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Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 41
Paul Warns the Church – Part 2
Now in this lesson we’ll pick up our study in Colossians, chapter verse 4. I’m going to pretty much skim over these verses 5, 6, and 7 because verse 4 and verse 8 I’m going to tie together. But I’m going to wait till we get to verse 8 before I teach verse 4. They both teach about deception, about being beguiled so we’ll put them together.
“And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. 5. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. 6. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7. Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.”
A verse just comes to mind that we need to look at. Like I just told Jerry, a lot of times I don’t intend to start chasing Scriptures, but we trust the Holy Spirit has a reason for prompting me. Come back with me to II Corinthians chapter 11, because I’m sure this is exactly what’s on the apostle’s mind as he writes. Now remember the Corinthian letters were written several years before the prison epistles, and here he’s rehearsing his sufferings.
II Corinthians 11:27-28
“In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. (and I even skipped the verses about his beatings and stoning, and shipwrecks, and being robbed so often) 28. Beside those things (the physical sufferings) that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the Churches.”
I mean the man was just constantly burdened, wondering how that Church in Philippi was doing? How are those folks over in the Colossi Church? How are the members over at the Ephesus Church? See, all of this was on his mind constantly, and it was a daily concern for him. Now coming back to Colossians chapter 2. I can’t help but feel that those Churches were on his mind as he wrote verses 5, 6, and 7. Now I’m going to come into verse 8, and tie that up with verse 4. And what’s the first word of verse 8? Beware! Look out, because there’s danger ahead. And what’s the danger? False teachings.
You know I’ve often said, I know with God, He’s Sovereign and He saw to it that the Church survived. But have you ever stopped to realize what a miracle it is that Christianity ever survived? I mean it’s a miracle. Here we have little groups of believers that have just come out of paganism, they had Paul and one of his helpers for a few weeks, and then they moved on to another congregation. They had no printed Book to leave with them, and no trained pastor to leave with them. Then the moment they moved on to a new congregation the false teachers, the Judaisers, would come right in behind Paul and tell these people that you can’t be saved by faith and faith alone. You have to keep the Law of Moses, you have to be circumcised, this and that act is also required. And it’s almost that bad today with false teachings, and the passing on of tradition. I’m amazed that it all survived. But of course God is Sovereign and He watched over it, we know that. Now let’s read verse 8 again.
“Beware lest any man…” So in the Colossians Church I feel there was somebody who was guilty of this and Paul didn’t name him, but he certainly made the congregation aware of what he was doing.
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Now tie verse 8 and verse 4 together.
“And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.”
Now listen, I’ve been telling people for 25 years, that you’re not going to have someone come in behind your pulpit and just flat out say, “Now look folks, I’m going to deceive you.” You know better than that, nobody would do that, but rather they come up there like wolves in sheep’s clothing don’t they? Again I got a call from west Texas where this Church had a guest preacher situation, and it was pitiful what he was proclaiming. Yet the congregation didn’t even realize what he was. Well it was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I’m sure the guy didn’t come into that pulpit and say, “I’m going to fill you up with false teaching today. But instead these false teachers make it sound like they’re the authority and you’d better believe it. Like Paul say, “they come with enticing words.” Now let’s compare that then with the apostle himself, and let’s go back to Romans chapter 16. Paul is always showing the opposite side of the coin with his own ministry. That he would never deceive any body, he would never bring anything but the truth.
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; (their own physical, material appetite. Boy doesn’t that ring a bell? My they’ll come into our congregations and just milk them from start to finish, to line their own pockets.) and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”
We’re not talking about simple minded people, but rather believers who are not yet rooted in the truth. And like a child who was still simple these early believers could be so easily led astray. So Paul is warning them to be aware. For such people offer nothing but to fill their own physical and material desires. Now let’s go to another one in I Corinthians chapter 2, and I think I want verse 4. Now this is how he came to these congregations as opposite of false teachers.
I Corinthians 2:4
“And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but (my preaching was) in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:”
Remember, I told you in the last lesson that Paul likes that word power. The Holy Spirit inspires him to use it every once in a while. It was the power of God that kept driving him on. Now verse 5. Why did the man just simply, totally depend on the power of the Holy Spirit, and to make sure that everything he said was honest, and above board? It was to enhance their Spiritual well being, and here it is.
I Corinthians 2:5
“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”
Our faith isn’t set in the wisdom of men, and we’re going to see when we get back to Colossians when it speaks of philosophy and traditions of men. That’s not where our faith rests. Our faith rests in the Word of God! Now read verse 5 again.
I Corinthians 2:5
“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”
See when we rest in the power of God, then we’re on solid ground. Now let’s go to another one in II Corinthians chapter 11, and verse 13. I’m always afraid I don’t use enough verses, and yet I don’t want to us too many that we waste time.
II Corinthians 11:13-15a
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. (they are self proclaimed) 14. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness;…”
Now that’s scary language isn’t it? What does it tell us? Oh we have to be so careful. We can’t just sit down and say, well that man is using the Bible, and he’s behind the pulpit, and if he’s behind the sacred desk, so what he says, must be true.” Don’t you ever do that. Not with me or anybody else. But what we have to look at is this. “Is what he is saying lining up with the Word of God? Also is he separating Law and Grace? Remember Law and Grace won’t mix.” Now reading on in verse 15.
II Corinthians 11:15b
“…whose end shall be according to their works.”
Do you know what tells me? They’re going to be at the Great White Throne! And we all know who’s going to appear there don’t we? Only the Lost! Because these men can’t be the possessors of eternal life, or they could not be used of Satan in such a way. Now I have another one in Ephesians chapter 4, and verse 14.
“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, (in our spiritual learning) and carried about with every wind of doctrine,…” Now there again you have no idea how many people will call and say, “they’ve been in many, many different groups, and one was just a bad as another, but finally they saw the light and came out and embellished the truth.” Listen the world is full of these false teachings, and a lot of times it’s the cults, but not always. So Paul is warning us here “not to be carried about with every wind of doctrine.”
“…by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;”
See, that’s their job. It’s also all they’re living for, is to deceive the masses. And oh we’re seeing it, and yet the Scriptures warns us that those kind of people are to be avoided at all cost. Now I think I have one more in the next chapter, and that would be in Ephesians chapter 5:6. See how much Paul deals with, “beware of deception?” It’s almost as much as the positive, and this is what we have to be careful of.
“Let no man deceive you with vain word; for because of these things, (these false teachers) cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” And these guys are going to be part of it. They’re going to be part of the people they have deceived. Now verse 7.
“Be not ye therefore partakers with them.”
Stand up and say, “Hey, I’m not going to follow this.” My, we’ve got people in other states around the country that have come out of some of these groups, and they’ll admit with a question, “How in the world did we sit there for 10 years and listen to this stuff?” But you see they didn’t know any better. I hope I can say this and get away with it, one guy said, “We had a guy come into our Church, and say, “Now look people, so far as you’re concerned, I am your God.” And he said, “It didn’t even bother us a bit that you could tell, as the rank and file of people are still going.” But the Lord opened their eyes and they came out of it.
You’d be surprised at what we hear, but that’s what’s out there. See this is what the apostle Paul was constantly aware of, that you had all these false teachers coming in and hoodwinking the people. Oh I could stand here all afternoon and give example after example of what people are telling us that they’re being subjected to. It’s frightening. And even the Lord Himself warns of this. Let’s go back to Matthew chapter 24 for a moment and look what He says. In my Oklahoma classes I almost deluge them with this verse for six straight months. Every week I would remind them what the Lord said in this chapter. And let’s just start with verse 3. The Lord here is in His earthly ministry and before His crucifixion.
“And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples (the twelve) came unto him privately, saying. Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world. (age) 4. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.” Now what does that tell you? That’s a sign of the end times! The world is going to be inundated with deceptions. And we know the world has to be made ready for the man of sin, the global leader that’s coming on the scene, and I feel we’re getting closer and closer to that day. So consequently in order to get the world ready for him, Satan is deceiving them so that they’ll be ready for him with open arms. But you see, you and I are to know better. We’re not to fall into that trap, we’re not to be ready for the man of sin, but rather we’re to ready for the Head of the Body at His soon return. Now coming back to Colossians chapter 2. Again I thought we’d finish Colossians today Jerry, but I don’t think we’re going to make it.
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy…”
That is the thoughts and mind of educated men. Now I’ve got nothing against education, but I’m going to look at it the way the Scriptures does. When educated men get puffed up and feel that their thoughts and their own idea supersedes the Scriptures, then I have to get my hackles up and say, now listen we’re not going to go by the intellectuals idea of men’s philosophy..
“…and vain deceit, after the tradition of men,…”
Now you’d be surprise how many times I can ask a pastor a particular thing that he may not agree with me on. So I’ll just ask then to show me in the Scripture, “Why you do what you do”, and they can’t.! “Then why do you do it?” And after a blank stare of about 30 seconds here it comes, “tradition.” And oh how Paul hated the word. You say, “Where do you get that?” Back up a few pages to Galatians chapter 1. And of course Galatians chapter 1 and 2 is a recap of course of his early ministry. Chapter 1 is conversion to the road to Damascus, and he’s given us a brief glimpse of his background.
“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. (he’s not following philosophy of man) 12. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. (now that’s the mystery again that he referred to in Romans 16:25.) 13. For ye have heard of my conversation (or manner of living) in time past in the Jew’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church (or assembly) of God, and wasted it:”
In other words those Jewish believers who had embraced Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah for their salvation, had come aside out of the main stream of Judaism, although they still kept temple worship. They had believed that Jesus was the Messiah, and had repented and were baptized in water as was required by Peter’s gospel of circumcision. These Jewish believers were now congregating on their own, and recognizing that Jesus was the Messiah. Alright, that’s the people then that the apostle Paul just ravished, because he thought they were imposters, and heretics. But that’s not why we came here. Look at verse 14.
“And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.”
Now you want to remember we’ll see this a little more clearly as we come along in our study. The Judaism of Christ’s day was a far cry from the original with Moses and the tabernacle worship in the wilderness. Well what had happened? Well the Rabbi’s, bless their hearts would sit there by the days and hours and would be examining all these concepts of the Torah, and like today they would set up a commentary of what it really meant. Well after all the Rabbi’s had made these commentaries, Judaism by what I’ve been able to put together by the time of Christ was 613 rules. Now I’m going to be commentating on that again when we get to verse that these Law and rules had been crucified. But nevertheless, that was the tradition of the fathers that Saul of Tarsus had been steeped in. I dare say, he knew all 613 forward and backwards. He just knew them, and it was part and parcel of him.
Well we’re seeing the same thing today, when people are steeped in some false cults for a lifetime, maybe 70 years, and then they begin to see the truth, but is it easy? No! It’s never easy to give up tradition. It’s a battle to pull away from it, and every time they make a step forward, that old pull of tradition draws them back. Well this is what Paul knew was to follow the traditions of men. So even for us today, we have to be constantly aware, “Are you just simply following what grandpa believed?” What if grandpa is in Hell? Are you going to follow him there? And that’s what we have to realize. Just because grandpa could quoted Scripture, that doesn’t mean that he had the truth of the Word of God.