The Book of Colossians #8

 

THE MIND SNATCHERS
Colossians 2:8-10
                                                                       
We moved into a second section of the book of Colossians last time we met that deals with the deficiency of anything outside of Christ. 
 
There were false teachers who had come to the city of Colosse and were saying to these
Christians, “Jesus Christ is okay, but Jesus Christ is just one among many. He is not the one and only. You need something in addition to and beyond the Lord Jesus Christ.”
      
So, there was a four-headed monster that had reared its ugly head in Colosse. This four-headed monster could be categorized around these four words: intellectualism, ritualism, mysticism, and legalism. 
 
The same four things are current today. All cults have as their ingredients one of these four or a combination of all four of these. Any cult, outside the church; any heresy on the inside of the church, if you will look closely they go off base in intellectualism, rituatualism, mysticism or legalism.
      
 
Tonight I want to zero in on the subject of intellectualism--the mind snatchers. 
 
The terminology Paul uses in verse 8 is that of a robbery. 
 
In fact, he uses that terminology several times. 
 
Back in verse 4 he says, “This I say, lest any man should deceive you...” 
 
In verse 16 he says, “Let no man judge you...” 
 
Verse 18, “Let no man cheat you...” 
 
He is referring to the false teachers who are trying to take away from the Lord Jesus Christ. “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy.”
      
Inside the church, intellectualism shows itself in liberalism or the view that you need something in addition to Jesus. Outside the church, in the world of the cults, it shows itself in vain philosophy, secular reasoning or an attempt to put man at the center of everything.
      
 
In this message I want to talk with you in terms of a contrast in these verses. On the one side I want to talk about the futility of pagan philosophy. On the other side I want
to talk about the vitality of Christian philosophy.
      
The word, philosophy, in and of itself is not a bad word. It literally means a lover of wisdom, or the love of wisdom. Paul was a philosopher. Paul was an intellectual. 
Probably the greatest intellectual the Christian faith ever produced. 
 
There have been men who were tremendous intellectuals who were humble believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Sat. Augustine was one of those. Thomas Aquinas was one of those. George Whitfield was one of those. Jonathan Edwards and C. S. Lewis were among those.
      
You don’t have to assassinate your brains to become a Christian. When you know Jesus Christ as Savior you do not have to check your brains at the door when you come in. 
 
 
 
 
 
Intellectualism is a formidable foe to the Christian faith, but Christians do not have to be ashamed of their belief in the Bible, in the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the simple gospel of Jesus.
      
I heard about a man who prayed a prayer like this: “Lord, I thank you for my ignorance and I pray that you will make me ignoranter.” 
 
Somebody said they think that was one prayer that was answered before it was prayed. 
 
Most of us have an abundance of ignorance but you do not have to lose you mind in order to become a Christian.
 
I. The FUTILITY of PAGAN Philosophy.
      
I mean by pagan philosophy a philosophy that tries to explain the great problems of life and the great mysteries of life apart from God, the Bible and the cross of the Lord
Jesus Christ. 
 
Really there are three great questions that people have to grope with. 
 
 
There are three great questions in philosophy concerning man that all intellectual views have to come to grips with. 
 
1. Where did I come from? The question of human dignity. Is there any dignity for my existence?
 
2. Why am I here? The question of human duty. What is my purpose, what is my meaning for existence? 
 
3. Where am I going? The question of human destiny. 
 
Philosophy tries to answer these questions apart from the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ.
      
 
Notice the tragic deception of philosophy outside of Jesus. “Beware lest any man cheat (rob) you through philosophy and vain deceit.” 
 
The word, vain, means empty. It means devoid of reality. All intellectual systems outside of Jesus Christ pretend to be more than they actually are. They look pretty good. They pretend to be reality and yet they make significant departures from reality.
It’s kind of like a house on a movie set. It looks very elaborate, but most of the time there is only a front and no house there. Many of the intellectual systems make a very good front. They pretend to be more than they are because they deviate from reality.
 
“Lest any man lead you captive through philosophy and vain deceit.”
      
The word, spoil, here means to take captive, to make captive of a person. It means to take a person and turn them into a slave. That’s what cults always try to do. 
 
Cults try to enslave the minds of people. They try to confuse the thinking of people and get them to believe that error is truth and that truth is error. 
      
The cults always work that way. So, he says, “Beware, lest anybody kidnap you, lest they snatch your mind.” 
      
Same thing happens in the academic setting. I thank God for Christian professors. I thank God for high school teachers who are Christians and I’m grateful for college
professors who are Christians. 
 
 
Sometimes those in the schools will try to snatch the minds of young people and will try to rob them of their confidence and their belief in God’s Word and in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Philosophy can be very heady stuff. 
 
A young person going into a classroom hears a professor who is skilled in the use of words and knows how to get people off track and to rob them of their faith. It can be a very deceptive and a very destructive thing.
      
A young person goes into the classroom and hears some things he has never heard before. It’s being told him by a Ph.D. and it sounds so good to him. He gets in a bull session in the college dorm and they begin to talk about these matters.
 
It’s really heady to be able to tell them, “I read this.” Or, “What do you think about this?” Everybody wants to think they are intelligent. Nobody wants to think that they aren’t real smart. One of the most subtle approaches of those who would take you away from the truth is to suggest that if you do believe the Bible, somehow you aren’t really as smart as you ought to be. If you are a Christian, somehow you are deficient intellectually.
Well, God’s Word says to beware, be very, very careful lest anybody deceive you.
      
He gives here the basic assumptions of pagan philosophy. He says they are after the tradition of men, they are after the rudiments of the world, and they are not after Christ. 
      
“After the traditions of men...” 
 
The word, traditions literally means to hand down. That is exactly what philosophy has done. Philosophers just build on previous philosophers. They build on the views, they build on the belief systems of previous philosophers. You can take all human philosophy back to Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. 
 
It all starts with them and people build on top of them or knock them down and they add another view. “After the traditions of
men...”
      
Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. Let me use the theory of evolution. I want to remind you that it IS THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION. Evolution is not an established fact. I don’t care who says it. 
 
It is not an established fact. By the way, it is not new, either. Darwin is not the first person who came along with the idea of evolution. 2,000 years before the time of
Darwin there was a man named Anaximander who had a theory of evolution. (first scientist)
 
Evolution really is, rather than a science, a philosophy of life. It is a philosophy about human existence. How we came into the world. Evolution is an attempt to explain human existence apart from a personal God. 
 
So, Paul wants to be very careful lest people destroy your faith and rob you through philosophy after the tradition of men.
      
Then he says it’s after the rudiments or basic principles of the world. It literally means “things in a row.” Such as A B C. Or
One, two, three. The basic elements of the world. 
 
He is talking about purely secular reasoning. This word can sometimes be used to refer to doctrines of demons. Things that are taught in the realm of the Spirit. The Bible warns that demonic influence invades itself into secular reasoning. What’s the purpose of it? 
 
It is to get people away from he truth as
it is in the Lord Jesus Christ.
      
What are the philosophies of this world? Views concerning the three great questions of life. What does pagan philosophy say about the great questions of life?  
 
Where do we come from? Secular philosophy says we came from a green scum, a pool of
green slime.  That’s their view. That destroys human dignity.
      
Then you get into animal rights. Next thing you know you are into Dr. Kervorkian. There is no dignity to life if man did not come from an intelligent Creator. Where did man come from? Green Slime. That’s the best they can do.
      
Why are we here? If you don’t know where you came from then you really have no reason for your existence. There is no purpose if there is not a God who created you who has a purpose for your life, then there is really no meaning for your existence. It’s depressing to read what some of the philosophers say about the meaning of life. 
 
 
 
One of the most pessimistic of them all, Jean-Paul Sartre said, “Life is merely an empty bubble on a sea of nothingness.” He is saying that there is no meaning or purpose to your existence.
      
Let me tell you that there is a reason for your existence! There is a purpose for you being here! God created you. God knows who you are. God know why you’re here and He has a purpose for your life. 
 
Secular philosophy’s third question, Where are we going? Secular philosophy says, “at best you may get to come back as a dog or a bug. Probably you are just headed for oblivion.” Pagan philosophy is utterly futile and it is not after Christ, the Bible says. 
 
It has no room for the Lord Jesus Christ. When you take Jesus out of the equation you don’t have anything. When you do without Jesus Christ there is no purpose, there is no meaning to life whatsoever. 
 
Do you know what philosophy outside of Jesus Christ is?   Pagan philosophy is the attempt of a blind man in a darkened room at midnight to find a black cat that isn’t there. That’s all it is. The futility of pagan philosophy.
Let’s switch to the positive side.
 
II. The VITALITY OF CHRISTIAN Philosophy.
      
verse 9 
 
Christian philosophy understands that ltimate wisdom is found only in the Lord Jesus Christ. 
      
Christian philosophy affirms the fullness of the Lord Jesus Christ. 
 
Verse 9, “For in him dwells all the fullness of the godhead bodily.” 
 
That’s one of the most magnificent statements in all of the Bible about the full deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is asserting the deity of Jesus. Jesus Christ is not just A God, He is THE God. 
 
Jesus Christ is not a Savior, He is THE SAVIOR.  Jesus Christ is not just A Way, Jesus Christ is THE WAY. He is fully and totally and completely God. God in human flesh. Jesus Christ ever was, He is, He ever will be God. 
 
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, it was God in a manger. 
When Jesus confounded the teachers at the age of 12 in the temple, it was God talking to the teachers. When Jesus Christ was in the garden of Gethsemane it was God choosing the cross. When Jesus Christ was crucified at Calvary it was God on a cross. He is fully, totally God. Not one among many. He is the one and only.
      
Total God, total man. He was fully God, but He was also fully man. He was in a body. John 1:14 says, “The word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” He was as much
God as if he had not been man, but He was as much man as if He had not been God. 
 
He was fully God, but he was also fully man. He had an earthly mother and a heavenly
Father. 
 
On His mother’s side He got hungry. On His Father’s side he said, “I’m the Bread of Life.” 
 
On His mother’s side He got thirsty. On His Father’s side he said, “I’m the Water of Life.” 
 
On His mother’s side He didn’t have anywhere to lay His head. On His Father’s side He is the home for the homeless.
 
 
On His mother’s side He wept at the
tomb of Lazarus. On His Father’s side He raised Lazarus from the dead. 
 
On His mother’s side He died on a cross. On His Father’s side He rose again from the dead. 
 
Jesus Christ is who He is because He had to be who He is to do what He did. He is fully God. He is fully man. 
 
And verse 10 says he is the head of all principality and power. It all resides in Him. 
 
That simple means that the real questions of life can only be answered in the Lord Jesus Christ. 
 
Where did you come from? Jesus tells us where we came from. Because Jesus talks about the Father and the God of Creation. God created you. You were not an accident. God was present when you were created. You have human dignity. 
 
Why are you here? Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.” You have human duty. Responsibility. 
 
Where are you going? The Good News of the Gospel is that you are not going to hell but because of Jesus Christ you are going to heaven. You have human destiny and it is guaranteed in the Lord Jesus Christ. In this Christian philosophy we have the fullness of Jesus Christ. That’s not all. 
 
We have the completeness of the Christian in Jesus. Verse 10 says, “And you are complete in Him.” 
 
The word, complete, literally means you are filled with the fullness in him. This is something pagan religions cannot produce. This is something the cults cannot offer. The Christian faith says that your body can become a temple for the son of God Himself. 
 
When you receive Christ through repentance and faith the Bible says that Jesus comes to dwell in you. You are complete. You are filled full in Him.
      
Does your heart ever get hungry for something? Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life. 
You are full in Him. Do you ever need peace?  Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace. You are full in Him. Sometimes this word was used to describe a vessel that was fully rigged and equipped for a voyage. 
 
This is what Christ does for our lives. It’s just like our vessel of life has everything we need supplied in Jesus Christ. 
 
You don’t need anything but Jesus. You don’t need to go beyond or outside the Lord Jesus Christ. You have it all in Him. You just have to appropriate what you have in the Lord Jesus Christ.
      
William Randolph Hearst, the deceased newspaper publisher millionaire, was also a collector of great works of art. He had some tremendously beautiful works of art that cost thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars. One day he read about a particular collection of art work that he wanted to have. He took his agent and told him to find those works of art for him. So, his agent began to search for the art. He went to sales and art exhibits looking for those works of art. In about a months’ time the agent found the art Hearst was looking for. He found it in his own warehouse. 
 
That is exactly the way it is with some Christians today. You have the treasures in Jesus.   You have total fullness in Jesus. You have everything the heart could desire and need. It’s all there in Jesus Christ.  
You can draw upon His wealth. You can draw upon His riches. You can draw upon His resources. It’s all there. All you have to do is claim what you have in Jesus.
      
A lot of people think they can find what they are looking for in this old world. The lights glitter. The world promises to provide so many things that you think will satisfy you. The devil is real smart. He’ll snatch your mind. He’ll get you to believe there is something else besides the Lord Jesus Christ and the simple gospel of Jesus. But Paul says “in Him dwells all the fullness of the godhead bodily, and you are complete, filled full, in Him.” 
 
That’s why the most important decision a person will ever make is the decision to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  
 
What you are looking for you’ll find in Jesus. He has all of the peace. He has all of the satisfaction. He has all of the love. He has all of the meaning. He has all of the purpose. He has all of the confidence. He has all of the assurance. Everything you are looking for is available in
Jesus.
      
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