(A sermon delivered July 31st 2016 at Riverview, Columbia, Tn)
Colossians 2:9-15 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:  In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:  Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.  And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;  Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;  And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
I find it interesting the number of people who now wear crosses as jewelry. I saw a fellow the other day who was obviously from his speech not a Christ follower, and yet around his neck on a golden chain hung a simple golden Cross. Why?
People do not understand the Cross of Christ. The people of today have no reference nor understanding of the Cross. But they do understand the Electric Chair. Sometimes called “Old Sparky” and at other times “Old Smokey”, the development of the Electric Chair was financed by Thomas Edison. It was claimed that the Electric Chair was to be a more humane method of executing criminals but that wasn’t why it was developed. Edison and his company built DC or Direct Current generators, but throughout much of the country AC or Alternating Current was becoming popular because of George Westinghouse and his company. Edison wanted to show that AC current was much more dangerous than the DC current his generators produced, so secretly funded the AC powered Electric Chair. At the first execution the convicted killer William Kemmler was not quickly put to death. At the end of the day it took some time to end Kemmler’s life. George Westinghouse reportedly said “They could have done better with an ax”.
Between 1890 and 2002 I am told there were 4458 deaths by Electric Chair, and none of those executed were wholly innocent. I’ve never seen anyone wear an Electric Chair on a chain or on a bracelet. It is a means of execution of criminals. And so was the Cross. The Cross was the Electric Chair in ancient Rome. It was a place where criminals and traitors were sent, for felons and unrepentant thieves, for the very worse sort of persons. No one who was innocent of crime ever was executed on the Cross. The Cross was not developed to be more humane, but it was certainly LESS humane. It was a tool that the Romans did not invent, but one they revised and improved on.
- Before someone went to the Electric Chair they were allowed to bathe, to change their clothes, to have a last meal.
- Before someone went to the Cross they were beaten, their beard ripped out. Isaiah saw a vision of an innocent Man going to the Cross and wrote:
Isaiah 50:6 (NLT) I offered my back to those who beat me and my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard. I did not hide my face from mockery and spitting.
- No purely innocent Man ever endured the Electric Chair, but a purely innocent Man was placed on the Cross.
His Judge said to the people:
John 18:38 (KJV) …. I find in Him no fault at all.
John 19:4 (NLT) …. understand clearly that I find Him not guilty.
And when the crowd would not relent Pilate called for water. Washing his hands, he turned an innocent man over to execution. “I am innocent of this man’s blood – it is on your heads” (Matthew 27:24). The crowd cried “On our heads, and on our children’s heads”.
Jesus was not given a last meal. He was not allowed to be bathed, and was not placed in clean clothing. They placed a king’s robe on Him so they could mock Him. Beating Him with a staff, they jammed that rod into His hands and knelt before Him mocking.
Mark 15:17-19 (ESV) 16 And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion. 17 And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. 18 And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.
To worldly eyes the Crucifixion of Christ was a horrible, low event in human history. An innocent man was unjustly but knowingly executed in one of the most gruesome methods available at that time. And yet even the world sees the Cross of Christ not as an Electric Chair (else they would wear one as jewelry) but as something else.
Every Thug, every Rapper, every Worldling, every Christ Follower wears the Cross as Jewelry but not the Electric Chair because the Cross was NOT the Electric Chair for Christ.
The Chair says “This one we are executing has a life that cannot be redeemed”.
The Cross says “This One we are executing is redeeming lives that were unredeemable”.
The Chair says “The one dying is dying for his sins”.
The Cross says “The One dying is dying a hero’s death for the sins of others”.
The Chair says “This life is ending because he stole the life of others”.
The Cross says “This life is ending because He is giving life to others”.
The Chair says “This one will die, never to live again”.
The Cross says “This One will die to defeat death, to live again and give us life in Him”.
Christ is the original and genuine Superman, the Hero of Heroes, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Look to His Cross not in defeat, but in victory.
1 Look To The Cross, For It Is Here That Jesus Defeated “Principalities And Powers”. That’s what our text tells us:
Colossians 2:15 And having SPOILED (past tense) principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
From the very beginning of Creation – a Creation made by our Triune God – Satan sought to spoil mankind. God in love made Adam and Eve, the first Man and the first Woman. God placed them in a perfect place, an Eden, the Garden of God. There was no hunger there, for every tree was fruited. There was no thirst there, for all water was pure. There was no death there, for the Tree of Life was in their midst. God told Adam:
Genesis 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
Genesis 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
“You can have everything, Adam, everything but the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good And Evil. God alone – your Maker – determines good and evil. Leave that fruit alone, and trust Me for that knowledge. The day you eat of it you shall SURELY DIE.”
Satan who rebelled against God and convinced a third of God’s Angels to revolt with Him – these “Principalities and Powers” – came down to the earth. Satan slithered into the Garden as a serpent, a dragon, a Beelzebub. He whispered to Eve
“You shall not surely die. God knows that the day you eat of it you shall become like gods, knowing good and evil (see Genesis 3:5)”.
so Adam ate of that forbidden Tree, and mankind died.
What God promises He must keep. God’s Word is sure, man’s word is wavering.
The day you eat of it You shall surely die” was a promise of God. Satan knew this, and with this fall it seemed as if his evil Principalities and Powers would triumph. Evil came into the world.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
There were times when it seemed as if the evil principalities and powers would win. The world became corrupted, so much so that God decided to destroy it by flood. Yet God saw Noah, a man who loved the Lord. The wages of sin is death and the world was on fire with sin. The good mingled with the bad. The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair (Genesis 6:2). When light and darkness combine, the salt water with the fresh, all is corrupted. But Noah found grace in God’s eyes (Genesis 6:8). God saved creation through Noah and his ark.
Evil battled good, but then God sent His Son.
Galatians 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
The Devil saw the Son of God come to this earth. Here was the Infant Conquerer, just a tiny Baby not much bigger than a hand’s breadth.
The Wise Men said “Where is He that is born King of the Jews? We have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him” (Matthew 2:2)
This troubled Herod. That old Serpent the Devil whispered to the heart of Herod when the Wise Men came, saying “Kill Him”. Herod told the Wise Men
“Go and search diligently for that Child. When you find Him let me know so I can go worship Him” (Matthew 2:8).
He didn’t want to worship Jesus, but wanted to murder Him. He murdered a village full of babies striking out at the Savior. (That’s nothing compared to the number of babies we have murdered by abortion – but that’s another message.) But Jesus’ time was not come. His earthly parents took Him to Egypt where they stayed until Herod was dead and they could return home.
Satan was not done striking at Jesus. He sought out Jesus through Organized Religion, the worship of the Pharisees. Throughout His ministry Satan used the Pharisees to attack Christ. It is always easy to see the difference between organized religion and the True Faith of the Christ Follower. The Pharisees sought to stone Christ, to throw Him off a cliff. They plotted His murder, and, like Satan, accused Him of the most awful things. But they could not get Him – until the Cross.
Man denied God in the Garden of Eden and found death and sin. Religion seized God in the Garden of Gethsemane to kill Him -but Christ triumphed!
When they seized Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus told them:
Luke 22:53 When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.
Our Jesus went to the Cross to battle Satan and his forces. The first volley was when Judas betrayed Christ with a kiss. The second volley when all His friends abandoned Him. Then Jesus was tried, but found and declared innocent by His judge. He was beaten with whips, bruised with rods, nailed to the Cross between two thieves, spat on and reviled by all men. C.H. Spurgeon said:
“He Who is fighting for His people begins to shout, but it is a shout that makes the Church tremble. He cries ‘I thirst’! The battle is so hot upon Him and the dust so thick that He is choked with thirst! He cries “I thirst” …. surely He is about to be defeated. But wait … do you see yon heaps? … Listen how the Conquerer cries ‘It is finished!’ Where are His enemies now? They are all dead.”
Jesus fulfilled prophecy by taking this battle alone. He tread the winepress alone.
Isaiah 63:3-4 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me …
Satan’s back was broken on the Cross. Death is defeated. Damnation is destroyed. The Devil has no hold on Him nor on His people. God did the impossible on the Cross that day, for God the Son died for His people.
Colossians 2:9-10 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
We are complete in Him and Him alone! Satan no longer has title to the souls of those who belong to Christ. We belong to Him. We are purchased and prized possessions:
1 Corinthians 6:20 You are BOUGHT WITH A PRICE: Therefore glorify God in your body and in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
1 Corinthians 7:23 You are BOUGHT WITH A PRICE; be not the servants of men.
Jesus Christ is now the Head of all principality and power. Satan is defeated. He is still dangerous, dear friends, but Satan has no power over the Children of God. Just don’t play with him.
I heard an interesting thing the other day. People have been killed by dead snakes, for a snake can inject venom even after it has died. An Asian Chef was preparing cobra for his guests to eat – a delicacy in that area. He went to throw the cobra’s head into the trash – and the head bit him. Many people die every year touching the heads of venemous snakes! Jesus has defeated Satan – but we must not play with that dead snake! Resist the Devil and he will flee from you! (James 4:7) His bite is still lethal!
2 Look To The Cross, For Only Here Is Our Sin Debt “Paid In Full”.
Jesus paid it all!
All to Him I Owe.
Sin Had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow!
Colossians 2:13 And you, being DEAD in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he QUICKENED together with him, having FORGIVEN you all trespasses;  BLOTTING out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
God promised man death upon disobedience. Man tested God and found that it is true. We are all born into this world dead in sins and in the uncircumcision of our flesh. What does that mean?
When God called father Abraham to salvation Abraham was to follow God where ever He led. One day God told Abraham to circumcise himself and every male in his household. God told Abraham:
Genesis 17:14 (ESV) Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.
Circumcision was a hidden sign that a person was of the Family of God.
It was an intimate sign. It was a painful sign. But it was also a selective sign.
Only the male was circumcised, the female was not. But the fallen world did not come about because of woman, but because of Man.
Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as SIN CAME INTO THE WORLD THROUGH ONE MAN, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.
One man sinned and all fell. One man sinned and the painful sign of circumcision was placed on all men. But then One Perfect Man, Jesus Christ our Lord, went to the Cross for our sins. We were dead in our sins and in the UNCIRCUMCISION of our flesh. By our very nature we separated from God and His Family. But Christ came for us. His Blood blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that were against us,
which were contrary to us
and took it out of the way, nailing it to His Cross.
Our sins (if we receive Him as Savior and Lord) are taken away from that Heavenly Account. The God Who is thrice Holy,
Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty (Revelation 4:8)
Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty, the whole earth is filled with His glory
can now look upon those who have believed on Christ and their sins are blotted out, their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. We who are His are no longer lost, but found. No longer defeated by sin and death, but are more than conquerers through Him that loved us.
Romans 8:37 Yet in all these things WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS THROUGH HIM WHO LOVED US. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
To those who have received Christ as Lord and Savior God has quickened us together with Him. We are no longer children of the world, but we are sons and daughters of God. Death and the grave is no longer our destination, but we are headed from life to eternal life, from this weak place to an eternal strong place.
When little Moses was placed in the River Nile by his mother, the waves of that mighty River did not bring him death, but carried little Moses into the Palace of the King. When life places us into the River of Death it’s waves shall not wash over us. Just as Moses was placed in a little ark that saved him and carried him to a Palace, Christ is the Ark that will take us – peaceful and rested – into the Arms of our Loving Savior.
Sin and death are defeated by the Cross of Christ. All trespasses are forgiven the Children of God, those saved by faith in Him. Jesus was condemned so I would not have to be condemned. Jesus suffered so I would not have to suffer. Jesus died so that I will not have to die. God says to all who will hear
Isaiah 45:22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
God the Son is on that Cross. God the Son has made full payment for sin. Those who receive Him as Lord and Savior shall be saved.
3 Look To The Empty Cross, For Christ Has Defeated Death.
Colossians 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
When you called upon Christ to be your Savior He calls upon you to be His Follower. I was listening to a preacher I have long admired the other day when he said something that is oh so wrong. He said “Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you everything”. Only in America do we separate Salvation from Discipleship. Only in the rich and coddled Church of the Land of the Free and the Home of the brave do we say you can be saved and not be a disciple. The Bible doesn’t teach this. Jesus never taught this. And it is not true.
Salvation is a free gift from God, a gift you cannot buy. But to be saved you must surrender your life to Christ. You cannot be saved by Jesus and still follow the Devil. Buried with Him in baptism – when you were saved you obeyed Him and were baptized in water and in the Spirit of God.
Luke 14:26-27 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.  And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
People come to Christ in foreign lands and are forsaken by their families and friends. Christians are murdered for following Him. Christians lose jobs for following Him. There are several businesses in even America that have been lost because the owners belonged to Christ and followed Him. You know you are born again because you are in His Kingdom, His Family, following Him no matter what the cost.
Fire insurance salvation has nearly destroyed the Church in America. Jesus calls you, just as He has always called people:
I will make you fishers of men
I will make you the salt of the earth
I will make you the light of the world
Those who follow Christ are “risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God”. You are not like you were, dear believer. You are new creatures in Christ:
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
And as Christ was raised from the dead, you will raise from the dead. That Cross is empty. That Tomb occupied only by spiders. Jesus is alive, and you who are His will be with Him one day soon. O glorious day!
May God touch your hearts by His Word.