Please turn in your Bibles to Colossians chapter 2. We’ll be reading verses 9-13 this morning. We’re going to pick up the trail again today in our study of Paul’s letter to the Colossian believers. The first chapter and a half was mainly about the gospel of Jesus Christ and the benefits of his saving life and death to those who trust in him for salvation. We learned that the apostle Paul was called to be a minister of that gospel, and he suffered for doing so. But he also experienced God’s power as proclaimed Christ and served the churches, and he rejoiced in the faith of the Colossians.
That is the story up to chapter 2 verse 5. Then in chapter 2 verse 6, Paul starts to turn from the lengthy exposition of the gospel toward application. His first command is that the believers are to walk in him, that is, walk in Christ. Or in other words, they are to live a life that is informed and motivated by the gospel, by the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. They are to lead a gospel-shaped life.
And if they do this, they will be protected especially from the immediate threat to the firmness of their faith, which is false teaching. Let me read verse 8 to pick up his train of thought. 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.
There were apparently one or more teachers in Colossae who were persuasive, who made plausible arguments about important life issues. But their teaching was not according to Christ. It wasn’t consistent with the reality that man is sinful and his only hope is the Savior. It offered an alternative hope.
And Paul was concerned that the teaching was going to get into the church and erode the firmness of their faith in Christ. So in our text today he begins to deal directly with that teaching. He begins his defense of the faith to protect these believers from the immediate threat that they face.
So let’s read verses 9-13, which contain the first land mines to blow up the lies of the devil that tempts God’s people to false hopes. Then I’ll pray for the ministry of the Holy Spirit in illuminating this text.
TEXT: COLOSSIANS 2:9-13 / PRAY
One of the ways in which false teaching gets traction in our lives, one of the ways in which we are tempted to fall for a hope that is not according to Christ is if we can be made to believe that we lack something essential to our happiness. And if someone else seems to have that essential something, we are more receptive to them and more willing to buy into what they are offering.
For example let’s throw out a completely hypothetical situation. Suppose a person ate too much and spent too much between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and he or she is starting to think, “I need to make some changes in my lifestyle. This same hypothetical person begins to reflect back on their past and is aware of various ways they failed, goals they didn’t meet, things they could have done better. They resolve to do better in the future.