Colossians Study 4 (2:8-23)

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IN CHRIST IS ALL YOU NEED

Welcome and Prayer

Leader:     The Lord be with you.
People:     And also with you.
Leader:     Let us pray.

Silence

Heavenly Father, we come today with anticipation. We will look at the broad landscape of your grace that is fully available to us in Christ. While there may be competing ideas for our attention, only you created us and brought us redemption through your Son’s death and resurrection. Help us to believe you, to trust in you, to lean on you, and to commit ourselves to you. We ask this because we know your mercy and grace endure forever. In the name of your Son, Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Overview of the SessionHere in this passage, Paul continues to reaffirm the believers in Colosse in Christ’s all sufficiency. As already written, we are his because of creation. Jesus’ death and resurrection provides us with complete redemption. There are no other requirements for relationship with God. All other inventions for acceptance are deceptive and useless. Don’t waste any time or energy on them, Paul says. You have it all in Jesus.

LEARNING COMMUNITY

LIFE SHARING

Sharing our stories

Santa Clause is a playful part of our Christmas traditions. Of course, our parents were the ones who put the gifts under the tree no matter what we thought as a child. When did you “discover” it was your parents and not Santa? What was your reaction?

Reflection from personal study

We have been looking at Paul’s responses to questions that were probably raised by Epaphras, his guest from Colosse. How did Jesus reply to similar questions that were asked of him?  In preparation for this study, look over Jesus’ answers to two disciples who asked him fundamental questions. Read them over several times asking the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind. Be prepared to share your thoughts with the study group.

Thomas asked Jesus, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way.”  Jesus’ answer? “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.” (John 14:6, 7). Philip followed with a second question: “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?” (John 14:8-10).

Colossians 2:8 – 23

8 Don’t let anyone lead you astray with empty
philosophy and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the evil powers of this world, and not from Christ. 9 For in Christ the fullness of God lives in a human body, 10 and you are complete through your union with Christ. He is the Lord over every ruler and authority in the universe.
11 When you came to Christ, you were “circum- cised” but not by a physical procedure. It was a spiritual procedure—the cutting away of your sinful nature. 12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to a new life because you trusted the mighty power of God who raised Christ from the dead.
13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins.
14 He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross. 15 In this way, God disarmed the evil rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross of Christ.
16 So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new-moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. 17 For these rules were only shadows of the real thing, Christ himself.
18 Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on self-denial. And don’t let anyone say you must worship angels, even though they say they have had visions about this. These people claim to be humble, but their sinful minds have made them proud. 19 But they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body by his strong sinews, and we grow only as we get our nourishment and strength from God.
20 You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the evil powers of this world. So why do you keep on following rules of the world, such as,
21 “Don’t handle, don’t eat, don’t touch.” 22 Such rules are mere human teaching about things that are gone as soon as we use them. 23 These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, humility, and severe bodily discipline. But they have no effect when it comes to conquering a person’s evil thoughts and desire.
1.What is the source of the high sounding nonsense and philosophy that Paul refers to?





2.If for no other reason, why should we ignore that kind of teaching?






3. In vv. 9 and 10, Paul unites Jesus’ humanity with and his Divine nature. Why does he think Jesus’ testimony to the truth is worthy of our trust?







4. In “spiritual circumcision” the power of our sinful nature is cut away, symbolized by baptism which reflects Jesus’ resurrection. Describe our condition before and after “coming to Christ”?








5. What could God do (vv. 13-15) because of the “cross of Christ”?








6. In writing to the Christians in Rome, Paul said, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death.” (Romans 8:1). After being set free, what rules were some people trying to impose on the Christians in Colosse? (vv. 16-21)







7. What reasons does Paul give (v. 19) as to why it is foolish and unnecessary to follow these rules of false humility?






8. Keeping these rules may make us feel good. For what purpose does Paul say we need real power?






9. Returning to vv. 8-10, how do these verses encourage you as a person who “is in Christ?”



KEY WORDS

The fullness of God          You are complete          Union with Christ          Buried with Christ

Raised to new life             God made you alive      Connected to Christ     Strength from God

BACKGROUND Earlier, the Apostle Paul said we are answerable to God because of creation. That is, the Creator God is not the “unmoved mover” of Greek philosophy. He was active in Creation and he created us “in his image” so we could communicate and have relationship with him. Following up on that, Paul responds to two schools of thought: One is that God is so distant that we must have intermediaries to help us get to him; the other that we have to work out salvation through various formulas of activities and do’s and don’ts to satisfy God.

Paul’s response is simple: In Christ is all you need. Christ is the only mediator between mankind and God. He is the “fullness” of God and in Christ, you are full. Secondly, Christ’s death, burial and resurrection completely satisfied God’s requirements for redemption. We participate in that redemption by accepting Christ’s sacrifice for ourselves. Signified by baptism, we should not be bound or hindered by any who would put up other beliefs or actions. We are complete in Christ.

CLOSING In the opening verses of this book Paul highlighted that he was praying for them regularly. In the closing chapter he requests that those in the Lycus Valley pray forhim. He wanted them to see we are in this together and that we should support each other through prayer. Tohelp us do this, those who would like, share any requestfor prayer you have. Others in the group will write yourrequest in the space to the right. It is our intention thatwe will pray for each other during the coming week.

Ephesians. 6:18 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

My Prayer Partners:    They’ve Asked Prayer for:

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Notes: