Anchored in Christ

Anchored in Christ

Home Church Service 7/14/2021

These sermons began as devotionals for my family as we met during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. We have now begun to include our friends and the devotional has now become a full sermon. We are also recording our service and will begin posting those videos in the near future.

When my family and I meet for worship, we like to discuss what we are learning, in the moment. Sometimes that happens right after the message and at other times we will address something during the message. This message was designed to be interactive, discussing what we are learning right after I have addressed the points Paul was making. You will find the questions at the end of each section. In most formats they will appear in bold. Use these questions as a guide to meditate on the points Paul is making. Allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart and above all, be honest with yourself and the Holy Spirit. After all, He knows any way!

“Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God. If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!”  (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.”                 Colossians 2:16-23 (NASB)  

My wife loves to be on the water. We would both really love to have a home on a lake someday. In fact, this week she is making her annual trek “up north” to Traverse City, to her dad’s cabin on Lake Anne, with her adult children. I know the first thing she will do each morning is grab her coffee and head for a kayak and the glassy smooth water of the lake. This trip is important for both of us – she because it reminds her of the time spent on Lake Anne during her childhood, a time to just “be” with her kids and to feed her love for being on the water. For me it is a time to get some much-needed sleep, enjoy the quiet and solitude and work on some of my writing projects. There is no set schedule for either of us – it is meant to be, and very much is, a time of refreshment that keeps us both anchored.

Anchored to what, you might ask? How does this keep us anchored when we are apart? First, it keeps us anchored in our love for one another. Time apart doing the things we love is a wise investment in your spouse. Secondly, it keeps us anchored in those things that make us – us! But most importantly it keeps us anchored in our love for Jesus. Inevitably something will happen – a sunrise on the lake, a devotional reading, or an answer to prayer – that draws us closer to Jesus. In this way we are Anchored in Christ, the One who has brought us together and sustains us daily.

Let no one judge you in regard to food or drink or a new moon or Sabbath day. Do not be defrauded of your prize by worship of angels or visions from a fleshly mind. You have died with Christ, so why do you submit yourself to the principles of this world and the teachings of men, that appear to be wise, but have no value against the flesh, when all you do is Anchored in Christ.

Do not let others influence what you eat or drink or how you observe the holy days of God; do not allow others to steal your reward with false worship or visions produced by the worldly minded. You are Anchored in Christ, having died to the rulers of this world and the false teachings of men who appear to be wise but have no value in the discipline of our sinful ways.

In this message we seek to answer the question, “Why is it important to be Anchored in Christ?”

When we are Anchored in Christ, we seek to please God, experience true worship and gain true wisdom found in Christ.

1). It is important to be Anchored in Christ to discern deceptive practices developed by the worldly minded.

We must seek to please God, and not man, by following His commands and observing what He has made holy.

Let me begin today’s message with a question. If those who follow Christ are not under the Law, why do we get so upset when The Ten Commandments are removed from a public venue? Could it be that we really understand these are God’s spiritual laws for everyone? I say to you this day, that Jesus Himself said He has not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it (Matt. 5:17). Throughout the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus expands our understanding of the Law – not removing it. Jesus nailed our sins to the cross NOT the Law.

I know, I know – we are under grace not the law! Why do Christians act as if grace is something new and just for us? God’s grace has always existed – or have you not read that Jesus (God) is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8)? In the Old Testament, lovingkindness is one of the words that expresses the grace of God. We must understand one very important thing – if it is in the New Testament, it can be found in the Old Testament. Conversely, if you think you see something in the New Testament but cannot find it in the Old Testament, you are seeing something incorrectly.

That being said, there are dietary laws we, as Christians must observe – after all, they are for our own benefit. Pork and shellfish – in particular – are the main dietary laws we, as Christ followers break. Both of these groups represent the garbage disposals of the animal kingdom and there is nothing good, health wise, for us. Now, before you go there, Peter’s vision in chapter 10 of Acts has NOTHING to do with making these foods clean to eat. Read the entire chapter, for Peter himself was confused as to what the vision meant (v. 17), but, finally in verse 28 Peter gains understanding that God has shown him not to call any MAN unholy or unclean.

Why all of this background information? Because one of the issues facing this young church are false teachers coming in with deceptive practices. These deceptive practices include food and drink, how to celebrate God’s holy days, the worship of angels and visions developed in worldly or fleshly minds. We cannot be certain who these false teachers were or what dietary laws or celebrations they had in mind, but we do know this – any religion that demands doing something to earn admittance is to be condemned.

Whether you observe these laws or celebrate holy days is between you and God Almighty, but if you condemn others for observing laws or celebrations as legalism, stating they are not truly a Christian, you are putting yourself in danger as their judge and the standard you set will be used to judge you. Yes, I know – Christians are to judge sin, but observing God’s laws or celebrating His holy days can hardly be called sin. The question we must be asking is this, “Are the laws and celebrations they are observing finding their meaning in Christ?”

We must get past judging one another on the “non-essentials” of our faith and look to the heart of our faith. Is the brother or sister whose sin you are judging any worse than your own sin? Do they truly love the Lord and obey the laws and celebrate the holy days in Christ? Are they, or you for that matter, truly seeking to become more Christlike? Before judging one another let’s try having a conversation with one another. Above all beware of the deceptive practices the enemy has planted within the body of Christ. If the laws and celebrations another Christ follower is observing are to honor God and are Christ-centered, no one has the right to accuse them of sin.

Questions for discussion and reflection:

Are you Anchored in Christ today?

Do all of your practices find meaning in Christ?

What deceptive practices have you fallen for?

Where do you need to be Anchored in Christ?

When we are Anchored in Christ, we seek to please God, experience true worship and gain true wisdom found in Christ.

2). It is important to be Anchored in Christ to discern the false teachings of self-important and self-centered worldly leaders.

We have died with Christ and now have access to the wisdom of Christ, wisdom that is far above any worldly wisdom offered by worldly leaders.

The false teachings we are talking about come from “worldly or fleshly minded leaders.” In our day these leaders may be in the pulpit teaching you to “have your best life now,” or in the political arena telling you to “believe the science.” Let me state, right here and right now, I do not believe Christianity is against science or that science is against Christianity. The truth is one affirms the other! These false teachings attempt to draw you away from the truth of the Scriptures, they place the focus fully on man-made ideas or principles.

Throughout history mankind has presented a number of powers, principles, spirits and angels as standing behind the universe and life. As a result, there are many who worship these powers, principles, spirits and angels, forsaking the Creator God of the Bible. These people seek one of two things: to come to God through means other than His Son, Jesus Christ; or they seek to get around God through other means. The problem – these are mere human teachings.

On the surface these look like very wise teachings. But those who teach these things are empty. We know we cannot keep the Law – not in the perfect sense – hence the reason we seek Christ as Lord AND Savior. It is only in Christ that we can be perfect before a holy God. We will never walk a straight path to God, things will always cause us to stumble. Without Christ, we are therefore, rejected by God.

The problem with finding other means to or around God are twofold. First is corruption. Everything in the universe is dying, decaying, deteriorating, aging or corruptible – hence there is NOTHING in the universe that can save us. Secondly, mankind cannot move into the spiritual world – the spiritual world must be revealed to us (2 Kings 6:17). Those who claim to have been given a vision or revelation from the spiritual world still face the problems of corruptibility – death and imperfection.

We have died with Christ, buried and raise to life, having full access to the true wisdom found only in Christ. We are free from man-made laws, visions and angels that are meant to seek God through other means or to get around His Son, Jesus Christ. We believe in Christ. We trust in Christ. Therefore, His death and resurrection stand for us. When we believe in Christ we are accepted in the righteousness of Christ by God, thus we are free from the need to seek other means to God.

Questions for discussion and reflection:

Are you seeking the wisdom of Christ? How?

Are there other means by which you seek God creeping into your practices?

What man-made visions or wisdom have you fallen into?

Where do you need the wisdom of Christ today?

When we are Anchored in Christ, we seek to please God, experience true worship and gain true wisdom found in Christ.

My wife is making her annual trek “up north” this week and I know she will be on the lake as much as possible. In fact, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if she reads this while in a kayak, sipping her morning coffee on the lake.

This trip is important to both of us. It keeps us anchored in our love for one another, the things we enjoy that make us, us and in our love for Christ. And I am confident that something will happen to bring us closer to the One who has brought us together and sustains us daily. We need this to help us remain Anchored in Christ.

Please, do not think the message is simply about following the Law. If you do, you have missed the point completely! Everything we do, we everything we believe, everything we teach MUST be Anchored in Christ. It does not matter if it is food and drink or how you worship, it must find its value in and validity in Christ alone.

So, we must avoid a religion that judges and excludes others. As I stated earlier, before we judge one another on the non-essentials, let’s have a conversation with one another. Far too many denominations are drawing their circle tighter and tighter. They have drawn the circle of acceptance tightly around themselves, rejection others who fail to conform to their narrow vision of the truth.

We must also avoid a do-it-yourself religion. There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation, save our belief and trust in Christ Jesus. No amount of human works, accomplishments or honors will ever be enough to earn your eternal life. Then we must avoid the religion of the eyes. If you are drawn to a church because of what is happening on the stage – light shows, choreographed dances, fog machines – you are in danger of falling for a religion of the eyes. Eye appeal is not a reason to attend ANY church! If the worship of any church is designed to entertain people rather than being God pleasing and Christ-centered – RUN…FAST! Find a church that is Anchored in Christ.

Finally, avoid the religion that fills the gap between sinful people and a holy God with other intermediaries. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, is the WAY and the TRUTH and the LIFE to, from and of God the Father. We are not able, no one, to come to the Father except through Christ Himself (John14:6)! If anyone tries to convince you otherwise you are staring into the face of a false teacher.

The bottom line is this – ALL THINGS MUST BE ANCHORED IN CHRIST!

We do all things for the glory of God through Christ our Lord.

Amen and Amen.

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