15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
Let’s pray…Father, you are holy, above all. You are righteous, mighty, and yet you are love. Speak this morning through Your Word, teach us more and more about Jesus, His work for us, in us, and what it is You desire for Him to do through us, we pray in Jesus name, amen.
We ended last week with taking a peek at verse 15, Col 1:15
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
And for those of you that were here, I explained the word image here is similar to Icon, but yet it is more than just a stamp or a picture baring resemblance. IF you’ve ever wondered what God was really like, God is fully revealed in the Jesus the Son. He is the firstborn over all of creation. The word firstborn here can be used a couple of different ways, the first being a designation of order, as in the first in a series…Like Adam was the first of mankind.
The second is a designation of authority or rank, preeminence. Jesus is first in authority over all of creation. Some religions or cults really mess this up. If you’ve ever seen a Watch Tower publication, or maybe had a Jehovah Witness pull in your driveway and knock on your door, this is a passage that we strongly disagree on. They teach that Jesus was the firstborn of creation, and in that He is a creation being, not God. The heresy carries further to say that He being a created being was the brother of Lucifer before he fell.
Again that is why we must examine all of the Scriptures to have a full understanding…we don’t have to go far for clarity here, next verse, verse 16.
16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
Now this is a verse that I could easily spend the rest of our time on this morning, and was tempted too, but instead decided to let you dig into it a bit deeper in your Growth Groups. Concerning the first part of the verse, if all things in both Heaven and Earth, visible and invisible were created by Him, then He wasn’t one of those things. Make sense? He had to be here first, He is the eternal God, always was and always will be.
This idea of thrones or dominions or principalities or powers, is the whole angelic beings or spirit beings, fallen angels, so whatever ranking of authorities or powers that may exist there, they are all in all ways subject to Jesus Christ. The last part of this verse is so powerful. All things were created through Him, and check it out....for Him. Gang, I believe this is one of the most important passages in the entire Scriptures, it should be shouted from the rooftops, it should be hanging over the door of ever counselor, guidance counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, life coach, and included on the cover of every self help book ever published. You and I were created for Christ.
I want you to consider that this morning, I exhort you to consider it every day for the rest of your life. As human beings we all seek purpose and meaning in our lives, and what this is telling us is that is only found in Jesus. You were made for one purpose, you were made for Him. He wasn’t made for you, He has always been. He is not your good luck charm to help you through life, you were made for Him, that is your intended purpose.
Now, how much you yield to that, live in that, walk in that, seek to bring Him pleasure in your life is the ONLY thing that is in direct correlation to fulfillment of life for you. There are highlights and potholes in life that impact us of course, but concerning our lives having purpose and meaning, and making them matter, let me save you a lifetime of wasted time and painful scars…you were made, designed, and given life, gifts, talents and abilities, that were intended by your Creator, the One through whom all things were created, for His good pleasure and His purpose.
If you are lacking meaning and purpose in your life, surrender it fully, in all ways to Him and discover, not just the purpose of life, but the purpose of your life! That is both amazing and so exciting. You and me matter! You matter to Jesus. He saw to it to create you... and He had a purpose for it, discover it in HIM! You weren't an accident! Yes... He knows you exist, you were created with intent, on purpose, for Him. Verse 17
17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
Notice He is, not He was, Jesus is eternal…He is without beginning and without end. Before all things, and in Him,... all things consist. Pastor Jim explored some of the subatomic particles of creation, the proton, neutron, and electrons. Sadly, I am no where near smart enough to do what he did, but I am smart enough not to try. I have studied electricity. And there is a law in electricity called Coulomb's Law of Electricity. It is actually pretty complex, and again, I won’t try to explain what I don’t understand, but a derivative that we get from that law…is that like charges repel and opposites attract. In school sometimes that is demonstrated with magnates. In real life we see it in marriage.
There is a verse in the beginning of chapter two that I hope to make it to today that tells us that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Him. That includes the stuff that baffles our scientists. In the center of an atom we have what? Protons…like charges together. How is that possible? In Him all things consist or are held together. What keeps the negative charges out of there? In Him all things consist…Pastor Jim explained some of the scientific theory.... atomic glue and what not....listen....in Him all things consist....K.I.S.S. Keep it simple.....Saints. You’re not stupid, the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Him. Learn the Word of God.
What happens if He lets go? What happens if He lets the like charges in a nucleus go? Devastation…atomic explosion. I think Peter writes about this very thing…let me read something to you from 2 Peter.
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?
After the Great Tribulation period, and then the 1,000 year millennial reign of Christ, the Bible says there with be a new Heaven and a new earth…Jesus lets go of the old ones…and that is a fascinating study of eschatology or end times stuff, but...
LET me tell you something perhaps more significant to some of you here this morning, on October 16, 2022. Because what Peter just described is at least 1007 years away....So for today. Beyond the physical....Col 1:17
17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
Beyond the atomic particles and protons and neurons....Mentally, emotionally, psychologically, you need to know that all of that also consists, is held together,... in Him. You may feel like you’re loosing it. Like you don’t know how much longer you can hold on, and even worse, you may not even know why you’re feeling that way. Let me encourage you with the Scriptures...
8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
There may be some relevance to the second part of that verse....Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. I don’t say that this morning with a heart of condemnation, or even one of conviction, as your pastor, it really is more of an intent of loving education.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you, that is always His desire, remember you were created for His good pleasure, and when we forget that, or ignore that, or allow other things to become more important than that, we start to fall apart. It is the Lord that holds me together. Draw near to Him, turn to Him, or maybe turn back to Him, and spend time with Him. Psalm 55:22
22 Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.
You want to fall apart? Hold your own burdens... and they will destroy you. You weren’t made to do that. It is in Him that all things consist. Verse 18 Col 1:18
18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
He is the head of the church, no man, no pastor, priest, or Pope can ever hold that role, it belongs to Jesus. He is the firstborn from the dead, not the first to be revived, the the first of the resurrection to never die again. He is above all things.
19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
Verse 19 takes us all the way back to verse 15, reminding us that if we want to know what God like, look at Jesus. In fact, it takes us back farther than verse 15, to the very first verse in the Bible…Gen 1:1
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis one tells us, "In the beginning, God created." The word God there in Hebrew is Elohiym, which is plural. The Hebrew singular for God is El. The dual tense is Eloi. And Elohiym is the plural tense for God. "In the beginning God," Elohiym, plural. SO in verse 19, Col 1:19
19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,
all the fullness, the plērōma (play'-ro-mah) The pleroma, the full fullness of God, dwells in Him.
That word, as used here is one of the most important in this entire letter. Understand Paul is saying all of the fullness of God, meaning 100 percent. As I said last week, and Pastor Jim has said as he is picking his way through Philippians, Jesus wasn’t part God, part man, He was and remains to be the God-man. Fully God and fully man. Verse 20 Col 1:20
20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
One thing important to point out here. When Paul says reconcile all things to Himself, he is speaking of those things that are reconciled to Jesus, not those that are not. He is not saying all things and everyone in the end will be reconciled through Jesus, that is a heresy called universalism, the idea that everyone goes to Heaven in the end. There is only one way to heaven and that one way is Jesus. Acknowledging that you are a sinner, and have no chance of ever doing enough good in this world to earn your way.
Asking God to forgive you for those sins, and to accept the perfect sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross... when in His sinless being, He died a substitutionary death for all those that would receive Him as Lord and Savior, reconciling all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. Col 1:21-23
21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Verse 21....Notice He is talking to Christians here. Not the lost word. You guys get that God loves the lost right. That is what started this whole thing....for God so loved the world…our heart should break for those lost in the world…I want it in our hearts and minds all the time, that when we exit these doors we are entering the mission field, and I think here, it is one of the toughest in all of the world. Yet Jesus created you for His purpose…but those of us that are saved weren’t always saved, once we were…alienated and enemies in our minds by wicked works, yet now Jesus has reconciled us to God, having made peace through the blood of His cross…verse 22
Verse 23…I like what F.F. Bruce says here...“If the gospel teaches the final perseverance of the saints, it teaches at the same time that the saints are those who finally persevere – in Christ. Continuance is the test of reality.” (Bruce) We can’t depend on a one time profession of faith followed by a lifestyle that deny’s Jesus. We must abide in Him and He will abide in us.
24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church,
Paul is in now way implying that Jesus didn’t suffer enough, We are the body of Christ, in that sense, His afflictions continue, through Paul and now the church. Col 1:25-26
25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, 26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.
What is this mystery? Christ in you…the hope of glory....look at verse 27…Col 1:27
27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.
In chapter 2, and we are only going to start it, Paul begins to deal with some of the specific issues that were going on in Colossae. Remember I mentioned that there is all kinds of speculation about what the Colossian Heresy actually was. Some believe is was Gnosticism, which was messed up. Whether is was that or not we don’t know. I’ve talked to you some about what that was and this idea of the separation of the flesh and the spirit, but the word itself means knowledge. We see a hint of that here in chapter two. Actually 4 things or issues that have found their way into the church here…this, the idea of intellectualism.
That doesn’t mean being smart in the church is frowned upon. We read a portion from 2 Peter 3 earlier, if we kept going in that chapter in the 18th verse. 2 Peter 3:18
18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
Peter instructs them to do so, but what we have here is a perceived intellectualism in that they believe they have knowledge that others don’t or can’t have. Then I mentioned last week, there appears to be some legalism or even some legalistic Judaism creeping into the church. The third thing seems to be some form of mysticism, the super spiritual, that were allegedly aware of things you and I couldn’t see... and the fourth thing, we won’t get to these today, but you can read ahead for next week…the forth thing we would consider legalism on steroids, ok it is referred to as asceticism. Severe self discipline, denial, punishment, etc. Like the Nazarite vow…abstaining from nearly everything. SO the first one, is intellectualism. Verse 1
1 For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ,
What was that mystery? Look at verse 27 again…Christ in you! The hope of glory. Col 2:3
3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
4 Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. 5 For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. 6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,
7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. 8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
Throughout this week, I want you to remember, that you do not have to be intimidated by the intellects of the world, or those in the church that might say you have to have a certain level of education, or that if you really want to have the wisdom of God, or to be used by God, you have to go to seminary. Spend time with Jesus, get to know Jesus, His word, verse 3 tells us...all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, are hidden in Him.
Grace and Peace church.