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Sermon #SD16

The Danger of Error

A Sermon on Colossians 2:8


Colossians 2:8 ESV KJV
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (ESV)

Sermon Description

What robs a Christian of joy? In this sermon on Colossians 2:8 titled “The Danger of Error,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones highlights error and heresy as contributors to a joyless life. These thieves demand knowledge beyond what God has revealed, and leave the Christian feeling empty and hollow. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones explores the ancient heresy known as Gnosticism, relating it and applying it today. This counterfeit religion must be fought against, and error must be avoided. Dr. Lloyd-Jones provides practical advice on how to avoid such heresy and, in doing so, highlights heresies of his own day. Certain characteristics are woven throughout religious falsehoods which, when understood, alert Christians of their error. Countering these hollow philosophies, the believer must beware of the lust of the mind and be content with what God has revealed in His word. Anything that goes beyond the Scriptures simply puffs up one’s mind instead of exalting Christ. While there is certainly an initial thrill, heresy and error leave the person joyless and empty. Joy comes not from philosophy, but from Christ. The fight for joy is therefore a fight to exalt Christ. Christ is supreme and true.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The sermon text comes from Colossians 2:8 which warns against false teachings.
  2. The sermon addresses the topic of spiritual depression and its causes. The sermon series has covered other causes of spiritual depression in previous weeks.
  3. This sermon focuses on false teachings and philosophies as a cause of spiritual depression.
  4. The church in Colosse was dealing with false teachings known as the Colossian heresy or gnosticism. This was a mixture of Jewish legalism, pagan mysticism, and Greek philosophy.
  5. Gnosticism appealed to intellectual speculation, legalistic practices, and mystical experiences. On the surface, gnostics seemed very devout but they lacked joy.
  6. The devil counterfeits the Christian faith by appealing to the mind, heart, and will - just like the true gospel. But his teachings are a mixture, not the whole truth.
  7. This heresy was a danger especially for intellectual people who enjoy speculation. The early church fought false teachings from Judaism and Greek philosophy for centuries.
  8. These false teachings come in different forms but have the same characteristics: pride, zeal without knowledge, a focus on methods and experiences, and a lack of focus on Christ.
  9. We can test teachings by their source (God's word or man's ideas), whether they oversimplify the faith, whether they promise blessing through a method, and whether they glorify Christ.
  10. To avoid these false teachings, keep Christ central, watch your heart for pride, beware speculation, balance your reading, and stay humble before God.
  11. True teaching will make you more aware of your sin and dependence on Christ.

Spiritual Depression

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.