Faithlife Sermons




Colossians 2:16–17 ESV
16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.
Interestingly, Paul does not say, “Forbid the faithful to keep special days and special diets.” Rather he says, “Do not let anyone judge you” in these things. (v. 16) There is great liberty in what we Christians can do: we can keep days and diets, or forget them. But he rejects the right of anyone to judge and/or compel another to comply with his own preferences. We are not to judge others by these things, and we are not to allow others to judge us. This is a warning to take to heart, because time and time again as legalism has come into the Church, the Church has become judgmental, joyless, uniform, and shallow in faith. Hughes, R. K.
Romans 14:17 ESV
17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.


Colossians 2:18–19 ESV
18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
“The experience of union with God by the bond of love that is beyond human power to attain and that brings a sense of direct knowledge of and fellowship with God centered in Jesus Christ.”


Colossians 2:20–23 ESV
20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— 21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? 23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
Seen for what it really is, this is an expression of independence from God which says, “I’m going to get to God on my own terms, by my own might.” Asceticism feeds the flesh by starving it. Hughes, R. K.
Preaching the Word: Colossians and Philemon—The Supremacy of Christ Let No One Enslave You: a Warning Against Asceticism (vv. 20-23)

The reality is this: “in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,” and in him we have been made full (2:9, 10). But we can lose the benefits of that fullness very easily. We can fall to legalism and its attendant self-righteousness, joylessness, and judgmentalism. We can succumb to mysticism and develop a proud, elitist spirit which contributes nothing to true worship. We can get into asceticism, thinking it will make us more holy, when actually it will feed our flesh.

The answer to legalism is the continual realization of the grace of Christ. The answer to mysticism is an understanding of how profoundly we are related to Christ. The answer to asceticism is the reckoning that we have died, been buried, and are resurrected with Christ. The answer is where it all began: at the foot of the Cross.

I have seen in my own life and the lives of those I have counseled that there is a tendency to move away from where we had our beginning: the Cross. All of our theology, all of our preaching, all of our singing hymns together, the disciplines of life experienced in family and relationships are meant to keep us right at the foot of the Cross—simply drinking long and deep from the Fountainhead, Jesus Christ.

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