Beware of Empty Philosophies

Colossians 2:4-7
by Dennis Baker, President of BMAMO Brotherhood

There was once a pastor who was concerned about some unsavory businesses that had opened near a school. His protest led to a court case, and the defense attorney did all he could to embarrass the concerned pastor.

“Are you not a pastor?” the lawyer asked. “And doesn’t the word pastor mean ‘shepherd’?”

To this definition the pastor agreed.
“Well, if you are a shepherd, why aren’t you out taking, care of the sheep?”
“Because today I’m fighting the wolves!” was the pastor’s quick reply, and a good answer it was.

Because of the enemies that were attacking the church in Colosse, Paul offered encouragement that would help them overcome their enemies. He encouraged them to continue making spiritual progress in their Christian life.

There is a need for spiritual progress because Satan is deceptive. Satan uses enticing words to lead believers astray. Satan is a liar and by his lies he leads believers down the wrong path. John 8:44, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” In order for the believer to have spiritual discernment, it is important for the believer to continue to grow in his knowledge of biblical truth.

Paul used several vivid pictures to illustrate spiritual progress. In verse five the words “order” and “steadfastness” are military terms. They describe an army that is solidly united against the enemy. “Order” describes the arrangement of the army in ranks, with each soldier in his proper place. Not everybody can be a general, but the general must have an army to fight the enemy. “Steadfastness” pictures the soldiers in battle formation, presenting a solid front to the enemy. Christians ought to make progress in discipline and obedience, just as soldiers on the battlefield.
The Christian life is compared to a pilgrimage, and believers must learn to “walk.” We are to walk in Christ the same way we originally received Christ-by faith. The false teachers wanted to introduce some “New truths” but Paul encouraged them to continue in Christ. The only way for a believer to make spiritual progress in his Christian life is by faith. Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

The word “rooted” in verse seven is an agricultural term. The tense of the Greek word means “once and for all having been rooted.” Christians are not to be tumbleweeds that have no roots and are blown about by every wind of doctrine. Ephesians 4:14, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” Nor are we to be transplants that are repeatedly moved from soil to soil. Once the believer is rooted by faith in Christ, there is no need to change the soil! The roots draw up the nourishment so that the tree can grow. The roots also give strength and stability. The words “built up” is in the present tense: “being build up.” When we trust Christ to save us, we are put on the foundation; from then on, we grow in grace. Continual growth should characterize every Christian’s walk with Christ.

It is the Word of God that builds and strengthens the believer. Christians who study the Word become established in the faith. Satan has a difficult time deceiving the Bible taught believer.

The word “abounding” pictures a river overflowing its banks. The believer’s first experience in the Lord was drinking the water of life by faith. The well should become a river of living water, which gets deeper and deeper as we grow in our spiritual life. John 7:37-38, “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”

“Thanksgiving,” a thankful spirit is a mark of Christian maturity. When a believer is abounding in thanksgiving, he is really making spiritual progress!

By reviewing these pictures of spiritual progress, we see how the growing Christian can defeat the enemy and not be led astray. If his spiritual roots are deep in Christ, he will not want any other soil. If Christ is his sure foundation, he has no need to move. If he is studying and growing in the Word, he will not be enticed by false doctrine. And if his heart is overflowing with thanksgiving, he will not even consider turning from the fulness he has in Christ. A grounded, growing, grateful believer will not be led astray.

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