Crowning Him King – Colossians 2:8-15 – Week 7

Crowning Him King

Colossians 2:8-15

Week 7

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we begin Colossians Chapter 2 and explore verses 8-15, and continue with Paul’s corrective encouragements regarding the Colossian Heresy that mixed Jewish Angelic Mysticism and the Law with the knowledge of Messiah, Jesus Christ. As we approach Colossians 2:8-15, we will learn more about the Colossian Heresy and the nature of its influence on the Colossian Church.

When we look at heresies in Church History, we see the following commonalities:

1 – They are born by the influence of the demonic spirit of religion that seeks to frustrate relational approaches to God, distort the knowledge of God and restrain theological truth by false teaching.

2 – They deny the Person of Christ as revealed by the Apostles on the First Century and in the Scriptures.

3 – Heresies promote works-based religious expressions.

4 – Heresies rob God’s people of identity and purpose and shackles them to religious structures that do not promote spiritual freedom.

5 – Heresies, in their most demonic manifestation can lead people to eternal condemnation because they are propagating lies about Jesus Christ. See. 1 John 4:1-3.

We see the following 4 movements in the text:

1 – Paul identifies the religious spirit that is fueling the Colossian Heresy.

2 – Christ is God in the flesh and through Him we have a new life and a new nature.

3 – We see the goodness and kindness of God by forgiving our sins.

4 – We see the total and utter defeat of satan and his demons by the cross.

Colossians 2:8

a) Paul begins to outline the tactics of the religious spirit that separates people from their grace-based experiential relationship with Christ. The goal of false teachers who are being influenced by a religious spirit is to take people captive. Paul describes the nature of the religious spirit as hollow and deceptive.

b) Greek – hollow – kenos – an empty vessel, empty handed, without a gift, metaph. destitute of spiritual wealth, of one who boasts of his faith as a transcendent possession yet is without the fruits of faith.

c) Deceptive philosophy – apatē philosophia – deceit, dishonest, love of wisdom. In this passage – used either of zeal for or skill in any art or science, any branch of knowledge. Used here in Colossians regarding the theology, or rather theosophy, of certain Jewish Christian ascetics, which busied itself with refined and speculative inquiries into the nature and classes of angels, into the ritual of the Mosaic law and the regulations of Jewish tradition respecting practical life.

d) Notice that the Colossian Heresy depended on human traditions, i.e. those things taught in the oral Jewish tradition. The Greek words in this verse mean that which was taught by religious Jewish oral tradition.

e) Elemental spiritual forces – This section of verse 8, is difficult to understand because the phrase is does not literally say “elemental spiritual forces”. It literally reads, “fundamental principles of the cosmos”. What is difficult here is that the word for fundamental (stoicheion) can mean alphabet, or first principles of a subject of study. Our translators added “spiritual” because the Colossian Heresy was based in spiritual deception. It is also necessary to mention that stoicheion was also used of pagans who connected these words to interceding to the spirits that controlled the earth, wind, fire and sky. To boil it down Paul seems to be pointing out that the knowledge of Jesus is not based on steps, or progressive initiations, but on the simplicity of relationship.

Colossians 2:9-10

a) Paul destroys the religious spirit by pointing out that Jesus is God in the flesh, and in Jesus we have the full revelation of what God is like. We do not need religious works to receive revelation from God, we need relationship with Him to receive revelation.

b) In Jesus we have fullness. NKJV reads – and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. I like the NKJV here, because it captures the truth that we are complete in Christ. The atonement of Christ is totally sufficient for us. We are set free from the condemnation of sin, we are healed by the cross, we are sanctified by His blood, we are blessed with every blessing, every promise of God is activated by the cross, and we have access to the Father and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Fullness in Christ is available to all who activate it.

c) Jesus has all authority over all things, and this continues to point to the Deity of Jesus Christ. However, practically speaking, if Jesus possesses all authority, that means the devil possesses no authority. The exception is that the devil/demons only have authority in our lives by our agreements with him.

Colossians 2:11

a) Now Paul draws parallels between the Law of Circumcision (Leviticus 12:3), which was the sign of the Covenant between the LORD and His people, and the reminder of their identity as godly moral people, contrasted to the New Covenant reality that all believers have been freed from being ruled by the sins of the flesh through the cross of Christ. See Galatians 5:16-21.

b) All Christians have an appetite for the things that honor God, we have an appetite to love God, as we cultivate our relationship with Him by walking in the Spirit.

c) Positionally, the old man or flesh (sarx) has been removed. However, sanctification of the flesh is gained by engaging the process of living for God.

Colossians 2:12

a) Here we see baptism as the evidence of an inward change in us that was born in faith in Jesus Christ. Baptism symbolizes that our old life is now dead, crucified in Christ, buried in the grave. Emerging from the water, after being immersed symbolizes that we have been born again by faith and are now living the resurrection life by the Holy Spirit. Romans 6:4 – We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Romans 8:11 – And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

Colossians 2:13-14 a) Notice that all of us, before we knew Christ as Savior, are described as being dead and in need of being resurrected to life. In Genesis 3, the result of the Fall was the death of an intimate relationship with God and death in our physical bodies. But the tender mercy of God is displayed in Jesus’ life, and through the crucifixion, we have been made alive. Jesus’ death on a cross, means life to those who receive Him.

b) Notice that verse 13 ends with “he forgave us all our sins”. This captures the immensity of scope and the overwhelming power of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. All of our sins; past, present and future have been forgiven by Christ. None of us should live in shame, but we should live in freedom, drawing from the grace that has been given to us in Jesus. The Greek word for forgave is charizomai, meaning that God freely gave us forgiveness, because of His goodness. The word can mean to be kind, forgiving, to restore, to give as a favor.

c) Jesus cancelled the charges for the crime of sin and satisfied the Father’s outrage over the injustice of sin in our lives by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. The Hebrew concept of Biblical justice is God making wrong things right. The Godhead, through the cross, has made us righteous, not by our works, but by Christ’s work.

Colossians 2:15

a) Paul plays on to the cultural context when the Roman Army would march their war captives down the Appian Way into Rome. There would be those running ahead of the Roman Army, the were called apostles, who would cry out the good news (gospel) that Rome has defeated an enemy, and the Roman Army comes with plunder from the defeated enemies. The whole of Rome would come out and mock and jeer the enemies, throwing rotten fruit and other things at them to shame them. This was called the “public spectacle”.

b) Paul uses this metaphor to describe the total and utter defeat of the devil and his demons by Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. The collective Church is in the place of spiritual authority, power, and identity in Christ.

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Crowning Him King – Colossians 2:1-7 – Week 6

Crowning Him King

Colossians 2:1-7

Week 6

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we begin Colossians Chapter 2 and explore verses 1-7. In Chapter 2, Paul begins to address the Colossian Heresy straight away and brings clarity, correction and loving encouragement that only an Apostolic Father can give. In Colossians Chapter 2, we get a glimpse of Paul’s loving concern for the Colossian Church and his love for the Church in general. True Apostolic Fathers contend for Christ’s Body by teaching true doctrine, encouraging their spiritual children and casting vision that leads them to their high calling in Jesus Christ.

The Colossian Heresy revolved around false teaching regarding the divinity of Jesus Christ with a strict adherence to Jewish Law influenced by Essene Mysticism. In the First Century, Colossae was known for its Jewish angel cults that worshipped Michael the Archangel. This Jewish angel cult that was influencing the Colossian Church pre-existed Epaphras’ evangelism of Colossae. The mention of the Seven Sons of Sceva in Acts 19 was probably from this Jewish mystic movement based in Colossae.

We should note that Paul had never met the Colossian Church in person, but his spiritual son Epaphras (lovely) evangelized Colossae and Laodicea. Paul’s love for Epaphras extended to the faith communities that he evangelized and Paul in Colossians 2, expresses his Apostolic care for them.

Colossians 2:1

a) Notice that Paul describes his concern for the Colossian Church in graphic language that describes the intensity of the spiritual warfare that he is waging for their freedom. Earlier in Colossians 1:29, Paul uses a cultural play on words that originates from the Greek athletic contests. In Colossians 2:1, Paul continues with this metaphor to describe the contest between truth about the Person of Jesus Christ and the lies and spiritual deception that are coming from the proponents of the Colossian Heresy.

b) NKJV – For I want you to know what a great conflict (hēlikos agōn – how great the contest in the arena or stadium) I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, – The NKJV accurately describes the intense spiritual battle that Paul is waging in prayer and in his exhortations that are written in this Epistle.

c) Colossians 2:1 makes it clear that Paul had never visited this church or the Laodicean Church. However, he still contended for them as his own spiritual children. d) One of the most difficult battles any Christian leader has is praying for spiritual sons and daughters that are believing lies about God.

Colossians 2:2-3

a) The goal of the great contest of the spiritual battle that Paul was waging for the Colossian and Laodicean Churches are as follows. 1 – Encouraged in heart. Discouragement in the people of God robs them of having confidence in God, and steals hope, that ultimately kills destiny and calling in them. 2 – United in love. It is impossible to have unity without love. Divisions in the Church are a symptom of lack of love, not having grace for each other, and not having honor for one another. See 1 Corinthians 13. 3 – Full riches of completely knowing God as revealed in the Person of Christ. Jesus is the revelation of what the Father is like; so, when we look at Christ we see the Father. Knowing Jesus is door to knowing the Father.

b) Notice that in Jesus the treasures of knowledge and wisdom are found. The Colossian Heresy was fueled by the belief that were ascending levels of secret spiritual knowledge that was only revealed by submitting to the initiations of those who presided over the angel cults. Paul directly ruins this concept by teaching the Colossians that in the Person of Jesus we discover true spiritual knowledge and wisdom. Scholar F.F. Bruce – “Others might lead them astray with specious talk of mysteries; but there was one mystery above all others – the mystery of God’s loving purpose, disclosed in Christ alone – and Paul’s concern was that they should come to know this all-surpassing mystery, and know it as an indwelling presence.”

c) Paul mentions 3 mysteries that are revealed to us in Christ. A Biblical mystery is that which is only revealed to us by being in relationship with God. This is not an esoteric concept, but a relational truth, that those who know God, know His Person; His nature and character. 1 – The Church, the Body of Christ is a mystery revealed. Colossians 1:24-26. 2 – The Indwelling presence of Jesus in believers is a mystery revealed. Colossians 1:27. 3 – Jesus reveals to us all the treasures of the knowledge of God and the wisdom that accompanies those who know Him is a mystery revealed to us in Christ.

Colossians 2:4

a) Paul is contending for their freedom from the religious spirit. Religious lies are always dressed in fashionable words. The false teachers in Colossae were manipulating them with fine sounding spiritual language that was leading them astray from the simplicity of knowing Jesus.

Colossians 2:5

a) Colossians 2:5 and 1 Corinthians 5:3-5 present us with some very interesting thoughts regarding Paul’s intercession for the Colossian and Corinthian Churches. Paul describes that in prayer, he felt spiritually present and aware of their church struggles, to the point that he describes it as being present in spirit. It may be that Paul is describing his ability to see into the supernatural spirit realm as he uses the spiritual gift of discernment to receive revelation regarding these church bodies. The Greek text is clear that Paul considers himself present in spirit in their assemblies.

b) The end of verse 5 shows us that Paul was still convinced that though the
Colossian Heresy was damaging the Colossian Church, they were still in order and firm in their faith in Christ.

Colossians 2:6-7

a) Paul gives the Colossian Church excellent advice. We received Christ by faith, and it is by faith that we live our lives in Him. Faith is real spiritual substance that attracts the resources of heaven, so that they may flow into our lives. Hebrews 11:1 – NKJV – Now faith is the substance (hypostasis) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

b) Notice the effects of living in faith. 1 – Faith gives us a strong foundation that we build the knowledge of God on. 2 – Faith strengthens us as we are taught truth about Jesus. 3 – Faith releases overflowing thankfulness towards God in our lives.

Crowning Him King – Colossians 1:21-29 – Week 5

Crowning Him King

Colossians 1:21-29

Week 5

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we will complete Colossians chapter 1 and we will look at the following movements in the text.

1 – The contrast between our lives without Christ and our lives with Christ

2 – The call to persevere in our faith

3 – Paul’s suffering for the Church

4 – The description of the fullness we have in Christ

5 – The purpose of Paul’s ministry to the Church

6 – The description of the power of Christ that was in operation in Paul

Colossians 1:21

a) Paul describes the condition of each one of us before we were reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. Greek alienated apallotrio – to be shut out from one’s fellowship and intimacy. The contrast between a believer and non-believer is not simply forgiveness from God, it is one has access to fellowship and intimacy with God and the other has no access because they have been shut out because of sin. Sin is the great separator between humanity and God.

b) Through the Fall of Adam, all of humanity has been shut out from fellowship and intimacy with God through the corruption of sin. Sin affects us in our minds, where it is conceived and then is expressed through the actions of our bodies. James 1:14-15 – but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Colossians 1:22

a) But now he has reconciled you Greek reconciled – apokatallasso – to reconcile completely, to reconcile back again, bring back a former state of harmony. The physical Body of Jesus, beaten, flogged, pierced and abused on the cross was the reconciliation between God and humanity. Jesus’ death on the cross, means life with God for us.

b) The effects of the reconciliation we receive are holiness in God’s sight, without blemish, and free from accusation. Holiness in God’s sight means that God looks at us as His own and realize we have been set apart for Him and His purposes in our lives.

c) The Greek word for without blemish, refers to a Levitical priest that has inspected a sacrifice and deemed it without blemish and acceptable to God. The Greek word also means morally without fault.

d) The Greek words free from accusation means, that which cannot be called into account, or reprovable or unaccusable.

e) These 3 descriptions of the reconciliation we have received from God through the cross of Jesus Christ teach that we are truly in a state of freedom from the effects of sin through our faith in Christ. Knowing these wonderful things to be true should provoke our hearts to live in gratitude toward God and provoke us to love God in ways that build our relationship with Him. God is an all in Lover.

Colossians 1:23

a) If Paul clearly teaches the Colossians and us, that to remain in our reconciliation with God, we all must persevere in faith. We are not saved by our Christlike character but are obligated by our belief in Jesus Christ to live our confessions of faith. Authenticity in Christian living is an Apostolic requirement. F.F. Bruce – at the same time that the saints are those who finally persevere – in Christ. Continuance is the test of reality.

b) NASB – if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister. The NASB captures the thought that Paul proclaimed the gospel to everything in the created order. This is direct reference to the Colossian heresy which proposed complicated and difficult approaches to God through angelic intermediaries, and by keeping parts of Jewish Law. Paul is basically saying; even all the angelic order has been told the gospel.

c) Paul describes himself as a servant. Greek diakonos – one who executes the commands of another, esp. of a master, a servant, attendant, minister, a servant of a king. This is root word for our English word deacon. Every minister of the gospel is a servant to King Jesus and the servant to His Bride the Church. This is a tremendous responsibility and demands selfless living and interests in order to be an effective minister of Christ.

d) Paul also mentions the suffering in his body to disarm the ascetic spirituality of the Colossian heresy. Fruitful suffering is outward toward the Church. Ascetic suffering is individually focused and serves the self.

Colossians 1:24

a) Paul describes the type of service to God’s Church that he has lived out in his life. Paul’s suffering in the flesh for Christ’s Church is not connected to the atonement of Jesus’ cross. Paul is saying in plain words, I will pay any price for Jesus’ Church. Paul is writing to the Colossians under Roman house arrest in Rome. His life proves his message.

b) 2 Corinthians 11:24-29 describes the type of price that Paul paid as a faithful servant of Jesus Christ.

Colossians 1:25-26

a) Paul’s commission from God was the Damascus road. b) Paul describes the fullness of the Gospel in the following terms. 1 God’s salvation narrative; His progressive revelation of the method of salvation through the Covenants that He made with humanity and Israel, have been fully revealed in Messiah, Jesus Christ. 2 The Gentiles have been included in the salvation that Messiah accomplished on the cross; that God desired relationship with all people, and Israel was the womb of Messiah and tree from which salvation to all people came forth. 3 Fullness is Christ in us. God is revealed to us in Jesus, as we abide in Him and He abides in us.

Colossians 1:28

a) Paul describes the purpose for his Apostolic ministry to the Church. Proclaim, admonish (Greek – counseling), teaching, with wisdom (the knowledge of God), so all believers would be mature or fully grown in their faith in Christ. This should be the one objective of all Christian leaders so that Christ’s Bride would walk in His ways and not in compromise with the world, or weakness, but in power as overcomers.

Colossians 1:29

a) In verse 29, Paul uses a play on words that corresponds to the ancient Olympic Games or the athletic contests of the Greeks. Paul is using this play on words to describe the type of focused endurance of his ministry through the agency of power of God that is working in him.