Faithlife Sermons

Worldly Philosophies

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Introduction

In , Paul says, "But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ."  This verse sums up well what is going through the minds of every Christian parent as their children go off to school or to college. They know that the serpent - Satan - the great adversary - He is very cunning. He finds his ways to deceive even those who are strong using the wisdom of the world. And Satan uses people in the world - teachers at school, professors, peers, and even religious teachers, to try to lead young people astray.
In , Paul says, "But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ."  This verse sums up well what is going through the minds of every Christian parent as their children go off to school or to college. They know that the serpent - Satan - the great adversary - He is very cunning. He finds his ways to deceive even those who are strong using the wisdom of the world. And Satan uses people in the world - teachers at school, professors, peers, and even religious teachers, to try to lead young people astray.
This is why Paul tells the Colossians in , “Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elements of the world, rather than Christ.”
This verse is not telling us that all “philosophies” are bad - that everything that the world says to us is wrong. Trying to understand things like knowledge, reality, our purpose for being in this world, and morality is a good thing for us to do. The danger lies in when our young people go out into the world and the world teaches them things that are contrary to the faith and get them to doubt their beliefs.
It is easy to be taken captive by things that sound wise and sound good. Paul says in that the arguments can sound persuasive or reasonable, and in , Paul shows us how we can be victorious over the things that the world wants to indoctrinate us with…
For our lesson today, I would like to look at what Paul says in chapter 2 of Colossians to equip the Christians at Colossae to deal with the wisdom of their age that contradicted Christ and talk about some that we see today in our world.

How to Guard Yourself

Read
Young people, there are three main ideas that I would like you to take from this passage so you can be equipped to deal with worldly philosophies…
Be rooted in the knowledge of Christ:
Paul says in 2:3 that it is in Christ - “in Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” If it is knowledge and wisdom that is gained from His word, then it is worth holding onto and not letting any philosophies of this world sway you away from. It is a treasure we must hold fast to.
Along this same line of thinking, Paul says in verse 7 that the Colossians needed to be rooted and built up in Christ and established in the faith they were taught. This is how you can guard yourselves from the philosophies of the world.
Whenever you hear your teachers, professors, peers, or even your Bible teachers give their philosophies and beliefs about how life is, you need to be like the Bereans in and search the scriptures to see if those things are true. It just cannot be stressed enough that you need to make sure you are consistently in the word of God on a weekly basis.Weekly and even daily time in scripture will strengthen you and prepare your mind to deal with godless wisdom and philosophies before you are even confronted with them.
There may be times that you may get tired of hearing, "the way to win this battle and to be prepared for it is to read and study your Bibles... know Gods word.” I will tell you this, based on my limited experience and based on what I hear from others who work in the trenches with those who are doubting or getting stuck in sin, it is almost always the case that a neglect of scripture is the main cause...
God’s word is what strengthens us and convicts us to do what’s right. It is scripture that gives us a lens through which we understand what the world is like.
Remember, if you have become a Christian, you have confessed that Jesus is Lord. He is the authority of your life. This means that you go to Him for truth. You go to Him in order to learn how to view the world and what is in it… And everything you hear taught in the world needs to be submitted to His teachings and worldview given to us in the word.
I can’t begin to help you how helpful this was to me when I was a Christian in college. Know what the word says, and whatever wisdom you hear contradicts it, ignore it.
What does the Bible say about all of these things that we often hear people say today?
The first two are based on the philosophy of relativism (the third one often is depending on who is saying it also)
“There is no objective truth.” Truth about life and morality is based on the culture and the individual and there is no universal standard. “If it feels right, it must be right. Do it.” This is the judges 17-21 mentality that we see in this philosophy - Everyone doing and believing what is right in their OWN eyes (). This philosophy made Israel spiral downward into moral depravity and idolatry. The Bible teaches this about our own ability to be an authority regarding truth and morality:
"I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps."  () "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death."  ()
Our feelings don’t always lead us down the right path. They are not an adequate place to go in order to get truth.
“You shouldn’t judge” There is a thread of truth to this one. We should not judge if we are going to be hypocritical in our judgment (; ). We will be judged if we judge others in this way. we are condemning ourselves in judging in this way. Or if we are judging based on our own standard we have created, making our own traditions or opinions what we condemn people based on. Jesus says in that teaching as doctrine the commandments of men is vain worship. Don’t judge in these ways. But Jesus does say in John to judge righteous judgment.
“Demand your rights!” This is an American philosophy. Our society says, “You have the right to have just as much money as anyone else… You have the right to have just as much respect as anyone else…” “You have a right to own guns!” “You have the right to religious freedom!” “You have the right of free speech.”
You have the right to demand your rights. That may sound right and good. We as Americans are taught many of these things as we grow up by our parents and our society. That we need to stand up for these rights and to fight for them with all of our strength so that they are not taken away from us.
This “entitlement mentality” is the opposite of what Jesus says when He tells His disciples to deny themselves and to take up their cross and to follow him. We need the attitude that says, “I am willing to forfeit my time, my energy, my stuff, my rights, and even my life, if necessary, for the sake of the kingdom.” These are all gifts from the Lord that I want to put on the altar for Him.
“You can’t change who you are.” Some people talk like their sin is a part of them and that there is no way they can change. What does the Bible say? "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."  () This philosophy is another way of saying I am too sinful for God to be able to help me change. Well, yes He can help you.
“Science has disproven the Bible” God says that observing the natural world teaches us things about His power and wisdom. , “[1] The heavens declare the glory of God, and the expanse proclaims the work of his hands.” and , “[20] For his invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made.” If men look at the universe and all that is in it which is designed so intricately, and don’t come to the conclusion that such great divine power and wisdom is on display, Paul says the are without excuse and darkened in their understanding.
Etc…
“You need to think of yourself first.” “Self-esteem is most important” “God is so loving he would never send anyone to Hell.” “God just wants me to be happy.” “I’m ok and you’re ok. All religions are typically the same.” “We all worship the same God.”
There are so many things that the world says to get us to compromise the standard that God has given us. Many may even sound spiritual or religious, but this does not make them Biblical.
Knowing the word of God will help us discern the difference between teaching that is from Christ and what is really the wisdom and traditions that are from man that can deceive us and harden us against the truth.

Remember Your Salvation

Second, Paul’s instruction to the Colossians on how to not become captive to the philosophies of the world:
second, Paul’s instruction to the Colossians on how to not become captive to the philosophies of the world:
Remember your salvation.
He talks a lot about their salvation in Christ in this passage. It is through Christ and His truth that salvation comes. It is Jesus who gives forgiveness and hope, not the world. It is Jesus who raises us up out of death into life… This being the case, Paul says, don’t submit to the philosophies and manmade regulations…
We each must put on our helmet of salvation. Remembering what God has done for us is our motivation for holding tight onto His word - onto what he says regarding life, truth, and morality.
Seek fruitfulness… (2:2).
Continue to live “in Him.” In verse 2, Paul says that his desire for the Colossians was that they would be receive encouragement and grow in their love for one another. You see in this the need that we have to grow in our relationships with one another and to do what we can to serve in the kingdom. Seek to be fruitful.
... all about what the life of one who seeking the knowledge of Christ and has their sights set on things above... it is a life growing in purity... putting off the old and being remade into Christ’s image... it is all about growing in your fruitfulness. So if you have died with Christ in baptism, seek those things which are above.
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