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Why are you doing that? *Verses in New Living Translation*
Read Colossians 2:18-23
#1. Why are you insisting on pious self-denial?
– Col. 2:18-19, Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud, 19 and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it.
– The real issue here is pride and false humility. The motives for their actions have become disconnected for Jesus Christ, and from their brothers and sisters in Christ.
– EXAMPLE: Marine corps grooming standards: Being the best means looking the best, daily haircuts, shaving twice a day, “inspection ready” uniforms, ironing at lunch, no seatbelts, etc…
– Started as “attention to detail” and “discipline”, but turned into a competition between us, each trying to “humbly” report for formation, secretly desiring to be seen as the best Marine.
– We had lost sight of the intent of the standards, and used it to honor ourselves instead of honoring the Corps. To create separation rather than unity.
– Pride and false humility are symptoms of a legalistic mind set:
– A legalist behaves as if they can earn God’s forgiveness through personal performance.
– C.J. Mahaney put it like this: “Legalism is seeking to achieve forgiveness from God and acceptance by God through obedience to God.”
– The subtle implication is that the death of Jesus on the cross wasn’t enough, and more is needed or required for salvation and to merit God’s grace.
– Thomas Schreiner writes: “Legalism has its origin in self-worship. If people are justified through their obedience to the law, then they merit praise, honor, and glory. Legalism, in other words, means the glory goes to people rather than God.”
– No Christian would ever openly say that the cross wasn’t enough, but living a legalistic life secretly shifts our focus away from the cross, and over to what we can accomplish on our own strength.
*Are you the type of Christian who puts God first and asks, “How can I fulfill His desires?” Or the type of Christian that puts yourself first and asks, “How can He fulfill my desires?”
– This is a question that will expose exactly how you view this Christian life, and God’s saving grace.
– Gal. 2:21,I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.
#2. Why are you following the rules of this world?
– Col. 2:20-22,You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, 21 “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? 22 Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them.
– “So don’t let anyone condemn you…” …because Christ is all sufficient:
– 1 Peter 1:3-4,By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
– Man’s rules and the culture’s expectations can’t make you more holy or more loved by God.
– EXAMPLE: We see different expectations in church denominations. In the past it was animal sacrifices and special ceremonies, offerings, etc… Today it’s church clothes, political views, you offer too much grace, or demand too much works. We commonly shame each other over these things.
– We live in a “self-help” society, advertisers convincing us that if we eat the right thing, buy their product, do “this one thing daily”, that we would have complete and happy lives. (We need Jesus!)
– Galatians 3:3, How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?
– You died to Christ, so why keep following these man-made rules?
– Romans 12:2, Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
#3. Why are you doing that?
– Col. 2:23,These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.
– EXAMPLE: Daniel Fast, I always wanted to start with a 3 day water only fast. It would be even harder, and show my devotion to God so much more than just vegetables.
– In all honesty, my heart saw it as a way to lose some of my winter weight gain.
– I consistently failed at the Daniel Fast, and relied on my own strength, rather than what a fast should be, drawing close to the Lord and leaning on his strength during a sacrificial time.
– Many, many people fail at the Daniel Fast because they spend the whole time trying to avoid the hardship with recipes and work arounds, instead of pressing into Jesus.
– The Daniel Fast is not about technically following the rules. This would rely on your own strength which won’t help you conquer sin in the long run.
– Gal. 5:16, So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.
– EXAMPLE: Many people, over the years, have told me they wanted to be a pastor. A first glance it would seem like a holy and sacrificial decision, but sometimes I wonder about the motive.
– Being a Christian is hard and time consuming. Most of us are tired after a long day at work, responsibilities with family, etc…
– It sounds a lot easier to be a “professional Christian”. Get paid to serve God, rather than serve God and work a full time job. Like “feeding two birds with one scone.”
– What started out sounding pious self-denial ends up just being a selfish shortcut.
(Not prejudging or questioning the call of God. Simply an exercise in checking my motives.)
– Following the “rules” will not help you overcome sin, but the Holy Spirit will!
– 1 Cor. 10:12-13,If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. 13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
– James 4:7, So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
– Romans 8:11, The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
– The issue here is our motives, and understanding the concept of “saved by grace”.
– Romans 3:19-24, Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. 20 For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.21 But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
– Why do you do the things you do? It should be grace-motivated obedience.
– 2 Tim. 2:11, This is a trustworthy saying: If we die with him, we will also live with him.
– Alter call and closing prayer –
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