Today’s Scripture Focus: Colossians 2:6-19
Cut a holly bush down to the stump. If it has a healthy root system, it can sprout new growth again even if it looks dead. However, the part that has been cut away, though it looks green, will soon die. The fruit of a tree isn’t determined by its leaves, but its roots. There is a philosophical truth here—our lives bear the fruit of what is in our heart that cannot be seen by others—or, our roots—and not by our appearances. In Colossae, Israelite mystics had infiltrated the Colossian church with false teachings that threatened to uproot them. In today’s scripture focus, Paul wants to make sure the Colossians stay rooted in Christ and Christ alone.
Paul gives three warnings in Colossians 2. The first is in verse 8— “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy…” Remember that at this time, people believe their lives were controlled by powers and forces in the sky. Certain philosophers were attempting to put a Jewish/Christian “spin” on how to avoid being harmed by these forces. However, Christ had already triumphed over all powers in His death and resurrection, and those in Christ shared in that victory. Through spiritual circumcision, or baptism, old superstitions had been buried. Those alive in Christ needed no protection from sky powers.
The second warning comes in verse 16— “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival…” (etc.) Part of the Israelite mystic teaching involved relying on the phases of the moon and pattern of the constellations to determine what to eat, wear, do, etc. This was based on the teachings of the Jewish Law, but that Law was meant to point to Christ. Christ was to the Law what we are to our shadows—our shadows may resemble us, but do not have our substance. Christ is the real thing, and if the Colossians were in Christ, they couldn’t further please God through meaningless ceremonies.
The third warning is found in verse 18— “Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize.” Mystic worship involved praying to angels. God was considered too holy to contact, so with false humility certain gurus claimed to have visions from angelic beings. These beings gave them special instructions, and they attempted to shame the Colossian Christians into following them. Again, Paul reminds them to go directly to God through Christ, their head. Any attempts to by-pass Christ would result in being cut off from God. As we illustrated at the beginning of this lesson—if we are cut off, we die. We must remain rooted in Christ to be alive.
- Go around the table and share prayer requests. Have someone lead in prayer.
- Let everyone who would like to share anything exciting from their week.
- Ask these three questions. Let as many answer each one as they would like.
What does it mean to be “rooted” in Christ?
Do you know anyone who uses things like horoscopes to make decisions? What about someone who tries to please God by only wearing certain types of clothing or only eating certain foods? How about someone who prays to “saints” or “angels”? How would you advise them, based on today’s scripture?
Maybe you don’t do any of the above, but we are all in danger at times of trying to seek answers to life outside of Christ. As a class, pray that you will continue to grow deeper in your relationship with Christ so you might fully rely on Him and Him alone.