- 2.1 For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;
Paul was a man that had a shepherd’s heart. He was driven by the love of Christ, as well as a God given concern for the spiritual welfare of the saints in Colossae, Laodicea and for those who had never met him face to face.
We see here that Paul is experiencing great conflict. The Greek word for conflict carries the idea of agony or concern. And the cause of Paul’s agony stems from the false teachers and their enticing, philosophical, legalistic and mystical teachings that are so vividly recorded in verse 4,8 and 16-20.
Laodicea you recall was one of the Seven Churches that Jesus wrote to in the book of Revelation. That letter reveals that about 30-35 years after this letter was sent to them, the spiritual condition of the church was lukewarm, with Jesus Himself standing on the outside and looking in. Only God knows how much impact the false teachings mentioned in this epistle had in their slow but gradual drifting away from the faith once delivered unto the saints.
What does it mean to be lukewarm? Tepid, lacking conviction; halfhearted. There have been times when the question is asked, “Are those that are lukewarm saved? Or are they the tares amongst the wheat?” My only response is this; I certainly do not find any comfort or assurance in the words of Jesus, “I will spew you out of my mouth.”
Let me ask you, is your commitment to Jesus Christ lukewarm? I’m not asking if you “feel” lukewarm, because we all “feel” lukewarm at times. To avoid becoming lukewarm, it is vital for us to make a quality decision to follow and obey Jesus, whether you feel like it or not, in season or out of season. A true disciple never wants to be on the wrong side of obedience or compromise….you obey, and deal with the consequences of obedience as they come.
Remember what Jesus said to those people who told Him that they would follow Him, but they wanted to do something else first. Beloved, anybody that puts anything or anyone before Jesus is not a disciple. Jesus Christ will cause disturbance and discomfort in your life…you can count on it.
- 2.2 That their hearts might be comforted (Our God is The God of all comfort), being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ
Paul’s prayer was that the hearts of these believers would be knit together in love. Paul is going to tell these congregations in chapter 3:14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
This love that Paul talks about here contains a practical and doctrinal element.
Practically speaking, this love for one another is a comforting love. It is a comforting love because it is the overflow of a love for our Savior Jesus Christ. Thus it is the love of Christ flowing in and through our hearts that knits us together. It is a love that is gentle, humble, kind. It is a love that encourages, exhorts, warns, reproves. It is a love that forgives. It is a love that prefers others and esteems others better than themselves. It is a love that motivates us to serve one another for the glory of God.
But this love is also rooted in doctrine, or what we believe. A full assurance of understanding of the mystery of God, and of The Father, and of Christ.
Our bond of holy unity beloved is the truth of God. The greatest asset in withstanding selfishness within the body and false teaching is a full assurance of the Biblical understanding of the truth about the redemptive mission of Jesus Christ and the amazing love of The Father in providing for us the saving grace and forgiveness of our sin through faith in The Lord Jesus Christ.
The richest and most fulfilled individuals and congregations are those whose hearts are knit together in the love of Jesus, with a full assurance of the biblical truth of what it means to be accepted in The Beloved who as a result of this are walking in the comfort of The Holy Ghost.
Full assurance is what the gospel gives to those who embrace Christ. The message of assurance of salvation is the biblical gospel of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. And the emphasis is on ALONE.
- 2.3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
In a day and age of rampant godless philosophies and theories of evolution, the Holy Spirit tells us that in Christ, God has hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Paul challenged the haughty intellectuals and mystics of his day with the bold claim that Jesus Christ sums up all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, for which he was ridiculed and, mocked. Truly, there is nothing new under the sun.
It is important for us to know that not all wisdom is godly wisdom. James 3.15 tells us that there is a “wisdom” that descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 2 Cor 1.12 talks about fleshly wisdom.
Concerning secular, worldly wisdom, the Holy Spirit tells us 1 Cor 3.19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.
It is in Jesus Christ that a person is given this wisdom.
- 1Cor 1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
- 1 Cor.30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
As we grow in the word of God by reading it and most importantly applying it to our lives, we grow in the wisdom of God.
- Col 3.16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;
- 2.4 And this I say, lest any man should beguile (deceive) you with enticing words.
One sure characteristic of false teachers, be they religious or secular, are their clever and often slick attempts to beguile us from the simplicity that is in Jesus Christ.
- 2 Cor 11.3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
- Eph 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
- Heb 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
Clueless believers are easy prey for clever charlatans. All spiritual deception is the activity of seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.
Beloved, we engage all the lies of the enemy, be they religious or secular with the truth of Scripture. “Thus saith The Lord” and “It is written” MUST be a part of your daily spiritual disciplines if you intend to grow in the Lord, and stand against the wiles of the devil.
- 1Co 2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
- 2.5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.
The words order and steadfastness are military terms that describe an army that is solidly united against the enemy.
The word “order” describes the arrangement of the army in ranks, with each soldier in his proper place.
The word “steadfastness” pictures the soldiers in battle formation, presenting a solid front to the enemy.
Not everybody can be a five-star general, but the general could never fight the battle alone.
One of the things that we learn here beloved is that our strength in spiritual warfare is not only personal, but corporate. Beware of adopting the idea that I can do church as a lone ranger.
Jesus Christ redeemed us to bring order and stability in our lives, not chaos. Beloved, there will never be order in our personal lives, our families and our church family apart from personal and corporate subordination to headship of Jesus Christ.
Paul rejoiced when he heard of their order and steadfast faith in Christ in the midst of false teachings.
- 2.6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.
Over and over, the Scriptures liken the Christian life to a walk. We’re told to walk in light (Ephesians 5:8), in love (Ephesians 5:2), in wisdom (Colossians 4:5). And here we are told to walk in Christ the same way we originally received Christ—by faith.
The heretics in Paul’s day and today will always seek to undermine the great salvation that we have by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
As we will see later on in this chapter, false teachers always make salvation a matter of jumping through religious hoops like the observing holy days, eating or not eating certain foods. In other words, any false teaching makes salvation a synergistic combination of God’s grace and man’s works. But the Scriptures clearly declare that by grace are you saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast (Eph 2.8, 9).
Beloved, how did you receive Jesus Christ as Lord? Poor in spirit, broken and crushed over the weight of guilt and sorrow for your sin. You come to Christ repentant and spiritually bankrupt, like the publican in the temple, God be merciful to me a sinner.
- 2.7 Rooted (in the Vine) and built (in the Foundation) up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
Note that God’s purpose of the gift of teaching and the teaching ministry mentioned in Ephesians 4 and Romans 12 is so that the saints through the teaching of the word would be rooted and built up in Jesus, established in the faith.
We are to be rooted in the Vine, Jesus Christ, and built upon the solid Foundation of Jesus Christ, the Cornerstone.
Jesus said, In the volume of the book, it is written of Me….the grand message of Scripture is personal intimacy with the King of Kings and Lord of Lord’s. Paul’s ongoing prayer was that I may know Him. Paul would elsewhere write these words.
- Eph 3.17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love. When we are rooted and grounded in Jesus, we will be rooted and grounded in His love.
- Eph 4.15,16 The goal of all teaching is that by speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love
Peter’s final exhortation to the church was to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Him.
- 2 Pe 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
Please note that the fruit of being rooted and built up in Jesus is in order that we will be abounding with thanksgiving. There is a connection between being thankful and being whole. (Luke 17; 10 lepers). Faith grows in the hothouse of thanksgiving beloved.
- Colossians 2.8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Beware. Be on ones guard. Beloved, when God says to beware of something, we best take heed to His admonition. Beware means that this is a danger. This is something that needs to be avoided at all costs.
The word “spoil” here can also be translated kidnapped. This is bottom line of all of the secular worlds academic and religious systems; to kidnap the child of God with their empty philosophies and ideas.
Secular and worldly philosophy is really the effort of fallen man to determine apart from the Scriptures the ultimate causes in the earth and the universe. They seek to answer questions like how did the universe come about? Why was I born? What is my purpose in life?
From the fall in the garden to the present moment, fallen man has sought to explain the reasons for existence, the purpose of living, and all of the phenomena of the universe. The Holy Spirit calls these worldly philosophies “vain deceit.”
They are a baited hook beloved, for at the end of the day, they offer you no real answers, no real help, and ultimately no real hope. The only message that makes any real sense in this senseless world is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The only message that offers any real hope at the graveside of a loved one is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
By laying aside the Scriptures, people are being kidnapped by the godless theory of evolution…the godless notion that truth is relative or that there is no such thing as absolute truth, to which I would ask the question, is that an absolute statement?
Jesus Christ is the measure for all human knowledge since He is the Creator and the Sustainer of the universe. Beware of the leaven of secular, unbiblical, worldly philosophy. I am deeply concerned by the increasing number of believers that have embraced the philosophies behind godless, secular counseling. The real answers to the matters of the heart and soul are in Christ, in Whom is hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. The comfort, compassion, guidance and help that we need comes from the Comforter Himself, the Holy Ghost.
Jesus Christ and the Word of God is the yardstick by which to measure every human philosophy. By appealing to human religious traditions and worldly philosophies instead of Scripture, many people are being led astray.
Today, there are many people like in Paul’s day were being taught that salvation was obtained by keeping holy days or other man made traditions.
Peter wrote: 1 Pet 1.18,19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
Not all tradition is bad, but there are traditions that are in direct opposition to the teaching of Scripture, listen.
- Matt 15.9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Are you following traditions or truth?
- 2.9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
In chapter 1 we saw that it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell. (1.19). The fulness of the Godhead is Jesus Christ. Paul here disposes of the Docetic theory that Jesus had no human body as well as the Cerinthian heresy of the separation between the man Jesus and the divine Christ, which is a very common heresy of the New Age movement. He asserts plainly the deity and the humanity of Jesus Christ in physical form.
- 2.10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
This is one of the foundational truths of Scripture that we need to stand upon. You are complete in Jesus, brothers and sisters. Not in traditions of men. Not in philosophies. You need nothing more. Jesus Christ is our fullness… He is our completeness. By faith in His atoning death and bodily resurrection, we are complete and accepted in the Beloved.
Realizing that my completeness is in Jesus is the armor that frees me from thinking that somehow I am required to do something in order to be saved or that I am missing some religious, esoteric or spiritual experience in life. Realizing that I am complete in Jesus gives rest to my soul and allows me to be thankful and content. (Psa 23.1)
- The head of all principality and power:
Jesus has authority over all the principalities and powers, which are rankings of angelic beings, both good and bad.
Now, in the beginning, when God created the universe there were the cherubim, there were the seraphim, there were the principalities and powers and authorities and dominions, the various rankings of spirit beings. And when Satan, who was one of the highest ranking of spirit beings in God’s creation rebelled against God, in the book of Revelation we read that a third of the angels joined in his rebellion. So principalities and powers can refer to the fallen angels, or it can refer to those that are still in obedience unto God. Regardless, Jesus has authority over them all.
Beloved, never think of Satan as being the opposite of God. For God alone is infinite, eternal, omnipotent and Satan is a created being. If you want to look for an opposite of Satan, you should look at Michael or at Gabriel, those angels which remain true to God who have a high ranking or the highest ranking among angels. But never think of Satan as an opposite of God, because you’re accrediting him with far more power than he actually has, far more authority than he actually has. He moves within restricted boundaries. God sets the limits of his work. So, all of the principalities and powers are under the authority of Jesus Christ. He is the head or the authority over all principality and power.
The truth of Col 2.1-10 is as urgent today as it was 2,000 years ago. Perhaps even more urgent in light of the last day’s prophecies of a great falling away from the faith once delivered to the saints.
Enticing words, traditions of man and godless philosophies abound in our culture. We are living in a post-Christian, anti-Christ, anti-Bible society.
But in the midst of it all of the strange fire and strange messages that the devil broadcasts 24/7, the gospel of Jesus Christ calls out to fallen man with a message of grace and full assurance.
Christ came into the world to die for sinners, and it is Him Who is seeking those who are lost. Are you tossed to and fro, my friend?
You no longer need to be captured by worldly philosophy—you no longer need to be kidnapped by religion or unscientific theories. You can be set free and complete in Christ right now.
When you receive the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart, and you commit your life to Him and yield to His working in you and through you and around you, you will experience a tremendous sense of comfort, confidence and assurance.