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Spiritual Referees? - Forward with Back to the Bible - September 3

  • 2021 Sep 03

Spiritual Referees?

September 3

Read Colossians 2:18-19

Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

Reflect

According to today’s verse, what was the fundamental problem with the false teachers in Colossae? How is it similar to the false teachers of today?

When you run a race, you can be disqualified for many reasons. You can get DQ’d for jumping the gun, not staying in your lane, dropping the baton, using a banned substance, etc. But can we get disqualified from the race of faith in Jesus?

In today’s verse, Paul told us some ways that the false teachers attempted to disqualify believers in Colossae. One false teaching was asceticism. Asceticism can be summed up as false humility. People who practice it are extremely legalistic, especially in the area of self-denial. It might be extreme fasting, living in seclusion and silence like a monk, or even self-harming behaviors. The false teachers may have been saying things like, “If you don’t degrade yourself as well as we do, then you aren’t a true believer. You should be as humble as I clearly am.”

The false teachers also encouraged the heresy of angel worship. They instructed others to invoke certain angels to come to their aid when they were in trouble. But Scripture clearly condemns angel worship because angels are not God, they are created beings.

Mysticism was another practice encouraged by these false teachers. They engaged in cult worship in order to receive visions and claimed to have greater spiritual insight. But all of these false teachers were “puffed up” about their spirituality. Ironically, even the ascetics who claimed to be incredibly humble were exceptionally arrogant. These false teachers were so prideful, they assumed the role of spiritual referees and tried to DQ believers who didn’t play by their rules.

But Paul urged the Colossians not to allow these deceivers to count them out. He maintained that the heretics had no legitimate reason to act spiritually superior because in reality, they were not “holding fast to the Head.” In other words, they didn’t have a close relationship with Jesus. Maintaining a close connection with Jesus, who is the head of the body of Christ, is the only way individual believers and the church as a whole, can grow spiritually.

The false teachers were actually the ones who disqualified themselves by mixing heretical teachings with the Gospel and not abiding in Christ. They were full of spiritual pride but lacked the Holy Spirit. 1 John 4:13 says, “By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.”

John went on in 2 John 1:9 to explain further, “Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching of Christ has both the Father and the Son.” The false teachers of Colossae were not abiding in the teaching of Christ.

Friends, the only requirement in the race of the Christian faith is to remain in Christ. When we live in relationship with Him, we discover that He is sufficient. He is all we need. In Him, we have no need for special revelations or legalism. In Him, we know that He is the only one worthy of our worship. The only thing that counts for anything is knowing Jesus Christ through Scripture. So don’t be intimidated by the super-spiritual, self-proclaimed referees. You don’t answer to them. You answer to Him. 

Pray

Jesus, You are sufficient. In You, I have everything I need. Help me to abide in You. Keep me walking in Your ways, not the ways of man. Amen. 

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