Christian Character: "What Jesus Do You Follow?"
1. After a bridge went down on the NY Thruway a man stopped and then tried to flag down oncoming motorists, the first driver slowed down, then sped up and swerved to avoid the fellow and sped on by in his luxury car, shooting the finger while be sped into the Schoharie Creek to his death. His final message - no one controls my life!
2. How to we feel about Jesus? "He's a good guy, but leave me alone to do what I want to do!" Is Jesus worth stopping for?? Listen to what Paul says in our text...
3. In this passage which many see as being an early hymn, Paul tells what type of Jesus we need to follow. We need to see who Christ is and what is our response to Him...
I. Jesus: God and Creator (verses 15-16)
A. The Image of God
1. Issue here is to relate Christ to God and consequently us to Christ.
2. This is a main issue in the letter (see Colossians 1:19; 2:9-10).
3. Christ to be Christ, must be deity! Thomas was right in John 20:28 -"my Lord and my GOD!" (see also John 8:24).
B. The Supreme Creator
1. "Firstborn" means supreme or sovereign (see Palms 89:27).
2. Christ and creation - He is:
a. The word (John 1:1; Revelation 19:13; Psalms 33:6).
b. The wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24,30; Proverbs 3:19; 8:22-31).
c. The beginning of all things (John 1:2-3; Revelation 3:14).
d. The one that holds all things together (Hebrews 1:2; Colossians 1:17).
THUS JESUS IS THE CREATIVE WISDOM OF GOD!!!
3. All things imply everything. Jesus as creator must have honor and glory!
II. Jesus: the Focus of Everything (verses 17-18)
A. The Eternal One
1. Same point is made here as in John 1:2 - existence before creation = deity!
2. Point: the creator is greater than the creation.
B. The Universal Binder. What would happen if Jesus let go of holding together atomic and molecular bonds?!? The term "Lord willing" takes on new meaning!
C. The Preeminent Head of the Church. Head, Beginning, First-born from the Dead - when you talk about religion, Jesus is it! Key issue in Lordship of Christ - He has first place in EVERYTHING! The whole issue of Lordship rests on this!
III. Jesus: God and Reconciler (verses 19-20)
A. All the fullness - why mention this here in relation to His work as Savior?? See John 1:16!
B. Reconciliation = peace, but only through His blood!
IV. Jesus: Do you trust in Him??!! (verses 21-23)
A. Where we need to be...
1. Past: alienated, hostile in mind, in deeds.
2. Present: reconciled to God through Christ.
3. Future: to be presented to God holy, blameless, without reproach. B. Note the conditional statement: if you continue in faith...
1. How - grounded/founded and stable (not moved away from THE HOPE OF THE GOSPEL).
2. Why - you HEARD it preached, and I have PROCLAIMED it and am proclaiming it NOW. Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.
1. Jesus is God, God's Wisdom in Creation, the Supreme Ruler and Head of Creation and the Church.
2. What place does He have in your life (see Matthew 7:21-23)?!?