Colossians 2:2-7

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What the church needs?

Part 2

Colossians 2:2–7 ESV “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, 

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

2:4 I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. 

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. 

2:6 ¶ Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 

2:7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”

 

What is the greatest need of the church today?  Significant question!  But, what some would have said 6 months ago is probably not the same thing they would say today.  Six months ago, some would have said a new building, new programs, and so forth.  Today, people would say to get back to normal and back in the church building.

In chapter one, Paul gives one of the church needs as a dedicated, God-called minister to lead the congregation to a closer walk with the Lord.  He must be a man of prayer, hard work, dedication, and Spirit-filled.

However, the answer on the greatest need of the church has not changed from the beginning of the church age til now.  The greatest need of the church is a spiritual need for maturity, unity, love, and understanding.  Paul shows that the church needs to be mature and growing in the Lord.  The church needs maturity, being established and grounded in Christ.  The church needs to be spiritually growing in the Lord.

 

Hebrews 5:11–14 ESV “5:11 ¶ About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 

5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 

5:13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 

5:14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”

 

When the church is not growing in the Lord, it is immature and unsettled.  The church needs to be growing up in the Lord, not staying as a baby or a toddler in their faith.  One of the greatest problems within the church is ‘baby’ Christians who have not grown in the Lord.  They act like children, causing problems because they are immature and selfish.  

Paul gives several things that the church must have to be mature and growing in Christ.

 

Church needs praying leaders

 

Colossians 2:1 ESV “¶ 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,” 

 

This was mentioned in last week’s lesson, the church needs a praying minister who is concerned to spend time in prayer over the church’s needs.  Prayer is essential for a strong, mature, and growing church.  The church needs its members praying for strength, guidance, growth, knowledge, behavior, attitude, endurance, and fruitfulness.

 

Church needs encouragement

 

Colossians 2:2–3 ESV “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, 

2:3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” 

 

The heart of the church is the hearts of the Christians.  Heart is the center of one’s life, essence of their existence, and  who they are.  Heart of the church needs unity, encouragement, and strength in the Lord.

The word translated ‘encouraged’ means to be encouraged and strengthen.  Church often goes through very difficult times of trials, testing, tribulations, and temptations. From persecution from the outside and strife from within, the church needs encouragement and strength from the Lord and fellow Christians.

In the middle of the COVID 19 pandemic, the church needs the encouragement from each other.  Needs to hear that God is still on the throne and over all.

 

Hebrews 10:24–25 ESV “10:24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 

10:25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” 

 

The closer the end times come, the greater the need for the church to be encouraged and strengthen.  Every Christian needs the encouragement of others to stand firm and strong in the Lord.

But, how does the heart of the church gain encouragement and strength?  Paul shows the importance of two things that brings encouragement, even in difficult times.

 

Unity is essential for encouragement

 

Notice the phrase, “knit together in love”.  The words ‘knit together’ have the picture or concept of separate pieces being put together and bound tightly.  It is like placing wood planks together and fastening them with nails.  The church needs to come together in unity, united in Jesus Christ.  

There is no greater picture than to see a church or family that is unified in its love, purpose, and goal.  But, there is no worse picture than to see a church or family divided.  To see the church bickering among its members is devastating and not pleasing to the Lord.  A church cannot be united to Christ and not be united to one another.  Unity is essential for a church to be mature and growing.

In Proverbs, there is a list of seven things that God hates and the last thing mentioned is disunity.

 

Proverbs 6:16–19 ESV “6:16 ¶ There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: 

6:17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 

6:18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, 

6:19 a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”

 

However, the cure of disunity is love.  There is unity when love is present.  A family can overcome an event that seeks to divide itself if they love one for another.  Love is essential within a maturing church.  If the church loves the Lord, they will love one another because God is love. When hatred and strife are present, unity suffers. 

Where love is, unity abounds.  Unity brings encouragement and strength.  It gives great encouragement to a Christian when he knows that his church family loves and cares for him.  It produces a strong heart in the church when the members are unified in purpose, love, and service to the Lord.

 

 

Assurance is essential for encouragement 

 

Colossians 2:2–3 ESV “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, 

2:3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” 

 

1 Thessalonians 1:5 ESV “because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.” 

 

Hebrews 10:22 ESV “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

 

 

 

Assurance is essential for a Christian’ encouragement in the faith.  Knowing the Gospel is true and right gives great encouragement to those who believe.  Paul and the other Apostles had assurance that Christ is the Messiah, the Son of God and salvation is through Him.  They encouraged the church in this assurance of faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The church needs the assurance that what it believes is true.  Error brings in discouragement and dishearten.

How does the church gain assurance that what it believes is right?  By reading and understanding the Word of God is the way the church can be assured the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the true message from God.  

The church at Colossae dealt with false teachers who were bringing in error and confusion in the church.  This error destroyed the assurance of those who fell into its trap; the church must be strong in the Word of the Lord to recognize doctrinal error and false teaching.

To understand the Bible is essential for the church’s encouragement.  Word of God is the authority, not someone’s opinion.

“Lack of true Bible knowledge is the reason there is so much confusion today among professing Christians.”⁠1  Assurance comes from knowing the Word of God. Assurance comes from knowing Jesus Christ.  A Christian who understands the teachings of the Scriptures is not easily swayed by false teachings.

Paul encourages the church to understand wisdom and knowledge is found in Jesus Christ.  One cannot go to the world to find wisdom or look to some higher thinking; one needs to go to Christ to understand the things of God, life, death, living, relationships, etc.  Christ is the fullness of the knowledge of the Lord.

Spiritual understanding is the ability to see and know the truth.  It is discernment.  It is the ability to know what to do in life.  Understanding recognizes truth and discerns error.  The church needs understanding, so it can have assurance that its’ teaching is the truth.  Understanding spiritual matters comes from the indwelling Holy Spirit and the Word of God.

Wisdom is applied truth and truth is found in the Word of God.  It is knowing the truth and being able to apply it to one’s life.  Wisdom knows how to live right.  Understanding knows what is right and wisdom knows how to apply it to life.

The church gains assurance when it teaches the Word of God.  It increases in assurance when it has made it part of everyday life.  Just knowing the truth is one part; applying the truth is essential for growth and assurance. 

 

Church needs to recognize and refute false teachings

 

Colossians 2:4 ESV “I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.” 

 

Paul is encouraging the church to grow in love and unity while they are digging deep into the Word of God. His encouragement is because he does not want the enticing words and persuasive language of the false teachers to persuade them. He is warning them to be on guard with the truth of the Gospel so they can refute these false teachers.

The word ‘delude’ means to deceive or beguile. False teachers brought in a serious danger of leading away ones from the truth of the Gospel with their enticing arguments.

 

Proverbs 16:25 ESV “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”

 

Paul makes two observations about the false teachers.  First, he refers to them as those that would beguile you which means to trick, cheat, mislead, seduce, or lead astray.  These are those who try to lead those away from the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  They try to mislead or trick the person to go another direction away from Christ.  These false teachers care about no one but themselves.  They are filled with pride and self-serving attitude.  In Romans, Paul instructs the Christian to recognize and avoid them.  They are deceivers.

 

Romans 16:17–18 ESV “16:17 ¶ I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 

16:18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.” 

 

The second reference is to their speech, enticing words.  They accomplish this enticing speech in several ways.  They use eloquence, appeals, reasoning, logic, and other means to make their doctrine sound right. They play the part, dress the part, act the part, and speak the part to deceive others.

Years ago, I knew a widow lady, who had very little financial resources, was deceived by a young man who was well dressed and spoke cleverly.  He stole over five thousand dollars from her credit card.  She said he looked and talked like a fine young Christian man, who told her that he was a Christian.  But, he was not a Christian; he was a thief and God will repay him one day for stealing from a widow.

Do not be deceived; Satan and his agents can portray themselves as angels of light.

 

2 Corinthians 11:13–15 ESV “11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 

11:14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 

11:15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” 

 

The church must recognize and avoid those that teach any other doctrine than Jesus Christ.  False teachers must not be allowed to teach in the church.

 

1 John 4:1–3 ESV “4:1 ¶ Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 

4:2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 

4:3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.” 

 

As the last days arrive, these false teachers will increase within the church and the world.  We must ground the church in the Word of God so it can recognize and avoid those that teach something other than Jesus Christ.

 

2 Timothy 3:13 ESV “while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” 

 

Church needs order and faithfulness

 

Colossians 2:5 ESV “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.”

 

One need of the church is order and stedfast faithfulness.  The church is facing a vast array of trials, temptations, persecutions, false teachers, and other things.  

During these times, the church needs order.  This word translated ‘order’ is referring to a military term of rank and order.  It is referring to the soldiers standing in an unbroken, solid line.  Order is each Christian fulfilling his or her role in the church.

The church must stand together on the Word of God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Without order, the church is weakened because when one fails to do his or her ministry, then the whole body suffers. A united church praying and seeking God’s word is a mighty fortress.

The church needs stedfastness or perseverance.  It means to stand firm on the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Faithfulness to the Word of God, committed to making disciples, and evangelizing the lost. Church must be faithful to the Lord and His calling on our lives.

 

1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV “¶ Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” 

 

2 Thessalonians 2:15 ESV “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.”

 

Church needs to be like Christ

 

Colossians 2:6–7 ESV “2:6 ¶ Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 

2:7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” 

 

One of the greatest problems within the church is when the Christians act more like the world than they do Jesus Christ.  When the church is worldly, they are acting like the old nature, not the new nature in Christ. Their actions and testimony bring a reproach on Christ and His church.  They hurt the testimony and destroy the effectiveness of the church.

The church needs to behave like Jesus Christ.  They need to act, walk, talk, and do like Christ.  Not just the leaders, but also all the member of the church have a duty to have a good testimony for Jesus.  The Lord tells the Christian to “be holy for I am holy.”  Holiness must be part of every Christian’s life. 

Notice the admonishing of Paul, as you have received Christ as your Saviour, you ought to walk like a Christian.

 

 

Ephesians 4:1 ESV “¶ I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,”

 

Colossians 1:10 ESV “so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

 

1 Thessalonians 2:12 ESV “we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.” 

 

Paul uses four words to describe how the church must walk in the Lord. Each of these describes an aspect of life that is necessary to be mature and growing in Jesus Christ.

 

Rooted

 

The word is a picture of a tree that has a great root system to keep it firmly secure in the earth so that when the storms of life come, the tree will stand steadfast and sure.  The church must be rooted in Jesus Christ and His Word.

 

Built up

 

The word is a picture of building a building upon a solid foundation.  The foundation keeps the building from falling down when storms, oppositions, persecution, or any other thing that seeks to destroy it.  It must be founded up Jesus Christ.

 

Established

 

The word means firm, stable, not letting go.  It means that the church must be firm and stable in its faith.  It must be grounded, rooted, and founded on the solid foundation, which is Jesus Christ.

 

2 John 1:7–11 ESV “7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. 

8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 

9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 

10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 

11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.”

 

Christians are called to abide in Christ, to walk in Christ, and to live in Christ.  If any man supports a false teacher, provides for his needs, encourages him, he is taking part in his ministry in deceiving others.  Do not support in any manner one who is teaching a false doctrine, rather reject the teaching and the teacher.

 

Abounding

 

The church is to be growing in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord.  The church is to be praising and thanking the Lord on a daily basis for what He has done for the church.  It is by the grace of God that the church is here.  It is by the grace of God that it continues.  Every good gift comes from the Lord and the church must praise and thank Him every day.

 

Philippians 4:4, 6 ESV “4:4 ¶ Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 

4:6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” 

 

1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 

 

Hebrews 13:15 ESV “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” 

 

Lessons

 

The goal of every church member (true Christian) is to be mature and growing in the Lord.  It will only happen if the Christian will grow in unity, love, assurance, wisdom, and understanding.  If the Christian can discern false teachers and doctrine and put them out of the church, then it will mature and grow.  If the Christian will stand firm on his faith in Jesus Christ, then it will mature and grow.  If the Christian will endure the trials of their faith, then it will mature and grow.  If the Christian will behave like Jesus Christ, then it will mature and grow. 

A strong church does not just happen; it grows in the Lord Jesus Christ.  How are you growing and maturing in Christ?

 

 

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1 The Epistle of Paul to the Colossians, Oliver B. Greene, The Gospel Hour, Greenville, SC, p.97

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