COLOSSIANS 1:3-8, 15-23 FEBRUARY 15, 2015
“IT’S ALL ABOUT JESUS!”
Who has heard of Rube Goldberg? For those of you who have never heard of him, he was an American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor. He is best known for a series of popular cartoons depicting complicated gadgets that perform simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways. To do a Rube Goldberg is to make something complicated that is by its nature simple. There is an annual contest in which teams compete to see how complicated a simple task can be performed. (My source is from Wikipedia) Over the years I have observed people, including many Christians, make Christianity into something complex. Christianity is in fact very simple. It is all about Jesus!
As we seek to develop a biblical view of the world it is necessary to return to the central problem of humanity. The short answer is sin. Romans 8:6-8 (NIV) “6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” People do not like to be told or even reminded that all people are sinners, separated from God. Jesus told his disciples about this sin problem. John 15:22 (NIV) “22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin.”We can agree that the Bible teaches that humanity’s central problem is sin. So then what is the solution?
You know the answer! It’s all about Jesus. Paul was speaking to the Christians in the city of Colossae. Colossians 1:19-22 (NIV) “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. 21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.”
In our world today we Christians have a major problem. People do not like Jesus and those who believe His Word and who are his followers (disciples). We supposedly live in an age of tolerance where all view points are said to be accepted as valid. Charles Colson spoke about the problem of secular tolerance. “Tolerance once meant listening respectfully to all points of view, freely discussed in our common search for the truth. But the creed for the new god of tolerance is that knowing truth is impossible. So everyone is free to think and act as he likes, with one exception: those who have the audacity to believe that they know the truth, particularly if they think God has revealed it to them, are not tolerated.” (The Faith: Given Once for All)
In our culture this has led many people, including many who profess to be Christians, to say that there are many paths to God and all paths are valid. This idea is contrary to the teaching of scripture. Jesus made it abundantly clear in speaking to his disciples. John 14:6 (NIV) “6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” I truly don’t know how it can be any clearer. All other paths and all other religions will lead you to one only place, hell.
The most important question in all of life is how each individual responds to the call of Jesus. Romans 10:9-10 (NIV) “9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” A person cannot remain neutral. Being neutral about Jesus, means not to choose Jesus.
Jesus himself was very clear about his purpose in coming. When Jesus used the words “I AM” he was declaring he is God. Exodus 3:14 (NIV) “14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” We need to reflect on Jesus’ “I AM” statements.
John 6:35 (NIV) 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.
John 8:12 (NIV) 12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 10:14-15 (NIV) 14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me– 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father–and I lay down my life for the sheep.
John 11:25-26 (NIV) 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
John 14:6 (NIV) 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 15:1-2 (NIV) 1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
Revelation 1:8 (NIV) 8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Do we believe his words? What matters most in life is how we relate to Jesus. If Christ is not on the throne of our life then he is only a hobby, an afterthought. If we are not serving Him then we are following our own desires. When the Apostle Paul wrote his letters to the churches he always identified himself with Christ. Romans 1:1, 6 (NIV) “1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God. 6 And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.”
When someone meets us for the first time how do you identify yourself. Is it more important to identify ourselves by our jobs, our hobbies, whether or not we are a Marine? If we do not identify himself as a Christian, then we have a problem. Are we ashamed about Jesus? Paul identifies believers as a part of God’s household. Ephesians 2:19-21 (NIV) “19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.” It’s all about Jesus!
A few years ago when I was attending presbytery in the PCUSA I observed an examination of a man seeking to become a candidate for the ministry. He was asked to identify the cornerstone of the church? You know the answer! Yet the man said the cornerstone of the church is “inclusiveness”. Thinking he might be confused and nervous he was asked a second time if the central message of the church should be about Jesus. He responded and said, “No, the church should be about teaching inclusiveness.”
Paul clearly identified Jesus as being the central figure in the church. Colossians 1:18 (NIV) “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.” It’s all about Jesus. We must not allow the world/Satan to trick us into putting anything in front of Jesus. If Jesus is not our number one priority in life, then we have a problem.
If we are ashamed of Jesus, then he will be ashamed of us. May we never be ashamed to identify ourselves as a child of God, a follower of Jesus Christ! May we allow the Holy Spirit to change our shyness about proclaiming Jesus to a Spirit-filled boldness because we know that nothing else is more important in this life! It’s all about Jesus.
Let us pray.