Sunday, March 26, 2017

Paul's Epistles – Colossians - Part 6: Freedom from Human Rules

Paul's Epistles – Colossians - Part 6:
Freedom from Human Rules
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |


Paul’s letter (Epistle) to the Colossians was a letter to correct Heresy.

Heresy is having an opinion which is in opposition to true doctrine. In other words, the Colossian church had, as many other early churches, fallen prey to false doctrine.

We see a mixture of Judaism, Gnosticism, Asceticism, Angel worship, etc.

Judaism would be the adherence to Old Testament teachings while ignoring the completed works of the cross.

Gnosticism is the belief that “secret” knowledge existed, specifically that the world was created by a lesser divinity, and ruled by an emissary of the remote Supreme Being. This belief system, which was carried over to Christianity, placed God the Father as the Supreme and Jesus as the lesser ruling divinity.

Asceticism is the severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons.   The doctrine that a person can attain a high spiritual and moral state by practicing self-denial, self-mortification (embarrassment and shame – “mortified”) and the like. Rigorous self-denial; extreme abstinence; in a severe nature.

It is obvious why this is false doctrine, and has no place in a Christ following church.

The heresy, destroyed the Supreme lordship and sovereignty of Jesus Christ, it dethroned Him, destroying the mediator-ship of Christ, making Him only 1 of a multitude of mediators, (such as the Hindu belief in avatars, a manifestation of a deity or released soul in bodily form on earth; an incarnate divine teacher.)

However, we know Jesus is so much more than that, He was, is and always will be God.

Paul’s Concern about the False Teachings

SCRIPTURE REFERENCE Colossians 2:16-23
Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. 19 They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.
20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules:21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”?22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

The overall message of this epistle to the church is;
The Supreme Glory, Deity and Dignity of Christ Jesus”.

a. Who is now here, and to whom you belong
                                                                 i. The New Testament / Covenant
                                                              ii. So don’t let others judge you for not keeping the Old Ways

b. What you eat, drink, the festivals, celebrations or the Sabbath Day
                                                                 i. These were all a shadow of things to come
                                                              ii. The Law with all of its observances was only meant to point Christ, the One who was to come)

c. All of these are found in Christ
                                                                 i. What you eat and drink
1. Acts 10:9-16 “About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”

14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”

15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

2. Mark 7:18-23 “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)

20 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

                                                              ii. The festivals and celebrations (Jewish Feasts)
1. Passover
a.  (Leviticus 23:5) – Pointed to the Messiah as our Passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7) whose blood would be shed for our sins. Jesus was crucified on the day of preparation for the Passover at the same hour that the lambs were being slaughtered for the Passover meal that evening (John 19:14).

2. Unleavened Bread
a. Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6) – Pointed to the Messiah's sinless life (as leaven is a picture of sin in the Bible), making Him the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Jesus' body was in the grave during the first days of this feast, like a kernel of wheat planted and waiting to burst forth as the bread of life.

3. First Fruits
a.  (Leviticus 23:10) – Pointed to the Messiah's resurrection as the first fruits of the righteous. Jesus was resurrected on this very day, which is one of the reasons that Paul refers to him in 1 Corinthians 15:20 as the "first fruits from the dead."

4. Feast of Weeks (Pentecost)
a. Weeks or Pentecost (Leviticus 23:16) – Occurred fifty days after the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and pointed to the great harvest of souls and the gift of the Holy Spirit for both Jew and Gentile, who would be brought into the kingdom of God during the Church Age (see Acts 2). The Church was actually established on this day when God poured out His Holy Spirit and 3,000 Jews responded to Peter's great sermon and his first proclamation of the gospel.

5. Feast of Trumpets (Rapture)
a. (Leviticus 23:24) – The first of the fall feasts. Many believe this day points to the Rapture of the Church when the Messiah Jesus will appear in the heavens as He comes for His bride, the Church. The Rapture is always associated in Scripture with the blowing of a loud trumpet (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:52).

6. Day of Atonement (Judgment)
a. (Leviticus 23:27) – Many believe this prophetically points to the day of the Second Coming of Jesus when He will return to earth. That will be the Day of Atonement for the Jewish remnant when they "look upon Him whom they have pierced," repent of their sins, and receive Him as their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10 and Romans 11:1-6, 25-36).

7. Feast of Tabernacle
a.  (Leviticus 23:34) – Many scholars believe that this feast day points to the Lord's promise that He will once again “tabernacle” with His people when He returns to reign over the entire world (Micah 4:1-7).

                                                           iii. The Sabbath Day
1. Matthew 12:1-8 “At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat.

2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.

3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;

4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?

5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?

6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.

7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.

8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

II.      DO NOT LET OTHERS DISQUALIFY YOU (with false teachings)
a. Those who delight in false humility

b. Those who worship angels
                                                                 i. This pertained to the Gnostic teaching that man could not go directly to God through Christ, but must reach God through successive grades of intermediate beings, such as angels.

c. These people are puffed up (prideful / arrogant) with idle notions by their unspiritual mind
                                                                 i. Claiming things such as seeing things outside the revealed world of God

                                                              ii. Their unspiritual mind refers to the mind of man and its imaginations
1. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:21

2. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 2 Corinthians 10:5

a. Though you still belong to this world (physically)
                                                                 i. Do not submit to its rules

b. Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch
                                                                 i. These rules which have to do with things that are all destines to perish with use are based on HUMAN commands and teachings

                                                              ii. Meaning there is NO SALVATION in anything taught by men, rather only in Christ Jesus

c. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom
                                                                 i. Worship devised and prescribed by men has an appearance of wisdom, but are only for show

                                                              ii. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 2 Timothy 4:3

CONCLUSION – Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

Words, teachings, instruction of men;
             Have an appearance of wisdom
             Self-imposed worship
             False humility
             Harsh treatment of the body (neglect under the guise of piousness)

However they lack and value in restraining sensual (physical / the flesh) indulgence…meaning SIN.  The Sadducees and Pharisees did this, modern churches, cults and false religions do this.

Man’s wisdom cannot save, self-imposed rules and regulations of men cannot save, false humility cannot save, and ascetic observances cannot save These may appeal to men as indications of superior wisdom and piety; they hold no value as remedies against sin. Only Christ forgives, only Christ fulfills, only Christ empowers you through His Holy Spirit, to make it possible for you to repent, and walk in the Spirit.

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!

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