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Friday, September 7, 2012

The Sufficiency of Christ

by John MacArthur gty.org
Selected Scriptures February 22, 1987 80-36

I realize that last Sunday I preached my fifty-fourth message in 1 Timothy. Somebody told me there aren't that many chapters in 1 Timothy. And somebody else said there aren't that many verses in 1 Timothy, but I think there are, I haven't counted them up. But I do believe you have been faithful to 1 Timothy so long that you deserve a break. And so this morning my heart is drawn to a very important subject that I want to share with you. The subject is "The sufficiency of Christ...The sufficiency of Christ."
You'll remember a couple of years ago I preached a message on the sufficiency of Scripture. About a year ago, another message on the sufficiency of spiritual resources. And this is the third in a sort of random triology on the sufficiency of Christ. The composite of all of these messages has, of course, to do with the fact that we possess all sufficiency for all things in Him. It's just very important from time to time, no matter what we're studying, that we focus again on all that is bound up in Christ.
In order to do that, I want you to turn in your Bible to Colossians chapter 2...Colossians chapter 2, that wonderful epistle of Paul. And I want to call your attention to verse 10, if I might, the first part of the verse, just one statement. And we'll use that as the initial point to discuss this particular portion of Scripture.
Paul writing in Colossians 2:10 says, "And you are complete in Him." That means exactly what it says...the sufficiency of Christ. You are, from a spiritual viewpoint, complete in Him. The surpassing theme of the New Testament is distilled and articulated in that phrase. Everything from Matthew to Revelation speaks to the issue of the sufficiency of Jesus Christ.
In 1 Corinthians chapter 1 and verse 30, the Apostle Paul also writing, says that in Christ we have all wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 it says, "My grace," that is the grace of God in Christ, "is sufficient for you." In Ephesians 1:3 it says that we have in Christ been blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus. And Hebrews 10:14 says, "By one offering He has perfected forever them that are His, or sanctified forever them that are His."
So, all of these Scriptures speak to the matter of the total sufficiency of Jesus Christ for every need, spiritually speaking, in time and eternity. And no clearer a statement exists than that of Colossians 2:10, you are complete in Him. Having the Lord Jesus Christ is to have everything needed in spiritual life for time and eternity. To have Him is to have everything. Not to have Him is to have absolutely nothing at all. All joy, peace, meaning, value, purpose, hope, fulfillment in life now and forever is bound up in Christ. And when a person receives Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, they enter in to an all-sufficient relationship with an all-sufficient Christ.
You say, "Is anybody debating that? They certainly are. We live in a time, in a day when there is great doubt cast upon the sufficiency of Jesus Christ. When Jesus Christ appears to be something you add to what you already have, or something you get in order to add to.
I remember some years ago when I was asked to come down to a Hollywood hotel to speak to a group of actors and actresses, someone had arranged a meeting and asked me to come and give them the gospel. I went into a room in the hotel where they were all seated. It was kind of a different environment for me. There were some who were drinking cocktails and so forth, and some who were smoking and there I was with my Bible prepared to preach. And I was convinced this was indeed the right audience for me to speak to because they didn't know the Lord. And I launched into the gospel and I presented the gospel for about 45 minutes and called for faith in Christ.
A young man came to me afterwards, immediately walking up to the front, shook my hand. He was a very handsome man from India. He was a young actor who had come over here to Hollywood to make it. And he said to me, "Your speech was fascinating and compelling." And he said, "I want Jesus Christ in my life." I was thrilled. I said, "Well, let's go over in this little side room," and we did. And he said, "I want to tell you, I'm a Muslim, I've been a Muslim all my life. But...he said...I want to have Christ."
Well I was thrilled. In my ministry I had never had the privilege of leading a Muslim to Christ, nor did I understand that a Muslim might respond to one hearing of the gospel in that way. So I was overwhelmed. And I went through a little more of the detail of opening one's heart to Christ and then I said, "Let's pray." And we got down on our knees and two little chairs and we prayed and he invited the Lord Jesus Christ to come into his life and I prayed and when our prayers were done and he stood up, I was so thrilled and he shook my hand and he said, "Now isn't that wonderful? I have two gods, Jesus and Mohammed."
And I said, "Ah, that's not how it works. You don't add Jesus to what you already have. And you don't having Jesus add anything to Him."
Do you remember that Jesus said, "A man found a treasure hidden in a field and sold everything he had to buy the treasure?" And a man found a pearl of great price and sold everything he had to buy that one pearl? And don't we realize that because of the sufficiency of Christ we give up all things that we may have one and that is Christ? It's an exchange of all that I am and all that I have for all that He is.
But that is not a popular thing. In the day in which we live now, I don't see in our country aggressive hate against Christ, I don't see the great majority of people denying the existence of Christ or even the quote/unquote "goodness of Christ" as a historical person. And there are a lot of people who want to use the name of Christ and might even say they believe in Jesus Christ, but it's inevitably Christ plus something. It might be Christ plus human intellect, or philosophy, or sociology, or mystical experience, or Christ plus ritual or ceremony, self-denial. Christ plus a lot of things, but not Christ plus nothing, not Christ all-sufficient, not total completeness in Christ, not absolute abandonment of my life to Christ. That's what we want to talk about....... gty.org

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