Sermons

Summary: Christians are secure in Christ. Because this is true, it behooves us to know Him--really know Who He is. The message explores Paul's revelation of Jesus as very God in his letter to the congregation in Colossae.

[1]

“[Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

“And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.” [2]

Richard Mouw served as the President of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California for twenty years. He tells of the first time he and his wife attended the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. He wrote, “It is always an exciting event. We were sitting at a table near the front of the large banquet hall, and we had a great view of the impressive line-up at the head table on the platform: the Bushes, the Quayles, General Colin Powell, members of Congress, and others.

“I was seated next to a young Muslim,” he wrote, “a diplomat from one of the Middle Eastern embassies. In our brief conversation, I asked him how long he had been in Washington. ‘Less than a year,’ was his answer. I asked him what it was like for him to live and work in our nation's capital. He smiled. ‘We're not supposed to say this kind of thing, but this is a wonderful place to be.’ And then he added a comment, gesturing toward the platform as he said it: ‘Washington is the centre of the universe.’”

Mouw then concluded by writing, “There wasn't time to continue the conversation, so I did not have a chance to tell him about my map of the universe. It is described in the first chapter of Colossians.” [3] The passage Mouw cited reads, “By [Christ] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” [COLOSSIANS 1:16-17].

We’ve visited Washington, DC. It is a historic city with many attractions to visit. Without question, the legislation (and shenanigans) that emanate from that location on a regular basis serve to generate hours of newscasts and electronic reading material. However, I would hesitate to identify Washington as “the centre of the universe.” Washington is an unpleasant city to visit, with genuine threats to visitors cropping up at unexpected times and in venues that cannot be anticipated.

My world, and the world in which each of us lives, has a centre that is quite distinct from Washington, DC. The capitals of the nations are known, but they are not quite the centre that many people imagine. To be certain, what happens in these political centres has an impact in our lives, but the impact from these centres can never be thought of as eternal. You see, people look to these political entities as centres of power. Decisions made in Washington determine whether our world will have immediate peace or be plunged into one crisis or another. However, for all the machinations of political leaders, peace never seems to come. Moreover, the decisions that are being made are created by unseen powers operating through these political entities.

This is what I mean. Behind the political entities are powers that the world cannot see. In fact, for the most part, these powers have blinded the eyes of those living in the world. The Apostle writes, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” [EPHESIANS 6:12].

The unseen entities that Paul described are more clearly seen in an incident that occurred in the life of Daniel. Daniel was disturbed by a vision God had sent, so he did what should always be done when we are disturbed—he prayed. God sent an angel to inform Daniel of what he had seen and how the vision related to the future. Before the angel gave his explanation, he informed Daniel of why it took as long as it did for God to send the answer the man of God sought.

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