Living Free

Rooted, Part 10

As Christians, we get off course in our faith journey and fall into religious traps that can disqualify and destroy us.  This message explains the three most common traps (legalism, mysticism and asceticism) and how to escape them.


Rooted: Grow Deeper. Live Taller.

Part 10 Living Free Col. 2:16-23

Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – Oct 16th, 2016



  • They are a Christian – but a little “off” (this message may step on some of your toes, but please hear me out from scripture and as your pastor, I need warn you and help you through some of these things – to keep you from falling into it, or to get you out of it)
  • As Christians, we can get off course in our faith journey and fall into religious traps that can disqualify and destroy us. This morning I am going to talk about three most common traps (legalism, mysticism, asceticism) and how to escape them


Let no one judge you – a warning against legalism


Col 2:16-17 NIV

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.


  • Christians who say you have to observe a special diet . . .
    • wine, fish during lent, old testament rules . . .
    • these things may make you healthier but they don’t make you holier
    • Mark 7:18-20 ESV
    • And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” ( Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him.
    • Peter vision of a sheet (Acts 10:13-16)
    • 1 Cor 8:8-9 ESV

Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. 9 But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.

  • Christians who say you have to observe a special day . . .
    • don’t work on Sunday, worship on certain days, observing Jewish customs (Passover, Yom Kippur—Day of Atonement)
    • All of these things are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
  • Legalism spawns judgmentalism. Legalism is intrinsically joyless.  Legalism demands uniformity.  Legalism produces a surface faith.
  • You can be free people, don’t let anyone capture you by legalism.


Let no one disqualify you – a warning against mysticism  


Col 2:18-19 NIV

Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. 19 He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.


  • Don’t let anyone disqualify you from receiving the prize (salvation / reward) because you are lazy and dull minded and let the “messenger” do all the thinking for you. You exult and lift up (worship – see them as higher and believe everything they say).  Pedestal Pastors or Spiritual Superstars.  People chase these people all the time . . .
  • They go in great detail about what they have seen . . . with an “unspiritual mind” that “puffs them up”
  • These people have lost connection with Christ – they are not holding onto him – they have gotten away from connection to Christ – who is the heat which we all must be connected to for us to be held together and grow.
  • Let no one take you captive by their “dreams and visions” that take you away from connection to biblical Christianity centered in Christ.


Let no one enslave you – a warning against asceticism


Asceticism – a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from worldly pleasures, often for the purpose of pursuing spiritual goals. Ascetics may withdraw from the world for their practices or continue to be part of their society, but typically adopt a frugal lifestyle, characterized by the renunciation of material possessions and physical pleasures, and time spent fasting while concentrating on the practice of religion or reflection upon spiritual matters.


Asceticism is classified into two types. “Natural asceticism” consists of a lifestyle where material aspects of life are reduced to utmost simplicity and a minimum but without maiming the body or harsher austerities that make the body suffer, while “unnatural asceticism” is defined as a practice that involves body mortification and self-infliction of pain such as by sleeping on a bed of nails.


the belief that a person can attain a high spiritual and moral state by practicing rigorous self-denial, extreme abstinence, and the like. severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence


Col 2:20-23 NIV

Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.


  • These are all “destined to perish with use”
  • Such regulations have an appearance of wisdom
  • “self-imposed worship” – Christ never asked us to worship him in this way –
  • “false humility” – look humble – but they are proud of how “spiritual they are” . . .
  • You can treat the body harsh, but this will not change your heart . . .
  • Don’t let anyone take you captive to – keep your heart centered in Christ . . .


Conclusion –

  • Let no one judge you – don’t become legalistic; let no on disqualify you – don’t be a mystic and don’t be enslaved by asceticism with harsh treatment of the body – find and keep your freedom in Christ – who is the reality of what was promised.