(Message 2) Religion requires rules. Jesus promises to make us free. How do we resolve this tension? All too often, well-meaning “spiritual” people get caught up in a man-made set of regulations in an attempt to be good or be right or to somehow please God. Join us as we see how this approach to “getting it right” often means that we get it wrong. #GCRooted
11 When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature. 12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him, you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. 13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross. 16 So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. 17 For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality. 18 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. 20 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. 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.
Start talking. Find a conversation starter for your group.
Has your pre-Christian experience or present experience ever involved rules and/or list keeping? Why do so many people cling to lists for salvation? For sanctification?
Start thinking. Ask a question to get your group thinking.
Read Colossians 2:11-12. What was the significance of physical circumcision for a Jew? What point was Paul making with the idea of spiritual circumcision?
Read Colossians 2:13-15. Pastor Troy mentioned the theological idea of “imputed righteousness.” What does this mean and how does it apply to our lives?
How did Jesus disarm the spiritual powers and authorities in our lives?
Read Colossians 2:16-19. What false teaching do you think Paul was addressing in these verses? Have you ever been condemned for eating or drinking or disobeying some law that other Christians deemed right? What’s the difference between holding each other accountable and being legalistic?
Read Colossians 2:20-23. Discuss the following statement, “But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.” What does conquer our evil desires? How do we keep from falling back into rules-based Christianity and walk in the freedom of Christ?
Start sharing. Choose a question to create openness.
What, if any, is the difference between a ‘guardrail’ and a rule? Could the distinction between the two be important? Do you need to set any new guardrails or to repair some old ones?
Pastor Troy said, “Do not use your liberty as a license for sin.” Have you ever witnessed the mishandling of someone’s freedom in Christ? If you have time, discuss what freedom in Christ looks like in the areas of alcohol, entertainment, social media, or tobacco. In other words, how do we enjoy the blessings of God without causing ourselves or others to sin?
Pastor Troy closed his message by challenging us to take our next step. Share with your group which one of these, if any, applies to you.
Start doing. Commit to a step and live it out this week.
Commit this week to seek God and pray that He will reveal any list keeping you are doing and help you to instead trust God by faith.
Start praying. Be bold and pray with power.
God, help me to find true freedom in you by truly learning what it is to trust in You. If there are things in my life that are keeping me from truly trusting you and showing who You are to others through my life reveal these things to me. – Amen