Faithlife Sermons

Chain Letters: Ending the Slavery of the Mind

Courageous Followers  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Encouragement against false piety

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SCRIPTURE READING: ROMANS 14: 1-11
Notes: Paul’s prison epistles are similar in thought and structure. All his letters contain a salutation, an expression of concern, a doxology, meaning a anthem of worship to God through Jesus Christ.
He wrote to the Philippian, Ephesian and Colossian congregation to correct errors in behavior and teaching. He presented Jesus Christ as central figure in the universe and salvation.
Paul's letter to the Colossians admonishes them to avoid empty philosophies, dead traditions and spiritual rituals, and false images of righteousness and piety robbing them of their reward in Christ. Paul’s admonish is strong and so it mine.
Colossians 2:8 NIV
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.
Some false Christian teachers held the Jewish regulations to the letter. Others appeared deeply pious and spiritual. Others claimed to have secret knowledge and insight. They claimed to commune with angels. Paul said these things are a shadow of the truth of Christ.
Do not become captive to endless discussions, empty traditions and false impressions of piety, by heretics who want to enslave you to their ways. Their teachings have some truth and enough error to lead you astray. When you are away from your community, you are prey for evil influences.
Being disconnected from our sacred rituals can make you feel disconnected from God.

You need a disruption.

Matthew 9:17 NIV
17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
I was driving down the highway the other day. My navigation system alerted me to a backup ahead, but did not recommend an alternate route. The highway went from three lanes to two, then to one lane. Then traffic stopped. After passing the police lights and safety cones, I saw the problem. A road crew was cutting down branches hanging over the road. I heard the Holy Spirit.
The only way to make real change in your thinking, you must have an interruption in your current thinking. If you want to break free of dead thinking, you need to disrupt your current mindset. It is difficult.

Spiritual Bondage is more dangerous than physical bondage.

Spiritual bondage can be worse than physical bondage. Physical bondage can only control you as long as you are in chains or confined to a certain place; once the shackles fall off or you are no longer confined to prison, you are free. Spiritual bondage is in the mind and heart. It controls you wherever you are and whatever you do.
Spiritual bondage is always enforced by someone who wants to control you. They use religion to do it.
Jesus warned the disciples of the scribes and Pharisees.
Matthew 23:1–4 NIV
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

We become slaves in our minds when we compare ourselves against ourselves.

Everyone draws to spiritual models. Those who appear to do it better...
You can learn how to serve Christ from others but do not become slaves to their ways. Anyone who convinces you their method is the only way to serve Christ can deny your liberty.
stories of people who condemned me because I did not follow their prayer routine...

Empty rituals and practices can become strongholds.

FOLLOWING RITUALS AND PRACTICES ARE POWERFUL METHODS OF REFLECTION. Some may even have some benefit. But if they become the replacement for Christ himself, they are chains on the mind and heart.
Deceitful teachers can enslave you by their manipulation. Be careful of secret knowledge.

I love the Spiritual disciplines...

Piety: outward demonstrations of reverence and fear for God.
Asceticism: sacrifice or removal from the things of the world to go deeper within...
Rituals: I love high rituals
I am a member of the priesthood. However, none of these things mean more the love and obedience to Jesus Christ.

God does new things.

Whatever was important may not always remain important.
“I lost my Isaac: my preaching style… it was but a style. The Lord said, Tell the people what I am telling you.”
Isaiah 43:19 NIV
19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

These practices are a shadow of what is to come.

The Tabernacle was a shadow of the Tabernacle in heaven.
The offerings of bulls and goats are a shadow of the atonement by the Lamb of God- Jesus Christ.
Observances of holy days and new moons are a shadow of life in eternity. Rev. 21)
Piety is a shadow of the eternal body.

Christ is end of all Spirituality.

Paul had the courage to leave his former faith in all its rich tradition to follow the voice of God. Paul preached a new faith. He preached a Christ who is greater than all principalities and powers. Who died, and rose again I beyond all principalities and powers. Jesus Christ disarmed the forces of darkness. He gave life itself its essence.
I don’t resent the great strides of religion and all the beautiful expressions of faith in God. I just won’t let them replace God.
I pray for the eyes of Jesus Christ to look beyond the shadows of religion to see what God intended for us. Faith in God matters. But true faith in God transforms.
Jesus Christ is not a nebulous figure who’s life was the inspiration of history; Jesus Christ is God the son who lives in God's elect. He is the Shepherd of the sheep.
He is the image of the invisible God. He is the firstborn over all creation. In Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers of authorities; He is before all things and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning of the firstborn from the dead, so that in everything he has supremacy.
it is not where you worship, but who. It is not the power of the ritual; it is the power of your faith.
Jesus Christ changed the focus of religion.
The destruction of the temple… He said, “Tear down this temple and I will raise it up again in three days.”
Thousands of bulls and goats were sacrificed for sin and Jesus came and died once and for all. His precious blood ended the need for blood sacrifice.
God, the Father is the Lord of the Sabbath. Jesus Christ, by God the Father gave us a Sabbath.

TAKEAWAYS

NEW DIRECTION REQUIRES DISRUPTION
WHATEVER HELPED YOU GROW MAY MAKE YOU STAGNANT.
DO NOT BE LED ASTRAY BY CHARISMA
DO NOT ALLOW ANYONE TO JUDGE YOUR SPIRITUALITY
BE FREE IN YOU HEART AND MIND BY KNOWING JESUS CHRIST
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