John T. Willis

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Equipping Christian Communities against False Teachings--Colossians 2:1-7

As Paul and Timothy work through the letter to the Christian community at Colossae, they now address false teachings at work in the city of Colossae. In order to equip the Christian communities at Colossae and nearby Laodicea, Paul and Timothy lay a spiritual foundation as a standard or norm against which false teachings emerge. This paragraph appears in Colossians 2:1-7. This blog is an attempt to address some of the major thoughts expressed in these verses.

I. Paul wants the Christian communities at Colossae and Laodicea how deeply involved and concerned he is personally, even though he has never been at Colossae or Laodicea in person. Verses 1-3.
a. Paul also wrote Christians at Rome in spite of the fact that he had never been there when he wrote the book of Romans--see Romans 1:13. Spiritually, Paul "struggled" with his fellow-Christians at Colossae and Laodicea. Verse 1.
Paul tells his audiences to read his letters to these places to one another. Colossians 4:16.
b. Paul's purpose is to encourage Christian communities and to unite them in love. Love is the bond of perfection. Colossians 3:4; Ephesians 4:16. The solidarity of the whole community is founded, maintained, and strengthened by love. In this way, they may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God's mystery--hidden in times past, but now revealed. Colossians 1:26-27 says this mystery is "Christ in you [plural]," and here Colossians 2:2 says this mystery is "Christ himself." Verse 2.
c. In Christ, the now revealed mystery of God, are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. "Wisdom and knowledge" are not mental superior thinking, but spiritual divinely given growth and maturity--see Romans 11:33; Ephesians 1:15-19. Verse 3.

II. Paul explains that he has been saying this so that other speakers may "deceive" Christian communities with "plausible arguments." Colossians 2:4-5.
a. Charming and persuasive speech often leads God's people astray. The Bible often cautions Christians against this type of danger. See 1 Thessalonians 2:3-8;
1 Corinthians 2:4; 1 John 2:18-28. Verse 4.
b. Thus, Paul overtly declares his "joy" that Christians at Colossae and Laodicea have morale and firmness of their faith in Christ. The term "firmness" may imply a military concept, indicating positions or posts which soldier occupy and the bulward or fortification of faith. The faith of the community is oriented toward Jesus Christ--see Philemon 5, and thus their faith is persevere, strong, and steadfast--see Acts 16:5; 1 Peter 5:9. This norm or standard equips Christians against false teachings. Verse 5.

III. Using the transitional term "therefore," Paul now encourges God's people to continue in their faith, and thus not be deterred by false teachings. Colossians
a. Just as these communities of faith "received Christ the Lord" (see
1 Corinthians 15:1-5), Paul encourages them to remain faithful in what they received--to continue to live their lives in Christ. See Philippians 4:9. Verse 6.
b. Paul specifically mentions for solid foundations of their previous commitment to God through Jesus Christ. They were "rooted" in Christ (Ephesians 3:17), "built up" in Christ (1 Corinthians 3:9), "established" in the faith (see Colossians 1:23; 1 Corinthians 1:8), "taught" in the Lord through missionaries like Epaphras (see Colossians 1:7-8; 4:12). As a result of this, they enjoy "abounding in thanksgiving"--gratitude to God through Jesus Christ for all he has done for them. Verse 7.

What an encouraging message!!! I hope this will also encourage YOU. Share YOUR thoughts and insights with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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