Here we are in week 7! Welcome! I don’t know if you’ve been with us for this entire series (if not, you can go back to weeks 1-6 in “archives”, which you will find on the far Right side of your screen)!
I am so glad the Lord saw fit for me to study Colossians because it is absolutely full of truth about how great Jesus is! He is high and lifted up in this letter, and in our world today – YOU & I need this message. We need to continually press in to the truth that Jesus IS who He says He is, that we are who He said we are, and that we can trust Him. He is our only hope! Let dig in to this segment of Colossians today, chapter 2 verses 8-15. Here are your notes and your 5 days of homework for week 7: Col PN 2.8-15 We will begin in verse 8, so open your Bible and let’s go!
Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
In your homework last week, on day 5, we talked about life on the solid rock. What happens when we build our house on anything other than Jesus, the solid rock? All other ground is what?
This is what Paul is reiterating here! If any philosophy is not based on the Truth of Jesus, it will lead to destruction. Anything else is deceit, because it’s based in either human tradition, in the world’s thinking, and/or in the worship of creatED things rather than the creaTOR. We’ll study this in Day 1 of your homework this week. This is a serious warning Paul is giving, “Be ever on guard” or “be SURE that this never happens.”
- In Christ Jesus alone, we find TRUTH. All else is empty deceit, whether traditions of men or of the spiritual powers of the world.
Col 1:13 is where Paul tells them they have been rescued OUT of the Kingdom of darkness and transferred into the Kingdom of His dear son, SO DO NOT return to the darkness!!! DO NOT be deceived, as he warned in Colossian 2:4, not to be deceived by well-crafted arguments. It is a word that means, “to capture you as a slave, to be kidnapped, to be seduced.”
The heretics who were attempting to deceive the Colossian Church did 3 things in their philosophy and so-called superior knowledge:
- They took away Jesus’ active participation in Creation.
- They denied Jesus was fully God and fully man.
- They removed Jesus’ atonement & substitutionary death as the central belief.
Friends, if we take those things away, or even entertain the idea these might be true, we NO LONGER have the truth of what the Bible teaches. This can send us headlong into deception. And this is exactly what Paul was warning them against! And do not think for a moment these same deceptive philosophies are not alive and well today where we live. They are. And we MUST BE ON GUARD!!!
Let’s discuss quickly the use of the phrase “human tradition” or “philosophy” in this context. Paul is not anti-intellect; he’s anti-false intellect! We need to take the time to ask the question, “What is the source of that tradition? Is it God’s mandate or is it something that man made-up for themselves?” And, we need to ask, “Is this philosophy one based on the truth of God’s Word, or is it something that the world says?”
Mark 7:3 For the Pharisees, in fact all the Jews, will not eat unless they wash their hands ritually, keeping the tradition of the elders.
This is just one of the hundreds and hundreds of regulations that the Jews had added to God’s original law over the centuries, i.e. the traditions of man. This is what made legalism so prevalent in that day, and in our day as well. When people believe that just by merely observing religious rules or regulations or practices they can be saved. Are there any man-made traditions that you are giving too much clout?
Being good is never good enough to get to God. Jesus said that He alone is the way, the truth, and the life, and NO ONE comes to the Father except through Him. Man-made traditions will not save us. Now, let’s look at this point from a slightly different angle:
1 Timothy 6:20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding irreverent, empty speech and contradictions from the “knowledge” that falsely bears that name.
In 1st Timothy, Paul is warning Timothy to GUARD well the Truth entrusted to him. Avoid irreverence. Avoid empty talk. Avoid things that contradict the FULL TRUTH. Just because the world or even some in the church would call that kind of thing “knowledge” – Paul says “NO”, those things have nothing to do with knowledge! You, Timothy, guard the TRUTH of the Gospel.
And I believe we can take that to the bank as well! (Insert your name here), guard what has been entrusted to you! DO NOT settle for irreverence or empty speech or things that contradict the truth of God’s Word! Satan will counterfeit everything that is truth. He will be happy to use men and women to do this, to use governments, to use laws, relationships, books, media, culture, churches, even ministries.
SO HOW DO WE KNOW WHAT IS TRUE AND WHAT IS FALSE?
1 John 4:6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
WE MUST KNOW GOD!!! WE MUST BECOME BIBLE LITERATE. We are living in a country now where most Christians do not know God’s Word, because it’s been “enough” (according to our human tradition) to show up on Sunday morning and have the Pastor preach, and then not crack it open until the next time they step inside church. Even then, we have the words on a screen in most places, so perhaps millions of Christians are never opening their Bible at all, whether it’s a physical bible or an app on their phone. IF we are going to avoid being sucked in to deception and falsehood:
1. we have GOT to pray for discernment
2. we have GOT to know God through prayer and through His Word
3. we have GOT put away the things of the world and the things of man
Think about what that may mean in your own life. What things of human origin and worldly origin are more important than God? He calls that idolatry. We are to have NO other God before Him. I know that’s convicting! B,ut praise God for conviction! We can know the truth and be free!
Colossians 2:9-10 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.
- In Christ Jesus alone, is the fullness of God dwelling in a human body.
This is a reiteration of Paul’s awesome Christological statement in Col 1:15-23 (week 4 of our study)
Col 1:19 For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
In the next couple of verses, I want you to (if you feel the freedom to do so) mark all the places in verses 9-15 in your Bible where it references Jesus. Notice all the places where it says “in or with Him” or “in or with Christ.”
- In Christ Jesus alone, we are made complete.
Perhaps one of the most glorious and overwhelming truths of all scripture is that when we lay down our lives and receive Jesus as our Savior, it pleases Him to reside in us through the Holy Spirit. We talked about this concept 2 weeks ago as we finished chapter 1 of Colossians.
Col 1:27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.
Eph 1:22-23 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.
This concept of being made complete in Jesus, we will discuss further in Day 2 of your homework.
Colossians 2:11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,
Circumcision was (in the Old Testament) much like baptism (is currently in the New Testament), an outward sign of an inward change. This is what Paul is getting at in verses 11-12. In physical circumcision, the outer flesh or foreskin is removed as a sign of covenant with God. I actually got to witness the process of circumcision when our son was about a week old. We took him to a Jewish Mohel, a Rabbi who performs the act of circumcision for all the Jewish babies (and those of us Gentiles who prefer to have our kids at home). Our reasoning had nothing to do with a religious ceremony; we really just don’t use modern medicine unless it’s an emergency. But, I will say that I am completely intrigued and taken by the fact that our faith has its very roots in Judaism; I love Israel. We Gentiles and the Messianic Jews absolutely serve the same God as they do! May we live in a way that makes them jealous to know our Messiah, Yeshua, and claim His salvation for themselves (Romans 11:11)!
Circumcision is what the LAW required in the Old Testament (OT). But, because the Lord Jesus fulfilled the Law in total perfection, as most other physical things in the OT, it becomes a heart-thing in the New Testament (NT). We no longer need animal sacrifice; we had the spotless Lamb of God take our penalty once and for all. The physical riches promised in the OT become spiritual riches in the NT. It’s no longer about keeping laws, but believing in the One True Messiah who came to set us free from the law all together, that we might live by faith in Him and be above reproach. We will see next week in our discussion that Paul addresses this with the Colossians. The Mosaic law required punishment or death for committing adultery; Jesus said if you even look at a woman with lust, you already are guilty of adultery. The stakes are actually higher now, but His grace is completely sufficient on this side of the cross!
- In Christ Jesus alone, is the power of our flesh & sin destroyed.
Isaiah 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
1 Peter 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
Col 1:22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.
Romans 4:1-12 talks about Abraham being justified by his faith. Abraham lived BEFORE the Mosaic Law was given to Moses by God. Abraham was justified (saved) because He believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness (Romans 4:4). Abraham had no written law by which to live, he had relationship with the One True God, and he believed and he obeyed Him.
Now, Romans 4:11-12 speaking of Abraham:
He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
In Day 3 of your homework, we will study the circumcision of the heart that Paul refers to here in v. 11.
Colossians 2:12 Having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.
- In Christ Jesus alone, we are made right with God, by being buried with Him and then raised to new life with Him.
There are so many beautiful, awesome scriptures that interpret this verse. Please fight the temptation to skim these because it’s a long list. Please slow down. These are the Words God breathed onto the pages of the Holy Bible. The reason I can tell you this is because I fight the same temptation when I see a long list of scriptures. I beg you, slow down, read them one-by-one and let the Holy Spirit move in your heart. God’s word is alive and active, sharper than any 2-edged sword, it has the power to set people free, to bring clarity where there is confusion, and to replace lies with the truth.
Matt 28:18-20 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Baptism: it’s not an option, we do it as an outward profession of our faith, Jesus commanded it; it’s a picture of what has already happened to us in the Spiritual realm.
Acts 2:24 But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip.
Romans 6:4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Romans 7:4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.
Eph 1:19-20 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.
Eph 2:6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.
Col 3:1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.
Colossians 2:13-14 And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, GOD made you alive together with Him having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
Now, read these verses in the Amplified Bible:
And you who were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh (your sensuality, your sinful carnal nature), [God] brought to life together with [Christ], having [freely] forgiven us all our transgressions, having cancelled and blotted out and wiped away the handwriting of the note (bond) with its legal decrees and demands which was in force and stood against us (hostile to us). This [note with its regulations, decrees, and demands] He set aside and cleared completely out of our way by nailing it to [His] cross.
IN HIM the Dead are made ALIVE!!! The debt has been completely forgiven, oh my my my!!! Hallelujah! Thank You, Jesus!!!
6. In Christ Jesus alone, He made us alive by cancelling our record of debt and nailing it to the cross.
Romans 6:11 So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.
In Ephesians 4:32 and in Colossians 3:13, We are told to fogive others…WHY? BECAUSE He forgave us for everything we ever did or ever will do, how dare we withhold forgiveness from someone else???
In Luke 7:41-43,47 Jesus was in the home of a Pharisee when a sinful woman came in a poured expensive oil on His feet. He told this parable:
“A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”… Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
Jesus tells Simon the Pharisee this parable BECAUSE He’s making a point that those who have been forgiven much love much. The problem is, we don’t often see ourselves as we should, as those who have A HUGE Debt that has been forgiven by an innocent Savior. Jesus cancelled the record of our great debt on the Cross! Praise His Name!!!
Psalm 103:12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
Isa 38:17Behold, it was for my welfare that I had great bitterness;)but in love you have delivered my life from the pit of destruction, for you have cast all my sins behind your back.
Isa 44:22 I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.
Micah 7:19 He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.
Jeremiah 31:34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
What an awesome Savior we have! Hallelujah again! Thank You, Jesus!!!
Now, look at verse 14 again. This “certificate of debt” is a signed IOU, as if in debt under the law; Bob Utley says it also could be a legal document that a prosecutor drew up to take someone to court; either way it is referring to the Mosaic Law.
The law was not bad, but we as humans are INCAPABLE of being good enough to fulfill and keep every law! WE NEED GRACE!!! We need a SAVIOR!!! The law says “don’t” and we keep “doing”, which keeps us under heavy debt to the Law. By His Grace, He has paid our debt; which makes this certificate null & void!
And now, “nailing it to the cross” – The Mosaic Law was nailed to the cross with Jesus, He fulfilled and gave our lives back to us completely FREE.
Eph 2:15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.
Romans 7:6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.
Colossians 2:15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him.
Listen to this verse in 3 other translations:
NIV: And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
NLT: In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.
AMP: [God] disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it [the cross].
- In Christ Jesus alone, are Satan and all the powers of darkness disarmed and put to shame.
These are hostile angelic beings, and demons. Satan now has NO authority in the lives of those who belong to Jesus!!!
Hebrews 2:14-15 Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could He set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.
2 Corinthians 2:14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.
I don’t know about you, but all I can think to do is praise Him right now. There is too much to thank Jesus for and too much evidence of His majesty to just go on to my next task. I feel so compelled to ask you to stay another 7 minutes, right where you are, click play on the video below and respond to your Savior in praise and worship and adoration and humility. The words are on the screen as he sings. Let these words overwhelm you. Think about what Jesus has done and what He continues to do in your life…Jesus, we love You!!!