Summary: Following Christ is a relationship not a religion.

Sunday Morning 8/12/01-Col. 2-Freedom From Religion

Key idea: Following X is a relationship not a religion.

Video Clip: Matrix 1:37:20-1:38:19

Neo confused about his identity, doesn’t understand who he really is,

we as xians suffer from the same problem.

Don’t know or understand who we are. Get confused by the world around us, & who the world says we are or need to be, lose sight of our true identity.

Book of Col. 2-3

Colosse believers struggled with the same issue. Had people telling them that there was more that they had to do, they we falling short in following God. But Paul wrote to help them understand that Following X is all about a relationship with Him, its not a religion made up of rules and regulations.

Read Col. 2:8-13 contrast between empty religion and our relationship w/ X

Vs. 8-Don’t be misled by empty philosophy-at that time philosophy more than systems of thought, it had a broader meaning, refered to all kinds of groups around at that time, different tendencies, and points of view,

If we look at how Paul describes the hollow & empty philosophy he’s confronting in the following vs. 16-23, he describes it in terms various of religious practices, things like judgments about eating and drinking and observing festivals and Sabbaths, not talking about a system of thought, talking about empty religion. “Don’t be misled by empty religion that comes from human thinking”

2 basic Traps of empty religion to avoid

Our Identity is Based on Performance (vs. 16, 21-22) “Who we are is based on what we do”

These people tell us “There is a way to be more spiritual, by what you don’t do and by what you do.”

That is performance based spirituality.

When we get caught up in the idea that I’m more spiritual today because I read my Bible or less spiritual because I didn’t, then we’re no longer counting on what X did on the cross, we’re basing our position before God on what we do.

When we do that we’re in danger of starting to look at God as more of a magic genie or a cosmic Santa, believing if I do the right things, then God will bless me. Don’t earn a blessing.

Or start to believe we can manipulate God into doing what we want

read the bible=God will do what I want,

Or if we start to say “I knew I’d have a bad day today because I didn’t have my QT” “Today was a good day, must have been because I had my QT” We are falling into magical thinking that God will bless us if we do the right things (read Bible, pray etc.) & earn his favor,

But that isn’t why God gave us his word-God wrote us a letter, & He’s saying “I want to have a rel. w/ you, don’t you want to know me more, know more about me? Than read the letter I sent you

ill. love letters from Melea

Don’t earn God’s love and favor can’t earn it, that is performance based spirituality, empty religion.

Our identity is based on our Position (vs. 18) “My experience make me better than you.”

They were saying I’ve had this experience, So I’m more important than you because you haven’t been here yet. (worship angels, visions)

Yet In X all are equal. an experience doesn’t put you in a better place w/ God, Mexico, SS Teacher, Elder, SEMP, sharing faith, etc.

Don’t earn God’s favor by our position.

That’s religion an empty system of rules, not what X came for, not what He died for.

Died to free us from religion, calls us to move away from religion to the freedom of a relationship with Him.

II. Who we are in X (9-13)

All of X’s fullness dwells in us (9-10)

NAS-In Him you have been made complete

We are in X and since He is the fullness of God, our being in Him makes us complete, we have all we need, all we can ever have.

All of His Love is ours-I Jn. 3:1- “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”

God has poured out all of His love on us. How does He love us, so much He calls us His children. Didn’t earn it, He gave it to us freely.

Ill.-Closest I can come to understanding this-Alec. Loved him completely the moment he was born, he had it all. Didn’t have to do a thing to earn it, at that moment couldn’t, he has all of mylove

and that’s what God says to us, you have it all, up front don’t need to earn it, can’t earn more of it, there is no more, you have it all. wipes out that performance mindset.

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