Summary: Walk carefully with Christ watching out for false philosophies, trivial traditions and worldly ways and you will win with Christ.
Have you ever known someone whose life had been changed by God and who began living a life of zeal to the Lord that later, maybe because of higher education, was filled with doubt to the point of forsaking their call? Perhaps you have known of someone who became a Christian and was seeking to learn more about God when someone from a cult or false religion came along and enticed him away with “new wisdom.”
These are the very issues that Paul addresses in today’s text, Colossians 2:4-15. Paul wanted the Colossians to know how to walk in victory. He wants us to know the same. There are three main points today: (1) Walk carefully, (2) Walk in Christ, (3) Win with Christ.
I. WALK CAREFULLY (2:4-5,8) Why?
A. So That You Won’t be Deceived (4,8)
1. By False Philosophies (8a)
The Greek world was greatly influenced by Greek Philosophers and philosophies. Famous men such as Plato, Aristotle and Socrates had impacted the ancient world.
The word, “philosophy” simply means, “to love wisdom.” There is nothing wrong with loving wisdom. There is nothing wrong with reasoning. Note:
Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord.”
The Apostle Paul often reasoned with people concerning the faith.
The problem for the Colossians was that philosophy was exalted above God. Some men were seeking to harmonize the Christian faith with the current philosophies. They were seeking to conform Christ to their system of logic.
Paul was saying that Christ is above all and informs everything else. Look at 1:17-18.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 1:21 that “The world by wisdom knows not God.” So, how then do we know God? It is more by revelation than by reason. God has revealed in His Word and through His Son how to know God and how to live (see Heb.1:1-2, John 1:12). Follow the Word of God and focus on Jesus and you won’t be led astray. Walk carefully that you won’t be deceived by false philosophies and walk carefully that you won’t be deceived:
2. By Trivial Traditions (8b)
“according to the tradition of men”
The Jewish faith was full of traditions. Most of these traditions had become sacred to them but had nothing to do with God. That’s why Jesus often got in trouble with the establishment, He didn’t follow the traditions of men. The “Judiazers” were present in Colossae trying to bend the church toward these traditions. They were the self-appointed policemen of religious life (similar to the Jihad police in the Muslim world). Theirs was a system of do’s and don’ts such as how you look, what you wear, when and where you worship and how you worship. (I’ll address this more next week.) We have plenty of trivial traditions in Baptist life.
Paul said to walk carefully so you won’t be deceived by false philosophies, by trivial traditions and to walk carefully that you won’t be deceived:
3. By Worldly Ways (8c)
“according to the basic principles of the world” or as some translations have it, “according to the rudiments of the world.” There could be two meanings here:
(1) Gnostics separated spirit from physical. They claimed that we relate to God by Spirit so the body has no relevance in knowing God. Therefore, whatever you do with your body doesn’t matter. You could drink, smoke, gamble, have free sex playboy lifestyle, whatever because it was separate from your spirit. We have Gnostic believers today don’t we? Athletes and entertainers lead the way.
(2) “Rudiments of the world” can be a reference to spirit beings in the world. There was a movement to worship angels and beings of the spirit world. There was a lot of star gazing then. Astrology and the worship of angels and heavenly bodies were in vogue. Today’s application would be to the use of horoscopes, astral charts, ouija boards, fortune telling, crystal balls, seances, etc.
Paul was saying walk carefully so that you won’t be deceived, and to walk carefully:
B. So That You Will be Determined (5)
“rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ”
The words, “Order” and “steadfastness” are military terms.
“Order” meant the arrangement of an army in ranks.
“Steadfastness” meant battle formation, presenting a solid front to the enemy.
We must walk carefully so that we can be effective soldiers of the cross.
62 But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
We are to walk carefully, and:
II. WALK IN CHRIST (6-7, 9-10 note the words, “in Christ four times)
A. How? (6-7)
1. By Faith (6)
How did you receive Christ? (By faith, Eph. 2:8)
2. By Focusing (7, three things to focus on)