Colossians #3 – 10 Big Truths About A Big Jesus (Colossians 1:15-23)

Colossians #3 – 10 Big Truths About A Big Jesus (Colossians 1:15-23)

– Howdy, Pastor Mark Driscoll here at the Trinity Church in Scottsdale, Arizona, really excited to provide for you the series of sermons based on the book of Colossians. It’s an amazing book of the New Testament, where the apostle Paul is writing from prison to a newly planted church, and we took a few months here at the Trinity Church to go verse by verse through this book of the Bible. I’ve had the honor of preaching and teaching, perhaps a few dozen books of the Bible in my career and this is the first time I’ve ever been through Colossians and I’m really excited that you can join me. All right, it’s the best day of the week and I get to tell you all about Jesus. Grab your Bible, go to Colossians 1:15-23. We’re gonna study about Jesus, amen?

– [Congregation] Amen.

– You guys gotta do better than the last service, I’m telling you, Paul says the dead in Christ arise first, that’s the 9:00 a.m., I love ’em, but man, holy, what a decaf bunch of believers, it’s just a tragic situation, I’m hoping for a little more love. So we’re gonna talk about Jesus today,

– [All] Amen.

– All right now, when we talk about Jesus, we’re talking about the most important, significant person in the history of the world. His first name, Jesus, is a derivative of Joshua and it means God is our savior. Christ means the anointed one, the chosen one of God. He lived about 2,000 years ago, His resume is rather simple, spent the first 30 years working a job as a carpenter with His dad, never traveled more than a few hundred miles from home, contrary to some really nefarious and nasty books, He never did marry or have children, He never held a political office, He never ran a large company, He didn’t make a lot of money, He never wrote a book, but He is the most influential, significant person in the history of the world. We actually divide our calendar around Jesus Christ into BC, Before Christ and AD, Anno Domini, the year of our Lord. Our big holidays, Christmas, happy birthday Jesus, Easter, welcome back Jesus, are all about Jesus. We’re all about Jesus here at the Trinity Church and when it comes to Him, you cannot think too much about Him. We tend to think about ourselves a lot, today we’re gonna think about Him a lot. More songs have been sung to Him, more paintings painted of Him, more books written regarding Him than anyone who has lived in the history of the world. And when it comes to Jesus, He has this important question for each of us to answer, who do you say that I am? And there are no shortage of contradictory answers to that clarifying question. In the world of the Colts, which are sort of aberrations off of Christianity, you will hear a variety of things. If you ask a Jehovah’s Witness friend, they will say Jesus is not the creator God, He’s a created being, He’s the Archangel Michael. If you ask one of your Mormon friends, they will say that He is the polygamist half-brother of Lucifer, that He ultimately is a man who became God, and we all can be like Him, become gods and get our own planet where our wife is eternally pregnant, I’m not sure why that’s heaven for her. Nonetheless, moving right along, if you were to ask Christian Scientists, which are interesting because there’s no Christians or Science, it’s like grape nuts, I couldn’t find any grapes or nuts in the box, I don’t know who named it, Christian Science, you will hear from Mary Baker Eddy, their founder, quote, “Jesus Christ is not God.” How about the religions? Various religions will teach various things about Jesus. If you ask your Muslim friend, they will say that He is a prophet, but He is inferior to their superior prophet, Muhammad. If you ask someone who is Bahai, they will say that He was an enlightened man, but not the God man, and that we can grow to be enlightened like Him. If you ask a Hindu friend, they’ll have a pantheon of ideas about Jesus, but most of them will say that he was an enlightened, holy man, but perhaps not the holiest man who has ever lived, inferior to other enlightened Eastern holy men. If you ask someone as well who comes from the background of Buddhism, they will say that the Buddha was a more enlightened man than Jesus, but Jesus was a fairly enlightened man. Everyone has an opinion. The question that we are answering, who is Jesus? And you’re gonna hear today from a man named Paul in Colossians 1:15-23. This is one of the most richly, densely-packed sections of the entire Bible, it’s full on awesome. This is an amazing day, I’ve been up since 4:30 like this, I’m so excited. I’m like a kid on Christmas, shaking the box, I’m so glad to be here. I’m sweating like Mike Tyson in a spelling bee. This is such a good text of the Bible. This is such a good, there’s so much here about Jesus, and I need to tell you who writes it, his name is Paul. Hey, for those of you who are Christian, some of you are Christians, some of you are not, some of you think you are, but you’re not, but we’ll close that deal by the end of the service, glad to have all of you. Paul is the guy who, true or false, when he started, did not like Jesus, he did not like Jesus at all. I mean, he would have been like Paul bin Laden, like he was that kinda guy. He was not a fan of Jesus, he hated Christianity, he opposed, arrested, and murdered Christians, got converted, became a pastor. When he’s writing this book of the Bible, those of you that have been here paying attention, where’s he writing it from?

– [Congregation] Jail.

– Jail, and he’s not there to visit, okay? He’s in Roman jail, why is he in jail? ‘Cause he keeps telling everybody who Jesus is. This man had no benefit. It cost him his reputation, it cost him his income, it cost him his freedom, beaten, shipwrecked, homeless, left for dead, stoned, not that kind, that kind, this guy suffered a lot for Jesus. He has no reason to tell us anything that is not true because it is not benefiting him in any way. So there are 10 things, good luck keeping notes, it’s also in the app, but 10 things, 10 big truths we’re gonna learn about the big Jesus, you ready? Doesn’t matter, I’m going anyways. All right, here’s the first one, Jesus is the image of God. Colossians 1:15, “He is the,” what am I, the only one who can read? Jesus is the,

– [All] “Image of the invisible God.”

– Okay, He’s the image of the invisible God. What does that mean? That means that God is immaterial, God is spiritual, God is invisible, God is supernatural. We don’t know who God is because we can’t see Him. Now, Jesus makes the invisible God visible. God makes Himself known through Jesus. The unknown God becomes known through Jesus, the unseen God becomes seen through Jesus, and that’s what he is saying. Jesus says this, I think it was in John 14:9, He says, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” We use that language a lot, like father, like son. When you look at the Lord Jesus, you see God, the Father, and this concept of image, what that is is it’s like a mirror that reflects your image. So I don’t know about you, I woke up this morning and I looked in the mirror and it was sad, I’m not gonna lie to you, it was disappointing. I got a Shrek-sized head, my bangs have gone home to be with the Lord, not what I was hoping for, okay? Now what I was hoping for, but the mirror did accurately reflect my image, tragically. My resurrection body, I’ll be six foot tall with just amazing bangs, but until then, this is what I’m working with. So I woke up, and I looked in the mirror, and the mirror reflected my image accurately. Jesus is the image of the invisible God. Jesus is like a mirror, reflecting the character of the Father. His love is the Father’s love, His truth is the Father’s truth, His forgiveness is the Father’s forgiveness. Again, that’s why He said, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” Here’s what I need you to know, people oftentimes wonder what God is like, and they go looking for representation sometimes in nature and the created world, we can learn some things about God but you can’t know that, you know, God is personal, and He loves you, and He’s holy, and He sent His son to die for your sin and rise for your salvation by enjoying one of our glorious sunsets. We can’t learn what we need to know about God solely by observing the world that He made, that’s general revelation, we need special, additional, further revelation about who God is. Philosophy, religion, sociology, spirituality tries to fill the gap with speculation, God instead provides revelation through the sending of His Son, Jesus Christ. How many of you grew up in a home or in a neighborhood where people had icons? And an icon is supposed to be a remembrance or a connecting point to the divine and supernatural world. It’s almost to be a doorway or a connecting point between the spirit realm and the physical realm. I grew up in a neighborhood with Buddhist kids, and Hindu kids, and all kinds of different religions and faiths, and Shintoism, and Confucianism, and many of the homes had on the mantle or the altar, had a little shrine, it was a little icon committed to their god, they would live in the house with them. Christians don’t believe in that. We don’t believe in icons because this word, in its original Greek, which this was originally written, it’s our word for icon. We don’t need shrines, we don’t need temples, we don’t need icons, we don’t need connection points between heaven and earth because Jesus Christ is the connection point between heaven and earth, He is the revelation point from heaven to earth. Everything we need to know about God is seen in the person, in the work of Jesus. If you’re confused about philosophy, if you’re confused about spirituality, if you’re confused about ideology, you don’t know where to begin, begin with Jesus, start with Jesus, look to Jesus, research Jesus, meet Jesus, know Jesus, study Jesus, and everything that can be known, everything that must be known, everything that might be known about God is seen in the person, in the work of Jesus, amen?

– [Congregation] Amen. Amen, okay, point number two, Jesus is the ruler over all creation. Colossians 1:15, “He is the first born of all creation.” When we hear this language of firstborn, we tend to think of birth order. So, how many of you are the oldest child in your family? I am too, okay. We tend to think of first born as, “I was here first. You get the bottom bunk, I get the top bunk, I was here first.” Now the way it works is sometimes firstborn refers, in the Bible, to the one who was born first, other times, it refers to the one who occupies first position. For example, military wreck, if someone is a first wreck, they’re in a position of leadership and it doesn’t mean that they were born before all the other soldiers, it means that they occupy the position of first rank. First born here is a designation of first rank, with that comes inheritance rights, comes legal authority, comes a position of prominence and preeminence, that’s what it’s referring to. It is not referring to the fact that Jesus is created, but in fact, you’ll see in a moment that He is creator. Some of our Jehovah’s Witness friends, which is a cult that deviates from faithful Christianity, they will use this verse to say that Jesus is a created being, not the creator of all beings, we’ll correct that in just a moment, it comes up in the next verse and clarifies all of this confusion, but here’s what it means, Jesus first. For the Christian, Jesus first in our relationships, Jesus first in our identity, Jesus first in our family, Jesus first with our finances, Jesus first with our business that nothing gets straightened out until Jesus is in first position, that’s what he’s saying here. In some regards, think of it like this, this is why I believe Paul puts this issue of Jesus front and center in the book of Colossians because it is like setting a compass. If you’re in a densely-fogged area, or it’s under the dark of night, or you’re under the canopy of heavy brush and trees, and you can’t find your way out, and you don’t know what direction to go, what you need is a compass, and the first thing to establish is what, your north. Once your north is established, now you could start to determine where you’re at and where you can go. This is Paul, early on in the book of Colossians, establishing for the Christian life, the north, it’s Jesus. Once you get Jesus straightened out, he will get into the rest of the book, here’s how you deal with being sinned against, here’s how you deal with being spiritually tormented by Satan and demons, here’s how you forgive people who’ve done evil to you, here’s how you love your crazy spouse and they love you, here’s how you raise those crazy kids and they respect you, here’s how you go to work, and don’t go crazy and kill your boss, but just do your job and wait for Jesus to come back and take care of them, but how do you deal with all of that? He starts with Jesus, Jesus first, Jesus first, Jesus first, get the true north of the compass set. and then you realize how the rest of life plays out and moves out from the person of Jesus. So he tells us that Jesus is ruler over all creation. Everything that God has made is under the dominion of Jesus. Point number three, Jesus is the creator of all. This is unbelievable. Someone asks, “Where did creation come from?” I’ve heard people say, “From nothing.” I have not seen nothing make a lot of things, amen? I’ve not seen that. I came home and there was a couch and I didn’t figure that nothing made the couch, I thank the guy who made the couch. when we look at this world, we see a designer has designed, we see that a great gift has been given to the world, and that is all that God has made. Where does that gift come from? Because so many of us, we love the gift, we don’t know the giver, and He wants us to not only enjoy the gift of creation, but to acknowledge the creator who gives, “For by Him,” he’s talking about Jesus, “All things,” what things?

– [All] All things,

– “Were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions, or rulers or authorities, all things were created through Him and for Him.” He takes everything and he breaks into two categories, visible, invisible, spiritual, material, that which we see and touch, that which we do not see or touch, and so, when he’s talking about all that is visible, he’s talking about this world that we enjoy, I mean, it’s amazing to live here. It says in heaven that the sun will shine forever, it’s like, we’re all gonna die and go to Scottsdale, it’s unbelievable, right? So I watch the sunsets and it’s amazing, and I see what you all call mountains, these are not mountains by the way, these are little bitty hills, that’s what they are. If you could climb to the top in 45 minutes without water, it’s not a mountain, amen, it’s an itty bitty hill. Nonetheless, I see all of the hills, glorious, I see plants, I see trees, I see the wind blowing, I hear birds chirping, I get to enjoy this world that God has made. How many of you have hiked Sedona? Oh my gosh. Oh, if you’re an atheist, just go hike Sedona, and just say, “What an accident,” right? It’s unbelievable, glorious, gorgeous, God made color, and hue, and life, and shape, and all that is visible, including our physical bodies. God gave us these bodies as a gift and he gave us one another as a gift. So everything in the physical, visible, material world is a gift from Jesus, and everything that is invisible, supernatural, spiritual, and immaterial so too, it was created by Jesus. So, Jesus rules over our emotions, Jesus rules over the angels, Jesus rules over the fallen and rebellious angels called demons, Jesus rules over the reality that we do see, and the reality behind the reality, the supernatural, spiritual world that we do not see, and He’s the creator of it all. And this is so important because if something is created, then it belongs to the creator, it exists for the creator, it returns to the creator, it is the possession of the creator, and it will give an account to the creator. And that is everyone and every thing that the history of the world is going to a throne, on that throne will be seated Jesus, everyone and everything will pass before Him, because all comes from Him, all belongs to Him, all will give an account before Him, that is our Jesus. That includes you ma’am and sir. You do not live an independent autonomous life, you come from God, you will return to God, you will give an account to God, you belong to God, anything other than that is an illusion. And I want to rob you of that delusion so that you could meet Jesus and realize that you were created by Him, you were created for Him, and you were created to be in relationship with Him, and to give an account to Him, amen?

– [Congregation] Amen?

– All right, point number four, Jesus is eternal, that’s a lot of candles on your birthday cake. He is without beginning or end, and sometimes what Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Mormons, or false teachers will do, they will say that Jesus is a good man, but not the God man, that He didn’t exist eternally, that He didn’t come into existence until he was conceived in the womb of His mother, Mary, that is in fact not true. Jesus is the eternal God who entered into human history, but His birth through the womb of Mary was not the beginning of His life, that was His life entering into human history humbly. He says it this way, Colossians 1:17, “He is before all things.” Whatever exists, Jesus was before that. Jesus is not created, Jesus is creator. Everything that is created is created by Him who was before all that He made. This is one of the clearest statements in all of scripture, that Jesus is eternal. You and I have a beginning and we will have an end, God has no beginning, God has no end, His name is Jesus. The good news for us is that He is gone to prepare an eternal place for us, that He knows what lies on the other side of the grave, and we can trust Him in our moment of greatest need as we exit this life and enter into the eternal life. There is the one awaiting for us who lives in eternity, entered into human history, has defeated death and gone before us to prepare an eternal place for us, amen? That’s our Jesus. Point number five, Jesus is the sustainer. Not only does Jesus make this world, He sustains this world. There is a theory called Deism. Deism postulates that God made this world, and to quote Al Pachino, “He is like an absentee landlord who has abandoned His creation,” and now creation runs solely according to natural laws that God has put in place, but God is not actively presently practically involved in the world that He made. There is a version of this that many young adults hold and it’s called moralistic therapeutic deism, it was researched by a sociologist named Christian Smith. And what is the case is that tragically many young adults see God like they see their dad who walked out on their family. Their dad birthed them, left them, abandoned them, was not involved with them, and they project that false image of God through their father, and then they see God as a God who made the world, left the world, abandoned the world, and is not involved in the world. That is not how the Bible presents the work of Jesus. Jesus Christ not only creates, He sustains all that He creates. Here’s how he says it, “In Him all things hold together.” How does all of creation hold together? By Jesus. By His active, present, intentional, powerful working in the world. See, how many of you, when you were a little kid, you sang this song, sing with me if you like, ♪ He’s got the whole world ♪ I know that’s terrible, right? I mean, you’re like, “Pastor Mark stop singing,” okay. The Bible says, “Make a joyful noise,” I’m halfway there, I got the noise part, okay? ♪ He’s got the whole world in His hands ♪ That’s good theology. He does have the whole world in His proverbial, metaphorical hands and everything that God made is sustained by the involvement and the handiwork of this loving, ruling, reigning, creating, sustaining, and saving Jesus. And here’s what I want you to know, it feels to many like the world is exploding and falling apart, so people are freaking out. Just because it’s out of our hands, doesn’t mean it’s out of His hands, but His hands can hold together what our hands cannot hold together. And I want you to know this, if your life is falling apart, give it to Jesus, He holds it together. Your marriage is falling apart, husband and wife, give your marriage to Jesus, He holds it together. Your family is breaking apart, give it to Jesus, He holds it together. How many of you are Christians and you would testify this is a fact? This is a fact, okay. Look at the hands that testify, friends. Jesus not only creates, Jesus sustains, and when everything is breaking apart, Jesus is the one who holds it all together. That is such good news because it means I can take things out of my hand, place them into His hand, and it will be held together by His loving hands. That is our Jesus. What are you not trusting Him with? Who are you not trusting him with? He holds things together. Point number six, He is, Jesus is the head of the church. It is now fashionable to be anti-church and church-critical. Here at the Trinity Church, we love the church because the church is the bride of Christ and how many of you men don’t like it when people talk trash about your wife? You should all raise your hand if you wanna have any future, okay, just raise your hand. If you insult my wife, that offends me. Jesus’ bride, we are told metaphorically, is the church. When we speak ill of the church were also offending Him. Jesus loves the church, Jesus died for the church, Jesus is devoted to the church in a covenantal relationship of love. This does not mean that the church is perfect, it means that a perfect Jesus will in time perfect His church. And so, when it says that He is the head, it is talking about His role, not just over the cosmos, but in the church, not just in the cultures, but in the church, and He is the head of the body, the church. One of Paul’s most popular metaphors for the church in the New Testament is that we are like a body, each of you are a part, and we’re different, and we’re complimentary, and we work together to love and to serve others on behalf of Jesus. But the way it works in my body is that the directives are given from the head, right? So the fact that I’m yelling, that’s my head telling me to do that, right? The fact that my hands are like wild chickens that got out of a coop, that’s my head telling my hands to do that. The fact that I jump up and down and get a little excited, all of that is from the control center of my head. And my head dictates, flows down, for the directives, for the rest of the body. Here’s what he’s saying, the church is a body, we’re to love, and work, and serve together, but the head of the church is who, Jesus. Tremendous problems happen when this simple truth is overlooked. I am not the head of the church, I’m not. The staff is not the head of the church. The board is not the head of the church. Any group or faction in the church is not the head of the church, and oftentimes there’s this warring and fighting, who’s in charge, who’s in charge, who’s in charge? He’s in charge. It’s not, who’s in charge, He’s in charge. And our goal is not to argue and fight over what we want, but to pray and to seek what He wants. And so, you need to know this, here at the Trinity Church, our first question, our middle question, and our last question is always the same question, dear Jesus, what do you want? What is the teaching that you want for these dear people that you love? Jesus, what is the ministry that you want for these dear people whom you love? Jesus, what is the plan that you have for these dear people that you love? We believe then that the church is to be ruled throne-down, not pew-up, that we don’t pull the people and ask, “What do you want?” First, we ask the head, “What do you want for the people and the good of the rest of the body?” Now here’s why this is so important, I hope this is a point of correction, not criticism but, consumerism has supplanted Christ sometimes in the church. Business is not bad, but here’s how business works, if you have a business, your job is to provide goods or services for a customer and the customer is always right. And so, when the church sees itself as a business and sees you as its customers, then you come in and say, “This part of the Bible, we don’t like, don’t talk about it, okay?” Because the customer’s always right, we won’t talk about that, we don’t wanna offend you, we don’t wanna offend you. We’ll offend him, but we won’t offend you, okay? The Bible says you can’t do that, and we love you but you can’t do that, and you say, “No, I want to do that,” well, okay, then do it because the customer’s always right. You’re not the customer, He is, He is. Here’s what’s gonna happen, we’re all gonna die and give an account, and it won’t be to a mirror, it’ll be to Jesus, and He is the head of the church, He is the highest authority. It is devastating when a pastor will check the wind, “Okay, people don’t like hell, they don’t like sin, they don’t like repentance, okay. Well, if the customers won’t buy that, then we won’t sell it. Bible teaching? Nope, nope, nope, that’s not what the customers want, so you know what we’ll do? We’ll change the menu to feed the customers.” And then the customers are sick because they’re not getting fed nutrition from God’s Word. Jesus would say, “Hey, I’m the customer. You’re all here to serve me. You’re all here to honor me. You’re all here to glorify me,” right? At the end of the day, it’s His comment card that really matters, amen? I mean really, you know, in the end, all our comment cards are not really gonna get stacked up in heaven and run through to see what we got right and wrong. We’re all gonna ask Jesus, you know, “How did we do?” We wanna hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” When Jesus is the head of the church, when Jesus is the senior leadership of the church, then what the people get is what the people need, and sometimes what people want is not what they need. How many of you are parents and have noticed this with your children? If you hit your child, if you want to hit your children, so write this down, if you do hit your children, I’ll tell you how to do it most effectively. Okay, okay. Always just say this, “Yes.” Right, ’cause my kids have asked me crazy stuff. I’ve had my kids at 2:00 in the morning, “Can I have Mountain Dew?” “No, no.” I once had a kid, “Can I set off,” they held the fireworks and they had a lighter, “Can I light our fireworks?” They’re in the house. “Well, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.” One of my kids was really, really little, they asked me if they could drive, I heeded them, I would say “Yes, yes, yes, yes.” If you really, if you’re a parent who really loves their child, sometimes you say no, and the child’s like, “I thought you love me,” I do, that’s why I said no, ’cause I want you to be alive. We sometimes think that we’re something other than God’s children. And we sometimes think that our Father doesn’t know what’s best for us. And sometimes when our dad says no, we get frustrated, and then we wanna throw a fit, and be the customer, and tell others to just make it your way right away. Jesus is the head of the church, and I believe if we all seek God’s will and what glorifies Jesus, that will also be what is good for you, dear people, good for you, dear people. And you are dear people, there’s wonderful people in this church, you’re easy to love, so thanks for making it easy. Other guys got it a lot harder than me, they love their people but they, they gotta work at it. But what happens in a church is when anyone, or any group of people, or any agenda rises to the preeminent position, and all of a sudden, everyone and everything is to orbit around it, to succumb to it, to submit under it. And if anyone or anything, other than Jesus, is the head of the church, then sickness comes into the body and the people are malnourished and not cared for. So would you pray for me, and would you pray for us, and would you pray with us, that we would be a church that’s always asking Jesus, “This is your church, these are your dear people, what do you want us to say and do to love them and to give life to them, because these are your dear people.” Point number seven, Jesus is alive, this is awesome. I don’t know why this isn’t on the news every night. I don’t, every night, if I was the news, if you’re a news guy, let me just suggest every night should be, “He’s alive, what, He’s alive!” 2,000 years later, “He’s still alive, that’s unbelievable!” This is amazing. We get so impressed with what people do and we get so negligent of what Jesus has done. Now I know some of you, you’re hearing this for the first time, you’re like, “A dead guy’s back? That’s amazing.” It is amazing, that’s why we’re so excited. That’s why we’re all meeting on Sunday, woohoo, it’s that day that He got out of the grave. Some of you have heard this before, you’re like, “I’ve heard this before, tell me something new.” No, no, no, no, it’s the same awesome thing all the time, and some of you, you get bored with it, you’re like, “I’ve heard this, this is where it says, oh, Jesus is alive, died for your sin, blah, blah, blah,” okay, no, this is, like when I come home and Grace is like, “I love you,” “Wooh, it’s still true, yay.” It’s not like, “I know, tell me something new.” I like the greatest hits, you know, I like the greatest hits, Jesus is, alive. Jesus is,

– Alive.

– Jesus is,

– Alive.

– Nicely done, tell the nine o’clock to be like that, okay. Colossians 1:18, “He is the beginning, The first born from the,

– Dead. That’s so much better than a video game with extra lives or some crazy zombie apocalypse film, so much better. “He is the firstborn from the dead that in everything, He might be preeminent.” He’s first, He’s in first position, He’s most significant, He’s all together senior. What it’s talking about is Jesus died and now Jesus is alive. Nobody else does this just so you know, nobody else does this, this is unique. I was in college and I had a Christian Philosophy professor, he gave the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, and one of the kids in the class was like, “Well, that’s unusual,” he’s like, “We know, we know.” That’s why it’s a miracle, not a Tuesday, it’s unusual. So here’s what happens, when somebody dies, we commemorate them, and the more significant they are, the more we commemorate, enshrine their tomb, right? So I’ve been to Jimi Hendrix’s grave, you know, because we all know where he’s at, and he was interesting, Jesus is way cooler, but we know where Jimi Hendrix is at. Similarly, when somebody dies, we tend to commemorate it, right? How many of you been driving down the road, you’re like, “Cross, flowers, must’ve been, somebody died there in a tragic wreck,” so it is with the places that holy people are entombed and enshrined. There’s a historian, Edwin Yamauchi, he’s done the research on this, he says in the region where Jesus lived, died and rose, in His day, there were upwards of 50 holy people who died and their tombs were enshrined, tombstone, memorial, and people would make pilgrimages to these places and they still do. So like if you’re Jewish, you look to father Abraham as sort of the founder of your faith, and we know where Abraham is buried, so everybody goes there, they make a little pilgrimage, have a little heart funeral, “Oh, dead Abraham, dead Abraham,” and they cry, and they light candles, and play guitar, and leave pictures. And similarly, if you are Muslim, you look to Muhammad, and we know where dead Muhammad is, and he’s still dead, and so, people go there and there’s a little shrine built and, “Oh, dead Muhammad, dead Muhammad, dead Muhammad, we miss you dead Muhammad.” And if you’re Buddhist, we know where the Buddha’s at, he’s buried, they put a temple over it, everybody makes a shrine from around the world, they make the sacred pilgrimage, “Oh, dead Buddha, dead Buddha, dead Buddha.” And I went to Israel and I’m like, “Where’s Jesus?” They’re like We can’t find Him. Well, look at that. Ain’t that interesting? I asked all the archeologists and all the professors, “Hey, where’s Jesus?” They’re like, “We can’t find Him, we wish we could. We’d sell tickets and make a mint but we can’t find Him. Maybe He was here, maybe He was there, I don’t know. Get off the bus, we’ll show you this hole in a rock and you can pretend it was like that.” That’s what they do, how many of you been to Israel? That’s basically what they do. You’re like, “Was He in here?” They’re like , “We got no idea.” True or false, when they buried Jesus, they knew where He was buried. They knew because when He died, Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy affluent, possibly political leader, gifted his tomb, post-mortem to Jesus. Joseph knew where it was at, it was registered, just like you have a plot of land and you have a deed trust to the property. Not only that, the Roman government, they rolled a huge stone over the entryway, put the Roman seal on it, so that it was established as governmental property, and they put a soldier on guard. Everybody knew where Jesus was buried. So, the women trying to figure out, you know, how to grieve and mourn, they walk to the tomb, “Oh, dead Jesus, what, He’s gone, tomb’s empty.” They tell the disciples, and the disciples run, and they know where the tomb is at. And people stop going to the tomb. They didn’t, you know, write any songs, they didn’t leave any poems, they didn’t leave any flowers, they didn’t have any candlelight vigils, you know why? He was in town having breakfast, that’s why. That’s why, no, that’s what the Bible says. It says for 40 days, He’s just hugging people and having meals, that’s what He’s doing. So they’re like, “Oh, dead,” “Let’s go have breakfast with Jesus,” you know? And so, that’s what they did. So that’s why, to this day, we don’t know where Jesus was buried, ’cause nobody ever went back there. You know why nobody ever went back there? He wasn’t there. He’s the firstborn from the dead. He’s the first guy to beat it. How many of you, we all try to beat death, right? You got a seatbelt, you eat vitamins, you drink water, you put on sunscreen, “I don’t wanna die,” you’re still gonna die. You’re gonna die full of water, and vitamins, and covered in sunscreen. I hate to break it to you, Jack, you’re gonna die, right? And you’re gonna die. And you know what, Jesus is the first one to conquer death. He comes back for 40 days, proving that He’s alive. Here’s the good news, Jesus is not just a good example in the past, He’s a great help in the future because He’s not dead, He’s alive. This is so much better than other religions. Tell me about your religion, “Well, we had a weird guy who died and we miss him.” That’s all you got? That guy’s no help, that guy’s dead. You know what dead people do? Very little, okay, very little. Jesus is not dead, Jesus is alive. What that means is that you and I will die, and because He’s the first born, that means that He’s in the first position and we will follow in His example and in His wake, this is awesome. You’re gonna die, and then you’ll really enter into life, that there is life on the other side of death. Man, I think about it every time I preach a funeral, every time I hear that somebody’s diagnosed with cancer, I see some of our elderly saints coming up with a walker, or a cane, or pushing one another for communion in a wheelchair, I think, “Man, I can’t wait to see those kids jumping rope, that’s gonna be amazing,” ’cause upon the resurrection of the dead, there will be no sickness, there will be no sin, there will be no death, there will be no evil, there will be no weeping, there will be no tears, there will be no injustice, there will be no cry. I have good news for you, I know the end, Jesus is coming back, people rise from the dead, we’ll be with Him together, like Him for ever. That’s the good news. All right, point number eight, there’s 10, what? Hold my voice together, Lord. Okay, Jesus is fully God, yes! This is huge, this is so huge. Of all the things you could know, this is perhaps the most important thing you need to know. This is huge, who your God is, that’s the most important question of all the questions you’re ever going to answer, who is your God? How many of you have heard? I heard this in college from graduate students that didn’t know what they’re talking about. They said, “Jesus never said He was God,” sure He did, that’s why they killed Him. He fed homeless people, well, they didn’t kill Him for that. Oh, and kids liked Him, like Santa at the mall, they all ran to Him for a blessing. They didn’t kill Him for that. He took marginalized and outcast people, including women, and he befriended them, and they didn’t kill Him for that, you know why they killed Him? He kept saying He was God. In fact, they came to kill Him on one occasion and He says, “Why are you gonna put me to death?” And they said, quote, “Because you claim to be God.” Jesus is the only founder of any major world religion who ever said He was God. No Confucius, Buddha, Muhammad, none of them said they were, God. Jesus said He was God, and they killed Him, and He came back and said, “I told you so,” right? They should’ve listened. And this is one of the clearest verses in the New Testament. Not only did Jesus say He was God, His followers said He’s God. So, when I first heard in college, oh, that’s all myth, legend, fable, folklore, it was added to the narrative hundreds of years later, it’s after the fact, it’s allegory, not history, no it’s not. “For in Him,” it’s talking about Jesus. “All,” that’s a lot. “All the fullness of God was pleased,” very happy, glad to be here, right at home, “Was pleased to dwell,” that’s Jesus. Jesus is God entering into human history, the eternal God entering into time and place, the Creator entering into His creation and was pleased, happy, right at home. Jesus Christ is God, that’s it, for us that’s drop the mic, light the candles, cut the cake, that’s it, that’s everything, amen? Now people will tell you, “Oh, basically all religions teach the same thing.” No, no they do not when it comes to Jesus. we believe Jesus is fully God, fully man, creator, sustainer, redeemer, and savior, that’s what we believe. We believe that it begins with Jesus, that it ends with Jesus and everything in the middle, it’s all about Jesus. And so, “For in Him, all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” That means that Jesus is not just the best among us, He’s in a category unto Himself. He’s not just a good man, He’s the God man, that’s who He is. Point number nine, Jesus is reconciler. What happens with us, we have severed, painful, difficult, arduous relationships. How many of you right now, don’t raise your hand, but you’ve got a really difficult relationship? Like maybe you rode here with them, don’t look at them, but just sorta look out of the, just sorta look like, don’t tilt your head, ’cause they’ll know, but just sorta look, okay? And the relationship is strained, and it’s odd, and it’s awkward, and it’s not reconciled, and the gears are grinding, and the harmony’s not coming, that God is holy, we are unholy, that God created us for relationship and we rejected Him and rebelled against Him. As a result, our relationship with God is severed and it needs to be reconciled. So, he says this, Colossians 1:20, “Through Him,” that’s Jesus, “to reconcile,” that’s relational terms, “to Himself, all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross.” It’s gonna talk about the cross of Jesus, that we do not have peace with God, and we do not experience the peace of God because we have declared war on God. Sin is a declaration of war against God, that’s what it is. One theologian calls it cosmic treason. So we have an acrimonious, unreconciled relationship with God. There needs to be peace, but the only way there can be peace is if the offense, the sin, the transgression is dealt with. The wage for sin is death and so God sends His Son to turn enemy into family. Jesus lives the life that we have not lived, the life without sin, He went to the cross, substituted Himself, and died the death we should have died to pay the price that we cannot pay to give the gift that we cannot earn, that’s our Jesus. How many of you would die for family? How many of you would die for enemy? This is why dear non-Christian friend, we keep talking about the cross of Jesus. It’s one thing to love those who love you, it’s another thing to love those who hate you. At the cross, we see that God loves those who hate Him. That’s why, when it came to the symbol of Christianity, the cross was chosen. They considered maybe the rainbow, or the dove, it’s curious how these things get stolen and misappropriated for the wrong marketing campaigns, but instead, the Christians chose the sign of the cross, they started making the sign of the cross, they started decorating the doorpost to their home with the sign of the cross. I’ve been through the ancient cities in Turkey and the archeological digs where Christians first dwelled, and you could see crosses etched into the marble streets. And as they’re excavating homes, if there was a cross that was cut into the door of the home, that was to say, Christians are here and you’re welcome at our home because if you belong to Jesus, you’re family. It was a remarkable transformation of one’s identity. We’re no longer primarily identified by our race, our ethnicity, our gender, or our history, but we’re made into a new people, the people of God, peace with God through the blood of Jesus. This is why Christians can’t get over it. That God would take my place and put me in His place. Death for life, condemnation for salvation, separation for reconciliation, guilt for innocence, enemy for family. If you don’t know the Lord, Jesus, you don’t have peace with God and the only way to obtain peace with God is by the blood of His cross, is by acknowledging that you, my dear friend, are a sinner and that Jesus alone is the savior, and it’s acknowledging that either He pays for your sin on the cross, or you will pay for your sin in hell, but one way or another, that debt will be paid. The only question is, does the eternal God pay it, or do you pay it eternally? This is the sobriety and the seriousness of the sacrifice of Jesus, amen? So if you’re here and you don’t belong to Jesus, you don’t believe in Jesus, you’re not surrendered and submitted to Jesus, this is where you give Him your sin, you receive His salvation, and as a result, God has peace with you, God has peace with you. Now let me talk about one thing here, do a little deep dive. “Through Him to reconcile all things,” okay. How many of you’ve got a pool at your house? I’ve got a pool at my house, when we first moved here, I’m not used to being in a place that has a pool. We moved in, we had a pool, the first thing my wife said is, “Make sure the children can stand up in the pool,” because my kids, at least when we moved here, were not the greatest swimmers, and so, if we just throw them in the pool, we might have less kids, okay? So ideally, we were looking for a home that had a pool that maybe has a shallow end and then goes to a deep end, okay? Here’s what I wanna say, churches are like pools. Some churches are shallow end, okay? The teaching is shallow, everybody can get in, you can all learn, nobody’s gonna drown, it’s safe here. Other churches are deep end of the pool, they’re smaller, but the doctrine is deeper, the teaching is richer, the concepts are fuller, but if you just start there, you might drown, amen? You wouldn’t take like a two-year-old and be like, “Let’s see how this works,” you know, you put them in the shallow end, okay? What we wanna be at the Trinity Church, we wanna be a church that has a shallow end and has a deep end, am I making sense? I want all of you who are non-Christians or new Christians to learn about Jesus, and those of you that are more mature Christians, I want you to be able to dig deeper into God’s Word, and to swim a little freer, and to learn a little deeper, amen? So what I wanna do now, let me spend just a moment out of the deep end of the pool. This verse is often used and we’re going, we’re not just going line by line. We’re going word by word through Colossians, I don’t know if you’ve noticed that? “To reconcile to Himself all things.” There is a theological position called Universalism, okay? Out to the deep end of the pool, for those of you who are like, “I don’t get it.” All right, check the scores on your phone, join me in a minute, okay? But for everybody else, Universalism teaches Jesus died for everybody, Jesus died for everything, everyone and everything goes to heaven, there is no hell, everybody gets to be safe forever. Is that true? No. Jesus talks about how more than anyone, Daniel 12:2 is quoted by Jesus, it says that, “The multitudes are sleeping, the dust of the earth will arise, some to everlasting life, others to everlasting death.” We all live forever, it’s only a difference of destiny. It says at the end of Isaiah that, “The smoke of the torment of those who do not receive Jesus rises forever and ever.” Forever and ever, is a very long time, a very long time. Does everyone go to heaven? No. What does it mean that He reconciles all things? Well, in context, we just looked at it previously when he’s talking about powers, principalities, dominions, kingdoms, thrones, he’s talking about the angelic realm, and the demonic realm, and the supernatural realm. So let’s take this all. Does Satan get to go to heaven, yes or no?

– No.

– No. Do fallen angels, rebellious demons get to go to heaven, yes or no? No, because Jesus didn’t die for Satan and He didn’t die for demons, He only died for people making peace by the blood of His cross. You and I are given an invitation and an opportunity that fallen demonic angels and Satan himself, they are never invited to turn from sin and trust in Jesus, and to have peace with God, and their relationship reconciled, and an eternal kingdom experience in the loving presence of the Lord Jesus. You and I are so graced, we don’t deserve anything but the same thing that Satan and demons deserve. Some people will struggle, “How could a loving God send people to hell?” My point is, how could a good God take somebody like me? I am not confused by hell any more than I’m not confused by prison. You do something bad, there’s a consequence. What I’m confused by is, why would God love us? Why would God seek us? Why would God save us? Why would God seek peace with us? Why would God put up with me? I can’t even put up with me, I drive me crazy. I can’t imagine what a piece of work I am for God. And so you and I need to not look at God and judge Him, we need to look at God and marvel at Him that you and I have been invited to peace with God, something that Satan and demons are never given. What I believe it means here, that all things will be reconciled to Him is this, that right now, things are in rebellion against Jesus, people, nations, philosophy, spiritualities, idolatries, they’re in rebellion, open rebellion against Jesus, and they will be brought under His authority. Not that they will experience salvation, but that they will experience subjugation. Subjugation is a way of bringing peace for those who do not experienced salvation. For those who experience salvation, we have peace with God. For those who do not repent, and turn from sin, and trust in Jesus, they experience peace because God does not have salvation for them, but subjugation of them, let me explain this. It says in Philippians 2 that, “At the name of Jesus, every knee will bow on the earth and under the earth to the glory of God, the Father,” that is subjugation, not salvation. That is not for eternal life, but that is for the just judgment of eternal death. I love you, my job is not to write the mail or edit the mail, my job is to deliver the mail and the Word of God is clear, apart from Jesus, you are damned to an eternal destiny of consequence, and punishment, and justice, that you will bend your knee to Jesus in this life for salvation, or you will bend your knee before the throne of Jesus at the end of this life for subjugation, but everyone will bend their knee to the Lord, Jesus. And what he’s talking about, reconciling, what he’s talking about is everyone and everything coming back under the rulership, and the lordship, and the authority of the Lord Jesus, the creator, the sustainer, the redeemer, the One from whom all things come and the One to whom all things go. Now ultimately, some of you would ask, what about hell? Jesus rules over hell. Revelation 14, I’m riffing off a memory, I think it’s around verse 11, it says that, “Those who do not surrender to Jesus will be tormented forever in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb of God, Jesus.” Jesus rules over heaven, He brings heaven to earth, He rules over earth, Jesus rules over hell. Jesus rules over everyone, Jesus rules over everything, and He does so justly forever. There is nothing and there is no one apart from the rule of Jesus in all eternity. If you believe that, it’ll change your life. If you don’t believe that, you’re living in the path of God’s wrath, and you’re in grave danger. I love you and I want to warn you that you need to make peace with God by the blood of His cross. And rather than arguing at the way He provided an opportunity, you should be celebrating that He made an opportunity, okay? Point number 10, Jesus is the only Savior. There’s no plan B, there’s no other option, there is no other path, there is no alternative. Colossians 1:21-23, “And you who were once alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He is now reconciled in His body the flesh by His death in order to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach before Him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.” What oftentimes happens is we will show how magnificent someone or something is by before and after. He is here now presenting to you, well, what is the before and after for those who meet the Lord Jesus? And what he says is, before you meet the Lord, Jesus, you have a problem in your head. Your mind is hostile to God, it’s arguing, it’s resistant, it’s self-righteous, it’s very self-justifying. There’s a small attorney that lives in each of us and wants to, “God, you’re wrong, and I’m right, and I disagree, and you should listen to me, and I know what I’m talking about, and I understand my life, and you can’t judge my heart,” and God would say, “Don’t argue with me, listen to me.” In your head, you have a mind that is hostile, that you are resisting the truth, you are suppressing the truth, you are fighting the facts, you are denying reality, that’s a problem in your head. It also leads to a problem in your heart. You don’t love God, you don’t seek God, you don’t trust God, you don’t pursue God, you don’t enjoy God. That leads to a problem with your hands, that what you do are evil deeds. You say, “I didn’t think they’re evil,” that’s how evil we are, we don’t even think they’re evil. We think that we are fine and God is wrong and that God should adjust His standards because we have arrived and we deserve something different than what God declares. What he’s saying is before you meet Jesus, you have a head problem, you have a heart problem, you have a hand problem. And when you meet Jesus, you get a new mind. You’re no longer conformed to the pattern of this world, but you’re transformed by the renewing of your mind. You start to think differently about Jesus, and about yourself, and about God’s Word, this leads to a change of heart. What I used to love, I now hate, what I used to hate, I now love. Now I want to be with Jesus, I want to be like Jesus, I want others to see Jesus’ life blowing through mine. And this changes our hands, how we treat people, how we conduct ourselves in even intimate relationships, what we do with our finances, how we conduct ourselves with our possessions and in our vocations, it’s a full transformation of who we are. And he says that this lifelong change process continues until you cross the finish line, you die and enter into your eternal state. So he’s saying that you need to evaluate yourself and ask yourself, “Am I continuing in the faith?” It’s great if you were born into a Christian home, it’s great if you went to a Christian school, it’s awesome if you got baptized, I’m grateful you listen to Christian music in the car, if you’ve got a copy of the Bible, I’m so happy for you, but in the end, it’s the last day that counts. The most important day of your life is the last day. On that day, will you love Jesus? On that day will you be walking with Jesus? Are you along the way, stable and steadfast, not shifting, not getting off course, not losing your way? And this is a chance for you to evaluate yourself. Am I walking with the Lord Jesus in a way that Judas Iscariot did? I’m walking with Jesus, and I’m walking with Jesus people, and I’m seeing Jesus’ provision, I’m hearing Jesus’ instruction, but I have a problem in my mind, I don’t love him. I have a problem in my heart, I don’t long for him. I have a problem with my hands, I betray him. The true children of God are revealed on the last day, on the last day. I want all of you on the last day to belong to the Lord Jesus, to be with the Lord Jesus, to be like the Lord Jesus. He has provided an opportunity, I have presented a message, you need to make a decision, and Paul wants all of us to get our compass set north. And so, if I had to summarize all of this for you, what he wants us to understand is that the reality that we do not see yet is the reality that we will see one day forever. If you were to see Jesus right now, you would not see a humble, marginalized, Galilean, homeless peasant hearing, “Crucify Him, crucify Him.” If you were to see the Lord Jesus, as He is presently ascended, ruling and reigning, He would be seated on a throne high and exalted, worshiped by angels and departed saints from all the nations. Isaiah in Isaiah 6 got this glimpse, he says, “I saw the heavens open, I saw the Lord high and exalted seated on a throne, and the angels surrounded Him crying out day and night in worship,” not, “Crucify Him, crucify Him, crucify Him,” but, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, heaven and earth are full of His glory.” In John 12:41, he says that Isaiah saw Jesus and spoke of His glory. John gets the same peer behind the curtain at the end of the age in the opening chapters of Revelation, he says, “I saw the heavens open and I saw Jesus seated on a throne.” Right now, Jesus is not in humility, He’s in glory, He’s not lacking anything, He’s ruling over everyone, the position and the posture of the elders, the departed saints, the children of God is not, they are seeking their glory, they’re celebrating His glory. Right now, Jesus is being prayed to, right now, Jesus is being worshiped, right now, Jesus is preeminent, He is firstborn, He is ruler, and sustainer, and redeemer, and creator. And one day He prayed, He taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come,” and that King is coming to this planet, and that kingdom is coming to these nations, and that throne will reside in the center of all of creation and on it will be the Lord Jesus. And so, what He’s trying to get us to do is to look up from our problems to the big Jesus who is over our problems to get our compass set north, so then we understand the journey and path of life that He has set up before us. But now what we’re gonna do, we’re gonna sing and our song goes to Jesus, and we’re gonna pray and our prayers go to Jesus, and we’re gonna celebrate and as we celebrate, we will be joining the departed saints, and we’ll be joining the angelic beings, and we’ll be participating in the divine eternal cosmic worship of Jesus Christ, which is the one thing that will never end. And one day His kingdom will come and His will will be done on earth as it is in heaven, and so, we here today declare, begin that Jesus, begin that Jesus with us, with us. Lord Jesus we don’t have words to express our appreciation of and our affection for You, so we’ll just say, thank You, and we love You. Lord Jesus, thank You that You’re in glory where You belong. Thank You that You were humble and willing to come down to identify with us, but thank You that You have returned to Your rightful place and that Lord Jesus, one day, we pray soon, that You would return, that the kings, and the kingdoms, and the nations, and the cultures, and the religions, and the philosophies, and the ideologies, and the wars, and the injustices, and the hurts, and the fears, and the dreams, and the tears, that they would be no more. Lord Jesus, we look forward to seeing You face-to-face, we look forward to Your nail-scarred hand wiping every tear from our eyes. We look forward to the eternal state where the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame run, and the children of God sing, and dance, and celebrate together in your presence forever. Lord Jesus, thank You that not only are You bigger than we think, You’re bigger than we can think. So by faith enlarge our understanding and let us enjoy your presence as Your people, and Holy Spirit, for those who do not know the Lord Jesus, I pray right now that You would bring them the gift of faith that You would bring them from death to life, that You would change their head of rebellion, their heart of stubbornness, and that You would use their hands for service, in Your good name, amen.

Mark Driscoll
[email protected]

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