Summary: Do you feel a lack of growth? It could be that you are experiencing the effects of bad doctrine or that you need to re-connect to the root - Jesus Christ.
The Colossians were Christians - they knew Jesus as their Savior. But what threatened them in the proto-Gnostic heresy was a lack of maturity.
They were like plants - plants that hadn’t grown up and were stunted in their maturity. As Christians if we do not grow in our discipleship in Christ but stay at a baby stage we are vulnerable to disfigurement, disease, and pests - and we will not be fruitful. Often times the reason a plant does not mature is that it has no root - in our garden some kind of pest came along and ate the roots off - without a root the plant has no ability to take nourishment from the soil and will eventually die. We don’t have to be that way as Christians - but if we allow ourselves to be removed from the root of Jesus Christ - it can happen - we die spiritually - that is, we are immature and lacking in fruit and true joy.
As I mentioned before this book addresses heresies that came into the church.
Heresies in this chapter:
Vs 2-3 Jesus could not be both human and God
Vs 2, 18 You must have the "secret knowledge" in order to be saved
Vs 4, 8-10 Human wisdom and traditions must be adhered to
Vs 18 Angels must be worshiped
Vs 20-23 You must deny the body and live in strict asceticism.
1 I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. 2 My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love,
" The key ingredients for withstanding false teaching are internal strength - (encouraged) and external strength (unity). How to get strong on the inside and outside is the focus of this chapter.
so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
" (vs 2b) Paul doesn’t want a bunch of ignoramuses, but the way to get complete understand of God is not through a secret wisdom or worldly philosophy but through the mystery that is now fully revealed - Jesus Christ.
" There is no real understanding of God apart from Christ and there is no complete understanding of God apart from a relationship with His Son Jesus.
" (vs 3) If you want wisdom you will find it in Jesus. He has the keys to understanding the great mysteries of life: who am I, why am I here, where am I going, and what is my purpose?
But get ready - because those who support the Gnostic philosophy are also not ignoramuses:
4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.
" (vs 4) Heresy will never come with a disclaimer "consumer be aware that consuming the following may be detrimental to your spiritual health." Lies always seem plausible when covered in a truth coating ("fine sounding"). Remember the Halloween apple scare? Kids would get innocent looking apples but inside were buried razor blades. We need to examine what we receive - look for hidden razor blades of false doctrine.
" "Fine Sounding" arguments comes from two Greek words - and the idea is "pacifying speech" - or conciliatory talk. Like a baby’s pacifier - it satisfies, even though it supplies no nutrition. The baby thinks it is getting milk - but its just the motion. So too false doctrine can feel so easy - but it won’t save you nor will it help you mature and bear fruit as a believer.
" Just because someone can make a good sounding argument doesn’t mean they are right.
5 For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.
" "Order" means a regular arrangement. "Firm" means grounded or established. I think the idea is that you have received, looked at, and understand the gospel - no aberrations from the basics - then you became "established" in it - not moving from it - that’s part of being "rooted" which we’ll talk about next.
6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
" (vs 6) "just as you received Him" - "continue to live in Him" - problems start when someone comes along and says "its good that you became a Christian, but if you really want to go far then let me give you a mystery that other Christians don’t know about!" It’s exciting to know you are going to learn something "secret" - it makes you feel special - but look out - it’s then that you start moving away from the firmness.