Sermon Discussion Questions: Colossians 2:8-23

Table of Contents

Sermon Recap

The Apostle Paul likely has in mind the story of the Exodus as he writes to the church in Colossae. In the book of Exodus, the story is told of how God used Moses to miraculously deliver His people, Israel, out of Egypt, where they lived in bondage under the heavy hand of Pharaoh. God brought them out of a place of hopelessness and despair and was moving them forward to a bountiful land that they could call their own. Yet, when the Israelites received a pessimistic report from the twelve men that were sent to spy out the promised land, instead of thanking God and trusting in His promises, here was their response:

Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?”And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” (Numbers 14:1-4)

Overcome by the fear of new challenges, Israel romanticized the past and longed to go back to Egypt. How tragic! They had already witnessed God’s providence and protection. Yet, they so quickly reverted back to their old way of thinking, old ideologies, and expressed a longing for their old way of living, even as laborious and troublesome as it was.

Paul, now writing to a young church, encourages these believers, not to go back to Egypt (so to speak). He has already told them to continue to walk in Christ and has warned them not to be taken captive by other ideologies, religions, and false doctrines. To do so would be the demise of the church in Colossae. He spends the rest of chapter 2, compelling them to cling to Christ alone, for in Him is the fullness of God; if they have Jesus, they don’t need another religion or ideology to complete them. The same is true for believers today.

Application Questions

In light of Sunday’s sermon on Colossians 2, think through and discuss the following application questions:

  1. Why do human beings (even Christians) have this propensity to go back to the familiar, even when the familiar is mundane or even harmful?

  2. The Colossians lived in a polytheistic community where they were often faced with the temptation to integrate surrounding cultural and/or religious (unbiblical) practices with Christianity; this is called syncretism.

    • a) Why does the Bible forbid syncretism?

    • b) In what ways do we see syncretism happening in the contemporary church?

  3. What strategy does Paul employ to combat the heresies that are threatening the church?

  4. Why is remembering who we are (and what we have) in Christ so imperative to our spiritual health?

  5. In the final section of chapter 2, Paul warns about falling into legalism and asceticism. He goes on to say that these practices are really enticing. Why do you think these types of “grand gestures for God” are so compelling, even today?