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Philosophy or Christ?

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
March 31, 2022 4:00 am

Philosophy or Christ?

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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March 31, 2022 4:00 am

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Grace To You
John MacArthur
Beacon Baptist
Gregory N. Barkman
Fellowship in the Word
Bil Gebhardt
Our Daily Bread Ministries
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Don Green

What is saying is there is no higher fruit. There is no nobler knowledge there is no greater insight. There is no superior revelation no matter what they claim, and against the enticing claim that a higher wisdom was offered by this new teaching. He emphasized that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Christ is out to destroy you societies officially on what you can be sure there are people who claim to be on your side on God's side, but the fact is there enemies of Christ, embracing and teaching dangerous doctrine to find out how to spot these enemies of the faith and how to deal with them in their false teaching. Stay here as John MacArthur continues his current study on the blessings that are yours if you're a Christian, blessings that come from being complete in Christ. That's the title of our series complete in Christ and with that, let's get to the lesson. Here's John. Colossians chapter 2 verses eight through 10.

In our study Colossians chapter 2 verses eight through 10.

Really this is just the first part of a look at verses eight through 15 which should be taken as a composite might title our discussion, philosophy, or Christ, because really that's what Paul is dealing with in this passage. The word philosophy which appears in verse eight beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy word philosophy is from two Greek words for L and Sophia.

The level means to love and Sophia means wisdom. Philosophy is the love of wisdom throughout all of history. Man has pursued this fascination with wisdom and that is simply a an etymological meaning of the word, the love of wisdom but philosophy itself really boils down to the effort of man to determine the ultimate causes in the earth and the universe. The effort of man to determine ultimate causes throughout all the history of the world, man has pursued an understanding of what caused what is and why it is what it is and where it's going and what it's intended purpose is manna sought to explain the reasons for existence. Purpose of living all of the phenomena of the universe is really one great mystery that man has tried to solve. There have been many many solutions offered by many many different philosophy.

There have been tens of thousands of philosophers and the different philosophy for every one of those, as well as millions upon millions of homespun philosophies and philosopher everybody with his own explanation of the universe.

I met her when I was in college one of the most frustrating and depressing experiences I ever had was a course I took in European philosophy, and some of the solutions that people came up with were absolutely unbelievable and no two of them ever agreed.

Most philosophers deny the existence of God.

Most philosophers who do allow for the existence of God usually allow for his existence only as a as a general cause perhaps in a deistic fashion that somewhere back there some place sometime God kinda spun it all out but most of them deny the existence of God altogether and try to explain everything in the universe in terms of their own rational thinking pattern very hopeless.

First Corinthians chapter 2 in verse nine.

I have not seen can't discover truth by empiricism, nor ear heard, neither have entered in the heart of man, you can't discover truth by rationalism with things that God has prepared for them that love him. But God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit.

The spirit is the one who searches the deep things of God.

Science that's empiricism philosophy. That's rationalism according to 1st rad 29. Neither of them will ever discover ultimate truth. No wonder Bertrand Russell the end of his life. 90 years of age. The vast majority of his life. At least 70 of those years being spent as a philosopher's last words were philosophy has proved a wash out to me that's a long washout 90 years Thomas Hobbes, the famous English atheistic philosopher who fostered materialistic psychology in what is called utilitarian morality we was drawing near his death said this, I'm about to take a leap into the dark. I shall be glad to find a hole to creep out of this world." So it goes with philosophers so it goes with people who want to eliminate God and then their own minds by their own human effort attempt to discover truth of the city of Colossae had its philosophers city of Colossae had its Hobbes, its humans, its other philosophers as every society does famous 17 backyard ones in the little assembly of believers, the church.

Colossae was in danger of being captured by the of being corrupted by the being infiltrated by ammo being duped by remember a little background about Colossae was a little town was a little town in the midst of the lacus Valley like us Valley was so named for the lacus River was approximately 100 miles from Ephesus, located in Asia minor and that lovely little valley were three cities, Colossae Harry S and the most famous because of the indication. In Revelation, the city of Laodicea. Most renal cities occupy that territory. Not one of those three, the city of Colossae had a church far as we know, so did Laodicea and perhaps hierarchal us as well but it was a typical pagan city and that it was occupied by Greeks, Romans, and population of Jewish people who had left their land, not Paul had been in Ephesus for three years. During the time in which he was in Ephesus. He was instrumental in founding the church at Ephesus and the other churches in Asia minor and all of those churches mentioned in Revelation 2 and three are in Asia minor and most likely all of them were founded during that three year period, as well as some other churches, namely Colossae and what probably happened was that while Paul was ministering in Ephesus, a man came there by the name of the past for us and a pacifist was one to Jesus Christ under the ministry of the apostle Paul is mentioned in chapter 4 verse 12. He was one the Christ by the apostle Paul. He returned to Colossae and became the founder of the Colossian assembly now six years have gone by since the church of Colossae was begun. Paul has finished his three years in Ephesus. After that he spent a winter in Greece, for which he wrote, perhaps Romans and Corinthians then he returned to Jerusalem. When he got there with his offering to give the poor saints in Jerusalem. It turned out that he was arrested. He was then taken to Caesarea and he was left in prison.

There, when his imprisonment was completed.

He was brought to Rome to await his trial. That's what happened during those six years and we picked the story up now as he's already in room waiting his trial if preference visits him in room and a path for sunburns is hard about the Colossian situation. Paul sends him back with this letter try to help straighten it out now. Basically what a pacifist told him currently. Was mostly good because there aren't any really serious critical defections occurring in the congregation.

Rather, there is warning last that should occur in the letter is mostly about warning them relative to letting any false teaching false philosophy infiltrate their congregation.

Colossae had its false teachers every place that it had its philosophers were there human wisdom loitering at the doorstep of the church ready to enter in and vie for control and Paul simply warns them about it. This is always to be expected is always to be expected that the church in every city in every culture in every country in every century will have to fight to hold its doctrinal purity. It will have to fight to keep its spiritual equilibrium.

It will have to defend itself against terrorists and maintain the truth always because Satan will always endeavor to topple the church and drop it down to the level of fall stuck. That's Paul's great concern that becomes the heart of the letter to the Colossians now as we come to chapter 2 verse eight we come to what is, frankly, the heart of the epistle. This is the heart of the epistle really from chapter 2 verse eight through verse 23 that one section there. Paul gives the main message of this letter to the Colossians, because here he deals directly with the false teaching that is on the border of the church that is possibly to threaten the church in Colossae, not just to give you an overview of the book Paul is already confirmed the truth relating to Christ in the great doctrinal section chapter 1 verse 15 through chapter 2 verse seven is the doctrinal section. It presents the great doctrine of Jesus Christ and salvation. Verse 14 versus introductory the great doctrinal section is 150 to 27. The practical section is 31 chapter 3, verse one.

He moves into the practical, clear to the end chapter 4 verse six really and then some personal words closing out so you have a doctrinal section at the beginning naming Christ and clarifying the years and what salvation is you have a practical section dealing with what should characterize the lives of the Colossians, and all believers now in the middle of that you have what I could possibly call a polemical section polemic means a dispute. Here is the argument of the book. Here is the dispute here is the dialogue of Paul who says now let me get at this issue. I've talked about Christ I've talked about salvation. Talk about your practical life. But let me attack those false teachers.

He does it in the heart of the letter and that's where we are now really notice something interesting. There are four aspects to the false teaching that threatens the Colossians we have a very hard time.

Incidentally, putting this heresy together because Paul never names it officially.

He only flirts around the borders evident. It's hard for us to crystallize just exactly what it is but this we do know it had four elements, one that had the element of philosophy. According to verse eight through 15. And that's what he talks about an 8 to 15.

That whole section deals with this whole problem of human philosophy. Secondly, it had entered an element of legalism.

You might say number one was humanism number two was legalism. Verses 16 and 17 are relative to legalism. Thirdly, it had an element of mysticism. In verses 18 and 19. It talks about a rather mystical worshiping of angels and fourthly, it had an element of asceticism. A monastic kind of thing a a a false kind of humility end up withdrawing from normal patterns of life like some kind of a recluse or monk.

So here is a conglomeration of of human philosophy, legalism, mysticism and asceticism and in my little computer. All that goes in and clicks out the word Essene. They were a community of Jews who seem to fit these patterns that may be the case. Perhaps it was a form of that Jewish sect. Perhaps it was just a coincidentally similar series of things that really embody all of the possible kind of heresies that you can imagine now. Paul is already called the Colossians to maintain pure allegiance to Jesus Christ in verses 1 to 7. He says I have great conflict for you and I want you to hang on to Christ and the truth about Christ and him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge is made this great positive statement. I want you to hold onto Christ. I want you commit yourself with pure allegiance to him and now he moves away from the positive to the negative, and here's what I want you to avoid chapter 2 verses 8 to 23. Here is the polemic here is the argument now. False teachers were claiming as they have been continually claiming in the early years of the church to have a superior knowledge and they continue to do that even today.

They come along and say well we know what you don't know we have a system that is higher than yours. We have knowledge and insights beyond your a higher clear system then Christians that from the time of the New Testament. They always came along and said we have a superior gnosis word for knowledge. We have a higher knowledge. We have a higher Revelation, we have a higher apprehension of God's truth.

So Paul and the section counterattacks what he saying is there is no higher fruit. There is no nobler knowledge there is no greater insight. There is no superior Revelation, no matter what they claim, and against the enticing claim that a higher wisdom is offered by this new teaching. He emphasized that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Christ against the doctrine of eons of the doctrine of the series of emanations intermediate spirit beings through which the divine essence was distributed until it finally reached man a diluted form. Paul sets forth Christ as the only single embodiment of the fullness of God. Chapter 2 verse nine.

There are a whole lot of Aon's and Angel beings, between us and God, through which God filters his personality. There's only one representation of God in human terms, and that is Jesus Christ against the idea that those spirit intermediaries should be worshiped by men who must approach God through them. Paul shows they are nothing but demons who have been conquered by Christ and he says in verse 15. He is spoiled the principalities and the power against the idea of self-denying asceticism and false humility. Paul shows that we are no longer attached to any fleshly thing, since we have come to know Christ.

We have moved into a spiritual dimension and fleshly abstinence is have little significant now. I think that I just give you some overviews. I think it is important for us to see here an excellent example of how you deal with heresy and as you look at what Paul is doing here. He's lambasting these four areas of heresy. All coming at the Colossian assembly, whether in one form or multiple forms were not sure we'll notice it is not a matter of bitter denunciation of the heresy he doesn't name the heresy and then tear it apart piece by piece by piece. She doesn't do that.

It is not a detailed discussion of the false teaching is not a fiery blast at the heresy.

The thing that he does all the way through here as he deals with heresy is positively affirm the truth just positively affirms the truth again and again and again and again.

One commentator says this when he now reaches the very heart of his letter, the apostle dwell so eloquently upon the deity of Christ and the dignity and completeness of believers that the reader is left in some uncertainty as to the exact system of error against which the Colossians were to be on their guard think the point is obvious.

If you know the truth. Any system of errors got collapsed in the face of the truth so it's vital. Paul present the truth. Now these four things. Paul will be dealing, philosophy, legalism, asceticism and mysticism. Now, as you look at verses 8 to 15 we see a simple contrast, let me just give you two points and will just look at them simply captured by philosophy as opposed to complete in Christ and this is the story of Everyman because Everyman is either captured by human philosophy aureus complete in Christ, that so recent a man becomes a victim of human wisdom, human reason, human logic or becomes complete in Christ. That's the choice of every human being. You will choose man's wisdom or God's. First of all, notice verse eight captured by philosophy. Let's see what happened. 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.

Now Paul is warning them and he saying this essentially beware lest those of you who were rescued out of the domain of darkness, and have already been translated into the kingdom of the son of God's love should be carried off like captives and enslaved again similar to Galatians 5.

Don't be entangled again in the yoke of bondage for freedom Christ has set you free. Don't get tangled again in the yoke of bondage. Don't go back to a former human system legalism in Galatians here.

Don't go back to a former human system human philosophy or wisdom.

So the warning is introduced by a call to vigilance in its present tense continually being beware a constant watchfulness, lest we be led astray, be continually being aware never lets up. The church is always under siege by false teachers. Our Lord warned us going back to Matthew chapter 7 verse 15 beware of false prophets will come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are raving wolves.

Matthew 16 in verse six, Jesus says, take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees leaven of the Pharisees. What is that legalism. Beware of those false philosophies. Paul warned also 20th chapter of acts 29th verse and speaking to those who are the Ephesian elders I know this after my departure. Grievous wolves will enter among you, not sparing the flock of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch therefore watch the apostle Paul in Philippians 32 beware of dogs, beware of evil workers.

Beware of the concision mutilation part, those who want to circumcise Peter warned as well. Second Peter chapter 3 is not verse 17 beware lest you being led away with the error of the wicked fall from your own steadfastness. Jesus said, beware Paul said beware Peter said beware and it behooves us to hear the echo beware there will ever be an effort to woo you away from the truth and say what am I supposed to beware. Look at verse eight. Again, lest any man spoil you. Now that's an interesting verb that is a very rare verb. There is an interesting combination. It's a combination word. The word goal is there, and I'll go means to carry off or to carry away the word Soule is there. That's interesting because that word means booty not baby booty but booty that you take in a robbery or booty that you take in a war or whatever in the world simply means to carry off booty. It was used in later nonbiblical Greek writing to speak of kidnapping plundering a house or raping a maiden he saying don't let anybody kidnap you. Don't let anybody plunder your treasury of truth. Don't let anybody rape you with their false second Timothy 36. In the latter days. It says there are those who creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away, with various less same idea exact leading somebody away captive in the word can be used of a slave dealer who carries away the people of a conquered nation to sell them a slip is real danger that somebody's going to carry you away, make you pray make you a captive lead you off like a war prisoner.

That's the thing Paul is warning them against beware whether it's my prayer that somehow you might speak to that struggling heart that one life that is hanging in the balance is between making a decision relative to being captured by philosophy or freedom.

Christ, I just pray that your Holy Spirit will minister to them, motivate them convicted no one would leave with a commitment to human wisdom. No one would leave trusting and logic trusting and education trusting in the most brilliant philosophers they would know that only in the word of God is there truth and only in the Christ of God is there complete your work father in their hearts, and in all our we already are completed and you make us thanks. Help us to live our lives to the level of that section pleases Jesus name.

So what are the limitations of human wisdom.

John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University and seminary answered that question today is, he continued his series complete in Christ here on grace to you know, friend.

If you're thankful for lessons like the one you just heard. These broadcasts are helping you learn and love and apply God's word. John has a reminder for you, that relates to the station you're listening to right now for that's right, Phil, and we need all of our listeners who appreciate the ministry that the station has in the partnership to have with us to let them know station manager. The staff would be greatly encouraged if you would send them a note of thanks or give them a call. A quick example of the notes we receive one from a listener in Alabama. I listen to you on W G.I. B 91.1 FM in Birmingham.

You've opened the firehose of biblical teaching for me a very good start to my day is just one of the many listeners we hear from every single day in. You might think that because of the, the Internet traditional radio stations are not so important anymore.

You might think that it's enough to just encourage us. Well, that's not the case you need to encourage the Christian radio station that is the vehicle that brings you grace to you and by the way, there is no lessening the impact and power of radio radio is the front door that people go through to find grace to you for the first time and we hear that story daily. We are so thankful for Christian radio. If God is using this radio station incurs you with grace to another programs.

Let them know that's very very important in mentioning grace to you has greater impact than you might realize positive listener feedback is not only encouraging. It's crucial to the sustaining of our ministry in this partnership.

So the people who serve you this way need to hear from you and by the way thanks for praying for the folks at the radio station as well as for grace to you. Yes, friend. Thank you for your prayers for us prayer it really is the best way you can support us and the radio station that you're listening on. Also, if you get a minute after you write to your local station.

We would love to hear how your benefiting from John's verse by verse teaching. Just jot us a note and send it our way. You can email us at once more that's or if you prefer regular mail.

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It's a way to fill the white spaces of your day with little truth and to purchase the MacArthur study Bible, or another of John's books are website is best place for that go there today now for John MacArthur on Phil Johnson encouraging you to be here tomorrow when John looks at Paul's incredible love for the church and how you can love God's people in the same way another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on racing

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