Summary: False teachers are constantly trying to manipulate us in their direction, but we much choose our alternative from a position of strength and truth, not by guilt trips, fads, emotional manipulations, or slick presentations.

Don’t Be Manipulated: Choose the More-than-Sufficient Jesus

(Colossians 2:16-23)

1. Because people seem confident does not mean they know what they are doing.

2. SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Three men who attempted to steal a Massachusetts delivery driver's car found their getaway impeded by the manual transmission, police said.

Springfield police said the driver was stopped to drop off an order around 10:15 p.m. Tuesday when he was approached by three men, one of whom was armed with a knife, the Republican, Springfield, reported Thursday.

Sgt. John Delaney said the robbers took the food intended for the delivery and the driver's car keys.

"The trio jumped into his car and attempted to steal it, but not one of them knew how to drive a stick-shift car," he said.

Delaney said the men argued for a short time before fleeing on foot with the food.

3. People like to follow someone who exudes confidence or competence; but, as believers in Jesus and God’s Word, we need to be driven by Scriptural truth.

Main Idea: False teachers are constantly trying to manipulate us in their direction, but we much choose our alternative from a position of strength and truth, not by guilt trips, fads, emotional manipulations, or slick presentations.

I. The THREE Alternatives Paul Lists

A. LEGALISM is a Popular Alternative (16-17)

Legalism is peer pressure, and peer pressure is legalism. Whether it is the clothes you the wear, the brand of shoes you have on, or how you decorate your home.

We may think we are above being dragged into legalism, but we are vulnerable. Even the greatest Christians of all time are vulnerable. Peter was at Antioch, eating with Jewish and gentile believers alike. When some Jewish believers came from James, they ate separate from the gentiles, and probably gave Peter the evil eye. He left the gentiles and hung out with the Jewish believers only. Then Barnabas did the same thing. Paul had to reprimand them publicly (see Galatians 2:11-14)

1. Constraining GENTILE Believers to Live As Torah-Observant Jews

Were these Judaizers, Jews who wanted the gentiles to go under the Law? Or were these false teachers gentile wannabes? The Wannabes are usually more zealous.

2. Judaism is not necessarily bad, but it DISPLACES priorities

1) Energy

2) Arrogance

3) Misunderstanding the nature of the church (trans-cultural)

4) Can minimize Jesus’ atonement

I tell teens, “Think of all the fun you miss out on, trying to prove you’re grown up and above being a child, or refusing to do what is not considered cool.” May I suggest that we adults not only miss out on fun, we miss out on blessings galore, because we let other people set our agendas.

B. MYSTICISM is Another Alternative (18)

1. Many CULTS fall into this category

2 Based on a subjective supposed “REVELATION” from God

3 Another’s mystical experience can ENSLAVE us

C. Jesus As the HEAD: The Right Alternative (19)

1. He is our LEADER

2. The APOSTLES were responsible to initiate the church (Ephesians 2:20)

—The only sure teaching of the apostles we have is the New Testament

3 We are his BODY and to intertwine with others but answer to HIM

I was talking to a brother about how disappointing it is to see people we thought were Christians abandoning the faith — the point he made was a good one: the Christians who are involved in church life — teaching, work days, flock groups, video/sound, etc., are much more likely to stay true…Body parts do best when connected to the rest of the body! IF they are cut off, they rot away…

4. We are to GROW and replace

Although the atoms that make up the cells are constantly being replaced, note this fact about the cells themselves — and how the head, the brain, stays the same:

“Red blood cells live for about four months, while white blood cells live on average more than a year. Skin cells live about two or three weeks. Colon cells have it rough: They die off after about four days. ..brain cells typically last an entire lifetime …”


II. The Practical WORTHLESSNESS of Manmade Religion

A. It enslaves you to UNNECESSARY rules (20-22)

1. Enslavement displaces your energy … you can only do so much

2. Enslavement keeps you from enjoying legitimate pleasures, destroys joy

3. Enslavement put you under the thumb of control freaks

4. Enslavement clouds the real will of God

B. It provides an impressive religious IMAGE, but without substance (23a)

1. Image without substance is delusion

2. The Canannites, whom the Hebrews replaced, were more religious

3. The lie: all religions are good, all are equal, wrong to make disciples of non-Christians

4. Some of you sitting here today will be “ooh” and “ahhed” by religion; shame on you. Wisdom may not be your gift, but you need to wise nonetheless.

C. It disrespects the BODY (23b)

D. It does not truly ADDRESS our sin problem (23c)

1. Giving up gum for lent will not make you holy

2. Your problem is not your body, your problem is you

3. It is good to humble yourself, but humility must be based on a confrontation with the truth of God’s Word…

4. But you cannot atone for your own sin… Jesus did


1. Choose Jesus; do not mix him with religions and false teachings.

2. He is the head — go directly to him.

3. Let him speak directly to you through his Word….

4. Connect to the head, but also connect to the rest of the Body!