September 9, 2012 Series: Vision Series (2012)
Scripture: Colossians 1:15–1:23
Take your Bible and go to Colossians 1.
Today we start our vision series, over the next four weeks we will be looking at what Redeemer Church is all about, what we hope to be as church, and what we want to do for the glory of Christ.
And this series is an attempt to recast the vision of our church and in a way to replant ourselves, meaning to remind those who have been a part for awhile what we are all about, and to welcome all the new faces at Redeemer, there are lots of you, to why this church exists.
Redeemer Church is a gospel-centered faith family. We are centered on the good news of Jesus' death and resurrection for sinners, to give us new life. And it makes us a family.
Our mission, we are committed to MAKING DISCIPLES AND MAKING MUCH OF JESUS.
Making disciples means we want to see people follow Jesus, we want to see people meet Jesus and see people grow as followers of Jesus.
Making Much of Jesus means we make a big deal about him. Non one in the church is allowed to have a big-dealness about themselves— because we are too busy making a big deal about Jesus.
Church can be about a lot of things – and Jesus must be the main thing. Redeemer Church, resolve to keep the main thing the main thing — the gospel, the glory of Jesus.
Look at what Paul tells the Colossians in 1:23, we'll get to this whole section in a second, but I want us to see a phrase in verse 23.
"not shifting from the hope of the gospel."
Paul was serious about gospel-centeredness. And God is commanding us to be a gospel-centered church. We must be vigilent to make it all that we do about Jesus, for Jesus, and to Jesus.
It is striking how long we can do the Christian life and not focus on Jesus. I know first hand, let me be personal here. . .
For years. . .
• I loved doctrine — with a passion and still do — but I merely appreciated Jesus.
• I loved worship music — and was glad Jesus did his thing too.
• I was committed to church. I was always there. Now, I didn’t give much thought to Jesus, but c’mon, I looked at the cross hanging behind the preacher three times a week.
• I read my study Bible all the time. I even taught a few Bible studies for the youth group.
• I had Christian friends. We didn’t confess sin or anything, that’d get messy. We had spirited theological debates instead.
• I struggled with lust and pornography — and hid it like nobody’s business because I was scared.
• I didn't have joy. But there was plenty of shame and condemnation to go around.
A Jesus-less Christianity, is not true Christianity. Playing with a dead bird would bring more joy and life than that religion. And at Redeemer, that's the kind of Christianity we don't want to have. We wan't the real deal. The high octane, full strength Christianity.
We want gospel doctrine and gospel culture. That's life. That's joy. That's what church is supposed to be.
How will we be this kind of Church? A gospel-centered faith family committed to making disciples and making much of Jesus.
Here's our strategy and core values.
- Worship Jesus
- Get Trained
- Live in Community
- Be On Mission.
We wanna be structured for simplicity, no confusion, no heavy programs — want to do these four things, do them well, and change the world.
1) Worship Jesus
Like Paul, "I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." (1 Cor. 2:2)
Why do we beat the gospel drum over and over and over? Why are so belligerent about keeping it all about Jesus? Here's a few reasons. . .
WE WORSHIP JESUS BECAUSE...
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. (Hebrews 1:3)
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor. 5:21)
He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. (Romans 6:9)
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 2:5)
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15)
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)
He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. (Hebrews 9:12)
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. (Ephesians 1:7)
Though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:6-11)
That's why we worship Jesus!
And in Colossians 1, the Apostle Paul gives us a ton of reasons to worship Jesus. I'm just going to give you fuel for the fire.
Start in verse 15 and we'll got to verse 18. I'll read it and weave a few things together for us.
First reason, sum all these up, to worship Jesus.
1) JESUS IS SUPREME
Jesus is over everything. Verse 15 is kind of like the headline for the whole text. And each verse here is like a value in a math equation, they keep adding up and they equal — "He is preeminent. He is supreme."
Notice all of the "all" phrases
- v. 15, all creation
- v. 16, all things (2 times)
- v. 17, all things (2 times)
- v. 18, everything
- v. 19, all the fullness of God
- v. 20, all things
- v. 23, all creation
See Paul's point? Jesus is over all things and all things are for Jesus.
We don't just worship a thirty-something, humble, religious leader - We worship the cosmic king.
If you aren't a Christian, don't equate Jesus with other religions and leaders. Jesus stands above them all. This is a major piece that sets Christianity apart from all other faiths Jesus is God. He is the cosmic king He is going to judge Buddha, Joseph Smith, and Tom Cruise. There is no other Jesus.
He makes God known. Wonder what God is like—look at Jesus because he is God.
JESUS IS THE HEIR OF THE UNIVERSE
Firstborn is not a phrase to get hung-up on, a lot of cults begin their destruction right here. Jesus wasn't created, next phrase — "by him all things were created". You can't create yourself. He's outside of created things. Keep reading people — always keep reading.
Firstborn is expressing Jesus' high-rank and honor. He is the Son of God, and like the first-born, all things are his. He is the heir of the universe.
JESUS CREATED THE UNIVERSE
Jesus made everything. Things we can and can't see, things the hubble is discovering — Jesus made them all.
Paul even goes into "thrones or dominions, rulers or authorities" — these phrases speak of the spiritual, typically demonic powers. Jesus made them as angels, they fell into sin and rebellion and became demons.
Why does Paul bring this up here? Satan isn't an equal with Jesus, like JW's teach. Satan was created — by Jesus. And Satan will answer to Jesus. The Lord of your soul is also Lord over the satanic forces — demons shutter at him.
We don't live in a dualistic universe. Good and Bad, God and Satan are duking it out and we'll see who wins the day. No way. Jesus is the Creator, Satan is a creation.
This next phrase floors me.
"All things were created FOR HIM."
Let these four words rest on your brain. All things, for him. Jupiter exists for Jesus. That's incredible.! Clown fish, caramel macchiatos, volcanoes, Deoxyribonucleic acid — it's all His. All for his enjoyment. There is not a nook or cranny of the universe where Jesus doesn't say, "That's mine."
We play a game in the truck with Ivy, she's three; if it's not iSpy it's this game. It's called "Jesus Created." Whatever we see or think of, we say that Jesus made it. Jesus created trees. Jesus created grass. Jesus created trucks. They were his idea and his materials — yep. And we'll say, "That tree, that's Jesus' tree." Ivy loves — I love it. My soul needs this game, but it's much more than a game, it's a time to worship Jesus.
Paul adds another coal to the furnace,
"In him all things hold together."
JESUS SUSTAINS THE UNIVERSE
He didn't create everything and step away, he creates and sustains. He is involved with every thing in the universe. Look at your bible. The glue or sticking that's holding the pages together, it's just working because that's what glue does—glue never just works. Nothing ever just does it's thing.
Every thing does it's thing because it's him holding all things together.
JESUS IS IN CHARGE OF THE CHURCH
He is the head of the church. This is his church, his body, his bride. This is his. He is the true senior pastor. Head means authority, He is the boss. He bought the church with his bloody death on the cross.
You can die for a people, but if you stay dead, you lose.
JESUS ROSE FROM THE DEAD
"the firstborn from the dead"
Jesus died and three days later he came to life. Amen! He is alive and well. The first one, to rise and not die again. If he is the first, this means we will be the second. Jesus rose from the dead, killing death, showing what we would become at his second coming.
Isn't this ample evidence to worship Jesus? You know anyone else that's been alive for 2,000 years?
JESUS IS FULLY GOD
All of the fullness of God was pleased to dwell in Jesus. Some believe that Jesus was a man just going about his business and then God possessed him, but that's not the real Jesus.
Dwell is language pointing to the incarnation. Jesus, the eternal Son of God, has always been, Jesus the perfect God-man, 100% God and 100% perfect man, no sin, was born at Bethlehem.
And Paul says that Jesus, in his time on earth, was fully God. He didn't lose his Godness when he came to earth—which is what people were teaching the Colossian church.
Jesus is fully God. He isn't diet God, God Junior, J.V. God, Diet God, or Baby God — JESUS IS GOD. And we worship Jesus as God. All of this in Paul's mind brings the conclusion — He is preeminent.
He is supreme!
Christian, worship Jesus as supreme. Don't settle for lucky-rabbit foot, pet thoughts of Jesus. Have sky-scraping heart-igniting thoughts of Jesus.
Last reason, we worship Jesus because. . .
2) JESUS IS THE RECONCILING SAVIOR (vv. 20-23)
Creation is going to be made new. Peace will be ushered over the heavens and the earth. Notice how this happened, "by the blood of the cross."
The cross is central in the plan of God, in the new creation, in the current creation, in the church — the cross stands at the center.
The Cross is the Christian's Logo.
It's the logo for the church, for all of history.
“And you", he's speaking directly to us now, were alienated, hostile in mind, and doing evil deeds. Catch the tense of what Paul is saying about you, if you are in Christ. But maybe this is still your life. If you are in Jesus, you were a wicked person. Were — past. But not anymore.
We worship Jesus for who he is and what he has done for us.
HE GAVE YOU A NEW IDENTITY
vv. 22 - Gospel Identity
NOW — current, real, here, today. See in 21, the "And you COMMA", it's picking up in 22. "And you, he has now reconciled. . "
You have been reconciled to God by the death of Christ. By his works. He saved you by dying for you, in your place, for your sins — and now everything is reconciled, ok, with you and the Triune God.
YOUR PAST IS CLEARED, AND YOUR PRESENT IS GRACE-FILLED, AND YOUR FUTURE IS INCREDIBLY BRIGHT.
See the purpose? "in order to" present you holy and blameless and above reproach. Jesus is changing you. He promises to. He's changing us to look more like him. Guaranteed.
See where you are headed? "Before him." Your future is him, Jesus is bringing you into his presence. Heaven is heavenly because Jesus is there. He is where we are headed. We will see him face to face.
Worship is a response. A response in song yes…but also living for Jesus. We were bought with a price so we glorify him (1 Cor. 6:20). We make it our aim to please him, to honor him (2 Cor. 5:9).
Look at what Paul says next in v. 23, remember we are headed to his presence. . .
"If indeed you continue in the faith."
IF. That's a big word. Don't rob "if" of it's power here. \
Worshiping Jesus is continuing with Jesus. Keep on going. Press on in his power.
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. (F.F. Bruce)
Once saved always saved. Amen. But the Bible says nothing about once professed always protected. Faith. Life. Fruit. Continuing.
Lots of people say the love Jesus, but it never shows. Or as Jesus says, they spring up, and then fall away.
- Pursue holiness (holy and blameless) because Jesus is supreme.
- Continue in the faith. Are you walking with Jesus? Are you Connected to the Church, community, the word, walk. Keep believing. Because Jesus is supreme.
- Don't shift from the gospel, because Jesus is supreme.
WORSHP Him, not just with words, but your life.
"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.(Romans 12:1).
There is a progression of the supremacy of Christ in this passage.
• He is supreme over the universe. Amen!
• He is supreme in the church. Yes!
• He is supreme in our lives. True?
If you aren't a Christian, Jesus can save you. That's what he came to do. His first coming to the earth was not to condemn the world or you but in order that you might be saved through Him. But know, He will come again and this time He will bring the reckoning.
Christian, don't shift front the hope of the gospel. Don't forget you are forgiven and freed. That by the work of Christ you are accepted before God. That you have eternal life in Christ. That you live by grace, not by works. That Jesus is at work in you. Don't shift from the gospel, the glad tidings of grace.
If you do, there are only 4 things or options to shift towards.
HAVE YOU DRIFTED?
- License. You'll sin it up and abuse God's grace.
- Legalism. You'll try to justify yourself with man-made rules and works, and find your hope in self and not Jesus.
- Luke-warm. You'll do the Christian thing, but have no zeal for Jesus. Some-what committed to Christ, enough to not change your life.
- Leave the faith. You'll just walk away from Jesus.
Have you drifted to one of areas? Look up and examine your life.
This doesn't happen like a drag race. It happens like playing in the ocean. You are swimming having fun, and if you don't pay attention, you have drifted from the house, your towel, your center — and you are way off. But good news is, you can come back.
Jesus will never turn away someone that wants Him.
Worship Him. Don't shift from the hope of the gospel. Make disciples and make much of Jesus — that's our mission.
Our vision is that we'll become a church that is. . .
GROWING IN THE GOSPEL AND
BRINING THE GOSPEL TO THE COMMUNITY.
End of v. 23, "gospel is proclaimed in all creation under heaven."
Paul is saying, it's meant for all creation. We are to take it there. We grow in in the gospel and we bring the gospel to the community.
Tertullian, who was born only 100 years after Colossians was written, was able to say about the spread of the gospel,
“We [Christians] are but of yesterday, and yet we already fill your cities, islands, camps, your palace, senate, and forum. We have left you only your temples.”
How will we grow in the gospel and bring the gospel to the community?
- Worship Jesus
- Get Trained
- Live in Community
- Be on Mission.
Let's do it together.
CHRIST BE PRAISED.