Complete, Fully Equipped, and Ready to Go!
Today we shall discuss Colossians 2:1-10. I bring to your attention the key verse for our study today, Colossians 2:10: “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.” Guy King says that the word “complete” is a word picture in Greek. He wrote, “They tell me that it holds the idea of a ship fully rigged, and equipped, for the voyage.” Paul tells us, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God” (II Corinthians 3:5). In this verse "sufficiency" is from the Greek term "hikanotes," meaning "ability or competency to do a thing" (Thayer). Later, Paul told the saints in Corinth, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (II Corinthians 9:8). Here "sufficiency" is translated from the Greek word "autarkeia," meaning, "a perfect condition of life, in which no aid or support is needed" (Thayer).
Returning to the thought that in Christ we are like a ship fully rigged and equipped for the voyage of life, let us set sail! Psalm 107 comes to mind when God makes the analogy of our life like a ship at sea. The promise is “...He bringeth them unto their desired haven” (Psalm 107: 30b). We have nothing to worry about. We are sufficient for the journey because in Christ we are complete. Please notice:
I. Complete Love and the Assurance it Provides
(Colossians 2:1-3) You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving. Paul said, in Colossians 2:1a, “For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you....” The word “conflict” is translated from the Greek word, “agon.” This is where we get our English word “agony.” I recall years ago hearing the phrase, “agonize in prayer.” Rarely do I hear this phrase anymore. If we are going love like Paul, there will be agony in prayer and often in our service. Colossians 2:2a says, “That their hearts might be comforted....” The word “comforted” is “parakaleo” in Greek, meaning “encouraged” or “to call alongside of.” William Barclay commented on this verse with a classical Greek parallel. He wrote: “There was a Greek regiment which had lost heart and was utterly dejected. The general sent a leader to talk to it to such purpose that courage was reborn and a body of dispirited men became fit again for heroic action.” The heart is the center of our thinking faculty as exemplified in Matthew 24:48: “But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming.” This is why Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” We are emotional beings, but we are not to allow our emotions to pull us away from a close walk with God that yields forth fruit of righteousness. “Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way” (Proverbs 23:19). This verse is saying that we are to see that we guide our heart, not let our heart guide us.
It is hard not to think of love when we use the word “heart.” So also Paul said in Colossians 2:2b, “...being knit together in love....” Francis Schaeffer called the unity of the Church, “the final apologetic to the watching world.” Jesus prayed, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17:21). Our apparent love to one another convinces the world that the faith we have is real and our love actually becomes a great incentive for a lost world to believe!
The latter part of Colossians 2:2 tells us that the more we know of Christ and His Deity, the greater our assurance. The truth is hidden with Christ; the key therefore is knowing Him. Colossians 2:3 points out the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are “hid” (from the Greek word, “apokruphos”) in Christ.
II. Complete Dedication and the Stability it Establishes
(Colossians 2:4-7) In Colossians 2:4, Paul warns, “...lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.” Lightfoot comments on what Paul is thinking here: “I wish to warn you against anyone who would lead you astray by specious argument and persuasive rhetoric.”
Paul is in prison; that why he says, “...though I be absent...” (Colossians 2:5a). Although he is not present he is rejoicing that they are in “order” (“taxis”, Greek). “Taxis” refers to a line of soldiers drawn up for battle. The apostle is also rejoicing in their “stedfastness” (“stereoma” in Greek). “Stereoma” refers to the solidity of a formation of soldiers. As I see this parallel I think back to seeing the young men at West Point marching shoulder to shoulder in perfect precision. Colossians 2:6 tells us, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him” (Colossians 2:6). This means we shall “walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us” (Ephesians 5:2). It means we shall “walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8). We shall “walk worthy” (Ephesians 4:1). We shall “walk in truth,” (III John, verse 4). We shall “walk in wisdom toward those that are without” (Colossians 4:5). We shall “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16,25). When we are turning away from beguiling and enticing words and when we march in cadence to our heavenly calling in Christ we become “rooted and built up and established in the faith...” (Colossians 2:7a). The phrase “built up” is “epoikodomoumenoi” which is a present-tense participle indicating continuous action. As we grow in grace, God establishes the believer continuously through His word.
III. Complete Union and the Confidence it Secures
(Colossians 2:8-10) The word “philosophy” comes to us from two Greek words: “phileo” (to love) and “sophia” (wisdom). Philosophy is the love and pursuit of wisdom. Man from time immemorial has been asking, “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” and “Where am I going?” Philosophy pathetically attempts to answer these questions. Without God the mere musings of the miniscule mind of man is vain, empty pursuit. His beginning point is his own egotistical, narcissistic self and will therefore never arrive at ultimate reality. Friedrick Nietzsche declared God was dead, yet he could not live within the perimeters of his own reasonings. He spent the last eleven years of his life insane.
Colossians 2:8 says, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit...” “Spoil you” is from the compound Greek word “sulagogeo” made up of “sule” (booty) and “ago” (carry off). It literally means to carry off as a spoil or booty of war. In other words, it means to kidnap. “Vain deceit” is empty deception. The “tradition” would not be the good traditions of Bible teaching or moral culture; it is referring to the lies that have been handed down from one person to another. Don’t allow yourself to be kidnapped by any kind of heresy. “Rudiments” is the Greek word “stoicheia” referring to primary letters of the alphabet. Paul is saying you have advanced in Christ; don’t go back to your ABCs. It is like a graduate student going back to kindergarten. Let us follow the admonition of Hebrews 11:6, “...let us go on unto perfection....” “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). The word “dwelleth” is synonymous with “home address.” In Christ all the fullness (pleroma) of the Godhead dwells in bodily form.
In closing today’s study, we see “...ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:10). You are fully rigged, equipped and ready for launching into the deep. Through Christ, you are ready for anything and everything life’s voyages have to offer you.
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