Sermon Notes: Maturity: The Church’s Work Colossians 1:15-23

Recap

Paul’s commission (household order) from God is to preach the gospel and in so doing provide the way for all who will to get to maturity in Christ. 

Last week introduced us to the first set of nitty-gritty means the preaching of God’s provides for us to practice to help take us to maturity: 

  1. Hope in the coming kingdom of God to produce faith and love.. 
  1. Know God’s will through wisdom and insight into our souls. 
  1. Walk with the Lord in a worthy manner by bearing fruit in good works, growing in our knowledge of God, receiving God’s strength, and joyfully giving thanks. 

These nitty-gritty means help us to live in the power of the gospel to break the curse of sin and help us to put sin to death so we can move toward maturity. 

Let’s study God’s word and learn some more nitty-gritty means to move us on to maturity in Christ.

Colossians 1:15-23

NOTE OF ORDER: We are going to have 3 main points. Point 1 has 6 sub-points that are vital.

  1. We must see (with eyes of the whole being) the glory of Jesus as God. 1:15-20
    1. Paul begins with “He”. Who is “He” referring to? 
    2. “He” is referring to Jesus, the one who is the object of the Colossian’s faith. V. 4
      1. Paul has set v. 15-20 up in v. 14 by telling us in “him” we have redemption the forgiveness of sins. 
        1. Paul is inviting us to look at “him/Jesus” who has provided this salvation by showing us some of Jesus’ glorious credentials that make him able to provide this salvation.
        2. What are some of these glories we are invited to see / look at?
          1. DEFENSE: Why am I saying we must “see” and “look”?
          2. Paul’s use of the word “eikon – image” implies there is something to see and understand through our seeing, and in looking and seeing and understanding there is something powerful and transformational to see. 
            1. God has constructed the eyes as lamps into our souls and what we look at physically and spiritually has massive impact on who we become and how we act. 
              1. Luke 11:33-36 (CSB) 33 “No one lights a lamp and puts it in the cellar or under a basket, but on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see its light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of the body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is also full of light. But when it is bad, your body is also full of darkness. 35 Take care, then, that the light in you is not darkness. 36 If, therefore, your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be entirely illuminated, as when a lamp shines its light on you.”
            2. We will become like what we delight to look at.
            3. Good and evil begin with a look either to something or someone or away from something or someone. 
            4. So, let’s fix our seeing, our looking, onto Jesus so we can move toward maturity.  
            5. Hebrews 12:1-2 (CSB) 1 Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
        3. (1) Look at the glory of Jesus as the “image” –  “eikon” of God who is invisible. 1:15a, 19
          1. Eikon” – Resemblance stamped into a coin.
            1. Jesus is the revelation of what God is really like.  
          2. Jesus is the very revealing of God the Father. 
            1. John 14:8-9 (CSB) 8 “Lord,” said Philip, “show us the Father, and that’s enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been among you all this time and you do not know me, Philip? The one who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
          3. When we look at Jesus we are seeing God in his glory in every way. 
            1. “Christ’s supremacy in eternity is boldly proclaimed as Paul says he is the eikon of the invisible God. He is supreme! Jesus is no second-rate emanation from the true God…This not only tells us about Christ—it also tells us about ourselves, because as Jesus is the image of God, he is what we were meant to be in terms of character: we were created in his image (Genesis 1:26, 27). Jesus is supreme in eternity, and we ought to give him first-place in our lives.” – R. Kent Hughes, Colossians and Philemon: The Supremacy of Christ, Preaching the Word (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1989), 30–31.
            2. We are created in this image, and Jesus is our standard of maturity and thus who we should look on for our model. 
        4. (2) Look at the glory of Jesus as the one who is preeminent and has first place in all things, thus he is the “firstborn” – “prototokos” over all creation. 1:15, 18b
          1. Prototokos”  is used in 5 other places. Col. 1:15; 18; Rom. 8:29; Heb. 1:6; Rev. 1:5
          2. To be the firstborn, in how Paul uses this word, means to be in the first place of honor and power and glory. 
            1. Verse 18 makes this clear…First place. Preeminent. 
          3. Arias, an early church heretic, and Jehovah’s Witnesses take this language to mean Jesus was created by God the Father. 
          4. Psalm 89:27 uses this inspired codeword of “firstborn” in reference to the Messiah, who is the eternal God. 
          5. The context makes this clear also in that the “firstborn” is the creator of all things, making him not created, but eternal. 
          6. Jesus is first and sits as preeminent. 
        5. (3) Look at the glory of Jesus as the Creator of all things for himself. 1:16
          1. Jesus is the all-wise Creator God who made the whole of visible and invisible things. 
          2. Let that sit in your thoughts and imaginations for a moment. 
            1. He created all things all the way to the farthest reaches of the infinite universe for himself. 
            2. He created all the spiritual universe for himself.
          3. Jesus created it all for himself, and he then created us to share in it and manage it. 
            1. Job 40:15-41 presents the Creator Jesus as the one who made these awesome creatures man can’t tame like the little bird one gives their child to have as a pet, and the insinuation is that Jesus, God, has these his creatures as his pets that only he can tame and enjoy. 
            2. This image we are created in is why we can have and enjoy some creatures as pets. Jesus cares for and supplies for his creatures, thus we imitate that as his co-regents. 
            3. Paul invites us to look at Creator Jesus and be amazed. 
        6. (4) Look at the glory of Jesus in his eternal nature and his power to hold all of his creation together. 1:17
          1. Hebrews 1:3a (ESV) He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.
          2. Jesus, the eternal God, with no beginning and no end, sustains all of creation. 
            1. This is why the study and management of created order is a holy pursuit for Jesus’ image bearers.
            2. Proverbs 25:2 (CSB) 2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter and the glory of kings to investigate a matter.
              1. The wise Creator Jesus upholds his creation and invites his kings and queens of the earth to investigate the “how” and report on it and manage it well. 
              2. This is the theological foundation of our DNA of “Domains of Society”. 
        7. (5) Look at the glory of Jesus as the sole Leader of his church. 1:18a
          1. Jesus sits atop the organizational chart of his church. 
          2. Jesus, by Holy Spirit, through his word, rules over his church. 
            1. We get to oversee, manage, and lead only in the sense of knowing his word, seeing that his word is preached, taught, and effort is made to obey his word to the very best of our ability. 
        8. (6) Look at the glory of the Triune God in reconciling all things back to himself through Jesus by making peace through the blood of Jesus’ cross. 1:20
          1. Trinity is a glorious reality we simply cannot dive into right now. 
          2. But God is one and yet three distinct persons. One essence. No person of God is less than the other. In complete unity. 
            1. Inside this holiest reality, the Father is seeing that all things estranged from the curse of sin are being restored to wholeness and thus back to himself as he re-creates all of creation including mankind in salvation. 
            2. The cross completed all things, brought about the end, and at the resurrection set the revolution of re-creation in the kingdom of God in motion for us to witness, seek and announce to all. 
  2. We must remember the robust nature of Jesus’ salvation for us. 1:21-22
    1. Because of the curse of sin, all mankind is alienated from God. 
    2. Because of the curse of sin, all mankind is hostile to God in thought and action. 
    3. Because of faith in Jesus, his rescue from darkness, and his redemption (1:4, 13, 14) we are reconciled back to God, made holy, faultless, and blameless. 
  3. We must resolve to stay in the faith. 1:23
    1. Our salvation is settled so long as we remain grounded in the gospel and keep our hope firmly grounded in Christ alone. 
      1. This means that saving faith is only saving faith if it stays with Jesus as our solid ground and source of hope. 
        1. This means that we let nothing compete with Jesus’ position of first place. 
          1. No person, no thing, no experience, get’s Jesus’ first place or affection. 
            1. Side Note: This is the ground floor of marital faithfulness for us husbands and wives. 
            2. Jesus and his church. Husbands and wives. 

Application

  1. Worship: Turn your eyes upon Jesus. 
    1. Have eyes to see Jesus in all of his glory you can stand to look on. 
    2. Don’t ever tire of looking for Jesus and his good news of his kingdom in every text of Scripture. Labor at this. 
    3. Worship God through Jesus Christ by the indwelling Spirit. 
      1. Worship is an indicator of where our treasures are and thus where our hearts and actions will be directed. 
      2. We will become who or what we worship. 
      3. If our aim is Maturity in Christ, then we should squarely set our sights on seeing, loving, enjoying, imitating, and thus worshiping Jesus, the Triune God of the Bible. 

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