Summary: Paul gave three warnings for us to heed if we are to enjoy our fullness in Jesus Christ

INTRO: I remember when I was in grade school one of the games I liked to play was baseball. My friend would pitch rocks, and I’d have a big long stick. I would see how far I could hit them. We were told not to do this over and over again, but I did not listen.

One day when I was out hitting rocks, my friend picked up a large rock and tossed it in. I took a big swing, and crack—I felt like I hit it a mile. I looked at my friend pointing to it and yelling at me to get out of the way.

I looked up and just at that moment the asteroid struck me right in the left eye and down I went, screaming and yelling in pain. My friend took one look and ran to get the teacher. My eye was totally swollen shut and I remember the teacher lectured me, “This wouldn’t have ever happened if you only listened.”

TS: The spiritual life also has its dangers and its warnings. Moses warned the Israelites to beware of forgetting the Lord once they got settled in the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 6:12). The Lord Jesus often used the word beware (Matthew 7:15, Mark 12:38, Luke 12:15).

Tonight: Talk about believer beware.

Review: The book of Colossians

-The church was not started by the apostle Paul, but it came as a result of his ministry in Ephesus about 100 miles away.

-Epaphras founded the church but some problems arose that were tearing the church apart. Some false teachers were leading people astray so Epaphras made his way to Rome where Paul was imprisoned. He went to seek advice; in turn, Paul wrote this letter.

TITLE: Believer Beware

TEXT: Colossians 2:16-23

Paul gave three warnings for us to heed if we are to enjoy our fullness in Jesus Christ.

I. Let no one judge you, vv. 16-17. This warning exposes the danger of legalism.

A. Legalism is bondage. It’s a bunch of dos and don’ts without a relationship. It’s the idea of getting closer to God through self-imposed duties.

1. Our human nature thrives on religious duty.

-Somehow adhering to the religious routine inflates the ego and makes a person content in his self-righteousness.

Example. When I was in grade school we went to church on occasion and I got a steady diet from the other kids of how much they thought they were better than us because we didn’t go to church and they did.

-Somehow they thought they were better by performing a few religious duties.

2. Legalism only leads to bondage.

-Peter called it a yoke upon the neck (Acts 15:10).

-Paul used the same image when he warned the Galatians: Don’t be burdened by the yoke of slavery.

3. These legalistic regulations had to do with foods and eating and drinking.

-Under the Old Testament system certain foods were classified as clean and unclean (Leviticus 11). But Jesus made it clear that of itself food was neutral. It was what came out of the heart that made a person spiritual (Matthew 15:1-20). Peter learned this lesson on the house of Joppa (Acts 10:9ff).

Thought: In Colossae this legalistic system not only involved diet but also it involved days. The truth is—the basis for our freedom is not the law but Christ.

B. The basis for our freedom, v. 16. It is found in the word “therefore” which relates to the previous verses.

1. The basis for our freedom is the person and work of Jesus Christ.

-All the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily in him (Colossians 2:9). On the cross he cancelled the debt and the dominion of the law (Colossians 2:14). As believers, we are under grace as a rule of life and not under the law (Romans 6:14ff).

2. The law is the shadow but in Christ we have the reality, the substance.

-Why do back into the shadows when we have the reality in Jesus Christ? This is like trying to hug a shadow when the reality is at hand.

Thought: People go into legalism because it’s an easy thing to measure.

Example. If I go to church this many times, I’m a devout Christian. It’s easy to measure and if you’re not careful you will think you’re better than others.

II. 2nd warning Paul brings, v. 18. Don’t let anyone disqualify you from the prize.

A. Don’t allow people to rob you of your future. The false teachers in Colossae had visions and made contact with angels. They were opening themselves to all kinds of demonic activity.

1. We need to understand trying to reach God the Father through anyone other than his Son, Jesus, is nothing more than idolatry.

-Jesus is the only mediator between God and man (John 14:6, 1 Timothy 2:5).

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