NOTE: As we continue our overview of the Book of Colossians and move into chapter 2, let’s remind ourselves that the apostle Paul did not write his epistles in chapter and verse. The apostle Paul wrote one continuous letter in the same way that you and I would write to someone today. The difference is that Paul was writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in an effort to reaffirm the Gospel of Grace that was inclusive of both Jews and Gentiles, and had replaced the Old Covenant of Law (works) that only included the Jews. He reminds us that Christ not only saved us from Satan’s domain of darkness, but He has also transferred us into His Kingdom of Light.
2: vs. 1 “For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf, and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, vs. 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding , resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, vs. 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. ”
Most theologians agree that Paul was probably in jail (possibly house arrest) in Rome when he wrote this letter, but his emphasis was not for others to look at the many challenges he had endured, but to look at the One that He was so willing to endure for, the Messiah, Jesus. Paul continued to point to Jesus, and remind them that although he had suffered much, it was not he that died for the sins of the world, but Jesus, the rejected Cornerstone. Paul had never been to Colossae or Laodicea, but he was very much encouraged that the message of salvation through the blood of Jesus had been presented. Souls were precious to Paul, so much so that he refused to see his hardships as negatives, but positives for the purpose of the Gospel. As someone once said, “Salvation is free but it certainly isn’t cheap.”
Paul wanted the saints in Colossae and Laodicea to know that they were not alone in their persecution, but his message didn’t resonate with those at Laodicea. Interestingly, the Book of Revelation reveals seven churches that Jesus Himself sent a personal message to and Laodicea was one of them. The church of Laodicea received a stern rebuke from the Lord for their luke warm but hardened hearts, yet He also reminded them that if they would only open the door of their hearts, He would come in and abide with them. Their lack of hunger for the meat of the Word eventually resulted in an apostate church(Rev. 3:15-16). A well know pastor recently said, “Most church goers are willing to give twenty minutes of their time if the speaker can keep them entertained with jokes and witty stores.” We can be assured that the apostle Paul did not present any jokes or witty stories, he preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God crucified, raised from the dead, and now sitting at the right hand of His Father. Although Jesus is not seated in heaven keeping score of our church attendance, there is a reason that we are commanded to “forsake not the assembling of ourselves together” (Heb. 10:25). Milk has its place for new borns, but spiritual maturity and overcoming faith can only be gained by continually feeding on the “meat” of the Word.
Paul writes that we are knit together in love (Jesus) and reminds us that there a lot of men with varying philosophies that sound good, but what they were espousing was deceptive and amounted to nothing. Philosophy is the fallible wisdom of men; the Gospel is the inerrant wisdom of God. In Christ we do not have empty and powerless philosophies, we have all wisdom and knowledge that contain everything we will ever need. I’ve often said to those who espouse a different gospel, “If what you are doing is getting great results that includes joy, wellness, prosperity, and peace of mind, then keep on doing them, if not, you may want to consider asking God for wisdom to do things His way.”
Vs. 4 “I say this in order that no one may delude you with persuasive argument. Vs. 5 For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.”
Paul uses the Greek word “paralogizomai,” meaning to beguile, deceive, or trick one’s mind. That has happened to numerous Christians who started strong but drifted away from the Word. A little compromise has caused countless marriages and lives to end in disaster. Paul is saying to us, “Don’t compromise, don’t believe the lies of the enemy.” How can we know? Because the Holy Spirit that lives in us will always sound a warning and remind us of who we are and whose we are. Allow me now to insert this statement that is somewhat of a paradox: “Satan is a brilliant fool who roams about looking for those whom he may deceive.” Years ago an older but wise gentlemen made this similar statement, “Washington is saturated with brilliant fools.” Intellect and IQ should never be confused with Godly wisdom. The world wants nothing to do with moral boundaries and their argument is that they deal in facts. Take a close look at history and science and you will see that facts have a way of changing, while God’s truths remain constant. Before prayer and devotion were removed from school, parents considered our schools to be places of safety, but that is no longer the case, and sadly, the argument now is that gun laws will solve the problem. Yet here is the “truth:” A nation that denies God also loses His divine protection. The same is true of families whose Moms and Dads drift away from God . God promised to never leave or forsake His own and He always keeps His promise, but His own are often guilty of losing His umbrella of protection by forsaking Him. Our warfare is not against flesh and blood; it is against a brilliant fool that we can’t see named Satan. Let’s make up our minds to be like those at Colossae of whom Paul said, “I rejoice in your discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.”
Vs. 6 “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him
Dear Reader, how did you receive Christ Jesus as your Lord? You did not receive Him based on your works or your own goodness, you received Him by faith and His offer of Grace. Simply put, your works did not save you and your works will not keep you saved. Going to church, joining the choir, reading your bible and praying faithfully every day are all good things, (and highly recommended) but they have zero to do with keeping you saved. God is far more concerned with the condition of your heart than your works. Legalism and traditions of men will cause any Christian to become mean spirited and judgmental and unfortunately, we all know professing Christians like that. Know this for certainty: the Law is no longer your judge, and your works are not your keeper. We work because we love our Keeper. “There is now therefore no condemnation in those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8-1). We make Him Lord by walking with Him.
Vs. 7 “Having been firmly rooted and being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.”
I enjoy gardening, flowers, and nature, and the years have taught me that healthy plants must have good soil that can produce healthy roots. It is the same in the spiritual kingdom, when we are rooted in the Word and the Word becomes rooted in us, we will enjoy an abundance of fruit. Jesus said, “Ask what you will and it will be given to you” (John 15:7). Someone is sure to ask, “Are you saying that we can ask for anything we desire and God will grant it to us?” No, that is putting the flesh ahead of the Spirit, but you can be assured that when we learn to abide (root) ourselves in the Word He will take away the desires that will damage our lives and give us desires that the enemy cannot corrupt. Everything? Yes, everything! No wonder we can continually overflow with gratitude towards Him for so richly blessing our lives. Yet we must understand that our prayers are not intended to bring God into conformity to our desires, our prayers are to bring our desires into conformity with Him. Not our will, but His.
Penny and I pray that you are enjoying our study of Colossians. We gladly receive any of your comments or prayer requests. We encourage you to invite others to join us who may enjoy studying God’s word, or perhaps you know someone who is struggling with their Christian walk. If so, invite them to visit our web site at DonAndPenny.com. There are many of our recent teachings available that cover various subjects. Until next Friday, may God’s love and mercy overtake you with all spiritual blessings — Don & Penny