Sept 24, 2017

Mature in Christ: Life Group Study 5

SPIRITUAL CONTEXT:

Given what we've already learned of them, it would be easy to cast the Colossians as simple-minded people who were gullible to any argument that would prevent them from fully embracing the Christian message.  As this passage shows us, however, their desire to cling to new teachings is rooted in real human needs.  The Colossians concerns are our concerns.

Like all Christians trying to live a life that pleases the Lord, they were wrestling with their sin.  While they heard the Cross was enough to free them from sin's power, their experience told them otherwise.  They kept sinning in heart, body, and mind, and this frustrated them.  They felt trapped by their sin, and this lead them to feel distant from God.

Into this situation came the false teachers.  They taught that, by adhering to their teachings, the Colossians could finally escape the tyranny of sin.  This is why the Colossians were so ready to believe and follow them.

LITERARY CONTEXT:

This is a transitional passage. It begins to connect the cosmic truth of the Gospel to how one should live. Before moving to the ethical ramifications of the Gospel, this section begins to more deeply root the individual's life in what they ALREADY ARE in Jesus.


Scripture | Colossians 2:6-15

  1. Describe a time in your life when you felt like you Jesus wasn't fully yours (or you weren't fully His). What was that like? What made you believe that? How did you try to become fully His?
  2. What do you think it means to "walk in", be "rooted" in, be "built up in" Jesus? Established in the faith? What does this have to do with "receiving Christ Jesus the Lord"? Verses 6—7
  3. The terms "philosophy" and "human traditions" are used here with the general meaning of "a particular teaching or argument". Also, "elemental spirits of the world" refers to the tenants of pagan religions that held the gods, goddesses, and other lesser gods must be appeased for deeper spiritual connection (i.e. Atonement for sin) and protection from evil. Verse 8
    What is Paul saying to the Colossians in this verse? Why would these teachings and traditions be attractive to the Colossians? How might they hold the Colossians "captive"?
  4. What is Paul saying to us? What are our versions of the "elemental spirits of the world" that shape the "philosophies" and "human traditions" we face today? Why are they attractive to us? How might these teachings hold us "captive"?
  5. What is Paul saying here? What verb tense does Paul use here? Why to you think Paul keeps repeating this point? Verses 9—10
  6. Before looking at the beautiful Gospel truths expounded in these verses, read this passage as a whole. What tense is Paul using here? What is he trying to get the Colossians (and us) to understand? Why is it difficult for us to believe what Paul is writing is true? Verses 11—15
  7. What is "circumcision"? What is Paul saying here about the Christian? Verse 11
  8. What does it mean that have been "buried with Christ"? What does it mean that we have been raised from the dead"? How is this good news for you? Verses 12—13
  9. According to these two verses, how does Christ "disarm" sin? Does this verse feel true in your own life? Why or why not? Verses 14—15