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.
– Col 2:8
In a day like the present when there is so much activities in the churches, both on-site and online, with many errorneous doctrines flying over the air and everywhere, and ungodly practices that pass for religion, and preaching and tradition, it is now more important than ever that the believer be cautious and remain ever sensitive to guide against being led astray into any dangerous path. It is possible for a man to do evil even while having good intention; but it is hard, if not impossible, to avoid the consequences of such action notwithstanding the good intention.
Many so-called men of God today are very bold even in their errors and unbiblical assertions, leading many astray. They speak with such flowing, self-confident and commanding tone that the unwary pilgrim under their influence stands the danger of being led astray or sadly unhinged from the true Rock. When you add these to the “signs and wonders” they supposedly perform, the appeal they make to their worldly attainments, the many claims of extraordinary answers to their faith, these further increase the propensity for the unwary traveller to take anything and everything they say at face value without questioning.
But “to the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Is. 8:20. No man is greater than the Bible, no matter how gifted. And the Bible is its own interpreter; we compare Scripture with Scripture to understand what it says. Also, we test every word or experience by that Sacred Word and never vice-versa. The practice of lifting Bible verses out of context and giving it private or carnal interpretation is so common nowadays that it is increasingly becoming harder to find men who are faithful to Scripture in its entirety. The inspiration of Scripture is being mixed with expediencies!
Paul warned the believers at Colossae, to “beware lest any man” spoil them “through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” They are to give no reckoning whatsoever to “any man”, no matter his stature or pedigree, his worldly attainments or claims, if he is not preaching and spoiling them after “Christ and Him crucified” alone.
Christ has no substitute, no alternative and no add-on. He is the head and object of His Church. We are to worship Him in all our hearts, throughout our lives, with all our parts and powers. He is fully God from everlasting to everlasting. He is the One that has redeemed us, and we are to live unto Him. All things were created by Him, through Him and for Him. “Upon this rock”, He said, “I will build my Church”, that is, on the grand truth that He is the Son of God, co-equal, co-existent and eternal with the Father. Eternal life is to know God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Jn 17:3.
Christ is “the power of God, and the wisdom of God” – 1 Cor 2:24
At the mount of transfiguration when Peter made the error of suggesting the raising of “three tabernacles; one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias” (Mat 17:4), the Almighty Father quickly corrected him by speaking directly from the excellent glory, “this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.” Mat 17:5. Not Moses, not Elijah and certainly not any that parade themselves as men of God today. We are to hear and listen to Christ and Him alone. If any man preaches or exhort or does anything, he is to preach Christ and Christ alone, and nothing else. 1 Tim 1:3-7. When Christ caused the three to eventually lift up their eyes, they saw only Christ; Moses and Elijah had been removed from the scene. The Father will allow no attachment to His Son; certainly, no partner no matter how well-intentioned. Nothing must be added to Christ, nothing. He is sufficient to meet all the needs and exigencies of His people. Any sermon or person or Church that Christ is not the center and only object should be turned away from.
Thou, O Christ, art all I want;
More than all in Thee I find;
Also, these things, philosophy or learning and traditions, are notorious usurpers of Christ. They have often been the avenue through which the enemy gradually corrupt the heart from focusing on Christ and God as its only and ultimate good. Some add motivational speaking to their preaching or teaching. Christ is “the power of God, and the wisdom of God” 1 Cor 2:24, so we don’t need any philosophy of men to teach us the truth, nor to encourage the believer in daily living, nor any man-made prayer-system, etc to empower us for the journey. Christ is sufficient for all our exigencies. We must beware never to allow philosophy or traditions replace or compete with the place of Christ in our lives. Christ is pre-eminent and first in the lives of His people. Nothing must compete with Him. Nothing, I say, be it denomination or personality, signs or wonders, philosophy or talent. Nothing must come near at all.
“For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”
1 Cor 2:2.
Nor must we be tempted by these “new” and “advanced” man-centered “Christianity” which is grossly at odd with the simplicity of the faith of Jesus Christ. “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 1 Cor 11:3
And we must equally ever be on guard against vain deceit. Against preachers of covetousness and snake oil salesmen, “whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.” Phil 3:19. They are so many nowadays; they are everywhere. They come like sheep but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Nothing steals the heart faster than a covetous heart. And the main avenue they use to perpetrate their evil is through the pulpit. Therefore, we are to guard jealously the kind of people we allow or listen to in preaching and teaching. They may sound appealing but their fruits will be bitter than wormwood. 1 Cor 3:11-13. We are to emulate Paul who said he’s “determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” 1 Cor 2:2.
The believer’s conversation is in “heaven from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” Phil 3:20, and where our “treasure is, there will our hearts be also.” When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory. Let us therefore live accordingly, to be “sober, and watch unto prayer” for our enemies are many. 1 Pet 5:8
Let me love Thee more and more,
Till this fleeting, fleeting life is o’er;
Till my soul is lost in love,
In a brighter, brighter world above.
Dearest Lord, please keep us in Your love to the very end. Do not let any of our enemies prevail over us. There are too many adversaries trying to lure us away from You, but You are more than able to keep us safe and to present us holy and unblameable and unreproveable in Your sight, and to present us faultless before the presence of Your Father with exceeding joy. Please make us ever steadfast. Sharpen our eye of faith in Thee and enliven our hope in You. In Jesus Name we ask. Amen.