Faithlife Sermons

Title: Cultural Enemies of Christ: Intellectualism & Ritualism

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 4 views
Notes & Transcripts
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →
Introduction:
The doctrine of justification by faith—a Biblical truth, and a blessed relief from sterile legalism and unavailing self-effort—has in our time fallen into evil company and been interpreted by many in such manner as actually to bar men from the knowledge of God. The whole transaction of religious conversion has been made mechanical and spiritless. Faith may now be exercised without a jar to the moral life and without embarrassment to the Adamic ego. Christ may be "received" without creating any special love for Him in the soul of the receiver. The man is "saved," but he is not hungry nor thirsty after God. In fact he is specifically taught to be satisfied and encouraged to be content with little.
Tozer, A.W.; Christian Book Collection (2001-04-11). The Pursuit of God (Optimized for Kindle) [Updated 4/14/2010] (pp. 12-13). . Kindle Edition.
Key theme for the book: Supremacy and Sufficiency of Jesus Christ
Syncretism of Colosse
Intellectualism
The exercise of the intellect at the expense of the emotions.
Devotion to intellectual pursuits
The exercise of the intellect.
Excessive emphasis on abstract or intellectual matters, especially with a lack of proper consideration for emotions.
Philosophy
The doctrine that knowledge is wholly or chiefly derived from pure reason.
The believe that reason is the final principle of reality.
Ritualism
The regular observance or practice of ritual, especially when excessive or without regard to its’ function.
A traditional or fixed way of behaving.
Adherence to or insistence on ritual.
The study of ritual practices or religious rites.
Excessive fondness for ritual.
The only explicit use of the word “philosophy”
“science” - Knowledge
The world system has a template for how they do things. They have a template for how a person determines self-worth.
Illustration: A Chinese student was in class when she succumb to the pressure of education. The student got up when to the window and jumped out.
Our students spend 35+ hours per week some kind of schooling either at home, public school, or private school.
There is a natural tendency to fall into a trap/cycle of teaching security based on educational success.
Illustration: It is amazing to learn how little we speak about our children’s spiritual accomplishments; but we speak much about their educational accomplishments.
Education is good; but success in education is not ultimate.
Education is good; but success in education should not be all we talk about.
Education is good; but success in education should not be where we find our greatest joy.
Question, “What is education the answer to?”
Proposition: It is imperative that believers see their own idolizing of intellectualism and traditionalism as enemies of the sufficiency and supremacy of Christ!

(1) A new creation in Christ is satisfied in knowing God (3:10) -  

What does it mean to be “renewed in knowledge”

(a) It is a passive verb that means someone is being acted upon

(b) It is the knowledge of God that was lost in the Fall - , ,

(d) It is a knowledge that continually transforms us -
App: Our self worth must not be attached to educational accomplishments.  
Our break with the world will be the direct outcome of our changed relation to God. For the world of fallen men does not honor God. Millions call themselves by His Name, it is true, and pay some token respect to Him, but a simple test will show how little He is really honored among them. Let the average man be put to the proof on the question of who is above, and his true position will be exposed. Let him be forced into making a choice between God and money, between God and men, between God and personal ambition, God and self, God and human love, and God will take second place every time. Those other things will be exalted above. However the man may protest, the proof is in the choices he makes day after day throughout his life.
Tozer, A.W.; Christian Book Collection (2001-04-11). The Pursuit of God (Optimized for Kindle) [Updated 4/14/2010] (pp. 102-103). . Kindle Edition.
Recap: A new creation in Christ is satisfied in knowing God ( - Woman at the well…)

(2) A new creation in Christ finds that knowing Christ is the highest and greatest pursuit. (3:10)

(a) It is an ongoing renewal in this new knowledge -

(a) It is an ongoing renewal in this new knowledge -
The next concern is the goal of growth. Paul described it in 3:10. The goal is knowledge. Knowledge was a preoccupation of the false teachers. Paul stressed knowledge (epignōsis), genuine knowledge attained through Christ in the process of renewal. This is progressive, not instantaneous. It comes through Christ, not some other flash of insight as, perhaps, the false teachers were saying at Colossae.
(b) It is a knowledge that continually transforms us -

(b) It is a knowledge that continually transforms us - [Lead to next point..]

App: Any pursuit of knowledge that rivals the supremacy of Jesus in your life is an enemy to be slain.
- False teachers proclaim the knowledge of God but their lives deny Him.
Titus 1:16 KJV 1900
They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted.
Tozer, A.W.; Christian Book Collection (2001-04-11). The Pursuit of God (Optimized for Kindle) [Updated 4/14/2010] (p. 17). . Kindle Edition.
Recap: A new creation in Christ is satisfied in knowing God ( - Woman at the well…)
Recap: A new creation in Christ finds that knowing Christ is the highest and greatest pursuit. (3:10)

(3) A new creation in Christ conforms to the image of His Creator.  (3:10)

(a) The importance of this allusion to Adam - “the old self” ,

Genesis 1:26–27 KJV 1900
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
1 Corinthians 11:7 KJV 1900
For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

(b) The importance of the new “creation” - ,

Galatians 6:15 KJV 1900
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
Ephesians 4:24 KJV 1900
And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

This image of God, is expressed in Christ - Christ is the pattern for the renewal. See also

Colossians 1:15 KJV 1900
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
2 Corinthians 4:4 KJV 1900
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

See

Romans 8:29 KJV 1900
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
App: We must refuse the pursuit of intellectualism that leads to deformity rather than Christ-like conformity.
In Christ, we are a new humanity; but that does not mean the distinctions of this world are obliterated. They are relativized (Pillar) - They are no longer what is most important.
The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One.
Tozer, A.W.; Christian Book Collection (2001-04-11). The Pursuit of God (Optimized for Kindle) [Updated 4/14/2010] (p. 20). . Kindle Edition.
Recap: A new creation in Christ is satisfied in knowing God ( - Woman at the well…)
A new creation in Christ finds that knowing Christ is the highest and greatest pursuit. (3:10)
A new creation in Christ conforms to the image of His Creator

(4) A new creation in Christ considers the corporate institution accomplished in Christ. (3:11) 

(a) Christ demolishes polarities:

National or ethnic polarities
Religious heritage
Cultural heritage
Economic heritage
Scythian (3:11). Historically, the Scythians were northern people located along the northern coast of the Black Sea in the area of what is today southern Ukraine. To the Greeks, the Scythians were a violent, uneducated, and uncivilized people. Josephus reflects a common view of the Scythians when he says, “Now, as to the Scythians, they take a pleasure in killing men, and differ little from brute beasts.” For those who have been incorporated into the body of Christ, there is no longer a distinction between people based on ethnicity, culture, gender, or social status.

(b) Christ is “all” - the first “all”

This all reminds us that Christ is God’s all - the center point of both creation and redemption. He is the one in whom and through whom all things are held together. (Pillar)

(c) Christ is “in all” - Christ penetrates all people through indwelling and brings about a new unity, a new humanity. See

Galatians 3:28 KJV 1900
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
App: Examine your traditions, and discard all that are an enemies of the real union we have with one another in Christ.
Conclusion:
Recap: A new creation in Christ is satisfied in knowing God ( - Woman at the well…)
A new creation in Christ finds that knowing Christ is the highest and greatest pursuit. (3:10)
A new creation in Christ conforms to the image of His Creator
A new creation in Christ considers the corporate institution accomplished in Christ
What does all of this mean for believers?
It means that should not be to achieve an unrealized success. You already have “all” in Christ.
It means that you can take a quick test to see if you are pursuing intellectualism or traditionalism rather than Christ:
Do you sense an overwhelming anxiety at the potential of failure in your intellectual pursuits?
Do you find yourself showing off your knowledge or intellectual pursuits rather than showing off Jesus Christ?
Do you find yourself sacrificing opportunities to grow in conformity to Christ for other pursuits?
Do you find yourself so bored with the exposition of scripture that there is hollowness or apathy that has settled into your heart?
Do you find your worship to be purely a traditional exercise that give ease to your conscience?
Proposition: It is imperative that believers see their own idolizing of intellectualism and traditionalism as enemies of the sufficiency and supremacy of Christ!
What are some traditions that you have that do NOT bridge the ethnic gaps?
What are some religious traditions that you have that you have NOT compared to the Scriptures or who others do not conform to - leading to division?
What are some cultural traditions that you have which do not allow for union with people outside of your family?
Who did you rejoice with today in Christ that is not in your economic class?
We can exaggerate about many things; but we can never exaggerate our obligation to Jesus, or the compassionate abundance of the love of Jesus to us.
Tozer, A.W.; Christian Book Collection (2001-04-11). The Pursuit of God (Optimized for Kindle) [Updated 4/14/2010] (p. 41). . Kindle Edition.
Related Media
Related Sermons