The Support

Colossians 2:4-10 (CSB) I am saying this so that no one will deceive you with arguments that sound reasonable. For I may be absent in body, but I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see how well ordered you are and the strength of your faith in Christ. So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to walk in him, being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude. Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elements of the world, rather than Christ. For the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ, and you have been filled by him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

The Introduction

If you have been on this channel for longer than a minute, or better yet, if you have been to college or some sort of college prep high school, you should be no stranger to philosophy. Now for those of us who haven’t done any of that, don’t tap out on me just yet. Just stay the course. We will get through this. I promise you that you won’t have any homework essays to do. Just stay with me.

We read in the Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae and his warning to them is the same warning to the church in America:

Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elements of the world, rather than Christ.

Don’t be so hasty here. Respond with, “Well, that’s okay, I don’t philosophy anyway,” as though ignorance is bliss and you go about your merry way.

Here’s the kick in the pants: you and I are constantly, continuously, overwhelmingly inundated with philosophy all the time. How do I know? Go and take a Philosophy course. If you are in school, sign up for Philosophy 101 next semester, If you have no interest in school, let me suggest two incredible resources:

If you have the time: Philosophy as taught by R.C. Sproul at Ligonier Ministries.

If you don’t have the time and like to read, highest recommendation:


The Consequences of Ideas.
by R.C. Sproul.
Crossway. 2018.

   


If you don’t have the time and you don’t like to read, then let me brutally and tragically summarize modern philosophy. Among of all the schools of thought, the greatest and loudest voices that the Western world is hearing right now from the world and not from God are really three voices:

Pragmaticism - Whatever brings the results that we want, that is the right course of action. For some of you, you might think this sounds oddly like business and you would be right. Pragmaticism plays a huge role in the way we do modern business.

Humanism - What humans can do and can accomplish is of prime importance. The divne and the supernatural should less emphasized if not, extinguished altogether. In other words, all of the world’s problems can be solved by mankind and mankind alone.

Secularism - Whatever humans are going to do, religion should have no part of it whatsoever. Government, politics, morals, etc.. should be decided by what humans think is right but religion should not be a factor in any of that.

Now, if you got a glance at today’s study in Genesis 11, you might be asking, “What does philosophy have anything to do with the Tower of Babylon?”

I am so glad you asked that question.

The Text

Genesis 11 (CSB)
1 The whole earth had the same language and vocabulary.

2 As people migrated from the east, they found a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there.

3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make oven-fired bricks.” (They used brick for stone and asphalt for mortar.)

4 And they said, “Come, let’s build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky. Let’s make a name for ourselves; otherwise, we will be scattered throughout the earth.”

5 Then the LORD came down to look over the city and the tower that the humans were building.

6 The LORD said, “If they have begun to do this as one people all having the same language, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.

7 Come, let’s go down there and confuse their language so that they will not understand one another’s speech.”

8 So from there the LORD scattered them throughout the earth, and they stopped building the city.

9 Therefore it is called Babylon, for there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth, and from there the LORD scattered them throughout the earth.

10 These are the family records of Shem. Shem lived 100 years and fathered Arpachshad two years after the flood.

11 After he fathered Arpachshad, Shem lived 500 years and fathered other sons and daughters.

12 Arpachshad lived 35 years and fathered Shelah.

13 After he fathered Shelah, Arpachshad lived 403 years and fathered other sons and daughters.

14 Shelah lived 30 years and fathered Eber.

15 After he fathered Eber, Shelah lived 403 years and fathered other sons and daughters.

16 Eber lived 34 years and fathered Peleg.

17 After he fathered Peleg, Eber lived 430 years and fathered other sons and daughters.

18 Peleg lived 30 years and fathered Reu.

19 After he fathered Reu, Peleg lived 209 years and fathered other sons and daughters.

20 Reu lived 32 years and fathered Serug.

21 After he fathered Serug, Reu lived 207 years and fathered other sons and daughters.

22 Serug lived 30 years and fathered Nahor.

23 After he fathered Nahor, Serug lived 200 years and fathered other sons and daughters.

24 Nahor lived 29 years and fathered Terah.

25 After he fathered Terah, Nahor lived 119 years and fathered other sons and daughters.

26 Terah lived 70 years and fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

27 These are the family records of Terah. Terah fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran, and Haran fathered Lot.

28 Haran died in his native land, in Ur of the Chaldeans, during his father Terah’s lifetime.

29 Abram and Nahor took wives: Abram’s wife was named Sarai, and Nahor’s wife was named Milcah. She was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milcah and Iscah.

30 Sarai was unable to conceive; she did not have a child.

31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot (Haran’s son), and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and they set out together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there.

32 Terah lived 205 years and died in Haran.

Our God

Let me sum up philosophy in the light of orthodox, right, proper theology: Philosophy is excellent in explaining the depravity of man and when used correctly, can predict the direction of the society in about 50 years. Philosophy, however, is the worst at fixing the depravity and problems of mankind.

Here’s a spoiler alert: the gospel is the only thing that can fix mankind. And you and I know that gospel of Jesus Christ is both fully divine and fully supernatual. In other words, to save anyone is completely outside of you and me, and completely depends on whatever God does and does not do.

If that explanation is good for you, you can go ahead and drop off this episode.

If you are at all curious on how this plays out with mankind, and more specifically the Tower of Babel (or Babylon), then hold on.

1 The whole earth had the same language and vocabulary.

2 As people migrated from the east, they found a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there.

3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make oven-fired bricks.” (They used brick for stone and asphalt for mortar.)

Pragmaticism does not work in the kingdom of God

“Whatever gets us results is the right course of action” - how many of you all have been in ministry and discipleship for longer than 5 minutes? What if we did counseling or discipleship or preaching like this? It would be disasterous. Why? Because the slippery slope is that we always focus on results rather than the people.

I remember hearing this story of a pastor who was setting up a marriage counseling session with a couple and they were having a hard time getting their schedules to work. His assistant said, “I am not sure that would work for that couple.” He rudely responded, “It doesn’t matter what works for them, it only matters if it works for the church.”

Years and years after that incident, the pastor was still haunted by his words and by that belief in his heart.

If God did what works, sure he would have wiped us all of the face of the earth and started again. But he didn’t. All throughout the Bible, God did things the hard way. God would do it in a certain way that mankind, on their best day, knew deep down inside it was going to fail magnificient.

Look how hard it was for the Israelites to accept Jesus as the Messiah and as God. The Old Testament had over 260 prophecies on how God was going to make things right. And Jesus filled those prophecies to a tee. But our little pea-sized brains keeps thinking, “I wouldn’t do it that way.” I wouldn’t let Jesus come as a little baby–whatever something happens to him. I wouldn’t let him come as a male–males are in power and corrupted. I wouldn’t let him come poor and in need–he needs to come in power and come to kick butt and take names and overthrow empires with the spilling of blood!

God does the opposite. God’s kingdom is upside down. God’s ways are higher than our ways. And the saints of God do it not the ways of business in a way to produce results fast. We are to love one another and point each other to Christ. And many times, we do so unto death. And many times, we won’t see the fruit of our faith. But God does. And that is all that matters.


4 And they said, “Come, let’s build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky. Let’s make a name for ourselves; otherwise, we will be scattered throughout the earth.”

5 Then the LORD came down to look over the city and the tower that the humans were building.

6 The LORD said, “If they have begun to do this as one people all having the same language, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.

Humanism does not work in the kingdom of God

Humanism will have a real shot in fixing our problem but it sucks at one thing: admitting what is at the core of the problems with mankind.

They will keep pointing to this problem or that problem, tackling the problem and usually not fixing the problem and making it worse.

Let me bring up a super hot topic now: Critical Race Theory. Let me again, oversimplify CRT. CRT attempts to seek and find ways, even subtly, where society is bent and broken towards outright racism. Knowing the Bible and possessing pretty good theology and you can reply, “Well, that’s depravity. We get that.” But that’s not what CRT states. In essence, we can educate the masses not to make racist decisions–or decisions that are anti-racist–and the problem with racism can be solved.

Now those with the Christian Nationalist bent (which is an oxymoron) will wanna cheer me on. But you think CRT is wrong because you don’t like being called a racist and not because CRT misses the mark.

Here’s God’s way: the gospel is the only thing that is going to fix the hatred of man:

Titus 3:3-7 (CSB) For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by various passions and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, detesting one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy—through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. He poured out his Spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior so that, having been justified by his grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life.

The world already rejects this notion. It’s supernatural, divine, and robs us of our glory. Christians balk at this because it is “the easy way out”. But I wonder, if some Christians or ex-Evangelicals has seen the blasphemous use of the gospel and the name of God to promote all kinds of evil–especially in the name of hatred and bigotry and racism.

KKK Rally - Jesus Saves

They would argue that Christianity and the gospel doesn’t work because it doesn’t do enough to protect people from the evils of the world.

The Gospel

Yet, the good news of God is not a way to protect us from being hurt. The gospel of Christ is the proclamation that we get to be in the eternally safe and loving arms of Jesus. And no power in hell, no scheme of man–including hatred, bigotry, and racism–can ever separate us from the love of God that can only be found in Jesus Christ our Lord.


7 Come, let’s go down there and confuse their language so that they will not understand one another’s speech.”

8 So from there the LORD scattered them throughout the earth, and they stopped building the city.

9 Therefore it is called Babylon, for there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth, and from there the LORD scattered them throughout the earth.

Secularism does not work in the kingdom of God

Try as we might, we cannot separate God from this world. Because of the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ on high, He is now King of kings and Lord of lords–that means he rules and reigns over people and all nations.

Wanna go Communist in a country like China and completely try to rip out God in your goverment. Then watch as the mystery, might, sovereignty and the love of God as he begins to move and plant seeds in such a way where in the year of our Lord 2022, there are more Christians in China then there are people living in America. Noticed I didn’t say more Christians than the number of Christians in America. But there are more Christians in China than the population of America.

And I thought America was a Christian nation. Yet, the Christian population in America is shrinking. Chinese spent decades trying to persecute and murder Christians only Christians shrewdly figure ways out to spread the gospel.

Upside-down compared to mankind. Wrong way compared to our notions and good intentions. Yet, our little kingdoms come and go and yet, the gates of hell cannot even stop the kingdom of God.

You want upside down? Try this on for size, taken from Luke 3:

Noah begat Shem begat Arphaxad begat Cainan begat Shelah begat Eber begat Peleg begat Reu begat Serug begat Nahor begat Terah begat a wealthy landowner and shepherd named Abram.

29 Abram and Nahor took wives: Abram’s wife was named Sarai, and Nahor’s wife was named Milcah. She was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milcah and Iscah.

30 Sarai was unable to conceive; she did not have a child.

31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot (Haran’s son), and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and they set out together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there.

32 Terah lived 205 years and died in Haran.

God picked a bloodline to cut through all our intellect, wisdom, notions, knowledge, and power from the source of our wickedness. God didn’t do things the easy way. God didn’t save his people the fast way. God plays the long game–because Christ the Alpha and the Omega–the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

He was here before time began. He will be here for all of eterntiy.

Yet, Christ steps into our moment in time, cutting through our depravity and just holds out his hands, and command, “Give me your sin and your trust and your faith and your belief.” Do this and be saved.

The Discussion

1. Is Philosophy inheritently evil?
2. How is Philosophy like any of the other sciences that God has given us?
3. If we are able to fix our problems and change our circumstances, would our lives be any better?

Correct answer: No.

4. What is the ultimate fix?

The Prayer

Great I Am,
How majestic is your name in all the earth. There is no one like you.

Be exalted, oh Lord, be exalted above my doubts and worries and this earth.

Amen.

The Resources

Calvin’s Commentaries.
by John Calvin.
Baker. 2009.

Genesis.
by James Montgomery Boice.
Baker Books. May 1, 2006.

Genesis: Beginning and Blessing (Preaching the Word).
by R. Kent Hughes.
Crossway. November 30, 2012.

Genesis (Word Biblical Commentary).
by Gordon J. Wenham.
Thomas Nelson Inc. October 9, 1987.

The Gospel in Genesis.
by Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
Crossway. 2009.

Resources


The Consequences of Ideas).
by R.C. Sproul.
Crossway. 2018.