Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | October 29, 2006

Colossians – Part 9

What gives you hope that Christianity is true?  Or what leads you to believe that it is not true? 

Colossians – Part 9:  Avoid Deceptive Philosophies 

1.  What are some popular worldviews in life?

2.  Are a lot these worldviews “spiritual” or religious”?

Freedom from Enticing Words (Ch 2:4-8): I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.  5 For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.  6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus our Lord, so walk in Him, 7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.  8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.   

After appealing to their good senses, the Apostle advises the Church to use their knowledge of the truth to stand firm against error.  The faithful servant Epaphras had initially instructed them in the truth.  And surely some being of Jewish origin they must have possessed the Scriptures of the Old Testament.  It is not like they were abandoned in the wilderness without any compass, they had been equipped for the journey.  These would have been sufficient to ward off the errors that assaulted them.  Nonetheless, the infiltration of false teaching was no doubt successful in getting them off course, which means they were not holding fast to the tools in their possession.  However, the Apostle does not write them off, he pleads with them to re-establish their faith in Christ that had initially been a joy to them.  This advice, if followed, will prevent them from being taken in by deceptive teaching and keep them rooted in the truth. 

The inability to detect false doctrine or refute the false apostles is what plagued the Church at Colossae.  They had been prone to mixing their beliefs with the surrounding culture, leaving them susceptible to error.  This failure to stand firm in the faith given to them is what caused Epaphras to retreat to the Apostle for assistance.  After the Apostle councils the Church that the true knowledge of Christ will liberate them, he explains that it will also prevent them from being seduced again by error. 

3.  Did the Colossian false teachers promote a philosophy that was according to Christ?

4.   What is a common theme that major world religions hold?

5.  What are common beliefs that some of your past friends have held?

6.  Do you think that the simple message of the Gospel is a stumbling block to many who then seek alternative views? 

This I say, that no man may deceive you:  “For what is the reason why mankind have involved themselves in so many wicked opinions, in so many idolatries, in so many foolish speculations, but this – that, despising the simplicity of the gospel, they have ventured to aspire higher?…Paul here would have every one, that would not be deceived, be fortified by means of this principle – that it is not lawful for a Christian man to know anything except Christ.”  John Calvin, Commentary on Colossians 

7.   What are some common objections to the validity of the Christian faith?

8.  Are there any specific objections that are a stumbling block to you?

9.   What is faith?  Is it a blind leap or being sure about the truth of something?  Hebrews 11:1-2

10.   Do you think that the more confidence you have in your faith the easier it will be to remain in it? 

As ye have received:  “To commendation he adds exhortation, in which he teaches them that their having once received Christ will be of no advantage to them unless they remained in him…These two things are to be observed in the Apostle’s words – that the stability of those who rely upon Christ is immovable, and their course is not at all wavering, or liable to error, (and this is an admirable commendation of faith from its effect;) and secondly, that we must make progress in Christ aye and until we have taken deep root in him.  From this we may readily gather, that those who do not know Christ only wander into bypaths, and are tossed about in disquietude.” John Calvin, Commentary on Colossians 

11.  Why is Christianity set apart from other religions or beliefs?

12.  Is it important to know what you believe? 1 Peter 3:15

13.  Is Christianity primarily a lifestyle or a message of hope?  If your answer is both, which is greater?

14.   Why was Paul concerned for the Colossian church? 

Beware lest any one plunder you:  “Thus he makes Christ’s Church a sheep-fold, and the pure doctrine of the gospel the enclosures of the fold.  He intimates, accordingly, that we who are the sheep of Christ repose in safety when we hold the unity of faith, while, on the other hand, he likens the false apostles to plunderers that carry us away from the folds.  Would you then be reckoned as belonging to Christ’s flock?  Would you remain in his folds?  Do not deviate a nail’s breadth from purity of doctrine.”  John Calvin, Commentary on Colossians 

15.  What are some major world views that attempt to disprove Christianity?

16.  Should we be afraid of these movements? Why or Why not? 

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