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Lesson 5 on Colossians: Christ the Head of the Local Church

Christ the Answer to Ritual (For the Heart) – Colossians 2.16-23
Christ, the fullness of God, poured out in life through believers, Chapters 3 and 4.

Colossians 3.1-4: Thoughts and Affections of Believers are Heavenly
(18 questions with answers following)
Click here to go to the Introductory Post (Has links to all lessons)
Click here to go to Lesson 6
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 2.16-23 [Christ, the Answer to Philosophy (For the Head):] “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: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. 18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 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. 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 honour to the satisfying of the flesh.”

Christ, the fullness of God, poured out in life through believers, Chapters 3 and 4.

Colossians 3.1-4: Thoughts and Affections of Believers are Heavenly: “1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”

Questions:

Christ, the Answer to Ritual 2.16-23
Review the answers to some of the more
difficult fill in the blanks before attempting to answer:

  1. God gave his people in the Old Testament ______________ that are only _________ (a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order.) and liturgical (relating to a form or formulary according to which public religious worship is conducted). Paul explains that those were merely “a ________ of things to come” (verse 17). They were pictures of ________. Since ________ has come, there is no need to go back to the picture. “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is ________ in you, the ______ of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
  2. Colossians 2.18, 19 is a warning against mysticism (belief that union with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or the spiritual apprehension of knowledge inaccessible to the intellect, may be attained through contemplation and self-surrender). Paul here is condemning the Gnostics who made a pretense of _________. Today, some in churches assume a pious _______________. They are “spiritual snobs.” These people, generally, are very ignorant of the ________. “____________ into those things which he hath not seen.” That is a pretense, putting on, _________ like you have something that you don’t really have.
  3. “And not holding the Head” means that their head is not screwed on. Such people have

    a. a loose relationship with Christ
    b. psychological problems
    c. both a and b
    d. neither a nor b
  4. Those spoken of in the question 3, are not “holding the ______, from which all the ______ by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit ___________, increaseth with the increase of God” (Colossians 2:19). What a description!
  5. Colossians 2.20-23 is against the error of asceticism (severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons). Here, Paul says “if ye be _______ with Christ.” In other words, since you have died when ________ died, do not return to pre-________ religious living. What we are dealing with here is the pride that apes (imitates in behavior) ___________.” “I deny myself, and I don’t do these things. Just look at me. I’m sprouting wings.”

Christ, the fullness of God, poured out in life through believers, Chapters 3 and 4.
Colossians 3.1-4: Thoughts and Affections of Believers are Heavenly

  1. Chapters 3 and 4 are the practical section of Colossians. In chapters 1 and 2 we saw the preeminence of Christ. We saw Him as who He is, a member of the __________. He is very man of very _____, but He is very God of very _____. He is preeminent in creation because He is the __________. He is preeminent in redemption because He is the ___________. He is preeminent in the churches because He is the One who gave Himself for the _________. Now we come to the place where God, through Paul, insists that He must be made _____________ in our lives.
  2. So far, in Colossians, Paul has discussed the different things that lead people away from ________. The Christian life is to live out the life of ________. ________ ________ is all we need. This practical section shows the believer ________, the fullness of _____, poured out in life through ____________—that is the only way He can be poured out.
  3. The “if” of Colossians 3.1, was, like the “if” of Colossians 1.23, the “if” of argument, not the if of condition. The Colossian believers had risen with ________. Their lives evidenced their ____________.
  4. The fruit of the Spirit was in their lives. The evidence of their salvation was (See Colossians 1.4, 5)

    a. their faith
    b. their hope (the coming of the Lord Jesus)
    c. their love
    d. all of the above
    e. b and c
  5. They showed their ______ they had for all the saints (See Colossians 1.4). A practical example is a church member’s ______ for the other church members. He shows that ______ by supporting the Bible ministries of the pastor and other church members, by supporting the church which is the whole body of believers and every member of the church. A pastor, for example, shows his ______ for the church member by edifying each church member and by supporting and encouraging each member in their ministries. All bestowing the most honor on the least honorable.

    1 Corinthians 12:22-26: “22 Nay, much more those members of the ______, which seem to be more feeble, are ____________: 23 And those members of the ______, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. 24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: 25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

    Thus, every church member is to recognize not only his own part, but also the part of every other member of the local church ______, putting all others in the local church ______ before __________ and before every one who is not in the local church _______. The member who is not a pastor is to primarily support and promote his pastor, not some other pastor; he is to first support the other members of his church ______ and their gifts, not those of outsiders, whether believer or not. One is not to grieve his pastor by giving his primary adulation, attention, and support to some other pastor or teacher. Likewise, a pastor who honors New Testament church doctrine will give his first support, attention, consideration, and promotion to the members of his church _______, not to pastors, teachers, believers, and others who are not a part of the local church ______ which ________ made him a part of—there is no universal ________ at this time. Yes, he is to love everyone, and every believer. He can glean from others. However, his first and primary love, consideration, and support is to be given the other members of his church ______, ________ being the head. God gave very special rules for the local church ______. “That there should be no ________ in the body; but that the members should have the same ______ one for another.” Ephesians emphasizes that the local church is a spiritual ______. That ______ can become the victim of self-inflicted disease caused by lack of love by members of the church body. 1 Corinthians 13 teaches on God’s love (_________); the context is the church body and the gifts of the body—1 Corinthians 12. Of course, that love is to extend to everyone, but the body is the focus and primary. Others outside the local body are not part of the same spiritual ______, not part of the same organism. It would be wise to notice that every church body is not a ____________ organism only; many are either worldly organizations or hybrids, part __________ and part ____________. Everyone who is a member of a church is a member of one of these types of ___________. It is wise to consider that aspect of every believer, pastor, and teacher. Any pastor, teacher, or other believer who knows the Bible doctrines of church, state, and separation of church and state and leaves the church he is a member of in a compromised state does not love His Lord with all his ________, ______, mind and ___________. Such a believer is partly (or maybe wholly) ____________ at the very least and is not to be applauded by other believers. By compromised state is meant, the state of being a _________ entity such as a corporation, 501c3 or 508 tax exempt religious organization.
  6. In verse 1, the believer is told to “_______ those things which are above.” Where is Christ today?

    a. on earth
    b. in the grave
    c. sitting on the right hand of God
    d. none of the above
  7. Where is the believer to set his affections?

    a. on things on the earth
    b. on things above (the things of Christ)
    c. on things below
    d. both a and b
  8. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are _______, where ________ sitteth on the right hand of _____ (Colossians 3:1).
  9. “Set your affection on things ________, not on things on the ________ (Colossians 3:2).
  10. ______ and set your ____________ on the things of Christ. The things of Christ are ______, _________, ______, ______, _________, and of ______ _________ (See Philippians 4.8).
  11. “For ye are ______, and your life is hid with ________ in _____” (Colossians 3:3).
  12. When does a believer die? Give a Bible explanation for your answer.

    a. when his body ceases to function
    b. when he gives up
    c. when he is crucified
    d. a and c
  13. Whose life is the life of the believer? Give a Bible explanation of your answer.

    a. that of his family
    b. his own
    c. Christ’s life
    d. that of his country

Answers

Christ, the Answer to Ritual 2.16-23:

  1. God gave his people in the Old Testament ordinances that are only ritual (a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order.) and liturgical (relating to a form or formulary according to which public religious worship is conducted). Paul explains that those were merely “a shadow of things to come” (verse 17). They were pictures of Christ. Since Christ has come, there is no need to go back to the picture. “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
  2. Colossians 2.18, 19 is a warning against mysticism (belief that union with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or the spiritual apprehension of knowledge inaccessible to the intellect, may be attained through contemplation and self-surrender). Paul here is condemning the Gnostics who made a pretense of wisdom. Today, some in churches assume a pious superiority. They are “spiritual snobs.” These people, generally, are very ignorant of the Bible. “Intruding into those things which he hath not seen.” That is a pretense, putting on, acting like you have something that you don’t really have.
  3. “And not holding the Head” means that their head is not screwed on. Such people have

    a. a loose relationship with Christ
  4. Those spoken of in the question 3, are 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” (Colossians 2:19). What a description!
  5. Colossians 2.20-23 is against the error of asceticism (severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons). Here, Paul says “if ye be dead with Christ.” In other words, since you have died when Christ died, do not return to pre-Christ religious living. What we are dealing with here is the pride that apes (imitates in behavior) humility.” “I deny myself, and I don’t do these things. Just look at me. I’m sprouting wings.”

Christ, the fullness of God, poured out in life through believers, Chapters 3 and 4.
Colossians 3.1-4: Thoughts and Affections of Believers are Heavenly

  1. Chapters 3 and 4 are the practical section of Colossians. In chapters 1 and 2 we saw the preeminence of Christ. We saw Him as who He is, a member of the Trinity. He is very man of very man, but He is very God of very God. He is preeminent in creation because He is the Creator. He is preeminent in redemption because He is the Redeemer. He is preeminent in the churches because He is the One who gave Himself for the church. Now we come to the place where God, through Paul, insists that He must be made preminent in our lives.
  2. So far, in Colossians, Paul has discussed the different things that lead people away from Christ. The Christian life is to live out the life of Christ. Christ Jesus is all we need. This practical section shows the believer Christ, the fullness of God, poured out in life through believers—that is the only way He can be poured out.
  3. The “if” of Colossians 3.1, was, like the “if” of Colossians 1.23, the “if” of argument, not the if of condition. The Colossian believers had risen with Christ. Their lives evidenced their salvation.
  4. The fruit of the Spirit was in their lives. The evidence of their salvation was (See Colossians 1.4, 5)

    d. all of the above (a. their faith, b. their hope (the coming of the Lord Jesus), c. their love)
  5. They showed their love they had for all the saints (See Colossians 1.4). A practical example is a church member’s love for his pastor and the other church members. He shows that love by supporting the Bible ministries of the pastor and other church members, by supporting the church which is the whole body of believers and every member of the church. A pastor, for example, shows his love for the church member by edifying each church member and by supporting and encouraging each member in their ministries. All bestowing the most honor on the least honorable.

    1 Corinthians 12:22-26: “22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: 23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. 24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: 25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

    Thus, every church member is to recognize not only his own part, but also the part of every other member of the local church body, putting all others in the local church body before himself and before every one who is not in the local church body. The member who is not a pastor is to primarily support and promote his pastor, not some other pastor; he is to first support the other members of his church body and their gifts, not those of outsiders, whether believer or not. One is not to grieve his pastor by giving his primary adulation, attention, and support to some other pastor or teacher. Likewise, a pastor who honors New Testament church doctrine will give his first support, attention, consideration, and promotion to the members of his church body, not to pastors, teachers, believers, and others who are not a part of the local church body which Christ made him a part of—there is no universal church at this time. Yes, he is to love everyone, and every believer. He can glean from others. However, his first and primary love, consideration, and support is to be given the other members of his church body, Christ being the head. God gave very special rules for the local church body. “That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.” Ephesians emphasizes that the local church is a spiritual body. That body can become the victim of self-inflicted disease caused by lack of love by members of the church body. 1 Corinthians 13 teaches on God’s love (charity); the context is the church body and the gifts of the body—I Corinthians 12. Of course, that love is to extend to everyone, but the body is the focus and primary. Others outside the local body are not part of the same spiritual body, not part of the same organism. It would be wise to notice that every church body is not a spiritual organism only; many are either worldly organizations or hybrids, part worldly and part spiritual. Everyone who is a member of a church is a member of one of these types of churches. It is wise to consider that aspect of every believer, pastor, and teacher. Any pastor, teacher, or other believer who knows the Bible doctrines of church, state, and separation of church and state and leaves the church he is a member of in a compromised state does not love His Lord with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. Such a believer is partly (or maybe wholly) worldly at the very least and is not to be applauded by other believers. By compromised state is meant, the state of being a legal entity such as a corporation, 501c3 or 508 tax exempt religious organization.
  6. In verse 1, the believer is told to “seek those things which are above.” Where is Christ today?

    c. sitting on the right hand of God
  7. Where is the believer to set his affections?

    b. on things above (the things of Christ)
  8. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1).
  9. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:2).
  10. Seek and set your affection on the things of Christ. The things of Christ are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report (See Philippians 4.8).
  11. “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).
  12. When does a believer die? Give a Bible explanation for your answer.

    c. when he is crucified. E.g., Galatians 2.20.
  13. Whose life is the life of the believer? Give a Bible explanation of your answer.

    c. Christ’s life. E.g., Colossians 3.4.

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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