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January 27, 2019

Be Worshipful

Worship can be a time for singing, testifying and fellowship. Is it a time of making Jesus preeminent over all? Listen or read to find out.

Mike Gerhardt, Colossians Series 01-20-19 Be worshipful. I grew up in the sixties. The Jesus movement was attracting societies dropouts and cranking out songs like Jesus is just alright with me Oh Yea!! Some of us had a real authentic transformation in Christ. But some saw Jesus as just another good guy with a white hat there to make you feel good about yourself. Fast forward 50 years: In the Washington Post some time ago there was a new church in Maryland using market research and focus groups to design their weekly services to de-emphasize Jesus. One leader said: The sad fact is the name of Jesus Christ has become for many people exclusionary. Using Hindu and Zen quotes, with verses from the Bible and music by Willie Nelson, the leader was quoted: We’re enabling people to discover God themselves, maybe through Jesus, maybe through Buddha, maybe through any number of ways. I’m concerned that instead of calling people to radical faith and submission Jesus, many call on Jesus to give them a stress-free and easy life. While Jesus will certainly change our lives and help reduce stress levels, we must move away from the what Jesus can do for you to a message of living in His Lordship message. Jesus isn’t just an addition to our busy lives; He is our all in all. Colossae taught that Jesus was important but not essential; gave Him a place in life, but not the first place; Jesus was prominent, but not preeminent; that God did not create the physical world for all matter was evil. Believing this, they argued that Jesus would not have come to earth as a physical human but only in Spirit. Also, Christ was not the unique Son of God but rather one of many intermediaries. Colossians 1:15-23 is the center of Christian theology: in Jesus, God’s complete and perfect revelation is fulfilled. Jesus is preeminent in the Creation (v 15-17), in the Church (v 18-20), & in me, the creature (v 21-23). He is paramount over everything (15-17) and preeminent over all that He has redeemed (18-20) and personally involved in me (21-23). He is Lord the cosmos, the church & his creatures. Read.

Jesus is Preeminent in Creation (15-17). We see 4 truths: Jesus is God (15a). Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. Image is beyond what words can describe. My wedding band represents that I’m married. The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of liberty and justice. Both represent far deeper realities. My ring doesn’t make me married. The Statue of Liberty doesn’t produce justice but stands for a nation that honors freedom. Listen carefully. Jesus is not just a symbol of God: He is God Himself. The Greek word eikon refers to likeness, manifestation or replica. In that culture, the image was a die or stamp that was able to make exact reproductions. Passports in Paul’s day had a section called eikon or distinguishing marks which described something that set a person apart from everyone else. He manifests God the Father to the world. John 1:18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known. John 14:9 Jesus: Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. Hebrews 1:3: The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being. The unique Son of God (15b). Not only God, But He is also the firstborn over all creation. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus was a created being. Firstborn is often translated as heir or owner. It meant the ranking one or supreme one. Jacob was not born first but he was the heir. Psalm 89:27 God-appointed King David as his firstborn, even though he was the youngest of eight brothers. Firstborn is a title of position, not chronological order. The creator of all things (16). All things were created in, through and for Christ, things we see and cannot see. They reasoned that if Christ were God, He would oversee only the spiritual world. Paul explained that all the thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers on heaven and earth of both the visible and invisible world are under Christ’s authority for He created them. These four classifications are used elsewhere to describe both holy and evil spirit things. The Colossians gave undue prominence to angels, so Paul puts everything under the rule of Christ. Jesus has no rival. This verse also refutes the false teaching that Christ was one of many intermediaries, and that angels were to be worshipped. The highest angelic princes are subject to Jesus Christ.

Whether they be seraphim, cherubim, demons or Satan himself. Holds all things together (17). Remember Jesus existed before everything else. John 8:58: Before Abraham was born, I am. To hold together means to prevent from falling into complete chaos. Christ is before all things, both in time and rank. He is not only the Creator; He is the cohesion that keeps it all together. By Him, everything came to be & by Him, everything continues to be. Hebrews 1:3 Jesus holds it together by His powerful word. Remove His sustaining power and everything would dissolve into disorder.

Preeminent in the Church (18-20). Paul used an emphatic personal pronoun. He Himself is the head. Jesus is the authority of the church. We can relate to that: The head gives the body the ability to grow, speak, see and hear as well as many other things. Without the head, the body dies. Churches seem to forget this. Colossae may have lost that connection. They allowed false doctrine and sinful behavior. Jesus must be supreme, or we are just playing religious games. Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, I will build my church: not Peter’s, or your church. Because of He is the firstborn among the dead, He is the guarantee that we too will rise from the dead. God the Father has great joy to have His fullness dwell in Jesus. It was not around, upon or under Him; it was in Him. To dwell is to take up residence, a permanent dwelling. Colossians 2:9: For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form. All His fullness is a technical term in the vocabulary of the Gnostic false teachers. It meant the sum total of all divine power and attributes. Paul used this term eight different times in Colossians to show that Jesus is God and no one else. At Colossae, they were teaching that people could get closer to God by worshiping angels & by observing certain rules, but they couldn’t promise reconciliation. This is the restoration of friendship and fellowship after estrangement. It also means to change thoroughly from one into another. It happens when someone is altered and adjusted so that a relationship of peace can begin. The result is peace. The means is through Jesus blood. Preeminent in me. Verse 21 moves from the general to the specific. Before we experienced peace with God, we were alienated, estranged; withdrawn; indifferent. Alien refers to outsiders. Apart from the grace of God, all of us are estranged from God. We were enemies. Romans 8:7: The mind of sinful man is hostile to God. It is called depravity. Despite these negative traits, God took the initiative and extended grace. Notice that it was Christ’s physical body that reconciled us. The false teachers denied that Jesus had a real human body. Paul made it abundantly clear that Jesus was both God and man. 1 Peter 2:24: He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds, you are healed. The purpose of reconciliation is to present saved sinners in heaven for all eternity. We are declared righteous before a holy judge, set apart and without blemish, free from any faults or blotches, and free from accusation, a legal term: not to be called in. No charge of condemnation or sentence of eternal death can be brought against us. The false teachers could promise perfection for those who had mystical knowledge. Paul said: You already have a perfect standing in Christ, you are holy in His sight, without any blemish, and free from any accusation. Why seek for it anywhere else? Verse 23- A better rendering: If indeed you continue in the faith and I know that you are doing soColossians 3:1: Since, then, you have been raised with Christ…which is a given fact. Paul used an architectural image: established and firm, not moved. The town of Colossae was in a region known for earthquakes. Just as a house, firmly set on the foundation will not move, so too, if you are saved and built on the foundation of Jesus Christ. Jesus is: He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation, created all things, the head of the body, the church, the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, the fullness of God dwelling in Him, reconciling all things to Himself.  He has supremacy over all things: Is Jesus supreme in your life? Acts 2:36: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. He is Lord of all.