Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Beware of Philosophy and Empty Deception

The apostle Paul warned us against philosophy and empty deception, when he said we must see to it that no one takes us captive through these things.

"See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ." (Col 2:8)

The word “philosophy” comes from the Greek word “philosophia,” meaning “philosophy,” and referring specifically here to “Jewish sophistry” (Strongs).

The words “empty deception” come from the Greek words “kenos” meaning “vain or empty” and “apate” meaning “delusion: - deceit (-ful, -fulness), deceivableness (-ving).” (Strongs).

Both the philosophy and empty deceit he warned against are according to the tradition of men and the elementary principles of the world.

Tradition of Men
The expression “tradition of men” comes from the Greek words “paradosis” and “anthropos.” The word “paradosis” means “a precept; specifically the Jewish traditionary law: - ordinance, tradition.”(Strongs). And “anthropos” simply means “man” or “human being.” (Strongs). Therefore the expression “the tradition of men” refers to those precepts, ordinances, and traditions that are taught by men, including those that come from Jewish law.

One obvious example of such traditions of men that Paul was warning against was that of those who taught Gentile Christians they must be circumcised according to the Law in order to be saved. Such teachers were  endeavoring to keep up the law of Moses in conjunction with the gospel of Christ.  But there are many other examples.  These days, men teach the self-help gospel, which is all about how you can be a more successful businessman, how to be better at whatever you do.  They teach as if success and prosperity in this life are the main purpose of the gospel. And there are other examples.  Whenever men require that Gentile Christians keep up Jewish customs, such as feasts, ceremonies, rites, or other traditional practices, these are also traditions of men.

The Elementary Principles of the World
The philosophy and empty deceit Paul warned us to guard against is also according to the elementary principles of the world. The term “elementary principles” comes from the Greek word “stoicheion” meaning “element, principle, or rudiment.” (Strongs). The philosophy and empty deceit are deadly, because that are after the manner of worldly principles or rudimentary concepts of this world.

Paul used this same Greek word again in Col 2:20, when he said, “If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, ‘Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!’ (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)--in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.” (Col 2:20-23)

Therefore, Paul was specifically warning against submitting to decrees such as “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” These are basic principles after the manner of the commandments and teachings of men. For example, if anyone tells you that you must not taste a certain food, because it is unclean, that is a lie, since Jesus declared all foods clean. Beware of such people. Or for example, the way Catholic priests wear a veil when elevating the monstrance (gold receptacle for displaying the communion host) and hold the veil in such a manner that their hands do not touch the monstrance. Such teachings might have the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but they don’t make you holy. Those things are of no value against fleshly indulgence.

Jesus taught against teaching and keeping the traditions of men. He said: "’Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.’ He was also saying to them, ‘You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. For Moses said, “Honor your father and your mother”; and, “He who speaks evil of father or mother, is to be put to death”; but you say, “If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God),” you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother; thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.’" (Mar 7:8-13)

God commands us to put to death the flesh, and war against fleshly indulgence like anger, lust, gluttony, sexual immorality, and hatred. But these basic principles after the manner of the commandments and teachings of men have no value in this matter.  In fact, they contradict and conflict with the commandments of God.

Reality in Christ
On the other hand, the commandments of God that teach us what sin is and warn us against it are definitely valid and helpful to us. Likewise, the commandments of God that teach us what kind of character and lifestyle God requires of His holy people are still valid and helpful to us. So are the Scriptures that teach us the will of God.  These are found throughout the Bible, and are profitable for children of God, not only the ones found in the New Testament, but also in the Old Testament.

Here are some examples: God hates cross-dressing (Dt 22:5). God hates divorce (Mal 2:16). God requires us to tithe (Mal 3:10).  God hates idolatry (Ex 20:4). God hates jewelry (Ex 33:3-6). You must not get tattoos (Lev 19:28). Homosexuality and bestiality are abominations to God (Lev 18:22-23; 20:13,15).  God still expects us to keep His Sabbath day holy (Ex 20:8). Obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Sam 15:22). You must not rely on your own understanding (Pr 3:5). It is good to give thanks to the Lord and praise His name (Ps 92:1). And there are many more like this. Notice that none of these are basic principles after the manner of the commandments and teachings of men.  Neither are they rudiments of the world. They are commandments of God, not empty deception or philosophy.

Paul said that the philosophy and empty deceit he warned against are "not according to Christ" (Col 2:8). That is key!  "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form," (Col 2:9).  All the fullness of the Godhead dwells in bodily form in the Lord Jesus.  We are complete in Him.  We are circumcised in Him. We are whole in Him. Reality is found in Him (Col 2:17).  While priests, mediators, the tabernacle, the temple, its furnishings, sacrifices and rituals were all shadows of things to come, He is the actual substance of those shadows. He is our High Priest, He is our Mediator, He is our dwelling place and He dwells in us, He is our perfect sacrifice, the sinless Lamb of God. Life is found in Him! Live for Him.

The highest purpose of the Bible is to reveal the character of God.  And His will remains the same throughout the ages. It is not limited to one covenant or dispensation. So find out what pleases the Lord and do it (Eph 5:10).  Let’s get back to obeying the whole Bible and avoid man-made traditions.

Finally, in the many divine revelations of heaven and hell that I have posted on Eternal Destinations, the message in these revelations typically refers to the ways of God that are found throughout the Bible. Let's keep the ways of God according to Scripture. Let us prepare in holiness for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He is coming right away! The call is going out today, "Sinner, come home!" Repent and believe the gospel, for the Kingdom of God is near.

Attribution notice: Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Greek word definitions from Strong's Concordance.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this article, I recommend, Rachael Mushala Second Testimony of Hell, Restored Truth, Zipporah Mushala's testimony of hell, The Cost of Discipleship, Sins That Will Keep You From Heaven, Pope Frances Supports Homosexuality, Remember the Eternal Law of God, Is Tithing Required?, Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, Carrying Your Cross or Cross Dressing?The Straight and Narrow PathA Trip to Hell, Striving to Enter the Kingdom of God, The Top Ten Things Jesus Taught, Separation from the World, The Rise of Antichrists, The Self-Help Gospel, What's Wrong with the Prosperity Gospel, and Ask for the Ancient Paths. You may access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Hope for You

If you are following Jesus in righteousness, holiness, and truth, there is hope for you today!  Look with me through the Word of God and see it for yourself.

Hope in the Lord
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I have hope in Him." The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him. (Lam 3:24-25)

The Hebrew word for “hope” in verse 24 is “yachal,” meaning “to wait; by implication to be patient, hope: - (cause to, have, make to) hope, be pained, stay, tarry, trust, wait.” (Strongs).

The Hebrew word for “wait” in verse 25 is “qavah,” meaning “(figuratively) to expect, look, wait (for, on, upon).” (Strongs).

In the Greek Septuagint, the word for “wait” in verse 25 is hypoménō meaning 1) to remain to tarry behind; 2) to remain i.e. abide, not recede or flee; a) to preserve: under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one's faith in Christ; b) to endure, bear bravely and calmly: ill treatments.

“My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him.” (Psa 62:5)

“For You are my hope; O Lord GOD, You are my confidence from my youth.” (Psa 71:5)

"O Israel, hope in the LORD; For with the LORD there is lovingkindness, And with Him is abundant redemption." (Psa 130:7)

"O Israel, hope in the LORD From this time forth and forever." (Psa 131:3)

"How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the LORD his God," (Psa 146:5)

Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the LORD. (Psa 31:24)

“For I hope in You, O LORD; You will answer, O Lord my God.” (Psa 38:15)

"And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.” (Psa 39:7)

“Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence.” (Psa 42:5)

“Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.” (Psa 42:11; 43:5)

“Out of the depths I have cried to You, O LORD. Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive To the voice of my supplications. If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope. My soul waits for the Lord More than the watchmen for the morning; Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in the LORD; For with the LORD there is lovingkindness, And with Him is abundant redemption. And He will redeem Israel From all his iniquities.” (Psa 130:1-8)

Those Who Hope in the Lord Will Renew Their Strength
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Is 40:28-31, NIV)

A Hope Both Sure And Steadfast That Enters Within The Veil
“In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Heb 6:17-20)

A Better Hope
“(for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” (Heb 7:19)

Born Again To A Living Hope
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (1Pe 1:3)

Christ in You, the Hope of Glory
“to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col 1:27)

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope,” (1Ti 1:1)

Hope Remains
“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”  (1Co 13:13)

Abraham Believed in Hope Against Hope
In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah's womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness. Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.” (Rom 4:18-25)

In the Kingdom of God, Hope Does Not Disappoint
“And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Rom 5:5)

We Hope For What We Do Not See
“And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” (Rom 8:23-25)

In His Word Do I Hope
“I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope.” (Psa 130:5)

“Remember the word to Your servant, In which You have made me hope.” (Psa 119:49)

Hope for His Lovingkindness
“Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope for His lovingkindness,” (Psa 33:18)

Not Ashamed of Our Hope
“Sustain me according to Your word, that I may live; And do not let me be ashamed of my hope.” (Psa 119:116)

Your Faith And Hope Are In God
“who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” (1Pe 1:21)

The God Of Hope
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  (Rom 15:13)

So we should hope in the God of hope.

We Have Fixed Our Hope On The Living God
“For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.” (1Ti 4:10)

Let Us Hold Fast The Confession Of Our Hope
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;” (Heb 10:23)

The World Has No Hope
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.” (1Th 4:13)

“When a wicked man dies, his expectation will perish, And the hope of strong men perishes.” (Pro 11:7)

Give An Account For The Hope That Is In You
“But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;” (1Pe 3:15)

Plans to Give You a Hope
“'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer 29:11)

The Hope of Those Who Fear the Lord Will Not Be Cut Off
“Know that wisdom is thus for your soul; If you find it, then there will be a future, And your hope will not be cut off.” (Pro 24:14)

“Do not let your heart envy sinners, But live in the fear of the LORD always. Surely there is a future, And your hope will not be cut off.” (Pro 23:17-18)

So That We Might Have Hope
“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Rom 15:4)

The Hope Of The Righteous
The hope of the righteous is gladness, But the expectation of the wicked perishes.” (Pro 10:28)

The Hope of Righteousness
“For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.” (Gal 5:5)

One Hope
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” (Eph 4:4-6)

The Hope Of The Gospel
“Yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach-- if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.” (Col 1:22-23).

A Continuous Hope
"But as for me, I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more." (Psa 71:14)

A Purifying Hope
“And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1Jn 3:3)

Fix Your Hope Completely On The Grace
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1Pe 1:13)

Hope Laid Up For You In Heaven
“because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel” (Col 1:5)

The Hope Of Eternal Life
“In the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,” (Tit 1:2)

The Hope Of Salvation
“But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.” (1Th 5:8)

“I hope for Your salvation, O LORD, And do Your commandments.” (Psa 119:166)

He Has Given Us Good Hope By Grace
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.” (2Th 2:16-17)

Know The Hope Of His Calling
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,” (Eph 1:18)

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Most other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, unless otherwise noted.

Author's note Also see Keeping Power of God, The Love of Jesus, The Loving God Who Bids Us to Come, You're Better Off Following Jesus, Garments of Godliness, Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, Rachael Mushala Testimony of Hell, The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness, Faith Works!, Keeping Sundays Holy, Separation from the World, and Is Tithing Required? You can access the Seeking the Lord Main Directory or my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.