Christ Versus Philosophy and Astrology
Today's lesson aim is to stand guard against false teaching. Colossians 2:8-10, "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. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power."
1. BEWARE OF FALSE PHILOSOPHY - vs. 8.
"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."
A continuing danger to young Christians is being led astray by spurious influences. (The word spoil has the sense of being led astray.) The Apostle notes four areas of spiritual distraction.
(1) The first is philosophy. The word literally means the ‘love of wisdom.’ Implied is an affinity for academic recognition, the exaltation of academia, and the value system of the world. Inordinate scholarship can often lead into at least dead orthodoxy, if not unorthodoxy.
(2) Paul warned of “vain deceit.” The idea is of empty deception. The world redounds with such fallacious philosophies as evolution, humanism, feminism, political correctness, and endless other fad ‘isms.’ We are enjoined to beware.
(3) One of the great enemies of the truth is “the tradition of men.” Religious traditions more often than not are at odds with scriptural truth.
(4) Paul warned of “the rudiments of the world.” The idea is of absorbing the foundational values of the world system around us. The world is and always has been the enemy of God. These all are in antithesis to Christ. The injunction to beware remains.
2. KNOW THAT CHRIST IS THE SOURCE OF REALITY AND TRUTH - vs. 9-10
"For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power."
Referring back to Christ in the last verse, Paul continues indicating how that “in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Jesus Christ embodied in His incarnation the totality of the Godhead. He was and is the visible embodiment of the Godhead. To have seen Him was to have seen the Father (See John 14:9). In Him dwells all Deity in its fulness. A significant play on words not evident in English is at hand. The words translated as "fullness" and "complete" are directly related to the point of being almost synonymous. A paraphrase might be, ‘And ye have been fulfilled in Him.’ Indeed, in Jesus is total fulfillment. In addition, He “is the head of all principality and power.” The idea is that Jesus Christ is undisputed head over any power or authority in the universe, holy or unholy. He is number One.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER
1. What does this verse say about your spiritual condition apart from Christ? How does this verse help you prevent a life of compromise with worldliness?
2. What did Paul mean when he mentioned "worldly philosophy"? What safe-guards do you have in your life to prevent you from being consumed by the philosophy of this world?
3. What types of things would be called "the traditions of men"? Do any of these have a grip on your life?
4. Has someone you know been caught in the snare of the occult? How does trusting Christ help a person to break free of the power of the occult?
5. In Christ dwells all the fulness of God (vs. 2:9). What does "to dwell" mean? Why is this important for you to understand?
6. What is the fulness of Christ's nature? How do you receive this in your life?
7. What is your role in experiencing the fulness of God's presence in your life?
8. Can you 'lose' the presence of Christ in your life?
May we never forget that all we need is Jesus!
Your Friend and HIS,