Mike Gerhardt,03-03-19, Be Alive, Col 2:6-23. My father told me, whatever you do Mike, do it to the best of your ability. That philosophy never limits a person. Be the best with your abilities, personality and intelligence. I can’t preach like John Piper, or pastor like Rick Warren but I want to do the very best that I can with what God has given me. Deion Sanders played for the Atlanta Braves and for the Atlanta Falcons. He is the only athlete to have hit a Major League home run and score an NFL touchdown in the same week. Sanders grew up on the streets of Fort Myers, Fla. Exposure to some would-be athletes spurred him to be all that he could be. He said: I call them I'das. If I’da done this, I’d be making 3 million today. If I’da practiced a little harder, I’d be a superstar… but instead of working for their dreams they chose drugs and a life on street corners. God gave us all we need to be the best we can be. 1 Cor 10:31: So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Our heavenly Father's not just asking, He’s empowering. Be alive from deception (6-8). Once you trust Christ, you continue in Him. It's important because everything is either in Him or in the world, either for Him or against Him. Paul's one way to live: rooted & built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, & overflowing with thankfulness. We studied this two weeks ago. The longer I am a Christian the more I need a teachable spirit. Col 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. Philosophy here means fondness for wise things from a human perspective. It can be deceptive. Some are easily deceived because they have not become rooted in the Word. Be alive from condemnation (9-15) For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form. We have been given the fullness of Christ through our faith. Verse 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. Power and authority often refer to demonic forces. You have the same authority over them as Jesus. Luke 10:19, I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. I know some of you are afraid of snakes. We used to have gardener snakes as pets when we were kids. I may have told the story of being in Haiti with Janet at 2am feeling something crawling on my face and wiping it onto the sheets and finding this huge scorpion in bed with us. Not that I made that a pet. The enemy uses fear. Satan hammers the church with fear and lies, stealing joy, killing hope and draining love. Those lies allow the enemy to sow doubt. He condemns us hissing that we're not doing enough. Satan reminds us how we used to be. We believe the lies rather than the Word. Lie: I can’t be an effective witness for Christ. The Word says: You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses. Lie: I can’t give up my habits. I am bound by them. Rom 6:18: You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. Rom 8:15, For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. We are loosed from the bondage of addictive substances. We are released from the lust of the flesh. We have put off the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ. We are children of God and co-heirs with Christ. Satan has spent centuries lying to the church telling us we can’t change anything, we don’t have spiritual power and we're not strong enough to make a difference. In one sense Satan is right – when we try to obtain righteousness on our own, we are powerless. Verse 13 &14: When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. We who are in Christ, are no longer condemned by the Mosaic Law. The written code that condemns has been abolished. The power and authority of the enemy over our lives is cancelled. Verse 15: And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Realize the full potential that has been given to us. Power and authority come to us through the baptism in the Holy Spirit. It is the lack of use of this spiritual power that brings spiritual weakness. Years ago, on New Year’s Day, in the Tournament of Roses parade, a beautiful float suddenly stopped. It was out of gas. The whole parade was held up until someone could get a can of gas. The amusing thing was this float represented the Standard Oil Company. With its vast oil resources its truck was out of gas. When we neglect spiritual maintenance, we often find ourselves running on spiritual fumes. Be alive from traditions (16-23). Traditions are not necessarily bad, but these Gnostic false teachers had a mix of oriental mysticism, angel worship, Greek philosophy and Jewish legalism. Humanity loves to be religious, so long as that religion doesn't interfere with their lives. They were involved in Jewish rituals, special diets and super religious holy days. We are set free from the traditions that bind us. We move in the freedom of the Spirit. Spirit-filled acts of kindness or generosity may label us as crazy. Verse 16-17 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. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. We don’t have to worship a certain way. It is OK to dance in the Spirit. It is OK to fall under the power of the Spirit. It is OK to weep in the presence of a Holy God. We are not bound by what seems normal according to traditions. We let the supernatural presence of the Holy Spirit move in our midst. The Law of Moses showed us our sin but did not remove it. In Jesus sin is removed and the fullness has come. Verse18-19 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. 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. But God is a God of order, not confusion, so I would never act like that in church. 2 Cor 3:17-18, Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. We are to be changed into His likeness according to His word and not according to the traditions of men. Col 2:20-23: 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: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 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. Most traditions do not free you but bind you. They might sound right but when the traditions of men begin to take precedence over the word of God, we have a problem. The enemy wants to deceive, to condemn, and to keep us from moving forward. You can be alive from the deception because the truth has set you free. You can be alive from condemnation, because of Jesus. Rom 8:1-2 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. Well-intentioned saints who misunderstand the Spirit may speak against the things that God desires under the pretense of church tradition. You can be alive from tradition because of God's promise. Be the best you can be. Take a stand against the enemy. Circumcision removes a fragment of flesh from the male body, but our identification with Christ puts off the whole fleshly nature. This is made possible through a union with Jesus, when baptized in the Spirit. We died with Jesus, and we are risen with Him. Be alive in the freedom of the Holy Spirit.