Sunday, November 05, 2006
“The Trouble With Jesus Is He Is Not PC” Colossians 1:15-17
I am amazed at the diverse views people have of Jesus.
Joseph Stowell head of Moody Bible Institute wrote of how he attended a leadership prayer breakfast. A rector of an inner city church stood to his feet and noted that with the broad diversity of religions these days, we now need to give up the traditions that divide those who believe in God.
As one newspaper columnist writes “It is urgent that the different religion “reinterpret” their traditions to modernity and pluralism to create space for secularism and alternative faiths”.
Bishop Sprague wrote ” I am always fearful when we in the Christian community move beyond the rightful claim that Jesus is decisive for us, to the presupposition that non Christians are outside God’s plan of salvation. That smacks of a kind of non-jesus like arrogance.”
After asking that we give up the traditions that divide us, the tradition that he was actually asking me to give up was Jesus!
It’s a gross underselling of Jesus to call Him a tradition. But that is exactly what he was being called. If I would just agree to not use His name in public prayer, or not speak of his claims to be unique, or to be exclusively divine, or to be the only way to redemption, then we could all just get along fine. If I would be willing to strip Him of His claim to supremacy, or re-engineer Him to “get along” with other gods everything would be fine.
Let’s face it, Jesus is exclusive in His claim that He is the only solution to the sin problem of man, and is the only way to heaven. He is the only way to God. I have noticed that sometimes when I speak to non-Christians about the gospel, the thing that irks them most is when I might say something like: John 14:6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
He not only is the only way to God, He is God! Jesus is the central issue that separates me from Hindus, Moslems, Jews New agers, or whoever!
His claims are unique. He said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
The apostles didn’t miss the point when they said Acts 4:12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.”
A fellow used to give a children’s sermon every Sunday morning. He used this as a time to teach the children a simple lesson about Jesus. On this particular Sunday he wanted to use a possom as an example of industry and preparation. So, as the kids gathered around him, he asked, “Kids, do any of you know what’s little and brown and has a bushy tail?” None of the kids answered. He said, “You know, it scurries around, at night in the tree tops...and it climbs trees. What am I talking about?” The kids were looking at each other but nobody answered. Finally, an older girl held up her hand and with a sigh of relief the pastor called on her. She said, “Pastor, I know the answer is supposed to be ‘Jesus’ but is sure sounds like a possom to me!” Jesus really is the right answer for most of life’s questions, but not all. But He is the ANSWER to the questions that really matter.
Without Him, the storyline of the whole Bible, fall, redemption heaven, goes nowhere.
The whole of scripture is about rectifying the fatal consequences of the fall.
Without Him my guilt remains and I have no hope of forgiveness.
The garden of Gethsemane showed the agony of our Saviour as He sought His Father to provide another way. But there was no other way. Gal 2:20,21 and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.
If there was some other way, don’t you think God would have made it?
Without Him I can’t get to God. 1Tim 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, a man, Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself—a ransom for all, a testimony at the proper time.
Without Him heaven is gone and hell is my destiny. Acts 4:12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.”
Without Him I haven’t a prayer John 14:14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
Without Him I have no Joy, john 15:11 “I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.
Without Him I have lost my friend. John 15:15 I do not call you slaves anymore, because a slave doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from My Father.
Without Him I have lost hope for eternity John 3:36 The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who refuses to believe in the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on him.
It is uncanny how the issues believer’s faced in the first three centuries of Christianity are so parallel to ours. The prevailing view of religion in their day was that "god" existed as a generic notion of transcendent deity. Access to this god was through the worship of whatever god or gods you chose. There was no "one and only God." The refusal of followers of Jesus to buy into this system of religion explains why their detractors often called them "atheists." It was clear to everyone who paid attention that Jesus and His Father, did not fit among the gods of the empire.
In a.d. 170, the Greek philosopher Celsus wrote a major book detailing the beliefs of Christians. In it he noted, "If you taught them [the Christians] that Jesus is not [God's] Son, but that God is father of all, and that we really ought to -worship him alone, they would no longer be willing to listen to you unless you included Jesus as well, who is the author of their sedition." In fact, Celsus went on to accuse the Christians of "serving two masters." Early church scholar Robert Wilken observes, "Christians had introduced a new feature . . . namely, the worship of a man, Jesus— and in giving adoration to Jesus, they had turned men and women away from true devotion to God."2 Sound familiar? Everyone today is happy to believe in a generic ultimate reality they call "God."
But to then specify that Jesus should be worshipped exclusively as God, then that is going too far. We are no longer PC! In Paul’s day the issue was gnosticism. They believed there was many emanations from God. Jesus was just one. Maybe He was pretty High iup the scale, but He was less than God. And only the person who got past Jesus to the real God was the one who got anywhere in the end. Paul reasserted what we need to hear today there is No other one than Jesus! You can’t get around Him. The trouble with Jesus is He isn’t PC! He is God!
But the truth is Jesus IS
1. Jesus IS THE IMAGE OF GOD
“He is the image of the invisible God” Colossians 1:15
Photographer, “I don’t like these pictures, they don’t do me justice!” To which the photographer said, “Lady, you don’t need justice, you need mercy!” God chose to reveal Himself to us, and He did it by putting on flesh and walking in our midst. No man has ever seen God, but many people saw Jesus Christ. The only picture you need of God is Jesus.
“Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” John 14:9
2. Jesus IS THE RULER OF THE UNIVERSE
“the firstborn over all creation” Colossians 1:15
JW's teaching that Jesus was not God, but merely a super-human created being. Colossians 1:15 is the main bullet they load into their false doctrine gun. They ask you get your Bible and turn to Colossians 1:15. Then they say something like, “See? It says doesn’t mean that Jesus IS God. It says He was the image of God.” Then they may show you a photograph of a person and ask, “Is that the person, or just an image of that person?” Then they have you read those words, “firstborn over all creation,” and then they say.. No, the word “firstborn’ has nothing to do with act of being born–it’s all about position and privilege. The firstborn in a Jewish family received the inheritance. When Paul wrote that Jesus was the firstborn, he meant Jesus has the right to claim everything that belongs to the Father– even His deity! He is the firstborn OVER all creation. That means He’s the boss, the ruler, the king. Supporting Testimony: “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.” Matthew 28:18 Majesty! Worship His majesty. Unto Jesus be all glory, honor and praise! Majesty, kingdom authority, Flow from His throne, unto His own; His anthem raise! He is RULER over all creation–He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Worship Him!
3. Jesus IS THE CREATOR
“by him all things were created...by him and for him.” Colossians 1:16
“Let US make man in our own image.” (Genesis1:26).
“Through him (Jesus) all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” John 1:3
4. Jesus IS BEFORE ALL THINGS
“He is before all things” Colossians 1:17
Does the tense of that verb sound wrong to you? Since we’re looking back into the past, you may think it would be more correct to say that Jesus was before all things. But, no, this is the correct tense. Jesus IS...He always IS. Supporting Testimony: “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am.” John 8:58 ongoing debate about Intelligent Design and the Big Bang theory. Some scientists say the universe was created with a big bang. As far as I’m concerned, it’s settled. God created the heavens and the earth. And I wouldn’t be supposed that when he did it, “Bang, there was a lot of noise!” One day God just said, “I think I’m going to make me a universe. I can do this. Check this out: UNIVERSE!” And BANG! There it was. “The heavens declare the greatness of God.” The more we discover, the more we see the greatness of God. For instance, the Hubble Telescope has allowed us to observe a beautiful galaxy called the whirlpool galaxy, designated as M51. It is 37,000 light years away. That means the light we see now started traveling toward us 37,000 years ago at the speed of 186,324 miles per second. The width of the whirlpool galaxy is over 100,000 light years across. When NASA scientists used a wide screen planetary camera to take a photo of the center of M51, they discovered a shape that looks strangely like a cross. You can see the picture on the Hubble telescope site. The scientists were baffled by the shape and simply called it the X-structure. But remember, the image of that picture originated at least 37,000 years ago. I don’t call it an X-structure. I call it a cross. And I’m reminded that the Bible says Jesus is “the lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8). God had the cross in His heart long before earth came into existence.
5. Jesus IS THE FORCE THAT SUSTAINS LIFE
“in him all things hold together” Colossians 1:17
sunestimei, “to stick together; to cohere.”
It means Jesus is the super glue of all matter. Scientists suggest there are four forces at work to maintain this cohesion: (1) gravity; (2) electromagnetism; (3) the weak force; and (4) the strong force. Those last two forces (weak and strong) don’t sound very scientific. One of the most brilliant men on the planet is British physicist Stephen Hawking. He is a Professor of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University in England. He suffers from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), “The eventual goal of Science is to provide a single theory that describes the cohesiveness of the whole universe.” Of these four fundamental forces, the strong force is the most mysterious. It is billions of times more powerful than either gravity or electromagnetism. Nuclear physicists say: “The strong force holds quarks together within protons, neutrons and prevents the protons in the nucleus from flying apart under the influence of the repulsive electrical force between them. As quarks within particles are drawn apart the force becomes stronger. This is the opposite effect of gravity and electromagnetism, where the forces become weaker with distance.” (Source: www.cern.ch The European Organization for Nuclear Research) And if Jesus can hold the universe together in perfect balance, He can also bring perfect balance and cohesion to your broken and confused mind.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest ... you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29