What is bothering him, what is keeping him up at night, is there's these new ideas infiltrating the church at Colossae and at Laodicea. Little thoughts, new ideas, novel fresh ideas about Jesus.
There's so much concerning the Colossian church and what you can learn from how he dealt with it. But first, here's a resource designed to help you know and follow the will of God. What is God's will for your life? Skip Heitzig has biblical direction. The will of God is not some mystical, impractical, ethereal process that makes you weird.
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That's connectwithskip.com slash offer. Now Skip is in Colossians 2 as we join him for today's study. Colossians chapter 2. So I brought this with me. No, my name is not Mike Lindell, but this is my pillow. All of us have one of these, I'm guessing.
Not all of us have a good relationship with this. Some people get up at night. Some people find it hard falling asleep. There's a thing called sleep deprivation.
If you've ever had that and tried to function during the day, you know how difficult that can be. A couple of true stories. One man said, I once spent five minutes searching desperately for my cell phone. This is a guy who didn't get enough sleep. I spent five minutes searching desperately for my cell phone, complaining the whole time about it being missing to my wife who I was talking to on my cell phone. This went on until she timidly asked, are you using your cell phone right now?
It was such an out of body experience that I just hung up. Here's another man who didn't get enough sleep. He admitted this. He said, many years ago I had to do a presentation, and when I got to the meeting and opened up my briefcase, I realized that I had been carrying a backgammon board all morning. Not his briefcase.
He was there to play a game. So if you have trouble with this, if you have trouble sleeping, you're not alone. Between 50 and 70 million Americans find it difficult to have some kind of sleep disorder for a variety of reasons. Sometimes those reasons are physiological reasons. It could be they had too much caffeine. It could be that they have physical pain and it's hard to fall asleep when you're in pain. It could be that they have a breathing problem like sleep apnea. And then other times it's an environmental reason. You're too cold.
You're too hot. There's too much light in the room. Your husband or wife is snoring or moving, and you find yourself affected by that. Sometimes people go to sleep, but they can't sleep because they are dealing with things emotionally. So for instance, they have anxiety about the future, or they're replaying the past events of that day, or they are angry at somebody. It's unresolved anger. They just keep stewing in it over and over again in their minds. Or they have a guilty conscience.
Guilty conscience will give you a bad relationship with one of these. Strained relationships, depression, all of these things will keep you up or get you up at night. Now I've given this message the title, What Keeps an Apostle Up at Night? Not to suggest that Paul the Apostle had trouble sleeping.
I don't believe necessarily that he did, but I say that as an expression because something is bothering him. Paul the Apostle is greatly concerned about an issue. In fact, if you look in verse 1 of chapter—I'm not going to hold this pillow the whole time—notice how he begins this chapter. Conflict, struggle, agony. It means an intense strain. Paul is bothered about something. Something's keeping him up at night.
This is not unusual. If you know the writings of Paul, remember when he gave that little list or that rather long list of all the things he has suffered as an apostle. 2 Corinthians 11, perils of robbers, perils in the seas, have rocks thrown at me, et cetera, et cetera. He ends by saying, beside the other things, what comes on me daily, my deep concern for all the churches.
So what you are about to read is that concern for this church. Chapter 2, again, verse 1, I want you to know what great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Now this I say, lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words, for though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted, built up in Him, established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and you are complete in Him who is the head of all principality and power.
All right, a couple of things. Number one, Paul never met this group. He didn't start this church. We think Epaphras started this church. Epaphras went to Paul.
Paul's in prison in Rome. He hears what's going on, and it bothered him enough. Conflict, he talks about. It bothered him enough to write this letter. And what is bothering him, what is keeping him up at night, is there's these new ideas infiltrating the church at Colossae and at Laodicea. Little thoughts, new ideas, novel, fresh ideas about Jesus. So Paul's concern is that these teachers are so good at what they do, so persuasive, that the church is going to be swayed by it.
So Paul is very vulnerable here when he says, that bothers me. That keeps me up at night. Mark Twain once said, a lie can make its way halfway around the world while truth is still lacing up its boots. It's true. It's true that falsehood travels quickly. Lies travel quickly.
Gossip travels quickly. Truth makes progress sometimes at a snail's pace. Well, we have 10 verses that I want to take you through. I just read them to you. True Confession. When I originally outlined this paragraph, I had like six or seven points to bring you.
And I thought, no, I got to try harder. So I discovered that I could boil it all down to three words, three basic concerns, and I'll state them in just single words. Three basic concerns of Paul. Believe, behave, beware. Believe, I want you to know something.
You got to know it, understand it, believe it. Behave, not just know. You must grow in that.
You've got to grow in your lifestyle. And then the third one, beware. Be slow to entertain other people's bad opinions about Jesus. So these three words, believe, behave, beware.
Let's take each one, one at a time. First of all, believe. Now listen, Paul's first concern for them is that they believe the right things about Jesus, that they have an understanding and a knowledge. In fact, in verse 2, he uses those two words, that their hearts may be encouraged being knit together in love and attaining to all the riches of the full assurance of understanding to the knowledge of the mystery of God.
That's his basic concern is that they have the right knowledge and understanding which will affect their love in that church. Now I'm going to have you look at a word in verse 2, the third word in, hearts, that their hearts may be encouraged. Here in the West, here in our modern Western culture, we speak of the heart once we get past the fact that it's the vital organ of the body. We usually talk about the heart as the place where we feel things, your emotions, the seed of your emotions. And we Christians even do this. We'll say things like, it's not about head knowledge, it's about heart knowledge, right?
You've heard that before. It's not that you know things in your head, you've got to know things in your heart. And we often set up a false dichotomy of your heart versus your head.
That's a very unhealthy paradigm to set up. Because from a biblical perspective, in ancient Near Eastern biblical perspective, the heart was the mind. They're synonymous with each other. It says in Proverbs 23, as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. So it's the place where you process your thoughts. It is the seat of your will. It is the place you understand or don't understand things.
That is your heart. So we might talk about the heart, but this is the biblical heart, the mind, the will, the understanding. So what Paul is saying in these first five verses is this. Look, I'm really concerned that you guys have doubts in your mind as to who Jesus Christ really is. And those doubts about Jesus are going to disrupt your unity, or what he calls being knit together in love. Also, there's an overarching emphasis in this entire paragraph, and that is the emphasis of contrast between Jesus Christ and human philosophy. Look at verse 8. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. So I want you to know, believe, understand in your heart.
There's these philosophies out there that are against what you know to be true, what you have been taught is true, and those philosophies are spread by persuasive words. Again, look at verse 4. This I say, lest anyone should deceive you with pervasive words.
Now, I'm drawing your attention to all this because I want you to see all of these things are mental activities, mental activities. They need to understand who Jesus is, that he's the creator, the sustainer, the head of the church, the reconciler of humanity. Now he adds a couple more, the repository of all wisdom and all knowledge, and, by the way, in Jesus is all of the fullness of the Godhead bodily. So Paul is setting out the truth of who Jesus is as opposed to false philosophies. They need to believe.
They need to know. All right, what you believe about Jesus is the most important thing about you. That's what A.W.
Tozer once said. He said, what a person believes about God is the most important thing about that person. I'll take it a step further. What you believe about Jesus Christ is the most important thing about you. All of us are theologians. You might think, well, I'm not a theologian. I don't do theology. Actually, you do. You have some opinion as to who God is.
Everybody does. You can't avoid being a theologian. The question is, are you a good one or a bad one? So the more you know and understand the truth, the more you will be able to detect error. The more you are able to detect error, you will be able to stand up against those who promote error. That's verse 5. Though I am absent in the flesh, I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your, notice this, good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.
Those happen to be military terms. Good order, steadfastness. It speaks about soldiers who stand in formation and make a solid, united front. Standing together for the truth. So knowing the truth will keep you standing strong and help you stay together.
I'm going to throw something on the screen from one of my favorite commentators. James Montgomery Boyce wrote, we do not have a strong church today, nor do we have many strong Christians. We can trace the cause to an acute lack of sound, spiritual knowledge.
You've heard me say stuff like that over and over and over again over the years. They have forgotten what God is like and what He promises to do for those who trust Him. Ask an average Christian to talk about God.
After getting past the expected answers, you will find that His God is a little God of vacillating sentiments. Now, if you ever wonder why I do Bible exposition, this is why I do it. If you ever wonder why always a Bible study, every time I come to church, you guys got to spend a long time doing a Bible study.
This is why. I don't want anyone who comes here to ever be spiritually illiterate. I want you to be the best loved and best fed congregation in this state. And frankly, I am scared because I know what the Bible says about the last time. It's funny how a lot of us get so into end times, last days, we're in the last days.
Good. Hallelujah. But understand what comes along with the last days. Deception comes along with the last days. That's part of the promise of Scripture. 2 Timothy, Paul says, The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.
That's last days. But according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers and will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables. You want to know the truth? If the average church cut out time from the sermon and played more music and sang more songs, most people would be okay with that. If the average church took away exposition, and I'm of the opinion that most churches already have taken away exposition, and if they replaced it with exhortation, people would be okay with that. Jeremiah chapter 5, God says to the prophet, An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land. The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power, and My people love to have it so.
Here's a case in point. In the year 1636. Not that I expect any of you here to remember what that year was like, but let me tell you, in 1636, that was just 16 years after the Pilgrim Fathers landed at Plymouth Rock. They decided 16 years later, we need a school.
We need to educate preachers, clergymen, for the gospel's sake. And they decided to name the school after one of their best-known young preachers by the name of John Harvard. And Harvard University was founded, and the founding fathers stated their purpose. After God had carried us safe to New England, and we had builded our houses.
I love the way they talked back then. We builded our houses, provided necessaries for our livelihood, reared convenient places for God's worship, and settled the civil government. One of the next things we longed for and looked after was to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity. We want our kids and grandkids to grow up smart, dreading, listen to this, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches when our present ministers shall lie in the dust. Well, good and bad, yes, Harvard University didn't leave an illiterate ministry, but they did leave an unbiblical ministry years later.
If you look at Harvard University and their School of Theology now, they are so far to the left and have denied most every central truth of the Christian faith. So, this is what kept Paul up at night. He could see that this was a possibility. I want you guys to know, understand, believe the truth about Jesus. So, believe is his first directive. Second one, behave. Don't just believe, but behave.
Let your activity catch up with your mind. Verse 6, As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord. How many here have received Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior?
Okay, good. You're the ones that are saved. If you have received Christ as Lord, you are saved. So, as you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, here it is, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. His first concern is that they know. His second concern is that they grow, that they know the truth, but that they grow in their trust of the Lord Jesus Christ. And he uses the term walk.
We've already looked at this once before in this letter. As you have therefore received Christ Jesus as Lord, so walk in him. What does it mean to walk in Christ? That's your lifestyle. That's what you do every day of your life. A walk is a biblical term for your lifestyle, how you conduct your life. It's the consistent conduct over an entire lifetime.
It's how you live your life. That's your walk. He already used this word in chapter 1, verse 10, when he said, I pray that you might walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing him. He will use it again in chapter 3, verse 6. Because of these things, the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
You used to have a lifestyle as an unbeliever of an unsafe person. And he will use the word again in chapter 4, verse 5, walk in wisdom toward those who are outside. That's the unbelieving world. Be very wise around unbelievers. That's the walk of the believer. Now, the idea here for walking him is simply this, continue to believe the truth about Jesus Christ. Don't stop believing the truth about Jesus. And let the truth of Jesus affect every part of your life. That's your walk.
Let it affect every part of your life. That wraps up Skip Heitzig's message from his series, Always Only Jesus. Find the full message, as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Now, here's Skip to share how you can keep these messages coming your way to connect you and many others around the world with God's word. As Christians, we have a calling, and that is to win souls for Jesus, even as we await our glorious future with him in heaven. And so our goal is to come alongside friends like you to encourage you to keep sharing Christ with others as long as you have the chance to do so. That's why we share these faith-building messages, and today you can take action to ensure these teachings keep reaching you and so many others worldwide. One major push this year is to grow the reach of these broadcasts into more major U.S. cities, and you can help make that possible with your generosity.
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800-922-1888. Thank you for your generosity. And come back tomorrow as Skip wraps up his message and reminds you that in Jesus you are complete. There's nothing more you need. If Jesus is all you've got, it's because Jesus is all you need. In Him is the fullness of God, and by the way, verse 10, you are complete in Him, same word, play Roma. Fullness of God is in Jesus. Jesus made you complete. Make a connection Make a connection At the foot of the crossing Cast all burdens on His word Make a connection Connection Connect with Skip Hyten is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
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