Summary: A look at how the Gnostics man made practices did not provide freedom for the Colossians believers

Religion Vs. Relationship

Religion can not give freedom from...

Colossians 2:20-23

November 22, 2009

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Introduction and Review:

Last week we saw in Colossians 2:15 that Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, and ascension brought victory over Satan.

Therefore we are to move past the shadow of legalism and live in the substance of Christ!

Hebrews 7:23-27

The Gnostics are peddling a religion of self effort instead of a relationship dependent on the person and work of Christ!

Colossians 2:19 “And not holding fast to the head...”

Paul through our position in Christ is waging war on the man centered practices of the Gnostic teachers!

Religion Vs. Relationship

Colossians 2:20-23

Religion is a set of man made rules and regulations designed to earn God’s favor through the power of Human self effort.

Relationship is God’s plan for salvation through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ, which leads to a new life empowered by the Holy Spirit.

1.Religion can not bring freedom from the world!

2:20 If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as;

It is reality(fact) that we have died with Christ! - Romans 6:3-5

At the moment of conversion believers are placed into a position of judicial identification with Christ in His death.

We also in His death are transferred positionally from darkness

to heaven

Colossians 1:13- For He rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son!

Why? Why? Why?

Paul wants to know why with the new life they have been given do they continue to go back to the abc’s of the world! Have they forgotten that their ties to the world have been severed?

Death brings separation and freedom from past obligations!

These worldly obligations and regulations are man’s attempt to earn God’s favor and they have no power to provide redemption.

Galatians 4:9 - “But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be ensalved all over again?”

2.Religion can not give freedom from the law

2:20 ...why as if you were living in the world do you submit yourself to decrees such as

2:21 Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch

2:22 (which all refer to things destined to perish with use) in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men

Colossians 2:20a-22: So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them.

New Living Translation

Religion loves to burden mankind with keeping rules and traditions in regard to food and drink!

Notice the increasing severity of the decrees

1.Do not handle – Do not work with or be around these things

2.Do not taste- This command encouraged the practice of fasting and prescribed diet to aid in preparation for visions

3.Do not touch- Don’t even touch these things. They were to be afraid of even an occasional contact with an item whose usage was forbidden

These decrees were man made and not from God – Colossians 2:22

“I know and am convinced in the Lord that nothing is unclean in itself...”)

Romans 14:14

In Christ’s death we have been released from the burden of the law!

“But now we have been released from the law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.”

Romans 7:6

3.Religion can not give freedom from the flesh

2:23 These are matters which have to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence

These man made rules give an outward appearance of wisdom

If we look just at the outside of their self imposed religion, false humility, and severe bodily discipline we may see a “spiritual” individual but as we look at the heart of these practices we see a “religious” individual.

1. Self-made religion- They have adopted a form of worship according to their own ideas of what is right, instead of according to God’s word!

2. False Humility – They present themselves as to humble to approach God directly, and so they use angelic mediators!

“Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace” - Hebrews 4:16

3. Severe Bodily Discipline – The practice of asceticism. It is the belief that through self denial or self torture, man can achieve a higher state of holiness

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