Summary: Fifth in a series through Colossians
GROW - Because Of Who You Are Called To Be
OPEN: We've been working our way through the book of Colossians. A letter written by Paul to a church he never really visited. It isn't a very long book, only four chapters long but it contains some of the most powerful teachings in the New Testament. It's a letter, like all the letters written by Paul, designed to help believers grow in their faith. And how is Paul going to help the saints in Colossae grow? -- by reintroducing them to Christ. Instead of introducing formulas, and new methodologies and writing a new philosophy of ministry or coming up with a new 5 year plan for the church --Paul does something unique and powerful. He launches into one of the most powerful passages in the New Testament and reminds them of who it is they were serving. Paul re-presents Christ, who is the only really, true, graphic, perfect, flawless, absolutely accurate image of the invisible God.
Last week we looked at how he presented Christ to the congregation at Colossae. He said
- He is our Rescuer. Jesus said, "I've come to set the captive free. I've come to proclaim freedom for the prisoner" He is the Revealer of God. The Son is the image of the invisible God, God is only made visible in Jesus. "God was please to have all His fullness dwell in Him." The word "dwell" means to "take up residence" and points to the incarnation. He is the Preeminent One. the firstborn over all creation. preeminent -- the most exalted -- the prestigious one.
-He is the Creator of All things. everything was created by and for him. He created by Himself and for his own glory and enjoyment.
- He is the Sustainer. He is not only the Creator of the world; He is the cohesion that keeps it all together. By Him everything came to be, and by Him everything continues to be.
- He is the Head of the Church. The church is not about man's rule at all. The church is about submitting to Christ's rule -- and his rule alone. The church is not ruled by Robert's rules of order - but Jesus' Rule of Order. The Church is a group of people who gather together because they are overwhelmed and amazed at the splendor and majesty and grace and love of a savior who pulls them out of darkness and places them as heirs in his kingdom and then they gather together in reconciled loved submitting joyfully to the comprehensive rule of Jesus Christ as they seek to accomplish the mission that has been entrusted into their hands for the short period of time they have on earth. That's the Church -- It's a place where he has supremacy in everything that is going on.
- He is our Peace. John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Why is Paul going through all this reintroduction? Because the church was facing pressure on the outside and congregation compromise was beginning to develop on the inside and there were conflicting ideas being brought to the church as a response to the pressures they were facing. And by way of re-introducing Jesus Paul in way is saying, "Have you forgotten who you serve?" When the Church begins to lack certainty of who Jesus is or begin to drift away from focus on Jesus -- it begins to grow weak and inefficient.
- Jesus is not just a good teacher
- Jesus is not just a great prophet
- Jesus is not one among many paths to God
- Jesus is not the great Life-enhancer
- Jesus is God Incarnate (in the flesh) Occasionally you'll run into a person who says, Jesus never claimed to be God. Oh, yes he did. Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?" "We are not stoning you for any good work," they replied, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God." (John 10:31-33)
They got the message -- He had claimed Divine authority over them and they didn't like -- they wanted to kill him because of it. A great portion of Jesus' earthly ministry was getting men to understand who he was. He claimed divine authority over the Sabbath, over the tradition of the elders, over the Law of Moses -- he claimed power to forgive sin -- he said all authority in heaven and earth was given to him -- he claimed power to raise the dead --himself included and he proved it.