Get Focused: Check the Warning Label

Colossians 2.6 – 2.23

Intro: Warning Labels
I get in my car and there are three warnings posted on my visor: high rollover risk; airbag; and seatbelt.

Other places we see warning labels:
prescription drugs
Surgeon General’s Warning: Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and may complicate pregnancy.
On coffee: Caution: Hot!

Many warning labels today are to prevent people from suing. This makes way for some interesting warning labels. These were found at

~"Caution: The contents of this bottle should not be fed to fish." — On a bottle of shampoo for dogs.
~"Recycled flush water unsafe for drinking." — On a toilet at a public sports facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
~"Do not drive with sunshield in place." — On a cardboard sunshield that keeps the sun off the dashboard.
~"Do not use for drying pets." — In the manual for a microwave oven.
~"Do not use as ear plugs." — On a package of silly putty.
~"Caution: Remove infant before folding for storage." — On a portable stroller.
~"Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly." — On a child sized Superman costume.

Scripture as Warning
2 Timothy 3:16 "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness"

Paul’s letters contain encouragement and they contain warning. They contain some correction of course for the specific body of believers.
Remember Epaphras went to Paul because he knew that correction was needed.

Ps 23 “thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me”
The rod, was like a club, which he used to fend off wild beasts or predators (instrument of authority). The staff or crook, which we more often see in our pictures of Christ, is used to guide and control the sheep (instrument of comfort).

The shepherd is entrusted with great responsibility for the flock. In Ezekiel 34, the shepherds have failed and God says, “I … will hold them accountable for my flock.”

Epaphras has a responsibility to correct the course of the Colossians and Paul writes with authority to assist and to uplift Epaphras teaching.

The Correction
Key verse of this passage and maybe the whole book of Colossians:
"continue to live your lives in him, 7rooted and built up in him and firm in your faith just as you were taught"

They were taught the truth. Continue in it, Paul exhorts, using 3 metaphors:
Rooted, from horticulture
Built up, from architecture
Firm, from law

The Warning
8Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

The Philosophy
16Therefore do not let anyone judge you with respect to food or drink, or in the matter of a feast, new moon, or Sabbath days—17these are only the shadow of the things to come, but the reality is Christ!

18 … the worship of angels …

21“Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!” 22These are all destined to perish with use, founded as they are on human commands and teachings.

Paul goes on to say (v.9f) that the fullness of God lives in Christ, and that the Colossians are in Christ, so that fullness dwells in them. They are complete. The false teachers were saying they were not complete. That there was something lacking. That they needed to do something else to be complete. But Paul says through Christ salvation is a done deal.

12Having been buried with him in baptism, you also have been raised with him through your faith in the power of God who raised him from the dead.

Even though you were dead in your sins, he made you alive with him. Your sins are forgiven.

14He has destroyed what was against us, a certificate of indebtedness expressed in decrees opposed to us. He has taken it away by nailing it to the cross.

An IOU was nailed to the cross. A debt that we could never repay, was paid through the work of Christ on the cross.

15Disarming the rulers and authorities, he has made a public disgrace of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

There is nothing that has power over you, because you are in Christ. Christ is the victor; he has disarmed the powers of Satan, the powers of hell. They still exist, they have not been removed from this world, so they may be hostile toward humankind.
Romans 8.38-39 "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

But you who are in Christ, continue to live your lives in him, 7rooted and built up in him and firm in your faith just as you were taught,

Stay in the Word
Wesley’s theology was influenced by Scripture, Reason, Tradition, and Experience, known as the Wesleyan Quadrilateral.
~Scripture is always primary

~Reason: thinking can be faulty
Romans 12.2 be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
Colossians 3.2 Keep thinking about things above …

~Tradition – Is tradition based on Scripture? Not “we’ve always done it that way” – why do we do it that way? Not because of mere human tradition: v.8 deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions

~Experience – Does experience line up with Scripture?
John 8.44 Satan, a liar
44You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Rev 12.9 Satan, a deceiver
9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

2 Cor 11.14 Satan, an angel of light

Stay Connected to the Body
2 Peter 1.20
20Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

19He has not held fast to the head from whom the whole body, supported and knit together through its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God.

Remember from 1.1 that the letter is from Paul and Timothy and in 1:3 “Each time we pray for you …”

  • Stay Connected to Christ: stay free in Christ
  • Stay in the Word
  • Stay connected to the body

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