Small Group Discussion
Colossians (Part 4) - Subverting The Empire - Colossians 2:6-23
Paul Molyneux - 15 August, 2010
When Paul wrote to the Colossians he was reminding them that being ‘in Christ’ will transform the way a Christ follower lives. Paul’s desire was that we are perfect (complete) in Christ.
Read Col 2:6-10
What is translated here as “continue to live” created in the Greek listener a picture of a man walking steadily toward his goal, maybe even shuffling, never slowing, never stopping, never quitting, never taking a break, never resting, never getting tired, never thinking about how God isn’t meeting his needs and answering his prayers the way he wants – but believing that Jesus is ALL WE NEED, that he is sufficient, he brings freedom, he brings peace, life, joy, forgiveness and so on.
Paul mentions some metaphors of spiritual progress, to be ‘deeply rooted’ is a past tense meaning the foundation will never change, for the Christian it means Christ has done everything necessary. Paul then uses the terms built up, strengthened and overflowing, these are present tense and are a daily experience for Christ followers.“Being built” implies that believers are still under construction and not yet a finished product. Paul also tells his audience to be thankful – theology should never leave us with just a greater understanding of God’s character but should result in gratitude and love and obedience.
Our faith is growing when it bears fruit of thankfulness.
Paul has reminded the Colossian church that Christ is enough and in v8 Paul starts to address some ‘philosophies’ that were being ‘added’ to the gospel. Paul reminds us that the gospel should lead us to Christ and bring freedom, these ‘philosophies’ led to deception.
In Col 2:11-15 Paul talks about circumcision but the Gentile Christians in Colosse had no need to conform to circumcision because this spiritual “circumcision” was done by Christ, not by man. Circumcision was external…and by the hand of man whereas Jesus has already done the work and is after our heart (internal). Throughout the rest of this passage Paul lists some other ‘philosophies’ that were hindering their growth in Christ.
How to Live in Christ
1. Aim for Balance: in all aspects of our Christian life we should aim for balance while never loosing or be lacking in passion and zeal.
2. Wise Counsel: wise counsel happens most effectively in community with people who are journeying spiritually with you. It is a great privilege to be able to learn together and hear different perspectives within the safety of community; here at Citylife this takes place primarily within our life groups.
3. Avoid Comparisons: one of the major challenges being experienced by the Colossian church was the comparisons being made between the Jews and Gentile Christians, Paul responds to those comparisons in this chapter. For us today we need to learn that constant comparisons will actually distract us from the work that God is doing within us. It is important for us ‘being rooted in Christ’ to realise that He is enough in every aspect of our lives and as we lift our gaze and focus to Jesus our desire for comparing ourselves to others will decrease. Comparing ourselves to others will not liberate us but actually bring bondage into our lives.
Paul is saying if you want to make progress in your Christian life you must learn to ‘live in’ Christ, not just ‘live for’ Christ and be aware of ‘philosophies’ that want to rob and distract you becoming all God wants you to be.
- Discuss a recent experience that has helped you to be ‘built up and strengthened’?
- What ‘philosophies’ do you see distracting Christians from believing ‘Christ is all we need’?
- What are some practical ways we can ‘live in Christ’?
Finish your time together praying for one another, for experiences that will cause us to be ‘built up and strengthened’, that we would not be distracted from living in Christ and believing as Paul taught the Colossians, that Christ is all we need.