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Lesson 4 on Colossians: Christ the Head of the Local Church

Christ the Answer to Philosophy (For the Head) – Colossians 2.1-15
(19 questions with answers following)
Click here to go to the Introductory Post (Has links to all lessons)
Click here to go to Lesson 5
Added on  May 11, 2017

Answers at the end, following the questions. Those who disagree with anything please see the note at the end. Reasoned dialogue is encouraged and any Bible or fact based comments, if made in a Christian manner in an attempt to get to the truth will be considered.

This is an open book quiz meant to challenge the Bible believer – the saved person who believes the Word of God rather than the person who tries to fit particular Scriptures into a system of interpretation meant to validate one’s desired view of how things should be by philosophizing, allegorizing, or spiritualizing chosen Scriptures. The literal meaning, taken in its immediate context and within the context of all related Scripture is the basis for these studies. It is presented for the glory of God.

Colossians directs our attention to the head of the body who is Christ. The body itself is secondary. Christ is the theme. He is the center of the circle around which all Christian living revolves. Christ is the fullness of God. The dominating thought is that Christ is all I need; He is everything. He is the primary object, and the thought passes downward to the church as the body of Christ.

Colossians was written to the local church at Colosse (with the principles to be applied by all local churches and believers) to counteract the heresy of Gnosticism, the first heresy in the church. There were many forms of Gnosticism, and in Colosse there were the Essenes. There are three points of identification for this group: (1) They had an exclusive spirit. They felt that they were the people—they had knowledge in the jug and held the stopper in their hands. Thus, they felt that they were super-duper in knowledge and knew more than anyone else, including the Apostles. (2) They held speculative tenets on creation. They taught that God did not create the universe directly, but created a creature who in turn created another creature, until one finally created the physical universe. Christ was considered a creature in this long series of creations.  Paul refutes this in Colossians 1:15-19. (3) They practiced asceticism and unrestrained licentiousness. They got the asceticism from the influence of Greek Stoicism and the unrestrained licentiousness from the influence of Greek Epicureanism. Paul refutes this in Colossians 2.16, 23 and 3.5-9.

See, J. Vernon McGee, Colossians for more on this.

 Colossians 2.1-15 [Christ, the Answer to Philosophy (For the Head)] “1 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; 2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. 5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. 6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 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. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 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; 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; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”

Questions:

Christ, the Answer to Philosophy 2.1-15
Review the answers to some of the more
difficult fill in the blanks before attempting to answer:

  1. Christianity has, on one extreme, always been in danger of either evaporating into a philosophy, in which case it becomes nothing but steam. An example of this is the philosophy of John Calvin which, among other things, redefines the Sovereignty of God and denies the free will of man. On the other hand, the opposite danger is that it will freeze into a form and become nothing more than a ritual. Christ is neither steam nor ice, neither of which can sustain life. Rather, He is water. That is why we need to guard against following a ______________ (e.g., Roman Catholicism or the Calvinism of John Calvin) or a ________ (e.g., Roman Catholicism and Protestantism). Christianity is ________. Christ is the answer to man’s head and his _______. Paul deals with five errors that endangered the Colossian church in Chapter 2: Enticing ________ (verses 4-7); b. ______________ (verses 8-13); c. ___________ (verses 14-17); d. ____________ (verses 18, 19) e. _____________ (verses 20-23). These are dangers today. Many _______ believers have slipped into one or more of these errors.
  2. Paul had great conflict (agony) in his heart for the churches at ________ and _________. He had not been to _________ and ________—they and others had not seen Paul. Paul saw that there was great ________ and it caused great conflict in Paul’s _______.
  3. “That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love.” Heart indicates the entire inner _____, the whole propulsive nature of _____, their whole person.
  4. Paul desires that they will be drawn together in:

    a. spirituality
    b. gifts
    c. love
    d. knowledge
  5. “Unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding.” Nothing but ________ can lead the believer to truth. “Sanctify them through thy _______: thy word is _______” (John 17:17).
  6. The mystery spoken of in verse 2 is the institution of the ________. It is a mystery because it had not been revealed in the _____ ___________. Baptism brings unity since all members of a local New Testament church are ________ into one ______. A body must be local and connected to all other parts. Otherwise, it is not a body. We are told to “endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of _______” (Ephesians 4.3). How? By doing all the things God’s Word instructs us to do, not by falling prey to enticing _______, _____________, __________, ___________ , or ___________; by remaining in ________. ________ is the reservoir of all ____________.
  7. Paul warns them, in verse 4, not to let any man “beguile you with __________ _______.” __________ _______ are a lot of oratory or sweet talk. “_________” means to victimize. Believers are to follow the Word of God and not a ____________ or an _____________. The purpose of a church or believer is not to make one feel ______ all over. One purpose of a pastor is to preach the Word of God and make application for the _____________ of the body (See, e.g. 1 Corinthians 10.8, 13.10, 14.4-5, 12, 26; 2 Timothy 4.1-5; 1 Thessalonians 5.11; 1 Peter 5, 2). Believers are to follow the pastor as the pastor follows the ______ of God, in charity shepherding and overseeing the body so that all members may exercise their God-given gifts and function as a healthy ______ accomplishing their God-given goal (See, e.g. Romans 12.4-8, 1 Corinthians 12-13, Ephesians 4).
  8. At the time this epistle was written the church at Colosse were in proper _______ and they were “_________” in their faith (verse 5).. Church members ought to be ___________ shoulder to shoulder, not undermining or taking advantage of other church members.
  9. Steadfast means:

    a. to have a solid front
    b. to be immovable
    c. always abounding in the work of the Lord
    d. all the above

    “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye ___________, _____________, always ____________ in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your ________ is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58)
  10. Paul instructs believers to ______ in Christ, “________ and _______ up in him, and stablished in the _______ as ye have been ________, abounding therein with _______________.” Walk in _________, walk in the _________.
  11. Philosophers such as Kant, Locke, and Bultmann do not have a high view of the inspiration of the ______ of _____. Some very prominent theologies are based upon philosophy and not on a literal reading of the ______ of God. They look for the answers to the problems of life which are not found in _____________, in ________ knowledge. _________ is the answer to philosophy. “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us ________, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). Christ told the religious leaders of his day: “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your ____________?” (Matthew 15:3).
  12. Verse 9 is a clear statement of the ________ of Christ.
  13. Verse 10 makes clear that only in Christ alone are you ___________. What is your question? ________ is the answer. What is your need? Turn to ________. Are you carried away by enticing words? Turn to ________. Are you carried away by the systems and traditions of men? Turn to ________.
  14. Verse 11 teaches that the real circumcision is the new _______. “For in Christ Jesus neither _______________ availeth any thing, nor __________________, but a _____ creature” (Galatians 6:15). Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a _____ creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become _____” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
  15. Salvation is accomplished (verse 12) by

    a. the resurrection power of God.
    b. some philosophy.
    c. some gimmick.
    d. taking some course that will enable you to live for God.
  16. Salvation is, contrary to men’s philosophies (verse 13)

    a. improvement of the old nature.
    b. impartation of a new nature.
    c. both a and b
    d. neither a nor b
  17. One philosophy is, then as now, that men can live so nobly that death cannot matter—one is not to be uplifted by good fortune nor cast down by adversity” (Stoicism). Another philosophy, Epicureanism, teaches that all is uncertain so it is vain to deny ourselves any present joy in view of possible future ill; let us eat and drink until we die (Epicureanism). Both those systems address the _____ man who is in the flesh, not the _____ man. Those systems have gimmicks and systems set before them to enable them to live a “spiritual” or a “good” life. No manmade _____________ works. The answer is to come into a personal relationship with _______ ________.
  18. What did Christ write on the cross?

    a. The Ten Commandments
    b. a law which I cannot keep
    c. ordinances which I am guilty of breaking
    d. ordinances which Christ kept
    e. all of the above
    f. a, b, and c
  19. “And having ___________ principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, _____________ over them in it” (Colossians 2:15). Hallelujah!

Answers

Christ, the Answer to Philosophy 2.1-15:

  1. Christianity has, on one extreme, always been in danger of either evaporating into a philosophy, in which case it becomes nothing but steam. An example of this is the philosophy of John Calvin which redefines the Sovereignty of God and the free will of man. On the other hand, the opposite danger is that it will freeze into a form and become nothing more than a ritual. Christ is neither steam nor ice, neither of which can sustain life. Rather, He is water. That is why we need to guard against following a philosophy (Roman Catholicism or John Calvin) or a ritual (e.g., Roman Catholicism). Christianity is Christ. Christ is the answer to man’s head and his heart. Paul deals with five errors that endangered the Colossian church in Chapter 2:  Enticing words (verses 4-7); b. Philosophy (verses 8-13); c. Legality (verses 14-17); d. Mysticism (verses 18, 19) e. Asceticism (verses 20-23). These are dangers today. Many Bible believers have slipped into one or more of these errors.
  2. Paul had great conflict (agony) in his heart for the churches at Colosse and Laodicea. He had not been to Laodicea and Colosse—they and others had not seen Paul. Paul saw that there was great danger and it caused great conflict in Paul’s heart.
  3. “That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love.” Heart indicates the entire inner man, the whole propulsive nature of man, their whole person.
  4. Paul desires that they will be drawn together in:

    c. love (love is the glue that holds a church together)
  5. “Unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding.” Nothing but Christ can lead the believer to truth. “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17).
  6. The mystery spoken of in verse 2 is the institution of the church. It is a mystery because it had not been revealed in the Old Testament. Baptism brings unity since all members of a local New Testament church are baptized into one body. A body must be local and connected to all other parts. Otherwise, it is not a body. We are told to “endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4.3). How? By doing all the things God’s Word instructs us to do, not by falling prey to enticing words, philosophy, legality, mysticism , or asceticism; by remaining in Christ. Christ is the reservoir of all knowledge.
  7. Paul warns them, in verse 4, not to let any man “beguile you with enticing words.” Enticing words are a lot of oratory or sweet talk. “Beguile” means to victimize. Believers are to follow the Word of God and not a philosophy or an individual. The purpose of a church or believer is not to make one feel good all over. One purpose of a pastor is to preach the Word of God and make application for the edification of the body (See, e.g. 1 Corinthians 10.8, 13.10, 14.4-5, 12, 26; 2 Timothy 4.1-5; 1 Thessalonians 5.11; 1 Peter 5, 2). Believers are to follow the pastor as the pastor follows the Word of God, in charity shepherding and overseeing the body so that all members may exercise their God-given gifts and function as a healthy body accomplishing their God-given goal (See, e.g. Romans 12.4-8, 1 Corinthians 12-13, Ephesians 4).
  8. At the time this epistle was written the church at Colosse were in proper order and they were “steadfast” in their faith (verse 5).. Church members ought to be standing shoulder to shoulder, not undermining or taking advantage of other church members.
  9. Steadfast means:

    d. all the above (to have a solid front, to be immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord)

    “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58)
  10. Paul instructs believers to walk in Christ, “rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Walk in Christ, walk in the Spirit.
  11. Philosophers such as Kant, Locke, and Bultmann do not have a high view of the inspiration of the Word of God. Some very prominent theologies are based upon philosophy and not on a literal reading of the Word of God. They look for the answers to the problems of life which are not found in philosophy, in human knowledge. Christ is the answer to philosophy. “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). Christ told the religious leaders of his day: “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” (Matthew 15:3).
  12. Verse 9 is a clear statement of the deity of Christ.
  13. Verse 10 makes clear that only in Christ alone are you complete. What is your question? Christ is the answer. What is your need? Turn to Christ. Are you carried away by enticing words? Turn to Christ. Are you carried away by the systems and traditions of men? Turn to Christ.
  14. Verse 11 teaches that the real circumcision is the new birth. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature” (Galatians 6:15). Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
  15. Salvation is accomplished (verse 12) by

    a. the resurrection power of God.
  16. Salvation is, contrary to men’s philosophies (verse 13)

    b. impartation of a new nature.
  17. One philosophy is, then as now, that men can live so nobly that death cannot matter—one is not to be uplifted by good fortune nor cast down by adversity” (Stoicism). Another philosophy, Epicureanism, teaches that all is uncertain so it is vain to deny ourselves any present joy in view of possible future ill; let us eat and drink until we die (Epicureanism). Both those systems address the old man who is in the flesh, not the new man. Those systems have gimmicks and systems set before them to enable them to live a “spiritual” or a “good” life. No manmade philosophy works. The answer is to come into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
  18. What did Christ write on the cross?

    e. all of the above (a. The Ten Commandments, a law which I cannot keep’ ordinances which I am guilty of breaking, ordinances which Christ kept)
  19. “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15). Hallelujah!

Should you disagree with an answer given, please explain why you disagree in the comment section below the article. All reasoned comments will be published, perhaps with reply. The purpose of this website is the Glory of God. God cannot be glorified by shutting out honest disagreement in the search for truth. The author would be interested in your explanation. The comments are required by the website to be approved or disapproved. The author is very busy with many matters and may or may not immediately notice your comment. He will address it as soon as he notices it. He almost always approves comments presented with a godly spirit. He never alters comments. Sometimes, he replies to comments.


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