Bible Studies in Colossians
Col 2:16-19: All these Ism's cause a Schism.
by I Gordon
 ↩ What should be emphasized here is that Paul gave a solemn charge to Timothy to stick to, and teach from, the word of God. Why? Because Paul knew the time would come when people wouldn't want to hear the truth anymore. I think we are at that time. We normally blame false teachers for such things, and rightly so, but we also need to see that the desire for unbiblical teaching is coming from the people. In other words, if there weren't gullible people wanting to hear the latest 'sensational' ear-tickling message and gobbling it up, the false teachers wouldn't have a platform in which to spout forth their rubbish.
 ↩ The Believers Bible Commentary, (known as Big Blue in my home) says the following: ' All human religions place men under bondage to ordinances, rules, regulations, and a religious calendar. This calendar usually includes annual observances (holy days), monthly festivals (new moons), or weekly holidays (Sabbaths)... Some false cults, such as Spiritism, insist on their members abstaining from meats. For centuries Roman Catholics were not supposed to eat meat on Friday. Many churches require abstinence from certain foods during Lent. Others, like the Mormons, say that a person cannot be a member in good standing if he drinks tea or coffee. Still others, notably the Seventh Day Adventists, insist that a person must keep the Sabbath in order to please God. The Christian is not under such ordinances.'
I like what the Bible teacher J. Vernon McGee says on this. He
'A man once came to me and said, "I'll give you $100 if you will show me where the Sabbath day has been changed." (meaning changed to Sunday). I answered, "I don't think it has been changed. Saturday is Saturday, it is the seventh day of the week, and it is the Sabbath day... He got a gleam in his eye and said, "Then why don't you keep the Sabbath day if it hasn't been changed?" I answered, "The day hasn't changed, but I have been changed. I've become a new creation. We celebrate the first day because that is the day He rose from the grave." '
 ↩ My mother had a fire in her home and had to make a recent claim with her insurance company. So we received word back from them recently that they weren't going to help in any way. They cited some pathetic reasons, flimsy excuses basically, which they felt excused them from fulfilling the claim. It was, in our family's opinion, unfair. As I went to bed that night I kept think of their response. Here I was in the most restful environment... lying on my bed, not to hot, not to cold... no sounds around... perfect conditions to lay my body down to sleep in a blissful, refreshing, restful night's sleep. But do you think I could sleep? Nope! I was playing back in my mind what they had said, and then what I'd say back, and then imagining what their response would be to that, and then I'd have myself coming back with something better (in my imagination!). Now, this went on for some time. I wanted to let it go but I wasn't getting any closer to a restful sleep, though the conditions externally at least, were perfect for it. In fact, if I was to be completely honest, even though in reality it wasn't a big deal, in my mind and imaginations I got to the point where I was imagining doing a drive-by stoning, where I'd throw a stone through the State Insurance company's window and then speed off in my car! It was about then that I thought - 'ok, goodness... what a dark little heart you have!' Physically I wasn't moving a muscle. But was I entering God's rest? Not on your Nellie! Not even close. It was just the opposite in fact. Though it was a small thing, I couldn't let it go or give the situation to the Lord but kept dwelling on it till it got out of proportion to actual reality. Maybe you've done something similar that has got you worked up and taken your peace. Anyway, I should add that I haven't, as far as I know, ever actually thrown a stone through any window in my whole life. Bricks are more my preference. Ok, that's not true either. The odd tennis ball may have gone through but that was all an accident in trying to be the world's best tennis player. No luck there. But this little illustration is just given to show that the real rest is something that goes on inside a man or women and we can have perfect conditions externally and still not enter the rest that God has for us.
 ↩ I popped round to my friends last weekend and as I approached the front door, I saw a little bird in their garden. He just seemed to be sitting there, not moving. I watched for a while and then thought I had better investigate as it seemed a little odd. So I went over and found that he had successfully tied himself up really tight in some bird netting they had over the garden. He was basically like Houdini in a straight jacket - though not yet mastering or displaying any of Houdini's escapism skills. He had a wing all tight in a weird position behind his head and his legs were all tied by the netting. As I got close he obviously got frightened and was shaking himself as best he could in this netting and was snapping his beak saying 'you take another step closer and I'll have ya! I'll bite ya... I will!' So I went inside and grabbed some scissors and went back out. As I got close with my little scissors he again starting snapping his little beak and trying desperately to move any muscle in his body that wasn't completely tied up. And yet, and this is the part that got me thinking later on, as I put my hand around him, and held him in my hand, he went completely still. Limp even. No more flapping. No more snapping. He seemed to be able to submit and rest. Now I don't know what goes on in a bird brain that made him submit and stop fighting. Maybe he's thinking 'So this is how it ends...I'm trapped by one of those giant walker creatures and his pair of scissors'. Maybe God spoke and says 'Be still - do not fear'. Maybe he's thinking 'my only chance is to play dead, and when he least expects it, I'll surprise him and make a break for it.' I'm not sure what goes on in a bird brain. All I know is that as I held him and started to cut the netting off he didn't move a muscle. It's a good thing too because it was so tight around his body and under his wing that had he been struggling it would have made it really difficult to free him. Even without him moving a muscle there were times when I thought I might end up cutting him. But I cut it all off successfully. My friends daughters, Bianca and Lucia, were watching on and I had visions of launching him up into the air saying 'be free little birdy' and watching him flap one munted wing and come plummeting back down to earth... but thankfully that was not the case! He was off, 'good as gold.' Probably thinking that he has outsmarted me with his playing dead trick!
Moral of the story: welll this got me thinking later. We are like this birdy... we flap and we snap and we work ourselves in a worse mess than we were before. We can feel trapped and unable to move at times and think there is no way out. It can be over a health issue, finance, relationships, and jobs - any of the many things that get thrown at us in this life. But we also need to learn from this little bird, this little Yellow Hammer, to be still and submit and rest knowing that we are in the hand of God. When I held this bird in my hand he just totally relaxed. And as believers we are in God's hand. Walking in this truth is the true Sabbath rest that is the reality in Christ Jesus. This is the true rest of faith.
 ↩ Mormons: As a teenager, Joseph Smith had a vision of God and Jesus (apparently) who spoke to him. A few years later an angel called Moroni instructed him about some golden plates which he was to translate. The rest is history...The SDA's hold Ellen White as a Prophet. It is reported that she saw visions from an early age and one was from an angel guiding the Adventists where to go. From what I have read, her extensive writings are basically held on the same level as the Bible as divinely inspired scripture. Even recently we had Todd Bentley leading the 'so called' Lakeland Revival. Bentley talks about going to heaven and talking to the Apostle Paul and in another incident receiving instruction from a female angel called 'Emma' - Of course the Lakeland revival fizzled when God apparently told Bentley to divorce his wife and he ran off with someone else. Why are we surprised?
Related Series Posts
- Colossians 1:1-8 The God of Grace and the Hope of Heaven
- Colossians 1:9-14: Revelation, Direction and Reflection
- Colossians 1:15-23: The Pre-eminence of Jesus and the Wonders of God
- Colossians 1:24-29: Christ in You The Hope of Glory
- Col 2:1-4 The Divine Treasure Hunt!
- Col 2:5-8 Firmly rooted or strangely deluded?
- Col 2:8-15 Worldly Wisdom or Complete in Christ
- Col 2:16-19: All these Ism's cause a Schism.
- Col 2:20-3:3: Set your sights on the heights!
- Col 3:3-4 Those Concealed Shall Soon Be Revealed
- Col 3:5-11 A putting off - What not to wear
- Col 3:12-15 How to clothe yourself -Great clothing choices Part 1
- Col 3:16-25 Practical Christianity - Great clothing choices Part 2
- Col 4:2-6 Prayer and the Walkie-Talkie of sharing your faith