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Colossians 2:4-12 (b)

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(read 2:4-12) Looking back to last week we saw this Dangerous Deception in false teaching in vv 4, 8 (read them).
So, in paying too much attention to fine-sounding arguments can deceive us about spiritual truth.
We saw that the teachers themselves, are probably not denying that Christ was central to God’s saving purposes.
They seem rather to be arguing that certain practices must be added on in order to achieve true spiritual fulfillment.
But, for Paul, in this case, addition means subtraction: one cannot “add” to Christ without,
in effect, subtracting from his exclusive place in creation and in salvation history.
This is Deceptive Danger to us.
The Divine Testimony told to us (v9-12)This is an amazing testimony over us!
We are filled by the One who has the entire fullness of God’s nature dwelling bodily and by the One who is over every ruler and authority.
Believers have had a spiritual circumcision performed upon them, having the power of our sinful impulses stripped away by the grace of God.
Being united to Christ in His death and resurrection we receive this forgiveness of our sin.
Paul is reminding us that our being raise with Christ provides all the power we need
to conquer sinful impulses, not an external ritual.
So we’ve got this Deceptive Danger to us. (v4,8)
The Divine Testimony told to us (v9-12)
The Simple Solution for us to obey (v5-7) It’s to walk in the light of who we are in Christ.
5 "For I may be absent in body, but I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see how well ordered you are and the strength of your faith in Christ. 6 "So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 "being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude.” ()
So here’s Paul warning them in v4 and v8 but he’s locked up in a Romans prison under house arrest so what gives them the right to warn them or rebuke them?
The answer is his presence is with them “in spirit.”.
5 "For I may be absent in body, but I am with you in spirit,
Here, the immediate reference may be, indeed, to Paul’s own “spirit,” it is his spirit as taken up into the Holy Spirit.
His “presence” with the Colossians, then, is not a simple “you will be in my thoughts and prayers,” but
involves a profound corporate sense of identity,
based on and mediated by the Spirit of God.
It is on the basis of this union,
effected in and by Christ and
mediated by the Spirit,
that Paul can address the Colossian Christians.
Moo, D. J. (2008). The letters to the Colossians and to Philemon (p. 173). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.
He not only warns them but also delights to see them.
rejoicing to see how well ordered you are and the strength of your faith in Christ.
Look at those two descriptions, “well ordered” and “strength” the strength of your faith in Christ.
These are actually military words.
Paul is like a general, inspecting his troops and rejoicing to see that they are
displaying the disciplined formation (taxis) and
strong force (stereōma)
that they will need to fight the false teachers.
The first, translated ‘well ordered’, describes the way that soldiers on the battlefield would close ranks to prevent enemy penetration.
During the Napoleonic wars, one of the duties of British sergeants was to repeat the command, ‘Close up!’
Even as some fell to enemy gunfire and the ranks were thinned, it was vital to close up.
Gaps can be exploited.
It seems that the believers in Colosse were good at holding one another up. Desertions were few.
Generally speaking, nerve held because each one
supported and sustained
the spirits of his neighbor
and when the honorably wounded had to quit the fray, others would step into the ranks.
Paul also commended their ‘steadfastness’. Their strength.
Their ‘faith in Christ’ was not flimsy. It had a persistent quality to it.
This forcasted well for the future.
The church in Colosse faced a genuine threat, but
it had already learned the knack of closing ranks
in a stout, enduring fashion.
And although he was not physically present, Paul stood in the ranks alongside his fellow soldiers.
By point of application for our church family:
Would he see the same qualities in us?
And are we as ready as he was to see where the ranks are being thinned by enemy action and to step boldly into the breach?
To stand in the gap?
Then we come up to (really the heart) of the book of Colossians.
In vv6,7 God succinctly summarizes the simple response that He wants from his followers.
(read 2:6-7). Let’s remember what Paul prayed for them (1:10-12) and what’s at stake (1:23)
23 "if indeed you remain grounded and steadfast in the faith and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard. ...” ()
6 "So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him,
Arthur, J. P. (2007). Christ All-Sufficient: Colossians and Philemon Simply Explained (pp. 79–80). Darlington, England: Evangelical Press.
Moo, D. J. (2008). The letters to the Colossians and to Philemon (p. 174). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.
6 "So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him,
The first part of the verse concisely restates the key theological argument of the letter:
Jesus Christ is Lord, and we have been brought under that umbrella at salvation.
It is noticeable that the Christ whom we receive is ‘the Lord’.
All Christians receive ‘the Lord’. Nothing else is possible. That is who Jesus is.
Even so, there are teachers who say that the Christian life takes place in two stages:
at the outset, we receive Christ as Savior;
further down the road, some, but not all,
further down the road, some, but not all, believers receive him as Lord. Teaching of this kind is a terrible distortion of the gospel. Growth in grace ceases to be a binding obligation for all believers and becomes an optional extra for an elite handful. Isaac Watts’ words, ‘Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all’, lose all their force. A godly life is no longer the least that a grateful heart can bring to Christ; it is merely a laudable aspiration for those who feel drawn to it because they like that sort of thing, those who, by temperament, are natural enthusiasts.
believers receive him as Lord.
Teaching of this kind is a terrible distortion of the gospel.
Growth in grace ceases to be a binding obligation for all believers and
becomes an optional extra for an elite handful.
Isaac Watts’ words, ‘Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all’, lose all their force.
A godly life is no longer the least that a grateful heart can bring to Christ;
it is merely a commendable aspiration for those enthusiast who feel drawn to it because they like that sort of thing.
This teaching also presents us with a very different Jesus from the one in the Bible.
Jesus saves because he is Lord.
Salvation is much too great a task for a mere superhero.
Rescuing people from sin, death and hell is beyond any run-of-the-mill prophet.
Only the sovereign Ruler of heaven and earth can save sinners.
The gospel is not only an appeal to sinners, but
the assertion of a King’s right to rule.
When Jesus said to His first disciples, ‘Follow me’, He expected them to comply.
They were so much in awe of His authority that they did so.
In coming to Christ, we come to one who makes demands on us.
He made us and bought us and has a right to lay His yoke on our shoulders.
Arthur, J. P. (2007). Christ All-Sufficient: Colossians and Philemon Simply Explained (pp. 83–84). Darlington, England: Evangelical Press.
The second half of the verse summarizes the specific commands and warning that follow:
v6 "So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him,
We are to continue to live in Him, to work out just what it means in both our thinking and our acting to live under the Lordship of Christ.
Notice this verb: “have recieved”.
Paul’s not talking about receiving a tradition or a teaching, but of Christ Himself.
To “receive Christ” isn’t only a matter of believing “in” His person;
it also involves a commitment to the apostolic teaching about Christ and His significance.
This phrase: Christ Jesus as Lord is a concise way of saying that He is
“the image of the invisible God,” “the firstborn over all creation” (1:15),
“the head of the body, the church” (1:18),
“the mystery of God” (2:2; cf. 1:27), and
the storehouse of “all wisdom and knowledge” (2:3).
It is this central confession, with all its varied and far-reaching implications,
to which the Colossians need to return
in order to ward off the threat of the false teaching.
Paul has earlier prayed that the Colossians might learn to live a life pleasing to the Lord (read 1:10).
Paul makes the same connection here, urging the Colossians,
since they have received Christ Jesus as Lord,
to continue to live your lives in Him.
The word “walk” (in 1:10) is the same word “continue” in 2:6.
Let Christ—and no other! for He is Lord—
establish your values,
guide your thinking,
direct your conduct.
Moo, D. J. (2008). The letters to the Colossians and to Philemon (p. 179). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.
7 "being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude.
Moo, D. J. (2008). The letters to the Colossians and to Philemon (p. 179). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.
7 "being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude.
Moo, D. J. (2008). The letters to the Colossians and to Philemon (p. 179). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.
7 "being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude.
Progress, then, is not an option for the favored few, but the will of Christ for all His people.
Nevertheless, having received Christ, we do not walk in
new and uncharted directions.
We walk in the way of the Christ whom we have received.
Arthur, J. P. (2007). Christ All-Sufficient: Colossians and Philemon Simply Explained (p. 85). Darlington, England: Evangelical Press.
7 "being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude.
In the planting of seeds the old practice was to put three seeds in each hole.
One for the worm, one for the crow, and one to live and produce the crop.
7 "being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude.
In teaching our children, we must give them line upon line, and precept upon precept,
repeating the truth which we wound implant upon their hearts.
Repeating those truths till it becomes impossible for the child to forget it.
Giving the truth of God’s Word once and perhaps the child’s frail memory may lose it.
Twice, thinking that the devil, like a ravaging bird, will steal it.
Three times, hoping that it will take root downward, and bring forth fruit upward to the glory of God.
There is no doubt that Paul wanted his readers to make spiritual excellence a priority.
There is no doubt that Paul wanted his readers to make spiritual excellence a priority.
In the early part of verse 7 he uses colorful imagery, which, in effect, poses a question:
‘Given that the roots are secure, does any growth appear above ground?’
Roots below ground normally lead to a trunk and branches.
Having made a good beginning,
the Christian must not give way to complacency and stop there.
V7 says, "being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith...
Paul summarizes what he expects to happen as a result of the first two phrases:
by sticking to our roots and being built up, then we will be established in faith.
Having then been firmly implanted in Christ (for example, in his love, ),
Moo, D. J. (2008). The letters to the Colossians and to Philemon (p. 181). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.
Having then been firmly implanted in Christ (for example, in his love, ),
as the infinite and all-sufficient Source of salvation
Source of salvation full and free, and so continuing, constantly avail yourselves of every opportunity of being brought to higher and still higher ground, as a building rises tier by tier, of being established ever more firmly in the activity of faith,81 as you were taught by Epaphras (; , ), and of overflowing with gratitude
full and free, and
so continuing, constantly avail yourselves of every opportunity of being brought to higher and still higher ground,
as a building rises tier by tier,
of being established ever more firmly in the activity of faith,
as you were taught by Epaphras (; , ), and
of overflowing with gratitude.
Gratitude is that which completes the circle whereby
blessings that drop down into our hearts and lives
return to the Giver in the form of
unending,
loving, and
spontaneous adoration.
Also, such giving of thanks increases the sense of obligation (),
12 "How can I repay the Lord for all the good he has done for me? 13 "I will take the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. 14 "I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.” ()
so that those who overflow with this grace feel
all the less ready to turn away from
the abundance which they have in Christ Jesus the Lord, and
Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Colossians and Philemon (Vol. 6, p. 108). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
to follow the advice of false teachers.
So then, by sticking to our roots and being built up, then we will be established in faith, we are led to the obvious conclusion.
“overflowing with gratitude.”
This teaches us, as well, that true gratitude for God’s grace is an important offensive weapon against the false teaching.
Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Colossians and Philemon (Vol. 6, p. 108). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
12 "giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light.” ()
From v11, it is the Colossians’ endurance and patience that would be accompanied by joy.
It might seem a bit surprising that Paul would include thanksgiving in a
short list of activities that comprise the life that is “worthy of the Lord” (v. 10).
But the giving of thanks plays a prominent role in Colossians
(see, in addition to v. 3, 2:7; 3:17; 4:2)
—perhaps, among other reasons, because it signals the reality of their spiritual experience in Christ.
For the giving of thanks implies that what has been received has not been earned but is a gift.
Thanksgiving is therefore the flip side of a key Pauline theological claim:
that Christians are saved by and live in grace.
The reminder of this fundamental gospel truth would be especially important
in a context where false teachers were insisting on a program of rules for true spiritual fulfillment (cf. 2:16–23).
CONCLUSION.
There is absolutely Deceptive Danger to us, in erroneous teachings of the Scriptures and misunderstandings of the gospel message.
To fight against this, we’re given the Divine Testimony of God over and about us (vv9-11)
Then we have the Simple Solution in vv5-7. It’s not hard to understand, it’s simple.
So we receive Christ as Lord, coming under His rulership/Lordship.
Let Christ—and no other!
establish your values,
guide your thinking,
guide your thinking,
direct your conduct.
direct your conduct.
When Christ is received, we don’t remain stagnant.
We’re not just rooted, but we are built up and we become established and then we over flow with gratitude.
This is God’s defense for us against error and false teachers!
Moo, D. J. (2008). The letters to the Colossians and to Philemon (p. 100). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.
Moo, D. J. (2008). The letters to the Colossians and to Philemon (p. 100). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.
Arthur, J. P. (2007). Christ All-Sufficient: Colossians and Philemon Simply Explained (p. 85). Darlington, England: Evangelical Press.
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