True Believers Will Walk In Christ

Philippians – Colossians – Philemon Lesson 9

Colossians 2:4-15

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SUBJECT: WALK

CENTRAL THEME: WALK IN CHRIST

INTRODUCTION:  HAVE ANY OF YOU EVER BEEN DISORIENTED IN A FOREST OR ON A MOUNTAIN?  You can get lost quickly if you get off the PATH!  Does anyone want to share an anecdote about being lost?  How did you get out of that scary dilemma?  Was there ever a time when you were concerned you might not be found?  Well, in our human experience, we all have sinned and as a result we are lost.  We are not on the right path to salvation and we stumble along hopelessly in our lost condition.  But for those of us who have experienced, “redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:14), we have been set on a new path!  We are now “In Christ” and we are to be walking in the steps of our Savior. 

HOW DO MOST PEOPLE TRY TO DEAL WITH THEIR SIN ISSUES APART FROM WHAT JESUS DID?

 

UNDERSTAND THE CONTEXT

COLOSSIANS 2:4-15

       The second chapter of Colossians opens up with Paul’s obvious concern over the fact that the believers in that city were experiencing challenges.  He claimed he had been earnestly praying for them that they would have unity and be encouraged by their faithfulness to Jesus.  But as we approach the text for today, Paul expresses his reason for being anxious about the false teachers adulterating the Word of God.  They were cleaver in their deceptions as they flirted with the truth but then used confusing and tantalizing arguments to twist the real message.  Paul continues to warn and instruct his Colossian brothers and sisters not to be enticed by these smooth debaters who were trying to lead these believers into error and compromise.  The antidote to such false teaching was to be “steadfast” in their faith and constantly growing in their Christlikeness.  It was to realize their position IN CHRIST and stay on the right path with Him.

EXPLORE THE TEXT:  COLOSSIANS 2:4-15

Objective Statement: True Believers can learn to Walk in Christ by walking in these three Paths.

 

#1 – CONTINUE IN THE PATH (col. 2:4-7)

Verses 4-7

And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.  As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him:  Rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

       In vs. 3, Paul had just pointed out that “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” are securely located in Jesus.   He pointed out that truth, because he is now going to warn his Colossian friends that they should be on guard, “lest any man beguile you” (vs. 4).  WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BEGUILE SOMEONE?  Well, it suggests that someone is trying to seduce you into believing an error.  It has a sense of alluring; charming; or captivating someone.  It clearly has an element of deceiving someone.  And how were these false teachers beguiling these believers with falsehoods; “with enticing words”?  Sometimes ‘smooth talkers’ can overwhelm people with their apparent command of the subject and their confident stance on an issue.  They seem to know their stuff and their language suggests they have significant knowledge of the things they are talking about.  But Christians must always be on guard of “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”  All messages about Jesus and salvation that sound good, must be checked against what the Word of God says.  Do their enticing words accurately say what the Bible says?  That’s why Paul was warning the Colossian believers to be discerning about false teaching.  Paul goes on to commend these Colossians for things he had heard about them (vs. 5).  Even though he was not physically with them, he was joined to them by the Spirit of God.  And he liked what he knew about their “faith in Christ” (vs. 5).  Paul applauded these fellow believers for their “stedfastness.”  WHAT DOES STEDFASTNESS SUGGEST TO YOU?  Well, in Biblical times it had a sense of military discipline.  Coupled with the word just before it, “order,” (which is also a military term), Paul was applauding their disciplined “faith in Christ” that allowed them to stand fast and be unmoveable in the face of these daunting attacks.  Their FAITH was strong to recognize the truth about the teachings regarding Jesus.  And they were able to stand firm against those who tried to pervert the truth by “enticing words.”   

       In verses 6-7, Paul essentially says, because of the fact that you have “received Christ Jesus the Lord,” your life has changed.  Paul uses all three titles for Jesus in this statement recognizing that He is “Christ,” meaning the anointed, Messiah and King of the Jewish people.  He calls Him “Jesus,” recognizing His incarnate deity whose name means Savior!  And Paul reminds us Jesus is “the Lord,” paying homage to His sovereign, supremacy over the whole universe (Col. 1:17),  which demands our total loyalty in recognition of His sufficiency.  We have “received” Him; therefore, we are to “so walk ye in Him” (vs. 6).  It is this idea that all Christians are to WALK in JESUS, that expresses the concept of walking along a PATH.  We are to place our faith and trust so confidently in Jesus that we will follow Him in discipleship and continue in the path that He sets for us; “Rooted and built up in Him” (vs. 7).  So we are not to casually walk along this path, but we are to be growing and deepening our relationship in Jesus.  “Rooted” is an agricultural term which suggests the image of a giant tree with a massive root system to anchor it firmly and draw the life giving sustenance from the soil.  “Built up” is an architectural word that is in the present tense, meaning it’s a continual process of building that never stops.  The third participle in vs. 7 expresses the force of continually being, “stablished in the faith.”  Our confident hope and trust in Jesus is by FAITH.  Being “stablished” suggests firmly anchored and immovable in the things we have, “been taught,” about Him.  Don’t let deceivers confuse you with their enticing words.  The last phrase in vs. 7 says, “abounding therein with thanksgiving.”   As we stand firmly and strong in Jesus, we are to constantly remember to give Him THANKS for all of His marvelous blessings.  So to continue on the path with Jesus, is to be “steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58).

 

#2 – BE CAREFUL ON THE PATH  (COL. 2:8-10)

Verses 8-10

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  10 And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power:

       Having exhorted his readers to continue on the path of following Jesus, Paul now reiterates a warning to his Colossian friends.  “Beware,” means watch out and be discerning about the threats that exist around you.  Paul perceived that there were dangerous forces at work within the body of believers at Colosse.   He had already warned them not to be misled, “lest any man should beguile you with enticing words” (vs. 4), but here he continues with that caution.  WHAT DOES PAUL MEAN WHEN HE SAYS “PHILOSOPHY AND VAIN DECEIT?” (vs. 8). Well, “philosophy” has its etymology in the Greek, meaning, ‘love [phileo] of wisdom.’  Philosophy is not necessarily the enemy of the Gospel.  However, False Philosophy is a serious enemy.  As such, it is not centered on loving truth but is characterized by empty deceit that is based on “the tradition of men,” not on love for truth that attaches to divine wisdom.  When traditions take on the same force as the Word of God, they almost always lead to error and a works based system of salvation.  When Jesus confronted the religious leaders of His day, He challenged them about their false traditions when He said, “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” (Matt. 15:3).  He then added an indictment: “ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition” (15:6).  In Colosse, Paul could also have been referring to the pagan traditions and teachings that were current at that time.  Perhaps Paul was warning them of both the Jewish and pagan traditions.  In addition to a basis in human tradition, the false philosophy that put the Colossian believers in danger was also based on, “the rudiments of the world” (vs. 8c).  CAN SOMEONE EXPLAIN WHAT THAT MEANS?  Well, the word “rudiments” is unusual for us to use.  It means, elements or essentials.  It’s the basic beliefs of this world or even the spirit world.  Paul’s later reference to angel worship (2:18) is likely the context of this comment about the elements of the world.  It suggests these human traditions and elemental forces were not based on Christ (vs. 8d) but on influences of the stars and supernatural spirits.  The Colossians had many people who worshiped the stars; they saw influences in the heavenly bodies.  Heresy is exposed because it does not line up with the truth revealed in Christ and His teachings.  If doctrinal ideas do not align with the Word of God, they must be dismissed as vain deceit and traditions of men.  “BEWARE!”

       In verses 9-10, Paul declares there is no need to worry about these competing philosophies and vain deceits because “IN HIM” dwells full divinity (“the fulness of the Godhead”) that easily supersedes these human teachings.  Furthermore, that divine nature dwells in Christ “bodily.”  That is the truth John revealed in John 1:1, “the Word was God,” and in John 1:14, that “the Word was made flesh.”  We are “complete in Him” (vs. 10), and He supplies all of our spiritual needs.  Always remember, no matter what the worldly teachers might say, Jesus is the “head of all principality and power” (vs. 10b).  In other words, Jesus is the Creator of all things and He is the sustainer of all things (Col. 1:16-17).  These Colossian believers did not need to listen to the beguilers and the deceivers who challenged the deity of Christ.  He rules over this world and the netherworld (the world of the afterlife).  So all Christians should be careful on the path as we know Jesus is in control all along the way.  Jesus fully meets our every spiritual need!

WHAT ARE SOME MODERN RELIGIOUS TEACHINGS OR IDEAS THAT ARE NOT FOUND IN THE BIBLE AND AGAINST WHICH CHRISTIANS NEED TO BE ALERT AND CAREFUL?

 

#3 – REMEMBER ALONG THE PATH (col. 2:11-15)

Verses 11-15

11 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:  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.  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;  14 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;  15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

       In verses 11-12, Paul mentions that the rite of circumcision was a part of God’s covenant with Israel in the Old Testament.  But here, Paul points out that rather than an outward sign of relationship with God as with the Israelites, the new covenant (New Testament) requires an inward, spiritual “circumcision” of the heart; “the circumcision made without hands” (vs. 11a).  This was Paul’s way of talking about salvation which is an inward action between a person and the Lord.  Forgiveness and removal of our sins takes place because of what Jesus did for all of us on the cross.  This inward transformation is compared to a completed act of Jesus when He performed spiritual surgery, “in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ” (vs. 11b).  First, Paul uses circumcision as a symbolic means of communicating the newness that comes through faith in Jesus.  Next, Paul moved on to the symbolism of baptism.  The immersing of a believer in baptismal water symbolizes what Paul termed as being “buried with Him in baptism”  (vs. 12).  There is no mystical, saving power in getting baptized.  But it is an important step of IDENTIFICATION and OBEDIENCE of a person’s faith in Jesus and it’s a public declaration that we are new creations and truly His.  Just as we follow the ordinance of baptism to be symbolically “buried with Him,” we also symbolically are, “risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead” (vs. 12b).  What a beautiful way to say we are guaranteed to experience a future resurrection in Christ, “through the faith of the operation of God.”  As the operation by Jesus on our hearts was “the circumcision made without hands” so our hope of resurrection is “the operation of God,” assuring us that just as God raised Jesus from the dead, we too will be raised to eternally live with Him.  What a precious and glorious promise!

       In Verse 13-15, Paul reminds all of us that we were hopelessly, dead in our sins prior to our salvation (vs. 13a).  He continued explaining their lost condition when he returned to the theme of circumcision saying, “the uncircumcision of your flesh,” because they lacked their heart procedure.  So in our sinful state, without Christ and His sacrifice, we were DEAD and doomed.  But Jesus did another miraculous surgical procedure, “He quickened” us “together with Him” (vs. 13b).  In other words, Jesus brought us back to life!  We were dead and lost, but He resurrected us with Him and has “forgiven you all trespasses.”  What a marvelous act of God’s amazing GRACE.  Paul elaborated on how far God’s grace would go in forgiveness by “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us” (vs. 14).  God’s laws had been written down by Moses in the Old Testament and every person was a sinner; a law breaker!  But Jesus erased all of our trespasses and blotted out all of our iniquities, “that was contrary to us.”  HOW DID JESUS DO THIS TRANSFORMING ACT?  Well, He “took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross” (vs. 14c).  Look how much Jesus loved us, that He went to the cross, and took with Him all of our sin, and guilt, and punishment, and condemnation, and FORGAVE US of all our unrighteousness!  WHAT AN AMAZING GOD!  But it didn’t stop there!  Verse 15 tells us that by His cross, Jesus “spoiled” or crushed His enemies and captured everything they possessed.  He humiliated them openly!  By the cross of Jesus, He had a full and complete TRIUMPH over all principalities and powers.  Jesus was no Victim; He was the Victor!  By His death, we have His salvation available to every person who accepts His free gift!  Remember all that Jesus has done for you as you walk along the path He has planned for you.

Remember our Objective Statement: True Believers can learn to Walk in Christ by walking in these three Paths.

 

#1 – CONTINUE IN THE PATH (col. 2:4-7)

 

 

#2 – BE CAREFUL ON THE PATH  (COL. 2:8-10)

 

 

#3 – REMEMBER ALONG THE PATH (col. 2:11-15)