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Complete - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
May 11, 2024 12:00 am

Complete - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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May 11, 2024 12:00 am

Move past the philosophy offered by this world and become complete in Christ instead.


Welcome to this weekend's In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley. Christians have a lot of favorite traditions, but sometimes those can become more important to us than we realize. Today's podcast continues the study of Colossians with a challenge to pursue our Savior above all. spiritual truth that once you grasp it and it grasp you will change your attitude about your relationship to Jesus Christ, your attitude towards your needs, and your attitude about the sufficiency of Christ in your life. Colossians chapter 2, beginning in verse 8, and we'll read verses 8, 9, and 10. He says, See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of man, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him that is in Christ, all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.

Now, what do we mean by being captured by the philosophy of the world? Well, Paul was writing to the Colossian church, and what his message was to them is absolutely apropos for us today, because our society is so similar to theirs. And what is happening in many churches today is similar to what was happening in the Colossian church. And those false teachers in the Colossian church were parading a philosophy whereby they were saying, it is not enough for you to know Jesus Christ, knowing Jesus is fine, but He's not enough. You need a higher form of knowledge.

You need a higher experience. You need a whole different knowledge system, and therefore we're going to show you what that is. And so this was the problem existing in the Colossian church. It is the problem today. For example, some folks run from one church to the other trying to find something.

They want a new experience. The only problem with that is this. My friend the Bible says, when you have Jesus Christ, you are complete in Him. He does not say you've got to have Jesus Christ and some more experiences in Jesus Christ and a higher form of knowledge in Jesus Christ and some kind of philosophical rationalization in Jesus Christ and this cultish idea under Jesus Christ and this mind-bending idea, it is Christ and Christ alone. And the devil today and many false teachers today are swaying people into believing that just to have Jesus Christ as your Savior, Lord, and life isn't sufficient. Now, let me tell you what the real problem is. The real problem is not that Jesus Christ is not sufficient. The problem is most of those teachers and preachers who are operating this kind of false theology do not understand the truth of the Word of God, have not comprehended who they have and what they have in Christ Jesus, and they themselves are looking for something they do not understand. Same old thing.

It's been going on for years and years and centuries and centuries. Notice what Paul says when he says, see to it. He says, beware lest anyone take you captive. Now, what he's saying is don't let anybody deceive you, entice you with vain, empty, deceitful philosophy and kidnap you from the freedom that is yours in Christ.

Because Paul saw that these false teachers coming into the church were saying to them, look, now Jesus is all right and all this faith is fine, but that's not enough. You need a deeper understanding. You need a higher experience and therefore you need what we have to offer and we have the truth. He says, don't let anybody take you captive with high sounding theories, high sounding ideas that appeal to the flesh and appeal to the pride of humanity and rationalization, but is an empty promise. Now, you and I live in a society where the philosophy of our day is eat, drink and be merry, there may be no tomorrow. Man is sufficient within himself. He doesn't need anything or anybody.

If you will think right and you will act right, then you will be right for yourself and you'll be able to do and to accomplish and to achieve. It's all in the mind that man is sufficient within himself. Now, listen, if man becomes sufficient within himself, he doesn't need God. If he doesn't need God, he doesn't need God's moral law. If there is no moral law of God, then man has his own moral law so each person can set up their own standard of morality. Therefore, man can do what he chooses when he chooses with whom he chooses. And after all, if man is the center of life and there is no God and there is no moral law, then you should be able to rest at peace in your own activity, regardless of how immoral Christians may think it to be.

My friend, the only problem with that is that you've got a conscience. And no matter what somebody tells you who's living in sin, it doesn't bother them. There may be those and there are those who so sin, they sear their conscience until their conscience is dead.

And that is the worst condition anybody can be in. When a person says, well, if I keep on sinning long enough, maybe I won't feel it. Friend, the last thing you want to do is to get in a position where you don't feel the conviction of God, where you feel no guilt in your life. So Paul said, beware of those who are floating around offering you something that appears to the flesh to be good but cannot produce. Now Paul says this is the way they were doing it then and this is the way, of course, they're doing it today.

Notice. See to it that no one take you captive through philosophy and into deception, first of all, according to the traditions of men, and secondly, rather than, he says, also the elementary principles of the world. Now what does he mean when he talks about here the idea of the traditions of men? Well, tradition has been handed down to us.

Now all of us are affected by traditions. If you were to ask your mother, for example, why she cooks some things the way she does, she says, well, that's the way my mother did it. If you were to ask your grandmother, she'd say, well, that's what my grandmother taught me.

And so it may be that they never thought about doing it any other way. It's just the way it's been handed down. The same thing is true about knowledge. Now listen, I didn't say truth because some knowledge that we receive or appears to be knowledge is not truth. You can hand down error as well as you can hand down truth. All of us would like to have the privilege of handing down to our children a body of truth by which they can live and by which they can find fulfillment and joy and contentment in life. Many parents, most parents are handing down a body not of truth but of error. And they have instructed their children by the life that they're living, the lifestyle they have.

And so their children come along and repeat the same old mistakes because it's just handed down time after time. I want you to notice, if you will, in Mark chapter 7 because here we have an example of the kind of society which Jesus grew up in. The scribes and the Pharisees were loaded up with all kinds of tradition. In fact, when Jesus came in upon the scene, the people that day couldn't distinguish between the truth of God and the tradition of the religious leaders because they had so mixed them up. And by the time they got through interpreting them, they didn't know whether this is what God said or what the Pharisees and the Sadducees had said. So look, if you will, in verse 5. And the Pharisees and the scribes ask him, Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, not the teaching of the word of God, but the tradition that which has been handed down by the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands? And you see, you couldn't walk but so far on the Sabbath day and you couldn't do this and couldn't do that and all the things that God never placed in His Word, but their interpretations simply put the people in there into some awesome bondage.

Can't do this, can't do the other. And the truth is in the book of Colossians, Paul says these false teachers have a number of problems. First of all, they have an empty vein philosophy. That's part of their teaching. Secondly, the whole idea of legalism.

Don't do this and don't do that and don't do the other. Mysticism, believing in ethereal kind of angelic spirit beings out here. And then, of course, asceticism, self-denial in order to get God's approval of His acceptance. He said all of this is empty vein philosophy. They're offering you something that offers nothing in reality.

It is empty. Now, I want to say something to you, my friend. Some of you have been captured by the world's rationalization.

You've been captured by their philosophy. It's on the television every day. It's on the radio every day.

It's in the newspapers, the magazines. You must have this to be somebody. You must drive this to be somebody. You must live here to be somebody. You must act this way to be somebody. If you want the acceptance of your peers, if you want to be somebody, if you want to be the full-arved man, if you want to be the real aggressive, influential lady, here's what you got to have. And, friend, the truth is all you got to have is Jesus.

All of this is an expensive parade of empty, delusive, fakey, plastic, erroneous ideas that have nothing that give validity to life, direction to life, purpose to life, meaning to life, or assurance about life. Now, he says, in those days, for example, this is what was happening. Look if you will. He says, and he said to them, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites as it is written, and that's what Jesus called them. He says, this people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines, listen, teaching as doctrines the precepts or the ideas of men.

So, therefore, they'd so confuse them, people couldn't tell the difference. Then he says, neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men. It would be interesting and maybe a little shocking if you and I sat down with the Word of God and began to read the Scriptures asking this question. What is it that I have accepted is true that is not taught in the Word of God? What practices are there in my life that I have picked up from my parents or watching other people that the Word of God speaks absolutely, clearly, diametrically opposed to what I'm doing? You and I may be shocked at how we have been influenced by the tradition of other people. But this is Paul's warning to us. Are we living according to the truth of God or are we simply living out what someone else has taught us?

Now, think about this. From the time you were born and probably even before you and I were born, we were greatly influenced. And our parents said things to us that you and I never questioned. They said it, and as a little child, we accepted it.

Why did you accept it? My mother told me. My father told me. So we accepted that. You and I were taught and handed down many ideas, right or wrong, many ideas that penetrated these little minds of ours. And we grew up thinking the way we had been taught. Much of that is what we picked up.

It isn't so much what they said, what we picked up. We watched them. We watched them respond. We picked up on their ideas about marriage and divorce. We picked up on their ideas about morality and getting in debt and spending and borrowing. We picked up on ideas as we watched them.

We saw the way they dressed. So we learned, we were taught, we were infiltrated with ideas. And so that much of what you and I believe, much of what is a part of our actions, may be more what was given to us than what we have honestly thought through and asked, Is this right or is it not? Is this in keeping with the will of God for my life or is it not? Does this match up with what God says in His Word, or have I been simply repeating something?

You and I may be surprised at what we say that we've never thought about. Why do I say that? Is that really the truth?

Is that the best way to do that? The tradition of men is destructive to the body of Christ because it is hand-me-downs of thought that have been sifted through ungodly lives, sifted through distorted, perverted minds, and placed on our society. You look at the moral climate in which you and I live. Things that our society accepts as okay, all right. Everybody has their freedom. Everybody has the right to think and do as they please.

Sure, to some degree, if they want to end up eternally separated from God, if they want to end up with a broken body, if they want to end up with a destroyed mind, sure, do as they please. So I want to ask you again, as I ask myself, Are our actions and our attitudes, are they the result of sifting them through what God teaches, or have we just accepted a whole value system given to us by someone else without having asking ourselves the question, Is this of God or is this of man? So these false teachers were saying, It's all right to have Jesus, but that's not enough because we want to tell you about a higher form of knowledge. Now, second problem here, if you'll notice, he says the second way they were bringing this about, when he talks about the elementary principles of the world. Now, the elementary principles are the rudiments of the world. He's referring to ABCs. That is, a child learns not to speak in sentences first, as you and I think in terms of complex sentences, but when a child goes to school or before that, they learn ABCs, A-B-C-D-E-F. That's elementary.

That's the rudiments. In the Christian life, we would say that we learn how to be saved by God's grace, and the elementary principles of the world goes back to those things that are influenced by the world and interpreted by them, and listen, one of those is this. The vast majority of the world believes if there is a God and if there is a salvation, you are saved by your performance, by your good works. They know nothing of grace. They know nothing of the shed blood of Jesus Christ and his full payment of their sin debt. They know nothing about that, so they're living according to the elementary rudiments of the world, the ABCs, and you and I are the victims, all of us are victims of a society with a high-sounding philosophical approach to life that is leaving us, listen, empty.

Why? Because life has no meaning. Life has no purpose. Life has no sense of direction.

What is there to live for? And you and I don't realize how horribly we have been influenced by the same kind of thing. He says these elementary principles, I mean, you know, once you get saved, there's some things you don't want to go back to because you know that's the way you used to live.

That didn't work. And any time a person backslides, and I mean by that that you turn back to the old way to dabble in sin, what you're saying is even after you have been delivered from it, you're going back to try again what God delivered you out of, what he freed you from, what you have praised him for freeing you from. Why do you want to go back and dabble in that?

And that's what Paul was saying. Why do you want to go back dabbling in these old philosophies that you've been delivered from? When Christ comes into your life, you have an eternal relationship with God through his Son Jesus Christ. You have a relationship in which you have the potential to grow moment by moment, day by day, all the days of your life for all eternity.

The growing is here. We're here able to grow in our Christian life. We have relationships secured in him, eternally secured in him forever, relationship with him, Holy Spirit living within us, and listen, spiritually we are complete because we have the Holy Spirit who has broken the power of sin's reign in our life, is living and abiding within us and enabling us to live victoriously moment by moment, day by day. Morally we are complete because now we have God's holy standard. Not only we have God's holy standard, but we now have the Holy Spirit who will empower us to live by that standard. We are mentally complete, not because we know everything, but because we know the truth of who God is, who Christ is, our relationship to him, and now we have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us to teach us to illumine our minds and to instruct us in the ways of God, to instruct us how we ought to live.

So let me ask you a question. If you have God in your life and all of his completeness, expressing that in your spiritual life, expressing that in your moral life, expressing that in your mental life, guiding you, governing you, controlling you, with all the promises of God that everything you and I will ever need, God has already deposited to our account, and Jesus Christ living on the inside of you as God's eternal guarantee that all of your needs have been met, my friend, how can we claim to be incomplete? Thank you for listening to today's podcast titled Complete. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or InTouch Ministries, stop by This podcast is a presentation of InTouch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-11 02:46:32 / 2024-05-11 02:54:14 / 8

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