Study Notes

Colossians 2:4-8


When we left off in Colossians chapter two, we talked about full assurance. About the fact that we CAN have it, and about HOW we can have it.

Paul wanted the Colossians to have everything that results from having the full assurance of understanding these things. The result is a true knowledge of Jesus Christ. Not a skewed, one-sided view of Jesus, but a true knowledge of the mystery of Christ.

Now, the last thing Paul told us was that in Jesus...

Col. 2:3 ...are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

All wisdom and knowledge are found in the true knowledge of Jesus. All wisdom, all knowledge...

2Pet. 1:3 ...everything pertaining to life and godliness...

Now we read...

2:4-8 Persuasive Argument

Paul told the Colossians that all wisdom and knowledge were found in Christ so that no one would delude them with persuasive argument. Unfortunately, that is exactly what was beginning to happen to them. There were people coming into the church with persuasive arguments, beginning to convince these Colossian Christians of philosophies, doctrines, and ideas that were unbiblical.

You've Received Him, So Walk In Him

Remember that Paul was in a Roman prison at this time. But he was happy to hear about the fact that they'd come to faith in Jesus. His simple exhortation to them then is this:

Col. 2:6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, {so} walk in Him

In other words, "You received Jesus, so live in Jesus. Don't let anyone tell you it starts with Jesus, but then goes to all of these other things."

When the church in Galatia began to stray from the simplicity of Jesus and were starting to believe that their salvation was dependent on their good deeds and religious observation, Paul bluntly asked them,

Gal. 3:3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

Saints, this is the simplicity of the gospel: We are all sinners. Every one of us. Sure, our actions are more righteous now than before we came to Christ, but that doesn't count towards salvation. The Bible says,

Eccl. 7:20 Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who {continually} does good and who never sins.

There is no way we will ever be sinless in this life. And so just as we have received Jesus, we must walk in Jesus. We received Jesus because we were sinners that needed a Savior. That's the way we walk in Jesus, too. Our trust, our faith, our dependence must be completely in Him, not in ourselves. It is not our self-righteousness. It is not our religious observation. It is all about continually coming back to the fact that we are sinners, and Jesus paid the price for our sins.

Firmly Rooted, Built Up, Established

Paul tells the Colossians to be firmly rooted, built up, and established in their faith, just as they were instructed. When we have a firm foundation in our faith, we can withstand any attacks. Jesus said,

Matt. 7:24-25 "...Everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and {yet} it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock."

The danger that Jesus warned us against when we don't have firm roots is that we will burn out. He said that the person who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy...

Matt. 13:21 yet he has no {firm} root in himself, but is {only} temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.

Without firm roots, the heat of difficulty will cause us to fall away.

Paul knew the importance of believers getting built up, firmly rooted, and established in their faith. This would equip them to withstand the heat and storms of life.

It would also protect them from something that the Colossians were battling at that very time: those who were trying to delude them with persuasive arguments.

See To It That No One Takes You Captive

The people that came to the Colossian church with persuasive arguments were the same kind of people that are in the church today. People that want to delude you, to take you captive, to deceive you, to draw you away after themselves.

Fortunately, the tools they use are the same that they have always used, so if we are firmly rooted and established in our faith, and recognize their methods, we will never be taken captive by them. As the Scriptures say,

2Cor. 2:11 in order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes.

There are two sources that their philosophy and empty deception come from: the tradition of men, and the elementary principles of the world.

The Tradition Of Men

The traditions of men have long deceived the people of God. Jesus blasted the Pharisees for this.

Mark 7:6-9 ...He said to them, "Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.' Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men." He was also saying to them, "You nicely set aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition."

As soon as God had spoken to man, things began to be added to that Word. God told Adam and Eve regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,

Gen. 2:17 " the day that you eat from it you shall surely die."

But Eve added to His word, saying,

Gen. 3:3 "...God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.'"

A small matter, but adding to the Word nonetheless. Eventually, man added so much to God's Word that the Word began to be neglected, and ultimately had to be set aside to keep man's traditions.

Today, traditions of man have founded religions and cults - all who claim to be "Christian," all who claim to be based on the Word of God.

Why can't Catholic priests be married? Why must we call them "Father"? Why does the Catholic church believe in Purgatory? Why must we pray to Mary and the saints? Because of the traditions of men.

Why must we pledge membership to certain churches? Why must we wear a suit and tie to attend? Why must we only sing certain styles of hymns? Because of the traditions of men.

Why must women wear only dresses? Why do ministers have to wear robes or collars? Why do we have to speak in tongues to prove our salvation? Because of the traditions of men.

You see, the traditions of men add to the Word, cause you to neglect the Word, and ultimately make you set aside the Word. That is why you must be rooted and grounded in the Word, so that no one can take you captive through philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men.

The Elementary Principles Of The World

The second tool these people use is according to the elementary principles of the world. The simple things observable in the cosmos can be used to take people captive through philosophy and empty deception as well.

"Well, look, scientists have proven that the universe was created by nothing exploding." "If God is here, why can't we see Him?" "Miraculous healing happens through the power of positive thinking." "If God is in control, then why do we see bad things happen all the time?"

It discourages me how easily some people are deceived by such simplistic philosophies and deceptions. Parents, your kids are going to go off to college and be inundated with stuff like this. Many of them will become deceived into believing that there is no God. It is so important that we build a firm foundation in them, get them rooted and grounded in their faith - not just WHAT they believe, but WHY they believe it.

If you are a new believer, you are a target for deception. You must be rooted, built up, and grounded in your faith. Learn the what AND the why, and you'll never be taken captive.

If you as a Christian already know the whats and they whys, begin to share that with others, build them up, and foundationalize them in the faith.

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