Summary: What lies within us is more of an ambivalence towards leadership… we actually long for that which can organize life… that which can set forth what is right… and HEROES who reveal something of a better way.
One True Leader Over Life
Series: The Liberated Life (Colossians)
Brad Bailey – May 3, 2009
(NOTE: The following includes some sections in which a name precedes a section of thought. These were drawn from others and I have included their names to give credit. They were not quoted but rather simply used to capture a thought that may have been included in what was shared.)
Intro – Our ‘Authority Issue’
If I asked you if you have a leader in your life… I think a bit of reflection would allow many of us to realize that leadership is an issue we wrestle with. So many people who were in positions of authority… of control… of power… have disappointed us… or even deeply hurt us. As a result we may all have authority issues… and in part… for some good reason.
In a similar way…the very nature of deeming someone to be thought of as ‘superior’ is difficult.
We elevate some… but they usually don’t rule… and if so…we tend to think “Who do they think they are?”
But I believe what really lies within us is more of an ambivalence towards leadership… we actually long for that which can organize life… that which can set forth what is right… and HEROES who reveal something of a better way.
> Good news… is that there is one… who is both supreme over all other powers and is good.
It is the very reason that we worship God and the unique revelation of God in the person of Jesus.
It’s why we refer to our community as Christ-centered. And I realize that can also raise a challenge for some… who may wonder ‘Why are we so into Jesus? Why do we worship him in so many of our worship songs?’
As we continue in our series entitled “The Liberated Life”… we are going to engage the unique position that Christ holds over life… one which I believe that every soul is intended to know… and the has the very power to liberate us from lesser leaders.
This series is one of engaging what we call the Book of Colossians. It is one of the letters in the Scriptures from the apostle Paul… and ex-Jewish religious leader… now in prison…to one of the new gatherings of those who were coming to know Christ as the long awaited Messiah… the king not only of Israel… but of all.
As I said last week in our introduction… Paul’s letters are not just letters….but declarations and development of a subversive movement. The whole ministry of Jesus was a threat to the powers that be…. including both religious leaders… and Roman ruling leaders (beginning with King Herod.)
What is dangerous to the powers that have gained control… is when someone defies and renounces them. That is what Jesus did. That is what the ex-religious leader Paul did in following Jesus and teaching others. In this sense it is subversive.
In this next early part of the letter Paul declares how Christ is not only supreme… but uniquely supreme above all…. and he does so in the most profound and poetic of terms…
The first way in which he notes the unique nature of Christ… is there in the first phrase…
Colossians 1:15 – “He is the image of the invisible God”
‘Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.’ (NLT)
1. Christ alone is the Supreme Revealer of God (vs. 15)
If the question is asked… ‘Who is God?’ or ‘What is God like?’…the answers may be rooted in some sort of human tradition… or unrooted in the human imagination. But what the Hebrew Scriptures testify to… is that of God who reveals Himself… His nature and will and ways.
Now for Paul as a Hebrew… this was what had initially been so powerful in the role of the Temple… and the function of the Torah. God was revealing Himself… in a place of meeting made possible by sacrifices… and in His Word made known and testified to in Scriptures. But it only prepared for the level of revealing that was going to fulfill as that preceded it.
The writer of Hebrews, in Hebrews 1:1-3 (NIV), tells us:
‘In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.’ - Hebrews 1:1-3 (NIV)
‘Previously Paul believed that it was the Tabernacle and Temple that displayed the glory of God. Now he attributes the same glory to the risen and exalted Christ who Paul witnessed on the road to Damascus. Just as a mirror gives a reflection of its image, the Son gives a revelation of the Father. The Image manifests and reveals what is hidden – it makes the invisible, visible. It is not a copy but is a projection of the real thing – Jesus expresses the reality of God. Since Jesus shares in the divine life he manifests the divine character. Jesus, as the Wisdom of God, reveals the Father whether Incarnate or not.’ - Michael Bird (SC)