Colossians 2:1-23 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Christ's Deity
Comments for Study 2

Colossians 2:1-23
Memory Verse: 9

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I. All the Treasures (1-5)

>1. How might we be included in Paul's ministry which he struggled so hard for?

* Colossians 2:1 "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."

* "I want you to know" -Was Paul bragging? Was he trying to get their attention? I doubt it. When Paul was in prison there were people who were using the time to gain influence in the congregations; some for good, but most for ill. Paul wanted to remind them of his way of life while in their region.

* "I am struggling" -Struggling also mean agony in the Greek. Paul heard what was happening in Colosse and Laodicea and was in agony, struggling in prayer and with this letter.

* "Laodicea" -Laodicea was eleven miles (17km) north-west of Colosse and on an ancient highway running from Ephesus to Syria. Paul mentions them four times in this letter. The last letter in Revelation was to them. (Rev. 3:14-22) Laodicea was well known in the ancient world for its wealth. The extent of its wealth is illustrated by the fact that Laodicea was rebuilt without the financial help of Rome after the disastrous earthquake of A.D. 60. Laodicea earned its wealth in the textile industry in the production of black wool and in the banking industry. Laodicea was also known for its medical school which concocted a spice nard for the treatment of ears and an eye salve. The major weakness of Laodicea was its lack of a water supply. This need was met by bringing water six miles north from Denizli through a system of stone pipes (another sign of Laodicea'’s wealth).

* "for all who have not met me personally" -I have not met Paul personally yet I know alot about his life from Acts and his letters. I join the millions who have benefited from Paul's love and ministry.

>What can we learn from this about our ministry?

* Paul loved the believers practically. He was concerned for them even when he wasn't with them. He did all he could do, being in jail that he could for them. He prayed for them. He wrote them letters. He sent people to them. He received those who came from them and taught and trained them in the word of God. Paul followed Jesus' example of being a good shepherd. He cared for the flock of Jesus. John 21:16 records Jesus speaking with Peter after his resurrection. This direction applies to all believers, "Jesus said, 'Simon son of John, do you truly love me?' He answered, 'Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.' Jesus said, 'Take care of my sheep.'"

>Why did Paul struggle?

* Colossians 2:2 "My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ"

* "My purpose" -Everything we do has a purpose. Is the root cause of the purpose in the will of God? Does it bring him glory and honor? Does it please Jesus? Is it for the good of his church?

* "encouraged in heart" -The spiritual battle can take a toll. We fight against temptation to sin, to stop the gospel work, to do things for ourselves, to not live by faith, to not love in words and action, to lose hope. As in the book The Pilgrim's Progress many people and things come our way and discourage us. The mature need to encourage our fellow Christian brothers.

* "united in love" -Loving others goes against the sinful nature and is the greatest command. Jesus said the greatest command is to love God with all our being and love our neighbor as ourselves. A neighbor is close to us. A family member is even closer. Jesus gave us the command to love our Christian brothers. He said all people will know that we are his disciples when we love one another as he has loved us. Love is not passive, it is practical. Three levels of love are known to man; physical/chemical love; sentimental/emotional love; practical/sacrificial love. Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13) Orthodoxy without love is sterile, and love apart from truth becomes "mush"; but together, they issue in spiritual apprehension, knowledge of the mysteries of God.

* "so that they may be" -They were not yet.

* "the full riches of complete understanding" -Understanding comes from a relationship with Jesus alone. Without a relationship with God through Jesus the Holy Spirit is not given whose work it is to reveal Jesus. Study all we want, but without Jesus no riches are received from complete understanding.

* "the mystery of God" -The heretics of the day claimed that they had a secret understanding of mysteries. Some cults say that they to have a secret that has been hidden to only a very few since Jesus. Paul is saying that God has the mystery and that mystery is Jesus. Jesus is the subject of everything.

>How is Christ the mystery of God?

* Colossians 2:3 "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."

* In Jesus is all mystery.

* In Jesus is all wisdom.

* In Jesus is all knowledge.

* In Jesus is all love.

* If you want these things then seek Jesus; not just book knowledge, but personally every moment. Jesus should be the passion of your hearts. He is a delight that fills our souls. He is eternally to be learned and known.

* The greatest mystery that Jesus revealed was after he ascended to heaven. During his earthly ministry he mentioned it to his apostles. He occasionally inspired his Old Testament prophets to write about it. What is the mystery that Jesus revealed after his ascension? His church, his congregation, his assembly of believers consisting of Jews and mostly Gentiles. The mystery that amazed even the apostles is that Jesus would pour out the Holy Spirit into each of the Gentiles believers just as he did the Jews in Jerusalem on Pentecost. We are the latest mystery Jesus has revealed. More will be revealed at his second coming.

>2. Why is Bible study so important? (4-5)

* Colossians 2:4-5 "I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. 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."

* "no one may deceive you" -The devil sends out people who are intent on deceiving others. They may or may not know it. They may have good intentions. But God did not send them. They do not have Jesus in their heart. They do not speak his words. Every word should be checked against the Bible with prayer.

* "fine-sounding arguments" -I have been in great Bible study classes. I have been in bad Bible studies where the teacher's hidden intent was to convince people of his authority so he can make people agree to his will and submit to him. Some of them even had great sounding ideas and positions.

* "present with you in spirit" -With prayer and in thought.

* "orderly you are" -When Jesus feed the five thousand and the four thousand he did it in an orderly way.

* "how firm your faith in Christ is" -Jesus described building a house on rock not sand. (Matt. 7:24-27)

II. In Christ all the Fullness of the Deity Lives in Bodily Form (6-15)

>3. After Jesus is our personal Lord what are we to do?

* Colossians 2:6 "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him"

* "received Christ Jesus as Lord" -The meaning of Jesus as a personal Lord has been lost today do to colloquialism. Receiving Jesus as a personal Lord means to let him have complete control of your life. It means falling into his will completely; trusting him to do what is best. In ancient times a Lord owned everything within the range of his control. If he was a good loving Lord he cared unconditionally, ensured long life to the full, complete protection, and meet all good needs. To trust a good Lord is easy. Yet our sinful nature finds it hard to completely received anyone else as a personal Lord of our life.

* "continue to live in him" -Receiving Jesus as Lord is not a one time thing. It is an never ending event; in our home, in our work, in our school, in our morning, noon and night. If we fall away we should be sure to repent; submitting to his authority again. The decision we make to receive Jesus as Lord is an perpetual decision.

>How?

* Colossians 2:7 "rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."

* "rooted and built up" -Eph. 3:17 says rooted and established in love. 1 Cor. 3:9 says that we are God's field and God's building. A tree starts out as a seed planted in the soil. A sapling sprouts up out of the ground with one leaf on it. A strong wind could blow it away, a hard rain could wash it away, or an animal could dig it up because it roots are shallow. As one year passes into the next the roots grows deeper and deeper in the soil. A wind can bend it, but not pull it out of the ground. A deluges only make it grow more. Animals nest in its branches and squirrels live on its fruit. Deep roots also continually pull water and nutrition from the soil that keeps the tree alive. A tree's roots growth is not just a one time event. It continues to get deeper, continues to get water and nutrients. A building grows by placing one brick on another, eventually making for a tall sturdy handsome building. Yet the building is only as good as its foundation. We too should continue to grow in the strong foundation of Lord's love.

* "in him" -The whole church is within Jesus character (personality), life (love), and power (strength).

* "strengthened in the faith as you were taught" -Paul was saying that which they were taught is what they were to have faith in; not the false teachers who had come in. For us this means as the Bible teaches. We need to have faith according to what the Bible teaches. Studying the Bible is a lifetime accordance.

* "overflowing with thankfulness" -Jesus has taken away our sins. He had given us his promises of a glorious future. He has given us his Spirit to dwell in us. He leads us to quiet streams and green pastures. These and many more reasons to be thankful. There are always reasons to be thankful. We can always overflow with thankfulness.

>4. How can we be taken captive? (8)

* Colossians 2:8 "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

* "See to it" -There is something we can do to stop this.

* "captive" -A soldier's life is one of the underlines themes in this letter. Jesus is the Lord of our well ordered army. Paul sees himself as a general and we are the majors, sergeants, lieutenants, and foot soldiers. We have an enemy that is also well ordered. They want to take us captive or kill us.

* "hollow and deceptive philosophy" -The picture drawn for being made a captive is not through force, but through the deceitful tongue of a harlot.

* "philosophy" -A philosophy is a love and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means and moral self-discipline. Its an explanation of the nature of things based on logical reasoning rather than empirical methods. Its a science comprising logic, ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, and epistemology. Philosophy can be no worse than anything else that does not have Christ as its core and whole.

* "human tradition" -Jesus had often told the Jews that their traditions meant nothing to God because they were not clean on the inside. Traditions turn belief in God into mindless and heartless rituals where a person says after completing it, "I have done my service to God for the week. The rest of the time is for me."

* "basic principles of this world" -The world's principles go against the life of faith in Jesus. False religions are based on these. They can seem like a religion into themselves, but God has nothing to do with people who live like this.

>How is Christ opposite to this?

* "rather than on Christ" -A life of faith is all about a relationship with Jesus. That relationship starts with his call and our acceptance of his saving blood shed on the cross. The relationship we are to have with Jesus is a dynamic and active exchange and rearrangement of the ways of the world.

* Paul was counteracting the Colossian heresy, which, in part, taught that for salvation one needed to combine faith in Christ with secret knowledge and with man-made regulations concerning such physical and external practices as circumcision, eating and drinking, and observance of religious festivals and feasts. In short they were being told to combine faith with works for salvation. By faith only are we saved from sin and death. Works come from a thankful heart that desires to please God.

* A life philosophy with Christ as the root and foundation is good. Tradition that is rooted in the gospels and apostles teachings is good if Jesus is followed and learned. Jesus is real. He is the Lord actively working in our life.

>5. How is Jesus' diety proclaimed in verse 9?

* Colossians 2:9 "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,"

* As in chapter 1:19 Paul is declaring Jesus divinity.

* "in Christ" -Christ is Greek for Messiah. Jesus is the Messiah promised long ago. Jesus pointed out who he was; he said he was greater than Abraham, Moses, and David. He had to teach them this because they ignored the passages in the Old Testament that proclaimed the Messiah's greatness. Jesus even claimed to be the I AM, the God of the Israelites, the creator God who always ways.

* "all the fullness" -The totality of the divine dwells in Jesus.

* "of the Deity" -The essential and personal deity is in Christ; not the divine attributes, but the divine nature. The Greek word (Arndt) for Deity is translated elsewhere as Godhead.

* "in bodily form" -Jesus became flesh and blood, died a physical death, rose in his physical body, ascended in bodily form, and is glorified in bodily flesh and blood form. The Gnostic claim that matter is evil is countered by Paul with the fact that Jesus, who is God in al fullness is in a body made up of matter.

* The proclamation of Jesus' deity in this verse contains two distinct assertions:
    1) That the fullness of the Godhead eternally dwells in Christ. The present tense is used as it is in 1:15, to denote an eternal and essential characteristic of Christ's being. The indwelling of the divine fullness in Him is characteristic of Him as Christ, from all ages and to all ages. Hence the fullness of the Godhead dwelt in Him before His incarnations, when He was "in the form of God" (Phil 2:6). The Word in the Beginning was with God and was God" (John 1:1). it dwelt in Him during His incarnation. It was the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth, and His glory which was beheld was the glory as of the Only begotten of the Father (John 1:14) The fullness of the Godhead dwells in His glorified humanity in heaven.
    2) The fullness of the Godhead dwells in Him in a bodily way, clothed with a body. This means that it dwells in Him as one having a human body. This cold not be true of His pre-incarnate state, when He was "in the form of God," for the human body was taken on by Him in the fullness of time, when "He became in the likeness of men" (Phil. 2:7), when the Word became flesh. The fullness of the Godhead dwelt in His person from His birth to His ascension. He carried His human body withHim into heaven, and in His glorified body now and ever dwells the fullness of the Godhead. (Word Studies in the New Testament)

* Considering who Jesus is and he dwells in us, the world's philosophy and relgious systems are a consortium of a waste of time and energy. If you hold a philosophy of life that is not Christ, stop it right now. If you practice religion that is not Christ, stop it right now. Union with Christ alone is enough for he is the head of all authority; anything else adds nothing..

>What does verse 10 mean to us?

* Colossians 2:10 "and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority."

* "have been given" -We can not obtain on our own. We can only be given as a gift.

* "fullness in Christ" -Just as Jesus is fullness of the Deity.

* We are ready for the voyage of life in Christ.

* "the head over every power and authority" -Consider the power held within the atom. When man discovered how to tear it apart he saw the great power that held it together. Jesus is over even every power within every atom of the universe.

>6. How are we circumcised?

* Colossians 2:11 "In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ,"

* "circumcised" -The apostles declared that the gentiles don't need to undergo the rite of circumcised to be saved. (Acts 15) Some Jews did not accept this. They continued to try to get the Gentiles to be circumcised. They used it as a tool to gain something over them as Simeon and Levi did (Gen. 34)

* "In him you are also" -In Jesus we are circumcised as the original meaning given to Abraham; stop sinning. (Gen. 16-17)

* "putting off of the sinful nature" -Mankind has inherited from Adam, the first man and Eve, the first women, the nature to sin. The nature to go against God's will is very powerful. It undermines our everyday life and acts. In Christ we can put off this powerful nature; something that we could not do on our own.

* "done by Christ" -Jesus cuts from us the sinful nature when we come to him for help, believing and trusting in him for salvation from the sinful nature. Jesus death and resurrection is the true circumcision.

>How does our circumcision lead to new life?

* Colossians 2:12 "having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead."

* "having been buried with him in baptism" -As Jesus' crucifixion and death are the true circumcision, so Jesus' burial is our baptism. Baptism is identifying with Jesus' burial. Our old sinful self is dead and buried.

* "raised with him" -All the verbs are past tense. All this has already taken place if you are a true believer in Jesus.

* "by faith" -By faith in what Jesus did and will do we are united with him in resurrection. We have not been raised yet, but we have faith in the power of God found in Jesus' resurrection.

* Jesus' resurrection is the hope of believers future. We see the power of God in his resurrection by faith that he will do the same to those who are in him.

* Circumcision of the heart is the first in three steps of resurrection. Jesus cuts off the sinful nature. The weak sinful nature dies. And the new moral nature is resurrected from the old.

>7. What were we like before we were alive with Christ?

* Colossians 2:13 "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,"

* "When" -This is all past for the true believer in Jesus.

* "you were dead in your sins" -Even though people outside of Christ are walking and talking they are dead. A immoral life is a dead life; the spirit within is dead.

* "God made you" -Again the work of resurrection is done by God alone when we have faith in Jesus.

* "alive with Christ" -Jesus made me alive. As Jesus is alive, so I am alive. As Jesus rose from the dead I now live for him, pleasing and righteous. I strive to be like Jesus. This is the new moral life that I lead.

* "alive" -Alive is an active word. Our relationship with Jesus is active. We engage in a vibrate relationship. As the old saying goes, "And He walks with me, And he talks with me, And he tells me I am his own; And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has ever known." (In the Garden)

>How did Jesus change that?

* Colossians 2:14 "having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross."

* "canceled the written code" -Paul uses a word meaning a certificate of indebtedness in the debtor's handwriting. The Levitical system of rules, regulations, and sacrifices are canceled through Jesus. We don't need the rules because Jesus lives in us, the Living Word of God.

* "that was against us" -In the letter to Romans, Paul makes it clear how the law was against us. All it did was point out our sin and made sin more desirable.

* "stood opposed to us" -As an enemy of a soldier stood opposite him ready to fight and kill him.

* "nailing it to the cross" -Jesus' crucifixion did more than we now know. Some now want to teach believers that we must keep the Sabbath and the Feasts of the Lord, they say that to teach otherwise is wrong. While there is nothing wrong with keeping the Sabbath on Saturday and celebrating the Feasts of the Lord they do not lead to salvation. Paul and the apostles keep the feast. Yet they were the first to say that they do not lead to salvation. Salvation is found alone in Jesus. There is nothing wrong with studying them, and participating in them, by the ultimate is Christ who lives in us. We are engaged in him. We are coming to know him if we follow his leading.

>In Christ's body what did God nail to the cross?

* Colossians 2:14 "having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross."

* the written code

* regulations

>8. How did Jesus disarm the power and authorities?

* Colossians 2:15 "And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross."

* "disarmed" -Again Paul is using military imagery. We are in the army of God. The law stands against us. Jesus defeated the law and took all the weapons of the law.

* "he made a public spectacle of them" -When a conquering army won a battle they took away all their weapons and mocked them. They paraded them around in chains. Everyone would then see them in shame.

* "the cross" -Not that a piece of the cross had power, but what Jesus did on the cross has power. His willful submission even to the painful death on the cross frees us from the power of the law which is death.

>What are these powers and authorities?

* "powers and authorities" -Angelic powers (through whom the handwriting of ordinances had been given; Gal. 3:19) who control human rulers, and on the other hand, to such personified evils as death. Christ died, "that through death he might destroy him who holds the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." (Heb. 2:14,15) Death is all that remains to be destroyed.

III. The Reality is Found in Christ (16-23)

>9. What are some of the things that people were using as evidence against the Colosse believers? Describe each one.

* Colossians 2:16 "Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day."

* "Therefore" -The result and action we should have because of what Christ has done is going to be stated.

* "do not let anyone judge you" -Those who live by traditions and rituals falsely judge those who live by faith. We are not to be affected by their judgements and accusations. Man is not a good judge. Jesus taught, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (Matt. 7:1-2) We are not to judge and not be affected or swayed if others accuse us falsely. Years ago I attended a church children's retreat to a pizza and game restaurant. While the children were playing games a few of the adults ate pizza while a mother who attended the church retreat was alone in a booth nursing her new born. When the adults were finished eating they got up and rejoined the children. One male walked by her booth, not knowing what she was doing, said to her, and didn't even see the baby. The mother was outraged. She called the other adult leaders together and falsely accused the man of looking at her breasts. The rumor spread to the point of some saying some quit outrageous things against the man. The lady had falsely judged the man and added to that sin, the sin of gossip. A believer should refrain from judging our brothers in Christ. And if someone does judge us about things concerning the law of Moses we should not be persuaded to join them.

* "by what you eat or drink" -Jesus said, "Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But give what is inside [the dish] to the poor, and everything will be clean for you." (Luke 11:39-41) And Jesus taught, "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean." (Mark 7:20-23)

* "religious festival" -Whether pagan or the Feasts of the Lord. (Lev. 23)

* "New Moon celebration" -Israel (Num. 10:10, 28:14) and some other cultures (i.e. Greek) had lunar calendars based on the 29.5 day cycle of the moon. Those cultures kept careful track of the moon as it waxed and waned. A new moon is when the first sliver of the moon can be seen. At this time trumpets would blare, fires were lite, and/or great celebrations were had. (1 Sam. 20:5, 18, 24; and 2 Kings 4:23; and 1 Chro. 23:31) (The modern calendar is a solar calendar.) For more on this read the manuscript The Believer's Future - Hope That Inspires.

* "The entire Old Testament moves on to a lunar-solar calendar that is based on observation of the heavenly bodies and regulates a more sophisticated order of economic and religious activity. This type of calendar had wide currency among the more advanced societies. It is called “lunar-solar” because it allowed the sun's orbit to mark the year's beginning, but based the beginning of months on observation of the phases of the moon. The first appearance of the new moon would mark the new month. According to the Talmud, the priests would watch for this and proclaim it by sending messengers and blowing trumpets. The problem is, first, that the moon's circuit is about 29 1/2 days, forcing a vacillation between a 30-day and a 29-day month; and second, that twelve of these moon/months equal 354 1/4 days, about eleven days short of the solar year. From the Babylonians the Hebrews learned to add an extra month every two or three years. In rabbinical times this “intercalary” month was inserted seven times in nineteen years. (Holman Bible Dictionary.)

* "a Sabbath day" -The Sabbath rest was given by the Lord, and was to be celebrated on the last day of the week (Saturday). The Sabbath has been greatly drenched in rituals and traditions of men since the Lord originally gave it. In Jesus' day there were so many laws associated with it that the day was seen as a burden to many, especially since the spiritual police, the Pharisees roamed the streets looking for Sabbath law breakers. Today a growing movement to celebrate the Sabbath is being propagated by people claiming to celebrate it in the way God intended it to be. A close study of the Old Testament shows that the greatest and practically only thing the Lord required was for his people to rest from their work and worship him on the last day of the week. The fact that many in the church have been resting and worshiping the Lord on the day of his resurrection, Sunday is a great concern to these people. They say the mainstream church is wrong to change the Sunday to the Sabbath rest. They judge others and look down on their. Reading their writings will show pride and a condemning spirit. The Sabbath day has not changed. It is still on Saturday. I however have been changed. I meet with the body of Christ on Sunday because that is the day he rose from the day, the day most glorious of all. Yes, I do know that there is a rest coming. That rest will be on the day I go to heaven. I also know about the rest, the Millennium of the Lord and the eternal rest that follows.

What is the Law?

* See a chart from Life Application Bible Studies to the right showing categories of the Old Testament Law.

* The Jews of Jesus' Paul's and even today are very serious about the festivals and lunar calendars. In fact one of the biggest reasons the Essenes were forced out of the temple and Jerusalem was because the Essenes wanted to introduce a solar calendar very similar to the modern calendar.

* Isaiah 1:13-14 states, "Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations-- I cannot bear your evil assemblies. Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them."

* Hosea 5:7 states, "They are unfaithful to the Lord; they give birth to illegitimate children. Now their New Moon festivals will devour them and their fields."

* Galatians 3:19-20 "What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one."

* Galatians 3:24 "So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith."

Sin Fruit - Heart Root

* The picture to the right illustrates man's root cause-problem is not sin which the law deals with, but our heart which Jesus dealt with. A clean heart produces good fruit. A dirty heart produces rotten fruit. Dealing with the fruit will not stop new rotten fruit from being produced. Deal with the cause, the heart, will stop rotten fruit from being produced. Thus, Jesus is our salvation. He dealt with our heart. He gave us a new heart as the prophets said the Messiah would.

>What was the point of these things? (17)

* Colossians 2:17 "These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ."

* "a shadow" -A shadow is a two dimensional outline of a three dimensional object. It is not the object itself. It does not contain the substance of the three dimensional object. Jesus is the image of God, the reality. His shadow is described in the Old Testament. C.S. Lewis called this life living in the shadow of the resurrected eternal life; that is that earth is a shadow of heaven.

* "of things that were to come" -The Old Testament contains laws, history, prophets, and poems. All of them are about things to come. All of them are prophecy. "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Rev. 19:10)

* Like Jesus' parables, the Old Testament was to give the saints an idea of what was to come. The point is to plant hope so that we can live by faith and love.

* "The ceremonial laws of the Old Testament are here referred to as shadows (cf. Heb. 8:5; 10:1) because they symbolically depicted the coming of christ; so any insistence on the observance of such ceremonies is a failure to recognize that their fulfillment has already taken place. This element of the Colossian heresy was combined with a rigid asceticism, as verses 20-21 reveal." (NIV Study Bible)

>How does this explain their decreased importance now?

* Colossians 2:18-19 "Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his non-spiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow."

* "delights" -A false prophet, a false believer can have joy in themselves and their delusions.

* "in false humility" -They act like and may say they are humble, but on the inside they are filled with pride. They love it when people speak well of them. They seek attention and they hate it when others get attention. Look around any place that teaches humility and you will see only one in ten that has true humility.

* "worship of angels" -We can consider any worship not to God as worship to angels.

* "disqualify you for the prize" -Forgiveness of sins is not a prize it is a gift. However, Jesus will give prizes during the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.

* "goes into great detail about what he has seen" -What is the purpose of what we are saying? Does it glorify God or ourselves? Does it edify Jesus' congregation or boast our ego?

* "He has lost connection with the Head" -Thus the heresy was from people who were at one time meeting with the congregation.

* Jesus is the head of the church. He is the all important one. We are to stay connected with him.

>10. What are the rules of the world?

* Colossians 2:20-21 "Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"?

* "Do not handle!" -Resist doing certain activities.

* "Do not taste!" -Do not eat certain foods.

* "Do not touch!" -Stay away from.

>Why will they perish?

* Colossians 2:22 "These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings."

* "perish with use" -cults who teach and enforce these things eventually fade away or change their rules. People can live under enforced law for so long.

* "human commands and teachings" -They are not from Jesus.

>Why are they worthless?

* Colossians 2:23 "Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence."

* "appearance of wisdom" -Many have misinterpreted the word of God. Satan used God's word when tempting Jesus. God's word is wisdom and can be misused.

* "self-imposed worship" -Worshiping God in ways that are not pleasing to God. God gave the Sabbath and New Moon celebrations but rejected them when they were not true worship.

* "lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence" -Thus is the weakness of the law of Moses. It did not deal with the problem. It only taught how to live with the problem. Jesus however dealt with the problem of the sinful nature by taking it out of us and nailing it to the cross.

>What do they do to the body?

* "harsh treatment of the body" -Some go so far as to wipe their own bodies for sins that they committed.

>How then should we live?

* We live by faith following Jesus' lead.

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