Monday, September 20, 2010

The Morning After: The Heart of Jesus-Centeredness, pt. 2

Yesterday, I finished the heartbeat of the book of Colossians (1:13-20). If the book of Colossians is "all about Jesus" then this section is the theology of Jesus. I think at some points in life, Christians tend to drift and forget why Jesus should be first or central in all things that we do. It is in this text that Paul reminds us that ultimately, He deserves to have first place in all things because of who He is and what He has done. You can listen to it HERE!

I noted last week that this section is like peeling the layers of an onion. Paul begins and ends with the Saving Work of Jesus (vs. 13-14, 20). He then talks about the Personhood of Jesus, that He is the image of the invisible God and fullness of deity (vs. 15a, 19). But this week, we focused on just one main thought: the Creating Works of Jesus (vs. 15b-18). Jesus creative works include the world and the church. Let me tell you what I learned about Jesus and His relationship to the world.

First, Jesus is Superior to Creation (vs. 15b). When Paul writes that Jesus is "the firstborn of all creation," he is not saying that Jesus was born. It is not talking about temporal priority (chronologically), but superiority. He is the greatest to ever be born. He takes preeminence over all who have been born. He is the head over all that has been created.

Second, Jesus is the Agent of Creation (vs. 16a). We are told that it is "by" Jesus that all things have been created. The Father was the architect and Jesus was the builder. To think that all the amazing things of this universe were created by the One who came to this earth and died for my sins. He was born in a cave that He created. He ate food from plants that He created. He drank water from river systems and wells that He created. And He created the tree that would produce the wood that would become the cross that He would die upon. He created all the stars and the planets and the stars of all the galaxies--amazing!

Third, He is the Goal of Creation (vs. 16b). And He created all that for Himself! Paul says "all things have been created through Him and for Him." At first glance, we think that does not sound right because that sounds very selfish. But I have to resist reflecting my human concepts back onto God. For Him to do something for someone else would mean that there is something greater than Him that is worthy. That simply will not due. The creation as it was created by Jesus was designed by Him to give Him more and more glory.

Fourth, He is Prior to Creation (vs. 17a). He existed before all things. This makes sense since He created it all.

Fifth, He is the Sustainer of Creation (vs. 17b). He holds all things together. He holds the perfect amounts of oxygen in the air that my lungs need to breathe. He holds the perfect amount of gravity on this earth to keep me from shooting straight into space.

What does this all mean? It means that if He has created all things, if He created ME, then I stand accountable to Him. He created the world, but He also created the Church! He is the source or origin of our church. He is the true Senior Pastor of our church. And if we live our lives without being attached to our head (Jesus Christ, see Eph 1:22-23; 4:11-16), we are not living a Jesus-centered life.

Jesus is firstborn in creation. He is first in salvation. He is first in regards to deity. He is first in the church. And He should be first in my life! How can that happen? Here are six words of advice that I gave at the end that have helped me come to try to live a Jesus-Centered life. Maybe they will help you. I won't even elaborate on them, I think you can imagine what I said about each one. I pray they might help you live a Jesus-Centered life this next week (or maybe this next hour).

1.  Study the Greatness of Jesus
2.  Constantly Reflect Upon the Cross
3.  Maintain an Eternal Perspective
4.  Pray without Ceasing
5.  Repent Often
6.  Sell Yourself out for the Church.

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