Mid-August to Mid-September is the height of the hurricane season. That’s why I live in Phoenix. After living through 6 hurricanes, that last one, in September of 2004, in the Florida Space Coast, did it for me. I stared out my apartment window at 2 huge oak trees that had been completely uprooted and barely missed landing on my building by a couple of feet and said, “There’s got to be a better place to live!” The next February, I was heading to Arizona.
See, Hurricane Frances had come through 2 weeks before. Then Jeanne came. They were both category 1, so they didn’t pack too much of a wind punch, but they were slow-moving and dumped a lot of rain. There were floods everywhere. The ground was saturated from Frances when Jeanne made landfall and those 2 oak trees never stood a chance. Here’s why they fell….
- Their roots where shallow — they were in a grassy area that got watered by sprinklers every day. Doing that doesn’t allow the roots of the tree to grow downward seeking water and nutrition. They grow outward, just under the ground because that’s where the water is. The sprinkler didn’t water for very long, so it wasn’t a deep watering.
- The rain from Frances soaked the ground, but the trees stayed upright.
- The rain combined with the winds from Jeanne, 2 weeks later, were too much for those shallow roots in the soaked ground and they fell.
That can happen to us when our faith is not well-rooted in the truth — in the Word of God and in Jesus Christ. That is what the Apostle Paul explains to the Colossians in chapter 2. Let’s dig in…
Colossians Chapter 2
I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally. 2 I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. 3 In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
4 I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments. 5 For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong.Colossians 2:1-5 NLT
“Deceive you with well-crafted arguments.” Highlight that line. We’ll come back to it.
Freedom from Rules and New Life in Christ
6 And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.
7 Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
Then your faith will grow strong in the truth. What happens when you have your faith in a false teaching? You become like those trees with the shallow roots. Any interesting, charismatic, wonder comes along like a strong breeze and you’re knocked over.
8 Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. 9 For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. 10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.
Do you think all those apparitions of Mary are from God? Think again. I just finished a series digging into church history and all of the Roman Catholic Doctrines and Dogmas are exactly that — “empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking”. The problem is that they are lies stemming from greed, pride, vanity, lust and the other 7 Deadly Sins thrown in.
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.
This is describing the baptism of a believer.
As a Catholic, you probably were baptized as a baby like I was. The problem with that is a baby has never sinned! So, you can’t die to your old self if you were just born! When Jesus died on the cross, He took ALL our sins away forever – past, present and future! When He rose 3 days later, he defeated death and Satan — the “spiritual rulers and authorities”.
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 [or “holy days of obligation”]. 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 [or Mary or the Saints], 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.
How does God “nourish” the body of believers?
With His Word! That’s why we need to read the Bible every day. It’s the nourishment that helps us become deeply rooted in Christ so that when someone invites us to a party to celebrate Halloween or All Saints Day, we humbly decline and tell them that Jesus wouldn’t approve.
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.
If you are in Christ, you are free from the trappings of man-made religion! Jesus didn’t suffer and die on the cross so that we could have religion! He died to set us FREE from it and so you can have a personal relationship with Him!
If you become rooted in Christ, your faith will be strong enough to discern when someone tries to sell you on “well-crafted arguments.” Ah-ha! That’s the line from verse 4 that I told you to highlight.
Do you want to be rooted in Christ?
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 in your life and surrender your life to Him.
- Be Baptized — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.
If you don’t know what to say to invite Jesus into your heart….
Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be the Glory!