Colossians 2:8-23

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Church needs Christ, Him alone!

 

Colossians 2:8–23 ESV “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. 

2:9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 

2:10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 

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, 

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. 

2:13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 

2:14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 

2:15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

2:16 ¶ Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 

2:17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 

2:18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 

2:19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. 

2:20 ¶ If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— 

2:21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 

2:22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? 

2:23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.”

Warfare rages around the church, even when the church does not realize it. This warfare is not just a physical warfare, but a spiritual warfare seeking to destroy the church from without and within. One tactic of the devil is to bring in false teachings to deceive the church in believing a lie and turning them away from Christ.

Paul warns the church to beware, see that no one takes you captive by false teachings.

The church will identify these false teachers and their teaching, if the Church is grounded in the Word of God.

Paul warns the church against those who bring in false teachings to enslave them into teachings which destroys their walk with Christ.  He shows the all sufficiency of Christ for salvation and life; anything which points the person is another direction is false and dangerous.

 

Christ is the answer to life’s questions

 

Colossians 2:8–10 ESV “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. 

2:9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 

2:10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.”

 

Worldly philosophy has no answers, only captivity.

 

In the King James Version, it translates the Greek word as beware, to look out.  Paul is warning the church to be on guard that no one deceives you or takes you captive by the worldly philosophy some where teaching.

Philosophy based on the world and the basics of life (elemental spirits of the world) looks for the answers of life’s questions through traditional teaching of this world and the basic elements of life.

Questions have been asked for ages, like:

1.  What is the meaning of life?

2.  Why are we here?

3.  Where did we come from?

4.  Why is there evil in the world and where did it come from?

5.  Is there a God, Creator?

6.  Is there more to life than just this?

7.  Where are we going after death, or does death end it all?

World philosophy tries to answers these questions with the things of this world, but the answers are not there.  They are seeking to explain life and the existence of life by what they see in this universe, but the answers are not there.  Trying to explain the spiritual aspect of life by the physical aspect will never answer the questions.

The answers to life’s questions are not found in worldly wisdom, which is filled with ‘empty deceit’, but in Christ.

“Not according to Christ” shows how this worldly philosophy leaves out Christ.  They try to answer without any regard to the Lord.  

The answer to life’s questions are found in Jesus Christ.

 

Ecclesiastes 12:10–14 ESV “12:10 The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth. 

12:11 ¶ The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. 

12:12 My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. 

12:13 ¶ The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

12:14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”

 

You cannot answer life’s questions outside of Christ and His word.

 

Christ is the fulness of God

Colossians 2:9–10 ESV “2:9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 

2:10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.”

 

Christ is fully God; in Him dwells the fulness of God.  

 

John 14:6–11 ESV “14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

14:7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

14:8 ¶ Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 

14:9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

14:10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.

14:11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.”

 

If you see Christ, you see the Father because They are one.  Jesus is the fulness of God.

 

John 1:1–3 ESV “1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 

1:2 He was in the beginning with God. 

1:3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

 

John 1:12–14 ESV “1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 

1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 

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.”

 

Jesus Christ is not part God, or a lesser God; He is all God, the fulness of God.  He is the Lord of Lord and King of Kings.

He is the Sovereign one who rules over all and has all authority.  

 

Christ is all sufficient for the Church

 

Colossians 2:9–19 ESV “2:9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 

2:10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 

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, 

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. 

2:13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 

2:14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 

2:15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

2:16 ¶ Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 

2:17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 

2:18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 

2:19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.”

 

Notice the beauty of verse 11 – “and you” – the church, the body of Christ.  How many times we associate the word ‘church’ with the building.  We say “I am going to church” which is not an accurate statement because the building is not the church.  The church is us, Christians.  We are the church.

We are filled in Christ which means Christ has given us all we need to walk in Him and take this voyage of faith.  We have been filled.

 

1 Corinthians 1:30 ESV “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,”

 

Verse 11 – we are a modified person, but a new person in Christ.  The old man, old life, is dead and we have been made alive in Christ.  Our spiritual life was dead but Christ has made us alive in Him.

 

Ephesians 2:1–10 ESV “2:1 ¶ And you were dead in the trespasses and sins

2:2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 

2:3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 

2:5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 

2:6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 

2:7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 

2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 

2:9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 

2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

 

Verse 12 – We are identified with Christ.  When we accepted Christ by faith, we are identified with His death, burial, and resurrection.  Because we are in Christ, we are made alive in Christ.  We have been raised spiritually from the dead because we were spiritually dead because of our sins, but have been made alive in Christ.

I am alive because Christ has given me eternal life through what He did for me on Calvary.

 

Verse 13 – In Christ, my sins are forgiven.  Notice we are made alive together with Him and have received the forgiveness of our sins.  Worldly, humanly philosophy or anything else cannot forgive our sins.  Only by the Lord Jesus Christ can a person receive the forgiveness of his or her sins.

 

Verse 14 – my sin debt was cancelled on the cross because Christ paid the price for the penalty of my sins.

 

Romans 6:23 ESV “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

Verse 15 – Christ is victorious – He has the victory over all His foes and enemies.  Those who sought to destroy Him were defeated by Him.  And in Him, we will have the victory over death and the grave.

 

1 Corinthians 15:55–58 ESV “15:55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 

15:56 ¶ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 

15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

15:58 ¶ 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.”

 

Jesus is the Victorious One and one day, He will return and set up His earthly reign.

 

Revelation 19:11–21 ESV “19:11 ¶ Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 

19:12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 

19:13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 

19:14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 

19:15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 

19:16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. 

19:17 ¶ Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, 

19:18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” 

19:19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. 

19:20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. 

19:21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.”

 

Christ is the answer to the false teachings

 

Colossians 2:16–19 ESV “2:16 ¶ Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 

2:17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 

2:18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 

2:19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.”

 

If you are in Christ, why do you allow yourself to be swayed by others who are placing you in bondage?  If you are in Christ, then you have been set free because Christ has fulfilled all the ceremonial Law.  He paid the price for our sins as the Lamb of God.  

Therefore, do not allow anyone to pass judgment on you because you do not do some religious ritual, etc.  These were types or pictures of Christ.  They were there to point to Christ, but Christ has come and the type is no longer needed.

A picture reminds us what a person looks like when they are absent.  But, when they come into our presence, we do not look at the picture, we look at the person.  

When Pat and I were dating, before cell phones and email, we would mail letters back and forth.  Often, the would include a picture in the letter.  I would look at those pictures to remind me of her; but when we were together, I did not look at the pictures, I looked at her.

Christ is the One; He is our Lord, not some type or ritual.

Paul warned the church about those who promoted asceticism (practice of self denial as a measure of one’s holiness or spiritual discipline).  Usually these types of individuals are very judgmental because they want you to adhere to their idea of being spiritual by deny certain things, etc.  They have a holier-than-thou attitude because of their asceticism.

Others tried to deceive the church by teaching they had some extra knowledge or revelation with their visions.  They were filled with pride and arrogance because they thought they had some higher spiritual understanding that others did not possess so they tried to deceive others into following them rather than following Christ.

 

Colossians 2:20–23 ESV “2:20 ¶ If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— 

2:21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 

2:22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? 

2:23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.”

 

If you died to the old nature and life, why would you allow yourself to be brought back under the bondage of rules and regulations?  Salvation is not by rules and regulations but by a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Notice verse 23 – they have the appearance of value and wisdom (it can sound good and right), but they possess no value in stopping the flesh.

Only by the Lord Jesus Christ can a person be made new.  We are not conformed but transformed by the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Romans 12:1–2 ESV “12:1 ¶ I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

 

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

 

Lesson 

 

Do not allow someone to deceive you with persuasive arguments on rituals, traditions, philosophy, or self-made religion.  Christ is all sufficient for salvation.

Hold on to Christ and Him alone.  Trust Him for your salvation and not some works or adherence to a set of rules and regulations.

 

Ephesians 2:8 ESV “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,”

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