Christ: Image of the Invisible God
Robert W. Stackel, "Is He Your King?" in Clergy Journal, October, 1994, pg. 17: When Queen Victoria of England was only a girl, she was instructed in matters of court etiquette. "You are to go to hear "The Messiah" tomorrow night, and when they sing through the oratorio and come to the "Hallelujah Chorus," we shall all rise, but you are the queen; sit still." But when the chorus came to the place where they sang "King of kings and Lord of lords," she rose and bowed her head. This was at the beginning of her reign. Near the end of her long reign, she was listening to a powerful sermon on the second coming of Christ. Afterward she asked the preacher to come to the queen's box. Her majesty said to the preacher, "Dr. Farrar, I wish that the Savior might come while I am still on the throne, because I should like to take the crown of England and lay it at his feet."
· Eternal Life Sunday:
Col. 1:3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints— 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven.
1:10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way
1:12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
· Christ the King Sunday
· Stand before God in Awe and Worship
Col.1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
II. Christ is Supreme: the Image of the Invisible God
1. In Christ we have the perfect image of God
· Not a projection/copy – but the real thing
· Early Church Confession that Jesus is the Christ/Lord
· Cp. Phil. 2:5-10
5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
2. Christ is Supreme in the life of the Colossians 1:3–14
· God is made manifest in the lives of the Colossians
· Giving them the Gospel of Reconciliation
3. Christ is Supreme in His nature and work 1:15–29
· The divine nature of Christ 1:15–20
· Firstborn over Creation
· Firstborn of the dead
· By him… for him… He is… before all things, head of the body – Church, beginning,
· Fullness of God dwells in him
· The glorious work of Christ 1:21–23
· Reconciliation, peace through his blood on the cross
4. Christ is Supreme compared to:
a. false religion & philosophy 2:8–23
Col. 2 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.
· Religion: circumcision people
· Philosophy: Plato – this world a reflection of the “true” world
b. false worship 2:16–19
Col. 2:16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize.
Many years ago, Thomas K. Beecher once substituted for his famous brother, Henry Ward Beecher, at the Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, New York. Many curiosity seekers had come to hear the renowned Henry Beecher speak. Therefore, when Thomas Beecher appeared in the pulpit instead, some people got up and started for the doors. Sensing that they were disappointed because he was substituting for his brother, Thomas raised his hand for silence and announced, "All those who came here this morning to worship Henry Ward Beecher may withdraw from the church; all who came to worship God may remain." The example of godly leaders is helpful, but only the Savior is worthy of our worship and devotion.
c. false asceticism 2:20–23
Col. 2:20 Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
· Ascetics practiced extreme self-denial, believing that the ascetic life releases the soul from bondage to the body and permits union with the divine.
5. The Supreme Christ is worthy of our Worship
a. in our Christian living 3:1—4:6
· Christ, the foundation of the believer’s life
· The virtues of the believer’s life in Christ 3:5–17
Col.3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
b. in our relationships 3:18—4:6
· Family relationships 3:18–21
Col.3:18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
· Business relationships 3:22—4:1
Col 3:22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.
Col:4:1Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.
· Personal relationships 4:2–6
Col.4:5Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.