Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. 5 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.  6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. (Col 2:4-7 NKJV).

Deception through persuasive words: Words can be very persuasive, mostly when filled with man’s “wisdom” appealing to the base nature of the “flesh.” The flesh can take on many forms, such as natural reasoning, what one is affectionate about, lust, immediate needs not being met, or fear about one’s future. I am sorry to say that many doctrines taught today are focused on the want or need of man rather than the desire of Father God and His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Worship music, in both lyrics and style, can appeal to the flesh rather than focus on the glory of God. It can hinder us from knowing His revealed purpose through the scriptures. If we took away all the trimmings, would much of Christian music have the same appeal?

Today, we find many forms of con, fraud, hoaxes, and scams in our culture, each is a manifestation of deception. These are found in the Media, publications, politics, and the plurality of religion. One problem is the passions of the flesh, which create an atmosphere for receiving deception. The lack of discernment in the body of Christ is a major problem preventing the church from her role of leading in the culture. Many of God’s people fail to discern truth from error.

Even in worship, it can be hard to tell true “spirit lead worship” from hype and sensuality, which appeals to our emotions and our flesh—the feel-good moment rather than the life-changing work of the Spirit. What I am addressing is at the heart of Paul’s concern or, as we saw in the last lesson, his conflict for the saints.

Importance of our spirit man:

At this point, we must be careful not to become “mystical” concerning the “spirit.” Adjective:

  1. relating to mystics or religious mysticism. “the mystical experience.”
  2. inspiring a sense of spiritual mystery, awe, and fascination.

“the mystical forces of nature.”

Definitions from Oxford Languages

When the Bible speaks to us of the “human spirit,” it connects the spirit to the whole person of man. Paul tells the church at Thessalonica that he is praying for them. He speaks of their entire spirit, soul, and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23). His prayer is for the sanctification of these three parts of our nature. The spirit of man is dead to a relationship with the “Spirit” of God because of sin, but God through regeneration has quickened or made alive our spirit through the blood of Jesus. “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy, He saves us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:15). What was regenerated? Our spirit man was made alive and brought into a “right standing” with God.

Spirit means breath. In Genesis, it records that God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.

Proverbs 20:27, which says, “The spirit of man is the lamp of Jehovah.”

John 3:6 says: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Sin caused death to the spirit of man and eventually death physically and finally for the unregenerate, eternal death and separation from God.

Paul lived out of His spirit, not out of the soulish realm. God’s Spirit quickened Paul’s spirit, which affected Paul’s soul and how he thought and viewed things. Paul was able to know in his spirit man what he would not know in his soulish man. As I taught in the last lesson, the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit works through our spirit and brings life to others in many diverse ways. This is not mystical but a mystery that is revealed by God’s Word, the Bible, so we might have some level of understanding. What I am saying relates to “The treasures of wisdom and knowledge” spoken about in (Colossians 2:3).

Paul continues in verse 5, saying, “rejoicing to see your good order and steadfastness of your faith in Christ” What order is he speaking?

Divine order: One of the principal graces found in the true apostolic gift to the body of Christ is to “set in order.” The early apostles did this after preaching the gospel of the kingdom to a city. They would return and check on the new disciples and ordain elders or shepherds in every city. These were men that were known as “servant leaders” among the people (see Acts 14:21-23).

The heart of a true leader in the kingdom of God is to see God’s house set in order. My friend, Dr. Stan DeKoven, the president of Vision International University, speaks of imitating the pattern of Jesus in some suggested biblical qualities that mimic the pattern which Jesus demonstrated. Qualities such as nurturing, teaching, discipling, building strong relationships that produced community, being an example to the saints of God, edification, encouragement, and exhortation. Paul summed up the requirement of a leader when writing to Timothy saying, “And the servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:24-26 NKJV).

“Steadfastness of your faith in Christ.” What is Paul addressing in the last part of verse 5? He is speaking of true discipleship. One of the fundamental Christian values of “Authentic Christianity” is “basic discipleship.” What has been reduced significantly over two thousand years of church history is “basic discipleship.” The creeds, ceremonial ordinances, and church membership have replaced discipleship. What is left when the Dove has departed is man’s ideas and not God’s. Our clearly stated confession found in God’s eternal word is sufficient. We do not need creeds, but a return to apostolic Christianity or “steadfastness” in the order of Christ and His apostles who revealed to us the mysteries of the kingdom of God.

Baptism is important to the process of a new life in Christ, not as a “religious symbol,” but the “commandment” of Peter in Acts 2:38 and explained by Peter in his epistle, “There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him” (1 Peter 3:21-22 NKJV). Paul also brings clarity when he writes about baptism in Romans 6:1-9. Romans 6 is a must study, and a must be understanding for the true disciple of Christ. Without this, we have not received the authentic gospel of Christ, but a mere religious system.

Verse 6 – “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” How we received Christ is so relevant to how we walk in Christ. In Peter’s first message on the “Day of Pentecost,” when asked by the Jews, “man and brethren what shall we do,” as the Holy Spirit was convicting them for crucifying the Lord of Glory. Peter responded by saying, “Then Peter said to them, Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:38-39 NKJV). This is about as authentic as it gets!

 How we received Christ is essential. As I studied for this lesson, I realized that I did not accept Christ based upon the full understanding which Peter and Paul bring us. I received through the traditions of my denomination, not the authentic word of God. Yes, my sins had been forgiven, but it took many years to grow into a genuine biblical encounter with the living God. My growth in Christ was hindered, which could have moved much faster if I had been taught the fullness of the “gospel of the kingdom of God” in full faith and power, along with persecution.

Vs. 7 Rooted and grounded in Christ-built up

established in the faith comes through teaching (Abounding and growing). Importance of thanksgiving for what we have learned regarding “the faith” found in Christ.

Examine yourself to see if you are in the faith (Christ’s Lordship). In 1 Corinthians 11:28, Paul reminds us to examine ourselves before partaking of the Lord’s Covenant meal. In Galatians 6:4, Paul again tells us to examine our work, and then we will have rejoicing in our self alone, and not another. His point is that we are all responsible for ourselves and the responsibilities we have received through the redemption of Christ.

I did not receive Christ biblically – I grew into accepting the  “teachings” of Christ, such as water, power, testing in many forms – study and learning to live “steadfastly.” In receiving Christ properly, deliverance from demonic strongholds, religious and philosophical worldly words. What I am saying is what Paul had concerns about believers. He carried the body of Christ in his heart for their full growth in Jesus Christ, our Lord.