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Col 2 16-23

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Col 2:16 Mh; ou\n ti" uJma'" krinevtw ejn brwvsei kai; ejn povsei h] ejn mevrei eJorth'" h] neomhniva" h] sabbavtwn:

Col 2:17 a{ ejstin skia; tw'n mellovntwn, to; de; sw'ma tou' Cristou'.

Col 2:18 mhdei;" uJma'" katabrabeuevtw qevlwn ejn tapeinofrosuvnh/ kai; qrhskeiva/ tw'n ajggevlwn, a} eJovraken ejmbateuvwn, eijkh'/ fusiouvmeno" uJpo; tou' noo;" th'" sarko;" aujtou',

Col 2:19 kai; ouj kratw'n th;n kefalhvn, ejx ou| pa'n to; sw'ma dia; tw'n aJfw'n kai; sundevsmwn ejpicorhgouvmenon kai; sumbibazovmenon au[xei th;n au[xhsin tou' qeou'.

Col 2:20 Eij ajpeqavnete su;n Cristw'/ ajpo; tw'n stoiceivwn tou' kovsmou, tiv wJ" zw'nte" ejn kovsmw/ dogmativzesqe…

Col 2:21 mh; a{yh/ mhde; geuvsh/ mhde; qivgh/",

Col 2:22 a{ ejstin pavnta eij" fqora;n th'/ ajpocrhvsei, kata; ta; ejntavlmata kai; didaskaliva" tw'n ajnqrwvpwn,

Col 2:23 a{tinav ejstin lovgon me;n e[conta sofiva" ejn ejqeloqrhskiva/ kai; tapeinofrosuvnh/ ªkai;º ajfeidiva/ swvmato", oujk ejn timh'/ tini pro;" plhsmonh;n th'" sarkov".

Col 3:1 Eij ou\n sunhgevrqhte tw'/ Cristw'/, ta; a[nw zhtei'te, ou| oJ Cristov" ejstin ejn dexia'/ tou' qeou' kaqhvmeno":

Col 3:2 ta; a[nw fronei'te, mh; ta; ejpi; th'" gh'".

Col 3:3 ajpeqavnete ga;r kai; hJ zwh; uJmw'n kevkruptai su;n tw'/ Cristw'/ ejn tw'/ qew'/.

Col 3:4 o{tan oJ Cristo;" fanerwqh'/, hJ zwh; uJmw'n, tovte kai; uJmei'" su;n aujtw'/ fanerwqhvsesqe ejn dovxh/.

Col 3:5 Nekrwvsate ou\n ta; mevlh ta; ejpi; th'" gh'", porneivan ajkaqarsivan pavqo" ejpiqumivan kakhvn, kai; th;n pleonexivan, h{ti" ejsti;n eijdwlolatriva,

Col 3:6 di j a} e[rcetai hJ ojrgh; tou' qeou' ªejpi; tou;" uiJou;" th'" ajpeiqeiva"º.

Col 3:7 ejn oi|" kai; uJmei'" periepathvsatev pote, o{te ejzh'te ejn touvtoi":

Col 3:8 nuni; de; ajpovqesqe kai; uJmei'" ta; pavnta, ojrghvn, qumovn, kakivan, blasfhmivan, aijscrologivan ejk tou' stovmato" uJmw'n:

Col 3:9 mh; yeuvdesqe eij" ajllhvlou", ajpekdusavmenoi to;n palaio;n a[nqrwpon su;n tai'" pravxesin aujtou'

Col 3:10 kai; ejndusavmenoi to;n nevon to;n ajnakainouvmenon eij" ejpivgnwsin kat j eijkovna tou' ktivsanto" aujtovn,

Col 3:11 o{pou oujk e[ni  {Ellhn kai;  jIoudai'o", peritomh; kai; ajkrobustiva, bavrbaro", Skuvqh", dou'lo", ejleuvqero", ajlla; ªta;º pavnta kai; ejn pa'sin

2:16 – Therefore do not let anyone judge you in hat you eat or drink or in religious feasts, or new moon festivals, or Sabbaths.

2:17 – which are a shadow of things coming, but the body is Christ’s.

2:18 – Let no one disqualify you who delights in humility and worship of angels, who has seen in great detail to no purpose becoming conceited in the understanding of his flesh,

2:19 – and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body being supplied and knit together through the joints and bands, increasing with the increase of God.

2:20 – If you died with Christ from the principles of the world, why as living in the world do you submit to its rules and regulations? 

2:21 – Don’t handle, don’t taste, don’t touch.

2:22 – which are all destined to destruction according to the commandments and teachings of men

2:23 – which such words indeed have shown wisdom in self-made religion and humility and severe discipline of the body, not of any value against the gratification of the flesh.

3:1 – Therefore, if you are raised with Christ, seek the above things, where Christ is seated on the right hand of God.

3:2 – Think on the above things, not on things concerning the earth.

3:3 – For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God

3:4 – When Christ, who is your life, will appear, then you also will appear with him in glory.

3:5 – Therefore, put to death your members, things belonging to the earth – fornication, immorality, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry

3:6 – through these things the wrath of God is coming [upon the sons of disobedience].

3:7 – in which also you formerly walked, when you lived in these things. 

3:8 - But now you also lay aside these things - wrath, anger, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth

3:9 – Lie not to one another, stripping off the old man with his evil deeds

3:10 – and put on the new, renewing in knowledge according to the image of who created him

3:11 - where there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondman, freeman; but Christ is all, and in all.

Exalt His Name; Live His Purpose

Colossians 2:16-23

I.          Introduction

A.        Paul introduces his letter by commending the Colossians for their faith in Christ because it is evident to all.

B.         He assures them that the Christ they received through Epaphras’ teaching is indeed sufficient for salvation and life.

C.        Paul reminds them of Christ’s crushing blow on evil and sin through the cross.

D.        Now, he is warning them to beware of the false teachers in their midst who are trying to distract them from Christ.

1.         These false teachers teach hollow philosophies because they are not fundamentally rooted in Christ.

2.         Their false teaching is also deceptive because they are based on human commands and teachings (2:22)

E.         Paul continues to encourage the Colossian believers that Christ alone is sufficient for salvation and godliness, and he cautions them to beware of teaching that is not centered on Him.

F.         Look at the warnings in this passage and the corresponding encouragement Paul is giving to the Colossian church.

II.         Warning #1:  A Christ-centered relationship does not judge or disqualify others (2:16-18a)

A.        Be wary of any person or teaching that attempts to set man-made rules for purity and holiness and thinks negatively on those who do not live according to those established rules.

B.         ILL

            1.         Kids playing a game

a.         Typically will have one child who is the “boss” – they come up with a game and make up all the rules that everyone else must abide by.

b.         All the other kids follow the rules, even those made up as the game progresses.

c.         But invariably there is one child who tries to buck the system and challenges the established rules.

d.         That is when a fight ensues between the “boss” and the rebel.

2.         The false teachers at Colossae were like the bossy kid – establishing rules that everyone else had to abide by to be saved and holy.

a.         Rules dealing with eating and drinking.

b.         Rules dealing with festivals and celebrations.

3.         Notice that Paul is not against established rules to help govern purity and holiness.

a.         Paul himself was a man who “beat his body” so as not to disqualify himself for the prize.

b.         Instead, the issue for Paul was judgment and priorities.

1)         Don’t put the same rules you put on yourself and expect those who are spiritual to keep the same rules.

2)         If other people do not keep the same rules as I do, it does not necessarily mean they are not spiritual.

c.         Wrong priorities – the false teachers put way too much emphasis on the rules

1)         Paul says that these rules are shadows and the reality is found in Christ.

2)         Shadows are real, but a shadow is an image that is connected or pointing to something.

3)         The focus is not to be on the rules that make us pure and holy but on Christ who has already made us holy by His death, burial, resurrection.

4.         The danger behind established rules for holiness and purity is PRIDE.

a.         We become in danger of worshipping our established rules more so than Christ.

b.         We become in danger of evaluating our spirituality upon how we abide by the rules, and then comparing ourselves with those who fail to abide by the rules.

c.         If the focus of our spirituality is self-discipline, self-awareness, self-fulfillment, self-esteem, self-actualization, or self-help – we usually wind up with a worship of SELF.

c.         Our only evaluation for holiness and purity is Christ.

            C.        Application

1.         Warning – Be wary of any person or teaching that attempts to set man-made rules for purity and holiness and thinks negatively on those who do not live according to those established rules.

a.         Paul is not against established rules for the purpose of working out our submission to Christ and His Word.

b.         The issue for Paul is do not judge or disqualify others who don’t live out the Lordship of Jesus Christ exactly like you do.

2.         Encouragement – Purity and holiness is found in Christ.

a.         By receiving the forgiveness of sin and submitting to the Lordship of Christ, we stand as holy before God thus restoring our relationship with Him.

b.         The rest of our lives then is spent learning how to center our lives solely on Him, living as the person we are in Christ.

1)         Will that take the form of personal boundaries for holiness and purity?  Sure ought to!

2)         However, the focus is not my rules but on Christ.

3)         Don’t let anyone judge you for not living according to their established rules.

4)         Yet, make sure that you personally are thinking how best for you to live according to the Lordship of Christ.

c.         ILL - Rules for purity and holiness are like religious training wheels.

1)         Rules do provide a great sense of security and they do keep you from tipping over and hurting yourself.

2)         However, they can also be confining and keep you from experiencing the joy of the ride.

III.       Warning #2: A Christ-centered relationship centers on God’s revealed truth. (2:18b)

A.        Be wary of any person or teaching that emphasizes the latest and greatest over God’s revealed truth.

B.         ILL

1.         In Paul’s world, there seemed to be a fascination with the spiritual – and if you could see visions of the spiritual realm, then you must be spiritual and worth following.

a.         Apparently, the false teachers were bragging about receiving visions and using these visions to boost their platform for ministry.

b.         After all, if that guy is receiving visions from God and can tell about it in elaborate detail, then surely he must be spiritual and worth following.

c.         However, Paul warns the Colossian church – don’t follow the guy if his visions contradict what you already know to be true!

d.         Just because he SAW something, does not make it true.

2.         Notice the connection Paul makes – those who have a fascination with visions or spiritual sight feed their UNSPIRITUAL mind with idle notions (2:18b)

a.         Paul did not take his cues from mystic visions – after all, Paul himself had visions but only shared them when forced to by others.

b.         Instead, Paul took his cues from God’s voice as revealed in Scripture.

c.         Paul did not seek spiritual guidance through new revelation; rather, he sought to obey that which had been revealed.

            C.        Application

1.         We live in a culture where we are constantly being bombarded with worldly messages by means of our eyes.

2.         The media culture spreads its “philosophy” through visual entertainment

3.         Michael Medved, a noted film critic, warned of the moral corruption of movies and TV in a speech at Gordon College in 1996.  He contended that television and all mass media “contradict the fundamental messages of Christianity” in the following ways:

a.         They emphasize what is new and the latest instead of what is true and eternal. Old truth can only be old fashioned and obsolete.

b.         The constant theme of mass media is instant gratification, which makes people feel that they can get what they want when they want it.  The idea of sacrifice becomes laughable.

c.         The constant attempt to beautify that which is not beautiful.  Having attractive people do horrible or immoral things tends to make those activities look attractive.

d.         “The whole emphasis of the media is on the eyes – the eyes connect to the heart, and the heart connects to the emotions.”

1)         Media appeals the emotions but cannot sustain the soul.

2)         Medved concludes, “Christianity does not ask us to follow our hearts or be guided by our hearts.  Rather, it calls us to believe in what is true, not merely in what we can see.”

4.         Our entire culture is geared toward the dazzling of the eyes, because the eyes are the key to one’s emotions.

            a.         Musical concerts, movies, atmosphere of restaurants…

            b.         All are trying to catch your eye.

5.         Is it possible that one way the church has become cultural is that we have conceded to the focus on the eyes – that somehow we have to compete with our entertainment culture?

6.         In so doing, we are in danger of allowing our worship to become nothing more than worship-tainment, a religious stage show.

7.         Christ-centered relationship is not dependent upon the latest and greatest, the new fad, or the latest methods.

            a.         Some people choose their faith in the same way.

b.         They choose based on what looks good and feels most comfortable.

c.         The cross will have no attraction for them.

d.         Yet it is only the cross that can save them.

8.         Instead, a Christ-centered relationship is dependent upon God’s revealed Word – allowing God in His Word to guide us in moral obedience and loving service.

IV.       Warning #3:  A Christ-centered relationship maintains connection with the Head (2:19)

A.        Be wary of any person or teaching that makes spirituality an individual achievement.

B.         ILL

1.         The false teachers were guilty of focusing all their spiritual efforts on man-made disciplines.

            a.         Do not handle do not taste, do not touch (2:21)

            b.         Paul says in 2:23…

                        1)         Appears to have wisdom

                        2)         Self-imposed worship

                        3)         False humility

                        4)         Harsh treatment of the body

2.         Intended effect is to thwart sin, but by placing all of our attention on sin and physical abstinence we actually become more entrenched in sin.

3.         Just as the physical head is necessary for the body’s growth and development, so the Spiritual Head is necessary for the growth and development of the church.

a.         Notice that Paul’s application here is to the church, not the individual.

b.         He is not simply calling individuals to be connected to Christ, he is calling the BODY to be connected to the Head.

1)         To be connected to Christ, the Head, is to be connected to His BODY – the church.

2)         Just as one cannot grow without being connected to the Head, one cannot also grow if they are not connected to His Body, the church.

3)         ILL - The church is not a spiritual health club where people can come to get their own individual spiritual workout and accomplish their own private weight-loss goals.

4)         Instead, the church is to be a place where we as His Body come together to work out God’s goals for this earth.

5)         Separation from the Head OR His Body ensures spiritual malnourishment and inevitable death.

            C.        Application

                        1.         Encouragement

a.         Remaining connected to Christ and His Body the church will ensure growth.

b.         God’s truth has been revealed and is sufficient for life and godliness.

c.         Purity and holiness is found in Jesus Christ.

                        2.         Christ is indeed sufficient – center our lives on Him.

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