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Sunday, July 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Colossians 2

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Verse 1



Christ our Foundation narrows our work to His Standard of service (vs. 7).

Colossians 2:1-8

. "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;"

The Laodiceans and Colossians had not seen Paul - at least not all of them. He mentions to them of the great conflict he has for them - he is having a struggle. This is probably both physical and emotional. Some authors tie it rightly to 1:28-29. "Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily."

To be concerned about a group’s spiritual needs causes one both spiritual, emotional and physical struggle. Often the emotional/spiritual carries over into the physical.

It is of interest that he was concerned about people he had never seen. We also should be open to being concerned with people we have never seen. Be burdened, be involved in prayer for them, and give them hope if possible. Along with this thought of becoming involved with others, we ought to give thought to letting them know of our prayer, and concern for them - this would give them the hope mentioned previously.

Knowing the American way of thought, I might add that we should not necessarily stop at involvement and letting them know of the possible involvement - get involved if possible. We often just go the mental step without going the physical step of getting involved in some practical manner with people.

Conflict is the Greek word we mentioned in 1:29 as the predecessor of our word "agony." It is used of the athlete that is striving for the victory. If you have seen marathons you know what some of those folks look like when they cross the finish line - you can see the agony in their faces.

Paul was in heavy conflict about the spiritual welfare of these folks - we also should become involved in the lives of others that we don’t know.

We have supported a couple in Holland for years. They finally moved their church along to the point of gaining a national pastor. We had been involved with these folks, the church and then the new pastor, though we had never seen them. When the pastor fell into immorality, the news hit me as if it were a church that we were attending.

Many people support ministries that minister to people they never see - this is what we are talking about.

Verse 2

"That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;"

"their" includes everyone that hadn’t met Paul personally. It seems that he is confident that those that had met him were solid enough in their doctrine to eliminate any concern.

That’s confidence in the power of the Word and the Holy Spirit.

Comforted is the Greek word "paraklesis" which Vine defines as "a calling to one’s aid" - it is the same term used in Romans eight’s list of spiritual gifts - it is the gift of exhortation. It is someone that you call along side to assist you either through encouragement or physical assistance.

Paul wants the people to be comforted and to be knit together in love. Knit has the thought of that nasty term unity - coming together as one. Ephesians 4:2-5 speaks to the thought of keeping unity in the assembly. There seems to be a conscious effort on the part of the people to be a unified group.

This can be done by keeping a proper spiritual life, keeping a proper prayer life, and keeping a proper attitude. Yes, it takes effort and we should all be about this work within the church.

Years ago we were in a church that had a wide diversity of people and ideas. We would see people coming to odds with one another about what the church should do. We would await the usual fight and hard feelings, but we noticed that this never happened. The problem would begin to raise its head in the congregation, then all of a sudden it would disappear - the people were working at unity within their group.

I am not convinced that it was only a desire to be united - I also believe there was a great love for one another within the church and that this was probably the prime mover toward unity.

What has Paul been driving at thus far in the text - the supremacy of Christ and truth. If we believe that the absolute truth is found in the Bible, and if we believe that Christ is supreme above all others, and if we believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ as presented in the Bible, are we not then near to "full assurance of understanding? I think we are.

Verse 3

. "In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."

This one cuts cross grain to the thinking of some. There are many in our churches that look down their noses at education. They feel that education is a waste of time, that anyone spending time in college or seminary is not being a good steward of God’s good time.

NOTE. Wisdom and KNOWLEDGE are listed as TREASURES. Enough said on the subject. Well maybe just a little more - to bring about the unity we mentioned earlier we need to find a balance between the overemphasis and the under-emphasis we see in Christian circles today.

Does this mean that all is hidden from us and that it can never be known? No, it means that to the lost it is hidden, but to us it is there for the seeking out - we may go to the Word and search out those truths that we need to live our lives. (1 Corinthians 2:14-16; Ephesians 4:17-18; Romans 3:9-20 show that the lost are under a great burden of not understanding the things of the Lord.)

Verse 4

"And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words."

Paul believes as I do that you the listener should question everything I say. We ought to compare what we hear with the Word of God and be sure that all we hear is true. Paul speaks to the idea of being enticed with false teaching often in his epistles. (Galatians 1:7-9) Be gentle when you disagree with me, but be sure you have Scripture on your side.

Lenski mentions that this phrase could be translated "to cheat by false argument" - I will never attempt this, but be sure you check out what I say anyway - just in case I get side tracked from the truth.

Verse 5

"For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ."

The New International Version translates "beholding your order" as "Delight to see how orderly you are." In Luke 1:8 the term is used in reference to the courses of the priests. Hummm you don’t suppose we are to have order in our churches do you - order - organization - seems to be the thought of the passage.

Some disdain organization in a church - that is just wasted time - hummmmm, but Paul didn’t seem to think so. One of the things I learned many years ago about people is that they like order and they dislike disorder and change. In short, we like our rut. This is not bad, in my opinion. Our personal lives oft times are in such terrible disorder due to our schedules and our commitments, and we just really enjoy the order that we find when we enter the church doors - it is one place where we can feel comfortable and be refreshed.

The term actually is used of soldiers standing shoulder to shoulder ready to march.

It is a faith that is fixed or stable. The interest is that they all have this stability of faith. The term "stereotype" a printer’s term for a plate ready for the printing press comes from this Greek term. The plate has the image to be printed fixed in its metal.

If we think about it we see that the Colossian Christian’s faith was ready to print out lives that were worth the lost world reading!

These two items are very important for any church today!



What must we do in our churches to insure these two will be a part of our church for years to come?

1. Good organization to give order to the church. This may be very limited while the church is small but will have to grow with the congregation.

We must be cautious however that we don’t get so organized that we become disorganized! We attended a large church in Denver years ago. When they stood to sing in Sunday School they used choruses quite often. Being a fairly new believer as far as singing went, I did not know the songs and could not sing along - not that I could sing either! I made a suggestion at a meeting of getting sheets with the words on them and pasting them in the front of the hymnal.

It was accepted as a great idea, but they decided that they would have to check with the finance committee so that they could purchase the glue, and they would have to check with the building committee to be sure it was okay to do that to the hymnals, and they would have to check with the music committee to be sure that it was okay with them as well. Then there was the pastoral staff that needed to be consulted to be sure they had no problem with it. I’m sure as they checked into it that they would have had to check back with the music committee and possibly the pastoral staff to be sure the sheets they secured were acceptable. One blessing is that at that time an insurance company GAVE THE SHEETS FREELY to churches, so there wouldn’t be any further cost.

Some feel constitutions and doctrinal statements are a waste of time. When we went to teach at a school in the midwest I was asked to evaluate and illustrate the documents of the school. As it turned out the board had complete control and the faculty had none. This misapplication of common sense ultimately led to the resignation of the entire faculty. The faculty set up a new school. Guess what they did - you know - they adopted the same constitution - we are awaiting their difficulties.

2. Firmness in the faith can only come as we are in the Word both at home and at church!

3. Firmness in faith over time can be assisted by a good Sunday School Curriculum. Train the young - they are the church of not to many years in the future. Give them the Bible and leadership training now so you don’t have to later!

A set curriculum of study will guide each student through a general over-study of the Bible in his/her childhood and youth.

Verse 6

"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, [so] walk ye in him:"

Wuest translates it this way. "In the same manner, therefore, as you received the Christ, Jesus, the Lord, in Him be constantly ordering your behavior"

When you get it together via salvation, keep it together by walking as you ought.

A dear Saint we used to know once said that many people want to clean up their act and then turn themselves over to the Lord, but God would rather that they turn themselves over to the Lord and let Him clean them up. There is a lot of truth there.

7. "Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving."

Rooted, built up, and stablished - how - by teaching! There I go again, education and learning seem to be in Paul’s vocabulary.

Rooted or grounded - or attached to a good foundation, then built up as if a building being built for a purpose, and built or stablished in a way that it will stand firm on the foundation.

Where do we become rooted and built up? In Bible studies and lessons/sermons at the church - in Bible studies on your own, as well as with other well grounded believers. It can even come from Scriptural fellowship - the sharing in the things of the Lord - not the news, weather, and sports but in sharing from the word and speaking of what God is doing in your life.


How do we walk in Christ.

1. Be in fellowship. Scriptural fellowship can be a tremendous resource of learning, as well as a source of accountability.

2. I get the picture of Christ being the driving/steering force within my life. As I walk along He is guiding my decisions and ordering my steps. This will require our keeping in close contact with Him so that we know where He is going.


How are we rooted in Him?

1. Roots draw nourishment from the ground both moisture and nutrients.

We can only be nourished as we feed on the Word of God and commune with Him.

2. Roots hold the plant or tree upright so that it can grow properly.

In Oregon we used to drive past large farms full of Filbert trees. Due to the high moisture content of the soil in Oregon the trees never were required to take deep root for moisture. They received all they needed from the surface. As a result in the very damp weather some of the trees would fall over because the top was too heavy for the simple root system to hold up.

RESULT: a dead tree.

If we aren’t deeply rooted then we may fall as well. This is the point of what Paul has said in these verses. The next verse he begins to warn of false doctrines.


How are we built up in Him?

1. Let us turn to Ephesians 4:11-16 "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 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: 16 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"

Notice the similarity in the texts. Both are speaking of being complete or mature or rooted in the Lord and proper doctrine.

Ephesians 4:1-32 tells us that these things come to pass through the ministry of the local church. The pastors and teachers are to building up or edifying the people that they might be sound in doctrine - AND - "for the work of the ministry".

The whole purpose of all of this is that the new convert that is taken into the church is to be trained so that he can be going out and leading others to Christ and become part of the ministering part of the church.

The verse goes on to say "established in your faith"

What is meant by this phrase? Strong indicates it is "to confirm" as in one that validates or assures you of the truth of something.

2. Being confident in your salvation. Sure that your trust in Jesus is all that is needed.

3. Being confident in your security. Knowing in your own heart that you can never lose that which God has given to you through Jesus Christ.


The commentator Lenski mentions concerning this phrase. "Keep on holding fast to Christ, keep on believing in Him, and then, of course, also keep on obeying Him in good works."

Walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4

Walk after the Spirit. Romans 8:4

Walk in honesty Romans 13:13

Walk by faith. 2 Corinthians 5:7

Walk in good works. Ephesians 2:10

Walk in love. Ephesians 5:2

Walk in wisdom. Colossians 4:5

Walk in truth. 2 John 1:4

Walk after the commandments of the Lord. Colossians 2:6

Walk not after the flesh. Romans 8:4

Walk not after the manner of men. 1 Corinthians 3:3

Walk not in craftiness. 2 Corinthians 4:2

Walk not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

Walk not in the vanity of mind. Ephesians 4:17

Walk not disorderly. 2 Thessalonians 3:6

I would like to illustrate this unity of purpose by telling you of a church of lost people. A Roman Catholic church in Limerick Ireland. This congregation was truly united and steadfast in their purpose. The point - IF LOST PEOPLE CAN BE THIS UNITED WITHOUT GOD, surely we believers can get together with the Lord’s help and guidance.

In the northwest part of the city there was a new housing development and the people were purchasing their land and building their new homes. The people met to define their community to come and determined that they would have two community buildings, one a community center and the other a Cathedral.

As I listened to the man describing the work that the people were involved with, you could just see the excitement and pride and the enthusiasm within. The unity of this people was so great toward their project that some of them stopped working on their homes and assisted with the cathedral. They had a priority of having that building up before their homes were finished.

It is a shame that lost people can out do the believers - In Ezra Nehemiah’s time the people left the temple to last. Indeed, in many churches across America the church comes dead last.

Anyway this community of lost people saw to it that their desire was met and it was met due to their unity of purpose.

This is the kind of unity that Paul wanted to come to pass at Colosse.

May we as individual churches find ourselves united in our effort to reach the lost and see them rooted in the Word and always be abounding in thanksgiving for what God is doing in our personal and corporate lives.

Verse 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"

We have many philosophies around today that may have the Word in them but only enough to make them acceptable to the untaught ear. We find this in the cults. Cults lead even believers astray. We should know some of the marks of the cults.

Lowering of Christ

Uplifting of the leader

Heavy emphasis on giving

Experience oriented

Limiting if not subjugating of women

Emphasis on loyalty to leader and/or group rather than Christ

Overemphasis on the Gospels.

I trust that you understand that all knowledge and truth is centered in God, not the cult leaders - not Roberts, not White, not Moon, not the Pope, and not any human being.

Let’s consider some terms relating to philosophy. Philosophy is a system of ethics or thought. The term used here is only used in the New Testament and both are in relation to false doctrine. Many believers love to dig into philosophical thought, but it seems to me that the Word is so straightforward, and so massive that I don’t have to spend time in other areas, when I know so little about the Bible after so many years of study.

Philosophy isn’t wrong but it does seem to be a side track to some believers. Many through the ages have tried to mix it with Christianity but seldom with any success. Francis Schaffer seems to have done some good with it, yet in all of the thought he presents, it is the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ which must change the person.

The fact that it is with "vain deceit" in the passage indicates it isn’t the best.

The word translated spoil according to Robertson means "to carry off as booty a captive, slave, maiden." Not the terminology of someone teaching proper doctrine.

Philosophy is the Greek word "philosophia" which appears only once in the Scripture and here is used of Jewish Christian ascetics to describe their false ways.

Thayer mentions that it means "used either of zeal for or skill in any art or science, any branch of knowledge."

As to the rightness or wrongness of it the context is clear, it will spoil your beliefs, it is the tradition of men, it is of the world, and not after Christ - seems kind of definite - it isn’t for the believer that wants to walk with God.

Robertson kindly mentions of this philosophy, "knowledge falsely named."

Merriam-Webster speaks to the word:

"1 a : (1) all learning exclusive of technical precepts and practical arts (2) : the sciences and liberal arts exclusive of medicine, law, and theology (3) : the 4-year college course of a major seminary b (1) archaic : PHYSICAL SCIENCE (2) : ETHICS c : a discipline comprising as its core logic, aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology

"2 a : pursuit of wisdom b : a search for a general understanding of values and reality by chiefly speculative rather than observational means c : an analysis of the grounds of and concepts expressing fundamental beliefs

"3 a : a system of philosophical concepts b : a theory underlying or regarding a sphere of activity or thought

"4 a : the most general beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group b : calmness of temper and judgment befitting a philosopher"

No matter which definition you use, except the fourth you should come away feeling that philosophy is not for the believer. We have the truth, it is not related to theory and is not arrived at through speculation.

Wrong, in and of itself, most likely not, but why bother putting your time into things that are speculative, theory and general when we have the truth that can change our lives?

We’ve seen some terms in this passage that I would like to look at briefly to be sure we understand just what they mean.

Wisdom: The quality of being wise. The ability to gather information and use it in a proper manner. Making the better judgment in a given situation.

Knowledge: It is the facts that we gather via ear, eye, taste and touch to help us understand what we observe around us.

Understanding: It is the comprehension of what these facts mean.

Intelligence: The general knowledge that one possesses.

Comprehension: Understanding what the mind contains.

Perception: Consciousness of items we encounter.

Let me illustrate this.

Perception is seeing a ten-dollar bill on the ground.

Comprehension is knowing that it is a ten-dollar bill not a one dollar bill.

Intelligence is knowing you’d better grab it before the man behind you grabs it.

Understanding is what the man behind you doesn’t have when you pick up the ten-dollar bill for you see it belongs to him.

Knowledge is when you know he is six foot-five and three hundred pounds.

Wisdom is returning the ten dollars.

Having said all this, when we come up against a need for knowledge, where can we go - the text says that Christ is the repository of all knowledge. We have only to go to Him to seek the knowledge we have need of. It is also a very nice addition - his knowledge it TRUE.

Christ is very much like a computer. He contains all knowledge. I recently gave my pastor a packet of sheets of printed pages. I’d guess it was about eight pages of single-spaced book titles - titles than I have available to me on my computer. Indeed, I have several hundred volumes of secular works that are not on the list. Indeed, if I don’t have what I want on my own computer I can go to the internet and find most any older book online.

The point however is this. I must have a method of access to that computer - someway to connect to all that information. Christ’s knowledge is the same. We must have a connection to him to gain that knowledge which we need. We have the written Word to provide much of the needed information, but we also have the link of prayer to access Him personally and directly.

There is a brief study that loosely relates to this passage and the thought of not following the philosophy of man. The topic comes up now and then so I will include it.

Just some thought about do’s and don’ts

I used to avoid Pizza parlors which serve beer. I also used to avoid any restaurant which served alcohol. I was challenged on this many many times over several years.

There were some reasons for this stand.

1. Obviously I didn’t want to be a stumbling block to anyone that might see me in such an establishment.

2. I feel my position as a minister requires that I be very careful in my living so that I give no one cause to point a finger my way.

3. Most groups that I was with at the time had similar feelings.

4. I love pizza and beer. Since I had a problem with alcohol in my early years, I try to avoid temptation.

This was a personal conviction and decision. I never taught this nor did I require any of my acquaintances to sit through a discourse on the subject. Now, had I at some point started telling people that they needed to take on this standard so that they could walk with the Lord in a proper manner, I would have stepped into error.

Know that the believers around you will be more intolerant about this stand than most unsaved people. Many times I have explained my position to lost people and found great acceptance and understanding from them. With believers the displeasure was often on their faces and in their following attitude/actions.

We will see in a later lesson some do’s and don’ts of how to handle this sort of situation.

Verse 9



Christ our Completer prepares us for perfect service (vss. 9-14).

Colossians 2:9-23

Vs, 9 "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."

(from Daily Bread)

"A preacher once met a cultist on the street who challenged his orthodox views. ’You say that Jesus Christ is co-equal with the eternal Father, but He cannot be, for no son is ever as old as the one who has begotten him.’ The minister looked at his detractor for a moment and then gave this devastating reply, ’You yourself have just called God the ETERNAL FATHER. Have you ever thought that statement through? Don’t you realize that God can only be the eternal Father if He has an eternal Son? If you’ rethink your position in the light of the Scriptures, you’d see that ETERNAL FATHERHOOD of necessity demands ETERNAL SONSHIP!"

Christ is God in the most complete manner. Someone once said, "Christ is just as much God as if He had never been man and He is just as much man as if He had never been God."

ALL THE FULLNESS OF THE GODHEAD not just part of it!

Verses 10-13

"And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:"

We are complete in Him. We have no need of anything else in our lives. He is our all in all.

We are in Him -- the "head of all principality and power;"

He has the position that I want my Lord to have. He is Lord over all there is!!!

Let’s look at some terms briefly.


1. The Old Testament right of circumcision was done as a sign of obedience to Jehovah. This was a sign for Israel.

2. The New Testament idea that something of our old self or old nature has been cut away.


1. The state of not being circumcised in the Old Testament.

2. The state of not being regenerated or saved in the New Testament time.


1. Water baptism is an outward sign of an inward change. When the believer realizes the significance of baptism, he wants to be identified with his Lord and Savior.

Some suggest that circumcision in the Old Testament is baptism in the New Testament, both are a sign that you have placed yourself under God’s covenant. I have never figured out why only males took the sign of the covenant in the Old Testament and both male and female are told to be baptized in the New Testament.

Baptism is a voluntary step to signify you are Christ’s while the circumcision of the Old Testament was a sign of the covenant.

2. Spiritual baptism. The baptizing of the newly saved believer into the body of Christ. This occurs automatically and you never know that it has taken place. We are told in the Word that it happens.


11 "In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:"

12 "Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with [him] through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead."

13 "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;"

What is Paul talking about here?

Is he telling the Christians in Colosse to be circumcised?

No. Indeed there is no basis in the New Testament for physical circumcision.

Acts 15:1-41 tells of a discussion and decision on the right of circumcision in the early church. Galatians 2:3 is the outworking of that decision in that Titus was not circumcised. Indeed, Colossians 2:11 states that this was a circumcision without hands so we know that it is speaking of the cutting away of the old flesh.

"in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh" Paul is stating that the flesh is gone due to this operation of Christ.

We can be free from the sins of the flesh if we desire it.

It is up to us to chose which way we want to live:

1. In the flesh serving the Devil.

2. In the Spirit serving the Lord.

In verse 12 what baptism is Paul speaking of? Verse 13 shows that this baptism is related to Spiritual baptism because forgiveness is not linked with water baptism unless you belong to one of the Christian church movements that make baptism a requirement for salvation.

The context is the old nature and it’s being put off so water baptism would not fit. (Acts 10:44-48 show water baptism after they received the Holy Spirit.)

In verse 13 we are made alive "together with him,".

He has forgiven ALL TRESPASSES!

Not only did He forgive all our trespasses at salvation, but he also has provided 1 John 1:9 as the answer to those times when we fall into sin after salvation!

Verse 14

"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;"

"blotting" has two thoughts to it. First the idea of "erased" and secondly the idea of "cancelled". (New International Version uses "cancelled")

What is meant by the "writing of ordinances"?

1. Law of Moses

2. Divine Decrees of God.

3. The no no’s of the day - those things that people thought were wrong. Is Paul trying to say that Christ nailed that sort of thing to the cross so that we wouldn’t have to worry about it?

This fits the context quite well as we will see in later verses. The idea that all this is from the world and since we are free from the rules of the world by the death of Christ this idea would fit.

Verse 15

"[And] having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it."

Verse 16

"Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]:"

He has set the principalities and powers to naught and is victorious over them all




Let’s list some current do’s and don’ts.


Go to church four times a week. Movies

Act holy Dancing



Now. Why do people hold to these do’s and don’ts?

1. They want to be weird.

2. They want to give up fun things.

3. They want to be a killjoy.

4. They want to be as close to what they feel the Lord wants them to be.

5. They want to refrain from things that might be mistaken by others that might cause problems of testimony.

1 Timothy 3:2 "an overseer must be above reproach...respectable..."

1 Timothy 3:7 "He must also have a good reputation..."

They do not want to have anything in their lives that will detract from their testimony.

They are not seeking righteousness -- Christ gave that to them -- they are seeking to live righteously.

Will do’s and don’ts vary from time to time? Yes, possibly. The pool table used to be a tool of the Devil! Indeed, in some areas of the country this may well be the case yet today. Yet in most areas it is quite respectable to have a table in your home. Indeed, some Bible Colleges have them for student recreation.

Why was the pool table wrong a number of years back?

The pool room atmosphere was not the type of atmosphere the Christian would want to identify with. Pool is now in many bowling alleys and other public places.

Sunday afternoon baseball was the Devils worst not that many years ago in Nebraska. (1940’s I think)

How do you react to a believer that thinks MIXED SWIMMING is wrong?

Ridicule NO!

Make fun of NO!

Admire his conviction YES!

Understand his liberty to believe and practice this YES!

Ask him about his belief and LISTEN YES!

Can you think of why a person might have a strong conviction about mixed swimming?

a. Maybe he or she has a problem with lust.

b. Maybe he or she has a strong belief that the believer should be modest and that the current swim wear is not modest.

Do some Christians close their eyes to don’ts and ridicule to cover up their own conscience?

Some for years saw nothing wrong with smoking. Today we have proof that it is dangerous to your health. Some continue to smoke even though they know that they are to care for the temple of the Holy Spirit - their body.

Many things are held as okay by some Christians yet scripture tells us not to cause another to stumble. The mixture of these two items is hard to determine. Social drinking is again raising controversy in the Church.

Some of the problem may be the fact that we are cold and unresponsive to the sin that is around us.

Many years ago the movie "From Here to Eternity" was banned at most Armed Forces bases due to the beach scene. Today there is T.V. activity in the bedroom far more suggestive on prime time, yet Christians continue so soak up the trash. Some cities have independent stations that are showing movies with nude scenes in prime time.

Several years ago we went to the mountains for the day. As we exited the mountains into the valley, a large billboard was to be seen. A large woman in a bikini was pictured. I was somewhat shocked. It struck home to me that I had seen the billboard many times and didn’t think about it. At that point in time after eight hours away from the world I felt uneasy about the picture.

I wonder if we took a month vacation to heaven and then returned if our do’s and don’ts might be much changed. I have to wonder if our coldness to the sin around us wouldn’t embarrass us!

Were the pastors of the 40’s and 50’s wrong to preach against the jewelry and makeup? Their approach was wrong often times yet they were dealing with the encroachments of worldliness upon their congregations and it was their place to warn their people.

Were these pastors saying that you had to follow their do’s/don’ts to be saved? No, they were trying to teach their congregations as they saw fit. Some call this legalism - no, legalism is teaching a series of items to keep so that you might be saved.

Were the pastors of the 60’s and the 70’s wrong to condemn the short skirts? No they should have been dealt within many more churches.

I assembled some do’s and don’ts relating to how to handle a person that has a questionable belief/practice.


1. Don’t offend the person on purpose. (By trying to change their mind with undue pressure.)

2. Don’t place the person in a situation where they will have to say no.

3. Don’t condemn, judge, or ridicule the person either to their face or behind their back.

4. Don’t be a stumbling block. (1 Corinthians 8:9-13; Romans 14:13)

5. Do apologize if you offend them and be sure not to offend them again.

6. Do honestly and sincerely seek to understand their reasoning and principles. (They have their reasons and you may find out that they are right.)

7. Do realize that this person is a child of God. (In earthly families different children like to please their father in different ways - one is no less important than the other.)

8. Do realize that if they are wrong it is not sin. It is however wrong for them to do something which they can’t do in faith. (Romans 14:23)

9. Do be sure the person is saved. An unsaved person can not properly distinguish the proper Christian life if they aren’t a believer under the leading and direction of the Holy Spirit.


If someone comes with a don’t, do check them and their don’t out. If they have Scripture then don’t. If they hath not Scripture then do.

vs. 17 "Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ."

"which are a shadow of things to come"

What is Paul getting at here?

1. These are only a hint of the don’ts that will come through the ages.

2. These are a vague picture of the substance of the things to come in Christ.

3. The New International Version states it this way "These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ."

18 "Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshiping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,"

In short don’t let someone pull the wool over your eyes, don’t let anyone hoodwink you, don’t let anyone trick you, don’t let anyone fool you into following their methods of being righteous - they are puffed up - full of themselves - arrogant - think they are smarter than the average bear.


Darby "(which have indeed an appearance of wisdom in voluntary worship, and humility, and harsh treatment of the body, not in a certain honour,) to [the] satisfaction of the flesh."

American Standard Version "Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will-worship, and humility, and severity to the body; [but are] not of any value against the indulgence of the flesh."

New King James Version "These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, [false] humility, and neglect of the body, [but] [are] of no value against the indulgence of the flesh."

New International Version "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."

King James Version "Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh."

This is the only usage of the term translated will worship - it is one word meaning "1) voluntary, arbitrary worship 1a) worship which one prescribes and devises for himself, contrary to the contents and nature of faith which ought to be directed to Christ 1b) said of the misdirected zeal and the practice of ascetics" Thayer

Robertson believes Paul coined the term to describe the self designed worship of angels.

One said it meant sanctimony or unwarranted piety.

Gill takes it in a positive manner and suggests "being what was over and above that which was commanded by God, and so, like the freewill offerings under the law, must be acceptable to him; this was one of their colours, which had some show of wisdom, religion, and zeal:"

I surmised it was worship stemming from the will of the person - Jamison Fausset and Brown likewise suggest: "arbitrarily invented worship: would-be worship, devised by man’s own will, not God’s. So jealous is God of human will-worship, that He struck Nadab and Abihu dead for burning strange incense (Leviticus 10:1-3). So Uzziah was stricken with leprosy for usurping the office of priest (2 Chronicles 26:16-21). Compare the will-worship of Saul (1 Samuel 13:8-14) for which he was doomed to lose his throne. This "voluntary worship" is the counterpart to their "voluntary humility" (Colossians 2:18): both specious in appearance, the former seeming in religion to do even more than God requires (as in the dogmas of the Roman and Greek churches); but really setting aside God’s will for man’s own; the latter seemingly self-abasing, but really proud of man’s self-willed "humility" (Greek, "lowliness of mind"), while virtually rejecting the dignity of direct communion with Christ, the Head; by worshipping of angels."

It seems that most follow the thought that it is worship coming from the will of the person, rather than something stemming from God.

Since believers naturally worship God, it would take an active change of will to worship other than God.

19 "And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God."

They reject Christ, the head of the church! Don’t you dare follow them and lose out on the reward that you might have from following Christ.

Note the body increaseth not by the work of the people, not by the prayer of the people, not by the giving of the people, not by anything the people can do, but by the will/acts of God Himself. Now, that is not to say that the works of the people aren’t used of the Lord to increase the church - He does, but it is He that builds His church not us.

To me that is the biggest relief a pastor could ever have. He needs to be sure he is busy about the Lord’s business, but if the church does not grow, it is because God does not have growth in mind for that body for that time.

20 "Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances," 21 "(Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?" 23 "Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honor to the satisfying of the flesh."

The New International Version states it this way: "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: 21 "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? 22 These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 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."

So, having read that, can we eliminate all do’s and don’ts from our life? NO WAY! The Bible is full of do’s and don’ts! We need to be very careful to follow them. What we do not have to follow are do’s and don’ts set forth by man from their own wisdom and knowledge.

Might I tread on touchy toes for a moment? Can we list some items of worship that are imposed upon congregations as the "in thing" to do?

How about dressing casually?

How about greeting times?

How about taped music?

How about children’s church?

How about - you fill in the blank.

Are any of these wrong? No, not in and of themselves. Are any of these right? No, not in and of themselves. Are these things useable in the church? Possibly - but don’t let them become the method to reach God - they are not! Nor, are old hymns and customs of the church I might be quick to add before someone reminds me of this.

Christ perfects us - not what we do or don’t do. It is that perfecting process than allows us to serve Him in that perfect spot of service.

Bibliographical Information
Derickson, Stanley. "Commentary on Colossians 2". "Derickson's Notes on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/sdn/colossians-2.html.
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