The Book of Colossians #4


Col. 1:15-20
There are many today who say that it really doesn’t matter what kind of religion you have if that religion works for you. If it is true for you, then it is true. There are those today who say, “Well, you’re a Christian. That’s great. Jesus is a Messiah. I believe Ronald McDonald is a messiah so my truth is equally as valid and as real as your truth.”
It is the thesis of this book that Jesus Christ is not just prominent, He is pre-eminent. Jesus Christ is not just A way, He is THE way. Jesus Christ is not just A truth, He is THE truth. Jesus Christ is not just a life, He is THE life. Jesus Christ is not just one among many, Jesus is the ONE AND ONLY.
In these verses, this Lord Jesus Christ, the one and only is set forth in many ways. 
Jesus Christ is the one and only -
Jesus Christ is the Creator of the universe. What you believe about your origin will have a great deal to do with what you believe about your destiny. Jesus Christ is the One and Only, Above the Creation.
Focus on two words in verse 15 -- image and firstborn. “He is the image of the invisible God.” That sets forth the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. The image, the exact representation of God. Hebrews 1:3 puts it this way, “He is the express image of His
It is the same word we considered Sunday morning in regard to ourselves. We bear the image of Christ. We will eventually be an exact representation of Him. 
In like manner and to a greater degree, Jesus Christ is the image of God. When I touch Jesus Christ everything God is, is made available to me. He is the exact representation of God. So exact, He is God. 
When you see Jesus you see God. Jesus
Christ reveals and makes visible the invisible God. Is God all-knowing? Jesus is all-knowing. Is God all-powerful? Jesus is all-powerful.   Is God all-loving? Jesus is all-loving.
Verse 19 makes it very clear. “It pleased the father that in him should all fullness dwell.” 
Chapter 2, verse 9 makes it even clearer. 
“For in him dwells all of the fullness of
the godhead bodily.” God in human flesh. Jesus Christ is very man of very man. Yet, He is very God of very God. He is as much man as if He had not been God. He is as much God as if He had not been man. He is the God-man. Jesus is not just half God. In fact, Jesus is not just 3/4 God. Jesus is not just 99% God. Jesus Christ is total God. He is the image of the invisible God.
Jesus said, “He that hath seen me, hath seen the father.” Jesus is not just one among many, Jesus is the One and Only--the image of the invisible God.
The second word in verse 15 is “He is the firstborn of all creation.” That does not mean that Jesus Christ is a created being Himself. 
Verse 17 makes it very clear. “He is before all things.” It means prior in time. We don’t know how old the universe is, but how ever old it is, Jesus Christ existed before this universe came into existence. Prior in time. It means superior in position. 
Whether there be thrones, whether there be dominions, whether principalities or powers, whether it be visible or invisible, whether in heaven or in earth-- Jesus Christ is the firstborn. Prior in time. Superior in position. 
We are setting forth the absolute deity of Jesus and the fact that Jesus Christ is the creator of the universe.
This brings us into the realms of origins. We are talking about how the universe came into existence. It is outside the realm of science. Science is getting closer and closer to the beginning of the universe, but they do not go beyond the beginning of the universe. 
Science actually, in the latest discoveries, is getting closer and closer to the Bible.
I heard about two scientists who received the information that if they would climb to the top of a hill, when they got to the top of it they would find the secret of the origin of the universe. They struggled and they climbed and they worked and they climbed. Finally they came to the top of the mountain and when they got there, there were two Baptist preachers reading Genesis 1.
Genesis 1:1 is the only eye-witness account we have of how the universe came into existence. “In the beginning God...” 
Our government keeps spending billions of dollars to see if they can find intelligent life on another planet. I think they would be far wiser to spend it to see if they could find intelligent life in Washington. Recently, we fired a rocket into the moon to stir up a dust cloud so another rocket could fly through the dust to see if there is water in it.
All of that because we are worried about destroying the earth we live on. 
Do you ever consider how these nut-buckets think? On the one hand, we are so powerful that we don’t know how to control ourselves and are able to destroy the earth.  On the other hand, their evaluation of human life on earth is so low, we evolved from slime, and are barely ahead of the apes. 
And if that were not enough, we are also the dumbest most undeveloped inhabitants of the universe. If there is other life out there, they are much more intelligent than us. They have to come looking for us and save us from our own miserable selves.
And what do we do? We bomb the moon! 
Well think about this: If there is intelligent life out there, God didn’t love them nearly as much as He did us, and they aren’t nearly as smart as we are because we are made in the image of God. And whatever they find in the universe, guess what? God has already been there! Jesus Christ created it all. 
Jesus Christ is the creator of the universe. The Bible says “all things were made
by Him, without Him was not anything made that was made.” 
Jesus Christ created the universe, but He also sustains the universe. Verse 17,
“And He is before all things and by Him all things consist.” 
The word, consist, means to hold together. Jesus Christ is the One who holds all things together. There resides in Him the principles of cohesion and gravity which insure that our universe is a cosmos and not a chaos. The scientists can’t explain it. They look at an atom and they don’t know what keeps it together. An atom has neutrons in it which have no charge. But on the inside an atom has protons which are positively charged. We know that likes repel. So, an atom ought to explode apart. Yet, they don’t know what keeps it together. I know. The Bible says “by Him all things hold together.” 
Jesus created the universe. Jesus sustains the universe. 
And Jesus is the One who gives meaning and purpose to the universe. It says, “All things were created by him and for him (vs 16).” 
That means everything is moving toward consummation in Jesus Christ. 
Jesus Christ gives meaning and He gives purpose to this universe. You can’t find any reason for the universe apart from God’s plan in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Life has meaning and purpose only in relationship with God through Jesus Christ. 
He’s not just one among many. He is the One and Only above the creation.
Jesus is the One and Only-
Verse 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 might have the preeminence.” 
Jesus is the one and only over the church. He is the head of the church. Everything about your body is directed from the head. That’s where the brain is. Your brain has access to every cell in your body. I say it reverently but Jesus Christ is the brains of the church.
Jesus Christ governs the church. He heads the church. Churches today need to decide who is in charge. Churches today need to find out who governs the church. The church is not a monarchy, ruled by the pastor. The church is not an oligarchy, ruled by the deacons. The church is not a democracy, ruled by the people. 
The church is a CHRISTOCRACY, ruled by Jesus Christ. Until you figure out who is in charge in the church, you’ll flounder and you’ll never really know what a church is intended to do. He is the HEAD OF THE CHURCH! He guides the church. 
Not only is he the beginning, he’s the “firstborn from the dead.” 
That means He is not only the head of the church, but He is the risen head of the church. He died, was buried, rose again, He possesses resurrection life.   He is the resurrected head of the church.
 This is what puts life in a church. Jesus Christ is alive and vibrant and active. Any church that gets plugged in with Jesus, any church that is in contact with Jesus Christ will be alive.
I read the other day that they have found that Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London is moving down Fleet Street at a rate of one inch every hundred years. When I read that I thought that’s faster than a lot of churches are moving that I know about. 
When a church lets Jesus Christ be the head, that church is alive. I don’t want to be pastor of a dead church. I want a live church.
I heard about a pulpit committee who went to see a preacher. They said, “We want a preacher who will come and stay awhile. Our preachers haven’t stayed long.”
He said, “I’m just the man you’re looking for. I’ve had two churches and I’ve stayed with both of them until they died.”
I want a church that’s alive. How can a church be dead? That’s a contradiction of terms. Jesus is a risen Savior. He is the firstborn from the dead over the church. When Jesus gets in a church the praying is alive. The singing is alive. The teaching is alive. The preaching is alive. The witnessing is alive. The testifying is alive. THE CHURCH IS ALIVE when Jesus is in charge.
When a church loses contact with the head you have problems. If there is a problem that breaks the connection between the brain and the body you have difficulties. 
I read about scientists who took the brains out of a frog. They put the frog in a pond and the interesting thing about it was that the frog continued to kick and swim. It had no brain but it’s reflexes allowed it to kick and swim. I thought about it. 
There are a lot of churches like that brainless frog. They are just kicking and swimming but they don’t know where they are going. They don’t know who they are. They don’t
know what they are supposed to be about. They are like a brainless frog. 
Sometimes in humans the link between brain and body is impeded somehow. They go to the doctor and the doctor takes that little rubber hammer he uses and hits the knee.
If there is an impairment between the brain and the body, when the doctor hits the knee, there is a reflex response but it is not regular. It jerks violently because there is something lost in connection. There are a lot of churches like that. 
They are spastic. They jerk violently. They lunge here and there because they are out of contact with the head. They are victims of every fad that comes blowing through the church house. 
If the fad says that the preacher has to be up-to-date and be a corporate model, then some preachers run out and get a gold chain and a shirt that opens up to the naval and a stool to sit on. Trying to be relevant.
If a market survey comes running through that says you have to give people what they want. What they want is rock and roll music. A lot of churches run out and get a rock band.
Herman and the Dirty Noses, singing “Jesus is a real cool dude.” Since when did the lost world set the agenda for the church? The lost world doesn’t set the agenda for the church. 
Do you think the lost people in Ardmore beat the doors down to get in here today? They aren’t interested in coming to church. Jesus Christ is the head of the church. He sets the agenda of the church. “That in all things he might have the preeminence.” 
In some churches Jesus is pre-empted. In some churches Jesus is present. In others He is prominent. I want my church to be a place where Jesus is pre-eminent. I want people to walk in this building and say that there is something unusual in this place. Someone else is in this place today.
He is the Lord, not just one among many.
Jesus is the one and only above the creation. Jesus is the one and only over the church. Jesus is the one and only-
With one stroke of the pen Paul carries us from creation to Calvary. With one stroke of the pen He carries us all the way from eternity to Calvary. If you are a believer, you’ll never get tired of going to the cross. 
“Having made peace by the blood of His cross.”
When you read the gospel accounts of the cross you are surprised at first at the lack of description and detail. It’s as if the Holy Spirit has drawn a curtain over it. 
We can only imagine what it must have been. The physical pain that He endured. The most cruel form of punishment ever devised by the depraved minds of man. There was the scourging. There were the nails. There were the thorns. His bones disjoint. His tendons are shredded. His muscles are pulled. His nerves are severed. Oh, what Jesus suffered physically on the cross.
Have you ever thought about what Jesus suffered spiritually on the cross? When you and I who are just sinners sin, do you know the pain it causes you personally? 
Think about He who knew no sin, the perfect son of God, the sinless Lord Jesus Christ, who in that experience on Calvary was separated from the father. He experienced the fires of hell for sin. He who knew no sin was made sin for us. 
“Having made peace by the blood of His cross.” Notice it’s HIS cross. Not Buddha’s cross. HIS cross. Not Confucius’ cross. HIS cross. Not Mohammed’s cross. HIS cross.
Whose cross is it? (say it)
It is the cross of the One who is the head of the church and in all things has preeminence.
It is the cross of the One who created and controls and claims the universe.
It is the cross of the One who was the firstborn of all creation.
It is the cross is it the invisible God made visible.
God on a cross. His cross. His cross. The one who created the leaves and the trees and the branches is now on one of the trees he created.
The one who created all of the oceans and the seas and the fountains and the streams and the rivers and the lakes –now from HIS CROSS says “I thrist”.
The one who created the sun is now blistered by it or chilled by its absence. The one who created that sun is now in darkness.
The price He paid! He washed us from our sins in His own blood.
And the peace He made. “Having made peace through the blood of His cross to
reconcile all things unto himself.” 
The word reconciliation carries the idea of the restoration of broken relationships. God and man, in the Garden of Eden, were face to face. Then sin entered and became a barrier between holy God and sinful man. Then one day Jesus went to the cross and shed His blood, paying the price for our sins.
Earlier, I mentioned that computer analogy of the icon. You have to be careful with computers because if you don’t watch it you might have a crash. When you have a crash, everything that’s on it is gone. I’ve been wondering where it goes. They tell me it’s gone. 
I ask where is it? They say it’s just not there anymore. It’s just gone.
When Jesus went to the cross there was a crash. There was a collision between the eternal Christ, God in human flesh, a collision between Jesus and sin. When it was over Jesus crashed sin. Where is it? It’s gone! 
Gone! Gone! Yes my sins are gone. 
Now my soul is free and in my heart’s a song.
Buried in the deepest sea, yes, that’s good enough for me. I shall reign eternally. Praise God, my sins are gone.
There was a couple estranged from one another and planning a divorce. They had one little boy they loved dearly. The little boy became terminally ill. As he lay there dying the mother was on one side of the bed and father on the other. The little boy reached out and took the hand of the mother and reached out and took the hand of father and brought them together and died. Because one died, both of them loved and were reconciled. Jesus is not one among many. Jesus is the One and only. No man comes to the father but by him.
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