Summary: We must lookout for spiritual pitfalls of philosophy, legalism and worldliness.
The Walk of Faith
As we continue on Sunday morning our series through the book of Colossians let me refresh our memories on where we are. This letter from the Apostle Paul to the church of Colossae was written while Paul was in prison. He had never been to the church but he led there pastor Epaphras to faith in Christ Jesus.
Paul writes in chapter1 what is to be the #1 priority in the Christian life. That Jesus has to be our #1 priority. If we are to live lives of faith then our faith in Jesus has to be first.
Now in chapter 2 and the beginning of chapter 3 Paul lists the three boulders that shipwreck lives of faith: Philosophy Legalism and Carnality.
Because those three enemies of faith have caused many a Christian to abandon or question their faith in Jesus. That is why Paul preached so heavily on Jesus being first and foremost in chapter one because these enemies of the Cross make the Cross of no significance for faith in God.
Faith becomes relevant to whatever someone wants to believe it becomes Jesus might be a way but not the way.
See Paul knew that faith is instantaneous in regeneration of the believer and a process or walk with the Lord. If Jesus is our Lord then as the song says, He walks with me and He talks with me.”
This church who received this letter had to deal with what we still deal with today. Does Jesus really have to be Lord? Isn’t Jesus a way to God not the one and only?
Man searches for knowledge and philosophy as with the Greeks in that day and mankind in our day stands opposed to a Lordship of Jesus Christ. Philosophy is to faith what Kryptonite is to Superman. Philosophy says man can get to God and faith in Jesus says God came to man.
Rick Warren in his book Purpose Driven Life, writes, “Philosophy is an important subject and has its uses, but when it comes to determining the purpose of life, even the wisest philosophers are just guessing. Dr. Hugh Moorhead, a philosophy professor at Northwestern Illinios University, once wrote to 250 of the best-known philosophers, scientists, writers, and intellectuals in the world, asking them, “What is the meaning of life?” He then published their responses in a book. Some offered their best guesses, some admitted that they just made up a purpose for life, and others were honest enough to say they were clueless. In fact, a number of famous intellectuals asked Professor Moorhead to write back and tell them if he discovered the purpose of life.”
Philosophy says knowledge is the meaning of life but Faith in Christ means Jesus is what gives my life meaning. So as we look at this first stumbling block of faith in Christ let’s look closely at our walk of faith.
I. Long for Spiritual Progress (v.1-7)
We never stand still we either go forward in faith or backward. We make the decision to grow up with and go on with Jesus or to little by little backslide.
Satan is deceptive and he uses trauma, lies, half truths, and even well meaning people to cause believers to stunt the growth of believers. The believer who is not growing is an easy target for the enemy.
So there must be a hunger for spiritual progress. A longing to draw closer to Christ. We all understand hunger. When we are hungry for food like all of us will be in about 20 minutes we want to satisfy our hunger.
But are we hungry for spiritual progress? The Bible here encourages all of us to have our hearts encouraged in the love of Christ v.2 and to grow to a full assurance, and in v.6 to walk with the Lord. A progress of finishing well in our faith.
Well how do we do this? You were thinking of that question I could tell. The Bible lists two truths we must now to go on with the Lord:
A. The Tactics (v.4-5)
The enemy is deceptive. They use “persuasive words.” You know if a person has been raised Muslim there parents grandparents and so on who is to say that it is the path to heaven for Muslims?
It can’t be there fault if that’s all they have ever heard? A persuasive argument but it contradicts Jesus and the Bible. That’s why The Holy Spirit led Paul to use words like “order” and “steadfastness” in v.5.
They are military terms. They mean the believer in Jesus Christ must be in proper place in the battle lines. They must know the tactics used by the enemy and combat them in order to march forward in faith.
B. The Traveler (v.6-7)