Colossians: Shadows

Sweet sunset 6Public Reading: Colossians 2:16-3:17

Author note: While teaching from this passage I felt led to go off my notes so the actual sermon is very, very different than these notes.

Sermon Notes
•    Paul is continuing on with the theme that he introduced a few verses beforehand
•    We are to walk after Jesus

o    Not to get caught up in human wisdom or philosophies

•    Jesus disarmed all the rulers and authorities of the world, spiritual and physical

o    Let us embrace Him
o    Let us walk forward, knowing that we died with Him though baptism
o    We are new creations – the beginning of something totally different

•    It may sound fanciful

o    A pipe dream
o    But it is a reality

•    The moment we stop believing and living that Jesus changed us, at that moment, we lose

o    We have too – if we really, really, believe Jesus
o    If we really, really believe the scriptures
o    We have too life as if we have been changed

•    We have to allow Jesus to change us

o    We have to give up the things of old
o    And embrace the new

•    This can be hard

o    It can be scary

•    The devil that we know can seem better than the devil we don’t know
•    We might have tried to change before – to embrace the newness of Jesus – only to get shot down

o    We might have gotten hurt by circumstances
o    We might have gotten hurt by people who didn’t allow us to walk forward

•    I understand this…

o    However, I’m not the one telling you to walk forward
o    Paul and Jesus is

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses. –Col 2:13

•    And once you know that you have been set free

o    Once you know that things are different

•    Well, once you have not rooted deep down in your heart and life
•    Then you can move forward without fear of judgment and ridicule

Shadows of What to Come

•    This is why Paul starts verse 16 with the word “therefore”

o    You have to have grace deep within you
o    You have to be secure in Jesus

•    Let us read verse 16 & 17

Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

•    There was an tension in the 1st century… folks who came  out of Judaism felt that they still had to do certain things

o    They thought they had to do something in addition to following Jesus
o    There were also Gentiles there who were, perhaps unknowingly, bringing in parts from their old religions

•    Paul tells the people that they should not let other pass judgment upon them
•    Food & drink

o    the kosher diet of the Jewish religion
o    we are not to pass judgment on others who eat or drink things we don’t agree with

•    Festival
•    New moon

o    Numbers 28, a time of sacrifice
o    Commerce stopped on this day

•    Sabbath

o    Commerce stopped on this day
o    Do you worship on Saturday or Sunday?

•    All of these things are shadows

o    They are things pointing to forward to Jesus

•    The book of Hebrews states

For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. –Hebrews 10:1

•    The law – the Temple, the priests, etc. – were a shadow of what was to come

o    They pointed towards something

Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
    but a body have you prepared for me;
 in burnt offerings and sin offerings
    you have taken no pleasure.
 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
    as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”

When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. –Hebrews 10:5-10

•    This is why Colossians 2:17 says (the Kingdom NT)

“These things are a shadow cast by the coming reality – and the body that casts the shadow belongs to the King!”

•    Amen!!!
•    Because of the King, we don’t have to captive why things like

o    False humanity
o    asceticism – the severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence
o    The worshiping of angels
o    visions of this and that

•    It is easy to get caught in all this

o    To create a list of rules
o    Do’s and don’t

•    But this is not the life that Jesus has for us

If you died with the king, coming out from the rules of the “worldly elements,” what’s the point of laying down laws as though your life was still merely worldly? “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!” Rules like that all have to do with things that disappear as you use them. They are the sort of regulations and teaching that mere humans invent. They may give an appearance of wisdom, since they promote a do-it-yourself religion, a kind of humility, and severe treatment of the body. But they are of no use when it comes to dealing with physical self-indulgence.  –Colossians 2:20-23

•    Setting up lists of rules don’t do anything

o    They will not make you closer to Jesus
o    They will not even do the thing you want them to do

•    Setting up rules is not going to change or stop the desire within you

o    All it does is set up a false front
o    This is why Jesus told the religious leaders of his day that they were white-washed tombs

•    We have a lot of white-washed tombs in the church today
•    Yes, I understand why folks do it
•    Lists usually start with good intentions

o    Folks want to live right
o    They want to honor Jesus
o    They want to be a good witness

•    Perhaps they came out of darkness and want to guard themselves against this or that

o    I understand that

•    However, creating a list – forcing a list on yourself and others

o    This does nothing but drive a wedge between you and God

•    You see, in creating a list you are telling Jesus that he is less of a person and more of a concept

o    A belief or a religion to be followed

•    If Jesus is a person – if he is a real God who is actively involved in our lives – which the Scripture say he is

o    Well then this changes everything!!

•    Think about it

o    When you got married, did you set out a list with your spouse?
o    “Dearest, I love you – and since I love you, I’m going to do only eat veggies. I won’t really talk to you, but I’m going to take out the trash each week. The rest of my time is mine – don’t worry about hanging out with me… just know that when you see the trash gone, that I love you and care about you.”

•    That really won’t work, would it?

o    NO!!
o    It may last for a bit, but there’s no spark there
o    No love, no passion,
o    Just rules

•    This is why Paul goes no in Chapter 3

3 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your[a] life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:[b] sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.[c] 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self[d] with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,[e] free; but Christ is all, and in all.

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

•    We are to take off the old and put on the new!!

•    God wants to clean out our hearts and replace the junk with His Spirit!