Philosophy is defined in The Mirriam/Webster Dictionary [Pocket edit] as, “A critical study of fundamental beliefs and the grounds for them”. Here is the definition from the old Webster Dictionary, “PHILOS’OPHY, n. [L. philosophia; Gr. love, to love, and wisdom.]
1. Literally, the love of wisdom. But in modern acceptation, philosophy is a general term denoting an explanation of the reasons of things; or an investigation of the causes of all phenomena both of mind and of matter. When applied to any particular department of knowledge, it denotes the collection of general laws or principles under which all the subordinate phenomena or facts relating to that subject, are comprehended. Thus, that branch of philosophy which treats of God, &c. is called theology; that which treats of nature, is called physics or natural philosophy; that which treats of man is called logic and ethics, or moral philosophy; that which treats of the mind is called intellectual or mental philosophy, or metaphysics. The objects of philosophy are to ascertain facts or truth, and the causes of things or their phenomena; to enlarge our views of God and his works, and to render our knowledge of both practically useful and subservient to human happiness. True religion and true philosophy must ultimately arrive at the same principle.” To put the meaning into a shorter definition, mine, it would be the study of ideas concerning God, morality, man, and nature.
While taking a class on Philosophy at Boyce Bible School in Louisville, Kentucky in 1977 I quickly learned that not all people, and supposedly christian professors, believed the Bible. The teacher I had relegated the teaching of Genesis to allegorical hodge podge. There was no seven day creation, there was no Adam and Eve, they were only allegorical; having only a ‘spiritual’ meaning. That was back in the days when liberalism was running the Southern Baptist seminaries. It is not philosophy that declares these things to be true. It is God’s Word that declares an actual Adam, and a living Eve – made from the rib of Adam – walked with God in the garden of Eden. The philosophies of men will almost always deny the truths of God’s Word, or relegate them to allegorical meaning. The use of allegory itself can be good and helpful in understanding a thought or idea. Jesus used allegory in His teaching, such as, “A sower went forth to sow” (Matthew 13:3). As a matter of fact He used many of them.
The apostle Paul “Struggled” much with what was going on in the Colossians church and the church at Laodicea. The word used here is the word “agony”; “agōn
From G71; properly a place of assembly (as if led), that is, (by implication) a contest (held there); figuratively an effort or anxiety: – conflict, contention, fight, race.”
I. STRUGGLING OVER THE ISSUES FACING THE CHURCHES OF THE COLOSSIANS AND LAODICEA (vv. 1-3).
II. ENCOURAGING WORDS AGAINST ENTICING WORDS OF MEN (vv. 4-5).
III. WALKING, ROOTED, BUILT UP, AND STABLISHED WITH THANKSGIVING (vv.6-7).
IV. BEWARE OF BEING LED AWAY FROM BIBLICAL TEACHINGS AND FROM CHRIST (v. 8).
V. JESUS IS ALL WE NEED (v. 9).
STRUGGLING OVER THE ISSUES FACING THE CHURCHES (vv. 1-3) Paul agonizes in prayer. We have looked at the prayer pretty extensively in verses 9 – 14. He is concerned for them. These Gnostic “Know-It-Alls” coming in denying the only Lord and Savior.
Some would argue that statement, “Denying the only Lord and Savior”, but by declaring the heresies they declare, such as; God and flesh cannot dwell together; that God created a little god, who created a littler god; who, thus created an even littler god; and created an even littler teeny god, who created all that we see. This final one being the Jesus who created and sustains all things; is out and out heresy, and it is not the Jesus Paul preaches, nor the One Whom I know.
To his letter to the Galation church Paul warned of “another gospel”, which would be ‘another Jesus’ (Gal. 1:6-10). The Jesus I know and the One whom Paul writes of is truly the divine Son of God. He has been with the Father always. Is just as much God as is the Father, and He became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).
Is it important that we declare the Jesus of Paul and warn about the teachings of some who deny the Lord Christ Jesus by saying He was and is not the incarnate God? If people are to know the one true God who is the sovereign Lord of all creation, who rules in the hearts of men, who sustains all things by the word of His power, who died for our sins, was buried and rose again, and is returning for His Bride; then YES! That is the Jesus we must preach. The people of the world will not perish as in some future fire, they are currently perishing, and will continue to perish in that future fire, unless they come to this glorious Savior.
Words of comfort are extended to the church. Their hearts knit together in love for Christ Jesus and for one another. Dr. J. Vernon McGee writes,
“Unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding.’ ‘Full assurance is an interesting expression; it literally means ‘to be under full sail.’ It means that believers should be moving along spiritually – they should be moving along for God.”
FROM pg. 150 of THRU THE BIBLE COMMENTARY SERIES The Epistles Philippians and Colossians.
As far as the mystery spoken of here it would make perfect sense to say that Jesus Christ is the Revelation of this ‘Mystery’. In Christ are the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and the Church is the Body of Christ where that wisdom and knowledge abides.
ENCOURAGING WORDS AGAINST ENTICING WORDS OF MEN (vv. 4-5). Would to God that all that professes to be the church would be holding steadfastly to the doctrine of Jesus Christ.
Sadly, there are many people who are in religious cults and even within legitimate religious organizations and like churches who believe they have an inside connection with God and all things spiritual. The thing that makes them in error is that they believe their experience with “God” overrules what Scripture says. Every believer in Jesus Christ has an “inside connection” with God. It is called faith in Jesus Christ, prayer, the reading and study of God’s Word the Bible. Anyone who declares themselves to have a better or stronger connection to God apart from the written Word of God should be placed on your “BEWARE” list. Such as anyone who says they have been to Heaven, and what they say is more than the Bible says, and not what the Bible says, thus placing more authority on their “vision” or “dream” than upon God’s Word.
These are the “Philosophies of men” and should be open to scrutiny from every child of God. This letter from Paul says to the Christians at Colossae, and to the Christians of Laodicea that they have a great “stedfastness of … faith in Christ”. There is no hope in mysticism and that is what those special “Connections” with God really are. All Christians have a special connection with God. You can talk to Him. You have power with Him when you pray. You can know His will for your life by reading and studying His Word; you cannot leave all the study and reading up to the pastor, or to just one day a week, or month, or year. Get in the Word. Get in prayer. Get in the Spirit of God through Jesus Christ.
Have you noticed how gullible some professing Christians are to such stories as, “I Saw Heaven”, or “I Was In Hell”, or “How I Journeyed To Israel Without Leaving Home” – as far as I know these are all made up titles [Mine]. If I wrote anything on these telling you these had happened to me I could probably entice many people, but it would not be true.
Paul could not be with the people to whom he is writing, but he was with them in spirit, and he was serious about that. The testimony of Epaphras was what Paul was speaking from. He was encouraged by what he heard of them.
WALKING, ROOTED, BUILT UP, AND STABLISHED WITH THANKSGIVING (vv.6-7). Walking is an average exercise. It is not real strenuous, nor real tiring. The average, fairly healthy individual can walk all day long, with occasional rest stops, of course. If you doubt that just go to a mall and watch the people walking around; as a matter of fact; just look at yourself. “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him” (v. 6).
You can walk longer than you can run. Do you not imagine that is why the picture of walking is used in Scripture of a life that continues with the Lord. It is said of Enoch that he “Walked with God”. It is also said of Noah. As far as I have been able to see no other character of the Bible has that said of them. However, it is mentioned many times in the New Testament, and in this present verse, “Walk ye in Him”. We are told to be “Filled with the Spirit”. These are all speaking of the same thought. If you are walking with God you are filled with the Spirit. If you are filled with the Spirit you are walking with God. If you are filled with the Spirit and walking with God you are walking in Christ Jesus. “Walking” has for it the matter of endurance. Walk in Christ. Walk with God. Be filled with the Spirit. One more, Walk in the Spirit. It does not involve mysticism.
“Rooted” has to do with stability. When something is rooted it is planted to stay. When we are “In Christ” it is to stay. We must root ourselves in the practice of daily Bible reading and study, prayer, and all the things Christians ought to do. As the Psalmist says in the first Psalm, “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Ps. 1:3). This tree the Psalmist speaks of is rooted in good soil, next to a good water supply. The foundation of a building is its ‘root’, firmly planted.
For the Church; Jesus Christ is the Chief Cornerstone which sets the size and shape of the building. The foundation is then the apostles and prophets, “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Eph. 2:20). The Church and the individual Christian is built up by walking with Jesus, and is in the process of being built up. Jesus alone determines the numbers and direction of the Church. There will be one final “living stone” placed to complete it. SEE 1 PETER 2:4-6.
To be “Stablished in the faith” you are rooted and built up accomplishing the Lord’s purposes for your life and walk with Him. It is a life of “super abundance” ie., abundance of the Lord’s presence, power, glory, with wisdom and knowledge, and especially a life of thanksgiving. Be thankful for the many abundant blessings of our God and Savior.
BEWARE OF BEING LED AWAY FROM BIBLICAL TEACHINGS AND FROM CHRIST (v. 8). The “Philosophy” spoken of here is “Reasoning that is sound in appearance only”. It may sound good, but is really full of holes. The reasoning of the Gnostics may have made sense, but it does not fit with the teachings of God, godliness, and truth of God’s Word.
Philosophy itself is to find the answers to questions we as the human being asks. Questions such as, “Who am I?”, “Where did I come from?”, “Why am I here?”, “Where am I going?”, and “How do I get there?”. Those questions are answered through thinking and philosophy gives an answer. It is actually an attempt to answer. Mankind offers many philosophies. Probably as many as there are people.
There is, however, only one correct answer, and God gives us the answer. The philosophy of the evolutionist to the first question above, is “You are the product of chance. You are nothing more than an animal with a little intellect.” God’s answer to that question is, “You are the special creation of God’s created order, made in My image and likeness”. Which of those answers fit with the Word of God? Of course, the latter of the two.
The way we are to guard our lives, our hearts, our minds is what was said in the previous point; “Walk in Christ” – study His Word, hide it in your heart, live by it; pray fervently, diligently; be a vibrant witness for Christ. Live, as you grow in Christ, live like Jesus.
JESUS IS ALL WE NEED (v. 9). In Christ Jesus is “Housed permanently” the fullness of God. There is a absolutely nothing lacking. Because there is nothing lacking in the person of Jesus of the Godhead He is all we need.
The philosophies of men may deny it. They can teach and preach against it. The false science of the day may even have “evidence” against it, but the Word of the Lord is the test. The Word of the Lord says to us clearly and without exception Jesus is “The fullness of the Godhead bodily”. When you trust Jesus you trust the Father. When you call on Jesus you are calling on the Father. When you pray in Jesus’s name you are calling on the Father’s will to be done. When we walk, live in the Spirit we are walking in Jesus.
Jesus is all I need. Jesus is all you need. Jesus is all this world needs. The “traditions” and “rudiments” of men are not trustworthy and certainly cannot show one the way of eternal life. Only Jesus can. PHILOSOPHY OR CHRIST. That is really your choice. Jesus Christ is FIRST PLACE