Monday, February 26, 2007


Col 2:16 False Religion

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Col 2:16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.
Col 2:17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.
Col 2:18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind,
Col 2:19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
Col 2:20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations--
Col 2:21 "Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch"
Col 2:22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)--according to human precepts and teachings?
Col 2:23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

Biblical Archaeologist. glamorous job, and that I would unearth some exciting treasure like the Ark of the Covenant or something.. All across the globe, when archaeologists unearth a historical crypt or grave, they are often disappointed to learn grave robbers have long since looted many of the valuable artifacts. In my opinion, there is a tragedy occurring that is far worst than anything grave-robbers can do. It is the tragedy of grace-robbers: And grace is more valuable than gold or silver. Two thousand years ago, the Apostle Paul was in prison when he heard some false teachers were going around to the churches.
They were grace-robbers

Paul warns us not to allow anyone to beguile us out of our reward. The word "beguile" means, "to defraud or cheat." Our reward refers to what we attain at the judgement seat of Christ by following the path of true spirituality (1 Corinthians 3:14). Following false teachers will never lead to true spirituality.
False teachers beguile people by acting very humble, but are really putting on false humility. They claim superior knowledge and revelation from God that is not available to anyone else. They have seen a vision or heard a voice from God. In reality they have seen nothing, but are "puffed up by their fleshly mind." It is not spirituality, but carnality and pride. They impress the undiscerning with their claims of superior revelation from God.
We are warned to beware of the false prophets. False prophets appear to look like us, but in reality they are out to destroy the flock. Remember Satan can transform his ministers into angels of light (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). No one has any superior knowledge or revelation from God. God has given us one source of knowledge–the Bible. The only way God speaks today is through His word. We must search the scriptures.
False Teachers influence Others:
By Emphasizing a false humility "delighting in self abasement"
You are humble because of your discipline and your voluntary restrictions which you have imposed on yourself. Your humility is not based on what God says about you as a sinner, but rather on what you yourself have done or not done. This makes others feel guilty because they do not do what you do. They are not humble like you are - false humility based on asceticism.
By Exalting angels Drawing people's attention away from Jesus to angelic creatures (whether good or evil). The Gnostics tried to emphasize their humility by using God's angels as intercessors instead of coming directly to God in prayer.
By Exercising authority based on your experiences rather than on the Word of God.
"taking his stand on visions he has seen" This causes people to look to experiences rather than Christ, and thus rob themselves of the "prize" or reward of true growth in Christ.
By Elevating your importance in the eyes of others the true source here is "fleshly mind" the mind of his flesh - that which is controlled by your sinful flesh. You want people to look to you rather than to Christ!
They always Substitute for the authority of Christ "not holding last (not deriving strength) to the head"
They always Stop the growth process of the body
1. False Religion Promotes Unhelpful Legalism
Legalism (Colossians 2:16): Man made rules or religious duties than earn salvation or make us spiritual. This inflates our spiritual egos and makes us self-righteous. Legalistic people tend to be judgmental and have an attitude of superiority.
Legalism is always interested in the superficial
Specific Diet - "food or drink"
Dietary restrictions in the Old Testament were primarily established to make Israel a
peculiar and holy nation, separate from all the nations around them. cf. Lev. 11:44-47;
20:25-26 This verse does not tell us to avoid food and drink, but rather to not let anyone judge us in this matter. The separation between Jew and Gentile has been removed in the body of Christ!
Special Days - "festival (annual feasts)"
('new moon" (monthly worship) or "Sabbath Day" (weekly observance) These occasions were a part of Israel's uniqueness and separation from the nations. Here is a warning against trying to set up standards and regulations for believers today based upon O.T. practices for Israel.

Legalism always ignores the essential
The Shadow
is not the reality - it merely points to the reality Cf. Heb. 10:1
The Substance (body) to which the "shadow" points is Christ! Things that are good in themselves can often substitute for that which is the best and most important.
John Bayer is now a Southern Baptist Foreign Missionary in Panama. His calling to foreign missions began on a mission trip to Australia. During that trip he encountered an elderly Catholic woman. When the subject of prayer was discussed the woman said, "I have to pray to Mother Mary every day or my day just won't go right." Bayer shared the promise of Scripture that we can pray directly to Jesus. The woman replied, "But Mary is close to Jesus. She is His mother and she will take my prayer to Him." Bayer then felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to gently ask, "If you were sick and you had your choice of calling the doctor or the doctor's mother, who would you call?" She acknowledged that she had never thought about it that way. They then prayed together and that dear woman heard a prayer directed to Jesus for the very first time. When she opened her eyes, tears trickled down her cheeks as she said, "Thank you for coming." "Since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus...let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith..."
Hebrews 10:19 Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that He has inaugurated for us, through the curtain (that is, His flesh); 21 and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled [clean]from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water.
The great British pastor Charles Spurgeon expressed it this way: “If there be one stitch in the celestial garment of our righteousness which we are to insert ourselves, then we are lost. But this is our confidence: the Lord who began will perfect. He has done it all, must do it all, and will do it all....To wash and dress a corpse is a far different thing from making it alive: Man can do the one, God alone can do the other.”
The shadow can get in the way of the substance.
So often our churchianity gets in the way of our Christianity.
Legalism always intrudes the ego.
Abusively these people Col 2:16 "judge you" Therefore don’t let anyone judge you in regard to food and drink or in the matter of a festival or a new moon or a sabbath day.
It becomes an anxiety attack over what may or may not offend them. You can’t read other people’s minds and try and anticipate whether you are pleasing these people or not. Why waste your time and energy.
J. Vernon McGee writes about a country boy down South years ago who wanted to join the church. In this church, the deacons examined everyone before they could join. They asked him, “How did you get saved?” His answer was, “God did his part, and I did my part.” They were at little concerned with this answer, so they asked him, “What was God’s part and what was your part?” His answer is classic. He said, “God’s part was the saving, and my part was the sinning. I done run from him as fast as my sinful heart and rebellious legs could take me. But God done took out after me till He run me down.” That’s the way all of us are saved. If it is by works, then it is not of grace–but if it is of grace, then none of it is by works!

2. False Religion Pursues Unprofitable Mysticism
Mysticism (Colossians 2:18): The teaching that we can get special messages from God through meditation, mediums, visions, voices from heaven, etc. It is based upon some personal, mysterious, or subjective experience.
In 1975 there was a popular song on radio and movies called “Feelings,” by Morris Albert. Every body seemed to be singing it. “Feelings, nothing more than feelings; / Trying to forget my feelings of love; / Feelings, whoa, whoa, whoa feelings…” Sadly, there are some people whose faith can be described by the first line, “Feelings, nothing more than feelings.” There ARE feelings in the Christian life, but there is “something more than feelings” and that something more is God’s amazing grace.
Mysticism will encourage spiritual elitism
The Bible speaks of people who “delight in false humility.” In the church at Colosse, there were people who had claimed to have special revelations or visions from God. They were called “Gnostics” from the word that meant “special knowledge.” They acted humble, but inwardly they were proud of their level of spirituality. When I was in college, I had some Christian friends who were claiming to experience a second blessing, which they called “the baptism in the Holy Spirit.” As someone laid hands on them they had an emotionally thrilling experience in which they began to speak in tongues. They kept after me to try it. They were disappointed I didn’t receive the baptism, because I hadn’t prayed in tongues. One of them suggested I needed to examine my life to see if there was unconfessed sin there. The danger addressed here is the subtle pride that can slip in when someone has had an experience you haven’t had. Although my college buddies acted humble, it was obvious they believed they were spiritually superior, because they had received what the called the baptism in the Holy Spirit–and I hadn’t. I believe and teach the absolute necessity of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 says, “Do not get drunk with wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” But the problem comes when people seek the feeling instead of the filling. God doesn’t fill us with His Spirit for our enjoyment but for His employment. It’s easy to allow pride to make you feel superior when you’ve experienced things others haven’t.
Mysticism will experience spiritual emaciation
“Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions.” The Bible warns us about people in the church who claim to have special miracles and visions from God. They love to go into great detail about their dreams and visions. It’s easy for them to become puffed-up with weird ideas. Lest you misunderstand me, let me assure you I believe in miracles, signs and wonders. I believe God is still performing miracles today. But the danger exists when believers become so obsessed with seeking visions and experiencing miracles they neglect the Word of God. Seldom a week goes by that I don’t receive a letter from some self-proclaimed prophet who is telling me what to preach, and telling me what’s going to happen to me if I don’t say it.
In 1980 Oral Roberts was trying to build a 60-story hospital in Tulsa called the City of Faith. He had a vision he described to his supporters in these words: “When I opened my eyes, there He stood...some 900 feet tall, looking at me. He stood a full 300 feet taller than the 600-foot tall City of Faith. There I was face to face with Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. I have only seen Jesus once before, but there I was face to face with the King of Kings. He reached down, put his hands under the city of Faith, lifted it, and said to me, ‘See how easy it is for me to lift it.’” Mr. Roberts reported his eyes filled with tears and he promised Jesus he would share the message with his seed faith partners. In 1984 Oral went to his supporters and asked for $8 million in the next month to finish the project or God would take him home. His supporters responded by giving over $9 million in one month. The City of Faith hospital did open, but never had more than 294 beds. And in September of 1989, Oral closed the City of Faith hospital after eight years of operation. . If we aren’t careful it will make us believe we are sub-Christian because we haven’t had visions of a 900-foot tall Jesus. Some people need some kind of visible apparition to believe. Remember the lady in Florida who found an image of the Virgin Mary on a burnt grilled cheese sandwich and sold it to a casino for $28,000?
Recently, the owner of the Bongo Java coffee shop in Nashville looked at a pastry one morning and saw the image of Mother Teresa staring back at him. Word soon spread. It was called the “nun-bun,” the “immaculate confection,” and the “cin-a-nun roll.” Thousands of customers flocked in to see it. However one skeptic claimed it looked more Doc from Snow White and the Seven dwarfs. The point is, we shouldn’t be looking for anything except Jesus.
Feelings come and feelings go, feelings are deceiving,
My warrant is the Word of God, Naught else is worth believing!
Though all my heart should feel condemned For lack of some sweet token,
There is One greater than my heart Whose Word cannot be broken!
I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word Till soul and body sever;
For, though all things shall pass away, His Word shall stand forever! Martin Luther

False Religion Preaches Unnecessary Asceticism
Asceticism (Colossians 2:21): The belief that we can reach a higher spiritual state by self-discipline and self-denial. All of these appeal to the flesh. Let’s look at the difference between true and false spirituality.

Col 2:19 He doesn’t hold on to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and tendons, develops with growth from God.
The Bible says a person can be misled when they have lost connection with the Head, who is Jesus.
Spirituality is not found in the keeping of lists or rules, or by simply denying the flesh. Spirituality is a matter of a heart relationship with God through a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. It is a heart that seeks to love, worship, and obey God. However, God did give us some rules. Paul said all things are lawful, but not expedient (good, better, profitable, etc.). Paul also said everything does not edify. In 1 Corinthians 6:12 he said he would not be brought under the power of anything. Paul also tells us to consider our brothers/sisters by not flaunting our freedom if it will inflict spiritual harm to them. Paul gives us a threefold test in these verses. We must ask ourselves if it binds, builds, or is the best thing to do before we do anything.

Paul writes 18 “Let no one disqualify you” That’s a word used in athletics when a competitor commits a foul. They’re still on the team, they just lost any chance for a prize, a reward. Did you see on tv the other night the 20 Cheats and Liars show hosted by Bert Newton? He showed the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea. In the 100-meter dash, Canadian runner Ben Johnson beat Carl Lewis to win the gold medal with a new world record time of 9.69 seconds. The next day, it was discovered Johnson had traces of illegal anabolic steroids in his blood. Because he broke the rules, Johnson was disqualified and his gold medal taken away. Carl Lewis was given the gold. Johnson made a comeback a little while later, and did the same thing again.
One day, we will stand before Jesus and He’ll be handing out rewards to His servants. If you are a child of God, you’ll be there. How sad it will be for some of us to discover we missed out on some of the rewards, because we didn’t fully understand God’s grace in all its truth. Today many miss out on the riches of God’s grace. They are happy with a form of religion, but they miss the glory of it, the wonder of it, the grace of it. Grace robbers! God’s grace: Don’t ever let anyone rob you of its power!

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