Posted by Elfriede Copple
We have been studying the Book of Revelation but the other day while reading Colossians 2:1-23 I realized that this relates to Revelation 3:14-22.
Colossians 2:1 – Paul writes:
“For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea,…”
Laodicea is the seventh of the Seven Churches Jesus speaks to in Revelation 3:14-22. Laodicea is the “lukewarm/complacent” church! They considered themselves “rich, wealthy and have need of nothing” as Laodicea was the centre for three major industries which were banking, textiles and medicines in those days.
Paul tells them in Colossians 2:2-3 that he desires, “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”.
Life in Laodicea was very difficult for the Christians. For example, in order to get into the “Market Place” where all the trade happened they had to burn incense at the gate in honor and to worship the god of gods—who was “Caesar”! This was a requirement put in place by “man”! God commands that believers have no other gods beside Him though!
Further, in order to belong to the guild—a circle business people were to join—you had to worship other gods (for trade and blessings with finances), and attend the annual celebrations which would end up being festivals of drinking, eating food sacrificed to idols, and sexual immorality that took place in temples of the various gods! A place in complete violation of God’s commands!
To drive home the point, Paul warns them in verses 4-5 not to be deceived with persuasive words but to be steadfast in their faith in Christ. DO NOT FALL FOR THIS!
In Colossians 2:8, 16-18 and 20-23 Paul gives us a preview of what the Christians in Laodicea will have to deal with, and how they will have to stand fast in their faith in order to not fall for the temptation to comply with men’s traditions just so that they can do business.
Colossians 2:8: “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”.
Colossians 2:16-18: “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,”
Colossians 2:20-23: “Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations—Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle, which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.”
Are we complying with some of men’s traditions in order to fit in or to belong to the world?
May we stay firm in the Lord!
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Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.