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Christ over all

Updated: May 8



Colossians 1:11-20 The supremacy of Christ



'May you be strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully give thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 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. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 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. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 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.


SERMON


Living in a multi-faith world you see books in the Christian bookshops entitled things like “Jesus And Buddha”, or “Jesus and Mohammed”. While they are useful tools in that they try to tell us what we should know about how to talk to followers of other religious figures, they lull us into a very dangerous premise.


In this epistle lesson, the apostle Paul speaks to those who in a first century multi-faith part of the world are buying that line: that Jesus is just like every other important religious figure in human history, no more - no less. These folks are in danger of losing their inheritance, allowing their heritage and their faith to just slip away. To them and so now to us, Paul writes of how unique Jesus, our Messiah, truly is.


Losing sight of that is as dangerous now as it has ever been. Losing sight of Jesus Christ and who he is as the central figure to our faith is a travesty, for on the nature of this one man rests heaven and hell, rests the future of the human race on earth, and beyond earth. On the two natures of this man, divine and human, rest everything that we believe.


This is what it comes down to:

He is a Humanbeing like us. Yet he is God.

That claim noother religion makes. He is a Human being like us. Yet he is God.


To most religions that claim is ridiculous, impossible, scandalous! Everyone else’s gods are a long way away from being human. They are either off in their heaven with only a prophet to tell us about them, like Islam, or they reside in plants, animals and things, like Hinduism and druidism.


They either get bored and make trouble for humans, like the Greek gods, or they actively hate them, like the old Canaanite and Babylonian gods

But no-where is there any God that is became a human being. No-where is there a God that came and got dirt under his fingernails. Only the true and living God did that.


Think for a second about the fingernails of Christ, and what they say about him.


The nails on the end of the same fingers that threw stars into the heavens played in the dirt of earth as a boy.


The fingernails that he probably used to pick his nose as a child were those that belonged to the creator of the universe.


And at the end of it all, when those nails dug into his own palms in pain, the blood that would have been under them was the blood of a normal man, but it was also the blood that would set every man free, because it was also the blood of God.


Every other faith baulks at such terrible things happening to their gods. But it is only in the ordinary things, the dirty, lowly things, in the poor birth in a borrowed room and the child’s play and in the man hanging on the cross that we can see God.


All the other gods, what do they look like, what do they want? We only have the opinion of their prophets or priests, telling us about gods that are remote and essentially dead to us.


But what is our Heavenly Father like? We know, for we have seen Jesus. Whoever has seen Jesus has seen the Father. He was with him before all things, and created all things, and redeemed all that care to believe in him, and he will judge all things. He is, as they say, all in all.


And he is alive.

He died, rose and ascended into heaven but he forever lives. That is the big difference between Jesus and all the other so-called gods.


When the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said that God is dead he didn’t realise that he was talking about every other god except ours. Our God was dead, yes, but not any more. None of the other gods of the world have defeated death, and passed that victory on to their followers.


This part of Paul’s letter to those at Collosae, this song of Jesus, is just like the hymns and songs we sing about the glory of our Lord, because the second half of it is a song that was used in the liturgies of the early church.


It was from statements like these songs about who Jesus is that the creeds that we confess were put together, to clearly tell the world what we believe, about God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


This was being done as early as the year 325, when the whole church on earth met in council at Nicaea. They met in response to a man named Arius, who claimed that Jesus was a created being with a beginning, and was subject to change.


This, as we have mentioned, takes away from one of the natures of Jesus. It says that he was not fully God. If he was created like us, then he is less than God. And if he was less than God, then he could not have saved us.


What we now know as the Nicene Creed was thrashed out over decades, as the Christians of the time realised that in order to argue against what they didn’t believe, they had to also state clearly what they did believe.


And so we confess the Nicene Creed. We stand with all the mainstream churches of the world and say that we believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, and we say what that means for us.


How we live out that faith is up to us, and it is different between different churches, but it is the same God, same faith, same baptism.


What is different about being Christian? It means that you follow the man Jesus Christ, the man who is God. The name Christian, that was originally given as an insult to the followers of Jesus, is now gloried in in almost every nation in the world, in many languages, and by billions of people.


And it is still needed as much as it ever was.

What is different about our faith? Jesus Christ. Only a saviour who is alive today can inspire this sort of fervour, because only a saviour who lives today can give that life to us.


Today is “Christ the King” Sunday. He is the great difference. In him is the reason I believe, He is, in the words of that beautiful confession of Faith made by Thomas My lord and my God.

Jesus is Lord. He always was, he is now, and he always will be.

Amen.

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