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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Colossians 2

Verses 1-10

  1. INTRO:
    1. Just because someone is sincere doesn’t mean they aren’t sincerely wrong!
      1. E.g. You might have sincerely believed that what was in that bottle marked Root-beer was really Root-beer before you drank it, but if its contents was poison it really doesn’t matter how sincere you were in believing that.
    2. False teachers were trying to convince the Colossians that they were “incomplete!” -“They lacked a deeper knowledge of God.” [They couldn’t have been more wrong]
      1. All believers possess the secret to true knowledge because we have Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom & knowledge.
  2. FILLED FULL IN CHRIST!
    1. BE ENCOURAGED! (1)
    2. Conflict - Struggle. The picture is an athletic contest which is strenuous & demanding. (LKGNT; pg. 571)
      1. Vs.2-10 explains Paul’s inner struggle for the believers at Colosse & Laodicea.
        1. Note vs.2 starts with that…
    3. BE ENCOURAGED! (2a)
    4. There was a story of a man who one morning opened his door to get the newspaper and was surprised to see a strange little dog with our paper in his mouth. Delighted with this unexpected “delivery service,” I fed him some treats. The following morning I was horrified to see the same dog sitting in front of our door, wagging his tail, surrounded by eight newspapers. I spent the rest of that morning returning the papers to their owners.
      1. A little bit of encouragement goes a long way!
      2. Or, like the little boy who said to his father, “Let’s play darts. I’ll throw and you say, ‘Wonderful’!”
    5. BE KNIT TOGETHER! (2b)
    6. What is causing them to be knit together?...love!
    7. BE KNOWLEDGEABLE! (2c,3)
    8. (3) It is in Christ that all the treasures of divine wisdom & knowledge have been stored up, in hiding formerly, now displayed to those who have come to know Christ. (FF Bruce)
      1. They are hidden for us not from us!
        1. Illustration: Our Dentist growing up was Dr. Rice in La Mirada. I remember walking past the closet. See, hidden in the closet was a basket full of toys, to which when you were finished, you were able to pick one toy from the basket.
        2. It wasn’t hidden from me, it was hidden for me! :)
      2. In Him there is the union of the spiritual & the material; the heavenly & the earthly; the divine & the human; the eternal & the historical.
      3. What a tragedy that men will build there houses over a mine of gold & never realize it is there, & continue to live in poverty & ignorance.
      4. A poor old woman was living in poverty & want. A friend, hearing she was I need, went over to visit her & if possible help her. The old lady complained bitterly of her condition & remarked that her son in Australia was doing very well. Her friend inquired, “And doesn’t he do anything to help you?” She replied, “No nothing. He writes to me regularly once a month but he only send me some little pictures w/his letter.” The friend asked to see the pictures she had received & to his surprise found each of them to be 20 pound notes.
        1. The poor old lady did not realize the value of this foreign currency, but had only imagined them to be pretty pictures!
        2. Have you just seen the pretty pictures, or have you cashed them by faith, & believed & appropriated them?
    9. Yes, the deeper things are hidden, so we must: search, study, pray, commune, trust, yield, obey, prove, pursue, & persist like the old gold-prospectors of the Calif gold rush.
      1. He wants to bless us with the joy of continual new discovery & surprise! :)
      2. Poem: Then let me gratefully explore, These boundless riches evermore; The fullness of the Christ divine, That precious Jesus who is mine!
    10. BE ON GUARD! (4)
    11. Religious systems seem so inviting, & their leaders so persuasive. But if you follow them, you will substitute man’s ideas for God’s truth!
    12. BE ORDERLY & STEADFAST! (5)
    13. Good order - Orderly. Used in the military sense of a rank or orderly array.
    14. Steadfast - Firm, hard, solid. Probably continuing the military metaphor & means “a solid front” or “a closed phalanx.”
    15. BE WALKING! (6)
    16. As you therefore have received Christ Jesus –
      1. Receiving is an act which implies the acceptance of a gift (opposite of merit).
      2. As the earth drinks in the rain, as the sea receives the streams, as night accepts light form the stars, so we, giving nothing, partake freely of the grace of God. (Spurgeon)
    17. Walk - to walk about, to conduct one’s life. [pres.tense calls for a continual & habitual action]
    18. Because we possess the secret to true knowledge (i.e.) Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom & knowledge, then all we must do is walk in Him!
      1. Walking implies action. Our religion is not to be confined to our closet.
      2. Spiritual walking is the opposite of spiritual striving.
      3. Instead of the emphasis being on our own strength it is on Christ's!
      4. We walk in Him, in His steps, in His power!
      5. We must keep to Him, cling to Him, never let Him go, but live & move & have our being in Him!
    19. BE ROOTED! (7)
    20. Roots have access to moisture . For a tree to bear fruit it must have its feet in the water.
      1. “What’s on the tree above the ground - reveals what it secretly feeds upon underground.”
    21. BE BUILT UP! (7b)
    22. The thought is that Christ is the foundation of a building, on which the Colossian Christians were continually being built.
    23. BE ESTABLISHED! (7c)
    24. Established in the faith - Faith being the cement of the building. (Lightfoot)
    25. As you have been taught - It is not enough for the evangelist to win men for Christ; they must instruct them in those principles of Christian living which alone can safeguard the soul, & prevent it from backsliding. (Griffith Thomas)
    26. BEWARE! (8,9)
    27. Cheat you - To carry off as booty or as a captive. Don’t be kidnapped!
      1. Here the thief is man-made philosophy & tradition, pleasing to the world but rejected by the Lord.
    28. Fullness - The word differs from the expression Godhead in that it emphasizes, not so much divine attributes, but divine nature or essence.
    29. Bodily - In bodily form. Referring to Christ's human body.
      1. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Gnosticism believed...the spirit alone was good, matter was essentially evil!
      2. This belief led its followers to 3 main heresy's:
        1. The Doctrine of Creation: If matter is evil, God could not have created it.
        2. The Doctrine of Jesus: If matter’s evil Jesus couldn’t have a flesh/blood body
        3. The Ethical approach to life: If matter is evil, then our bodies are evil.
        4. If our bodies are evil, then you either practice: Rigid Asceticism (self-denial, starve, beat, deny the body){e.g. Francis Assisi} Or, Loose Morality (i.e.) if the body was evil, it didn’t matter what you did to/with it, the spirit was all that mattered.
        5. Paul will continue to refute this throughout the book.
    30. BE FILLED FULL! (10)
    31. Title: “Fill er Up!”
    32. If in Christ we find “wisdom, knowledge, all the fullness of God, & we find ourselves complete in Him”...Why accept a substitute?
    33. Spurgeon reminds us, “We must arise believer, & behold the Lord Jesus yoking the whole of His divine Godhead to the chariot of salvation!”
    34. So Christ is to be received, & then the Christian is rooted in Him, walking in Him, & all the while abounding in thanksgiving.
      1. So for doctrine & duty; character & conduct; life & labour; thought & deed; word & work; Christ is all, & in all!

Verses 11-23

  1. INTRO:
    1. Illustration: Back in WWII they invented the “Military Decoy Paratrooper Dummies”, aka paradummies.
      1. They’ve been used as recently as the Gulf War where special forces implemented these dummies to distract Iraqi troops. They have also been used in Afghanistan.
      2. Sometimes these rubber dummies have firecrackers to help distract the enemy from where the real attack is about to hit.
    2. Have you ever been taken by surprise by one of Satan’s rubber dummies in your life?
      1. You found yourself fighting the wrong enemy. You were wrestling against flesh & blood, & didn’t realize you had the wrong enemy in your grips!
    3. Greatest Pursuit of Hebrews was Light [The Lord is my light & salvation]; Greatest Pursuit of Greeks was Knowledge [These things are written that you might know you have eternal life]Greatest Pursuit of Romans was Glory [We know nothing matched the splendor of Rome; It wasn’t built in a day; & all roads led there] (From Ravi Zacharias Podcast)
      1. Thus Paul inspired by the H.S. said For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Cor.4:6
      2. Paul born a Hebrew; raised in a Greek city; & of Roman citizenship.
        1. He knew what their pursuits were all about, & knew the answer for all...was in the face of Jesus!
    4. Last week we tackled Gnosticism, which believed the spirit alone was good; matter was essentially evil! (lived out in rigid asceticism, or loose morality)
      1. This week we’ll hear Paul’s warning against other false teachings that crept in to Colosse: Legalism; Mysticism; & Asceticism.
    5. The flesh loves to be religious, so long as that religion doesn’t have a cross to crucify the flesh!
  2. DON’T LOOSE YOUR HEAD!
    1. LEGALISM OR, CLEAN SLATE! (11-17)
    2. (11-13) The Circumcision of Christ - (11) is not speaking of His physical circumcision as a child, but rather His death on the cross.
      1. His water baptism pointed to the symbol of suffering on the cross I have a baptism to be baptized w/and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! Lk12:50
      2. His circumcision as an infant pointed to His putting off the body when He took our sins on Calvary.
        1. Circumcision removes a fragment of the flesh from the body, but our identification w/Christ puts off the whole fleshly nature!
    3. What kind of forgiveness? - See Luke 7:42 (nothing to pay) Wow!
      1. All trespasses - ALL!
    4. Wiped out (14) - washed over & wiped out. (i.e. Washing out writing on a papyrus)
      1. It was used for wiping out a memory of an experience or for canceling a vote or annulling a law or canceling a charge of debt.
    5. Handwriting - it was a written acknowledgment of a debt; an I.O.U.; a statement of indebtedness, personally signed by the debtor.
    6. Requirements - decree, edict, something decided. A legal obligation which was a binding law or edict which was placed on a public place for all to see.
    7. Against us - hostile, directly opposed to us.
    8. Taken it out of the way - put it out of sight.
    9. Nailed it to the cross - the manner in which Christ removed the handwriting(I.O.U.).
      1. He nailed the Mosaic Law with all its decrees to His cross, & it died with Him!
    10. Illustration: My speeding ticket in Canyon Lake.
      1. It was a trespass(Did you know you were doing 53 in a 35? No way!); I talked with them, Kim talked with them, about the specific ticket because it was $250!!!
      2. We tried to pay it last week, but it had been mysteriously “wiped away!”
      3. The handwriting that was against me (my signature, see card!)
      4. The requirement that was against me (A legal obligation which was a binding law or edict which was placed on a public place for all to see; well not all, but my bro & sis)
      5. It was some how taken out of the way (put out of sight...Praise God!!!)
        1. But Brian you deserve to pay the fine(I know!); you don’t deserve grace(I know!)
    11. (15) Results?
    12. Disarmed - to strip off. As one puts off a garment.
      1. Christ divested(desvistere des=removal; vistere/vestis=garment) Himself at the cross of the evil powers which had struggled with Him so strongly during His ministry in attempts to force Him to abandon the pathway of the cross. (Linguistic Key to the Greek N.T.; pg. 575)
    13. Public Spectacle - expose; to display as a victor displays his captives or trophies in a triumphal procession. (Lightfoot)
    14. Triumphing - It pictures a victorious general leading his prisoners in that triumphal procession.
    15. (15) (Message Bible) He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets.
    16. So far, the OT Covenant Laws are now set aside; Satan has been completely defeated(15); therefore enjoy the liberty you have in Christ, Let no one judge you(16).
    17. (16a) Diet - No one should condemn another believer for what he or she eats or drinks.
    18. (16b) Days-No one should condemn another believer 4 not celebrating certain holy days
      1. Festival/yearly(like Passover, Pentecost) ; new moon/monthly; & Sabbath/weekly.
      2. For these old rules were only shadows!
    19. (17) Shadow - OT ritual observances were dim outlines of the NT redemptive truths!
      1. He says, “watch it, you are going out of the sunlight into the shadows”. (Warren Wiersbe; Outlines of the NT.)
      2. It’s as bad as a boyfriend who admires his girlfriends photo, while he ignores his girlfriends presence.​​​​​​​
        1. So they had turned from the fullness of Christ, to the ABC’s of the world(20).
    20. MYSTICISM - DON’T LOOSE YOUR HEAD!(18,19)
    21. (18) Let no man sit as umpire in your life –
    22. False humility - A counterfeit that tries to imitate genuine spiritual humility.
      1. This word was often used in connection w/fasting which some believed this ascetic practice was an entrance into the heavenly realm.
    23. Mysticism teaches that God can only be known through 2 methods: worship of angels & seeing visions.
      1. Truth: One can only know God through Christ who is the head of the body, the church.
    24. (19) The Head(Christ) - He is the Head we members of the body.
      1. A body functions through nourishment, not legislation.
        1. You don’t tell your body “Start digesting!” or “Stop hurting!”
    25. This is where we witness the difference between history & the gospel?
      1. History says, “Jesus died”; the Gospel says, “Jesus died..for me!
      2. History says it really happened; the Gospel says, it really happened...for me!
      3. History says, “His death changed history”; the Gospel says, “His death changed history..for me!
    26. Grows - not from a denial of certain foods, but rather growth comes from God!
    27. ASCETICISM - A SELF-IMPOSED RELIGION! (20-23)
    28. (21) How the flesh loves legalism: fasting, regulations about food, bodily disciplines.
      1. Special religious observances with their regulations make people feel spiritual!
      2. Nothing wrong with spiritual discipline, in the spirit, to the glory of God; but when it is done in the flesh & for our own praise, then it becomes sin!
      3. Giving up certain habits or pleasures doesn’t automatically make you spiritual!
        1. E.g. Fish on Friday during Lent(fast from meat).
        2. Like Carnival & Mardi Gras. They’re Pre-Lenten festivals, last opportunity for excess before Lent begins.
      4. Obeying man-made religious regulations might impress some people as spiritual, but Paul states clearly that these practices cannot control or overcome the flesh!
        1. They might seem to hep us develop piety & superior spirituality, but they are useless as far as God is concerned.
    29. Asceticism teaches that one can purify the spirit by punishing the body.
      1. But the spirit can’t be purified by punishing the body. Why? Because his body is already dead(died w/Christ,vs.20) how can beating a dead man help you?
    30. So Paul you’re saying, all the believer needs is Jesus Christ? Yep!
      1. ​​​​​​​Paul says don’t fall back to “Kindergarten living”; we must graduate into a higher level of Christianity.
      2. It is impossible for the flesh to control itself, better itself, or perfect itself.
        1. Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Gal.3:3
    31. The Cross: where Truth met Love; where man’s worse collided with God’s best; where righteousness kissed Justice; & where it’s nothing you deserve, but everything you may appropriate for the asking!
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Colossians 2". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/colossians-2.html. 2017.