Scriptures

Colossians 2

Introduction

‘I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is. So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.’ Colossians 2:1-8

Paul has just finished telling the Christians in Colossae that his goal is to help them become fully mature in Christ, here in Colossians 2 he’s going to speak about his real concern for them. Remember that Paul is an example of spiritual maturity and so, he is worthy of our following his example.

1 Corinthians 11:1 ‘Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.’

We also now know that he is always concerned for his brothers and sisters in Christ, especially those he hadn’t met personally.

2 Corinthians 11:28-29 ‘Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?’

We also know that his dear fellow worker, Epaphras was proven to be mature in his labour for the church.

Colossians 4:12-13 ‘Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis.’

Paul says his

‘goal is that they may be encouraged in heart.’

It’s the Will of God that we serve Him with hearts that are full of comfort and encouragement just as Jesus taught.

Luke 21:34 ‘Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap.’

John 14:1 ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.’

John 14:27 ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.’

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 ‘May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.’

In other words, one sign of spiritual immaturity is seen in those Christians who do nothing but worry and stress about life and the future.

2 Timothy 4:6-8 ‘For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.’

2 Timothy 4:17-18 ‘But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.’

Another sign of spiritual maturity is seen in our ‘united love’ for other Christians.

1 Samuel 18:1 ‘After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.’

If you remember, this is something the church at Colossae were already practicing.

Colossians 1:4 ‘We have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people.’

Similar to having hearts that are encouraged, we need to

‘have the full riches of complete understanding’,

in other words, a strong assurance concerning ourselves and our salvation. As Christian matures, they’re assurance will increase which is one of the riches we’re blessed with in Christ.

1 John 5:13 ‘I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.’

1 John 3:19 ‘This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence.’

Romans 15:4 ‘For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.’

Paul also says that we should

‘know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.’

An understanding of the Gospel, which once was hidden, but has now been revealed will help us become mature.

Ephesians 3:3-6 ‘The mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.’

Romans 16:25-26 ‘Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith’.

Notice as Paul continues he uses the word ‘disciplined’, this is the Greek word, ‘taxis’ which is a military term, suggestive of men marching in proper order and precision, as in a drilling exercise. This tells us that a mature Christian is someone whose walk as a disciple is in proper line with what is expected.

The word, ‘firm’ is the Greek word, ‘stereoma’ and it means something established, but it’s a word which goes right along with this idea of marching in a straight line.

So, these are all signs of a spiritual mature Christian which we all should be striving for and the way to go about it is very simple, Paul says to first grow in Christ, we need to

‘receive Christ Jesus as Lord.’

This is something the Colossians had done but in today’s society people just want Jesus as their Saviour but not their Lord.

Acts 2:36 ‘Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.’

Christians will never become mature unless they make Christ complete Lord of their lives.

Galatians 2:20 ‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’

Not only do we need to make Jesus Lord of our lives to become mature, we also need to

‘live our lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as we were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.’

To live with Christ means being rooted in Christ, ‘rooted’ means Christ must be the foundation and source of nutrition in our lives.

Being

‘built up in Him’

means allowing ourselves to become the kind of building He would have us to be.

‘Strengthened in the faith’

means well taught and grounded in the teachings of Christ, and living by them and ‘overflowing with thanksgiving’ means ever overflowing with an attitude of gratitude.

But, as always there’s danger when the Christians wants to grow that we need to be aware of.

‘See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.’

This warning assumes that one can fall from their saved relationship with Jesus. The false teachings to which Paul is probably referring in this context were the Judaeo gnostic teachers who were infiltrating the fellowship of believers. If the concepts of such teachers were mixed with the truth of the Gospel, the Colossians would be cheated out of their salvation. Any addition to the Gospel of God’s grace would equal no gospel at all.

Galatians 1:6-9 ‘I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!’

The Greek word for ‘captive’ refers to being plundered. Any philosophy or tradition of man that contradicts the truth of God’s Word will lead to the spiritual destruction of those who would believe and practice such doctrines. It’s important what we believe because our beliefs are the foundation upon which our behaviour stands. In this case, the Christian world view was under attack by philosophies that brought into question the deity of Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:1-2 ‘Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.’

‘Philosophy’ is the thinking of man, and so, the more a person obsesses with the thinking of man, the further they move from God. Traditions originate from the behaviour of men, and so, the more someone focuses on keeping the traditions of men, the less he focuses on obeying the Word of God.

The

‘spiritual forces of this world’

are the traditions which were possibly motivated by the spiritualistic or mystical beliefs of those in the culture of Colosse whose religious beliefs had been affected by human reasoning. Such beliefs work contrary to Christ for they don’t lead one to Christ. Any philosophy or tradition that doesn’t lead us closer to God is a philosophy or tradition that works contrary to the work of God through Christ.

Galatians 1:14 ‘I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.’

Galatians 4:3 ‘So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world.’

Galatians 4:9-10 ‘But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years!’

‘For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.’ Colossians 2:9-10

The character, essence, attributes and deity of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were representatively manifested through Jesus.

Colossians 1:19 ‘For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him.’

John 1:1-2 ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.’

John 1:14 ‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.’

John 10:30 ‘I and the Father are one.’

John 17:11 ‘I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.’

John 17:21-24 ‘Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. ‘Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.’

Those who are in Christ are

‘spiritually mature for God’s eternal purpose’,

to create beings with characters that are fit for eternal dwelling. They are mature or complete because of the grace of God. Therefore, the saints of God are the

‘completion of the work of God in the creation of all things’.

Jesus is the centre of reference from which all things are controlled in heaven and on earth.

Ephesians 1:19-23 ‘That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.’

1 Peter 3:22 ‘Who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.’

Christ is the head of all things for the benefit of the Christian.

‘In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self-ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Therefore, do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.’ Colossians 2:11-17

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 ‘Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: ‘Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.’ This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So, Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. The church sent them on their way, and as they travelled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them. Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, ‘The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.’

This teaching was somewhat like a thorn in the church’s side, it was problem they constantly had to deal with.

Acts 15:6-27 ‘The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: ‘Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.’ The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. When they finished, James spoke up. ‘Brothers,’ he said, ‘listen to me. Simon has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: ‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’ things known from long ago. ‘It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.’ Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers. With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings. We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. So, we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul—men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing.’

Here in Colossians, Paul deals with the problem by pointing out that through baptism into Christ, we experience the

‘true circumcision’,

which is a cutting away of the sins of the flesh. By His death on the cross, Jesus has taken the Old Law out of the way.

Ephesians 2:14-16 ‘For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.’

In other words, we’re to let no-one try to judge or condemn us in matters of the Old Law. Why? Because we have died to the Law and Jewish ceremonialism.

Romans 7:1-6 ‘Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man. So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.’

We’re to let no-one try to judge or condemn us in matters of the Old Law. Why? Because

‘it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.’ Galatians 5:1

We’re to let no-one try to judge or condemn us in matters of the Old Law. Why? Because

‘Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again, I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.’ Galatians 5:2-4

When we see shadows on a wall, we know that they are simply a reflection of the real thing. In the same way, the Old Testament Law was just a ‘shadow’, but the reality was Christ and found in Him.

‘Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.’ Colossians 2:18+19

Why would people worship angels? Perhaps because they felt angels were needed as ‘intercessors’ or perhaps with ‘a sense of humility’, they felt they couldn’t go to God directly. Angel worship is actually the result of a ‘false humility’ and based upon a person’s ‘idle notions’.

Hebrews 4:14-16 ‘Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.’

In truth, angle worship tales us away from Christ who is,

‘the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow’.

For this reason, angels refused any semblance of worship.

Revelation 22:8-9 ‘I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, ‘Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!’

Acts 10:25-26 ‘As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. But Peter made him get up. ‘Stand up,’ he said, ‘I am only a man myself.’

Have you noticed how popular angels and New Age religions have become lately? Do you know why?

There’s a real reason for it, you see for 300 years we have lived in the Age of Reason. When Isaac Newton discovered gravity, man decided if humanity could unlock the laws of the universe, God’s own laws, why couldn’t it also discover the laws underlying all of nature and society?

People came to assume that through a judicious use of reason, an unending progress would be possible. Progress in knowledge, in technical achievement, and even in moral values.

The 18th century writers believed that knowledge is not natural, but comes only from experience and observation guided by reason. Through proper education, humanity itself could be altered, its nature changed for the better. A great premium was placed on the discovery of truth through the observation of nature, rather than through the study of the Bible. They saw Christianity as the principal force that had enslaved the human mind in the past.

Human aspirations, they believed, shouldn’t be centred on the next life, but rather on the means of improving this life. Worldly happiness was placed before religious salvation. Nothing was attacked with more intensity and ferocity than Christianity, blaming it for the suppression of the free exercise of reason.

Now we don’t believe anymore that science and technology can fix our problems or make us morally better. If anything, it has made us morally worse, but that’s what we were told for 200 years. We’ll just study it, we’ll go into a lab, we’ll write a computer program and we’ll fix it. And after 200 years we’ve decided science and technology cannot fix all our problems, so we turn to spirituality and that’s why the New Age is so popular right now.

That’s why angels are so popular, you see angels don’t come with baggage. The spirituality of the New Age is not Christianity, angels don’t demand anything of you. They just show up, they’re cute, they’re nice, they help you and they leave. Isn’t that wonderful? You watch the movies where angels are in them.

Movies like, The Preachers Wife or Angels where a team of angels come to the rescue of a children’s baseball team when a young boy pleads for divine intervention. You read books that tell you about guardian angels and which one to approach for help.

Let me ask you this, do you ever hear the name Jesus?

You see the vanity of the human mind works like this. I need a mediator to help me get closer to God but I don’t want a mediator with an old rugged cross on their back. I would rather have an angel over a crucified Jew as a means to get closer to God.

And so, we live in the exact same time as the Colossians. Where you have all manner of mediators available to help us get close to God and Paul says that doesn’t cut it.

There is only one mediator between God and man, His name is Jesus. And if you have Jesus, you don’t need any more than that. Besides, Paul says,

‘you know all these people that have all these experiences in the other world and meet all these angels.’

He says,

‘they don’t know what they are talking about’.

He says,

‘they’re making it up in their heads’.

There was a TV talk show recently discussing mediums and spiritualism. Of course, there were sceptics and believers amongst the audience. They asked someone who exposes mediums and a real medium to give a reading and the audience had to decide who was the fake and who was the real one. The audience voted unanimously that the fake was the real medium and that the real medium was the fake. Making it up in their heads and taking people for a ride.

The only more that mysticism offers is more of self-importance,

‘hey look at me I’m talking to the dead.’

By the way, most of us don’t need any more of self-importance, we’ve got more than enough already.

In 2 Corinthians 12:1-4, Paul says, ‘

that nobody has ever lived that has had more visions and Revelations than he did.’

He was even taken up into the third heaven and saw paradise and he can’t even talk about it. But Paul says,

‘I will never boast about that, I will never try to impress you with how spiritual I am by telling you of the things I’ve seen.’

In fact, he said in 2 Corinthians 12:5

‘What I’ll do is boast in my weakness.’

You don’t improve Christianity by mixing it with legalism, mysticism or spiritualism.

‘Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.’ Colossians 2:20-23

Asceticism has often been offered as a key to ‘self-control’, things like fasting and other forms of abstinence or beating yourself with a whip. But Paul says,

‘they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.’

We have to remember that real transformation comes through ‘renewing the mind’, not afflicting the body.

Romans 12:1-2 ‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.’

Transformation comes when

‘those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.’ Romans 8:5

Transformation comes when we

‘live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.’ Romans 8:13

Transformation is shown when we display the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, which includes self-control.

Galatians 5:22-23 ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’

Even today people walk around saying,

‘do not handle! Do not take! Do not Touch!’

Which seems like a strange road to Christ’s likeness to refuse the blessings Christ has made and yet for centuries we have tried to measure spirituality that way. Don’t eat certain food, don’t drink coffee, if you really want to serve God don’t marry. And we’ve come along for years and said,

‘I’m going to measure your spirituality by what you don’t do’.

How many of Christians have grown up with an unspoken assumption in church that Christianity isn’t supposed to be fun? It’s supposed to be grim and if you put up with it, long enough, you get to go to heaven and only then will you have a good time!

A preacher found the roads blocked one Sunday morning and was forced to skate on the river to get to, which he did. When he arrived the elders were horrified that their preacher had skated on the Lord’s Day. After the service they held a meeting where the preacher explained that it was either skate to church or not go at all. Finally, one elder asked,

‘Did you enjoy it?’

When the preacher answered, ‘No,’ the elders decided it was all right!

That’s the thinking of asceticism. If you can just deny yourself and keep yourself from enjoying life then you’ll be more spiritual. It’s easier to deny the body than give up the will. You can punish your body to the limit and still have your heart filled with all kinds of wickedness. All these man-made forms of religion have the appearance of wisdom.

Doesn’t it just seem more spiritual to keep all these rules and if you have all kinds of visions and if you deny all these things, doesn’t that seem good? Paul says,

‘they all have the same basic flaw.’

It promotes haughtiness, man-made religion and encourages spiritual competition, it really does.

You start judging each other by things God never talked about.

‘We’ll, I’ve never ate raw meat.’ ‘Oh yeah, well let me tell you what I gave up.’ ‘Well, let me tell you about all the rules I keep.’

And we start judging each other on things God never demanded, required or forbid.

All this man-made religion stuff, really does is promote judging,

‘it looks good and sounds good’

but it doesn’t make the body more loving, it doesn’t make the body more unified. The only more it does is create more sin, it promotes haughtiness without promoting holiness. Paul says,

‘in fact they have no value against self-indulgence.’

Man-made religion is morally impotent because an external approach can never change our internal bent. A yolk can change temporarily what I do, but it cannot change who I am.

There is only one path to real holiness, Christ in you as Paul said back in Colossians 1:27

‘To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.’

Religion tries to work from the outside in, God works from the inside out through the gift of his indwelling spirit of Christ.

Galatians 5:16 ‘Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh.’

Jesus said the Holy Spirit is a river of Living Water and when the Holy Spirit comes into your life. God from the inside out begins to do a work in you and clean you up, that religion form the outside in, can never do.

2 Corinthians 3:17 ‘The Lord is the Spirit who gives them life, and where he is there is freedom from trying to be saved by keeping the laws of God’.

The way to God to make people spiritual is slower and messier than the way of man. You take a brand-new Christian and you give him some rules and stuff to do and stuff never to do. God’s way is so much slower and messier, God’s way you walk by the power of the Holy Spirit. Now which way makes people more spiritual?

The really spiritual man isn’t the person who gave up this or saw that or knows Gabriel on first name terms.

The really spiritual person is the person who practices love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and gentleness and self-control, the fruit of the Spirit.

There is only one way the fruit of the Spirit will take over your life and that’s when the fruit of the Spirit takes over your life and you walk by Him.

Go To Colossians 3

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."

1 Peter 5:7

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