians who wanted more of God, more power, more insight, more revelation. Just like us here at Christ Church, the Colossian Christians wanted to be full of power, of wisdom, of insight, but Paul sees the danger and says “Adrian. Watch out.”

Paul says “Hey, you dear Colossian Christians. Don’t go looking for fullness anywhere else. Paul says, in verse 9 that

SLIDE 8
9For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. (Colossians 2:9)

Paul says, if you want God, if you want wisdom, if you want power, if God’s what you’re looking for, then look no further than Christ. Don’t shop around elsewhere. All the fullness of God lives in Christ. You’re already as full as you can ever be. Paul says: If you want a full and rich spiritual experience, look no further, than Christ.

The heretics, as we said last month, were claiming that Jesus was less than fully God, that he was a lesser God, a demi-God, and that God didn’t even create the world, let alone walk around on legs in the human body of Jesus Christ. Paul counters by saying, ‘no, Christ was fully God. Christ was no Gnostic aeon, no emanation. Christ is no mere spirit guide or avatar.

No Christ is fully God, and that means, verse 10, that you and I as Christians needn’t go looking for fullness anywhere else.

Let me say this to you tonight, if you think of yourself as a rubbish Christian, watch out. If you think and talk negatively about yourself, watch out! If you are awe-struck by super-serious “Christians” who seem to have a hotline to God, watch out. Don’t get seduced by Henry’s super-strict legalism, nor by Henry’s super-spiritual experiences. Henry is a false teacher.

The Bible says that you are not half-empty. On the contrary, you have been given fullness in Christ, and pastorally that is probably the most important statement in this passage, for you to take away with you.

You can’t be any more full than you are right now. If you are in Christ, you can’t be any more saved than you are right now. You can’t be any more right with God. You can’t be any more accepted. You can’t do anything that could ever make you any more loved by God than you already are. What a wonderful truth!

If Paul were here today, he’d say that: rather than searching through the Mind, Body and Spirit section of Waterstones, or experimenting with Crystals, or setting ourselves a string of very strict rules to live by as we’re looking for fullness. Rather than hanging out with super-spiritual falsely humble people, rather than ordering weird books on angels off Amazon from California, we’d be much better off reading the new testament and finding how much God has already done for us – in Christ. The answer to the problems I have in my Christian life isn’t out there somewhere. No the answer is already in me. It’s the same answer that’s already in you. The answer is Christ in You – the hope of Glory.

And now Paul reminds the Colossians of what’s already happened to them in Christ.

SLIDE 9
11In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. (Colossians 2:11-13)

SLIDE 10
He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:13-15)

And so I want to just spend the remainder of our time today, on this section, verses 11-15, which deal with the subject of baptism.

SLIDE 11
11In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. (Colossians 2:11-13)

And that’s mainly because baptism is presented here as a picture that sums up all of the fullness of what God has done for us in Christ. In baptism, we identify finally and publicly with Christ’s death, as we go down into the water, and also with his resurrection as we share in Christ’s victory, as he not only disarmed powers and authorities, but also triumphed over them by the cross.

Now it just so happens that, we have never had a sermon on water baptism in the three years that Christ Church has been going.

And because, as we will see, baptism is actually something Jesus himself commands us to do. I want to give an opportunity at the end of this message for you to respond if you have not yet been baptized by immersion as a believer. So when I’m done, I will call the band back, we’ll all stand, and then I will invite you to come forward.

Now I’m sure you’ll have lots of questions, but I want to encourage you to come forward anyway. Now don’t worry, you’re not committing yourself to being baptized by coming forward. By coming forward you are saying: “I need to talk, think and pray about this.” But of course others of you have already decided to be baptized, or you’re deciding today to be baptized, and I want to ask you to come forward as well, because I would love to pray for all of you.

So whether you are thinking about being baptized here, or whether you’ve already decided you’re going to do it, I want to invite both groups of you forward, because baptism is important. It is the public way that Jesus commands us to identify with him, and so I want to give you a chance to respond at the end.

Now as you know there are some churches, who are in the habit of baptizing babies. The idea, of course, being, that when you grow up, you later confirm the baptismal vows that were made on your behalf by adults when you yourself were a baby.

Now as you probably know, here at Christ Church, we do not baptize babies. We dedicate babies here on stage, and we have a few babies lined up, and we’ll all invite our friends, but we only baptize believers. And it’s probably worth explaining why we take that view.

And Colossians 2:11 is the best passage to work from, because it is actually this passage, which is used most often by those who baptize babies, to argue for infant baptism. And they do so arguing that baptism in the New Testament is the equivalent of circumcision in the old. And so, because 8 day old baby boys were circumcised as a sign of entry into the Old Covenant community, they argue that is analogous to babies being baptized as a sign of entry into the New Covenant community.

Now before we get into it, let me just see if I can connect with you personally on this subject.

Whenever you preach on baptism, you get wildly different reactions. Let’s imagine 3 people sitting next to each other right now, all reacting totally differently to Colossians 2.

First, in the aisle seat is Billy Baptist, who’s a bit bored by baptism by full immersion. It’s old news. You see, Billy has been brought up at Billericay Baptist church, and if you’re Billy or you’ve come from any church that practices believers baptism by full immersion, you might think: “baptism, been there, done that. When I was 14 I believed all the stuff, just like my Dad, and his Dad before him. So when I was 14, at the 6.30pm evening service – got dunked, everyone rejoiced. Adrian, can’t we move on to something more interesting, why can’t we move on to Colossians chapter 3?”

Billy, I want to appeal to you that Paul would say it doesn’t get more profound or any more interesting than Christ’s death and resurrection. I want to encourage you that this passage can speak to you today, even though you’ve already been baptized.

Meanwhile sitting next to Billy Baptist, is someone for whom this talk is potentially the scariest moment yet in the whole time that you’ve been at Christ Church, London. For one simple reason, you’ve become a Christian recently, but if you were to get baptized, your parents would hit the roof. Let’s say you’ve become a Christian, and your friends and family don’t approve, but they are tolerating it. They are hoping it’s just a phase, that will sort of blow over.

But now, you are saying that you want to make a spectacle of yourself, and get immersed in water in front of hundreds of people. They are already worried that you are throwing your life away. But the doubly scary bit is that you yourself feel like baptism is the point of no return. “If I get baptized there’s no way back!” So right now, your heart is racing. You’re thinking, “I don’t know if I can handle being baptized.” So you’re feeling the pressure right now.

Meanwhile in the seat next to you is someone who is reacting equally strongly to this talk but for completely different reasons. You see rather than coming from a non-Christian family, your family are all wonderful Christians, and your parents have devoted their whole lives to bringing you up to love and know Jesus. It just so happens that the church you grew up in, which is a great church, baptizes infants, so you were baptized as a baby, and when you were old enough, you got confirmed, and that was your public confession of faith as a believer. So if you were to turn round to your parents now and say: “I want to get baptized” then quite understandably your parents might reply: “Baptized? Why? You’ve already been baptized and confirmed? So what are you saying? Are you saying that what we did for you wasn’t enough?” And quite honestly, if I was a parent in that situation, I can totally sympathise with that reaction. And, I can totally sympathise with you too, I mean none of us want to deliberately hurt our parents’ feelings, especially after all they’ve done for us. Besides, is it really that important to get baptized by immersion as a believer, if you’re already made a public profession of faith at a “confirmation service”?

So what I hope to do now is to come to the best understanding of this passage.

But as I do so, I also want to say something personal. When I became a Christian at 16, and I told my parents that I was going to be baptized, I had a conversation with my mum that I will never forget. Let’s just say, she was not pleased. And it was not a happy experience. And I don’t want to go into details because these sermons get podcast. But suffice to say that there was a strong negative reaction at that time, so I can relate to what some of you have gone through and what others are going through. But I do not regret getting baptized for one moment. For me, it was an absolutely crucial step of obedience and victory. And I have to say that I took that step because I came to believe that it was the plain, obvious and clear teaching of the New Testament on this subject.

But first of all, let’s have a think about verse 12, which speaks of being buried with Christ in baptism, and then being raised to life.

There isn’t really a lot of debate about the mode of baptism in the New Testament. All the evidence suggests that people in the New Testament were baptised by full immersion.

For example it seems that Jesus was baptised by full immersion in the River Jordan by John the Baptist. Mark 1:10 tells us that when Jesus had been baptised “he came up out of the water” And the Greek there says that he came out of the water, not that he merely came away from it.

Similarly, John 3:23 tells us that John the Baptist baptised at Aenon near Salim “because there was much water there.” Which again does not suggest John was sprinkling people. Surely if John had been sprinkling people, he could have done it more or less anywhere.

Throwing the story on, in Acts chapter 8, when the Ethiopian eunuch becomes a Christian, as he spoke with Phillip the evangelist, “as they went along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See here is water! What is to prevent my being baptised?” (Acts 8:36)

Now this Ethiopian man was a high-ranking official, there would definitely have been drinking water on the chariot. So if baptism was sprinkling, there’s no need to stop and get off at the nearest river. But instead, we read that when the Eithiopian sees water, he commands the chariot to stop and it says that both Philip and the Eithiopian “went down into the water” and after the baptism they came up out of the water.

Anyway, you get the idea. There are several other examples which really only make sense if baptism was by full immersion.

But even if this were not the case, it still seems to me anyway that the symbolism of union with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection actually requires baptism to be by immersion. That’s true not only of Colossians 2:12, but also in Romans 6, where Paul says:

SLIDE 12:
“Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:3-4)

So the mode of baptism in the New Testament, as far as we can tell, was by full immersion in water.

Nothing too controversial so far. But things are going to hot up a little bit as we ask the question, who should be baptised?

Well in the New Testament it’s those who become Christians.

Jesus said:

SLIDE 13:
“Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved.” (Mark 16:16)

And Peter is totally faithful to Jesus instructions. When Peter preaches the first sermon in the history of the church on the day of Pentecost, and his hearers are cut to the heart, crying out: “Oh, what shall we do, we’ve crucified God’s Messiah, what must we do to be saved.” Peter replies, Acts 2:38: “Repent and be baptised.”

Same thing in Samaria, in Acts 8, when the Samaritans heard Phillip preaching the gospel and believed, they were baptised. In Acts 10, at Cornelius’ house. Peter’s preaching away, and then suddenly the Holy Spirit fell on Cornelius’ household and Peter heard them speaking in tongues and praising God, and Peter’s response was: “Wow! These Gentiles have received the Holy Spirit just like we did. So Peter “commanded them to be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ?”

Now we need to see the force of that. Not only does Jesus command his disciples to go and make disciples and baptise them, but in Acts 10 we see Peter following Jesus’ example, by commanding new Christians to get baptised.

Now of course, because I’m a very reasonable and easy-going laid back personable guy, at the end of this talk I’m going to say, ‘look this is not a heavy thing, no-one’s commanding you to do anything, take your time.’ But if we’d become a Christian in the book of Acts, we probably would have been commanded to be baptised immediately, and we need to hear the sense of urgency. I mean clearly you can get to heaven without being baptised, because the thief on the cross never got baptised and Jesus said to him “today you’ll be with me in paradise.” So baptism isn’t essential to salvation, but it follows salvation pretty swifty in the New Testament.

And the church I was in when I lived in Cardiff was like that. If anyone became a Christian on a Sunday morning, they were given the chance to be baptised immediately after the service in the baptistry. I remember many times people being baptised straight away, 30 minutes after becoming a Christian. Similarly, I remember my friend Ray Lowe telling me stories of how he and his friends used to do pub evangelism, and they’d chat to people at 11.00 o’clock at night when the pubs would start to empty out, and if anyone got converted, they’d take them back to their house where-ever they lived, all go upstairs into the bathroom, and baptise them in the bath. Folks, we mustn’t knock that, because that was more or less New Testament practice.

So anyway, in the New Testament we see new converts getting baptised.
But supporters of infant baptism reply: “Yes, but that’s just a narrative argument. Of course the church began with adult conversions. The real question is, they say, “what happened next? What happened when these adult converts later had children? Their children were born into Christian homes to Christian parents, and surely Colossians 2:11 allows us to baptise babies on the same basis as babies were circumcised in the Old Covenant?

So let’s look at it in detail . . .

SLIDE 14:
11In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. (Colossians 2:11-13)

What they are saying is that there’s a link here between Old Testament circumcision in verse 11 and New Testament baptism in verse 12. Now in reply, I’d want to ‘Yes, there is a link, but let’s not forget that verse 11 is not really talking about Old Testament circumcision. What Paul is doing in verse 11 is talking about the new covenant circumcision of our hearts, which happens when we believe and how different that is from Old Testament circumcision.

The background to this is that in the old testament you became a Jew by virtue of being born physically to Jewish parents. As soon as you’re born male, you’re circumcised straight away. The whole point is, if you get born and you can breathe and your parents are Jewish, you get circumcised, that means you’re Jewish, end of story. In circumcision, it doesn’t matter what’s going on spiritually in your heart. You’re only 8 days old. A strip of your flesh is cut away. It’s got nothing to do with what you believe or whether you’ve put off the sinful nature.

But the circumcision here in verse 11 is not physical, not done by the hands of men. Can you see those important words there on the screen? “not done by the hands of men.” No Rabbi with a knife is involved in Colossians 2:11 The circumcision here is all about what’s happened in your heart as a result of becoming a believer in Jesus. Something that cannot happen and has never happened to any baby in any font.

So in verse 11, Paul is pointing out how different the New Covenant is from the Old. You get into the Old Covenant biologically, automatically, by physical birth. But in stark contrast, 2000 years later, Jesus comes along and teaches the exact opposite. In John chapter 8, Jesus says: “it’s no longer good enough for you to say, ‘we’re Jewish, we’re descended from Abraham, we’re circumcised, we’re in’. Jesus says: “No! You’re not in. In fact, you’re out.” And in John 3, he famously tells Nicodemus: “if you want to get in, you must be born again.” The whole thrust of entry to the New Covenant is that you have to have faith to get in. Hence believers baptism! Radically different from the old covenant and Genesis 17.

And so the circumcision Paul is talking about here in verse 11 is not done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ.

In other words Paul is talking here about a spiritual circumcision, something that happens in your heart. Important cross references here to the circumcision of the heart as a believer are Romans 2: 29 and Phillipians 3:3. In Colossians 2:11 Paul is talking about believers who’ve been born again, and who now have circumcised hearts.

And the two words that seal the question for me finally, are in verse 12, “raised with him through your faith.” It’s your faith that matters when it comes to baptism, not your parents or anyone else’s. You are raised up out of the water, raised with Christ, through your faith. This is all to do with the faith you have, now that you’ve come to believe, now that you’ve been born again. I cannot see how verse 12 could mean anything else.

So to summarize, Paul’s whole point therefore is that baptism by immersion as a believer is a public sign of what’s already happened in your heart when your heart got circumcised, when you got born again, when you became a Christian.

So, conclusion, I have yet to be persuaded by the argument for infant baptism from Old Testament circumcision. I don’t think it fits Colossians 2:11 and 12.

Now the supporting argument for infant baptism is the two household baptisms we see in Acts 16, the household of Lydia, and then the family of the Philippian jailer, and the household of Stephanus in 1 Corinthians 1:16. And the household baptism argument goes: “For all we know there could have been some babies in the home, who didn’t believe yet, but they got baptised anyway, with their older brothers and sister and parents. It seems like whole the household got baptised as a job lot.”

Well I’ve never really got this because Acts 16 says that Paul preached the gospel to all the Phillipian jailer’s household and that when the Phillipian jailer was converted, he rejoiced with all his household. So it seems to me perfectly natural that they all got baptised. Surely it’s then total speculation on our part to say that the Phillipian jailer also had an unbelieving baby who also got baptised. Because the Bible says they all heard and they all rejoiced.

The household of Stephanus, 1 Corinthians 16. Well they were also all believers. Paul says they were the first converts in Achaia and devoted themselves to the service of the saints.

So the only example of a household baptism that could include unbelieving infants being baptised as a sort of household job lot, is Lydia’s household in Acts 16, where we have no information one way or the other.

So it seems to me that the case for infant baptism from household baptisms is, at best it’s an argument from silence, from Lydia’s household.

OK, so let me finish with two points of application. To become a member of Christ Church, we’ve said you need to be baptised. And if you would like to become a member and you have not been baptised as a believer, but you have been baptised as a baby and confirmed as a believer, the good news is that we would never force anyone to go against their conscience. If you want to become a member, or response is: “Great. Have a look again at the argument for believers baptism. Pray over all the scriptures that mention baptism in the new testament, and if you come back and say: ‘I have looked down the barrel of the case for believers baptism, and I’m still not convinced’, we will say, ‘thanks so much for taking the time to do that. You can become a member anyway. If you’re saying that getting baptised would be going against your faith and your conscience, then provided you have really searched the scriptures and talked it through with us, then fine, you needn’t be baptised. You can become a member.

However, I have to say, that the vast majority of those here today who haven’t been baptised, are not in that situation. It’s not a technical argument about infant baptism that’s stopping you. For most of us here, who’ve not gone through the waters of believers baptism, the fact is that at some point in the last 2, 5 or 10 years we have become a Christian and we’re like the people who lived with Cornelius in Acts 10, who had obviously come to believe, and who Peter commanded to be baptised. If we’ve come to know and love Jesus, then Jesus’ command is to believe and be baptised.

And although it may seem daunting, it is something to celebrate. What a wonderful and moving ceremony. I mean there are only two sacraments in the New Testament and this is one of them. What an amazing, powerful thing. As you go down into the water, it’s a sign that your old life is over Hallelujah. You’re old self is dead. Now Christ lives in you. Which takes us back to where we started. All the fullness of God lives in Christ, and now Christ lives in you. You have received fullness.

SLIDE 15
He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:13-15)

Jesus took all the rules that Henry Heretic wants you to keep, and that you never can keep, and he nailed them to the cross. He cancelled the written code, with its regulations.

This last bit, verse 15 is what we are celebrating as you are raised with Christ through your faith (verse 12) out of the water. Jesus through his death and resurrection disarmed powers and authorities, making a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

When a Roman general defeated his enemies, he made a public spectacle of them, making them follow his victory procession, that’s what is happening in baptism, as you are raised up out of the water. Everyone cheers, you are sharing in Christ’s resurrection. I want to encourage you.

Jesus never sinned. He had absolutely no need to get baptised. But he was baptised. He went to John the Baptist, who said: “Jesus, you don’t need to be baptised,” and Jesus said: “It is necessary to fulfil all righteousness.”

Jesus went down under the water, and came up out of the water. I want to encourage you, you’re repented, you’ve believed, come on and do the last bit, be baptised.

Perhaps the band could come back

Now I’m sure you’ll have lots of questions, but I want to encourage you to come forward anyway. Now don’t worry, you’re not committing yourself to being baptized by coming forward. By coming forward you are saying: “I need to talk, think and pray about this.”

But of course others of you have already decided to be baptized, or you’re deciding today to be baptized, and I want to ask you to come forward as well, because I would love to pray for all of you.

So whether you are thinking about being baptized here, or whether you’ve already decided you’re going to do it, I want to invite both groups of you forward, because baptism is important.

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