Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

9-13-04

Title: A Warning to Believers

 

 

Text: "Let no man beguile you of your reward."-- Colossians 2:18
 

I have seen in my own life and in the life of other Christians, something that disturbs me; it’s that we are often more concerned about the things of this life than we are about the things of the life to come.

Many people live from paycheck to paycheck, and they face the possibility of poverty, if they become sick or lose their job.

No one seems to be able to keep his or her head above water with the same ease of their father and grandfather.

The poor and middle-class have to work hard for their daily bread.

That’s why this poor world is so engrossed in the latest cares and concerns of daily life, and why the things of God are only considered now and then.

That’s not the way it should be.

We should love God with all of our heart, and all of our soul, and all of our strength, and serve Him with a spirit of total commitment.

If we do these things, the Bible says we have only done our reasonable service to Him.

Just think about that; even if we love God that much, we have only done the minimum, it’s nothing great.

Now the Apostle, who wrote the verse I read, gives us a warning, however, there have been several meanings given to his warning.

Out of the meanings, there are three which are worthy of notice.

The verse says, "Let no man beguile you of your reward."

What the Apostle could have meant here is:--

LET NO MAN BEGUILE ANY OF YOU who profess to be followers of Christ of the great reward that will come to those who remain faithful to the end.

Now, folks, many of us have praised the Christian life, but the fact is, the number of starters is far greater than the number of the winners.

"They that run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize."

"Many are called, but few are chosen."

Many start out, who appear, at first, to be Christians, but after a while, even if they did run well, something holds them back so that they do not obey the truth.

And they go out from us because they were not one of us, because if they had been one of us, they would have continued with us.

Now, we may expect that since we have started to run, that some will come and try to force us out of the race course with an open and honest wickedness.

Some will tell us plainly that there is no reward to run for, that our religion is all a mistake, that the pleasures of this world are the only things worth seeking, that there are pleasures of the flesh and the lusts of the flesh, and that it’s a good idea to enjoy them.

We will meet the Atheist with his contempt and with his sarcastic laugh.

We will meet with all kinds of people who will tell us to our face to turn back, because there is no heaven, there is no Christ, or, if there is, it’s not worth our while to go to so much trouble to find Him.

Therefore, be careful of these people.

Stand face to face with them with confidence and courage.

Don’t pay any attention to their jokes and their laughter.  

If they mistreat you, consider this to be an honor to you, since persecution is the tribute that wickedness pays to righteousness.

But the Apostle’s warning is not really against those people who openly come to you in this way.

He knows that you will be on your guard against them.

Rather, he gives a special warning regarding some others who would like to beguile you; that is to say, who will try to turn you away from the right road, but who will not tell you that they mean to do it.

They pretend that they are going to show you something that you didn’t know before or something that will improve you.

It may surprise you to know, that in Paul's day there were some who took the Christian’s attention away from worshiping God, and convinced them to worship angels, instead.

They said, “Angels are holy beings; they keep watch over you; therefore, you should talk about them with great respect."

And then when they gained confidence, they said, "You should ask for their protection."

And then after a little while they said, "You should worship them; you should make them your intercessors."

And so, step by step, they went on and established an old heresy which lasted for many years in the Christian church, and which is not dead even now, and that’s how the worship of angels crept into the churches.

In the past, there were men who would say, "That the bread upon the Lord’s Table represents the body of Jesus Christ to you when you come to the Lord's Supper; therefore, you ought to treat that bread with great respect."

After a while, they became a little bolder, and then they said, "Since it represents Christ, you may worship it, and pay it respect as if it were Christ, Himself."

Eventually, it came down to this: that you must have a napkin under your chin, just in case you should drop a crumb; or it will be very bad if a drop of the sacred wine should cling to your moustache when you drink.

And there were directions which are given in some of the documents coming out from the higher church authority—absurd statements that are only fit for the nursery--about the way in which the holy bread is to be eaten, and the holy wine is to be drunk.

That brings in idolatry, sheer, clear cut idolatry, under the pretence of improving upon the worship of Christ.

So, let’s be careful to watch out for the first step into this way of thinking, because this must not happen to our church.

Or, perhaps, the heresies may come to you in another form.

Someone will say to you, "Do you love your church? And do you love that seat where you usually sit?"

And your natural instincts will cause you to say, "Yes."

Then it might go a little farther.

Someone will say, "That place is holy; it shouldn’t be used for anything but worship."

Before long, you may hear it said, "Well, that is the house of God."

And you may come to believe that contrary to what the Word of God says that God dwells not in temples made with hands; that is to say, in these buildings where we worship, that you have to worship places, and men and women thought to be holy, and bread, and wine.

And then someone will say to you, "Hasn’t your minister frequently cheered you up? Well then, you should honor him by calling him 'Reverend.'"

And then, you will be told to call him "Father"; and after that he will be the one who hears your confession and forgives your sins; and finally he will be your infallible Pope.

It all happens one step at a time, and don’t think it can’t happen to you and your church.

The first step seems to be very harmless.

It begins with a kind of voluntary humility.

You look like you’re humbling yourselves, and paying respect to these things for God's sake, however the object is to get you to pay respect to them, instead of to God.

And, this is where we can apply the apostle Paul’s words, "Let no man beguile you of your reward."

Be wary of any attempt to get you to worship objects, places, or other men and women, instead of God.

There is something else to be wary of: someone may insinuate that you should try to live in some way different than the Christian life style.

You have believed in Jesus, and you are saved, and your sins are forgiven.

You go to Jesus constantly to be washed clean of your daily sins.

You go to him and ask, please "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us."

But there will be some who will tell you that to live by simple faith in Jesus Christ is not the best way.

They say there’s a better way to live.

You could live like those hermits who mortify the flesh in such a way that they come to believe they have no sins, and that they’re perfect in themselves?

You could begin, bit by bit, to commit yourself to some priest, or to some friend, or to abide by this rule or some other rule, and to live by the edicts of the early Church, or by one of those books which profess to show how they used to do it a thousand years ago?

All this may be accompanied with a great show of wisdom, and beauty.

There may be the appearance that everything about it is holy, and godly men and women may be linked with it.

But listen to the Apostle as he says, "Beware lest any man beguile you of your reward," because if they get you away from leaning upon Christ like a poor sinner by simple confidence in him, they will beguile you of your reward.

There is another group who will attempt to beguile you of your reward by bringing in speculative philosophies, instead of the simple truths of God's Word.

There are certain people who think that a sermon must be a good one if they can’t understand it.

And they are always impressed with a man whose words are long; and if his sentences are complicated they feel that because they don’t know what he is talking about, that he is a very wise man.

And after a while, if he does say something they can understand, even though it may be contrary to what they have learned in Sunday School, they are ready to believe it.

There are many men in this day and age who seem to spend their time on nothing else than inventing new theories, and inventing new systems, and gutting the gospel, taking the very soul and guts out of it, and leaving nothing but the skin and bones of it.

The substance and truth of the gospel is being taken away by their learning, and by their philosophies, and by their so called improvements.

But the Word of God tells us, "Let no man beguile you of your reward."

Hold on to the old truths; they will outlast all these philosophies.

Stand firm in the old way of living; it will outlast all the inventions of men.

Stand fast by Christ, because you don’t want any other object of worship but Him.

Paul gives us this warning, "Let no man beguile you of your reward,” reminding us that these people are very likely to beguile us.

They will entice us by their character.

Have you ever heard young people say about a preacher who preaches bad doctrine, "But he is such a good man."

That’s not the point.

Didn’t Paul say, "Though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."

If a person could live a blameless life like the life of Christ, but he preaches something other than the gospel of Jesus Christ, don’t pay any attention to him.

He wears sheep's clothing, but he is a wolf after all.

Some will claim, "But he expresses himself so well."

Brothers and sisters, I hope the day will never come when your faith is in the words of men.

After all, there are some speakers who could convince you that the clouds are made from marshmallows.

Men can speak fluently, and speak well for evil causes, and there are some that can speak much more fluently and more eloquently for evil than any of us may speak for the causes that are right.

But, is it words that saved you?

Is it possible, that after receiving the Holy Spirit by confessing your sins, and believing in Christ, and putting your trust in him that you can be led astray by the flowery words of men?

God forbid!

Let nothing of this kind beguile you.

I want to add to what I just said that the man is not only very good and very eloquent, but that he is very sincere and he seems very humble.

Some people are not what they seem to be.

They are out to deceive others, with their false humility.

Satan knows very well that if he appears wearing a red suit and carrying a pitch fork that he will be discovered.

But if he puts on the garb of an angel of light, then men will think he comes from God, and so they will be deceived.

"By their fruits ye shall know them."

If they don’t preach the gospel, if they don’t exalt Christ, if they don’t talk about the precious blood, if they don’t lift up Jesus Christ like Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, have nothing to do with them, no matter what they say.

"Let no man beguile you of your reward."

Although he could be a relative of yours, one that you love, one that you respect don’t allow them to beguile you of your reward.

Remember, you will lose your reward if you don’t stay on the path that leads to the reward.

The runner may run very fast, but if he doesn’t stay on the course, he will not win the prize.

A Christian can have a very earnest belief in false doctrine, but no matter how hard he believes, it is still false.

You may work tirelessly in the pursuit of the wrong religion, but it will not save your soul.

There’s a notion around today that if you are serious and sincere about what you believe, you will be all right.

Allow me to remind you that if you travel in the wrong direction you may never get where you want to go.

And if you swallow rat poison you will die.

And if you cut off a leg you will be wounded, regardless of how sincere you may be.

You must not only be sincere, but you must be right about what you believe.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to say, "Let no man beguile you of your reward."

Paul said, "I bear them witness that they had a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge, but went about to establish their own righteousness, and have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God."

Oh! I pray that we will not be enticed away from the truth, in such a way that we miss the reward of heaven!

Now, here is a second interpretation which may be given to the text:--

LET NO MAN DOMINEER OVER YOU.

Regardless of how close a man may be to Christ, the world, instead of honoring him for it, will, on the contrary, criticize and condemn him, and that’s why the Apostle says, "Let no man domineer over you."

Folks, I would sincerely ask you to remember these words when you must decide what you are going to do.

If you thoroughly believe that you are right in what you are doing, don’t pay much attention to what others think about it.

If you believe in your own soul that what you believe and what you do are acceptable to God, then it doesn’t matter whether others agree or disagree.

You are not some man's servant, so you don’t look to a man for your reward and, therefore, why should you care what man's opinion is anyway.

Walk in the footsteps of Christ, and don’t depend on men or women.

Don’t allow their compliments to make you feel good, because when they ridicule you, then you will feel bad.

Don’t let any man domineer over you in this respect, instead, let Christ be your Master, and look for His approval.

So, with regard to your choices and your confidence, don’t let any man domineer over you.

If you put your trust in Jesus Christ, there are some who will say you have made an assumption.

Let them say what they want.

If you take the promises of God and rest upon them, there will be some who will say that you are off the wall fanatics.

Let them say it.

The result of sticking by your faith is that you honor God.

You may only have to wait a little while, before those who have ridiculed you hold up their hands in astonishment, and say along with you, "What hath God wrought?"

I hope that your confidence in Christ doesn’t depend upon the approval of your relatives.

If it did, then their disapproval might crush it.

Walk with your Savior in complete confidence, and don’t put your faith in any man, but put it in the will of God.

The next thing I want to say is, “Let no man domineer over you, by judging your motives.”

There are always some people who will give a bad reason for why a good man does a good deed.

It seems to be inherent in human nature to never give a man credit for being right if you can help it.

And very often, those with sensitive minds have been hurt by lies, and by being accused of having selfish motives for the good things they do, when all they ever wanted was to serve Christ.

But don’t let that sort of thing break your heart.

Remember, you will appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, so don’t worry about these petty judgment-seats of men.

Go on, and work for Jesus as long as you can.

And let them say the same thing about you, that David’s brothers said about him, "Because of thy pride and the naughtiness of thy heart to see the battle, art thou come."

Go on and do your best for the Lord, and when they see God blessing you, that will be the best answer you can give.

When they see that God is with you, and that he has given you the victory, you will get respect, even from those who ridiculed you.

Keep your eyes on Jesus, and forget that men have their eyes upon you.

Live to please Him, whether they know what you do, or they don’t know what you do.

Don’t pay any attention to what they have to say, since your life will stand the scrutiny of God on the great Judgment Day.

Let no man domineer over you.

So, allow me to add one more concern, “Let no man sway your conscience so as to lead you astray.”

I hope that I have your trust and love, but never believe anything just because I said it.

And, unless I can confirm it from the Word of God, forget it.

If it is not according to the teachings of the Lord Jesus, I beg you not to follow me.

Follow me, or any man, only as far as we follow Christ.

I pray that it’s God's truth, God's Word, and the Holy Spirit's witness to that Word that you are seeking after.

I pray that you will never stop seeking God’s will, because if you do your faith will only be based on the wisdom of men.

And, the sad thing about this is that when the man who helped you to believe is gone, perhaps your faith will be gone too; when you need its comforting power the most.

No; let no man domineer over you, but instead, press on in the Christian race, looking unto Jesus, and looking unto Jesus only.

But now, I believe there is a third meaning that belongs to our text; "Let no man beguile you of your reward."

It may mean this:--

DON’T LET ANY MAN ROB YOU OF THE PRESENT-DAY REWARD WHICH YOU HAVE AS A CHRISTIAN.

Don’t let anyone deprive you of the comfort you have right now, because of your faith.

Folks, you and I, if we are believers in Christ, are at this moment completely pardoned.

There is no sin against us in God's book.

We are wholly and completely justified to our Heavenly Father.

The righteousness of Jesus Christ covers us from head to foot, and we stand before God as if we had never sinned.

Now, let no man rob you of this reward.

Don’t be tempted by anything that could cause you to doubt the completeness you have in Christ.

Don’t let any man, yourself included, beguile you.

Even though your conscience should scold you, and you might have many serious reasons for doubt, if you believe in Jesus, stand on your faith.

There is, therefore, no blame for me, since I am in Christ Jesus. 

He that believeth on him is not condemned.

I have believed, and I am not condemned, neither will he permit condemnation to be spoken against me, because Christ has borne my sin for me, and I am justified in him."

Let no man beguile you of the reward of feeling that you are complete in Christ.

Furthermore, you who have believed in Jesus Christ are safe in the hands in Christ.

Because he lives, you will also live.

Who shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord?

Jesus said, "I give unto my sheep eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand."

Now there are some who will tell you that you are not safe and sound with Christ, and that it is dangerous for you to believe that you are.

Let no man beguile you of this reward.

You are saved.

If you believe on Him, He will hang on to you, and you can say along with me, "Now unto him that is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before His presence with exceeding great joy, unto him be glory."

Hold on to that blessed truth that if you are in Jesus, then you are safe in His hands.

There is a third blessed truth; that not only are you pardoned and safe in Christ, but you are accepted at this moment, in the Beloved.

Your acceptance with God does not rest upon anything good about you, or anything good you have done.

You are accepted because you are in Christ, that is, you are accepted for Christ's sake.

Now sometimes you will get robbed of this reward if you listen to the voice which says, "Why, there is still sin in your life; your prayers are lacking; your actions are tainted."

Yes, that’s true, but don’t let any man beguile you of this conviction that, even though you are a sinner, you are still accepted in Christ Jesus.

It’s my prayer that you feel this way.

So, don’t let any man beguile you of your reward as long as you live.

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