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Author:Rev. Stephen 't Hart
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Congregation:Free Reformed Church of Baldivis
 Baldivis, Western Australia
 frca.org.au/baldivis/
 
Title:He who made you has redeemed you
Text:Colossians 1:15-18 (View)
Occasion:Advent
Topic:God's Amazing Grace
 
Preached:2012-12-16
Added:2013-01-20
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Songs from 1984 Book of Praise
Bible version used NKJV


Psalm 19:1

Psalm 19:6

Psalm 33:1,2,3,

Hymn 15:3,4

Hymn 32:2,1

 

Read:  Colossians 1:1-2:9

Text:  Colossians 1:15-18

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Stephen 't Hart, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


Beloved congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The joy of Christmas can be summed up with words of the angel who said to the shepherds in Luke 2:10,11,

“Do not be afraid, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.”

Do not be afraid!  Do not run and hide!  Yes, you are sinful, you share in the sin and the stain of this world.  Yes, the shame that Adam and Eve felt in the garden of Eden is a shame that still accuses you today.  But do not be afraid!  For there is born to you a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.  He is the One who came to take upon Himself the sins of the whole world.  He is the One who takes upon Himself the stain and the shame of your sin and your guilt and my sin and my guilt so that in Him we might have life and have it in abundance.  As the apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 1:13,14

“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”

And that is the most wonderfully good news ever!

And so as we celebrate Christmas again this year, we may ponder the birth of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, and we may know that He who was laid in a manger was He who would later be lifted up on a cross and the laid in a tomb. And we may remember that He did this for us and for our salvation.

But is Jesus enough?  Is He all that you need?  Do you find in Him all that is necessary for your salvation?  Is He sufficient?

I still struggle with sin.

I still fall into sin.  And I am finding that the devil, the world and my own sinful flesh are stronger than I ever thought possible.

It sometimes feels as though my life is a mess, that I am about to drown in my sin and my shame and my guilt.

It sometimes feels as though Jesus Christ is a long way away and that spiritually I am not progressing as well as I should.

Is Jesus sufficient to deliver me?  Is the message of the Gospel, that whoever believes in Christ should not perish but have everlasting life, is that enough?  Can I ever hope to be delivered from this body of death?  Can I ever get rid of these chains?  Can I ever hope, to use the words of Colossians 1:10, can I ever hope to “walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God”?

Is Jesus all that I need, and is He all that I will ever need?  Or is Jesus only the beginning, the foundation, after which I need to look somewhere else to enjoy the full blessings of salvation?

I want you to think about that this morning.  I want you to think about this in the midst of the messiness of life, in the face of the sin and the shame and the guilt that sometimes threatens to overwhelm us.  And as you think about this, I want to you reflect on just who it is who was born on Christmas Day, and how a right understanding of who Jesus is can assure you of the truth that He is alone is your complete Saviour and Lord.

I preach to you the word of the Lord under the following theme:

He who made you has redeemed you.

1.    There is no other.

2.    You need no other.

1. There is no other.

The gospel promises us a lot.  It promises us that in Jesus Christ all of our sins are taken away.  It promises us that by the power of the Holy Spirit we are being made new.  It promises us that in our fight against sin we will not go down to defeat but that we will receive the strength to fight against sin and that we will finally overcome it.

But can Christ give you all of that?  Sometimes it all sounds too great, too grand.  Sometimes we wonder if we perhaps are aiming a little too high, we are striving too much.  Just look, for example, at what Paul was praying for the Colossians in chapter 1:9-12.

“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.

Did you hear those words “filled” and “fully” and “all” and “every”?  Can we hope for that?  Can we pray for that?  Can God in Christ Jesus really give those things to us?

When Paul wrote these words to the Colossian church, he knew that not everyone believed that He could.  Although they spoke well of Christ and warmly of the gospel, they did not think that Jesus Christ was sufficient for their salvation.  They basically said, “You started well with Christ but now to go deeper in your spiritual life, you need to go beyond this talk about Jesus.  To progress further in your spiritual life you need to learn about the spirit world, about angels and such.  You need to learn how to get in touch with them so that they can help you defeat the demonic forces of the spirit world.  You need to learn new teachings and new philosophies.  You need to learn how you can progress further in your spirituality through keeping certain laws and rituals about what you eat, what you touch, what you taste, what you handle.  That is the way to true religion, to true wisdom and to true spirituality.”

And sometimes we can be tempted to go along with these ideas.  Sometimes we can be tempted to think that perhaps Jesus Christ is not our complete Saviour, that He is not all there is.  And it is not only when we are proud, thinking that we are something when we are not that we might look for spiritual perfection elsewhere; it is also when we struggle and fear that we are failing to grow in faith and in godliness that we may be tempted to think that the answer to a deeper level of spirituality, to full salvation, must be found somewhere else, in a new technique, a new teaching, a new understanding of those thrones and dominions and principalities and powers.

But it is in Jesus Christ and in Him alone that we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins!  It is in Jesus Christ and in Him alone that we are raised to a new life.  When you struggle with various doubts and sins  and weaknesses, the answer is not to look somewhere else for hope and inspiration:  the answer is to go back to the Gospel, to learn once again who Jesus Christ is and how you  are redeemed in Him.  For it is when you learn who Jesus is, it is when you know who it is whom you love and serve, it is, to use the words of Colossians 1:23, “it is when you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the gospel which you heard” that you will receive not just the salvation of your souls but also the joy of walking in His ways before Him.

That is the message of our text this morning.  Not only is there no need to look for salvation or growth in your spiritual life outside of Jesus Christ but you can not, because there is no other. 

But that is ok!  For this is who our Lord Jesus Christ is:  Colossians 1:15,

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ is not just a man.  He is not just an angel or some spiritual being.  He is the image of the invisible God!  And in the context of Colossians 1, that means that He is Himself God!  He is fully and completely God, and it is in Him that the invisible God has become visible.  “No one has seen God at any time” John wrote in his gospel in chapter 1:18, but “the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”  And later in the same gospel our Lord Jesus Himself is quoted as saying,

“He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”  (John 14:9)

It is in Jesus Christ that the fullness of God is revealed to us.  In Him we see the fullness of the righteousness, goodness, wisdom and power of God.  As it says further in Colossians 2:9,

“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”

And since He is fully and truly God and since He reveals to us so perfectly the very nature of God, it would be foolish to look for God anywhere else!  And it would also be foolish to look for your redemption anywhere else.

And to underline this further, Colossians 1:16 says,

“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.  All things were created through Him and for Him.”

He made it all, He governs it all, He controls it all.  It does not matter if it is visible or invisible, in heaven or on earth:  all things were made through Him, and all things were made for Him.  It does not matter if it is a throne or dominion or principality or power: there is no power whether it is a power that comes from angels or from demons that is independent of God’s creation, and therefore there is no power that is outside of the power of Jesus Christ.  For Christ is above all powers and all created things.  Indeed He is, as Colossians 1:15 goes on further to say, “the firstborn over all creation.”  He is the supreme ruler, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. 

And Colossians 1:17 speaks further of our Creator-Redeemer saying,

“He is before all things and in Him all things consist.”

In other words, all things are held together in Him, in Jesus Christ!  There is nothing that is independent of Him.  And that is why there is no power, not even the devil himself that can take away your inheritance in the Kingdom of God.  And there is also no power outside of Christ, no angel, no spirit, no heavenly host to whom you can turn in the hope that this created thing can in any way add to the salvation that is yours in Christ Jesus.  It is in Jesus Christ alone that you have been delivered from the power of darkness and been conveyed or brought into the kingdom of Christ.

2. You need no other.

So what is the answer then, to the battle that rages within us?  What should we do when the devil, the world and your own flesh seems stronger than you ever thought possible?  What should you do when it feels as though your life is a mess, that you are about to drown in your sin and your shame and your guilt, when it feels as though spiritually you are not progressing as well as you should?

There are some who will say to you, “You have been saved from your sins, now you need to learn how to be saved from the evil forces of darkness.”  There are others who will say to you, “You have been saved from your sins, now you need to discover and follow these special techniques and tap into the power of angels or make a prayer to the Virgin Mary” or something like that.  There are others who will say to you, “Jesus put you on the right path by dying on the cross for your sin; now you need to do what you can to claim your place in His kingdom.”

But that is not the gospel!  That is not the way to remain in Christ, nor is it the way to grow in Christ!  For there is no power in heaven or on earth other than the power of Christ that can bring you into the Kingdom of God. 

But you need no other power for it is in Christ alone by the power of the Holy Spirit that you are both redeemed and made new.  Colossians 1:21-22

“And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.”

It is in Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ alone that you are presented as being holy and blameless, even above reproach to the Father.  You do not need another redeemer, you do not need another Savior, because in Jesus Christ you have all that you could ever want or ask.  For He is the head of the body, the Church.  He is the One through whom the church is redeemed and He is the one through whom the Church exists.  He is the firstborn from the dead, He has defeated sin and death and it is now in Him that we too are redeemed from the power of death and darkness so that in Him we might walk in the newness of life.

And so, as Colossians 2:10 says, “you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” 

So what then is the answer to the battle that rages within us?  What is the answer  when the devil the world and the lusts of the flesh seem to overwhelm us?  How can we grow in our spiritual journey with God? 

The answer is this:  look to Jesus Christ, to the One through whom you were both made and redeemed!  Look to Him and hold fast to your confession of who He is.  Remember that He is the image of the invisible God, that He is God revealed to us in the flesh.  Remember that that all things were made through Him, and that without Him nothing was made that was made.  Remember that He has redeemed you through His blood and that it is in Him that you have the forgiveness of sins and everlasting life.  Remember that He is using His power for the sake of His church, for you. 

And so embrace the forgiveness of sins and the renewal of life in Jesus Christ.  Be assured that in Him you are forgiven, that your sins are washed away, that there is therefore no more condemnation.  And then, since you have died and your life is now hid with God, look to Jesus Christ, Your Savior and your Lord and set your mind on the things that are above, growing in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.  And as you grow in Him, and as you rejoice in Him as your Savior and your Lord, pray for His grace and the Holy Spirit, that you might continue in the hope of the gospel, growing in the Lord Jesus Christ.  And He will hear you.  And He will bless you.  And as you grow in Him and live for Him, you will change and you will put to death your old nature more and more and you will reflect the One who is your head, your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  And then, finding your life in Jesus Christ and praying for and receiving the blessing of God’s Holy Spirit, do what it says in  Colossians 2:6,7,

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

Our sin is great and our shame is great.  But do not be afraid!  Do not run and hide!  Yes, you are sinful, you share in the sin and the stain of this world.  But the more you see your sin and the more you hate it, look to Jesus, the One who came to save us from our sins. For there is born to you a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.  He is the One who came to take upon Himself the sins of the whole world.  He is the One who takes upon Himself the stain and the shame of your sin and your guilt and my sin and my guilt so that in Him we might have life and have it in abundance. 

And He has all power over all things in heaven and on earth and under the earth.  And He shall use that power to reconcile all things to Himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

“For unto us a Child is born, to us a Son is given,

and on His shoulders He shall bear all power in earth and heaven.”

And therefore hold on to the sure promise that Jesus Christ is all that you need and all that you will ever need.  He who made you has redeemed you and He will hold on to you and mould you and shape you to be more and more like His glorious image until the day when He makes all things new, and we shall be with Him forever and ever.  Amen.




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Stephen 't Hart, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright 2012, Rev. Stephen 't Hart

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