Colossians 2:6-10 - "Anchored, Advised & Adequate in Christ"

Author: The BFC Gadfly
November 24, 2019

Intro: Eternal vigilance is the cost of freedom.”  “Democracy dies in darkness.”  “Trust, but verify.”  “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” “Facts are stubborn things!”  Slogans; human wisdom and all very helpful in so many ways.  Each one puts us on our guard, warning us that unless we are alert, danger may quickly overtake us.  And yet, isn’t it ironic that the same world that gives us these gems, will quickly take the Christian captive if we are not careful to avoid that danger.  The Spirit of Jesus writing to the Colossians through the apostle Paul warned these new believer: “Beware!  Be on your guard!”    

Proposition: The world will quickly take us captive unless we daily walk in faith.

This letter to the Colossians stressed the preeminence of Jesus over everything in life.  As we look into chapter two the danger the Colossians were facing is directly addressed.  The Colossians were being tempted to mix their faith in Christ with worldly philosophies; ways of thinking and acting that mixed human wisdom with the truth of the gospel.  Paul was anxious to insure that these new Christians did not fall into that trap.  Paul understood that the moment Christianity partners with human religious thought and systems, it is no longer Christianity.  In order to help the Colossians, Paul tells them three things: “You are Anchored in Christ; You are Advised in Christ; You are Adequate in Christ.”    

(vv.6-7) Anchored in Christ – In verse four of chapter two, the Colossians were warned against the potential of becoming deluded “with plausible arguments.”  Someone was trying to lead them astray with “high sounding nonsense,” things that sounded like spiritual wisdom, but in reality came from earthly ways of thinking.  In these two verses, we are given the secret of avoiding falling into such a trap.  We are to live our lives after the pattern of our coming to Christ.  We entered into Christ by Grace (God’s powerful working in us and for us) which we received by Faith (personal trust in Jesus exercised through obedience to His commands in Scripture).  This, now, is our pattern for continued living.  We count on God’s gracious work on our behalf to continue now that we have put our faith in Christ.  We walk daily in faith, living in obedience to the voice of Jesus speaking to us through God’s word.  The result of this is:

  • We are “rooted” in Christ – God has sent the Spirit of Christ is live in us permanently.All that belongs to Christ is now ours “in Christ.”This is our foundation: Christ in us.
  • We are being “built up in him” – On the basis of this foundation, we are being built up every day into Christ-like character as we live by faith, counting on His grace.
  • We are “established in the faith (system of doctrine) we were taught” – We become strong, stable and secure in our faith as we live daily in this Christian life.
  • We “abound in thanksgiving” – Because God has given us this inestimable gift, our hearts well up in joy and praise to God.This may sound like a small matter, but in fact it is of crucial significance.Consider the importance of gratitude in the life of a believer: Gratitude is the purpose for which we are made, “the end of all conduct” (Lightfoot).
    • “The present passage may imply that those who lack a deep sense of thankfulness to God are especially vulnerable to doubt and spiritual delusion.”[1]

[DOCTRINAL POINT] The Christian life is lived on the same basis it is entered into: God’s power in Grace, received daily by Faith. 

[ILLUSTRATION] Grateful children stay close to their parents, don’t they?  When a child grows up with an appreciation that they have been well loved and cared for by Dad and Mom, they tend to stay emotionally near their parents.  It may be the case that children live hundreds or even thousands of miles away from home, but their hearts stay close to home nonetheless.  Grateful hearts respond to graces received. 

[APPLICATION] How we live our Christian lives is not a matter of mystery or indifference.  We stay strong in Christ and become mature, established Christians, through daily obedience to Christ’s commands in Scripture.  Every time we sit down with our Bibles with quiet, grateful hearts, we are paying a visit to our true home.  Many are in constant danger of drifting away because they imagine that faith is only crucial to our initial acceptance of Christ.  In truth the beginning, is just a beginning.  Unless we realize the tremendous gift we have received in grace; unless we are gripped by the wonderful help we continue to receive daily from our heavenly Father, we will quickly slip back into the old habits of worldly living rather than continuing in faith.  Grace through faith is not only the way our new life in Christ begins, it is the way it continues, growing deeper and richer every day.  We are constantly in danger of drifting away from this pattern of life.  We must be vigilant to continue in the way we began. 

(v.8) Advised by Christ – We are warned that we will be taken captive unless we abide in all that is “according to Christ.”  What are the things of this world that will captivate us and draw us away from Christ? 

  • “Philosophy and empty deceit” – Be careful not to misunderstand: “philosophy” simply means “love of wisdom.”That use of the word isn’t what is spoken against here.Rather, what is indicated here is better termed, “high sounding religious nonsense.”A prototypical example of this was faced by Jesus when He confronted the Pharisees (Mark 7:9-13) who mixed their religious traditions with the word of God, overturning what God had said and replacing it with their own, empty ideas.This kind of speculative thinking about spiritual matters is still very much with us today.There are two sources of such deceit:
  • “Human traditions” - Habitual ways of thinking and acting whose basis is in human culture rather than in God’s revelation.The Colossians faced “various pagan theories current in that day or possibly Jewish additions to the Law engrafted on it by mere human reasoning.”[2]
  • “Elemental spirits” – This “may mean either the ABC’s of learning or… supernatural power believed to preside over heavenly bodies.”[3]These spirits put passions in our fallen hearts urging us to believe in things not of Christ, and act in ways contrary to the commands of Christ.They fight daily against the Holy Spirit’s leading in the believer’s life.They tempt us to be curious about things we ought to leave alone.
  • These things are “not according to Christ” and will lead us into captivity if we follow them rather than Christ.The result will be that we will find ourselves falling back into the world’s grip.

[DOCTRINAL POINT] We must take warning.  There are real dangers in the unguarded life.

[ILLUSTRATION] Telephone scams are relentless in our time!  My parents once received a call from someone claiming to be a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer.  This man told my mother that my niece had been arrested in Canada and needed bail money to be sent to get her released as soon as possible.  A young woman then got on the phone pretending to by my niece.  Fortunately my parents were not fooled and sent them nothing.  But the whole thing seemed so plausible!  They only learned for certain that they had done the right thing when my father called the American embassy in Canada to verify what he had been told.  “Plausible but false” religious schemes take in the unwary Christian every day in our world.

[APPLICATION] What are the things we might fall into that are “philosophies and empty deceits”?  Rituals and rules, for one thing.  Human religion always insists on ritual and rule keeping.  Beware of anyone who tells you, “You aren’t a faithful Christian unless you take Communion at least three times a year; You aren’t doing what’s right if you are eating this kind of food or drinking this kind of drink; Unless you are going to these meetings or listening to that preacher, you’re not in the know spiritually; If you’re not following this prophetic system, you are suspect; Unless you’ve had this spiritual experience you aren’t truly spiritual; Unless you vote for this party or that party, you aren’t doing God’s will.”  These things do not come from Christ but originate in human traditions and fallen spirits.  Be on your guard!  If you follow these kinds of rules and traditions the world’s grip will tighten itself around your heart.  Warren Weirsbe gives us a good word on this: “Test every high sounding religious system by asking, ‘Does it give Christ the place of preeminence?’ Almost every religious system today gives Christ an eminent place, but only true Bible Christianity gives Him the preeminent place.”

(vv.9-10) Adequate in Christ – Walking by faith makes sense because in Christ we are given everything we need for life and godliness.  All the fullness of God lives bodily in Christ.  All God’s power; all His wisdom; all His love, justice and goodness dwells in Jesus and Jesus now dwells in us.  The One who rules all things now has brought all things to the aid of God’s people (cf. Romans 8:28).  In Christ everything needed by the believer is given to the believer.  How do we access this power?  We end where we began: by grace, through faith.  We access the grace of God for ourselves as we live the life of faith daily. 

[DOCTRINAL POINT] Jesus is adequate to meet all our needs.  Stand in Him by faith. 

[ILLUSTRATION] This week most of us will eat way too much on Thursday.  Just saying!  After you’ve stuffed yourself, isn’t it awful when your hostess offers you one more piece of pie?  You just want to say, “Take it away, I don’t want to see it again!”  When you are satisfied, you don’t want anything more than you already have!

[APPLICATION] “Paul’s warning rests on the fact of Christ’s supremacy (v.9) and his complete adequacy to meet human need (vv.10-15).”[4]  As believers we need to rest in the fact that when we received Christ, we received all we need for life and godliness.  “In Christ are found all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” so why should we seek anything more?  How do we access these treasures?  By grace they are given; by faith they are entered into.  Listen to Christ.  Call upon Christ.  Walk with Christ.  Don’t be snookered by the world.  Christ is all you need. 

Conclusion: Weirsbe tells us that “When believers drift into worldly living, or are taken prey by man-made systems, it is usually because they feel they lack something that Jesus Christ cannot supply.  ‘You were made full in Him!’”[5]  And He is all you need. 

[1] Expositor’s Bible Commentary

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Expositor’s Bible Commentary

[5] Warren Weirsbe