Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Warding Off False Religion by John

Warding Off False Religion
Colossians 2:9-23

1. Did you know there are more than 200 different kinds of Baptist churches?
2. Did you know that the Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world?
3. How did this diversity happen?
4. The biggest problem facing the early day Christians was how they could maintain the faith once delivered to the saints.
(1) They eagerly made disciples as Jesus told them to.
(2) But they faced the same problem all of us face. How do I control myself?
a. James talked about what a problem it is to put a bridle on our tongues.
b. The Jews welcomed the Ten Commandments, but they found that they could not keep them.
c. In this country, we have made laws, compounded them, closed every loop-hole that we can find, but we still cannot legislate compliance with the law!
d. Colossians 2: 20-23 talks about attempts by the people of that day, and concludes by saying, "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."
5. In Colossians, Paul sought to exalt the name of Jesus because if we don't see Him as the Almighty God that He is, we will not be strong enough to stand against false religion.
6. Paul sought to encourage the Colossian and Laodicean Christians.
7. He also told them that Christ was the "mystery" God promised in the Old Testament, and He was the One Who died for them.
(1) In I Corinthians 2:2, Paul told the people he resolved to know nothing while he was with them, "except Jesus Christ and him crucified."
(2) This letter to the Colossians shows exactly the same mindset.
(3) The primary way to ward off false religion, the way to live an exemplary life, is to exalt Jesus Christ in our daily lives!
8. Paul repeats his teachings as he writes, so don't be surprised that we have some of the same things turning up all the way through this Book.
9. This is perhaps the most intense part of the Book. It was practical for the people then, and it is extremely practical for us today!
10. We didn't read verse 8. I want to read it now, because it gives the basis for this message. "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

I. Christ Our Savior Is Almighty God!

1. V 9 tells us explicitly that in Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily! (literal translation of the Greek).
2. V 10 says that we who are Christians have been given "fullness in Christ."
(1) "Fullness" in Greek is playroma. It is used in v 9, and it is in present tense which means Christ always, eternally, is the very fullness of God!
(2) In v 10, the same word is used for Christians, but it is in past tense: Fullness has been given to us in Christ!
(3) It is probably more understandable to us today to use the word "completeness" here.
3. Christ, Who is everything that God is, is our Savior, and We have received completeness in Christ!
4. What does that mean?
(1) It means that the world has nothing it can add to us, or to our spiritual lives!
(2) People who hold to false religions may make beautiful, logical speeches about what they can do, who they are, and they may put us down while promising to build us up! But people! We already have far more than they can give!
5. God is not the co-pilot of our lives! He is the Pilot, and we ride first class!

II. We Are Doing God's Will, Aren't We?

1. Some of us may need to take stock in these verses to be sure we have done God's will in our past lives.
2, Circumcision was vital to the Jews.
(1) God commanded it of Moses, and Zipporah, his wife, circumcised their son.
(2) That caused his wife Zipporah to call him a "bloody" husband, Exodus 4:26. (I don't think that was a term of endearment either.)
(3) Circumcision was not practiced by some generations of the Jews, but by the time of Christ, it was a fetish.
(4) If a Jewish male was not circumcised, he was really classed as a Gentile! (That meant he was lost!)
3. In v 11, Paul tells us that all of us in Christ have been circumcised.
(1) That includes males and females.
(2) He explains that he is not talking about physical circumcision, but the spiritual devotion of all of us to our heavenly Father, and it is accomplished by Jesus! (Another word for this is "sanctified".)
(4) In v 12, He reminds us that we have been baptized and resurrected with Jesus through our faith in the power of God Who raised Jesus from the dead!
(5) We were dead in our trespasses and sins, and God made us alive in Jesus! (v 13).
a. He forgave our sins!
b. He cancelled the Law that condemned us.
c. He took it away, nailed it to His cross. When Satan tried to get rid of Jesus forever, Jesus triumphed over him and the world by using Satan's own plan against him!
4. We are doing God's will, so we must not let anyone lead us astray, or let anyone judge us by the puny traditions of the world! (We are Princes and Princesses, Children of God).
5. In v 16, Paul lists the kind of things the world puts a lot of stock in.
(1) False religions make a great deal out of certain foods and drinks. (They seem to overlook that the Lord in Genesis 9:2,3 told the people He gave them everything for food!
(2) False religions make a big deal out of special, holy days! New Moons! Sabbath days!
(3) They have not realized that these things are shadows of the things that were to come. (v 17).
(4) The reality of all these things is found in Christ! (v 17).
(5) They are prophesies fulfilled in Jesus!
6. Paul knew how tempting it is when we are doing our best to follow Jesus to be led astray by someone who seems to be so very, very humble! Or by someone who worships angels! (v18), or someone who claims to be closer to God than we are.
7. Such a person gives detailed explanations about what he has seen and experienced.
8. I've seen this happen, and the person's mind is so puffed up with pride and self-importance that he loses all contact with Christ Who is the Head of the Church! (v 19).
8. God gave us this section to help us check our own status with the Lord. Have we done what we should, or have we fallen for some false religionist's sales pitch?

III. False Religion Robs Us of Our Joy.

1. In v 20, Paul reminded the Colossians that they died with Christ to the basic principles of the world.
2. If we are dead with Christ to the world, why do we submit to the world's rules as if we were part of it? (v 20)
3. The world is famous for saying, "Oh you can't handle that! That's taboo!" Or "You can't taste that! That's sinful!" Or "Don't touch that! That's holy and you will defile it!," or "that's spiritually filthy! You touch it, and you will be defiled!"
4. Some of those things may even be right up to a point, but the point this Scripture makes is that all of the manmade rules in the world won't help us be restrained from sensual indulgence!
5. The old saying is that you can't legislate righteousness, and that's true.
6. Of course, most people will be outwardly moral when a law is says it is wrong.
7. If you want to get rid of immorality in your own life, you can't do it by law! Turn to Jesus! The closer you get to Him, the further removed from the world you will be!


1. Proverbs 14:12 says, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death."
2. False religions promise a lot, but they all deliver death.
(1) If Satan can get you to believe a lie, he can keeps you from ever embracing the truth!
(2) The worst and most insidious lies are the ones that have enough truth in them to persuade people that they will take them to heaven!
3. I heard a preacher addressing a group of ministers from different denominations. He said, "Denominations are like the spokes in a wheel. The rim is the world, and the hub is Christ. No matter where they start from, all the spokes lead to Christ!" He got a round of applause from the congregation. It sounds good, but what he said is untrue. There are groups that call themselves Christian and are not at all Christian. There are other groups that say they are better than Christians, but they are worse.
4. All of these are worse than valueless. The single important item of knowledge is in Colossians 1:27, "Christ in you the hope of glory!"
5. Make sure you are right with the Lord! Meet Him personally! Accept Him as your Savior!
6. There is nothing, and there is no one, who can in any way come close to God's gift of everlasting life and fulfillment in Jesus.
7. Is He your Lord and Savior? We are going to sing an invitation hymn, and we invite you to come talk with us about Jesus. We will pray with you, and we will help you meet Jesus today!

Emmanuel 8/27/2006


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