Nailed to the Cross

Scripture Reading: Colossians 2:6-23

6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in
Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition
of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him
dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of
all principality and power.

11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off
the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in
which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from
the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He
has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the
handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it
out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He
made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,
17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. 18 Let no one cheat
you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those
things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the
Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with
the increase that is from God.
20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living
in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— 21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not
handle,” 22 which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the
commandments and doctrines of men? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom
in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the
indulgence of the flesh.

Last week we spent most of the morning talking about the prodigal son, the other
brother, and their father.  Our focus was what to do when you do right and what to do
when you do wrong.  This week our focus on a surprisingly tough question for many
Christians, how do you know what is right and what is wrong?  It seems like it would be
obvious but not so.  In fact, there are a multitude of different denominations that have
arisen because of this issue in the church.

So, how do we know right from wrong?  In the passage that we read from Colossians,
Paul starts off with some good advice.  As you have received Christ Jesus, so walk in
Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in faith.  You know the saying ‘What
would Jesus do?’  We need to be rooted firmly in that.  Doing what Jesus would do,
saying what Jesus would say, loving as Jesus would love.  That needs to be our
foundation in all things.  Not only what would Jesus do, what did Jesus do?  Those are
going to be the main questions you’ll need to ask yourself.

Then Paul tells the Colossian church to beware philosophy and empty deceit that is
according to the traditions of man or the principles of the world.  Ok, that’s a mouthful
so what does it mean?  Well, a philosophy is a belief system or principles you live by.  
So, we must take care not to get caught up in a belief system or principles that are
based on the world or on traditions.  The key is not to just blindly follow the crowd
even if they’re heading to church; even if they’re doing something that seems good.  
We have to remember that the antichrist is going to seem like a good guy, who seems
to be doing good things for the world.  So, we can’t judge by what appears to be good
or bad.  That can be deceptive.  Our plumb line must be Yeshua as we just
established.  He is our foundation.  John Chapter 1 tells us that Jesus is the Word.  
Therefore our foundation is the Word of God.  Psalm 119:105,
Your word is a lamp to my
feet and a light to my path.
 Two weeks ago we talked about opening our spiritual eyes so
we can see the things of God.  What do you need in order to see in a dark place?  
That’s right, light!  That’s what the Word is for us.  It’s what make things clear; brings
clarity.

Now, here’s where it can get confusing if you let yourself get distracted.  He talks
about us putting off the body of the sins of the flesh (our spiritual circumcision), the
about us being buried with Him in baptism (our spiritual death), and being raised with
Him from the dead (our spiritual rebirth).  That’s simple enough but here’s where a lot
of people get off track.  It says in verse it says that He has forgiven all our trespasses,
and wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary
to us.  These requirements have been taken out of the way being nailed to the cross.  
Ok, so what requirements is he referring to?  Most Christians would say Paul was
talking about the Law but that’s not what you get when you really study this out.  
There are several clues that he gives that should make it clear that he’s not talking
about the Law of God.  These requirements were against us.  Was God’s law against
us?

Psalm 119:97,
Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.
Psalm 119:113, I hate the double-minded, but I love Your law.
Psalm 119:163, I hate and abhor lying, but I love Your law.
Psalm 119:165, Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to
stumble.

Does that sound like something that is against us?  Something that is contrary to us?  
Let’s go to our plumb line, Jesus Christ.  Does He have anything to say on the issue?  
Matthew 5:17-19,
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not
come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one
jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore
breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in
the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the
kingdom of heaven.
 Does that sound like He is against the Law of God?  That He came
to nail it to the cross?  1 John 5:2-3,
2 By this we know that we love the children of God,
when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His
commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
  Because we know that the
Bible does not contradict itself we have to figure out what requirements Paul is talking
about, and we will in just a bit.

The next verse is where those who believe he’s talking about the Law of God really
think they’ve got something.  He says don’t let anyone judge you on food or drink, or
in regard to a festival or new moon or Sabbath.  They say, “See, it’s about the Law!”  I
believe they’re missing something.  Not only because scripture does not contradict
itself but because of what’s in the next paragraph.  Remember, we have to study
scripture in context as it was written.  It wasn’t written with numbers in it.  Anyway, in
the next paragraph Paul says why do you subject your selves to regulations; do not
touch, taste, handle – according to the commandments and doctrines of men.  Oh,
now we’re getting somewhere.  This ties into everything we’ve just read.  He’s talking
about commandments and doctrines of men.  This does not apply to God’s Law.  We
studied two weeks ago a time when the pharisees berated Jesus and His disciples
because they didn’t adhere to the oral traditions.  Then Jesus put them in their place
because He basically said that it’s God’s commandments that matter, not man’s
commandment.  As far as not letting anyone judge us with regard to food or festivals
or sabbath, I believe I know exactly what he was referring to.  Since I've started
celebrating the feasts of the LORD I've had several (non-observant) Jewish people tell
me I'm doing it wrong because I'm not going by tradition.  I've read God's Word and
gone by it, not by the traditions that have been passed down that may not have
anything to do with what God has said in scripture.  I can imagine that if that is
happening now, it must've have been happening even more so in Paul's time.  Paul
was saying not to let people trip you up with rules and regulations again, go by God's
Word alone.

By the time of Christ, the religious leaders had taken the law that God gave through
Moses and turn it into a monster.  The 600 or so laws the LORD had laid out for His
people, had turned into thousands of strict rules and regulations.  The account in
Matthew 15 and Mark 7 clearly show us that Jesus had no problem with the Law of
God but had major issues against the regulations or traditions of men.  This reconciles
everything we’ve read today with everything in scripture.  God’s Word is faithful a true
when it says that we should love God’s Law, Jesus was being genuine when He told
His disciples He had not come to destroy the Law and we can see that these rules and
regulations of man is what has been nailed to the cross.  We do not serve a
schizophrenic God!  Praise the LORD!  God IS the same yesterday, today, and
forever!

So, let’s get back to the original question.  How do we know what is right and what is
wrong?  We go to God’s Law, we read it and we do it.  Period.  Last week we studied
the fact that there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.  I think it’s very good that the
Father took us there before we came to this truth.  Many times when people see the
truth we’ve just come to about God’s Law, they go overboard and become legalist
putting them in the same category as those pharisees Jesus put in their place.  We
can not be the prodigal son, full of self-condemnation.  We can not be the other
brother, full of self-righteousness, eager to condemn.  What we can do is thank God
everyday for sending His Son, Yeshua, to come make atonement for our sin.  And we
can do our level best to follow the path He has laid out for us by staying focused on
the lamp (the Word) He has made to light that path.  Jesus told His disciples this, John
14:15,  
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And John 14:21, He who has My
commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by
My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.
 And John 15:10, If you keep My
commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and
abide in His love.

Let us follow the Law of God, not out of arrogance or self-righteousness but out a
sincere desire to please our heavenly Father.  And as we do this, let us never forget
the story Jesus told of the prodigal and his brother so that we will always remember
that there is NO condemnation for them that are in Christ Jesus.


Sermon by: Denise Baxley
Date: September 24, 2006
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