Lest Any Man Should Beguile You
1. In verse four, Paul states WHY he is writing to them.
2. He states WHY he told them the specific truths he did.
3. He states WHY he had such great conflict for them (agonized over them).
4. The reason: lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.
a. This is the first time the real danger facing the church is mentioned.
b. Paul KNEW that these believers were being attacked by false teachers skilled at using persuasive arguments.
5. Hence, from prison, Paul did what he could to keep them safe.
This I Say…
1. What specifically DID Paul say to them (lest they should be beguiled)?
a. He told them the purpose of his ministry: to present men perfect/mature in Christ. (1:28)
• This could only be accomplished in the power of Christ working through him. (1:29)
• Paul agonized over the Colossians… because he wanted to see them progress toward maturity… and feared that the false teachers might interfere with that progress.
b. Then Paul listed four necessary steps toward that end (2:2)
• Their lives were to be knit together with other members of the Body of Christ.
• Their hearts would then be encouraged and edified.
• Their hearts would also have full assurance and confidence in the faith.
• Finally, they would come to a full knowledge of the mystery (We are in Christ and He is in us)… to acknowledge the mystery… and to acknowledge that in Christ, we have all the wisdom and knowledge we need!
• The sense of assurance and our union with Christ was a safeguard against every attack of the enemy.
• This is what Paul said to them “lest they should be beguiled.”
Lest Any Man Should Beguile You
a. Defined: paralogizomai
• Used only here and in Jas. 1:22 (be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves…)
• Strong’s: to reckon wrong, to cheat by false reckoning. 2a to deceive by false reasoning.
• NAS Dict.: miscalculate, to reason falsely.
• Greek-English Lexicon: to deceive by arguments or false reasons.
b. Present subjunctive: potential action… potential for continuous action.
• They had not yet been beguiled… but the possibility certainly existed.
• Paul knew that the false teachers were relentless too. They would CONTINUALLY attempt to beguile.
2. Paul agonized over this potential. He knew how REAL this possibility was.
a. He did not start this church… nor did he meet these believers face to face. (2:1)
b. Yet, he knew OF them… and he knew of the Gnostic like cult that had infiltrated their region.
c. Paul knew that God had begun a good work in them. God’s plan for them was that they “go on to perfection”… that they continue growing in grace and in the knowledge of Christ… and that they progress towards Christlikeness.
d. Because of his past experiences, Paul also knew that that progress toward maturity could be cut short… that the potential was always there for them to regress spiritually rather than progress spiritually.
• Gal. 3:1-5 – The Judaizers were introducing the law as a rule of life for the believers throughout Galatia.
» Paul was outraged, because the law did not mix with grace… and it did not provide any “power.”
» This left the believer to struggle to keep the law in the power of his flesh… which was doomed to failure.
• Gal. 4:9-11 – Paul was concerned because these believers, who started off well, turned BACK to the weak and beggarly elements of the law.
» Paul was AFRAID for them… lest his labors spent there would be in vain.
» The devil seeks to UNDERMINE every work of God. He is sometimes successful.
• Gal. 4:17-20 – The Judaizers were zealously affecting the work of God in Galatia… but not for the good.
» Paul’s goal was for Christ to be formed in them (vs. 19 – the mystery brought to maturity).
» But, he stood in doubt of them… because it wasn’t happening.
» They were being lured away from the simplicity in Christ to the LAW as a rule of life.
» Paul stood in doubt of them… perplexed as to where this might lead.
• Paul, and any leader who loves the flock of God carries a burden on his heart continually… for the spiritual welfare of the flock.
» This means that there is also the continual burden of realizing the potential dangers… and how easily men can give heed to enticing words… voices of other shepherds with other messages… to beguile and lead astray.
» This is what makes the ministry so difficult and so burdensome… realizing that there are 10,000 voices out there trying to appeal to the flock… and it just takes one of those voices resonating with one sheep… to begin a slide in the wrong direction.
» It might be interest in the charismatic movement, covenant theology, neo evangelicalism, hyper form of Calvinism, or extreme forms of Arminianism, a new prophetic view, or perhaps a solidly Biblical concept taken to the extreme…
e. Paul feared and agonized over the churches throughout the region of Galatia. Paul also feared for and agonized over the church in Colossae.
• He knew of the potential dangers to the work of God.
• He knew how fragile (from our perspective) the church is… as it sits as a tiny minority in a hostile world.
• He knew of the power of the enemy to attack… to deceive… to overthrow the faith of some.
• For this reason, Paul wrote to the Colossians… lest any one should beguile them.
• 2000 years after Paul wrote these words, I have the very same fears for the flock in Salem, NH.
f. While circumstances changes… and history marches forward, some things never change.
• We as sheep as just as susceptible to being deceived and beguiled by false teachers today as were the believers in Colossae 2000 years ago.
• Our hearts haven’t changed (Jer. 17:9)
• The devil’s goal hasn’t changed. He still walks about seeking whom he may devour. (I Pet. 5:8)
• Satan’s methodology hasn’t changed. He still uses false teachers to allure ignorant believers. (II Cor. 11:13-15)
• Ignorance of God’s plan for this age (Christ in you… empowering and manifesting His life in you) still exists in many believers too.
g. Thus, the NEED for Paul to say these things (“And this I say lest…”)
• The need still exists for pastors and Bible teachers to teach the very same things today as Paul said 2000 years ago.
• There is still the need for the saints of God to understand the mystery… HOW to live the Christian life… in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit… manifesting the life of Christ…
• There are so many voices pulling us in all different directions.
• There is still the need for us to be absolutely resolute on being focused on ONE PERSON: the Lord Jesus Christ. With a single eye… a single heart… and only ONE ear… tuning out all contrary voices.
• In Christ, we have ALL the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
With Enticing Words
1. Enticing words: pithanologia
a. Strong’s: speech adapted to persuade, 2 in a bad sense, persuasiveness of speech, specious discourse leading others into error.
b. Dictionary of Biblical Languages – convincing speech, fine-sounding arguments
2. Paul was concerned about the persuasive speech coming from the mouths of the false teachers.
a. Speech can be persuasive. Speech can be enticing… appealing… alluring… beguiling.
b. Speech does not have to be TRUE to be persuasive. Often ERROR can be persuasive.
c. Rom. 16:18 – by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
d. People are persuaded by arguments that are based on misinformation, error, and outright lies every day!
3. In fact, men are more easily persuaded by error than by truth.
a. This is so for three reasons:
• Man is a sinner… and already inclined toward error and away from the truth.
• To the natural man, spiritual things are foolish. He CANNOT understand them.
• The earth and everything on it is under a divine curse. Just as it is much easier to produce weeds in a garden than choice tomatoes… it is much easier to convince sinners of a lie (concerning spiritual things) than it is to convince sinners of the truth. Weeds seem to be able to pop up right through the hot top, yet certain vegetables almost require greenhouse conditions to sprout up.
b. The fact that an argument is persuasive does NOT make it true.
• Just listen to all the partisan SPIN masters discuss the presidential debates.
• A crafty wordsmith can be exceedingly persuasive. Some are so talented they could talk a hungry dog off a meat truck…
• But their talent in using words and formulating arguments says NOTHING about the veracity of what they are saying.
• Skillful salesmen have convinced many unsuspecting folks into buying expensive things that they didn’t need… didn’t want… that they can’t afford… and often don’t even work!
• When we consider speech (especially in the spiritual realm)… it matters little if the speaker had a golden tongue… used flowery words… a sweet disposition… charm… style… whether he won more debate points. What ought to matter to us is this: are his words TRUE!?!
• Of course eloquence and persuasive speech can be great tools in the hands of one who knows and loves truth.
• But they can also be used to MASK error or dress up a lie. That is the warning here.
• I Cor. 2:1-5 – Knowing this, Paul determined NOT to use enticing and persuasive words in presenting the gospel.
» Obviously, he did this NOT because he didn’t want to persuade men to believe. He DID want to persuade men to believe.
» However, he wanted to be sure that it was TRUTH that persuaded them… and not his debating skills or his golden tongue.
» Vs. 2 – Paul preached a simple message: Christ and the cross!
» The power of persuasion was to come from the content of the message, not the capability of the messenger.
c. The fact that an argument is persuasive does NOT make it true. The opposite is true also. The fact that an argument is not persuasive to an individual (from man’s perspective) does not mean it is error, either!
• The gospel is preached in the power of the Holy Spirit every day all over the globe.
• Yet, the saying of Jesus is still true: narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it!
• Many are persuaded by the lies that clutter the broad road to destruction. Few are persuaded by the truth of the narrow way.
• The fact that many people believe a lie… or that few people believe the truth says NOTHING about the truthfulness of the message.
• Read Jeremiah and Ezekiel. The whole nation believed the persuasive, soothing arguments from the false prophets. Very few believed God’s prophets.
• People do not come to faith in Christ because of the clever way we word the gospel message. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict and convince the sinner of truth… not the messenger! (That sure takes the pressure off you and me as we present the gospel!)
4. The false teachers in Colossae were evidently well skilled in their ability to persuade with speech.
a. Paul knew that and feared for the Colossians.
b. Paul knew the DANGER of such persuasive arguments.
c. A wolf in sheep’s clothing can be quite persuasive to untaught, unsuspecting sheep…
d. It was for this reason that Paul wrote what he wrote.
Paul’s Antidote for Deception
1. “And this I say unto you lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.”
2. What Paul said:
a. Lives knit together with other members of the Body
b. Encouraged, edified hearts
c. Full assurance and confidence in the faith
d. A full knowledge of the mystery and an acknowledgement that in Christ, we have all the wisdom and knowledge we need!
3. Paul states here that THIS is what will protect the saint from being beguiled.
a. These are the four steps towards perfection or maturity.
b. They are also four precautions which will prevent us from being beguiled by false teachers.
c. If we are involved in God’s program for this age, we will be SAFE from deception and the beguiling of the enemy.
4. Consider each of these steps:
a. The first step is to be intimately involved in the local church… and the lives of the members… KNIT together in love.
• Eph. 4:11-13 – After all, the local church was designed by God for our perfection (equipping) for the edification of the Body, and to bring us to a greater measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
• Eph. 4:14 – The local church also is designed to keep the believer from being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine… and from being deceived by the cunning craftiness of men who use persuasive speech to lure us away!
• The wolves have a much easier time destroying a local church when the lives of the saints are NOT knit together. But by being knit together in love… bound to each other… and thus concerned about the spiritual welfare of one another…
• A bully in the playground has an easy time picking on one little kid. But when all the kids in the playground band together… that bully will run away like a dog with his tail between his legs.
• Being KNIT together in love is not only the way towards maturity. It is also a God-given means of protection for the believer against the wiles of the devil!
b. Encouraged hearts.
• As lives are knit together in love in the local church, our hearts are encouraged… and built up.
• A heart that is comforted and encouraged isn’t going to looking ELSEWHERE for answers. He will be content right in the Body where God planted him.
• A discouraged heart on the other hand, will NOT be content… will not be satisfied with Christ… and will hence be more OPEN to hearing some new thing… especially if it promises happiness… or an escape from their present trial or misery.
• But the edified and encouraged heart will not be moved away… will not be looking in other directions… will not be listening to other voices.
• A husband that is content, encouraged, and satisfied with his wife is not going to be wandering around town and looking for someone else.
• An encouraged heart is a strong, edified, and stable heart.
c. Full assurance of understanding.
• The believer who is experiencing and practicing God’s love in the Body… and as a result of this genuine Christian experience… his heart is not only encouraged, but convinced!
• This heart will be fully persuaded that his understanding of the Christian life is right and true. He not only has learned it from the Bible… but is experiencing its reality in every day life. This believer has FULL assurance.
d. Finally, the believer who is experiencing God’s love in the Body, has an encouraged heart as a result, and thus is fully persuaded… that believer is going to come to an acknowledgement (epignosis) of the mystery: his position in Christ… and Christ in him.
• The believer who has matured to the place where he understands the GLORY of this age… our position in Christ… seated in the heavenlies… blessed with all spiritual blessings… and indwelt by Christ Himself… that believer is going to have a whole new perspective.
• That believer is aware of the fact that in Christ he has ALL the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And if he has them ALL… then he doesn’t need this new key from the Gnostic like cult… he doesn’t need the so called secrets of the mystery cult…
• He has matured to the point where he is convinced… fully persuaded that he is in Christ and in Christ he has ALL he needs…
• To follow the four steps outlined in chapter 2 by Paul leads a believer to the place where he is not likely to be beguiled… he now sees Christ as his all in all… he sees himself as complete in Christ… in possession of ALL wisdom and knowledge in Christ… ALL spiritual blessings are his in Christ.
• Hence, consider HOW Paul deals with the false teachers in Colossae:
» So far, he hasn’t even told us what they believe or what kinds of errors they are promoting.
» He doesn’t have to… just like the man who is being trained to spot counterfeit bills. He doesn’t need to know every tiny nuance of the counterfeiters.
» He needs to know the REAL THING real well! The better he knows the genuine bill… the more wisdom and discernment he will have in spotting a counterfeit.
• This is Paul’s approach in dealing with the error at Colossae. He begins by lifting up the Lord Jesus Christ before the church. Jesus said, “I AM the Truth.” Christ is the antidote to all error.
» vs. 14 – our Redeemer; forgiveness through His blood
» Vs. 15 – the image of the invisible God
» Vs. 16 – the Creator
» Vs. 17 – holds all things together
» Vs. 18 – the Head; firstborn
» Vs. 19 – in Him all fullness dwells
» Vs. 20 – reconciler
» Vs. 28 – the CONTENT of Paul’s preaching and teaching
• 2:2 – Paul’s goal is to bring the believers to acknowledge the significance of the mystery: Christ in you!
» 2:3 – in Him is all wisdom.
» 2:10 – we are complete in Him.
» On and on it goes. Paul holds up the genuine for all to see… to learn… to come to know better… to study… to meditate on…
» By learning of HIM… drawing near to Him… we have wisdom and knowledge AND we have all we need to protect us from being beguiled by some new religious fad that comes down the pike.
» A FULL KNOWLEDGE of the mystery (Christ… our new relationship to Him) will keep us safe from all the errors the adversary sends our way.
5. The believer should NOT be beguiled by enticing words and smooth arguments.
a. 1st safeguard: Spending time with Christ… the Living Word will prevent it from occurring.
b. 2nd safeguard: Spending time with the Written Word…
c. Acts 17:11 – It is the responsibility of the individual SHEEP to keep from being beguiled.
• Be AWARE as a Christian that luring you away from the truth is the GOAL of our adversary the Devil.
» Sometimes these enticing words come from an enemy… an evil false teacher purposely seeking to destroy your faith…
» Sometimes enticing words come from a well meaning but misguided believer… who seeks to convince you of his new “twist” on truth… (Reformed Theology; new view of rapture; or 1001 other ways…)
» Some Bible teachers can be exceedingly persuasive in presenting their new theory too.
• Be ready to hear God’s Word preached… but don’t be gullible! Be discerning.
• Receive it with an eager mind and heart… BUT go to the Scriptures and check out what is being said: “whether these things be so.” That’s YOUR job!
• God will hold the shepherd accountable for teaching error… but God also holds the sheep accountable for receiving error!
• There is no good reason for a true believer to be led astray… to be beguiled. We have ALL WE NEED in Christ and in His Word to protect us.
• When I preach God’s Word—be eager to receive it… but check it out in the Bible. Don’t believe ME as if I were the authority. I can make mistakes. The BIBLE is the authority… not the Bible teacher.
• If you hear me preaching something that doesn’t sound right… don’t be afraid to ask WHY I said that. I’m not a pope; I could be wrong. This is God’s checks and balances system built into the local church. You have a part to play in that.
• When Scott is teaching in Sunday school class… or if Mrs. Rudolph is teaching at a ladies’ Bible study… don’t believe it just because they said so. If something doesn’t sound right… ASK! Check it out in the Bible!
• One man put it this way: when you hear a Bible teacher… or if you are listening to a sermon… or if you are reading a book… or taking a course on a Christian theme… think of it like eating watermelon. Swallow the good stuff and spit out the seeds!
If you are not yet saved…
1. Christ invites you to come to Him and be saved.
2. The message is simple: Believe… and be saved! The work was finished 2000 years ago. Trust in Christ’s finished work and you will receive eternal life.
3. Eph. 2:8-9 – it is by FAITH… and not by works.
4. Don’t be deceived. The gospel message is simple enough for a child to understand. Don’t complicate it. Don’t let anyone try to convince you that the gospel must be “harder” than that.
5. Let God’s word speak to your heart. You are a sinner… only a heartbeat away from being cast into the Lake of Fire forever. But Christ has paid the penalty of your sins on the cross through His BLOOD. He rose again… and now offers eternal life to you… IF you will receive it by faith.
6. Be saved today!