by Abraham Cremeens
My Christian life did not begin until I was in college. However, my religious life began right out of the womb. I grew up in the church, was taught many Bible stories, heard countless sermons, and memorized verses. I am so grateful for that upbringing, but somehow I formed a pseudo-spirituality along the way. It was some strange recipe of Church + Morality + Happiness + Whatever-I-Felt-Like-On-Any-Given-Day. That’s what spiritually lost people do. It is potluck religion.
If you had asked me if I was a Christian, I would have answered, “Yes,” because I believed in God and had some form of a moral code. That’s what I thought it meant to be a Christian. Thankfully, God used a number of people in my life to show me the true path of knowing Jesus and following him by faith.
After all these years, though, I am still tempted to add to Jesus even as a Christian. I don’t think that is uncommon. As Christians, we know we need Christ but for a vareity of reasons are prone to take matters into our own hands and pursue other options as well. That should concern us.
Lord willing, this Sunday we will begin preaching through Colossians. It is a wonderful little book packed full of all things Jesus. The Colossian story is so interesting to me. It seems that a man named Epaphras became a follower of Jesus when he heard about him from Paul in Ephesus. Epaphras was from Collosae, and so he returned home with the Gospel and shared it with his fellow Colossians just as Paul had done with him. This is a clear picture of discipleship. In fact, the Greek word for “learned” in Colossians 1:7 has the same Greek root as the word “disciple.” The Colossians were discipled by Epaphras in the gospel.
A church was born and began to grow right there in Colossae. Paul had spiritual grandchildren he had never met. But things became concerning as the Colossian church became tempted with potluck religion. We don’t know the heresy in exact form, but by picking up the clues in the book of Colossians, we can knit it together. Internal or external (or both) voices began adding to Jesus for spiritual growth. They highlighted the importance of visions and angels. They promoted fasting beyond the healthy biblical form. There was a Jewish tone to it insisting on specific holy days and food restrictions. A “Jesus +” religion began to emerge.
Paul wrote Colossians under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to combat such nonsense. There is no “Jesus +” religion. It is futile and dangerous to add anything to Jesus for your salvation or spiritual growth. There is only one Savior and King and everything placed next to him pales in comparison. Paul wants you to focus on the beauty and sufficiency of Christ alone. He wants you to be captivated by Christ.
So, as we dive into these waters together, consider: where have you become tempted to add to Jesus? Is Christ enough, or have you added to him in an attempt to earn God’s favor or become super-spiritual? It won’t work. It never does.
Let’s fight this battle together. Please join us these next several weeks as we aim to be captivated by Christ in our worship. You may want to also read Captivated by Christ by Richard Chin or utilize the Colossians ESV Scripture Journal. Both are available in our resource center. We have a great road ahead seeing and celebrating Jesus as sufficient for all of life and godliness. I can’t wait to get started. See you Sunday!