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Believer, Beware! - Colossians 2:9-23

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Introduction

1. It was Paul's desire that his brethren be perfect (complete) in Christ - Colossians 1:28; 2:1-3

2. But there were influences at Colosse which endangered their salvation, against which Paul warns in Colossians 2:8-23

3. As we consider what those threats were, we see similar threats today

4. In other words, subtle (and some not so subtle) influences which may promise us much, but can easily lead us away from Christ

 

Body

I. PHILOSOPHIES AND TRADITIONS OF MEN - Colossians 2:8-10

A. THE DANGER OF MAN-MADE PHILOSOPHY AND TRADITION

1. They cheat you

a. They don't deliver what they may promise

b. They can even cheat you of your salvation

1) By rendering our worship and service to God as vain

2) As Jesus warned in Matthew 15:9

2. This they do through empty deceit

a. It is not evident (otherwise, none would accept it)

b. But like many of the workings of Satan, it is through deception

B. WE ARE FACED WITH SIMILAR INFLUENCES TODAY

1. The philosophies of:

a. Atheism

b. Evolution

c. Humanism

2. The traditions of men, found rampant in:

a. Protestant denominations

b. Catholicism (both Roman and Orthodox)

c. Various cults

3. Though these philosophies and traditions of men may possess a lot of truth, it is the error in them that can lead one away from the pure and simple doctrine of Jesus Christ

C. WE NEED TO KEEP IN MIND

1. In Jesus Christ are found ALL the treasures of wisdom and knowledge - Colossians 2:3

2. In Jesus Christ is to be found the FULLNESS of the Godhead bodily Colossians 2:9

3. In Jesus Christ we are COMPLETE Colossians 2:10

4. As Peter wrote in his second epistle: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us ALL things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue - 2 Peter 1:2-3

 

II. JUDAISTIC CEREMONIALISM - Colossians 2:11-17

A. THE PROBLEM IN THE FIRST CENTURY CHURCH

1. Many Jewish Christians felt it necessary for Gentile Christians to be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses in ADDITION to following Christ - Acts 15:1-5

2. The early church had to constantly deal with this problem

a. Which they did at Jerusalem - Acts 15:6-27

b. Which Paul did in writing Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, and Colossians

3. Here in Colossians 2:11-17, Paul deals with the problem by pointing out:

a. Through baptism into Christ, we experience the true circumcision, which is a cutting away of the sins of the flesh Colossians 2:11-13

b. By His death on the cross, Jesus has taken the Old Law out of the way - Colossians 2:14-15

c. Therefore, we are to let no one try to judge us in matters of the Old Law - Colossians 2:16-17

B. TODAY, THERE ARE MANY WHO STILL TRY TO BIND THE OLD LAW UPON CHRISTIANS

1. Various denominations with their Sabbaths and food regulations

2. Other religions with their separate priesthood and many other practices, based upon the Old Testament, and not the New

C. AS THOSE IN CHRIST

1. We have died to the Law and Jewish ceremonialism - Romans 7:1-6

2. We have been set free, and need to beware of becoming entangled again with a yoke of bondage - Galatians 5:1

3. If we seek justification by our observance of things found in the Old Law, we are fallen from grace - Galatians 5:2-4

 

III. THE WORSHIP OF ANGELS - Colossians 2:18-19

A. WHY WOULD PEOPLE WORSHIP ANGELS?

1. Perhaps because they felt angels were needed as intercessors

2. Perhaps with a sense of humility, they felt they could not go to God directly

B. THE PROBLEM WITH ANGEL WORSHIP

1. It is actually the result of a false humility and based upon one's vain imagination - Colossians 2:18

2. It actually diverts one away from Christ, the rightful Head of the body - Colossians 2:19

a. For this reason, angels refused any semblance of worship - Revelation 22:8-9

b. And so did the apostle Peter - Acts 10:25-26

C. TODAY, SOME RELIGIONS HAVE DEVELOPED A COUNTERPART TO THE WORSHIP OF ANGELS

1. Catholicism with its veneration of Mary and the saints

2. The reasoning is similar: humility (We feel we need them to intercede for us)

3. Though an attempt is made to distinguish between veneration and worship, in practice the distinction is lost among the average person and too fine to matter

4. And the result is still the same: not holding fast to the Head, venerating other beings rather than Christ

 

IV. ASCETICISM - Colossians 2:20-23

A. ASCETICISM HAS OFTEN BEEN OFFERED AS A KEY TO SELF-CONTROL

1. Such as fasting and other forms of abstinence

2. Or self-flagellation (beating one's self with whips)

B. BUT ASCETICISM IS OF NO REAL VALUE AGAINST THE INDULGENCE OF THE FLESH

1. As Paul points out in Colossians 2:23

2. Indeed, transformation comes through renewing the MIND, not afflicting the BODY

a. As Paul wrote in Romans 12:1-2

b. Yes, those who set their minds on the things of the Spirit are the ones who live according to the Spirit - Romans 8:5

1) They are the ones who by the Spirit will be able to put to death the deeds of the body - Romans 8:13

2) For the fruit of the Spirit includes self-control - Galatians 5:22-23

C. TODAY, WE MUST BEWARE OF THE FALSE CLAIMS OF ASCETICISM!

1. Fasting may have a place in the lives of Christians - Acts 13:2-3; 14:23

a. But not for the purpose of developing self-control!

b. Rather as a means of humbling oneself before God as we pray, that God might hear our prayer - Ezra 8:21; Matthew 6:17-18

2. Those religions that would teach various forms of asceticism as a means of developing spiritual maturity would have us believe that the secret is in such neglect of the body

3. But Christ is the secret, and by holding fast to Him we find the ability to crucify the flesh with its passions and desires. - Galatians 5:24

 

Conclusion

1. As we live the Christian life, attempting to mature spiritually, beware of any doctrine or teaching of man that suggests we need more than Jesus Christ!

2. Remember, He is THE way (not A way) - John 14:6

3. And we are COMPLETE in Him! Are you IN Him? Galatians 3:26-27

 

Are You Saved?

 

-- Don Treadway, May 2009 --

 


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