Christ the King
Christ the King Sunday
Christ the King
1. Who he is
2. What he does
3. Who we are
4. What we do
Text: Colossians 1:13-20
Who is Jesus Christ? “Uh. Silly question, Pastor! We are at church right now. We’re at Christ the King Church right now. Come on!” But really. Who is Jesus Christ? We talk about him a lot. As Christians we base our whole faith on Christ. It’s kind of important to know who Jesus Christ is.
Most people in this world know about Jesus. Many people in this world talk about Jesus. There are cross earrings and necklaces all over the place. There are Christian bookstores and publishing houses. There are Christian magazines. Even Time magazine has had Jesus on the cover. Men roll up their sleeves to show a cross and/or crown of thorns tattoo on the arm. Women show the little cross tattoo on their shoulder blades or ankles. There are Jesus and cross bumper stickers. There are “What Would Jesus Do?” bracelets. There are “Jesus is my homeboy” tee shirts. Jesus pictures and artwork. Jesus coffee mugs. There was even a Saturday Night Live skit with Tim Tebow having a conversation in the locker room with Jesus.
But who is Jesus Christ? Muslims call Jesus a great prophet, but not as good as Mohammed. Jews call Jesus a great teacher, but not the Messiah. Many Americans use his name like a curse word, shouting it when something bad happens. Some Christians think of Jesus like a lucky rabbit’s foot—they pull him out when they need him and hopefully he’ll make something good happen. Similarly, other Christians view Jesus simply as a best friend or a guardian angel—if you commit your life to him enough he’ll make your life happy and easy. And many, many others who don’t have an opinion about Jesus Christ might admit they simply aren’t sure—but they know he’s important.
If you want to know who Jesus Christ really is and what he has done, there is hardly a better or clearer place to look in all of the Bible than the book of Colossians. The eight verses before us today from the first chapter of Colossians are a beautiful description of him on this glorious day to help us better understand Christ the King.
The Colossian Christians battled a lot of controversy and false teachings that are common still today. There were people who thought wisdom and knowledge were greater than Christ. There were people who thought that Jesus was just another person. Maybe he had some divine qualities, but otherwise he wasn’t that special. Many think the same today.
But the apostle Paul sets the record straight. Look at his thorough description of Jesus Christ starting at verse 15. We’ll explore one phrase at a time.
“He is the image of the invisible God.” This word image is a word that means an exact duplicate or copy. It’s like a president’s image impressed on a coin. It’s like a sculptor making an exact replication statue. When you think of Jesus, Paul says, you should think of and see an exact duplicate or copy of the invisible God. Anything God can do, Jesus can do. Any and every quality or characteristic God has, Jesus has too. He is the exact replication of God because he is God.
Next, he is, “the firstborn over all creation.” Some read that phrase and say, “Aha! God created Jesus! He was the first being God made.” But that is most certainly not what this is saying. It says Jesus was first born not created. When you read Genesis, what does it say about everything in the beginning, including Adam and Eve? It says God created them. It does not say they were born of God. When God creates something the Bible uses the word create. Here it says first born.
Think of it this way. When was Jesus born with human flesh? Two thousand years ago to Mary. But how many other times has God been born with human flesh? None. That means Jesus was the first and only born of God. This is simply a phrase of honor for Jesus. It does not mean that he was made first and then the rest of creation. It means he is the one and only Son who rules over all creation.
That might confuse some though. Did Jesus not exist then until he was born of Mary? Not at all. My rule of thumb I tell people is: If you aren’t sure about something in Scripture, KEEP READING! We’ll do just that.
Verse 16: “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.” Here it tells us that Jesus always existed because he created all things. In the Bible the word create means “to make out of nothing.” In the Bible the word create is also used only with God because only God can make something out of nothing. Well here it says that Jesus created all things. Everything big and small from the huge planets to small little plants, from angels to humans, from rulers to authorities—everything was created by Jesus and for Jesus to rule over. So if the Bible only uses the word create with God, and if it says that Jesus created all things here—then Jesus must be God!
If that still isn’t clear enough, Paul continues, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” There is only one who is eternal—who existed before anything and everything. There is only one who holds everything together, without whom this entire universe would fall apart. God is the obvious answer because only God is so great and so powerful that he would be eternal and hold the universe in his hands. And here it says that these are the very things that Jesus Christ does.
So far we have heard that Jesus is the exact image and duplicate of God. He has the honorary status as the Son of God who rules over all creation because he created everything, he existed before everything, and he holds everything together. Now we hear about another role Jesus Christ has in verse 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.” Jesus is also supreme because he is the head and leader of the church, the body of believers throughout he world. Why is he the leader of all believers? Because he conquered death and hell. He is the firstborn from among the dead.
Note: Just as the word firstborn before obviously didn’t mean first-created, so here the word firstborn obviously doesn’t and can’t mean first-created. Just as he was the first person of God to take on human flesh, so he was the first to rise from the dead on his own. And as he was the first to rise from the dead, so we after him will now rise to life from the dead. He was first, then we are next.
How is this possible, you ask? How could this man, Jesus Christ who died, possibly be so great and powerful? If you aren’t sure about something—KEEP READING.
Verse 19: “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him.” We look at the humble side of Jesus in human flesh and he looks like an ordinary man. Yet this is the mystery of Jesus Christ. All the fullness of God—every single bit of who God is and what God does—was dwelling in that human flesh. In other words, Jesus Christ is true God and true man in one being.
Today is Christ the King Sunday. We are gathered here to worship, praise, and honor Jesus Christ as King. Why would we do that? Look at who he is! He is the exact image and replica of God, because he is God. He is the one and only Son who took on human flesh and now rules over creation. But he is the very God who created all things, who was before all things, and who holds all things together. He is the victor over death and hell, the head and leader of all believers. He has all supremacy over all things because he is the God-Man, true man and true God because all the fullness of God dwells in him.
OK. Stop. Take a breath. Let your mind take a break for a moment. If you are like me, if you think about this long and hard enough you fear that your head might explode. We read these words and we quickly realize the supremacy of Jesus Christ. He’s more than a good man or a good example. He’s more than a great prophet. He’s more than a lucky charm or sales ploy for tee shirts and earrings. Christ the King is my God and my Lord. And if that leaves you with a huge, “WOW!” in your heart, just wait till you read what he has done!
Go back to verses 13 and 14: “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.” This is another way that we are much different than Jesus Christ, and another way we know that Jesus Christ was not created by God. You see, God’s creation needed rescuing.
When God first made everything, his creation was good and perfect. But quickly his creation became imperfect when Adam and Eve ruined it by sin. Ever since them, every human being has been born into darkness. We have darkness in our hearts, called sin, and we are separated from the true light of God.
Just think about Jesus—the image of the invisible God, the creator and ruler of all things, the fullness of God dwelling in him. Now compare that to our own lives. Our daily lives are filled with vulgarities, impurity, lies, lusts, exaggerations, doubts, worries. Everything about our lives screams, “Imperfect! Sinner!” And there is no way an imperfect sinner could ever dwell with God. We need rescuing.
That’s why Jesus Christ was born and took on flesh in the first place. He came to rescue us from the dominion of darkness and to bring us back into his kingdom. It is in Jesus Christ that we have redemption. In him we have been bought back and paid for. In him we have all of our sins forgiven.
How is that possible? How could this man Jesus Christ pay for all of our sins? It’s because he’s not just a man! That’s why Paul continues in those next verses we already read to explain that Jesus is also true God. So he concludes then by describing what Jesus has done—how he redeemed us and forgave us.
Verse 20: “And through him to reconcile all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” There is separation between a holy God and unholy sinners. More than separation even—there is anger and wrath from a holy God against unholy sinners. But Jesus Christ reconciled us. He made us on good terms with God again. How? He made peace through his blood which he shed on the cross.
The proof continues! If I died for your sins, I wouldn’t do you any good. If a semi-god died for your sins, it wouldn’t do you any good. We needed God himself to take our place. God demands that we be perfect and holy. We couldn’t do that. But God can. So Jesus Christ, true God, came to live perfectly for us. God also demands that if we sin we pay for those sins with death and hell. But we can’t pay for our sins either. But God can. So Jesus Christ, true God, came to shed his blood as the one sacrifice to pay for all sins. If Jesus wasn’t true man and true God, then we wouldn’t have a perfect substitute and we wouldn’t have a perfect sacrifice for sin.
Today is Christ the King Sunday. We are gathered here to worship, praise, and honor Jesus Christ as King. Why would we do that? Look at who he is and look at what he does. He is true man and true God in one person who came to live and die for us. He rescues us from the dominion of darkness and gives us peace with God through his blood shed on the cross. Again, that leaves us with a huge, “WOW!” in our hearts of thanks and praise!
There is probably only one other person who knows this following story—my wife. When I was graduated from the Seminary I was assigned to start a new mission church in Palm Coast, FL. We had nothing but six other adults here in Palm Coast interested in starting a church. Many of you know that part of the story.
From the minute my name was called and assigned to this mission, my mind started racing. How are we going to start? What are we going to do? Where are we going to worship? What should we call ourselves? The two months before we moved here were filled with restless nights.
One night I was lying awake in bed again. I was thinking about all the different church names I had seen in our church body or of other churches in Florida. I was thinking about all the neat Sundays of the church year that we might have a grand opening event. It suddenly struck me: What if we named our congregation Christ the King and opened with a huge service on Christ the King Sunday?
On July 13, 2007 we had our first meeting in my living room. We met each other and had a little devotion and strategized a bit. Then we voted on a name for our church. There was a huge list of ideas. We narrowed it down. It came down to Lamb of God Lutheran Church or Christ the King Lutheran Church. I didn’t tell anyone about my idea because I didn’t want to sway the vote. But sure enough, the group voted for Christ the King. Eighty-three days later we had our grand opening to the public on November 4, 2007—Christ the King Sunday.
Here we are six years later on Christ the King Sunday. We’re still named Christ the King. It’s still a big day of the church year. So what?
Well on a day that we spend talking so much about who Jesus Christ is and what he has done, it is good to remember who we are and what we do.
That original group in my living room wanted a church name that stood for something—something that was powerful and strong and conveyed a message. It still does. We may be much larger now, but we are still a family of believers that is focused on thing and one person—Jesus Christ our King and Savior. We have tons of activities and events. Our kids carnival that had 176 people attend on opening weekend in 2007 had 4,500 people attend this year. We have a school now. One that as of December 2 will have an enrollment of 242 students. But with all the extra facilities and staff and programs, who we are and what we do at Christ the King has not changed.
We are still sinners completely unworthy of our holy God. But we are sinners for whom Jesus Christ shed his holy blood to rescue us from darkness, to forgive all our sins, and to give us peace with God now and forever. And though we are much bigger with many more people and programs, we are still God’s redeemed children who want to glorify him and serve him and thank him in everything we do. We simply have more ways to do it now!
A lot of things have changed over the years at Christ the King Church and School. But there is one thing that has never changed. We honor, serve, worship, and praise Christ the King. And while a lot of things have changed over the years for all of God’s people, there is one person who has never ever changed. Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ has never changed and will never change because he is the exact image of God. Jesus Christ is God’s one Son who rules over all. Jesus Christ created all, was before all, and holds all together. Jesus Christ is our head and our lead because Jesus Christ has the fullness of God dwelling in him. Jesus Christ is our Savior. Jesus Christ is our God. Jesus Christ is our King. Now and forever.
Posted on November 24, 2013, in Church, Sermons and tagged Christ, Church, Colossians, Colossians 1, God Man, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Jesus is God, Jesus' Divinity, Jews, Judaism, Muslims, Sermons, Tim Tebow, True God, True Man. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.