Don’t Get Tangled Up in a False Religious System
16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. 18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.
20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations — 21 "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," 22 which all concern things which perish with the using — according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. NKJV
I was on a web site of an American Baptist Church in Chicago, Grace Baptist Church, yesterday and was amazed to find links to all types of false religious sites. You will find links to Buddhist sites, a Unitarian Universalists site, gay and lesbian religious sights and even links to many Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender secular sites.
But you do not need to go to Chicago to find churches that have long ago left the plain teaching of the Word of God. Remember Peter said that as there were false teachers in days of old so there will be false teachers among us. Jesus Himself warned of a day when there would be many false teachers. Paul also wrote to Timothy and warned of a day when people would call to themselves teachers who only said what the people wanted to hear.
In our passage this morning Paul deals with two main problems in the church at Colosse.
I. Good Commands
A. Let no one judge you.
1. In food
2. In drink
3. Regarding a festival
4. New moon
a. Which are a shadow of things to come
b. The substance of these things is in Christ.
B. Let no one cheat you of your reward.
1. Taking delight in
a. False humility
(1) Humility is one of those things that once you think you have it you have lost it.
(2) Only those who are unconscious of their humbleness are truly humble.
(3) But many have tried through various ways to display their low estate.
b. Worship of angels
(1) They taught, therefore, that people had to worship angels in order to eventually reach God. This is unscriptural; the Bible teaches that angels are God’s servants and it forbids worshiping them (Exodus 20:3-4; Revelation 19:9-10; 22:8-9). No amount of fascination with angels should overshadow the majesty of Christ. Life Application Bible Commentary
c. These are things they only think they know
(1) There is some translation problems with this verse
(2) but the passage seems to be saying that what they think they know they really don’t know.
(3) There will always be those who have visions and speak to spirits or angels, but the only reliable revelation is the Word of God.
(4) As matter of fact Paul says that even if an angel brings another message other than that given by the New Testament, let them be anathema, (cursed).
d. It gives them a false sense of fleshly pride
(1) Many have moved to caves and monasteries to try to get closer to God.
(2) They have put on the simplest clothes and engaged in the simplest life, but none of these things brings real spirituality.
(3) Spirituality is not in meat or drink.
2. In this they have abandoned the Head, Jesus Christ.
a. Everything is to be found in Him, He is the Head and we cannot have life without connection to Him.
b. All that we need is in Jesus.
c. We need to always be skeptical of those who add things to Jesus.
d. In him the whole body is
(a) Jesus gives the body all they need in the way of spiritual strength.
(2) Knit together by joints and ligaments
(3) Grows with increase from God.
(a) Spiritual growth comes from a connection to God through Jesus Christ.
(b) External outward things will not benefit us, they are only symbols of what does.
II. Bad Commands
Since we have died with Christ from the basic principles of the world . . .
A. Why do you subject yourselves to regulations
1. Since the we no longer live in the world
a. Our life is hid with Christ in God.
b. We are in the world but we are not of the world, Jesus said.
c. We have a God given world view.
d. Therefore we use the things of this world but we are carful not to abuse them.
2. Such as
a. Do not touch, Do not taste, Do not handle
b. Paul did not condemn the keeping of some Old Testament dietary laws or observing some of the celebrations. Instead, he condemned doing so in order to somehow earn credit with God. Life Application Bible Commentary
c. In the OT there were many things that they were not to eat, many times for health reasons.
d. But Jesus had made this plain, when He said that it was not what into a man that defiled him but what came out.
e. It is not what is in the stomach but what is in the heart that tells the story.
3. These are only man made teachings v-22b
a. All the teachings concerning abstaining from meat on certain days or during certain times is at best man made rules that will never get you any points with God.
4. For these things all perish with the using of them.
a. Food perishes with the eating.
b. It is what we put in our hearts that will go on to influence us and will determine our spiritual nature.
B. All these things have only a appearance of:
2. Self imposed religion
3. Neglect of the body
C. They are of no value in our battle against the flesh.
Whenever a religion has a different focus that Jesus, you need to beware.
They may have some nice teachings and may appeal to you but what do they teach about Jesus is the question you need to ask.
There are many good organizations, but only the Lord’s church has the spiritual emphasis on Jesus.
Where is you life centered?
Is it tied up in this world?
Only Jesus can change your life. Only Jesus can give you the spiritual growth you need.
Why not give in to Him today.
Listen to His call on your life.
Forsake the empty teachings of men, the goals of the world.
Put your life in His hands, only He can save your soul.