Welcome to Week 6 of our study through the book of Colossians (this marks our halfway point)! What an amazing gift God gave us though Paul’s letter penned to this little house church full of believers who were in need of instruction and guidance. Our God sees our needs, and He is there to show His sufficiency no matter where or who we are. If we will call out to Him, He WILL answer. It’s Who He is. He cannot help Himself but respond as Deliverer to the children whom He loves; and aren’t we so glad He does?! Thank you, Jesus! Let’s get into Colossians chapter 2, there are 10 points in our notes today from this passage…here are your week 6 notes and 5 days of homework: Col Notes 2.1-7
Colossians 2:1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face,
Quick History REMINDER: Laodicea is another town in the same valley, Epaphras started the church, Paul had not been there, and they met at Philemon’s house. So, when he’s agonizing over them and for the church at Laodicea, Paul is talking about real, live PEOPLE!!!
1. We can agonize (struggle) in prayer for those we know personally, and those we have never met.(v.1)
This is not agony or struggle without hope in the sense that we might perceive it in the English language. We can actually biblically agonize for someone. The Greek word Paul used here is “agon.” It means, “INTENSE care or concern for someone or something; anxiety.”
Why do you think Paul would use a word that meant anxiety? Inevitably, we will all feel anxiety in this life at some point. When we do, we should immediately turn to Jesus; He is the One who bears our burdens.
1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you
I believe this is the point Paul is trying to make. The proper expression of agony or struggle is in prayer! The root word for “agon” is “ago” which means, “to lead by accompanying into a place or to lead with oneself.” I find this so fascinating and encouraging because Paul was agonizing in prayer for them. He was boldly coming to the throne of our gracious God for them, showing intense care and concern, and willing to lead with himself. Paul did not go around telling others they should pray for certain things. He did it. He led by example.
When is the last time you agonized for someone you have never met personally (i.e. someone’s testimony of persecution you saw on YouTube, etc.)? Or maybe someone you have but do not have a current relationship with (i.e. someone from your high school years)? Are you willing to take the lead for them in prayer? Often you hear people say that what got them through great difficulty were others standing in the gap for them. Are you and I the ones who are willing to put ourselves in the place of intercession?
That is what Paul does here. He agonizes in prayer, he takes it straight to the throne of Grace, he contends, he struggles against the powers of darkness and wants people he doesn’t even know to be free.
Now, take a look at verse 2. It’s full of goodness, so we will break it up into 3 parts.
Colossians 2:2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,
The NLT translates it this way: I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself.
2. We can know that it is God’s will for our hearts to be encouraged (v.2a)
Make no mistake, we are to be encouraged as Believers.
Encouraged: to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort
No matter how dark things get, no matter the depravity of man, we can KNOW that when we are IN CHRIST (as we talked about last week); we are in a place of security. He will not loosen His grip on us. I don’t know about you, but that is plenty enough to console my heart and to strengthen my resolve to continue fighting the good fight. We are commanded in Galatians 6:9 and 1 Thessalonians 3:13 not to grow weary in doing good. Be encouraged, we serve an awesome Savior!
The world is FULL of discouragement. The Gospel is called the Good News for a reason; let that encourage your heart today. Now, for the second part of verse 2:
3. We can know that it is God’s will for us as believers to be knit together in love (v.2b)
The word for “knit together” in the Greek is: symbibazo. It means, “to cause to join together, unite in affection, to gather, uniting in a conclusion or coming to the same opinion; it is said of the church, as the body of which Christ is the Head.”
Perhaps it’s because I have sat through hundreds of hours of science lectures in my lifetime, but the word “symbiotic” came to mind when I read that word. It’s fitting actually. Symbiotic means 2 organisms living in close proximity, typically an advantage to both.
Symbibazo (knit together) is used only 2 times in the NT: Colossians 2:2,19; and only 3 times in the OT: Job 10:11, Ps 139:13
Not only are we to be knit together, but Paul makes sure we know that it is a knitting together in love, specifically agape love. Do you remember studying agape love in WEEK 2? We looked at Romans 5:5, its the Holy Spirit given kind of Love, and all those examples of what love is in 1 Corinthians chapter 13.
Let’s move to the 3rd part of this verse: I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself.
The word for “complete confidence” here at the end of v.2 means, “FULL ASSURANCE, MOST CERTAIN CONFIDENCE.”
4. We can know that it is God’s will that we know Jesus Christ, and knowing Him is what truly matters on all levels and in all realms (v.2c)
When it comes right down to it really, it’s all about Jesus Christ Himself. Do you know Him? Do you believe He did what He said He did? And that He’s who He said He is? Or, do you believe something else about Him?
It is mysterious when we try to put it all together; how God orchestrated this whole story of creation and salvation and our Savior conquering death and sin. And, we can have uttermost confidence that what what the Bible says about Him is true. Not one detail of any prophecy about Jesus has ever been wrong. Not one detail of anything in the entire Bible has ever proven false. He is truly all in all and fills all things with Himself.
Colossians 2:3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
5. It is Jesus Who holds all the treasures of wisdom & knowledge. (v.3)
Paul uses the words as a play on the gnostic false beliefs. It is in Jesus ALONE that all they (the Colossians) and we (modern-day Americans) are wanting is found.
Different translations of God’s Word render the word “hidden” as “stored up.” The Amplified Bible uses both “stored up” & “lie hidden.” Either way – we have full access through Jesus. When we seek Him – what is hidden becomes revealed. When Jesus is our chief desire, what is stored up becomes released.
Considering this subject of all wisdom and knowledge, do you ever think about how much you don’t know? I do. It happens daily as I attempt to parent a 3 year old with incredible strength of will! I get reminded regularly as I take care of hundreds of people with hundreds of different bad habits and lifestyle choices and I try to help them all feel and function better. I rarely watch the news, but when I do, I wonder what on earth is going on in the earth…there is indeed a whole, whole lot that I do not know.
And yet, in HIM is hidden or stored up every single thing that I could ever need to know. The more I know Him, the more I will know what I need to know, and the rest I leave in His nail-scarred hands. You remember how Paul said He is supreme over all creation and that all things were created through Him and for Him. That’s all I need to know. I know The Man with the plan. May these scriptures sooth the aching, struggling neuronal synapses in our tired and over-stimulated brains.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness, and he will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is Zion’s treasure.
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
JOB 38-39 when God answers Job. Read this if you want to fully understand what we do not know, it’s a chapter guaranteed to put us in our place; the place of humility before a holy and righteous and all-knowing God!
Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
Thankfully, the Lord invites us to ask Him for answers, and He delights to show Himself mighty. Now, let’s move to verse 4.
Colossians 2:4 I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.
The NLT calls them “well-crafted arguments.”
6. We CAN be deceived, but it is God’s will that we would not be swayed from the truth. (v.4)
Bob Utley, in his commentary, notes that Paul is warning them about people using eloquent style and reasoning. The intellectuals could have fancy words, etc. with which to deceive or mislead the Colossians. If you listen to the world, there are many well-crafted arguments to convince us that what we have been discussing about Jesus is non-sense, i.e. the storyline in the movie God’s Not Dead.
There is no superior knowledge you can attain aside from knowing Christ Jesus personally, believing the truth of the Gospel and walking out how He says to live. Period. That is what keeps us from being deceived.
Increasingly, at the end of days WE MUST FIGHT DECEPTION!!! We fight deception by KNOWING GOD’S WORD. That’s EXACTLY how Jesus did it! Remember in Matthew 4, with every lie of the enemy, Jesus answer with the phrase, “It is written…” The reality is that our enemy seeks to devour and deceive us.
You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
And yet, as deceiving as our enemy is, the reality is that he is defeated and King Jesus already won the victory at the Cross. I love what Revelation 12:11 says:
They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
May you and I be willing to stand for truth in a pluralistic, humanistic world where truth has been made relative. Nothing about true Christianity is relative or plural.
Colossians 2:5 For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.
NLT: For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong.
In the KJV, the words used here are “order” and “steadfastness.” Again, going to the commentaries of Bob Utley, he explains that these words are 2 military terms, indicating the Colossians’ battle.
7. Let’s rejoice when we see brothers and sisters living right with strong faith in Jesus. (v.5)
Paul’s influence on the Colossians started when he taught Epaphras the truth, and then Epaphras went and spread the gospel in his hometown of Colossae. You and I do not just have influence on those who live under our roof, we have influence in all kinds of ways. One of the ways the Lord has been showing me this is in the area of my prayer life, we’ll talk more about that in Day 4 of your homework. Paul is then overjoyed to hear that they are walking in the truth in which they were taught. He was far away from them, but his heart was with them.
Who, in your life, is far away from you but your heart is with them? Isn’t it just the most wondrous news when you hear someone dear to you is believing God and strong in their faith? I got this kind of news from 2 friends who were my very best friends from 6th grade until our Jr. year of college (until I moved to Dallas and time and space began to separate us). I got news that one of them had breast cancer in November. And yet I rejoiced because both of those friends had grown tremendously in their walk with Christ (as had I, praise the Lord!). Their faith was strong, and it blessed me so much to hear it! When we talk it is as if no time has passed since we were together.
Let’s be ready to rejoice and praise God when we get reports of others living as they should and strong in their faith!
Colossians 2:6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,
NLT translates that last portion, “you must continue to follow Him.”
8. It is God’s will that we receive Jesus as Lord and then continue to follow Him. (v.6)
In v. 6, Paul gives them the proverbial, “Keep on keepin’ on!” I read this quote from Christine Caine not long ago, “It’s easier to start than sustain.” Do you think that’s true? It seems so easy to sustain something at the beginning when we are fueled by emotional hype. But, when happens when the new and exiting wears off? Are we willing to endure and persist for the long-haul with Jesus?
Greek word for “TO WALK” means:
to make one’s way, progress; to make due use of opportunities; related to the Hebrew word meaning, to live, to regulate one’s life, to conduct one’s self
Do we make our way to Jesus? Do we make due use of the opportunities He gives us? Do we regulate our lives by Him? Do I conduct myself as He did? These are valid questions, litmus tests if you will, to see if we are walking with Him or walking our own path.
Colossians 2:7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
NLT: Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
9. It is God’s will that we be rooted and built up in Jesus and established in the faith. (v.7a)
The word “ROOTED” here is “to cause to strike root, to strengthen with roots, to render firm, to fix, establish, cause a person or a thing to be thoroughly grounded.”
The only other use of this word in the Bible is Ephesians 3:17:
For context we’ll read Ephesians 3:14-21, it’s one of Paul’s famous run-on sentences so full of greatness you can’t do it justice if you break it up…
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Roots in the TRUTH give strength and staying power. They provide nourishment and stability. Roots in the TRUTH are the foundation and the lifeblood.
This concept of letting roots go down into Him goes along with Banning Liebsner’s message at the Inspire Conference I attended in July 2014. I wanted to share a couple of my notes with you:
“God develops our roots in hiding, not fruit on stage.”
“He develops that structure needed to be able to hold the weight of what is coming”
“God did not develop David in the palace, 1st Samuel 16 he is anointed King by Samuel, then 15 yrs later he becomes King of Judah, then another 7 yrs before he’s King of all Israel.”
“The process is: Seed – Death – Roots – THEN Fruit”
“Longevity matters – long-term fruit matters, it’s more impressive to finish races rather than to just start them”
Paul makes sure that he reiterates to them that the truth they were taught is the truth. Right? He is contending against false teachers with eloquent arguments. He wants the Church at Colossae to be rooted in Jesus, and we should be, too! Strong roots yield good fruit. We will get back to that in a moment, but let’s finish verse 7.
10. It is God’s will that we with overflow with thankfulness. (v.7b)
If you have been with us all 6 weeks here, you can probably guess what that word thankfulness is in the Greek. It’s a form of “eucharisteo”: To feel thankful, to be thankful, to give thanks. Do you remember now? This is the third time Paul has used some form of this word thus far! Here he is wanting them to overflow with gratitude. Not just be filled with it, but to overflow. When we are filled with gratitude all things change, situations turn a different direction, people are influenced mightily, and God is honored and glorified when thankfulness is our attitude. We are made whole when we can trust our faithful God and give Him thanks no matter what the cost.
There are 4 directives in v. 7 I want to highlight before we go:
- deeply planted in Him
- being continuously built up in Him
- growing stronger in faith
- overflowing with thankfulness
All of these are related to our daily walk in Christ Jesus the Lord! Show me a person who is doing these 4 things…I’ll show you someone who is bearing much fruit to the Glory of our Father! This is a person who is showing him/herself to be a disciple of Christ Jesus!
And the Lord will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.
…that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
And I want to leave us with this awesome segment of God’s Word today…
Jeremiah 17:5-10 Wisdom from the Lord
5 This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans,
who rely on human strength
and turn their hearts away from the Lord.
6 They are like stunted shrubs in the desert,
with no hope for the future.
They will live in the barren wilderness,
in an uninhabited salty land.
7 “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit.
9 “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,
and desperately wicked.
Who really knows how bad it is?
10 But I, the Lord, search all hearts
and examine secret motives.
I give all people their due rewards,
according to what their actions deserve.”