A Wonderful Look at our Wonderful Lord

Bible Book: Colossians  1 : 15-20
Subject: Jesus; Salvation; Purpose
Introduction

We can certainly say, "You are wonderful," when we look at the Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot possibly describe the full dimensions of His wonderful nature, salvation, and work, but I do want us to consider four wonderful things about Jesus today...

The Wonderful Incarnation
The Wonderful Creation
The Wonderful Exaltation
The Wonderful Reconciliation

Baseball manager Earl Weaver told a story about his days with the Baltimore Orioles. Pat Kelly, one of his outfielders, showed up late for practice. When Weaver asked him why he was late, Kelly, a born-again believer, said, "I was in my quite time with the Lord. You do want me to walk with the Lord, don't you?" Weaver remarked, "Actually, Pat, I'd rather you walk with the bases loaded."

Well, it is actually much more important to walk with Lord than walk with the bases loaded and to run with the Lord than to run the winning touchdown in a Super Bowl game. More people would walk with the Lord if they only knew how wonderful it is and how important it is.

In the early days of Dr. Billy Graham's ministry he is said to have preached a forceful message berating the use of alcohol and the industry itself.  In his message he said something like this: "Who has the largest bank account?  I'll tell you who, the liquor store owner. Who lives in the finest house and in the most exclusive neighborhood? The liquor storeowner. Who buys his wife furs, Cadillacs and diamonds? The liquor storeowner. And who pays for all the things he has?  Those of you who drink the beer, wine and liquor!"

At the close of the sermon a man ran up to Dr. Graham and said, "Sir, you are a true inspiration! Thank you for that great message."

Billy said, "Thank you. I take it, sir, that you have decided to give up drinking."

The man replied, "Oh no, I don't drink.  But I have decided to go out and buy a liquor store!"

Sometimes those of us who preach find it hard to get the essence of our message across to those who listen and that is never truer than when we speak about the character and nature of Jesus. This is especially true in our existential age - an age in which people live for the moment rather than taking the long look at life and eternity.

Recently my wife was watching a documentary on television regarding the life of a famous singer. She said, "What in the world causes people who have such great gifts, so much success and the money to buy anything they desire to do the really dumb things they do?" That is a great question. You see, if you don't know what life is about you will never know how to live it.

Let's look at some wonderful truths related to Jesus Christ today, for he is only One who can help us make sense of life. These are eternal truths and they cause life to make sense.

Look with me at our text found in Colossians 1:15-20:

"15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. 19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross." (NKJV)

What an amazing passage from God's Word! Here we see the wonder, the majesty and the glory of the Son of God. Over One hundred years ago (1887) Eliza Hewitt penned the words,

"More about Jesus would I know,

More of his love to others show;

More of his saving fullness see,

More of his love who died for me."

Indeed, we can never know too much about Jesus. As in Paul's day, there is a great need for people to know more about our wonderful Lord. In Paul's day there was a heresy which grew up regarding the nature of Christ. A group known as the Gnostics postulated that Jesus was a mere emanation from God. In fact, they said that Jesus was the last in a long line of creatures that had emanated from God. They said that the world was not made by God but by one of these emanations. In their way of thinking, sorrow, sickness and death in the world was because the earth was not really created directly by God. They denied the deity of Jesus based on the fact that they thought everything material was evil and God would never touch anything evil. Paul wrote the passage before us to refute that foolishness and to set the record straight; thereby, he gave us a glowing look at the Son of God.

In this passage Paul reveals who Jesus is, what he did and what the future holds for Christ and those who belong to Him. We should take this passage seriously, for what we believe determines how we behave. The more we understand about who Christ is the better we will know how to live for Him.

Let's begin by looking at Colossians 1:15...

I.  The Wonderful Incarnation  1:15

We must note that Jesus came down to the earth to born in human form in order that He might redeem us from our sins. Being incarnate simply means that he came in a human body. So Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary and was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manager. We just celebrated that a couple of weeks ago. Just why did God do that? Why have God, the Son, come into this sin cursed world?

Let’s look at some clear reason for His coming to us in this manner…

A. Revelation

Jesus came to us to clearly reveal the invisible God, and He did so by coming as the “eikon” of the Father. The word eikon means the express image of God; so, we know what God is like for we see the express image of God in Jesus Christ. We use the word "icon" today to refer to an image that has behind it information - like an icon on a computer screen. Jesus is God, and when a person chooses to hear His voice and receive Him, that person receives all that God is and all He has to offer is made available.

Jesus revealed the invisible God, for He is God Himself. Jesus was God in the flesh, something many ancient scholars thought impossible and many modern readers find untenable, but nonetheless it is true that Jesus came to show us the true God. Jesus once said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.  He was the "eikon" (image) of God.  He was not just "like" God, he was the "eikon" - exact image of God - He WAS God with us!

B. Representation

Note as well that Jesus came in human form to be a representation of God the Father. A person may represent the president of his company without really revealing the exact nature of that person,  but Jesus is the "exact" representative of the Father. He acted as the Father would act, since he was the "image" (eikon) of God. He always did what the Father told Him to do, which is clearly stated in the scriptures. Look at 2 Corinthians 4:6. To see Jesus is to see God, for Jesus is God - and, no, there are not two Gods. There is one God who is revealed in three persons: God, the Father; God, the Son; and God, the Holy Spirit. The triune God remains forever as One being.

Now, look at Colossians 1:16-17....

II.  The Wonderful Creation  1:16-17

Jesus was no Johnny-come-lately when He arrived on earth. Jesus always has been and always will be. He had no beginning and knows no end. Still, He did come into the world to be born in human form. He came as a fertilized zygote and developed in Mary’s womb in the same way you developed in the womb of your mother. He was born with a pop on his bottom and a crying spell when he caught His first earthly breath.

Now here is where we go even deeper into seeing how wonderful and profound the Savior really is.

Jesus made the world, and everything else that has been made.

Jesus came in human form into the world He made.

Then He died, rose, and left the world the world He made (Though He sent the Holy Spirit to be His presence with us).

Finally, one day He is coming back to the world He made to take those He saved to be with Him.

So let’s think of a couple of important issues related to the wonder of His Creation….

A.  He Produced Creation

First, Jesus created everything in essence - visible and invisible.
Second, He created everything in location - heaven and earth.
Third, Jesus created everything in operation - thrones, dominions, etc.

In effect, we note that He is the One in whom creation had its beginning, continues today and will consummate in God’s own time. He is the divine glue that holds the universe in its present state.  If he were to cease to exist, the universe would fly into chaotic oblivion.

A group of people were touring an atomic lab and they learned from the guide how all things are made up of electrically charged moving particles. The guide went on to say, however, that almost all the space in an atom, and in the universe for that matter, is empty space. Just then one of the tourists asked this question, "If everything is made up of mostly empty space, what makes all those particles stay in place? What holds everything together?"

The guide answered, "We really don't know that."

Oh, yes we do! Jesus holds it together. He is the One who makes the universe a Cosmos instead of a Chaos!  He does the same thing for a life as he does for a world! Your life is a world of its own and it is chaos without the One who created you, but when you come to Him, you become a Cosmos. In other words, in Christ your life makes sense. A plans is seen and experienced in Jesus - and that is true for every person on this earth who will repent of sin, trust Him by faith, and then follow Him out of the chaos and into His divine purpose!

B. He Preceded Creation

It is important to know that Jesus preceded Creation. Jesus is not a created being, because He existed before anything and everything was! He was not a created being who emanated from God in a long line of emanations! NO! He is the Creator. Since he created all things it is impossible for Him to be a "thing" - a created being! He was and is preexistent! Before everything was he was!  He himself said that he was before Abraham.  He is the great "I AM."  He was "I Am." He is "I AM" and He will be "I AM" forever!  "I Am" means that he always was and ever will be!

We can say it like this: I AM was, I AM is, and I AM ever will be. That doesn't sound like great English but it is great truth!

Now, let’s look at another issue related to the eternal Savior found in Colossians 1:18…

III. The Wonderful Exaltation 1:18

Why did Jesus come into this world? He was enthroned in heaven, so what was the purpose in His being conceived by the Holy Spirit and born as a mere baby?

A. His Priority

To answer this question, we must look at the priority of the Lord. He came into this world to go to the cross and die in our place. In so doing he maintained the justice and righteousness of God. But, after His death and burial, He rose from the grave victoriously, bodily and personally. He turned the tomb into a womb. That is what this verse says. He was the "firstborn" from the grave. The grave became the passage of life! The grave is not the end for us but is our initiation into the presence of God. The grave, which was a symbol of the results of sin, has become the symbol of our victory! From a tomb to a womb!  From a place for the dead to a place of deliverance.

B. His Power

One critical issue related to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, is the power that such an act took. When Jesus died, there lay upon Him all the sin of the entire world for all time. No person of such sin could possibly be raised to new life - buy Jesus was raised. You see, the sin He bore was not His own, it was yours and mine. Thus, in the power of the God-Head, Jesus was raised up to life.

i Jesus got up from the grave so we could get into the Kingdom!
ii. Jesus got up from the grave so that we could get into the family of God.
iii. Jesus got up from the grave so that we could get into the heavenly city!
iv. Jesus got up from the grave so that we might sit down at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb.

Thank God for the resurrection of Jesus from the death, and the victory for of our souls rests in that powerful act of overcoming death and sin.This verse reveals the power of Christ! He overcame the greatest enemy of man. In reality, Christ conquered all our enemies - death, the grave and hell!  We are more than conquerors in Him!

C. His Preeminence

We are being instructed on the wonderful nature of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We are looking now at His wonderful exultation. We see Him lifted up to die for us, laid in a tomb to take our sins away, but then we see Him raised up to grant us all He promised. In His resurrection we see preeminence, He is above all and greater than all.

Satan has no authority over Jesus:

i. Satan has no authority over those who are in Jesus.
ii. We are as secure as Jesus is secure.
iii. As long as Jesus lives (eternally), we live.

How can our tongue find words to properly proclaim the grandeur of our position in Christ. Jesus is the Head of the Church and as such he is the Master, Guide, Instructor, Sustainer, Ruler, Power, Seat of Authority and Center of Attention in the Church. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, as our hearts are filled with wonder at our Lord, let us take yet another look at the wonder of Christ from Colossians 1:19-20… 

IV.  The Wonderful Reconciliation 1:19-20

Those who are saved through the sacrifice of Christ at the cross have been reconciled to God through Christ. As Christ died only once, and rose only once, our salvation is a one time experience. We are saved by Jesus and kept by Jesus.

A man went into the barber shop one day for a shave discovered that a woman was working that day, which surprised him a bit. He got in the barber chair and she began to shave him. When she had completed the job, he asked how much he owed her and she said the price is $75.00. The man almost fainted. He looked around but the owner was not there, so he decided to pay the lady and speak to the owner about the price later. He left the barber shop and, much to his surprise, he discovered that he did not need a shave the next day. Then three days later he still did not need a shave. He stopped back by the barber shop and told the owner that the cost of the shave was high but that he had not needed a shave since. The owner asked who had given him the shave. When the happy customer explained that it was a woman, the owner said, "That explains it. You see, you got your shave from Grace. With Grace, it is once shaved, always shaved."

With shaving there is no such thing as a single, everlasting shave, but with salvation through Christ, there is something called "once saved, always saved." This is true because of two things.

A.  His Excellence

The scripture says that the "pleroma" (fullness) of God "katoikeo" (dwells) in Christ.  "Oikos" is "house.”  "Kata" means "down.”  So "katoikeo" means "to dwell down in permanently.” The fullness of God dwells in Christ forever!!!

B.  His Exchange

The Cross of Calvary became the means of meeting God's demand for justice and the need of man for righteousness!  Without the Cross there is no salvation! The blood of Jesus made peace with God for us! To "make peace" comes from the Greek meaning to "bind together" - from the Greek word "eiro.” Through His blood Jesus bound us together with God. The unholy is made holy by being bound to God by Christ! "Reconcile" comes from the Greek word "apokatalasso" which means "to go back and exchange.”

Conclusion

In Christ we are taken back to be what and who we were meant to be.

i. He exchanged our sins for His holiness.
ii. He exchanged our hell for His heaven.
iii. He exchanged our death for His life.
iv. He exchanged our judgment for His peace!
v. He exchanged our hopelessness for His happiness.
vi. He exchanged our sick hearts for an eternal Hallelujah!

No wonder we sing, “Hallelujah, what a Savior!!!