International Sunday School Lesson
For Week Ending May 9, 2010
Purpose: To confront the danger that threatens the faith community
Scripture Text: Colossians 2: 1-10 (NRSV)
(1)For I want you to know how much I am struggling for you, and for those in Laodicea, and for all who have not seen me face to face. (2)I want their hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ himself, (3)in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (4)I am saying this so that no one may deceive you with plausible arguments. (5)For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, and I rejoice to see your morale and the firmness of your faith in Christ.
(6) As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, (7)rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
(8) See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. (9)For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, (10)and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
After Paul had a meeting with the founding pastor, Epaphras, of the Colossae church, which met in the home of Philemon, he felt it necessary to write them a letter. Paul and Epaphras were worried about the congregation being misled, or deceived with what Paul calls “plausible arguments.”
In our present day world and with the economic conditions, it is not hard to find many in our nation today that have also been deceived by “plausible arguments.” A red flag should go up whenever we find opportunities that seem too good to be true, or hear a gospel preached that does not require real commitment, and cheapens what Christ accomplished on the cross; that is some of what the church at Colossae was facing.
In Colossae the debate seems to be whether Christ was divine or human, and did the spirits of the dead have an influence over the daily lives of those in Colossea. A premium was being placed on those that claimed to have more intellect and understanding than the rest of the congregation.
Paul quickly tries to reassure the congregation in verses 3 and; 4 that the mystery of Christ is revealed through knowledge and understanding, and that everything exists through Christ. The answer for Paul is to live a life rooted and built up in Him and established in faith, just as they had been taught from the beginning. There is no short cut, do not be deceived according to human traditions. When we let philosophy, deceit, and human traditions rule our lives we are deceiving ourselves, and yielding to the ways of this world and not living according to what Christ taught us when he said “if you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” Paul seems to be saying Christ was all divine and all man. Paul says in verse 9 “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” Paul states your knowledge must include that Christ is the head of everything, including rulers and authorities.
Anything that teaches Christ is not fully divine and fully human, takes away from what Christ was sent to mankind to accomplish. God became man so that mankind would have knowledge of God, and share in the good works of God. God no longer feeds his people with manna, but now his people are called to feed and clothe those that not able to feed and clothe themselves. Now his church is called to preach and teach what they have learned from the beginning; being part of his church means living lives rooted and built on Jesus Christ and established in faith and abounding in thanksgiving. We are called to live our lives in Him; anything else is empty deceit, human tradition or just plain worldly.
What do you think is the greatest threat to today's Church? What thinking or philosophy threatens your understanding of the Gospel today? How does John 14:6-7 (6)Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (7)If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’ apply to today's lesson? What does it mean “to know Christ?”