[SW396] 9/21/2019 message notes by
Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019
“Who Is Jesus?”
Text: Colossians 1:13-23, etc.
The church is flooded with many strange teachings about who Jesus is. But rather than refute the vast number of such teachings, the Lord has asked me to use the Word of God to show today’s believers who He is.
It was the same in Colossae, in the days of the Apostle Paul, for many strange teachings regarding Jesus were flooding the church there. Jesus Christ’s identity was being misrepresented by false teachers. But Paul did not immediately begin to refute the false teachers.
First, in Colossians 1:9-11, Paul prayed for the straying believers in Colossae to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Why? When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you can discern the true from the false.
After Paul prayed for the believers at Colossae to be filled with the Spirit, he reminded them of who Jesus is and what He has done. So, first he prayed for them to be filled, so they would be able to discern false teaching. Then he told them the truth.
Verses 13-14 —
For He (God the Father) rescued us from the domain (power) of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son (Jesus), in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
So, Jesus is God the Son. He is not like you. He was not sent here to find out what it was like to be human, so He could understand you better. He was sent to rescue you from the rule of darkness.
God the Father rescued us from the rule of darkness —inferring evil control — and brought you into the kingdom of God the Son. Since Adam fell, every human being is born into the rule of darkness and needs to be rescued by God the Father, through God the Son.
We who are saved have been rescued from evil control. We who were walking in darkness saw a great, never-before-seen light — Jesus Christ! God removed us from the rule of darkness, and brought us into the kingdom of Jesus, His beloved Son.
God the Son is King over His kingdom. Therefore, we who have believed into Jesus Christ have become members of the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ says His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). It is the kingdom of heaven.
So, He is King, and we who have believed into Him are His subjects — we are His servants. The servant of the King does not command the King regarding what the servant wants the King to do. But the King commands the servant regarding what the King wants the servant to do. And the King provides for the needs of the servant, without the servant having to ask.
Therefore, those who believe into Jesus Christ humbly approach Him, as His servants. We make no demands. We humbly pray for Him to act, and leave our prayers at His feet, trusting Him. And we obey all of His commands, when we are filled with His Spirit. Jesus says He who loves Him obeys Him, and if you disobey Him, you do not love Him (See John 14:23-24.)
Verse 15 —
(Jesus Christ) who is the image of the invisible God the firstborn of all creation.
When Paul speaks of Jesus as the firstborn, He is the only begotten Son of the Father, born by the Spirit, not by man.
So, Jesus was not born the way you and I are born. Mary was made pregnant with Jesus when the Spirit of the Lord came upon her in a completely holy way.
And He cannot be compared with the firstborn of a human family — that is, He is not the first child of God. He has eternally existed (John 1:1).
He fully dwelled in a real human body while He walked the earth. He was not a ghost, but a person who was alive as you and I are alive, but at the same time, He was and is also fully God.
When Jesus’ disciple, Philip, asked Jesus to show the disciples, the Father, Jesus said —
John 14:9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”
So, Jesus is the exact image of the invisible God. He is not in any way like you and me. He is exactly like His Father.
And when you see Jesus, you are able to see all of God’s characteristics — His nature — because Jesus is God the Son. The Father and the Son are both God, both parts of the whole Godhead of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
And when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son come and indwell you fully and permanently (John 14:23). Then others are able to see the characteristics — the nature — of God through you, because God fully indwells you. You are not God, but the Godhead dwells in you, and you therefore have become a partaker of His divine nature (2Peter 1:4).
Verses 16-17 —
For by Him (Jesus Christ was the instrument), all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authority — all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
The Spirit-inspired writer of Hebrews says —
Hebrews 1:1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions (times) and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.
3 And He (the Son) is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.
So, not only did God the Father appoint His Son to be heir of all things, but it was through Jesus Christ that God made the world. God was the Designer, and Jesus was the Creator.
So, Jesus was never a created being. He is the Creator who has eternally existed (again, John 1:1). He is before all things, having existed before anything was created.
He is the Creator who the Father appointed. He was the instrument God the Father used to create all things (John 1:3), in the heavens and on earth— the heaven where God dwells has eternally existed, but Jesus Christ created everything between here and there.
He created both visible and invisible things. He created those who rule, be they evil or good rulers. Even Satan is a created being. He created you.
So through Jesus, all things have been created. And they have been created for Jesus. He is heir to all that has been created. It belongs to Him.
Therefore, you are the creature (the one He created) and He is the Creator. If you worship the creature (the god of self), instead of the Creator, God will give you over to the lusts of your sin nature, and you will perish (see Romans 1:25-27).
And you cannot create, because you are not the Creator. You cannot cause things to come into existence by your words, even if you use scriptures when you try to do so. There is just one Creator, Jesus Christ. He is the only One whom God the Father has ever appointed to create.
Jesus is the exact manifestation of God the Father, the express image of His person, that is, His character, His nature. He has the Father’s glory (character, nature).
Jesus Christ is not like you. He does not have your human nature. He has His Father’s nature.
Therefore, you cannot attach human qualities and frailties and sins to Him, nor can you give Him a human personality. He is not — nor was He ever — human, but has always been fully God, even when He walked the earth in a human body. And He was, and always has been, sinless.
And Jesus holds everything together by His miracle-working command. So, the earth remains whole, you remain whole, and I remain whole, just as Jesus spoke all of creation, including you and me, into existence.
Atoms do not fly apart because Jesus holds them together by His command. I do not fly apart because Jesus holds me together by His command. It is the same for you.
So, Jesus Christ’s power not only creates, but holds creation together. Humans do not have His power to create. But when we are filled with His Holy Spirit, He gives us power over the sin nature that snaps up every temptation of Satan. And He gives us the power to work miracles — when He commands us to do so. Because we are servants and not kings, we await His command.
He is equal with God the Father, but He subjects Himself to His Father. His Father has authority over Him, even though Jesus is equal to Him. And at the end of things, will turn His kingdom over to His Father (1Corinthians 15:23). All believers must submit themselves to God the Father and God the Son, for they are servants.
Verse 18 —
He is also head of the body, the church, and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
There is only one head for a human body. A headless body cannot remain alive. If Christ is not the head of a particular church, that church is spiritually dead. It is by Jesus Christ, and by obedience to His commands and words alone, that the Body can live. If the Body departs from His commands and His words, it cannot remain spiritually alive.
There is only One who is the Head of the church, which is the Body of Christ There is only One who is your King. Therefore, no man or woman can be head of the church.
It is scriptural for the church to have Christ-appointed apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11). But they must be under Christ’s rule. False teachers are self-appointed, are not under His rule, and mislead His church. Thus, much of the church is spiritually dead.
Jesus Christ is also the beginning (literally, corner, that is, cornerstone). He is the cornerstone of the church, upon which the church is built and without which it has no ability to support itself. If the Cornerstone is taken away, the building will fall. Jesus said to the Jews who were rejecting Him —
Matthew 21:42 Jesus saith unto them, “Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner (cornerstone): this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?”
He is also the firstborn from the dead — the first One to rise from the dead, never to die again. Being the first One means there are to be others, after Him, who rise from the dead at some point.
The others who will rise from the dead are those who love and obey Him. Their spirits will immediately rise to Him when their bodies die. Being absent from the body means your body has died. But then you are then at home with the Lord (2Corinthians 5:8). And at the end of things, obedient believers’ bodies will rise (1Thessalonians 4:16-17).
Jesus Christ has preeminence in everything. Every believer is subject to Him, and is His servant. If they are not His obedient servants, obeying His every command, then they are not His (see 1John 2:4).
Verse 19 —
For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him.
Jesus Christ was fully God when He walked the earth. He did not need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
But for our sakes, that we may see His Father’s perfectly right and wonderful plan for His church, Jesus told John the Baptist to baptize Him in water. When He came up, the Holy Spirit rested upon Him permanently. (See Matthew 3:13-17.)
So, God the Father and God the Son showed believers a picture of what Jesus Christ commands His church to do — be baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire (Matthew 3:11, Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5).
If those in the church do not obey His command to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, they do not love Him (John 14:24). Again, those who love Him obey Him. Those who do not love Him do not obey Him (John 14:15, 23-24).
Verse 20 —
And (it was the Father’s good pleasure) through Him, to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him (to reconcile), I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven (literally, the heavens).
Through God the Son, Jesus Christ, the Father was pleased to reconcile all things to Himself — things on earth or things in the heavens. It required Jesus Christ’s death on a cross (Isaiah 53:5, 10). He endured the punishment you and I deserved, for our sin.
Reconciling “all things” does not mean that eventually everything will be brought into a saving relationship with God, even if they do not believe into Jesus Christ. The scriptures are clear that salvation comes only by believing into Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ spoke of sinners as going away into “eternal punishment” (see Matthew 25:46). So, reconciling “all things” refers to the creation of new heavens and the new earth, free of sin, as described in Revelation 21:1.
So, Jesus Christ did not come to the earth to learn what it was like to be us. He did show us the Father while He was here, because He was His Father’s exact representation.
His assignment was this — He was sent by His Father to be the Reconciler that you must believe into, in order to have peace with God. That peace was accomplished through the blood of Jesus Christ, on the cross. “Believing into” means you pass out of death and into life, through the Door which is Christ (John 5:24, John 10:9). Thus, you enter into life.
Verse 21-23 —
And though you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind (heart), engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him (Jesus Christ) holy and blameless (spotless and beyond reproach (unable to be accused, blameless). But there is a condition for your salvation.
Paul continues, saying you are presented to Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach if indeed you continue (abide) in the faith, firmly established (the foundation of your faith firmly laid) and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, “and of which I Paul, was made a minister.”
So, all humans were alienated (estranged, separated) and actively enemies of God in mind (heart), by the evil works they did, yet He has now fully reconciled those who believe into Him and obey Him. How did He accomplish this full reconciliation between God and mankind? It was done by the offering of His physical body, on a cross.
Why was it done? So He could present you before Himself holy and spotless and blameless. But there is an “if.”
He will present you to Himself holy and blameless and spotless if you continue (abide, stay) in the faith. “The faith” means complete assurance and reliance upon the truth — that you are saved only by believing into Christ alone, not by good deeds that you do. And staying in the faith means that you obey Him.
He will present you to Himself holy and blameless if you remain on the immovable rock of obedience to His words. If you obey His words completely, you will stand firm against all winds and storms of false doctrine. (See Matthew 7:24-25.)
So, salvation is conditional, because there is an “if.” Many will say that it is impossible to be holy and spotless and blameless. It is true that it is impossible for anyone to make themselves holy and spotless and blameless.
So, it is not true that when you are saved, you always remain saved. You remain saved if you do as the Spirit-inspired Paul has written.
But how can you be made holy and blameless and spotless? In Ephesians 5:26, Paul writes that Jesus will sanctify you and make you holy and spotless and blameless, and by sanctifying you, He will make you glorious (filled with His kabod, His glory, His weighty presence).
To sanctify is to set apart. All believers are set apart from the world when they believe. But they are not yet holy and spotless and blameless because they are not yet filled with the Holy Spirit. I speak from my own experience and my observation of the words and actions of infants in Christ (1Corinthians 3:1) who are not yet filled with the Holy Spirit.
So, it is when you obey Jesus Christ’s command to stay and wait for the baptism of the Holy Spirit that you become holy and spotless and blameless. Peter testifies that when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, your heart is instantly purified (Acts 15:9), and Paul testifies that the sin nature is crucified (Galatians 5:24).
God does not dwell where there is sin. He dwells in hearts that have been made holy and spotless and blameless. He dwells in hearts that no longer have a sin nature, but have His divine nature (2Peter 1:4).
This truth has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven. And like Paul, the Lord has made me a minister of this truth. He has made me a servant who runs with His good news, on the beautiful feet that He has given me (Isaiah 52:7).
The question is this — will you believe the Word of God? Will you cast away all of the false teaching you have heard about Jesus? Will you obey Him by asking your Father in heaven to fill you with His Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13)? Will you obey Jesus’ command to stay and wait until it is done?
If you will obey Him, you will become what you have been called to become — His witness here, a living representation of the living Christ and the living Father.
Then you will be equipped to serve Him. I have been called to equip you, but I cannot equip you if you refuse to see that you have been listening to the false teachers who have flooded the church.
Lord Jesus, may all who call themselves Yours see and hear and heed this clear representation of who You are. Let it be so, I pray. Amen.