"THE EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS"
Believer Beware! (Col 2:9-23)
1. It was Paul's desire that his brethren be "perfect (complete) in
Christ" - Col 1:28; Col 2:1-3
2. But there were influences at Colosse which endangered their
salvation, against which Paul warns in Col 2:8-23
3. As we consider what those threats were, we see similar threats today
4. In other words, subtle (and some not so subtle) influences which may
promise us much, but can easily lead us away from Christ!
[For example, we notice from verses 8-10 that at Colosse there was the
I. PHILOSOPHIES AND TRADITIONS OF MEN (Col 2:8-10)
A. THE DANGER OF MAN-MADE PHILOSOPHY AND TRADITION...
1. They "cheat" you
a. They don't deliver what they may promise
b. They can even cheat you of your salvation!
1) By rendering our worship and service to God as "vain"
2) As Jesus warned in Mt 15:9
2. This they do through "empty deceit"
a. It is not evident (otherwise, none would accept it)
b. But like many of the workings of Satan, it is through
B. WE ARE FACED WITH SIMILAR INFLUENCES TODAY...
1. The "philosophies" of:
2. The "traditions of men," found rampant in:
a. Protestant denominations
b. Catholicism (both "Roman" and "Orthodox")
c. Various cults
3. Though these "philosophies" and "traditions of men" may possess
a lot of truth, it is the error in them that can lead one away
from the pure and simple doctrine of Jesus Christ!
C. WE NEED TO KEEP IN MIND...
1. In "Jesus Christ" are found ALL the treasures of wisdom and
knowledge - Col 2:3
2. In "Jesus Christ" is to be found the FULLNESS of the Godhead
bodily - Col 2:9
3. In "Jesus Christ" we are COMPLETE - Col 2:10
4. As Peter wrote in his second epistle: "Grace and peace be
multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our
Lord, as His divine power has given to us ALL things that
pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him
who called us by glory and virtue," - 2 Pe 1:2-3
[So "Believer, Beware!" when anyone suggests that we need the
philosophies or traditions of men in addition to or instead of Jesus
In verses 11-17, Paul deals with what was a real problem in the first
II. JUDAISTIC CEREMONIALISM (Col 2:11-17)
A. THE PROBLEM IN THE FIRST CENTURY CHURCH...
1. Many Jewish Christians felt it necessary for Gentile Christians
to be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses in ADDITION to
following Christ - cf. Ac 15:1-5
2. The early church had to constantly deal with this problem
a. Which they did at Jerusalem (where the problem originated)
- Ac 15:6-27
b. Which Paul did in writing Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, and
3. Here in Col 2:11-17, Paul deals with the problem by pointing
a. Through baptism into Christ, we experience the "true
circumcision," which is a cutting away of the sins of the
flesh - Col 2:11-13
b. By His death on the cross, Jesus has taken the Old Law out
of the way - Col 2:14-15 (cf. Ep 2:14-16)
c. Therefore, we are to let no one try to judge (condemn) us
in matters of the Old Law - Col 2:16-17
B. TODAY, THERE ARE MANY WHO STILL TRY TO BIND THE OLD LAW UPON
1. Various denominations with their Sabbaths and food regulations
2. Other religions with their separate priesthood and many other
practices, based upon the Old Testament, and not the New
C. AS THOSE IN CHRIST...
1. We have died to the Law and Jewish ceremonialism (this
especially pertains to Jewish Christians) - Ro 7:1-6
2. We have been set free, and need to beware of becoming
"entangled again with a yoke of bondage." - Ga 5:1
3. If we seek justification by our observance of things found in
the Old Law, we are fallen from grace! - Ga 5:2-4
[So "Believer, Beware!" when people try to impose things upon you which
are based upon the Law of Moses. Remember, "you are complete in HIM."
In verses 18-19, we see there was still another danger at Colosse...]
III. THE WORSHIP OF ANGELS (Vs 18-19)
A. WHY WOULD PEOPLE WORSHIP ANGELS?
1. Perhaps because they felt angels were needed as "intercessors"
2. Perhaps with "a sense of humility," they felt they could not go
to God (or even Jesus) directly
B. THE PROBLEM WITH ANGEL WORSHIP...
1. It is actually the result of a "false humility" and based upon
one's "vain imagination" - Col 2:18 (cf. He 4:14-16, where
we learn we can "come boldly to the throne of grace")
2. It actually diverts one away from Christ, the rightful "Head of
the body" - Col 2:19
a. For this reason, angels refused any semblance of worship -
b. And so did the apostle Peter - Ac 10:25-26
C. TODAY, SOME RELIGIONS HAVE DEVELOPED A COUNTERPART TO THE
WORSHIP OF ANGELS...
1. E.g., Catholicism with its veneration (reverence) of Mary and
2. The reasoning is similar: "humility" ("We need them to
intercede for us")
3. Officially Catholics attempt to distinguish between "veneration"
and "worship," but the difference is lost on the laity and
in practice they are virtually worshipping Mary.
4. The result is still the same: "not holding fast to the
Head," worshipping others rather than Christ!
[Finally, from verses 20-23 we can glean that there was the problem
IV. ASCETICISM (Vs 20-23)
(Asceticism: The religious doctrine that one can reach a
higher spiritual state by rigorous self-discipline and self-denial)
A. ASCETICISM HAS OFTEN BEEN OFFERED AS A KEY TO "SELF-CONTROL"
1. Such as fasting and other forms of abstinence
2. Or self-flagellation (beating one's self with whips)
B. BUT ASCETICISM IS OF NO REAL VALUE AGAINST THE "INDULGENCE OF THE
1. As Paul points out in Col 2:23
2. Indeed, transformation comes through "renewing the MIND," not
afflicting the BODY
a. As Paul wrote in Ro 12:1-2
b. Yes, those who "set their minds on the things of the Spirit"
are the ones "who live according to the Spirit" - Ro 8:5
1) They are the ones who by the Spirit will be able to "put
to death the deeds of the body" - Ro 8:13
2) For the "fruit of the Spirit" includes self-control -
C. TODAY, WE MUST BEWARE OF THE FALSE CLAIMS OF ASCETICISM!
1. Fasting may have a place in the lives of Christians -
cf. Ac 13:2-3; 14:23; 1 Co 7:5; 2 Co 11:27
a. But not for the purpose of developing self-control
b. Rather as a means of humbling oneself before God as we pray,
that God might hear our prayer - cf. Ezr 8:21; Mt 6:17-18
2. Those religions that would teach various forms of "asceticism"
as a means of developing spiritual maturity would have us
believe that "the secret" is in such "neglect of the body"
3. But Christ is "the secret," and by holding fast to Him we find
the ability to "crucify the flesh with its passions and
desires." - Ga 5:24
1. As we live the Christian life, attempting to mature spiritually,
beware of any doctrine or teaching of man that suggests we need more
than Jesus Christ
2. Remember, He is "THE" way (not "A" way) - Jn 14:6
3. And we are COMPLETE in Him!
Are you IN Him? - cf. Ga 3:26-27 ...
About These Outlines ~~~ Submit An Outline ~~~ Back To Main Outlines ~~~ Home Page