Text: Colossians 1:18-20 3/25/07 AM
Thesis: Jesus is amazing because he rose from the grave and reconciles us to God.
This morning we are continuing our exposition of Colossians 1:15-20. We’ve seen some amazing things about Jesus Christ and this morning we get even more.
We are going to see clearly that Jesus is amazing because he rose from the grave and reconciles us to God.
Read Colossians 1:15-20
I) Christ is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead
a) Christ marks the beginning of a new humanity
i) We’ve already seen that Christ is the firstborn of all creation in verse 15 and that he is before all things in verse 17. Those verses establish Christ’s preeminence over all things created.
ii) But what happened to all of creation? It has all been subjected to the fall of Adam and Eve into sin.
iii) There is nothing on this earth uncontaminated by sin.
iv) There is nothing on earth that does not need to be reconciled to God. With Christ something new happens
v) As the head or ruler of the church, Christ is also the beginning of the church; the beginning that proves and illustrates God’s work of reconciliation.
vi) Sinners are made right with God? How do we know? Jesus has been resurrected from the grave, defeating sin, and purchasing for himself a people.
vii) So, the beginning and the firstborn from the dead in Colossians 1:18 are different ways of referring to the resurrection.
viii) Christ, the firstborn from the dead, initiates the reversal of the fall of Adam and Eve into sin and death.
ix) If you eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you will surely die.
x) For Adam and Eve as well as all of us sinners in this room what hope is there?
xi) We’re all a bunch of sinners, there’s no hope in us. There is hope in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
xii) Because through the resurrection God is turning back history but not as if it never happen.
xiii) God is turning back history by paying the penalty of sin and reversing the effects of sin.
xiv) God is redeeming creation and humanity by overcoming sin and death.
xv) God is restoring perfection. How do we know? He raised Jesus from the grave and kept him from decay.
xvi) When all our sins were laid on Jesus, when he became sin for us on the cross, he became full of sin, subject to death, and unacceptable in God’s sight.
xvii) The resurrection changed that by restoring perfection.
xviii) Christ’s body is not subject to decay but has been raised eternally from the grave never to die again.
xix) That’s why the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:55, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
xx) Paul says, “death has no victory over me” and then a few years later what happened? Paul died.
xxi) Did Paul miss the point? Did the bright light on the
Damascus road fry his brain? Not at all
xxii) 1 Corinthians 15:52 “For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed”
xxiii) How do you know? How can you be sure?
xxiv) It’s already begun. Look at Jesus, he’s the beginning of all this, he’s the firstborn from the dead.
xxv) Because Jesus’ body is not still in a tomb our bodies will not remain in the tomb. He is the first of many.
xxvi) Christ marks the beginning of something out of this world. The dead live again.
xxvii) Those unworthy of forgiveness and guilty because of sin are forgiven. The fall of man is being reversed.
xxviii) If there is no bodily resurrection there is no church, no forgiveness of sins, and my life is a pathetic joke.
xxix) Christ IS the beginning, the firstborn from the dead. We celebrate this morning the resurrection of Jesus Christ that conquers our sins.
xxx) His resurrection is a sign of more to come and
II) The resurrection established Christ’s preeminence
(Read verse 18) This means
a) Christ’s glory is tied directly to his bodily resurrection
i) Christ’s resurrection demonstrates his preeminence over every other man and woman.
ii) We know Jesus to be the greatest thing for several reasons like his work in creation and his divinity.
iii) But if his body is still in the ground all that stuff doesn’t count for much. He’d be just a dead creator God.
iv) His resurrection proved his preeminence. If he’s not resurrected from the grave then this is a worthless book that needs to be preserved for history but ignored.
v) But if Jesus did rise from the grave never again subject to decay, death, or our sin then he is the greatest.
vi) Think of the Olympic games, the one mile event. The mile is being completed in crazy times like under 4 minutes these days.
vii) But imagine if during the next Olympic games the winner of the one mile event laps everyone beating them by a solid minute. No one even close.
viii) That would be pretty impressive right? We’d be stunned by the superiority of this athlete.
ix) So far, Jesus has lapped up by some 1,970 years. That’s 701,320 days. Jesus has lapped us by 16,831,680 hours.
x) Jesus has not lapped us by one minute but by over 1 billion minutes and counting.
xi) Jesus is the man, he is the God-man, and the resurrection proves his superiority over everything.
xii) All this happened because verse 19 (read it)
III) God is pleased to give Christ the fullness
Simply put this is a call to
a) Worship Jesus
i) The reason the Son is the image of the invisible God and able to create everything;
ii) The reason all things were created through him and for him; the reason Jesus is before all things and all things hold together in him;
iii) The reason Jesus is the head of the church, the firstborn from the dead, and preeminent over everything is because Jesus is God.
iv) In the time period after the book of Colossians was written a heresy called Gnosticism began to draw supporters and gain momentum.
v) Gnosticism teaches many wrong things and one of them is the idea that there has been scattered pieces of light throughout the world.
vi) The secret to eternity is finding those lights and following those lights thus gaining “salvation”
vii) Jesus was little more than a brighter light. Gnosticism believes that since Jesus is a part of creation he is necessarily separate from and much less than God.
viii) Jesus was simply the brightest of the dull to them.
ix) But to God and to the Christian, TRUTHFULLY, in Jesus is the fullness of God.
x) Jesus is totally and completely divine. He was not a good man He is the God-man.
xi) Jesus doesn’t just have the fullness he has all the fullness. That’s emphatic.
xii) Paul could have written that all of God was pleased to dwell in Christ or the fullness of God was pleased to dwell in Christ but to make the point crystal clear the Spirit directed Paul to record,
xiii) For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.
xiv) Colossians 2:9 puts it this way, “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.”
xv) The Old Testament refers to God dwelling on
Zion (Is 8.18). In Matthew 23.21 Jesus refers to the understanding that God dwells in the temple.
xvi) But neither of those places compares to the totality of God-fullness that is present in Jesus.
xvii) All of the fullness was pleased to dwell in him not for a time or for a dispensation but for eternity.
xviii) Laymen’s terms? Bottom shelf? Jesus is fully God.
xix) We can have no clearer representation of almighty infinite God in the flesh than Jesus Christ.
xx) All of the God-ness is in Jesus and this pleases God.
xxi) Now this pleasure is not the pleasure of surprise like when the dress not only fits perfectly but is 75% off.
xxii) This pleasure is not the pleasure of surprise like when you come home to find your lawn has been mowed perfectly and for free.
xxiii) God’s pleasure is one that involves a plan.
xxiv) God was pleased with the plan for His fullness to dwell in Jesus and God was pleased when His fullness dwelt in flesh in Jesus Christ.
xxv) Imagine the Trinity there at the beginning of time creating all things and forming the first human.
xxvi) The Father looks at the Son and says, “Remember, you’ll be one of these one day.”
xxvii) As they knit together Adam and form Eve the plan is already there for the Son to take on flesh.
xxviii) The plan is for Jesus to be born, live 33 perfect years helping, healing, and teaching, and then be brutally murdered.
xxix) It’s not only the fullness that pleases God but it’s also the reason for the fullness that pleases God.
xxx) What’s the reason for the fullness and pleasure?
xxxi) John 1:16, “And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”
IV) We’ve been reconciled
To grasp what it means to be reconciled we have to first understand that outside of Christ there is no peace
a) Peace is made only through the cross
i) It was God’s good pleasure for the fullness of deity to dwell bodily in Jesus Christ.
ii) And it was God’s good pleasure for Christ to reconcile all things to God through the cross.
iii) I have said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again; no one and no thing is neutral in all of creation.
iv) It is either perfect and in harmony with God or it’s imperfect and entangled by strife with God.
v) If Christ walked in here today pointed his finger in your face and called you a self-righteous venomous snake full of poison what would you do?
vi) Would you pick up a rock and join in the chorus, ‘crucify him! Crucify him!’?
vii) If Jesus walked in this room made you stand up and called you out as a hypocrite in front of everyone what would you do?
viii) Would we look to the cross to make him shut up and leave us alone like the Pharisees did or would we look to the cross to reconcile us to God?
ix) Do we realize we are self-righteous, moral, do-gooders, and hypocrites in need of saving?
x) This morning do you look to the blood of Christ poured out on the cross because you know you need forgiving?
xi) Do we feel this morning? Have we forgotten this morning, how desperate we are as his broken creatures to be reconciled to God?
xii) Apart from Christ we are not God’s friends. Apart from the cross we are not God’s children. Apart from Christ we are enemies who do not want to worship Christ as the beginning the one who is before all things.
xiii) Everyone from the self-righteous good ole boy to the unrepentant child molester is in the same family.
xiv) The world doesn’t care and the church has abandoned the truth; all of creation, every person, is sinful in desperate need of reconciliation.
xv) What is it that reconciles us to God? What is it that establishes Christ as the rightful ruler of all things?
xvi) His perfect blood poured out on the cross.
xvii) His blood makes peace and his resurrection proves his preeminence.
xviii) We have forgotten our need for reconciliation and we do not believe in the surety of the reconciliation.
xix) Peace is needed and peace has been made.
xx) Reconciliation is needed and reconciliation has been made.
xxi) Christ is the head of a motley crew.
xxii) I was reading this week in 1 Corinthians 6, let me remind you of those words
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the
God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the
God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
xxiii) Such were some of you! Christ despises the self-righteous. In the gospels he called them names.
xxiv) But what about the people sleeping around and looking at porn? What about the people who worship the gods of fame, comfort, and honor?
xxv) What about the people who commit adultery? What about homosexuals and lesbians?
xxvi) What about people who steal from little old ladies and refuse to help people in need?
xxvii) What about drunk people? What about angry people? What about the con-artists?
xxviii) What about them? They don’t go to heaven.
xxix) They don’t go to heaven unless they find forgiveness through the blood of Christ’s cross.
xxx) It’s the blood of Christ’s cross that washes us, justifies us, and sanctifies us.
xxxi) In the Corinthian church it was probably known who used to be sexually immoral, drunk, greedy, homosexual, and just flat out angry all the time.
xxxii) The key phrase is “used to be;” “And such were some of you.
xxxiii) But now because of Christ’s atoning sacrifice; now because Christ has paid the penalty for our bitterness, sexual immorality, drunkenness, homosexuality, greed, self-righteousness and whatever your sin is we have been reconciled to God.
xxxiv) We’re no longer estranged from God because of sin but we are welcomed into his family because of Jesus.
xxxv) We are no longer outsiders in the kingdom but we have been given a seat at God’s table because of Christ.
xxxvi) We are no longer alienated and enemies destined for punishment because we have been forgiven and we are being changed all because of Jesus.
xxxvii) This morning will you turn from your sin? This morning will you trust Jesus to make you pure and holy? Will you trust Jesus to overcome all your sin?
xxxviii) The Holy Spirit tells us in James 5:16 to confess our sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.
xxxix) Wherever and however the Spirit leads us to confess of our sins it now only remains for us to do it.
xl) Let us turn to Jesus who is fully God and be reconciled finally and eternally to the Father.