Friday, September 2, 2022

Damnable Heresies

Bobservations' Column

Pastor Bob Lawrenz

As Paul is laying again the foundations of the Christian faith for the Church of Colossae, he writes out a clear warning: “BEWARE…” in verse 8 of chapter one. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, he is so convinced that Jesus is who He said He was, that Paul identifies things that draw believers and proselytes away from Christ: Philosophy, vain deceit, traditions of men, and rudiments of this world.

All these things are based in human thoughts and ideas and are not from God.

What does this warning tell us about the Colossian Church? It tells us that they have allowed these ideas to slip into the church. Their preaching is no longer “Jesus only,” but Jesus + human thoughts. Paul himself writes that we are complete in Christ, and our lives are hid in Him! If the Church has this, well, who could ask for anything more?

Yet, the Church is still vulnerable, and because of the human addiction to knowledge and learning these days, perhaps we are more vulnerable than the Colossians! Cults spring up regularly around the world. Their doctrines are often Jesus plus something else. Jemimah Wilkinson of Jerusalem, NY began the Universal Church of Friends. A couple of Rochester NY sisters started the Spiritualist Movement. Joseph Smith of Palmyra founded the Church of Jesus Christ Latter days Saints. These three are fairly local to us.

Mary Baker Eddie established the Church of Christ Scientist in Boston, MA. Ellen G. White (7th Day Adventists) was a follower of a proven false prophet (William Miller), and even after he was exposed, she continued and expanded his false doctrines, even adding verses to the Book of Daniel to justify her doctrines. More recently Bonnie Nettles and Marshall Applewhite led the Heaven’s Gate Cult members to their own deaths in 1997. And who can forget David Koresh as he burned down his Waco, TX compound, taking men, women, and children with him.

The NXIVM Cult leader, Keith Raniere (and Nancy Salzman) of Colonie, NY, made boastful claims to have had people killed.  He is now serving 120 years in prison for multiple crimes. The Word of Life Ministry (New Hartford, NY) was reported to have pummeled two teens to death because they wanted to leave that group.

And with what has gone on in other, well-established churches, is it any wonder why “religion” is becoming a pariah in our culture?
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, if ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.” - John 8:31

Today's Audio Message:
Colossians 2:8-17 - "Damnable Heresies"


Today we are continuing on in Colossians chapter 2, verses 8-17.

Pastor Bob has titled this week’s message “Damnable Heresies.” Heresy is any belief or practice that explicitly undermines the gospel. Any belief or idea that contradicts the Word of God. It is a teaching, doctrine or practice that goes beyond the apostle’s teachings, (what is written) and introduces something totally new or contrary to the Scripture.

Biblical heresy is often a denial of one or more of the core beliefs held by the Church that are found in the Bible. Examples of heresy are plenty, but to name a few would be the Deity of Christ, salvation by grace alone through faith in Christ alone, the Triunity of God.

Today’s heresies are introduced into the Church mostly through new “revelation” or “prophesy,” which are often the most dangerous source of all. It should be obvious that a divisive teaching or practice from inside the Church is more destructive to our genuine faith than one from outside and should not be allowed to continue in the church.
"But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law, for they are unprofitable, and vain. A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject (have nothing to do with).” Titus 3:9-10
Interestingly, heretics always target the church. They target the church to change it. They target what God has said and spoil others with what they think or say. Some will create a “new” translation of the Bible, some will add to the scriptures or take away from the scriptures, in order to justify their abhorrent teachings. It is clear that they are simply not interested in God’s Word or His authority over the believer.
Revelation 22:18-19 says, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” 
God doesn't mince words here, this is quite a warning to those who mess with God's written Word. 

In verse 8, Paul is warning the Colossian church to "BEWARE of those trying to spoil them through philosophy."  
These are the vain ideas of man. Those false teachings that impress the flesh, tickle the ear, they are contrary to God's Word.  They are words that lead to death.

 is the highest thoughts or ideas of human reasoning.   While some philosophers have had great ideas, most are false, full of deception and vanity.  None come close to the thoughts of God.  His thoughts and His ways are higher, for He is the Creator, and we are the created.  The philosophies of men fail in the light of God's Word.  See: Isaiah 55:8, 9. False teachings tickle the ear. 

Beware of the heretics, for they will take you captive through "vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world….AND NOT AFTER CHRIST."  

Remember, Paul wrote his letter to the Colossians to help them understand better the greatness of Christ, their new position in Christ, and the expectations God has for them. Paul summarizes much about Christ in the statement that in Christ all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily (Colossians 2:9).

For believers to truly understand the riches they have in Christ, they need to understand more about who He really is. Paul explained the previous chapter, that in Christ we have forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:14). Christ is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15a). Christ has sovereign rights over all creation (Colossians 1:15b). In fact, Christ is the Creator of all—everything that exists was created “in him . . . through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16). If you want to see God, look at Jesus, “for God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him” (Colossians 1:19).

After explaining the preeminence of Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:17–18), Paul added that it is the Father’s pleasure that all the fullness of deity (the trinity) dwell in Christ (Colossians 1:19)—Jesus is God, and because Jesus is Deity, He has the qualification and authority to bring redemption and reconciliation with God to humanity (Colossians 1:20).

In Christ “dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Colossians 2:9
 See also: Deuteronomy 6:4, 5

The Colossians had strayed from what they had been taught.  There have been many in the Church today who have done the same thing.  
Anytime someone tries to replace what they have already learned and known with something “new” is in grave danger. 

If you want to avoid heretical teachings, here is a simple but applicable truth: Test everything against Christ and His Word! We all have the black and white text of Scripture in our hands. Those who have Jesus Christ, are 
complete in Him.  All the hidden treasures of God’s kingdom are in Him, we need nothing more! Anyone who tells you otherwise is a deceiver.

Paul goes on in the next several verses completely dismantling the false teachings that had infiltrated the Colossian church.  He absolutely destroys every worldview, contrary to the truth of Christ, with complete authority (verses 10-17).

Those who would worship angels, Christ is the Head of those principalities and powers. Those who want to live by the letter of the law, the traditions of man. Christ fulfilled the law, and in Him we have been set apart unto God.  Circumcision in Christ does not involve the cutting of the body, it is a cutting away of our old nature. It is a spiritual act and refers to nothing less than salvation, effected by the Holy Spirit, because God is interested in our hearts. 

The Bible covers all we need to know about God and the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

"Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in My Word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free."  -  John 8:32-33.

You simply cannot change God's Word, or the work that was accomplished through Christ. You can't change it, add to it, subtract from it, twist it...and those who do are promoting damnable heresies, have nothing to do with them.

Seek the Lord and His Word.  Be rooted and ground in Him!

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