Summary: The exclusive Christ becomes the inclusive Christ through the cross. The cross is the key (with Jesus rivited to the face of it)that unlocks our salvation.
The first half of the Book of Colossians (chapters 1,2) is technical and theological. Sometimes the material in chapters one and two can be a little deep. Last week’s message may have seemed a little deep for some of you. I apologize. Perhaps you were stirred to study more and that is always good. If we can understand the underlying doctrine it becomes easier to accept and apply life changing principles the Bible gives us on the practical side of living such as Colossians does in chapters 3-4.
Last week’s message was entitled “The Exclusive Christ.” Verses 15-19 of chapter one set out to show how unique Jesus is. We established that Christ is exclusive in His relationship with God; Christ is exclusive in His relationship with God’s creation; and, Christ is exclusive in His relationship with the church of God. Jesus is the foundation of the church, the force of the church, and He is the fullness of the church. Truly Jesus was and is exclusive. He is the one and only and there can never be another.
But, I’m glad that’s not the entire message. The “Exclusive Christ” might be too grand for the average Joe like you and me. The “Exclusive Christ” of last week’s message becomes the “Inclusive Christ” in today’s message. This great Jesus who is the image of God; who created the heavens and the earth and holds creation together wants to include you and me. Isn’t that amazing!
Most of the message this morning will focus on the cross of Christ. Why? Because, it is the turnkey for inclusion. The cross connects heaven and earth. It is almost like God used the cross as a key to unlock access into His presence. The cross is the access key with Jesus riveted to the face of it.
The cross is our symbol of access to God. To those outside the faith it seems strange that we cherish the cross. The cross speaks of cruelty and death. The cross was an instrument of torture and execution. What other religion praises the death of its leader? What other religion celebrates the shed blood of its founder? We sing songs about the blood, don’t we? “What can wash away our sins?” (answer, “Nothing but the blood of Jesus!”) One of my favorites has a verse, “Forbid it Lord that I should boast, save in the death of Christ, my God; All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood.”
I want you to feel included this morning. Jesus wants you to feel included this morning. The message today begins with the cross.
I. HIS SACRIFICE APPEALS TO THE MASSES
“All things” (20), “every creature” (23), “Every man” (28)
Let’s take a look at the death of Jesus:
A. It was a Violent Death (20)
“Through the blood of His cross”
It was important that Jesus shed his blood. “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin” (Heb.9:22). They could have choked Him to death. They could have poisoned Him. But, Jesus needed to shed his blood. Crucifixion was a bloody form of death. John said about Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Jesus was the ultimate sin sacrifice. From the time of Adam and Eve death has been required to cover sin.
The cross was the most painful form of capital punishment ever invented. It was excruciating (literally “out of the cross”).
Illus.- A new movie is coming out on February 25 (Ash Wednesday) entitled “The Passion of the Christ.” It is produced by Mel Gibson, who is a devout Catholic. He spent $25million of his own money to make the movie. It vividly portrays the last 12 hours of the life of Christ and the suffering He endured. Because of the violence it presents it is rated “R”. Yet, it is said to follow closely the account of the Crucifixion in the four gospels. The death of Jesus was violent.
B. It was a Vicarious Death (21)
Vicarious means substitutionary. Jesus had no sin, yet He died for sin. Whose sin was it then that He died for? Yes, we are the guilty ones.
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. NKJV
Jesus cried out from the cross, “It is finished!” (Greek, “tetelestai”) This is a commercial term meaning; “The debt is paid.”