Paul has challenged
us to let our hearts be captivated with thanksgiving, the knowledge of God’s
will with all spiritual wisdom and understanding, exaltation of Jesus, and purpose.
These next two lessons will look at the rest of chapter two, seeing that which can lead us away from continuing in a life
which is rooted and built up in Christ.
Almost 5 years ago
Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her Salt Lake City home – her youngest sister was a witness to the kidnapping, but
didn’t remember the abductor until 8 months later. The identification of this man led to Elizabeth’s
return home about a month later. She had lived with this man and his wife for 9 months, some of the time within 31/2 miles
of her home. Apparently this man believed God appointed him to take seven wives and Elizabeth
would be one of them. The accounts of her captivity are bizarre. She and this man’s wife were seen in public wearing
veils and white robes. As reports came out, it seemed as if Elizabeth
could have gotten away many times, but chose not to do so. When the police caught up with them, she lied about her identity.
She seemed reluctant to leave her captors.
Elizabeth apparently believed some lies
she was told during her captivity. And she ended up living in bondage to those lies. According to God’s Word, we too
are in danger of being kidnapped by false teaching and other philosophies. We may end up believing those lies and living in
bondage to them.
In Colossians -2:5 we saw Paul state his purpose of this letter. He wanted to see the believers
in Christ grow in maturity, because there were persuasive arguments influencing them. These arguments sounded reasonable to
them – “fine-sounding.” Paul wanted them to have knowledge of Christ- that in Him lay the treasures of wisdom
and knowledge - so they would be assured of their faith. Spiritual knowledge of who Jesus is and the work He accomplished
for us, are the antidotes to being kidnapped. Jesus is central to our faith, and also to correct living.
Paul again reiterates
the centrality of Jesus to their lives of faith – not only their initial salvation, but their spiritual growth. We see
three metaphors used here to help us understand how we are to continue in our faith.
Rooted, being a horticultural term, signifies a faith which
has a deep tap root in the soil of Christ, giving someone stability and nourishment and not easily transplanted. Have you
ever pulled up a little oak tree seedling – there is a long tap root for the size of the seedling. It can’t be
blown around like a tumble weed or easily transplanted.
Built up, being an architectural term, signifies a faith
being built up on a firm foundation.
Firm or strengthened, being a legal term, signifies the defense
for the truth that upholds our faith.
These are all passive
words, indicating that all these things are done by Jesus. We do not do these ourselves. We “continue” in our
relationship with Jesus as the center of our lives and he grows us, builds us and makes us firm in our faith.
They are to “see to it” or “be careful”
of the dangers around them. Just like we live in a world now under alert to the dangers that could come against us, Paul is
admonishing the believers here in Colossae to constant watchfulness
because danger was near.
What was the danger? False teaching that would kidnap them.
The word for “to be led away” or “take you captive” refers to an illegal kidnapping. In Colossians
1:13, the believers were exhorted of their rescue from the dominion of darkness – they were brought to safety - into the kingdom of the Son God loves. The very ones who had been rescued were in danger
of being kidnapped and enslaved by an enemy again.
What could they be kidnapped by? The philosophies of this
world that were hollow, lacking content foolish and having no results, and also deceptive.
Paul mentions two sources of deceit threatening to kidnap them:
human traditions and the basic principles of this world.
We understand what
human tradition is. It’s the rules of men, whether secular or religious, that we depend on rather than Christ. Jesus
himself speaks to this danger when he says in Mark 7 that the people of his time were letting go of the commands of God to
hold onto the traditions of men. When we focus on tradition, even in the church, rather than Jesus himself, we can fall prey
That next phrase
is not so easily interpreted…some believe it refers to the spirits of this world and others believe it refers to the
ABC’s of this world, taught in contrast to truth of God’ kingdom. Perhaps it is any rituals of this world or our
religions that links us to the spirits of this world – like horoscopes or religious traditions that place another mediator
between God and yourself, other than Christ.
So if we can be kidnapped by these philosophies, what do we have in Christ that will protect us?
Two truths that
Paul addresses – the uniqueness of the person of Christ and the sufficiency of Christ’s work on the cross.
Read verses 9-10:
This is one of the greatest statements in scripture on the deity of Christ. In the culture of the Colossians, some were defining
the word “fullness” as the divine fullness that was divided between various emanations from God. One of those
emanations (created beings or spirits) was Christ. Each got a decreasing share of God. This teaching denied the fullness or
the completeness of God dwelling in Christ. In verse 9, the statement about God’s fullness in Christ is in the present
tense, indicating that God in all his fullness continually abides in Jesus. He is fully God from the beginning and
forever and forever. This verse also refutes the contemporary belief that God could not inhabit a body, because matter was
evil and spirit was good.
And “in Christ,” we have been given this fullness!
We are complete in Him. Let that wash over you. You are filled to the full with God. Let that truth soak into your mind and
heart as you meditate on this truth. No matter what you face – life that is overwhelming or just a source of irritation
or even a period of rest in your life – you have whatever resource you need through the indwelling Holy Spirit!
again that Christ is head over all rule and authority – He is greater than any power that comes against you.
Now in verses 10-15, the sufficiency of Christ’s work
on the cross is emphasized. How appropriate that we finish our study today with the truth of the cross and resurrection and
our relationship to them.
Paul uses the truth of circumcision here to give us understanding
of what has happened to our sinful nature. Just as in circumcision there is a removal of flesh, Jesus has circumcised our
hearts by removing our sinful nature through his death.We are dead to sin –
no longer slaves to sin!
His work on the cross not only removed the power of sin over us, but it gave us a new identity in
Him. Through faith we identify with his death, burial and resurrection and are alive
with Him in a brand new life!(vs 13)
Jesus forgave us all our sin on the cross. How? Verse14 says
he cancelled or wiped out our sin, just like an eraser on a white board erases the marks. There is no trace of what was written
on the board. We were indebted to the written code of the Law – which was against us and stood opposed to us –
we could never meet all its requirements – we have all sinned. And the penalty is death. What did Jesus do to that debt?
Cancelled it – wiped the slate clean by taking it way, as he was nailed to the cross! So the power of sin and the penalty of sin are gone!
And then to make his victory complete on the cross, Jesus conquered all the wiles of Satan, by disarming
all powers and authorities over us. Satan didn’t hold Him in the grave –
Jesus Arose!!! His resurrection was like a triumphant procession over Satan and all his demons.
When we are rooted
and built up in who Christ is and the sufficiency of His work on the cross, we will be protected against other teaching and
philosophies that would kidnap us.
Paul says not to
be kidnapped by the teaching about Jesus that denies His identity as God-Man. Can that happen today?We often hear that Jesus was great teacher and a great leader, maybe even a prophet, but not fully God.
What have you heard lately? We need to listen and read and watch things with knowledge and understanding of the truth of who
Jesus is according to the Scriptures.
What about the denials
of Christ’s resurrection – fiction or real – that put doubt in people’s mind. Or what work do you
cling to that helps you through the tough times, other than Christ? Without the sufficiency of Christ’s work on the
cross and His resurrection, our very faith would be in vain!
Remember our faith
is the basis on which we live our lives.
We are to continue
in – walk around in - live out what we believe…staying on the alert against things that would kidnap us into believing
The easiest way
to identify a counterfeit dollar bill is to be able to identify the real one. So it is with Christ – find your identity
in Him, being rooted and built up in Him and strengthened in Him, and you will know what could kidnap you!! Do you know the real thing?