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Janet's Corner

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A Heart Exhalting Jesus

Colossians 1:13-20

 

As we continue our study in Colossians, we need to remember that our theme is “Captivate Our Hearts.” We are seeking God through His word so that we can become enthralled with God’s beauty and excellence walking out a life in a manner that is worthy of Him.

In the first twelve verses of  Colossians we have been challenged through Paul’s words to allow God to give you a heart full of thanksgiving and a heart growing in the knowledge of God’s will. Today we will look at the next verses 13-22, with the focus of a Heart Exalting Jesus Christ.”

 

Read Colossians 1:13-20

 

As we begin to understand these verses we need to realize the heresy or false teaching that was infiltrating the church as the gospel spread to Gentile areas. Both Roman and Greek cultures and philosophies, as well as eastern religions from Persia and India were of influence. The group was eventually called the Gnostics. Basically there philosophy revolved around two major doctrines: The supremacy of knowledge and the separation of sprit and matter, matter being evil and spirit being good. How did this differ with Christianity’s teachings? They denied that God became man and walked this earth in the person of Jesus Christ to bring redemption and  salvation to mankind. They eliminated Jesus as the only way to God and then made their own way to God through their search for knowledge. There perspective believed that faith In Jesus and one’s deeds had no connection to salvation or one’s walk of faith.

 

Last week Paul begins to address these teachings by praying that the Colossian believers would be filled with the knowledge of God’s will.

Paul continues to address these false teachings by exalting Jesus Christ.

Verse 15-20 could be sung and probably were. They are written in Greek like a poem. And can stand alone. If you were to read verse 14 and then skip to verse 21, Paul’s train of thought would not miss a beat.

 

In the previous verse Paul has said that we can joyfully give thanks to the Father for making the believers fit or complete to receive an inheritance from God – an inheritance that is shared with all who believe, waling in the light. Why can we share in that inheritance? Because of what Jesus has done for us.

He has delivered us, transferred us from one kingdom to another, redeemed us and forgiven our sin!

 

And then Paul bursts forth into song…exalting Jesus. Identifying Jesus as significant and supreme - not what He has done, but for who He is in relationship to the Father, creation and the church.

 

Jesus is…

1.     The image of the invisible God. Shows us his relationship to the Father. Vs 15

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: 8-9  Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us. 9Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?”

Hebrews 1: 3 The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being,

In Jesus, God provides an image - a reflection and revelation -  of God’s true identity.  

II Corinthians 4:6 – In Jesus, “God made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus.” God himself has illuminates our hearts, so we can not just see God, but know God.

 

Have you seen Jesus?

 

Paul now begins to state the relationship of Jesus to creation.

2.     The firstborn of all creation: We need to understand it in its context and through other scripture. Vs 15

3.      

He was not the first to be born in all creation (the first to be created), for he pre-existed creation.

John 1:1-2 “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” The Word is Jesus in this scripture. We see Jesus was eternal.

So what does first-born mean here?

Hebrews 1:1-2 “ 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.” Just as in a Hebrew family the first born has special privilege and position, so does Jesus. Just as the oldest Hebrew son had authority over his brothers, so Jesus is preeminent over creation – head over all creation –first over all creation.

Because He is creator. The next facts speak to the fact of Jesus as creator.

 

a. All things were created by Jesus and for Jesus: vs 16

Why was Jesus supreme over all creation? He created all things.  Jesus is creator, not one of many created beings which is what some of the false teachers were saying. The creator could not be created.  In many scriptures we see that Jesus was creator.

 

John 1: 3 “Through Him all things were made, without him nothing was made that has been made.”

Hebrews 1:2b  “… through whom he made the universe.”

Hebrews 1:10  “In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth and the heavens are the work of you hand.”

He is supreme over all angels and demonic powers. Apparently, the false teachers assigned power to them independent of Christ. And they worshipped them.

Not only were all things created by Him, but for Him. Creation is to serve God’s gracious purpose.

          b. Jesus is before all things: vs 17 Again – Jesus was pre-existent to all creation.

          c. By Jesus all things hold together: vs 17 He is not only creator, but maintainer, sustainer of all that he has made.

Hebrews 1:3 “…sustaining all things by his powerful word.”

Jesus is preeminent over all creation.

 

Paul continues by expressing Jesus’ relationship to the church. Vs 18

          a. He is head of the body – the church: He is the source, the leader of the church.

          b. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead – He is the originator of the church, because he was the first to be raised from the dead for all eternity with a glorified body. Others came back to life, but died again. In the future, all who believed will also experience this resurrection body when Jesus comes again.

Why is this position of headship over the church important? “So that in everything he has supremacy.” Jesus is preeminent. Above all. Sovereign King and Lord.

 

Why is this true? Because it “pleased God to have all his fullness dwell in him (Jesus).”  Vs 19  All God’s activities and attributes  - His  Spirit, word wisdom and glory -  took up residence in Christ. This is the very foundation of Christ reconciling all things to himself, as he was the one able and willing, sinless and sacrificial, to make peace with God for man through his blood on the cross.

 

We live in a world to day where many question who Jesus is – just as the Colossians were. Who we believe him to be affects our lives as we relate to others. It also gives us a sense of urgency as we share Jesus with others.

There are many similar influences in our world as there were in Colossae 1000’s of years ago. Many are offering mystical experiences, healing, and spiritual enlightenment. Can we sing of the exclusiveness of Jesus?

He is creator, sustainer, redeemer, peacemaker. And someday at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow. Until then, we lift up the name of Jesus.

Is Jesus preeminent, not just prominent in your life? Is He just one of many ways to understand spirituality or religion or is He as we have seen today through His Word, preeminent above all else?

 

I encourage you to read these words –sing these words – even memorize these words - for the good times or the difficult times in your life. When things are going well – praise Him for who He is. When the times are painful or difficult, hold on to the truths of who Jesus is. He is the one who holds all things together because He is preeminent.