Title: The Truth War: False Truth and Traditions vs. Christ
Text: Colossian 2:1-10
In Chapter 1, the Apostle Paul exposites the foundational doctrines of the Christian faith. He explained to the Colossians that Jesus Christ did 5 marvelous and glorious works at the cross:
Qualified Us, to be partakers of heaven (v.1:12)
Delivered Us, from the powers of darkness (v.1:13a)
Conveyed Us, into the kingdom of God (v.1:13b)
Redeemed Us, through his blood shed on the cross (v.1:14b)
Forgiven Us, of our sins (v.1:14b)
Paul emphasized these truths to demonstrate the sufficient, supreme, and satisfactory work in Christ. Paul does not just exposite the works of Christ but the nature of Christ. He shows us the true identity in deity. All the fullness of divinity is in Christ, for He alone is God in the flesh (John 1:1, 1:14). Paul tells us 4 main things about Christ proving He truly is God:
He is the Illustrator (v.1:15)
He is the Creator (v.1:16)
He is the Sustainer (v.1:17)
He is the Ruler (v.1:18)
Lastly, Paul ends chapter 1 by showing us the spiritual secrets to the Christian ministry and faith – Christ in you. This theme continues into chapter 2, where Paul is going explain how all real truth is found in Christ and how to the false teachings of the 1st century Gnosticism and the world’s philosophic and traditional principles contain no truth. The beginning of chapter 2 starts with Paul exhorting us to be wise in our knowledge, strong in our faith, and focused on Christ, for in Him is truth personified which makes us complete.
John MacArthur says in his book The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception critically identities what Christians need to do when their faith is being challenged by some ‘other’ type of truth that is being launched against Christ:
“These days, however, people are experimenting with subjective, relativistic ideas of truth and labeling them ‘Christian’. This trend signals a significant departure from biblical and historic Christianity. Carried to its necessary conclusion, it will lead inevitably to the abandonment or compromise of every essential element of the true Christian faith. It is, I am convinced, another major onslaught in the ages-old battle against truth by the powers of darkness."
Chapter 2 can be split up into two major themes:
False Truth and Traditions vs. Christ (2:1-10)
False Religion and Rituals vs. Christ (2:11-23)
1. (v.2:1) Paul begins chapter 2 by telling the Colossians about his eagerness to see and teach all of them in the Phrygian region to grow strong in their faith so they can stand for Christ.
2. (v.2:2-3) Be Wise
Be wise in your knowledge.
A. Treasure – Greek word for treasure is treasuros, meaning the place in which good and precious things are collected and laid up.
1a) Or a casket, in which valuables are kept, a treasure box.
1b) a treasury
1c) storehouse, or repository
1d) the things laid up in a treasury, collected treasures.
B. Wisdom and Knowledge – Greek word for wisdom is sophia, specifically the varied knowledge of things human and divine, acquired by acuteness and experience, and summed up in maxims and proverbs. Greek word for knowledge is gnosis, which is knowledge in general intelligence, understanding.
1a) the general knowledge of Christian religion
1b) the deeper more perfect and enlarged knowledge of this religion, such as belongs to the more advanced. Grow deeper in Christ!
C. The book of Proverbs teaches us this very principle Paul is communicating to us. Possibly Paul knew of these verses in the Old Testament since he was matured in the Scriptures. Proverbs 2:1-6 “My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright.”
D. Proverbs 8:11, 19, 21 declares, “For wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her. The fruit of wisdom is better than gold, yes, fine gold, and wisdom’s profit better than choice silver…that I may cause those who love wisdom to inherit wealth, that I may fill their treasuries.”
3. (v.2:4-7) Be Strong
Be strong in your faith.
A. (v2:5) Good order – Military term, a soldier in proper place and ranking ready to take on the enemy together with the army.
B. (v.2:5) Steadfastness – Military term, a soldier who is ready on the battle field and is presenting a rock-hard defense against the enemy.
C. (v.2:6) Walk – The action our faith in motion. We are to walk in faith daily, trusting and depending on God for strength, grace, mercy, and blessings and live according to His commandments. Just as Jesus walked the walk and talked the talk, we are to do the same too (1 John 2:6).
D. (v.2:7) Rooted – Agricultural term, rhizoo (rizo-o), meaning to cause to strike root, to strengthen with roots, to render firm, to fix, establish, cause a person or a thing to be thoroughly grounded and permanently solid in their faith.
E. (v.2:7) Built up – Architectural term, epoikodomeo, to build upon, build up To finish the structure of which the foundation has already been laid, to give constant increase in Christian knowledge! (2 Timothy 2:15)
F. (v.2:7) Established – to be confirmed and strengthened with all assurance.
4. (v.2:8-10) Be Focused
Be focused on Christ.
Cheat you – This is a unique Greek word that is only used once in the whole Bible. It means “Don’t let someone take you captive, plunder you, or deceive you from leaving the faith. Paul uses this word here to express his concerns for the Colossian to be alert, avoid, and aware of these heresies and what they will do to you if you embrace them. Stay away, very far way from these wolves in sheep's clothing.
A. Philosophy – love of wisdom, used either of zeal for or skill in any art or science, any branch of knowledge. It is empty truth. Philosophy is purely theory! Avoid it as Paul told Timothy to do (1 Timothy 6:20). Guard the Gospel!
B. Empty deceit – devoid of truth, empty deceptive theories and false truths that are there to “take you captive and lead you astray, deceiving and robbing you from the things of God.”
C. Traditions of men – Oral, narrative, perceptual, and old continuations of empty religiosity and spiritualism. They are mythological or generational traditions that are passed down over the ages. (Greek gods, legends, etc.)
D. Basic principles of the world – These were the common immoral and ignorant ways of living in opposition to God’s truth in the 1st century. It was the ‘way of Roman’ life. It is explained as something elementary, immature, with ritualistic and materialistic elements. These most likely accounts to Gnosticism and contrast between the outward so called spiritual works of man verses the inwards spiritual works in Christ
E. (v.2:10) We are complete in Christ - All of these false truths and traditions of men are incomplete, but in Christ we are made complete and whole. As Warren Wiersbe said, “The tense of the Greek verb indicates that this fullness is a permanent experience. Nothing needs to be added to Christ because He already is the very fullness of God, and as we draw on Christ’s fullness, we are filled unto all the fullness of God.” So we need to rest in the knowledge of being complete in Christ! We do not need anything new or old, we just need what is true and that is Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
It was once said, “If it is new, it’s not true and if it’s true it’s not new.”
There is a Truth War going on out there against the authority, inerrancy, infallibility, and veracity of God's word. It is in God's word we have everything we need. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are contained in the Scriptures. All the fullness is contained in Jesus Christ. Therefore, we need to trust in those 1st century principles for 21st century living. Be wise in your knowledge, be strong in your faith, and be focused on Jesus Christ and Him crucified!