Colossians #11: Colossians 2: 16-23

 


Colossians #11:  Colossians 2: 16-23

 When we enter into God’s Mater Plan we are acquitted from every spiritual crime we’ve been found guilty of.  Forgiven, reconciled to God, with the empowerment to be reconciled to others, and our self.  We are to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, what we do after entering into a right relationship with God matters.  Becoming a Christian is more than a quick trip to the altar and reciting a prayer.  It is a lifetime commitment to partner with God in His purpose for your life. 

 A person enters into God’s Master plan when they see their need for salvation, call out to Jesus to save them, and commit to obedience to God, or simply acknowledge, believe, and commit.  Be sure to count the cost, make sure you are willing to trade your old life for all that God has for you to become.  Ask God to rescue you from all the sin and dead ends of life.  Sin leads to death (James 1:15).  In the Kingdom of God, entered into through faith in what Jesus has done for you, there is life and light and love eternal.  Living as a disciple is not easy, it’s hard, the path is full of difficulty, there is a struggle, there is suffering, yet worth every effort, every tear, in the end, that’s really no end at all.  If you decide to become a disciple of Jesus, let me know, I want to pray with you and encourage you in your faith.

 In Session 11 Paul is again correcting false teaching.  We know about the Gnostics and their beliefs, we know about the role astrology played in the culture, now Paul is going to refute the teachings of the Judaizers.  The Judaizers were Jewish by birth and converted to Christ, which is great, but they also brought into their faith all the Laws, Rituals, and traditions of Judaism, teaching that these practices were necessary to be acceptable to God.  For this group, it was Jesus “and.” 

 What you need to know is that there is a synergy with the teachings of the Gnostics, Judiazers, and cultural superstition that created thoughts that were much more erroneous than either of the three separately.  To the average person, they made sense.  Paul is going to address the issues of asceticism, sacred days, with the others, just being secular, special visions, angel worship, and false humility.

 So Paul writes:

 Colossians 2:16-23 (MSG)

16 So don't put up with anyone pressuring you in details of diet, worship services, or holy days. All those things are mere shadows cast before what was to come; the substance is Christ.

 18 Don't tolerate people who try to run your life, ordering you to bow and scrape, insisting that you join their obsession with angels and that you seek out visions. They're a lot of hot air, that's all they are. They're completely out of touch with the source of life, Christ, who puts us together in one piece, whose very breath, and blood flow through us. He is the Head and we are the body. We can grow up healthy in God only as he nourishes us.

 20 So, then, if with Christ you've put all that pretentious and infantile religion behind you, why do you let yourselves be bullied by it? "Don't touch this! Don't taste that! Don't go near this!" Do you think things that are here today and gone tomorrow are worth that kind of attention? Such things sound impressive if said in a deep enough voice. They even give the illusion of being pious and humble and ascetic. But they're just another way of showing off, making yourselves look important.

 One false teaching was that to stay in God’s good favor, you had to keep the Jewish food laws.  There were foods considered clean and unclean.  It was infantile religious nonsense. You recall the initials EGR which stand for extra grace required, add IRN to your list, infantile religious nonsense.  In Christ, the old food laws that distinguished between clean and unclean are done away with.  It’s freedom.

 Acts 10:14-16 (MSG) & Romans 14:14, 17-18  (NLT)

“Peter said, "Oh, no, Lord. I've never so much as tasted food that was not kosher."

The voice came a second time: "If God says it's okay, it's okay." This happened three times, …  “I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong.”  “God's kingdom isn't a matter of what you put in your stomach, for goodness' sake. It's what God does with your life as he sets it right, puts it together, and completes it with joy. Your task is to single-mindedly serve Christ.”

 In Gnosticism since your body is material, it is evil.  If its material it doesn’t matter what you do with it.  This leads to two opposite extremes; you could abuse it, or you could indulge it, extreme self-denial or self-indulgence (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Paul is teaching against the extremes.  The old food laws are just another form of bondage, they are IRN, infantile religious nonsense.

 It was common practice to venerate angels.  Angels were thought to be intermediaries that bridged the gap between the material and spiritual realms.  The Angels did all the leg work in getting your prayers answered.  So you prayed to angels, get a couple of answered prayers, and you might be tempted to begin to worship angels. 

 There is a writing called Enoch.  In this writing, you’ll find a lot of background information that sheds light on certain practices within the culture, especially on angels.  Angels are named, we know Michael, we know Gabriel, from the Bible, there are 5 more names of Arch Angels in extra-biblical writings (Enoch, Tobit,  2 Esdras)  We read about the Host of Heaven, the host or army are angels (Luke 2:13).  In the book of Enoch, we even read of angels that rebelled against God, their names, and deeds.   All created by Jesus, none to be worshiped.

 Revelation 19:9-10 (MSG)

The Angel said to me, "Write this: 'Blessed are those invited to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb.' " He added, "These are the true words of God!"

I fell at his feet to worship him, but he wouldn't let me. "Don't do that," he said. "I'm a servant just like you, and like your brothers and sisters who hold to the witness of Jesus.

 You don’t need an intermediary.  Intermediaries are IRN, infantile religious nonsense.  You have direct access to God (Hebrews 4:16).  Christ is in you.  You are in Christ.  Jesus is in the Father, you are in the Father (John 17:21). God knows what is on your heart before you ask (Jeremiah 17:10, Matthew 6:8).  God the Holy Spirit intercedes for you, that your needs would be met, that you would have what you need to be an overcomer (Romans 8:26-39). 

A person with charisma can be very convincing when it comes to proclaiming what God revealed to them in dreams and visions.  Christian visions are visual or auditory messages used by God to reveal information that is not explicitly addressed in the Scripture or given to people with no access to the Scripture (Joel 2:28).  We have a warning from the Word: 

 1 John 4:1-2 (MSG)

My dear friends, don't believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world.

 Here's how you test for the genuine Spirit of God. Everyone who confesses openly his faith in Jesus Christ—the Son of God, who came as an actual flesh-and-blood person—comes from God and belongs to God.

 Do you recognize the warning against Gnosticism?  We are to test what the visionary proclaims, we are to authenticate someone’s vision.  We are warned about proclaiming the “delusions of our own minds” (Jeremiah 14:14).   Paul is not impressed with any vision that would manipulate others or diverge from God’s master plan. 

 The issue of add-on conformity is also refuted.  There is something wonderful about unity.  “How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along” Psalms 133:1 (MSG)!  But when it is forced unity, conformity, or else, that’s not unity that is coercion.  Just for instance: Everybody needs to be vaccinated.  “You don’t want to get vaccinated against COVID, well you can’t enter SoFi stadium to enjoy a football game.”  That’s not voluntary unity.  That’s not wonderful or beautiful that is manipulation and coercion. When it came to special observances and rituals you were expected to participate.  Maybe you’re expected to dress a certain way, avoid jewelry, or braid your hair.  Maybe you don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t swear, ah, you’re such a good person.  That’s IRN.  One of the problems with the observance of Holy Days is that you make those days dedicated to God, you make them sacred, you do special things, special behaviors, special rituals, but what about the other days?  Be a saint on Sunday, live like a demon Monday through Saturday?  As a disciple of Jesus, every day is sacred.

 Romans 14:7-9  (MSG)

None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters. It's God we are answerable to—all the way from life to death and everything in between—not each other. That's why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other.

 Religion tends to corrupt Christianity with its does and don’ts, its cultural rules, and its pedestals of power.  You must believe the way I believe. Do the things I approve of.  If not, you just might not be saved.  If not, you just aren’t spiritual enough.  If not, I’m afraid you will have to leave the family.  Much of the stuff beyond loving God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and loving your neighbor as yourself is just IRN, infantile religious nonsense (Luke 10:27).

 This is what all that IRN does for you. Verse 23: “they're just another way of showing off, making yourselves look important.”  What is it about being tall, attractive, and for guys a deep voice that makes people so easy to manipulate (1 Samuel 16:7)?  Charisma can only carry you as far as your character permits.  Unfortunately in this world, it seems especially in the religious circles, charisma far outdistances character.  The result is usually hypocrisy being broadcasted everywhere.  Egoism separates you from the head, from Jesus.  You no longer get your direction for Jesus, you get swept away thinking you’re God’s gift to the world, you’re wonderful, you’re successful, you believe your own propaganda. “follow me and I will set you free.” If you follow you get stuck in the mire of their IRN, infantile religious nonsense.

 

Put into practice these truths from today’s study.

 Learn to discern between God’s will and religious rules to avoid IRN.

 Learn to discern between a word or vision from God and the delusions of the mind.

 Learn to discern between a Christ-centered Leader and an Ego-centered Leader.

 If someone is ordering you, trying to manipulate you, or coerce you; work your exit strategy

 One of the best ways to learn to discern is reading and studying the scripture and being mentored by a person with a proven track record of godliness and righteousness.

 Along with the filthy rags of old behaviors, get rid of any IRN in your life, infantile religious nonsense.  Live free.


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