Everywhere you look you see hundreds of warning signs and labels all over the place from your home to the workplace even in the grocery store. For example: Soon as you seat down in your vehicle you have in your face this yellow caution sticks with big black lettering above your head saying “children can be killed or seriously injured by the air bag.” You open the gas lid and it tells you what type of fuel to put into your car or truck. You pop the hood on your vehicle and you see warning signs all over the place......from what type of oil to what type of anti-freeze you should be using in your vehicle. If you thought that wasn't enough! When you’re driving you're faced with all these warning signs as well.....I can remember when we're on vacation this summer being on some back roads in the mountains seeing signs in the middle of what seemed to be nowhere warning us and fellow drivers about the conditions ahead. Signs about.....falling rock, avalanche area, bears in the area and narrow road for the next few kilometres. Why where these warning signs important? Answer! If you add the wrong fluid or gas or don't paying attention to the warning signs as you drive, you could find that it leads to an expensive repair or possibly death or injury. These signs are here to help us, not to make our lives harder or more difficult or better yet a pain. These signs and warnings are for our protection and they're here to help us make wiser choices. We are to read the warning signs and obey them.....they're here to help prevent us from possible injury or worse, death! Think about for a moment! You’re driving down a road that you have never been on before at night! It’s starting to get really foggy and visibility is poor. Without those signs that tell us which way the road goes we would be in serious trouble wouldn’t we? These same principles and examples can be applied to the Christian life! Paul starts his next sentence with a stern warning from where we left off last week about something that is incredibly important, which is a proper biblical foundation rooted in the Scriptures. Why do I say that.....look at (v8a) He begins his sentence with a very powerful word that gets the people’s attention! “beware”. What is Paul warning us to be ready for? (v8b) Men with their empty words. It’s sad to see good intentional people fall prey to these kinds of people, because it only leads them down a road of destruction and despair. As one theologian said “I have seen vibrant Christian women put on floor-length dresses and wear bonnets, all because a “leader” said this was a path to true godliness. I have seen intelligent, college-age men refuse to wear shirts or trousers made of mixed fibers because the Old Testament forbade Israelites to wear clothing that was part wool and part linen”.....................and He went on to say “it amazingly easy for intelligent people to rest their lives on what will ultimately prove to be nothing. We see them standing on street corners selling their literature. We read of them following their guru to another land giving him all they have, and dying there. We see them attending religious pep rallies, where they are told that health and wealth are theirs if they only believe in themselves. We see vast religious empires held together by an enslaving sociology which is almost impossible to escape
So Paul gives us a warning sticker to slap in our bibles and foreheads. Why? It’s possible for seemingly healthy believers to be led astray. We are to guard ourselves against spiritual seduction...again lets read the verse again! (v8) Paul uses the word Philosophy, which simply means “a love of wisdom”. This was something that was running through the streets. See! Philosophy had everything to do with.....Theories about God, the meaning of life or the origins of man. This was a big problem for both the Jews and the Greeks, that’s why the Gospel was foolishness to those who are perishing. Remember what Paul wrote......“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart." Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles," 1 Cor 18-22
See we have to understand that the philosophy of that day is no different today! Most philosophisers looked upon Christians as evil, weak people who were brainwashed by a few men. For example one of hundreds of course! Fredrich Nietzsche scorned Christianity as a religion of weaklings! Nietzsche was the first to proclaim that God was dead. Sadly! History tells us that Nietzsche was so set in his ways of understanding that this well known educated man spent the last 11 years of his life insane. What’s worse, is that many have or are following in his footsteps when it comes to Christianity and the origins of life. Richard Dawkins world renowned Atheist said “Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.” Stephen Hawkins quadropligect and activist said "Heaven is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." Here is a few more!........Voltaire a historian and philosopher said “Nothing can be more contrary to religion and the clergy than reason and common sense.” Christopher Hitchens an active Atheist who is presently dying of terminal cancer said “Gullibility and credulity are considered undesirable qualities in every department of human life -- except religion” This is so sad! But as the late great preacher Francis Schaeffer said “man’s rebellion against God has driven him beneath the line of despair." Remember what Paul wrote.....“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools,” Rom 1:21-22. There was certain heresy threatening the church, though Paul doesn’t specifically state what that is. Whatever it was, it was enough to raise the red flags or throw out a word of caution "danger ahead!" because it was empty and counterfeit! (v8) The philosophy of this world according to the text is empty and full of deception. Which means to trick someone or something that seduces a person into believing a lie.We see it all the time in beer commercials to politic were people are trying to sell you a bill of good or to buy into what they are selling.The reason you buy into it! They sounded like well educated people who know what they are talking about! It’s someone who sounds and looks the part on the outside but inside they are rotten to the core! Jesus said this about the religious teachers “.............Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness. Luke 11:39. He also said "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” Matt 7:15. And this is something that has been passed down from generation to generation! Why do I say that? Paul says “according to human traditions” Tradition .....here in the text means...... tradition by instruction, narrative, something that has been passed down to the next generation! Think about it! Most philosophers have built their own work on previous philosophers. Socrates teaching where handed down to his student Plato and from there he passed it on down to his student Aristotle, and so on and so and we come to a man who was insane for the last 11 years of his life. Why? Because they followed in the traditions of men and believed the lie that has been passed down to them! First Century Judaism is another example which the Jewish leaders and teachers had added to the word of God with so many customs and rituals. Jesus said this about their customs and rituals....“You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men." And he said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!” Mark 7:8-9. The church does the same silly things today that have been passed down from generation to generation.
• You can’t chew gum
• You are not allowed to dance
• You can’t play cards or board games because they are demonic in nature
• You can’t drink alcohol
• You can’t smoke cigarettes
• You must become a member in order to be part of a church
• You can’t cut your grass on Sunday “its the day of rest”
• You are not allowed to go to the store on Sunday
• You shouldn’t watch TV
• You shouldn’t eat in a restaurant on Sunday because you are causing someone to work
• And the list is endless.....
The traditions of men is nothing more than ignorance and falsehood handed down from generation to generation. If you keep telling the same lie over and over again! What happens is that over time, lies become true! The same is applied here when we fall to the traditions of men. Its ignorance to the scriptures by saying we must do this in order to find favour with God and His precious church. But they have no biblical foundation to make those claims or dogmatic statements! Sadly all this as Paul said this comes from “elementary spirits” (v8) They're childish [immature] principles that have been handed down from generation to generation by the traditions of man which is rooted and originated from Demonic Spirits according to what Paul writes here in the text. See the fundamental problem with man’s philosophy is that it’s not in accord with Jesus Christ and His blessed Gospel! (by what we read at the end of v8) See the world tells you and me that ....
Your number one and we're all winners............ (but tell that to the Vancouver Canucks)
There are no absolute truths............ (but tell that to a elementary Math Teacher)
You control your own destiny................ (tell that to Steve Jobs CEO of Apple)
Just do it, if it feels right for you............(that’s what Richard Ramirez “the Night Stalker” did every night before he brutally killed his victims)
These kinds of statements leave a person with a false sense of security because they’re deceived by empty words! If you don’t believe me look at the fallen marriages today....the behaviour of children....the youth.......our Governments, schools and work places...the Church even! It’s a vicious cycle that has been built on the philosophy of man which a foundation that is built on the sand and not the rock which is the Bible. A proper biblical foundation is what is missing in so many homes....businesses...and Government facilities ....and most of all churches! Look at (v9-v10) Paul gives us another biblical truth of where our foundation begins and ends! Christ holds all the fullness of deity! This is where we build our lives on..... the foundation of Christ and not on the empty philosophy of man and their fallen traditions “the fullness of Godhead bodily”. We have everything we need for life.......We must understand that His fullness meets our individual needs. He gives us what that moment requires....wisdom...strength...courage! Whether it is how to or what to do, when we’re.....
• Dealing with gambling
• Marriage problems
• How to raise children
• Habits and disorders
• How to model modesty and purity
• The roles of the family
• The Christian life as we take the narrow road home into His sovereign arms
Christ is SUFFIENT for everything....this is what Paul is warning the church about. We don’t need the world’s philosophy or ideas! Why? We have the proper foundation found in His word. Everything is right here at your fingertips to learn and understand as you grow in grace. We don’t need to words of Socrates or Aristotle when we have Jesus Christ as our Advocator and the Helper which is the Holy Spirit to guide us through life! We don’t need this world’s empty deceit...Why? Its foolishness! As I read earlier from the word of God......“For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart." Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.” 1 Cor 1:18-22. Christ is everything we need! We don’t need empty words by fallen men or women who think what they are saying is true. If it’s not built on the foundations of Scripture..... it’s built on the sand which is empty deceit by the traditions of men and not of God!We are full in Christ and the question comes down to this! If you are full of Him, how can you want anything else?
So I stand here as Paul did some 2000 years ago WARNING YOU TO BEWARE! Walk carefully on the foundation given to us in His word! SO MY SUNDAY QUESTION........Is your spiritual life based on a shaky foundation which is crumbling and distorted by the philosophies and the tradition of men? Or is it based on the solid life-giving foundation of biblical truth?