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We continue with our sermon series Staying the Course with the sermon Greater Realty.  This series is based upon our Lent study of Colossians by Jay Y. Kim.  If you have not started the study there is still time to join a class or to do the study individually.  Books are available at the church office or in the front of the church.  We are trying to stay a course that will prepare our lives to experience more of the resurrection power of Jesus Christ.  It is always hard for us to stay focused on the most important things.  We live with all sorts of diversion and distraction as well as confusion and conflict.  It seems that we go from being on top of world to the world being on top of us!  We wonder what will enable us to find the hope and joy that God intends for our lives.  This week we turn to Colossians 2:15-23.   The Colossian believers were being confronted with the condemnation of legalism on one hand and the arrogance of “know it all” faith on the other.  The first was leading them to a confusion about the saving power of Christ, and the second was misleading them to follow a “self-made” and confusing faith.  Legalism told them they had to “do” more and the “self-made” faith told them they had to “know” the right things or they did not have genuine faith.  The Apostle reassures them faith in Christ is organic and growing, not legalistic and arrogant!  These words help us as we confront this same path between the burden of condemnation and burden of those who want to “run our lives.”  We are still struggling with the same forces as these early believers!  God desires for us to be rooted in faith and love so we can find deeper joy and abiding peace!  Paul’s guidance can help all of us grow in grace which helps us to thrive rather than be overwhelmed!  This is our most earnest prayer for you that the burden of condemnation will be lifted and you will find that the joy of the Lord is your strength as you read Colossians 2:15-23:

15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.[a] 16 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. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. 19 They have 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. 20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely 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.