“And you have been filled in Him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.”
Colossians 2:10 (NET)
Several years ago I decided to watch some of the “famous” televangelists. Most of them were flamboyant and seemed quite sincere. I could see why people were attracted to them. However, as I listened closely to the messages that certain of them spoke, I was shocked to hear thinking that was clearly not scriptural! Many of these teachings served to bring in extra money to the “ministries” of these people.
Heresy is nothing new! It began as soon as the church was born. Paul dealt with false teaching in Colossae as he wrote them this letter. The truths that he reiterated to these young believers to help them overcome heresies are truths that we do well to remember for they survive in other forms today.
Read the entire passage of Colossians 1:24-2:7.
1. Literally Paul used the visual image of walking in 2:6 (NASB, KJV) to illustrate what he wanted the Colossians to do. (The NIV & NET say “to live.”) How does the metaphor of walking help you understand Paul’s point?
2. What were the keys to the Colossians’ ability to so walk according to 2:7?
· Digging for Diamonds: Use your concordance to find other verses that use the picture of walking or walk in an illustrative way, as Paul did here. What do you learn from comparing the passages?
3. Sharing question: Are the descriptions of these believers in 2:7 appropriate to you? What one specific thing can you do to grow more like them?
4. What keys do you see in these verses to help you “walk in Him”?
a. Eph. 4:11-16
b. 2 Tim.3:15-16
c. Heb. 5:12-14
d. 1 Peter 2:1-3
5. Responding to God: Take one of the verses above (#4) and apply it to yourself in prayer. Write out your request.
Read Colossians 2:6-8.
1. List Paul’s description of the false teaching (2:8).
2. In contrast to this false teaching, on what is truth built according to 2:8?
3. Compare the following verses with what Paul said in 2:8. Write down your insights.
a. John 17:16-17
b. 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
c. 1 Cor. 2:4-8
Read Colossians 2:9-15 where Paul emphasized truths about Jesus’ identity and His work on our behalf.
4. In 2:9 Paul repeated truth about Jesus. Find his previous references to it in Colossians. How do all these verse relate?
5. What other truths about Jesus did Paul mention in 2:10-15? (Don’t write down what he said about you as a believer. You’ll do that tomorrow.)
Paul repeatedly mentioned Jesus’ superiority to all spiritual powers in this letter; thus, it appears that the heresies being taught in Colossae involved attributing to these other powers influence, power, etc. that belong to Jesus alone.
· Digging for Diamonds: Spend the rest of this week carefully studying 2 Peter 2 and Jude. List the qualities of false teachers that these passages reveal.
6. Sharing question: What does Jesus’ relationship with all rulers and authorities mean to you personally (1:15-17; 2:10, 15)? How do these truths affect your faith in difficult times?
7. Responding to God: Worship Jesus in light of all the truths about Him that you have seen in today’s lesson. Journal your thoughts below.
Read Colossians 2:8-15.
Yesterday we looked at truths about Jesus in this passage. Today, we consider the truths that Paul mentioned about us. Who Jesus is and what He has done have affected those who are “in Him,” who have allied their lives with His.
1. List what you observe as true of believers according to these verses. (Again, simply write down what it says—observation.)
What does the word “baptism” (Col. 2:12) mean in this context? The Greek word comes “from the word meaning ‘to dip.’ The suffix –ma indicates the result of the act of dipping.”8 The word was used of the change in essence resulting from dipping a cloth in dye or a cucumber dipped in pickling juice. The object united with the substance in which it was baptized and became like it. “Baptism pictures believers’ union with Christ. They have been buried with Him in baptism, the spiritual union of the believer with Christ that takes place at salvation. Water baptism is only a picture of that reality. It symbolizes the believer’s identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.”9
2. How do these verses relate to the understanding of baptism as union with Jesus?
a. 1 Cor. 12:13
b. Rom. 6:3-7
3. Sharing question: Consider the view “from the clouds” (from God’s perspective) of your union with Jesus. What is most meaningful to you? Why?
4. Responding to God: Write a prayer of thanksgiving, thanking God for the truth that you mentioned in #15.
Paul continued to deal with some false teaching in Colossae in this section of his letter.
Read Colossians 2:16-19.
1. How did these false teachers seem to be affecting the Colossian believers?
2. How did Paul refute the legalism of the false teachers (2:16-17)?
3. We live in a time when there is a heightened interest in angels. Paul said that worship of angels was part of the false teaching of that day. How does that relate to what he has previously said in 1:16-18?
4. Sharing question: Have you ever been intimidated by someone’s legalism or spiritual “experiences"? Describe the situation and how you handled it.
5. How did Paul describe the root problem with this false teacher (2:18-19)?
6. Responding to God: Worship Jesus alone as the creator and ruler of the angels.
Read Colossians 2:20-23, the final verses in which Paul specifically deals with false teaching in Colossae. All week we have followed Paul’s concern for the Colossians as he labored and struggled for their spiritual well-being against heresy.
1. What false teachings did he deal with here?
2. What is wrong with these teachings?
Sometimes Christians suggest that love and unity are so essential that we should “look the other way” concerning false teaching.
3. How would you answer that in light of this entire passage from 2:6-24?
4. Sharing question: What teaching have you heard that you realized then or recognize now as false? What scriptural truths revealed its falsehood?
5. Responding to God: Write out praise to God for His word and its truth.
I came to know Christ as a young teenager and devoted my life to Him. I attended a Bible believing, Bible teaching church. I had never been exposed to any other spiritual view. After college I began to wonder if perhaps the view I had of God (we now call this a world view) was too small.
I met some Christians that were also practicing meditation. I never really thought about it as “adding onto” the Bible. People of many faiths were included. Each little step took me further and further from my foundation. These people loved people and lived lives of service. I lived for five years with a world view that Right was what worked for me as long as it didn’t infringe on the rights of others. Tolerance was the word for the day. Over time I became uncomfortable that these same people were intolerant of people with convictions of right and wrong.
In Hollywood, Ca. one Christmas Eve I listened to my guru use scripture to describe Christ. At first it warmed my heart to hear words I was so familiar with and then I realized that His words were like scripture to this group of people, that he was mixing his words with those of God the Father. In that moment my heart sank. It was one thing to say those things in front of me. It was far worse to say them to the 2000 others him to be their leader. This was the beginning of my disconnecting from the group that I’d learn to love and hold dear.
Over the next couple of years I prayed that God would reveal to me where he wanted me to be. Ironically enough the attitude that embraced “this is not working for me” turned me back to a Bible believing, Bible teaching fellowship. I learned to study the Bible for myself and let God minister to me through His Word.
I always felt God was with me. His Word was buried in my heart.
8 Zodhiates, 883.
9 MacArthur, 109.