Putting Christ First: Christ, Our New Creation. Colossians 1:15-18

January 30th, 2017

Putting Christ First: Christ, Our New Creation

Colossians 1:15-20

The Lord of All Creation (1:15–18)

  • Paul defines the person and work of Jesus in terms of the Creation
  • He is the image of the invisible God
    • He has made the invisible visible
    • Much like God’s desire for humanity (Gen. 1:26)
  • He is the firstborn of all Creation
    • Not that He was created or born
    • But it represents the ancient concept of birthright
      • Which gave the firstborn a privileged status and responsibility within the family
    • It is an ancient way of saying that Christ is preeminent
      • And thus, He is the means by which the Father created all things (v. 16; see also John 1:1-3; Gen. 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26)
    • And since Jesus is the means by which all is created
      • He is Lord of it all

        • Including both physical and spiritual things
      • Thus, He is in control of every aspect of our lives
        • There is no compartmentalizing
      • And He is the Lord of the Church
        • Dictating and empowering her mission
      • And in His resurrection, He has become Lord of even death

 

The Lord of the New Creation (1:19-20)

  • As God’s people, we must find our life in Jesus

    • Who is fully God (v. 19a)
    • The Author of Creation
  • In Christ, we are able to become part of His new Creation
    • Which comes as a result of His reconciling everything to Himself

      • Bringing us back to a state of peace with God
    • This New Creation is not purely a future event
      • He offers it to us now (2 Cor. 5:17)
      • Started at the Cross
      • Enacted through His blood

 

So What?

  • Do you need to be made new?
  • Jesus is in the business of creating something new
    • And He wants to begin that in us today

Meditation Verse: Colossians 1:19-20

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Putting Christ First: Christ our new Exodus. Colassians 1:13-14

January 23rd, 2017

Putting Christ First: Christ, Our New Exodus

Colossians 1:13-14

Teaching Tools

  • Throughout history, people of faith have used various tools to teach and remember valuable truths

    • Songs
    • Creeds
    • Stories
  • Paul utilizes some of these tools when speaking to the Colossians
    • Especially important because they did not personally know each other
  • Paul describes God’s work in Christ in 3 ways which would have been familiar to his audience:
    • A New Exodus (v. 13-14)
    • A New Creation (v. 15-20)
    • A New Age (v. 21-23a)
      • Based upon prophetic promises

 

The New Exodus (v. 13-14)

  • Paul describes the work of God in Christ as deliverance

    • God has delivered us from the ‘domain of darkness’

      • Exousia: Authority, power

        • Not understood as a physical territory, but rather as a spiritual bondage
      • Like God delivered the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt
    • God not only frees us from bondage, but also transfers us to a new type of authority
      • “He transferred [us] to His Son’s kingdom of love.” (v. 13b)
      • One ruled by love
      • One ruled by His Son
        • God’s rescue agent
      • Again, not understood as a physical territory, but rather as a spiritual reality
      • Just like Israel was not called to just leave Egypt, but was called to the Promised Land as an inheritance (see v. 12)

 

So What?

  • In Christ, we have been rescued from our slavery to sin

    • And grants us entrance into a new kingdom
    • Where Jesus reigns in love
  • Have you accepted this rescue mission?
  • And are we living in the reality of Jesus as king?

Meditation Verse: Colossians 1:13-14

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Putting Christ First: Thanksgiving & Prayer Colossians 1:2b-8

January 18th, 2017

Putting Christ First: Thanksgiving & Prayer

Colossians 1:2b-12

Paul Gives Thanks (v. 2b-8)

  • Paul starts with a standard greeting (v. 2b)

    • Grace: Greek greeting
    • Peace: Hebrew greeting
  • Paul thanks God for the Church’s:
    • Faith in Jesus (v. 4)

      • “Faith that has Jesus Christ as its ultimate reference point” –Douglas Moo
    • Love for God’s people (v. 4, 8)
      • Based in the hope we have in God’s work in eternity (v. 4)
      • And the Spirit at work in us now (v. 8)
    • This message of hope is presented in the Gospel
      • The truth about Jesus
      • Which was brought to the Colossians by Epaphras

 

Paul’s Prayer (v. 9-12)

  • He prays for the Church to have:

    • Knowledge of God’s will

      • So that we may live in a way that pleases God

        • Doing good
        • Growing to know* Him better
          • About a relationship
        • Growing to rely on His strength more
          • So that we may endure hardships with patience
        • Being thankful
          • Because of our understanding of what God has done and is doing for us through Christ

            • We are now heirs with Christ
            • Part of God’s family!

 

So What?

  • Is our life defined by the truth of the Gospel?
  • Are we living in a way that pleases God?
    • Not through our strength
    • But through a growing relationship with Jesus

Meditation Verse: Colossians 1:10

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Putting Christ First: Introductions. Colossians 1: 1-2a

January 9th, 2017

Putting Christ First: Introductions

Colossians 1:1-2a

What is Colossians?

  • It is one of Paul’s letters written to a struggling congregation

    • Written with Timothy (v. 1)

      • Who was from the nearby Derbe-Lystra area (Acts 16:1)
    • It was written around AD 60 to 62
    • It was written while Paul was in prison
      • Possibly in Rome
    • It was written to the church in Colossae

 

The City of Colossae

  • In Paul’s day, was considered a “small town”

    • Overshadowed by nearby Laodicea (Col 4:15–16)
  • But due to its history as a military outpost and its previous grandeur, it was home to a mixture of people groups
    • Phrygians, Greeks, Romans, Scythians and Jews (see Col. 3:11)
  • The Church was probably founded by Epaphras (1:7; 4:12-13)
    • Between AD 53-55

      • About 7 to 10 years before the writing of the Epistle

 

The Issue at Colossae

  • False teachers threatened to undermine what Epaphras had taught

    • Which threatened to undermine the church from its strong Christ-centered foundation
  • Thus, Paul’s message throughout Colossians is:
    • Christ must be center to the life of the Church Body
    • Christ must be center to the life of the Church members

 

Christ the Center

  • When Christ is not the center of life the church it fail to be the Church

    • The community which:

      • Is called out to be different from the world

        • Which is why Paul calls the Colossians ‘saints
      • Reflects Christ’s kingship to the world
        • Which is why Paul calls them ‘faithful
      • Is a new family in Christ
        • Which is why Paul calls them ‘brothers’*
      • The Church is called to offer the world an alternative
        • Which can only be found in Jesus

          • When we put Him first

 

So What?

  • Are we living as faithful saints, putting Christ first?
  • Are we ready to be challenged to keep Christ as the center of all we are and do both corporately and individually?

Meditation Verse: Colossians 1:2a

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The Gift of Jesus: Prince of Peace, Isaiah 9:6; Various Texts

January 2nd, 2017

The Gift of Jesus: Prince of Peace

Isaiah 9:6; Various Texts

The Promised Prince

  • This child is described as śhar šhālôm

    • Shar = the representative of the king

      • Not used of one who inherits a position
      • But rather used of one who earns it
    • Shalom = peace
      • Refers to an absence of war or conflict
    • This prince who is promised will bring about peace

 

The Gift of the Prince

  • Yet, there is no promise that this peace will not come at a price

    • In fact, Isaiah himself says that it will be costly (Isa. 53:5 NIV)
  • The peace that Jesus offers is not simply a lack of war or external conflict
    • But an inner peace that transcends our circumstances (Phil 4:7)
    • Because we are at peace with God Himself (Rom. 5:1)
  • When we trust Him, and take Him at His word, we will have peace even when the world around us is in turmoil
    • Which helps us not be offended so easily (Ps. 119:165)
    • And frees us from worry (John 14:27)

 

The Gift We Can Give

  • If we trust Jesus, we ought to have inner peace

    • Thus, we have Jesus’ peace to offer to the world
  • And our world needs it now more than ever

 

So What?

  • Do you know Jesus, and thus have peace?

    • And are we living out of that peace?
  • Are we offering the world the inner peace and peace with God that Jesus alone offers?

Meditation Verse: Luke 2:14

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