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February 22, 2022 9:00 am
Today on summit like with Jenny Greer. He's not just an important shopper in the story of my life. Jesus is the book in which all the other choppers written not want a list of priorities used first because he won first priority, but I've ever had a my wife is written Jesus exist in a class all by himself. There's my question for you in the season.
Does Jesus hold that position in your life only benefits and we are so glad you're back with us today as we kick off teaching series in the book of Colossians in this important epistle, Paul makes it clear that Jesus is not just a character in God story. He's actually the author of the story. He is before all things, he's above all things. He's first and all things in light of who Jesus is pastor Jenny asked one simple but revolutionary question is Jesus just important to you first in your life. Let's join pastor Jenny Greer for this first message title first place in every starting a series today through the book of Colossians called first verse. I chose Colossians, because Paul's point in this great short little letter is that it ain't about you anything about me is true. Jesus's got a lot of things for us more than anybody else is ever done for us, but still, even after all he's done for us. It still ain't about us. Colossians chapter 1 of the Bible and hope you brought up on that is where were going to be Colossians 115 through 20 is the passage we looking at today were just gonna work our way through this great short little letter a few things that you want to know about the letter itself. First, we know that it was written during one of Paul's many imprisonments.
Paul spent extensive amounts of time in prison.
Most of his adult life was in prison because he refused to shut up about the fact that Jesus is Lord and about the fact that he had risen from the dead. Second, we know that Paul had never actually met the Colossians buddy of his name to Pat first had planted the church in Colossae and conference had shared with Paul a few things about the church that concern Paul and so Paul is writing this letter to a group of people he had never met to address the concerns that he had about them. Thirdly, it's a really straightforward letter. The apostles seems to have two primary concerns of mine is concerned. Number one because the believers in Colossae by his judgment seem to have been influenced by the culture around them in a way that has warped their understanding of God. Secondly, he is addressing in this letter. They are concerned about why he is always imprisoned why they wondered why Paul really was the messenger of God. Why was he always imprisoned why wasn't God protecting them. Why wasn't God delivering him. So Paul is writing this letter to explain to them why he was willing to suffer in the sacrifice for the gospel and why they should be as well. The city of Colossae where the church of Colossians were was a very fascinating place. It's a prosperous city tucked into a valley in the middle of modern-day Turkey. I was part of the Roman Empire and so it was heavily influenced by Roman culture. So when it came to religion Rome. I've explained you had basically two rules for religion. One is you can worship whatever God you want.
We don't care worship.
Worship the spaghetti monster in the sky worship, you know, try and worship G. It doesn't matter to us. The only rule number two you worship God you want. Number two is just things that your God is the only God knows that your God is the best. God don't see your God is the supreme God because if you save your God is the best God, you're probably good thing that you're the best people and you want to rule everybody you're going to want to be in charge and clearly we here in Rome we are the ones that are in charge.
So as with many Roman cities of the day Colossae was filled with literally hundreds of temples and shrines to hundreds and thousands of gods in the general mood in the city was a pagan. What we have a lot of options here find the guy that works for you. Even better, why don't you put together your own little little combo from the smorgasbord of God's here we have in Colossae and and just find one that works for you and and satisfies all of your needs is what we now call a build a bear theology where you assemble the deity that makes you feel the best are well. This is the culture Colossae that that existed around them. It infiltrated the church and so the believers in Jesus there. Colossae had a lot of other rituals that they added to their faith in Jesus to ensure for themselves. Peace and prosperity. Think of it like Jesus and mentality outright rejected Jesus, they just thought that to their faith in Jesus, they would add other rituals. Other believes other practices, they thought they thought would guarantee for them or supply for them whatever they thought was lacking in Jesus. So here is what Paul says in response to this Jesus and mentality Colossians 1 verse 15 he, Jesus is the image of the invisible God. He is the firstborn over all creation. For everything was created by him in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities all things have been created through him and for him not stop for a minute and just ask yourself what does that actually mean me doesn't mean that Jesus is God because God is the only uncreated thing right, God's only uncreated thing and it Jesus created literally everything that has been created and Jesus was himself created that would mean that Jesus would have had to have created himself.
That would be impossible.
So therefore he must be God that you follow the logic that is loaded and do that again. The only concrete thing is God there right what Jesus created everything that was created and Jesus was himself created that would mean that Jesus would have had with created himself, and that would be impossible.
Therefore Jesus has to be the uncreated God right is all that that that's what Paul is saying there are no uncertain terms.
Jesus is God and that scholars point out that the text of Colossians 1 is very similar to what we find in Genesis 1 is Paul trying to show you that the creator work at force in Genesis 1. When God said, let there be like that word that voice that was speaking was Jesus himself that were firstborn there in that first verse. Their customer service people walk is what firstborn that sounds like the first thing that God created was Jesus. But that's not the word firstborn means there they think of it like terrorists is my firstborn. That means that she is the first human that Veronica and I created in 2002. She did not exist in 2003. She did have a will. Jesus was a person God created the firstborn Greek free if you made a couple different things and one of things it can mean disposition that the Greek word that we translate firstborn is where we get our prototype what Paul was saying is that Jesus is the prototype of creation is the template on which all of creation was made and he is the purpose for which the creation itself exists in a few verses, Paul is going to say that Jesus is also the firstborn of the dead. Now if you know your Bible you're going to manage eat was Jesus.
The first one that was resurrected from the dead know Lazarus was resurrected from the dead. Lots of the people resurrected permitted the Old Testament, so why would you say Jesus is the firstborn of the dead what's because he's the prototype of the will of us were raised from the dead.
All of us were raised from the dead are going to follow in the pattern of Jesus.
He is the prototype of creation sees the prototype of of the resurrection, Muslims, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, a lot of people in our society teach that Jesus was a great man. He was a great moral teacher, or maybe even a great prophet, but they react strongly, sometimes violently, when you say that Jesus is God you want to know why. Here's what because there is something inherently threatening about Jesus being divine if Jesus was a created being.
Even if he was a superstrong super wise beam then you can look at him as a dispenser of good moral advice that you can just put alongside the other great religious leaders and you can try to take from him.
Some things are valuable to your life and you can put together this smorgasbord of of a religious package that works for you, but it Jesus is God and Jesus is the creator of everything and the purpose for which they were created and the rules are altogether different. That means that he is the center of everything, and everything else is measured by him. Listen to me according to Paul, you were created by Jesus for Jesus. You know what that sink in for a minute. My kids and I were discussing that the other night in our family devotions as we were going to this passage that I asked him how's it were you created by mom and dad were you created for mom and dad.
Is it mom and dad's purposes that are the most important thing in your life where you created for a job. Was I created for the summit church know I was created by Jesus. For Jesus, which means my primary purpose is to know him to discover his well coming to live it out with that also means is that I will never actually be satisfied regardless of how successful or how prosperous I am in any area of my life until I am in right relationship with him and discovering and living out his will to see he is before all things, is before all things good in the slot you before all things, and by him all things hold together your last year of this book that explained that many physicists are still baffled still confused as to how that the nucleus of the atom holds together meltingly very clear I am not a physicist.
I'm certainly not a nuclear physicist, but this book explained the really smart book written for the people of Europe mediocre intelligence like me and explain that the nucleus of the atom holds what neutrons and protons right neutrons have no charge. Protons have a positive charge and when you put positively charged things together. They should draw themselves apart like when you put to positive magnets together drive them apart into literally the nucleus of every atom should be driving itself apart in unraveling creation.
But there is something they say something. We don't quite know what it is that holds the positive charges together and holds them together and we don't know what the call to the only name they have for it is the stronger force for the God, the stronger force that holds it together not let me be very clear.
I am not trying to say to you, I'm not trying to say to you, that is, it is the naked hand of God that holds the atom together passing some physicists speculate that, but I'm not saying that maybe God is built into the courts of the gluons are electrons or whatever else is in there. Maybe it is these built in some natural force that overcomes electromagnetic forces and one day we'll figure that out, but my point is is that some incredibly strong force holds literally the nucleus of every atom together even when it looks to us like the nucleus should fly apart in the same way Paul says God holds all of history and he holds your life together, keeping it from unraveling. He sustains creation.
The holds it together, keeping natural forces from destroying everything.
He is also Paul says the head of the body of the church is the beginning. He is the firstborn from the dead.
There is so that he might here's a phrase common to have the first place in to church, everything, everything, for God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell him him everything the fullness of God. Everything that God was Jesus was the fullness dwell in him and through him, through him to reconcile everything to himself or the things on earth are things in heaven, but making peace through his blood that was shed on the cross here is my short summation of Paul's logic in these five verses first, Jesus is first he's the creator of everything the template on which they are made in the one for whom they were made.
The point is that Jesus is not one of many beautiful things God created these are creating for some purpose behind them all. Suddenly Paul says Jesus went first, Jesus is first Jesus when first met this God. Paul says pursued a relationship with us.
We were looking for him when we betrayed him and rejected him.
He chased us to a bloodied cross where he voluntarily was humiliated and tortured for us in any other story where, how would this have happened. I'm a God who created everything.
The word Paul says to wipe the slate clean and spoke it all back into existence and been none. The poorer for it. That God after we had humiliated and spurned and rejected him. Instead of doing that, that God chose to enter into history and redeem us, even at the cost of his humiliation and his pain and his death. That is Paul's like I don't understand that he is first of many when first I am when I was 19 years old I had. I took a class by getting Charles right now that may night.
They may not mean a lot. So some of you, but he was like the most famous theologian in the 1980s and 1990s the road all kinds of theology books that I still have in my library. In fact most famous study Bible the 80s and 90s was the right restudy Bible. Some of you still have the Bible, but away in Christian author world when you get your name on a Bible that's varsity okay so he had the most popular study Bible. When I took this class for him.
He was older than dirt and he was like I thought.
He's 190 years old or something like that. The set up there really just me was like I was like this might be his last lot and so I'm sitting there really are even saw him sitting there and and and art because this part is going to the gospel of Matthew in the E comes to this part where Jesus begins to go toward the cross and all of a sudden he just sort of walks up and you can look up there and I could see his throat sees throat kind of like, you know, buckled up in these these tears are coming out of his eyes and I remember this theologian, who, as far as I was concerned and heard Jesus utter the words of the great commission. Your EE Visio looks out at us, me just as God dying for man who could possibly understand this many just moved on and went on to the next thing here. I met that is the most incredible theological mind of our generation that is just looking at the same time understand this, Jesus is first.
Then Jesus went first, and he pursued us. Paul says therefore we should put Jesus first in our lives that kind of God can never be worn on the list of gods he could never be worn on on a list of priorities in your life.
Jesus sought me when a stranger wandering from the full of God to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood. That means that he's not just an important chapter in the story of my life. Jesus is the book in which all the other chapters are written.
He's not one Alyssa priorities because he is first because he went first, he's the page on which every other priority that I've ever had in my life is written, Jesus exists in a class all by himself.
In fact, in later in the first interaction toward beginning the second century is famous story about one of the Roman emperors that had decided that the Christians had gotten so numerous are so many him no use front stamp them out anymore to try to make peace.
I said okay I'll let you Christians exist in whatever but were to put a statue of Jesus in the pantheon Mena pantheon was that that thing in Rome where they had statues all the Greek gods and all the Roman gods and so you get a message in the first Christians right there ragtag group of Connecticut. No money started in the back which is real by bunch of fishermen with no education.
Now the Roman Emperor knows who they are in the Roman Emperor is inviting them to put a statue of Jesus in the peg but I think they reacted well are you getting mad look at us before we become one of our guys in Congress, one of our guys up there in the pantheon. The story goes that they sent a letter back to the Emperor and said you will not put a statue of Jesus in the pantheon. If you do put a statue Jesus and the pantheon we will tear down and if you put it back up. We will tear down again as long as there are any of us still alive will never be a statue of Jesus in the pantheon because right on the top of the pantheon of the little symbol.
This is Caesar is the king of Dean the Lord of lords and deposition is one that is occupied by Jesus. He will never be one of your many gods. Jesus is above all of them. He is the source of all of them. He is not one among many.
He is the only one. Now what Paul is trying to say is that what is true in their theology.
What is true in their theology should also be true in their lives, that he might be that he might come to have the first place in the church. Everything he got a have the first place, and everything Jesus is not somebody that you just put on the list of priorities is not summary this is important to you. He is the list himself.
He is everything is in a class all by himself. Think about the sometimes analogous to how I think about my wife. I've never gone to my wife and said hey sweetheart just want you to know I'm not list the women you're really important.
Your number one of my list of women also was out of the office. She's number two in this other person. She's number three. Of course not, my wife would tear that list up and say I'm gonna be on the list I made of only one on this list or I'm not going to be fair at all will see if that's true, my relationship with my wife. How much more so with Jesus the son of God, who is my creator and the reason for whom I was created.
She's why I exist.
You were created by him and for him. That means he can never merely be an important commitment in your life.
He's gotta be first.
Some translations say preeminent.
I love the word preeminent is an old-fashioned were King James version Tele memorize the verse, it means he's the foundation Center is the point these are trajectory fees. All of it. There's my question for you in the season.
Does Jesus hold that position in your life or is he simply one of your many priorities. In other words, is Jesus important to you or is he first that I know is important to you that's why you're here, you come to church.
I know he is important to you is he important to you or is Jesus first 16 years ago at this church. There was a group of people, 300 of us is a Jesus and his mission was to refer to God is important to us. It's going to be first and best in our lives. Like I said that was expressed in two primary ways will do whatever it takes to accomplish his mission. That'll be first, and then we will do whatever he tells us to do.
But like I explained here's what happens when churches like ours get big and settled, so to speak, we experience a natural inertia. We move from mission to maintenance and we go from being reckless in the mission to being comfortable in the institution solar chart recently that really really disturbed me when I think about our church in light of it. Somebody shared with me about another movement and they said it missed the difference in the first generation and the second generation of a movement.
This is true whether you look in the Bible over the you look at all the way through history first generation and second generation.
I've edited the chart little bit, but here it is so meet me walk you through what I want to think about first generation second-generation. The first generation. Their attitude is will do whatever it takes. Second-generation says I'll only do what I'm asked to do and only my fast really nicely and only if it's really coming in for me and my family the first generation assumes personal responsibility for the mission. The second-generation assumes some I also do it near 11,000 was there someone else take care that, while the taking care of it only payments people for the first generation expects personal sacrifice. The command believing that's what is second-generation expects personal comfort. The first generation sees problems and innovate solutions. The second generation sees problems in complaints first generation sees possibilities in dreams about what could be the second generation sees barriers, reasons to quit first generation hears the voice of God first and they own the vision second-generation inherits the vision secondhand and questions every decision my dignity that Mr. good work for me and my family tomorrow first generation steps out of bold reckless faith in God. Second-generation's and satisfied in the stability of the institution. The first generation feels privileged to be a part of the movement. Second-generation feels entitled to the benefits of the institution here is the question which of those two lists better describe you not about you help me and needed reminder from Pastor Judy Greer today on Senate life JD. This new teaching series 1st and remind us that Jesus is first and all things and should be in our lives and our new resource sort of does the same thing right you know Molly in the book of Colossians which were studying the apostle Paul makes it clear that Jesus is not merely one thing on the list of priorities is not just one character in God story right. He's the author of the story. He is the priority list is that I'm the ground and the foundation of every other priority. So in this series we are asking one simple but I would say revolutionary question is Jesus merely important to you or she truly first for you Molly, one of the ways that you can apply this concept of Jesus being first in your life is to learn to to put him in that core part of your heart that produces the emotions that we been looking out over the last few weeks, anger, shame, depression, things like that. When Jesus is truly first, and he's going to be the one that is is ruling your heart and in helping you navigate those emotions and even change some of them by thinking differently and so were providing this this resource smoke from a fire that will help you press into not only some relevant scriptures on the emotions, but that will also give you diagnostic tools to understand your own heart better and how the Scriptures apply to what's going on in your heart.
Let's meet these difficult emotions with the concept of putting Jesus first you get yours today as email@example.com.
Thank you, JD. No matter what you're dealing with. We bring our desperation to God always finds him eager to listen step in and provide comfort and peace in the midst of our difficulties. We usually blame our lack of time with God on a lack of discipline and we try to fix it by making resolutions that really is not so much a discipline problem as it is a theology problem. Deep down we really don't feel like it makes a difference to spend our time.
That way, your emotions may be telling you that there is nothing ahead but darkness and despair that you must call to mind that Jesus got out of the grave, which means that he has good plans for you and your family and ultimately your story can end in victory and not defeat even a devotional and Scripture guide that is specifically directed at these challenging emotions that deal when shame, anger, depression, anxiety, and a study called smoke from the fire because our deepest emotions often function like fire they can indicate what is going wrong in our hearts before we can even articulate. Let's meet these difficult emotions with a renewed relationship with Jesus, full of prayer and praise will send you this 10 day devotional as an expression in length when you donate today to support this ministry in Atlanta Monday night is like you think your gift truly makes again for the snow from the fire devotional Scripture guide when you get by calling 335-2624 given online. We are not. I'm only inviting you to join us tomorrow he will challenge us to their letter. We are on a Wednesday