v1-5 - Christianity is not an individual sport. One of the ways God strengthens you to persevere is by surrounding you with other saints who are part of your church family. These people do what Paul was doing for the Colossians: they contend / struggle for you.
The goal for the church is to be a body of people "encouraged in heart and united in love (v2)."
This encouragement and love will enable you to have the most valuable thing possible: a complete understanding and knowledge of who Jesus is.
We need this love and encouragement to stay strong because we live in a world full of "fine sounding arguments" designed to pull us away from Christ.
v6-15 - Since you've received Christ as Lord, here's what you need to do:
Live in Him. Root yourself in Him, and He will build you up, strengthen you and cause you to bear fruits of gratitude.
Don't fall for the "fine sounding arguments" the world constantly hurls at you. They're lies.
Is fully God;
You now live in Him, so your old sinful nature has been killed and buried just as He was, and your new self has been raised to new life just as He was.
This means your sins are forgiven,
and you are no longer indebted to God.
v16-23 - It's not just the pagan world that's after you, trying to separate you from Christ, but there's also a threat from people who masquerade as being super religious.
Two thousand years ago when Paul wrote this letter, the church was threatened by people who wanted to add religious rituals and rules (both Jewish and pagan) to Christianity.
Today the threat comes more from those who want to pull your focus away from Christ and His atoning blood by forcing acceptance of ungodly sexual lifestyles and contrived racial categories.
Although the specifics of these threats change and morph over time, your response must remain steady: stand firm on the gospel presented in the unchanging Word of God.
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
The idea of a bland going-through-the-motions religion is as old as Cain's half-hearted sacrifice in Genesis 4. God responds with a stern warning to these sort of people in Isaiah 29:13-16.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: In this chapter’s shortest verse, Paul says that in Christ are hidden all the treasures of … what? (See verse 3.)
If Satan wrote down some guidelines and commands to get people to do just the opposite of what this chapter teaches, how do you think his message might be worded?
Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God has made you alive in Christ and has forgiven your sins (v13)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask God to strengthen you in your Spiritual Disciplines so that you can stand against all the forces trying to pull you away from Christ (v5).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: