Wednesday, September 2, 2015

COLOSSIANS—BEWARE

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. (Col. 2:8)

If you have been with me since the beginning of this series, then you are probably aware by now that Paul is super-concerned about these believers being deceived—and that translates over to our day as well.

Before we get too deeply into the thoughts presented in this next section, it is important to notice what he did NOT say.

He did not write:
  • You are in Christ, so there is nothing to worry about
  • Your pastor will protect you
  • The devil is a myth
  • Read your bible and go to church, and everything will be okay
NO!
He said that YOU are to beware, ie, be aware.
It is your responsibility to avoid the deception.

I am not suggesting that our leaders in the church have no responsibility. Any who know me, know that I am appalled at the lack of responsibility the leadership tends to take for the condition of their charges.

I am emphasizing the fact that you and I are not immune to deception, and that we cannot assume that someone else is watching out for us.

In fact, the number of church leaders these days who are leading their flocks astray is mind boggling, yet people are not able to see it—mainly because when the light of truth shows up in their midst, the leader(s) put it out (3 John 9).

Jesus said this would happen (Matt. 24:5), yet the people in the pews seem oblivious to the potential for it to happen to them.

Paul says here that we are to be on our guard that we not become like the spoils of war for someone. The spoils of war are the things the victor in a conflict takes for himself as a prize, a reward for having won the fight.

Be not deceived, there is a fight going on as you read this. It is a fight in spiritual places, and the prize is your soul—your mind, will, emotions and intellect.

The methods employed, according to Paul in this section, are philosophy and emptiness, which use traditions of men appealing to the fundamental elements of the world, in which Christ is notably absent from their teachings.

Personal Anecdote
I have written previously about being kicked out of the last church we were in for "making an announcement without the pastor's permission" (his declaration of my sin). When I went to the pastor afterward to try to make things right, he said, "I would never do to my pastor what you did." He made that statement twice during that talk. In essence, he said that he was the example that I should follow, not Christ, for Jesus stood up in the midst of the crowds many times and made announcements that went contrary to everything the pharisees stood for.
This particular pastor uses many other traditions of men that follow the rudiments of this world, some of which I enumerated in that article.

He is only a beacon on my path of experience, but there are many others with whom I am familiar at one level or another.

One of the more common approaches used to keep the people under their restraints is to say, as the pharisees did, "Do any of us follow that?" (John 7:48).
They appeal to themselves as the authority, not the Word or Jesus. And people swallow it.

Another, which I personally find rather laughable, is the use and abuse of the so-called Great Commission.

Church members are hammered on a regular basis about their need to fulfill the Great Commission. (Think about it. If you would do it the way they emphasize, the ranks of the church would grow = $) But, once someone is saved, who baptizes them? Who teaches them?

Go read the Great Commission (I call it that in deference to expediency), find where it says to preach the gospel and then bring them to the pastor to be baptized. (Matt. 28:19-20)

The truly laughable part is the answer so many pastors give when confronted with the truth of that passage. They say something along the lines of, "We have to make sure they are being baptized properly. We don't want someone baptizing people in the name of Rodney, or Sam, or Billy." (You may laugh, but I am NOT making this up. I've heard it.)

It has taken me more than 40 years to get to this place, but I now realize that what I am saying can easily be misunderstood. I am not saying that if your pastor does the baptizing that either you or he/she is deceived. I am talking about the interpretation/application of the passage.

Once shown how they may be following the traditions of men, any good and righteous pastor will recognize the truth and change their methods. I have witnessed this also, so I know that it is possible.

The point is that "a little leaven leavens the whole lump." (Gal. 5:9) Yes, they may be doing things the old-fashioned way according to man's traditions, but if they will not change when shown the truth of the Word, then they are deceived, and your submission to them is dangerous at best.

There is much more that could be said from this passage about the New Age and its influence in the Body of Christ; but for those who have gone off in that direction, their deception is almost full-blown. They have been seduced by the philosophy and the teachings concerning the elemental things of this world.

Not there is no hope for them, it's just that I am not the one to try to bring them around.

I am trying to warn those who are on the brink.

I will summarize all this with what I have learned recently that puts it all in a nutshell for easy assimilation:

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

_______________________________________


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