Jump Start # 2106
Colossians 2:18 “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind.”
Paul was concerned about the Colossian Christians being wrongly influenced, misled and eventually, losing their souls because they did not follow God. There are layers of problems identified here.
First, delighting in self-abasement. Denying things that are not wrong, because they believe they are of a higher spiritual quality and fiber than others. Making up their own rules about righteousness and how one ought to live.
Second, the worship of angels. Angels are not to be worshipped. When John fell before an angel in Revelation, he was told to stand up. It is God and God alone that is to be worshipped. The obsession with angels has distorted their thinking.
Third, claiming to have seen visions, they base their thinking, especially about angels, upon what they have seen and not what the word of God teaches. They put more stock in what they have seen than what they have read from God’s word. They are unmovable because of what they have seen.
Fourth, they are arrogant about these things because not of a heart and mind that is spiritual and wants to please the Lord, but rather, because of a fleshly mind. A mind that feeds pride. A mind that is interested in self more than God. A mind that is about external things more than eternal things.
Proud, assured, confident, these misguided folks were misleading the brethren. They were being defrauded. We know that word, defraud. It means to be fooled, swindled, hood-winked, cheated, robbed. It’s not a pleasant feeling to realize that you have been cheated. Often, after a major purchase, a person might have second thoughts, buyers remorse we call that. A person may feel that they were talked into buying something that they really didn’t want. The salesman pressured and convinced a person that he had to purchase something right then and there.
For these Christians, they were not being talked into buying a car or a home, but were being convinced of new revelations, new ideas that were based upon visions and pride. So true and so sure were these arguments, that some were being defrauded of their prize. The prize? Heaven. A crown of righteousness. They were giving up what they knew to be right and were following wild speculations that led to false worship and a path not given by God. They were going to lose their souls over these things.
From this we learn some valuable lessons:
First, just because someone says it is, doesn’t mean that it is. These defrauders claimed they saw visions. They claimed to have proof. Worshipping angels was in. They had a following. They seemed convincing. However, none of this was based upon the Bible. None of this matched the Bible. In these last days, God speaks through His Son, Hebrews tells us. Not in visions. Not through people who are not walking with God.
In our time, we could attached dozens of current ideas that are just like this. Books claiming the author died, went to Heaven and came back. Those are being written faster than the public can consume them. Dozens of them. They stand not arm in arm with what the Bible says, but counter to what the Bible says.
Then, there are those who claim that God leads them, moves them and talks to them directly, just like He did to the apostles. God led me to this, they claim. God told me to write this, they claim. God wanted me to tell you this, they state. Really? Why then even have a Bible, if God is going to talk to us directly? I thought in these last days He speaks through Jesus? Just because someone says it is, doesn’t mean that it is.
Second, Paul’s words are directed toward the Colossians, not these false teachers. One can only be defrauded if they allow themselves to be. Gullible, curious and not knowing the word of God is all it takes for someone to spin a story and fool a person. Some put more hope and stock in writings and legends outside of the Bible than in the Bible itself. The worship of angels? That’s a lay-up. That’s easy to shoot out of the sky, that is, if someone knows the Bible. However, when someone comes claiming he saw a vision and the story begins to sound true, then we have gradually drifted away from what we thought we knew. God’s word doesn’t change. God’s word doesn’t contradict itself. Worship of angels or “For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only,’ which Jesus told the devil in the temptations. Now, which is it? Worship the Lord only or worship angels? Which is it, the words of Jesus, or a modern vision? Which is it, what the Bible says, or what a modern author says?
Stop being defrauded. Stop listening to this junk. Stop reading those books. Stop reading those websites. Stop allowing your gullible mind to be taken away from the one faith in Christ Jesus. Often, these things begin with a question, such as, “Do you think it’s possible…” and off they go, speculating, guessing and going down roads without any evidence, proof or support. They stand upon shaky ground putting more faith and trusts in what they don’t know than what the Bible actually says.
Third, don’t let others claim to be better than you are based upon what they say. Delighting in self-abasement, is nothing more than bragging that I am more spiritual than you are. I went to a college that taught the Bible and you didn’t. That means I’m more spiritual than you are. No, it doesn’t. My kids go to a special Bible camp in the summer. Your kids go to soccer camp. My family is more spiritual than your family. No, that’s not true. We go to a weekend Bible study and you don’t. That means I’m more spiritual than you are. No, it doesn’t.
Stop comparing! If you were actually more spiritual, you wouldn’t be thinking, let alone talking that way. And, if you were really more spiritual, you would try to help me be more spiritual. It’s nothing more than bragging. God determines what is spiritual and not you and I. So, my kids don’t go to the camp or the college. Maybe they stayed home and went to a community college. The measuring stick of spirituality is not location. We are not running to Jerusalem here. It’s what is in our hearts that matters. It’s our faith and how real it is. It’s how close we are walking with the Lord. It’s whether or not we are being transformed into the image of Jesus. A school, camp, or weekend get-away, can’t do those things. They may provide opportunities, but it’s what one does that matters. You can go to a camp and goof off. You can go to a school and miss opportunities.
I’m better than you is the way the world thinks. I’m more spiritual than you is no different. Put the radar gun down and stop judging others. Pour your efforts into your heart and your walk with the Lord. If you are spiritual, then it will show in your choices, your worship and what you do. Stop being a bump on the log that acts like it is too good for others and serve as Jesus did. Help out where you can. Open your eyes and make a difference.
Don’t let someone else keep you from Heaven. Don’t blame others for your stumbling and lack of faith. Don’t hang your hat on the way you were brought up. Don’t point fingers to the church or the preacher. Don’t cry about not going to certain camps, colleges or get-aways. Be strong is what the Ephesians were told. Act like men is what the Corinthians were told. Take hold of that faith that comes from the word of God and let it shape you and mold you. You be spiritual by your choices.
Let no one keep defrauding you. It’s like being bullied. It only happens if you let it get to you. Bullies know who to pick on. The scared, the unsure, those lacking confidence—they are sure targets. Try to bully someone with great faith and strong self worth, and it will bounce right off of them. The same goes for defrauding. If you fear being talked into purchasing a car when you are not ready, then don’t go car shopping. If you can’t stand on your own faith, then stay away from those who claim they have seen angels and visions. Don’t watch those shows on TV. Don’t read those books. And, while you’re at it, shore up your faith. Get strong.
Let no one keep defrauding you…