Several years ago, my nephew was dating someone who was a member of a cult. My nephew talked to me about this one day and he became very agitated. "Why does this upset you," I asked.
"Because what she believes in is wrong. It's wrong, wrong, wrong. It's all made up and none of it is true."
I gave a little pause so my nephew could calm down and then told him, "But David, you have no real faith at all."
My nephew laughed and said, "Maybe not, but I know false faith when I see it." Dating that young lady was a good experience for my nephew. He began going to church, studying the Bible, and he found his real faith. Like Paul in our New Testament lesson, my nephew did not continue to waste time attacking the heresy, but simply began to emphasize the true faith.
Paul, in our New Testament Lesson, is writing a letter to a church he has heard about, but has never visited. There are things that are going on in that church that are not good. People are making up a faith and mixing it with the true faith. Paul doesn’t tell us what the heresies are in the
, but rather Paul simply lifts up
the truth. Colossian Church
Paul starts by answering the most important question that was being asked in the city of
, “who is Jesus Christ?” And that is the most important question of
our day. Colossae
I. Jesus is Divine, God Incarnate
In our culture today, people would be generally gracious and kind in their evaluation of who Jesus is. He was a nice guy. He was a Wonderful Teacher. He was a great leader. If you talk to the people of the Muslim faith, you will find that there are many accepted prophets whom God has sent – and Jesus is one of them.
But while Jesus was all of these things, he was also more than just any of these things. He is unique.
Who is Jesus?
Paul tells us in verse 15 of our reading from Colossians, that Jesus "is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation." There are other places where similar statements are made that could not be made of any other person who has ever lived, for Jesus is absolutely unique.
John opens his Gospel with these words which refer to Jesus Christ, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made." (Jn. 1:1-3)
Paul echoes those very words in our New Testament lesson, when he says in verses 16 and 17, "For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."
None of these other religious leaders or teachers or prophets ever claimed to be God incarnate.
Jesus is God incarnate. He is divine.
Who is Jesus?
Many in our culture would be offended at the suggestion that Jesus is God incarnate. But this is one of the foundations of our faith. Any presentation of Jesus that is less than divine is a false presentation. Anyone who seeks to make Jesus merely a good man, a great teacher, or a prophet from God is teaching a lie. He is uniquely God who became like us to rescue us.
II. Lordship of Christ
So, who is Jesus?
Jesus is divine.
As such, Jesus is Lord. Jesus our ruler. Jesus is, to use an old fashioned term that we don’t use much in our country – king.
In our form of government, we don’t have a king. We have a president. Our state has a governor. Our cities have mayors and councils. If we don’t like them, we wait until their term is over and elect someone else. Or if they violate certain laws, we impeach them.
But in other countries, the nation is led by a king. The king ruled for life.
And so it is with Jesus. Jesus is put in charge of our lives, for life. We don’t put him in authority of our life until 4 years go by and then look for something better. Jesus is king for life.
We don’t talk about impeaching Jesus when we don’t like the difficulty of being his disciple. Jesus is our lord for life.
The Lordship of Christ over all things was a theme in Paul's text for our New Testament lesson. In verses 17 and 18, Paul said, Christ "is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.”
This passage ends with these words, "so that in EVERYTHING he might have supremacy." Jesus is Supreme. There is no one above Him, no one more important. To be a disciple of Jesus is to give him first place in our
our leisure activities
our time with our friends
our use of our money
our use of our time
our relationships with others
In contrast, many of us try to exclude Christ from certain areas of our lives. We try to compartmentalize him in such a way that we are able to function with Christ here at Church, but without Christ in our families, or without Christ in our work place.
But one of the foundation stones of our faith is that Christ is lord over our lives -- every aspect of our lives.
III Christ is the reconciler of the world.
The final point Paul makes in our text is that because Christ is King, Christ is the only reconciler between God and humanity. Christ is the only way to know salvation. Christ is the only way -- period. In verse 19-20, Paul says, "For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross."
Paul tells us that everything that was necessary for our redemption was accomplished through Christ's work on our behalf. There is nothing that needs to be added to His work. We don't have to "look for God" - He has made Himself available to us in Christ. The way of salvation is this: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved." That's it. People want gimmicks, formulas, magic words. They want a list of things they need to do. It would be wrong for me to give you those things. The Bible says, "believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved." I dare not go beyond the Word.
There are not many ways to salvation . . . there is only one. Jesus said, "I am THE way, the truth, and the life, NO ONE comes to the Father except through me." We don't need psychics, we don't need formulas, we don't need anything but Christ's work on our behalf. He is the only way to eternal life. We cannot simply nod our heads when someone says, "After all, we're all going in the same direction." Because we are not. Any other way of salvation is a delusion.
The foundation of our faith demands that we Jesus is the only bridge to a relationship with God, but the world waters that down to suggest that Jesus is only one of many ways to find God.
The foundation of our faith demands that we submit every aspect of our lives to the Lordship of Christ, but the world waters that down to suggest that we are the Lord of our lives and we don't have to commit totally to Christ.
The foundation of our faith teaches that there is but one way to know salvation, and that is through Jesus Christ alone, but the world teaches that there are many roads to salvation.
So let us hold to our faith, and stand firm, committed to the true faith we have in Jesus Christ.
Copyright 2013 by the Rev. Dr. W. Maynard Pittendreigh