Prison Epistles Lesson 24

Dangers To Your Faith Part 2
(Colossians 2:8-23)

KEY TRUTH: The traps of mystical experience and physical asceticism will distract you from your true source of help, hope and wisdom – Jesus Christ.

  1. The danger of man’s tradition and philosophy of men
  2. The danger of ceremonialism
  3. The danger of mystical experiences and encounters (Colossians 2:18-19)
    1. Paul warns against the worship of angels.
      1. Angels are ministering spirits. (Hebrews 1:13-14)
      2. Anything received from an angel is secondary.
      3. Humans will be the judge of angels.
      4. Angels have no authority regarding our spiritual standing.
      5. John attempted to worship angels and was forbidden.
    2. Paul warns against a fixation on visions.
      1. God commands that we approach him directly, not through intermediaries who receive visions. (Isaiah 8:19-20)
      2. Even if a vision came true, we must test it against the real standard – God’s Word. God might be testing you. (Deuteronomy 13:1-5)
  4. The danger of asceticism (Colossians 2:20-23)
    1. Paul warns against asceticism as a means of self control.
      1. Asceticism places your focus on the things of life that you are to be dead to.
      2. Asceticism is often based on the teaching of men, not of God.
    2. Asceticism is of no real value against the indulgences of the flesh.

IMPLICATIONS

  • As we live the Christian life, attempting to mature spiritually, beware of any doctrine or teaching of man that suggests we need more than Jesus Christ!
  • Paul has been encouraging us to keep our guard up – and here are some ways we do that:
    • Beware of anything that is based on man’s wisdom, to the neglect of God’s Word.
    • Beware of anything that judges or disqualifies others according to arbitrary human measures.
    • Beware of anything that substitutes false battles with asceticism for the real heart struggle with sin, which Christ has already won for us.
    • Beware of anything that makes subjective feelings or mystic experiences the norm over the historical event of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.
    • Beware of anything or anyone that places an intermediary between you and God.
    • Beware of anything that cuts people off from the Christ the head or Christ’s people, the body.