LET NO MAN BEGUILE YOU
Colossians 2:18-19 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.
Prizes are assigned to the three best contestants in each event of the Olympic Games - Gold, to the winner, Silver, to the runner up, and Bronze to the competitor who placed third. Those capable of this high achievement in athletic competitions should be on guard, should beware of the advise of others. For instance, a distance runner trains to pace himself or herself in order to conserve enough energy to finish the race. If they take the advise of someone that tells them to get the largest possible lead at the first quarter of a race by sprinting, it is very probable that this runner will not have sufficient strength and stamina to maintain the lead. Most likely they would lose the race to runners that properly paced themselves for the distance. Taking bad advice could very possibly cause a runner to lose the race and the reward, whether it is a large monetary prize, a trophy, or simply a commemorative medallion. To a runner, bad advice given by someone, intentionally or due to the lack of athletic knowledge, can be very costly. If taken, it can cause a runner, that is physically capable of winning, to lose both the race as well as its reward.
The same is true in the spiritual realm. Bad advice can cause one to lose the spiritual race of life, as well as its eternal reward in heaven. Such is the warning given in the lesson text by the apostle Paul. In verse 8 of this chapter, he begins his warning, Beware lest any man spoil (rob) you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
A runner may be convinced to heed bad advice, because the person giving the advice, appears to be extremely knowledgeable about this athletic sport. The same is true with a student of the bible. This seemed to be the critical point Paul is making in the lesson text, as a warning to the Colossian brethren. He told them, as well as us today, that there are men that will attempt to beguile you of your reward, that is, cause you to lose your hope of salvation, by heeding the error of their teaching. Convinced that a "teacher" is sincere and well educated in God's word, a young Christian can easily be led astray; can easily be deceived, cheated, and deprived of a home in heaven, by accepting the philosophies of men, rather than being guided by the wisdom of God, as found in His holy word. Friend, be warned! The world is full of deceitful men, desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm (1 Tim. 1:7). Their motives are selfish; their reasons are covetous, rather than for the purpose of glorifying God. Their wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish (Jas. 3:15).
The teaching of the devil would not sway anyone, if it were apparent who he really was. If he wore a name badge with "SATAN" written on it, his advice, in spiritual matters, would be avoided like a plague. However, cloaked in a voluntary humility, disguised inpretentious humility, Satan is very convincing. His teaching would be believable if he appeared to be as pious and godly as the worshipping of angels in heaven. The commentary found in Barnes' Notes says, "...no false teachers are so dangerous as those who assume the aspect of great humility, and who manifest great reverence for divine things".
The lesson text also cautions us to beware; false teachers may also beguile you by intruding into those things which he hath not seen. It is possible that Paul uses this statement only as it relates to the things unknown about the nature of angelic beings. However, false teachers use this same tactic to convince others to be their personal disciple - to financially and physically support them and follow their teaching. The world is filled with "store front ministries" and other "religious bodies;" and with radio and television programs, that were formed, and promoted by, false teachers that claim to have experienced a "special revelation" from God - a revelation, or calling, that gave them special powers, and spiritual knowledge about things unknown to all other readers of God's word. They attract multitudes of people by claiming these personal "revelations," and, to satisfy their own expanded egos, they boldly proclaim these special spiritual powers, as one that is vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.
Christians being led astray was certainly Paul's concern as he warned the body of Christ at Corinth, and warns us today with this same admonition: But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor. 11:3). Here, simplicity was the word used to describe the gospel of Christ. The preaching of Paul was pure and simple. In declaring the testimony of God;he did not do so with excellency of speech or of (worldly) wisdom. The simplicity of his message centered on Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. Unlike false teachers, Paul's preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom (See 1 Cor. 2:1-4). The word of God is, and will remain, a mystery, when viewed through the eyes of worldly wisdom. Man's wisdom destroys the simplicity of God's word. It appears to be a widespread tactic of false teachers to convince their audience, that the bible is complicated, difficult, and hard to understand. In doing so, they create a following of people that depend on their erring interpretation of the bible.
The New King James Version translates this beginning of verse nineteen, in the lesson text, And not holding fast to the Head. This appears to be a major deficiency of false teachers. The Head, referred to here, is the Head of the body of Christ, Jesus, Himself. He is the authority; He is theHead;He is the only authority in the church of Christ. For the full significance of the relationship of Jesus Christ and His kingdom on earth, His church, read Ephesians 1:15-23. Here, Paul commends the Christians at Ephesus for their faith in the Lord Jesus, and for their gratitude to God for the hope of salvation, made available through His Son, Jesus; a hope which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.
The same authority of Christ is assured by Paul as he wrote to the Colossian church: And He is the Head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence (Col. 1:18). Reading these passages, how can anyone deny His authority as the Head of His church, the church of Christ? Hold fast to Jesus Christ; He is the Head of the body!
Yet our lesson text indicates that, denying Jesus as Head of His church is often the result of worldly wisdom. Anyone that adds to, deletes from, or, in any way, alters or compromises the will of God, that has been established through His Son, denies Christ as the Head of His kingdom. The gospel message of God, containing His plan of salvation, has been given to all people of the world; it is full and it is complete. There is no need for further revelation. A false prophet, or teacher, is anyone taking the position that God's word is insufficient. A false prophet is anyone that professes to have new revelations from God. A false prophet is anyone that claims to possess the power to heal the sick and afflicted. A false prophet is anyone that proclaims to have a miraculous ability to interpret the gospel of Christ, and, at the same time, declares that his audience is incapable of understanding God's will. Christian, beware of such a one, and receive not his message as the true gospel of Christ.
Nourishment for the members of His body comes directly from the Head, Jesus Christ. It is this spiritual food, the holy word of God, that sustains the soul of each Christian. It is the gospel of salvation, through Jesus Christ, that keeps His body, the church of Christ; knit together, united in faith and works, and bonded together in the truth, that sets mankind free from sin. It is the pure word of God that comes to us through His Son, Jesus Christ, and brings the increase, required by God, of all His children. As Christians, we are required to study God's word, to increase in the knowledge of God, that we might be worthy ...pleasing ...fruitful in every good work (Col. 1:10).
Christian, beware. Let no man beguile you! If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion forever and ever. Amen (1 Pet. 4:11).