Summary: The Gospel of Christ sets us free from being condemned, controlled and confused by others.
SET FREE THROUGH CHRIST - Colossians 2:6-23
This week judges made the controversial decision to free the notorious train robber Ronnie Biggs. This became the subject of much debate amongst those who had a particular interest in this, especially relatives of victims and members of his family.
But how free is Ronnie Biggs?
According to the definition of freedom in philosophy – that:
“Freedom is the right to act according to ones will without being held up by the power of others”, Ronnie Biggs is a free man.
But is he really free from the apparatus of the hospital, and the effects of a stroke – or from being recognizable as a guilty person of notoriety, or (as was his stated wish) to go into a Margate pub and order a pint of bitter? What kind of freedom is that?
‘Freedom’ deserves a better definition.
• Is it only the right to do what we want?
• Or is it better defined as the power to do live as God intended us to do?
Jesus once said to the Jews who believed in him:
“you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Truth can have a very freeing effect, especially the truth of the Gospel:
• When we accept the truth about ourselves as sinners
• When we accept the truth that Jesus loved us enough to die for us
• When we accept the truth that Jesus’ death was in our place and that we can be forgiven and saved
• When we accept Jesus as our Saviour and Lord
Then we are
• set free from our guilt,
• set free from our fear of judgment,
• set free to be truthful without fear before God,
• set free from the power and tyranny of sin
• and empowered by the Holy Spirit to live as God intended.
Questions: As a Christian,
• how much are you in touch with your freedom today?
• How much are you enjoying your freedom?
• Has anything crept into your life to take away the joy of your experience of freedom in Christ?
It happens – And the Christians in Colossae are good examples of how this kind of thing can happen to us:
READING: Colossians 2:6-23
The irony of this letter is that Paul is writing from his confinement in a Roman prison but considers himself free.
And his concerns were for those who, though socially free, were in danger of becoming captive to:
• False teaching about Christ
• False guilt from attitudes of others
• False wisdom based on human philosophy rather than divine revelation.
In summary Paul said to them:
• Don’t let anyone confuse you v8-15
• Don’t let anyone condemn you v16-19
• Don’t let anyone control you v20-23
But grow up in Christ. V6-7
1. DON’T LET ANYONE CONFUSE YOU v8-15
In Colossae the Christians were being influenced by what could be described as pre-Gnostic philosophy.
POINT – Gnosticism was a ‘mystery’ religion
• The word ‘mystery’ was used by the pagans to describe secret information made known to an exclusive group.
Paul used their language to describe what the true ‘mystery’ is = not something hidden and secret, but something revealed by God in the Gospel.
PAUL WARNS THEM:
‘See that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy’ v8
The so-called philosophers were those who practiced spells and magic arts in order to entice people into their order. They sought to corrupt the thinking of the Christians by first of all making Christ out to be less than he was, and imposing their own authority in his place.
Philosophical arguments can be very confusing and also very convincing.
RC Sproul quotes some research that reveals: ‘Over 90% of students entering college in USA are convinced of, and committed to the relativity of truth’ = That there is no objective reality.
What is actually being stated here is:
“Here is an objective truth: ‘There is no objective truth’”
This is tantamount to saying that truth and falsehood are the same thing.
The question has therefore been asked: ‘How ‘true’ can relativism be? Because to say there is no objective reality – no absolute truth defeats the statement itself. Therefore it cannot be true to say there is no absolute truth!! For this is an absolute statement in itself. We must therefore look for truth elsewhere!
And when it comes to the uniqueness and supremacy of Christ, Paul describes their statement them as “hollow and deceptive”. It is at this point that the person who makes the statement becomes the person with controlling authority in our lives.
It is rather like something that happened to me a while ago when someone convinced me that it was not a good idea to make rules for myself. So I stopped making rules for myself and became less disciplined as a result. It was only later that I realized that I had made a rule – a rule not to make rules for myself. Two things happened at the same time: