Colossians 2:16-23

Three Dangerous Self-Made Religions

The Apostle Paul saw three dangerous heresies present in the church at Colossae and we experience them today.  Biblical discipleship is sufficient and doesn’t need any alteration.


  • When we are dissatisfied with the finished product of the gospel, we can easily become subtle heretics.
  • As disciples, we must acknowledge the dangers of altering scriptural beliefs.

Legalism (Col. 2:16-17)

  • God’s Word + My Rules = Legalism
  • Legalism leads people to pass judgment on those who don’t hold to the same religious standards.
  • Be careful of equating your personal convictions with God’s universal commandments.

Mysticism (Col. 2:18-19)

  • God’s Word x My Experiences = Mysticism
  • Mysticism seeks to disqualify others who haven’t shared similar spiritual experiences.
  • If a spiritual experience fails to make much of Jesus and build up the church, it is not of God.

Minimalism (Col. 2:20-23)

  • God’s Word – My Blessings = Minimalism
  • Minimalism pressures people to submit to a way of life that demonizes anything enjoyable.
  • Just because a good gift can become a bad habit does not mean you should forfeit the gift altogether.
Which self-made religion are you more prone to accept?
  • + Legalism (Judgment)
  • x Mysticism (Disqualification)
  • – Minimalism (Submission)

Travis Agnew is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. He serves as the Senior Pastor of Rocky Creek Baptist Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is What God Has Joined Together.