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COLOSSIANS 2:4-8

In this short but powerful Passage Paul warns us about the philosophies of this sinful world! Then he gives us a better Subject for our studies!

               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

 

 

COLOSSIANS 2:4-8

"And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."

 

LESSON 1:

Paul was writing to Christians!

And even then he issued a warning!

Yes, he warned the Believers in the city of Colossee to beware ... lest they be "beguiled" with enticing words!

Here's the whole verse: "And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words." Colossians 2:4

What does it mean that a saint of God could be "beguiled?"

The danger of such deceit is one of the reasons Paul wrote the little epistle of Colossians!

The verb "say" translates "lego" which means to speak, affirm or even teach something! Here it's in the present tense, telling us that Paul habitually spoke these words of caution in these little Gentile cities of the Greek world.

The conjunction "lest" introduces a "purpose clause." Paul is preaching these words because ... some in the church there have apparently been beguiled already!

This must stop!

The key verb in this verse, "to beguile," is spelled "paralogizomai" and is only used two times in the whole New Testament, once by Paul and once by James! Its "root" stem, "logizomai" means to reckon or estimate or take an inventory, usually in a mental sense. And its prefix "para" just intensifies the verb with the idea of nearness or being alongside the subject! Putting it all together the word came to mean "to misreckon" or "to delude" or "to deceive!" One lexicon says "to cheat or mislead by false reasoning."

Now look at James 1:22. "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."  I have underlined "paralogizomai" or "deceiving."

A Christian can be misguided by some smart talking but wicked apostate, a false teacher!

This shrewd deceiver would likely use "enticing" words too! "Pithanologia" combines two words from Paul's sanctified vocabulary! "Peitho" means to persuade! And "logos" is the noun for words or speech! The meaning? Very persuasive words! This precise term is found only here in all the Bible!

Dear readers today, if members of that Colossian assembly could be deceived ... after hearing as great a preacher as Paul ... what about us today?

More devious tricksters are trying to confuse God's People than ever before!

Be careful!

Stay in the Word of God!

Stay under the sound of anointed fundamental Bible Preaching!

Stay filled with the Holy Spirit!

And do not listen to the sweet sounding but deadly words of anyone who belittles or denies the Lord Jesus Christ!

What a true Pastor's heart surfaces here!

Listen to Paul one more time: "And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words."

Let us take "heed" wherever God's inspired Word "warns!"

Amen!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2:

What brought joy to the heart of the Apostle Paul?

What made him happy?

He once told the Thessalonian Christians that THEY were his joy!  "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?" 1st Thessalonians 2:19

Paul derived great spiritual pleasure and satisfaction from the godly lives his converts lived!

Read with me Colossians 2:5. "For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ."

Paul here just told these Believers that though being absent in the body ... he was still present with them in the spirit! In fact, Paul had never seen them face to face according to Colossians 2:1. The verb here translated "be absent" is spelled "apeimi" and means "to be" ("eimi") "away" ("apo") from someone or something! Paul is in a Roman prison as he writes the Colossians!

But he had heard some good news about the Church! And he likes what he has heard!

He mentions two things specifically. 

First, their "order" is listed. The noun "taxis" means one's rank or position or job in things civil or military or religious or any other area of life! Finding one's place, getting in it and staying there!  It means being neither a domineering despot ... or a passive sissy!  Everyone in the Church there was in their God appointed place of service, under the proper authority!

Secondly, their "steadfastness" is recognized! This noun, "stereoma," gives us our word stereo! It depicts a wall or a foundation, rock solid, that firmly supports a building! While the word has both verbal and adjectival forms elsewhere used in the New Testament, this is the only noun occurrence!  These folks were stable! "Stereo" sound originally meant a wall of sound coming at you from several directions!

These dear saints were stable concerning their faith in Christ! Not their faith in a preacher or one another ... but in Jesus! He's the only One who will never fail!

And these two qualities, fruit-of-the-Spirit traits, brought Paul "joy!"

He is "joying" over them!

God does that over His children! "The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

Our present participle for "joying" here is "chairon" (from"chairo") and it means "to be glad!" It is akin to the noun for grace, "charis!"

In this precise form it is only elsewhere used in Luke 15:5 where the good shepherd found his lost sheep and laid it on his shoulders ... rejoicing! Then in Luke 19:6 where Zacchaeus came down from that tree and received Jesus ... joyfully! And in Acts 8:39 where the newly saved Ethiopian eunuch was baptized and went on his way ... rejoicing! In every case real heart joy was produced by right spiritual decisions! Acting wisely!

Do you want to make your Pastor rejoice? Help life his burdens?

Just live right!

To the glory of God!

Stay in your place in God's work!

And stay faithful to Jesus!

Amen!

                                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3:

What a verse!

Perhaps one of the greatest Paul ever wrote!

At least for this Christian this is so!

Read it with me: "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him." Colossians 2:6

In just a few words, Paul here said that the same way we got saved, by grace through faith, is the very same way we are to live the successful Christian life!

The verb "received" is "paralambano" and means "to take to oneself" or "to join to oneself!" Literally, "to take alongside." While all these word pictures would not equally apply here to Jesus, the New Testament uses "paralambano" for taking someone as a prisoner, taking a husband or wife to one's new home or to join with someone as a companion!

Also this is an aorist verb, signifying that the action being depicted is now finished, complete! You trusted Jesus, believed on Him and received Him as your Saviour ... and that is a done transaction!

Then the verb "walk" is "peripateo" meaning to make a path all around something! To press something with one's feet until the surface is hard and firm! But this verb is also a present imperative in the active voice. This "walking," Paul's word for our sanctified way of life or godly behavior, is to be constant, habitual and on-going! A regular practice! And notice that it is commanded that we walk worthily of the Lord! Plus, the active voice indicates that we must put real effort into our walk as well!

Now let's put it all together!

The same way we got saved ... is the same way we are to live for Jesus!

How so?

At the point of our salvation ...

1. The Holy Spirit convicted us!

2. Preaching instructed us!

3. Jesus saved us ... by faith!

4. Then, a Church awaited us!

5. A Bible instructed us!

6. A Pastor guided us!

7. And faithfulness became a way of life for us!

And how do we live the Christian life? How do we "walk" in the Lord?

1. The Holy Spirit still convicts and teaches us!

2. Preaching still instructs us!

3. Jesus still sustains us ... by faith!

4. A Church still encourages us!

5. A Bible still feeds and nourishes us!

6. A Pastor still guides us!

7. And faithfulness still must be a way of life to us!

See what Paul's saying?

"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him."

Amen!

This ought to be preached!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4:

Paul was a "specialist" in spiritual growth!

The longing of his heart was to see new Believers in Christ mature and develop, becoming more like our Lord!

Colossians 2:7 gives us a great example of Paul's passion, his goal for all the saints.

"Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving."

The first thing I'd like you to notice is that these folks have been "taught!" The verb here, "didasko," means "to cause to learn." (Its root, "dao," means just that ... to learn!) Here "didasko" is framed as an aorist passive in the indicative mood. This teaching occurred when they were first saved! It, at least in its initial form, is now over! That's what the aorist tense indicates. And the passive voice means they did not teach themselves! A Pastor did that for them! The verb's indicative mood suggests that a fact has just been stated! This is not a question or a desire or some kind of an apology. It is a statement of fact! It looks to me like Paul taught the Word of God everywhere he went!

However, being taught the Word of God apparently produces some things in the lives of its students! Three distinct participles describe the results of being "in" the Word of God!

"Rooted" in Him! This is a perfect participle, picturing action that began in the past, but continues through the present! The Believers, having heard the Word of God so faithfully taught ... have grown roots deep down into the nourishing soil of Scripture! "Rizoo" is only found twice in the whole Bible! Here in Colossians 2 and again in Ephesians 3:17, where we are to be rooted and grounded in love! Look! The Water of the Word of God is causing God's people to spring roots!

"Built up" is a term that leaves the garden behind ("rooted") and focuses on buildings and houses! The word, "epoikodomeo," means to intensively ("epi") build ("domeo") a house ("oikos"). This time we have a simple present participle.  This action, being "built up" by the Holy Spirit, is an on-going thing! It will never end ... until we reach Heaven!

"Stablished" translates "bebaioo," meaning to make firm, like the foundation a building! It is from "baino," meaning to walk! Where we put our feet! This little word appears seven times in Scripture! I will capitalize and underline one of them. Mark 16:20 --- "And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen." No sinking sand here!

Then comes another by-product of being taught the Word of God!

"Abounding therein with thanksgiving."

To "abound" ("perisseuo") means overflowing, getting out of the banks ... as does a river! Here is a fourth participle!

Flooded with what?

"Thanksgiving!"

"Eucharistia" means gratitude!

Thankfulness for having been saved by God's Grace!

In fact, the more we learn from the Bible, God's inspired and inerrant Word ... the more we will have for which to thank God!

Don't be just a "dry" student of Scripture!

Having been taught God's Word ... we become rooted! Then built up! Then established! And always, thankful!

Based on this verse a Preacher could say that the Bible gives us ALL we need! And here's proof: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."

Amen!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5:

Paul occasionally warns us about impending danger!

Such were his inspired words in Colossians 2:8. "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."

The verb "beware" translates "blepo," the Greek verb that usually means "to see." It can also contain the idea of considering or perceiving something!

Paul is saying, "Look out!"

"Watch!"

It seems that at Colossee certain people had arrived who did not believe Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God! Others denied that Jesus had a real physical body! And some even doubted that Christ alone was the Way to Heaven!

Listen to the great Preacher warn the Philippians! "Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision." (Philippians 3:2) Three times in one verse!

Another word our King James translators rendered as "beware" is "phulasso," which means "to guard" or "to protect." Peter uses it here: "Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness."

But while Paul used "beware" four times, including Acts 13:40, and Peter used it once ... Jesus used the word ten times, even adding one more Greek verb ... "prosecho." (To hold something to your face! To keep it in front of you!)

Preachers reading these lines today, when necessary ... WARN your people about the dangers you see approaching! And when you do, remember that you are following in some great footsteps!

And with all this talk about Gnostic Gospels and some other Jesus ... it's time to start now!

Thank God for those who warn us!

Oh! Let me add this thought.

When Paul "warned" the Colossians, he framed "blepo" in the imperative mood, expressing a direct command!

The philosophies of the world are that deadly!

We are required to be vigilant against them!

                                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6:

The Apostle Paul cautions us about worldly philosophy!

"Lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit" he writes in Colossians 2:8.

The term philosophy is a direct "loan word" from the Greek language. It is spelled "philosophia" and means the love ("philos") of wisdom ("sophia"), but earthly wisdom is in view ... that which is tainted by sin.

And "vain deceit" is translated from "kenos" (meaning "empty") and "apate" (meaning "seduction"), which is in turn derived from "apatao," to cheat! One standard lexicon text says that "apate" includes and emphasizes the lusts and pleasures excited by such deceit!

And of course we must study the verb "spoil" now. It is "sulagogeo" and combines "ago" (to lead or to bring or to drive) and "sulao" (from "sullo" meaning "to strip" or skin)!  "Skullo," obviously a related term, literally means to flay or skin!

Paul just said that the false teachings of the world will "skin" a Christian alive! They will rob him of the Truth! This verb "spoil" was used in the Roman world of those armies that won a great battle and then carried away the booty or loot or riches of their victims!

In its New Testament cognate forms "sullabein" means to "capture" or "to take by force!"

What spiritual "dangers" are presented here!

And the Bible is full of such warnings!

Ephesians 5:11 begins: "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret." Why? Because they are deadly!

Romans 16:19 --- "For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil." Stay innocent and unlearned when it comes to ungodliness!

Be careful, Christian friend!

The false teachings of the world are captivating!

Don't be "spoiled!"

In fact, I would caution any young man whom God has called to preach NOT to spend an inordinate amount of time studying these false doctrines and senseless philosophies of the world. Rather, study the pure Word of God! Concentrate on the real Truth! Then ... the "lies" will become all the more apparent and you will have a working knowledge of the Scriptures to refute them!

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7:

The wicked philosophy of the world is in direct opposition to God and His Word!

Paul describes the hodgepodge of false doctrine available in his day as being "after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." Colossians 2:8

The noun "tradition" is spelled "paradosis" and means that which is is handed down or passed down or given down ("didomai") from one generation to another to stand alongside ("para") and supplement their own beliefs!

Tradition from godly sources is excellent! It is precious! Treasure it! But from wicked places, it is pure trash! The counsel of the ungodly and the way of sinners and the seat of the scornful!

The "rudiments" of the world translates "stoicheion" and means the first things in a series! Like ABC is to the whole alphabet! "Stoicheo" means to arrange something in an orderly and regular line! It's the point 1, point 2 and point 3 of wickedness, with hundreds of additional points to come!

World is "kosmos," the orderly system of the devil! This word is not describing God's lovely creation, but the devil's "sin machine" that now exists on planet earth! ("Kosmeo" means to arrange neatly!)

And of course, "Christ" is our Lord Jesus, the Messiah or Anointed One of God!

I personally believe that the majority of lost mankind's philosophies and traditions are designed to belittle God, void His commandments and make sin less dangerous! To allow the flesh of men and women to do what comes naturally and pleasurably!

Most theology and philosophy of the unsaved world today is ultimately based on one's morality!

Belief is determined by one's behavior!

Really the world's philosophies can be catalogued quite easily. There's not much new under the sun when it comes to the basic intentions of a wicked heart! John implies that all the devil's "tools" to tempt mankind are easily catalogued under three heads: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life! See 1st John 2:15-16.

Here's how James describes God's Wisdom versus man's. "Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace." James 3:13-18

See!

Man's so-called wisdom is sensual and devilish, whereas the wisdom of God is "first pure!"

No wonder when Paul analyzes the wisdom of the world he concludes ... "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." Romans 1:23

                                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8:

Paul in Colossians 2:8 warned us about the ungodly philosophies of the world. "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy."

Recently I studied a text that surveyed some of these ideologies, critiquing  them from a Christian point of view.

I believe the Lord showed me something.

The less God is honored and exalted in each of these belief systems ... the more man-centered and wicked they become in a hurry!

Let me review them for you.

Preachers especially, take notes.

1. Theism is the belief in God as taught by the Bible! Here God is exalted, man is a sinner and Jesus is the Saviour!

2. But if God is not almighty and in control of His creation, if He is demoted just a little, you have, not theism, but Deism! This erroneous view says that God created the world, but then abandoned it to its own natural tendencies! This God is not over all and has no cares for His Own creation! These folks sometimes use the "clock and its maker" analogy for their worldview. God made this intricate "clock-like" world, wound it up and then walked off! We are "ticking" on our own now! There is still a God, but he's much smaller than we imagined!

3. Then when God is basically removed from His world, you come up with Naturalism. This philosophy just says that God is in everything! All of nature! The rocks and trees and wind and people too! In fact, God is not just in the rocks ... the rocks are gods themselves! And so are the people, little gods and goddesses!  Nature itself becomes divine!

4. Can you see a downward spiral here? Now we are at the "no God" status. He does not exist to the Nihilists. They say in essence that life has no meaning! Our existence is pointless! We are just like the animals. We are born then live and finally die and it's all over! One might say that Deism robbed God of His Omnipotent Glory and that Nihilism robs man of his glory too! Hence, nothing of any real value really exists!

5. Next comes Existentialism. As I understand this one, it is a reaction to Nihilism. It says, "Wait a minute. Man does have some value! But that value is determined by man or woman himself or herself. Man is his or her own creator, his or her own savior! We decide who and what we are! What we think ... we are!" God has no part in it at all! He is dead according to these folks!

6. Finally when a man sinks this low, he will a accept anything! Including the illogically senseless theories of the Eastern Religions and Monism. These are making a dramatic impact in America today! Basically they all, Buddhism and Hinduism and several others, teach that we all exist as part of the "Whole." Or the "Final Reality!" Man must empty himself and search and ultimately he will become "one" with the "Cosmos" or the "Perfection" or the "Force!" Monism means, if I understand it correctly, that the "One Source" is all and that mankind and womankind must strive to enter into that "One Source," wherein is found purpose and meaning to life!  "Mono" means "one" in Latin. We must yield ourselves to the Spirit of the universe! Here is not even a trace of the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible! In fact, to  me this one contains hints of sheer demonism. Empty thyself ... contact the Spirit Source!

7. Then comes what is often called the "New Age" Movement! Here man becomes god ... in an active and conscious manner! New Agers will tell you that they are divine! This system embraces paganism, neo-paganism, shamanism, spiritism and anything else that it desires to further elevate man's opinion of himself! This is basically a self-worship philosophy! What began with God on the Throne (Theism) is now Man on the Throne (New Ageism), ruling his universe! Creating his own religion as he sees fit!

8. Lastly, and currently, exists Postmodernism! This one almost defies definition! It denies the existence of truth, at least in an absolute sense! Something here can be right for one man but wrong for another! True in one situation but no so in another! Books and texts no longer have any authoritarian meaning intended by an author! They only mean what you construct them to mean! You only hear what you believe yourself to have heard! This system will inevitably lead to cultural anarchy! Knowledge itself is questioned ... as is language. The very meanings of words come under doubt! Everything becomes a cultural construct! I read where one postmodernist said that you are a woman only if you think you are! And like so for you men too! And postmodernism is always changing! Its tenets may be different next month than they are now! Things happen that way when there is no absolute Book or Text to guide a belief system! When mankind makes his own rules as he goes! Here man exists to have pleasure! Why else? Eat, drink and be merry! We exist to satisfy ourselves! There is no god here at all! No rules, just do what you think best!

9. But, bad as these are, they are not the end! Not yet anyway! This world has at least one more stage to undergo! It will follow a man called in Scripture the anti-christ. Anarchy will rule! War, death pestilence and upheaval as never before will lead to a world war directed against the little nation of Israel! But, don't worry! God will intervene!  And Hell will be filled ... with postmodernists and new age adherents and followers of the eastern religions and existentialists and nihilists and naturalists and even deists I'm afraid.

Only those who have trusted God's only begotten Son the Lord Jesus Christ and His shed Blood will live eternally in bliss and joy ... worshipping the One God Who is Triune and created the whole universe!

Blessed be His Name forever!

Jesus lives!

                                                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

CONCLUSION:

Believe what you will! I am going with God! I will accept the Bible as absolute Truth and Jesus as the only Saviour and His Blood as the only means of Redemption! I trust Him fully, He Who said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6

Then He added: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." John 5:24

To further clinch it Paul wrote: "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:13

THE END ... BUT REALLY IF YOU'RE SAVED, IT'S ONLY THE BEGINNING!

Postscript: This Preacher had made up his mind! I'm staying with the Word of God! This old world's philosophy leaves me hungry and thirsty! Scripture fills and satisfies me!

Romans 3:4 --- "Let God be true, but every man a liar."

John 6:68 --- "Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life."

Amen!

 

WE TRUST THIS SERIES OF BIBLE STUDIES HAVE BEEN A SOURCE OF BLESSING TO YOU! MAY GOD USE THEM TO HELP US GROW IN GRACE AND IN HIS KNOWLEDGE!

 

 

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