Yes, but is it practical?
This post is honestly not a rant! It is also not a response to anyone's comment on my sermon last Sunday. You were actually all very kind.
It is just that I am always aware that when we look at the Bible, it can seem like something we do in church, that doesn't work in the real world. If I am honest, I also sometimes listen to sermon recordings or Christians talking among themselves and have the same thoughts.
After all, we are practical people the Brits, pragmatists who 'just want to get things done'. We want a list of do's and don'ts rather than theology and if you aren't convinced, just think how many British people pride themselves on being good old practical types. That is not the case in every culture. If you have been on holiday to some destinations abroad, you may have noticed this.
So is theology (teaching about Christ) really practical?
Well here is JUST one example of how God's Word is practical and that I have been reminded of this week in my personal Bible reading.
Look at Colossians chapter 2 and you will get one massive example of practicality. Colossians 2:1-10 tells us that the presence of Christ delivers us from deceptive philosophies.
- Is your self esteem good? YES/NO?
- Are you confident in Christ when you walk into the room? YES/NO?
- Are you happy with your appearance? YES/NO?
- Is your bank balance enough? YES/NO?
- Are you able to fight the devil's lies about you at the moment, when he tells you of your guilt in some area? YES/NO?
- Is the gospel what excites you in life and seeing people become Christians? YES/NO
- Do you look forward to Christian fellowship on Sunday? YES/NO
If you are a Christian and you answer in the negative; there is some kind of deceptive philosophy at play. Tim Keller calls them 'defeater thoughts.' The sort of thing that put the boot in and lead to us not being satisfied in Jesus. If you can't imagine how anyone could ever answer NO to these, well done, you are holier than the rest of us!!
Well Jesus through the Bible can deliver us from those philosophies, by taking to pieces our futile thinking and putting together thinking that is built on his truth. Is that practical enough for us? If you examine carefully, you will see that is what is promised here:
'I want you to know....the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine sounding arguments.... (v8) See to it that no-one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition... in Christ you have been brought to fullness.'
This series in Colossians we are going to get really practical. The most effective practical things come from theology itself; that is knowing God better. Knowing Jesus is practical. It is just that we don't know him half as well as we should.