The Fullness of Christ

The Fullness of Christ

Home Church Service 7/3/2021

These sermons began as devotionals for my family as we met during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. We have now begun to include our friends and the devotional has now become a full sermon. We are also recording our service and will begin posting those videos in the near future.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 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. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established 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.         

                                                                             Colossians 1:15-23 (NASB)

Today we begin a new series in the book of Colossians. This series will examine the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ, as Paul writes to the remind the church at Colossae. This church was located 100 miles east of Ephesus near Laodicea and Hierapolis; it was an ancient but declining commercial center. Epaphras played a major role in helping to evangelize the area and in the growth of the church in general.

This is a young church with a young faith and like many who are young in their faith, false teaching has begun to creep into the church and the individual lives of its members. In our passage today, Paul addresses The Fullness of Christ and what this means for these young believers and for those who read his words today.

In The Fullness of Christ, we see the invisible God, who created the heavens and the earth, the visible and the invisible. He is the head of the body, the church, the beginning as the firstborn of the dead. We are reconciled to God through His blood, though we were once alienated, hostile in mind and doing evil deeds. Now we are reconciled through the death of His fleshly body made blameless and holy, in the hope of the gospel message.

In The Fullness of Christ, we see God the Father, creator of all things, things seen and unseen. He is the head of His church, the first to be raised from the dead. We have peace with God, through His shed blood, though we were once enemies of God, filled with evil thoughts and doing evil things. By His death we now have peace, made holy before God as we stand firm in our faith.

In this message, we seek to answer the question, “What does The Fullness of Christ mean for the life of a believer?”

For the faithful believer, The Fullness of Christ means He is the beginning, creator of all things and the One who is proclaimed to all creation under heaven.

1). We must first understand that for the faithful believer, The Fullness of Christ means He takes first place in all things.

All things have been created by Him and for Him, He is before all things and hold all things together.

As Christians it is easy to forget that Paul did not write this letter to be studied for its theological content or to be interpreted in a commentary. This is a personal correspondence to a young, struggling church – both the church and its individual members find themselves struggling against false teaching. This letter was meant to be read aloud as part of their worship service.

It seems as if Paul knows the Colossians are not willfully unfaithful, they are young and struggling, their convictions are immature and still being developed. The church at Colossae is facing a challenge – Christians who seem ready to deny the sufficiency of Christ to meet their spiritual needs and thus to deny the supremacy of Christ, to which they have already committed. Paul drives home this point, that Christ is the supreme Lord and thus He is a sufficient Savior. Paul urges the young church, and those who read his words today, to remember who Christ is!

Paul begins with a reminder that the whole of creation – in time and space – owes its very existence to Christ. Paul begins with an image – Jesus is the image of the invisible God. The Greek word here indicates an exact representation and revelation. The writer of Hebrews affirms this in stating, “And He is the…exact representation of His nature.” In His essence, God the Father is invisible, but Jesus has revealed the Father to us. Nature reveals the existence, the power and the wisdom of God but nature cannot reveal the essence of God. This can only be done through Christ Jesus.

Jesus is the true origin of the created order; He sustains it and without Him it has no ultimate meaning. Whatever aspect of nature you might care to think about or examine, Christ is the all-sufficient answer. Paul uses the term “firstborn” meaning that Jesus is of first importance of first rank. Said another way, Jesus is first place in everything. In saying the “firstborn of creation,” Paul means prior to all creation, for Christ is not created. He is eternal God.

We first read that all things were created by Christ in John 1, this includes all things in heaven and on earth, the seen and the unseen. Paul has added emphasis by using the word “For” which can also be translated “because.” Jesus is the firstborn of all creation BECAUSE by Him all things were created. When it comes to the created order, Jesus is the primary cause – He planned it; Jesus is the instrumental cause – He produced it; and Jesus is the final cause – he did this for His own pleasure. This means that God’s creation, even under bondage to sin, can be used for God’s glory and enjoyed by His people.

This also means that Jesus is the head of the church. Without the head the body cannot exist. Without Christ, the Head, the church, the body, cannot exist and without the church, the life of Christ cannot be known or exist. It is so very true that the church draws its life, its very existence, from Christ. Christ establishes the plans for the church; He directs and guides the church; He arouses and activates the church; and He inspires and drives the church. The body, the church, does nothing without the Head, it is nothing without Christ!

This means the church, first as a whole and then as individual members, are totally dependent upon the Head, Jesus Christ. The church and its individual members find their purpose, meaning and significance in Christ Jesus. Therefore, the church, and its individual members, must learn more and more to acknowledge and honor our Head, Jesus Christ. We must look, collectively, to th Head for our plans, guidance and motivation.

For the faithful believer, The Fullness of Christ means He is the beginning, creator of all things and the One who is proclaimed to all creation under heaven.

2). Secondly, we must then understand that for the faithful believer, The Fullness of Christ means He has brought us peace with the Father.

Once we were enemies with God, filled with evil thoughts and doing evil things.

Paul now flips the script on the false teachers by using one of their own terms when he says the “fullness” dwells in Christ. Fullness is the Greek word pleroma (play-RO-ma), a technical term which means “the sum total of all the divine power and attributes.” In addition, Paul used a form of the Greek verb dwell meaning “to be at home permanently.” This means that the fullness of Christ was not something that was added to His being, something not natural, but rather it means it is an essential part of His being, something that is permanent.

That the fullness dwelling in Christ pleases the Father is proof that Jesus is God, for God would not give His pleroma to a created being, thus as God, Jesus is able to do what no mere man could ever do – reconcile sinful people to a holy God. When people sin, they declare war on God, but God does not declare war on them, contrary to what so many believe. The natural mind of unsaved people is at war with God. Those who continue in sin may be sincere, even religious and moral, but they remain at war with God.

So how can sinful people ever hope to be reconciled to a holy God? Does God somehow lower His standards? Maybe God closes His eyes or turns His head? Does God strike a compromise? “If you do this God, I will do this…” The answer of course is no! God must remain consistent and thus, follow His own holy Law. So, does this mean it falls on us? Must we try and do something that pleases God? By our nature we are separated from God; by our deeds we are alienated from God as sinners. There is nothing we can do – EVER – to save ourselves! So, now what?

If there is to be peace between a holy God and sinful people, it must come from God. Reconciliation, peace, is found only in and through Jesus Christ, where the fullness of God is permanently at home. In the beginning God created all things through Christ, in the end God will reconcile, make peace, with all things, things in heaven and on earth, through His Christ. Thus, reconciliation with God does not depend on human accomplishments but rather on human acceptance.

This peace comes by the completed work of Jesus, by His shed blood, on His cross. It is available for the entire created order; however, this universal reconciliation does not mean universal salvation. Sinful people must still accept this free gift, available only through genuine repentance, that is turning from our hostile, evil thought filled minds and the doing of evil deeds and turning towards Christ Jesus, being washed and purified by His sacrificial death and His precious blood.

The blood of Christ changes everything. Paul reminds us of what we once were – alienated from God. This means we were estranged from God, separated from His spiritual blessings. Gentile Christians in Colossae were estranged from God not just because they were Gentiles, but also because of their sinful practices and attitudes. This remains true even today. Just because sinful people were not given the divine Law like Israel, does not mean they are exempt, in fact, there is no excuse because the truth about God is seen through creation and conscience. No one can plead ignorance before God.

What changes when a person comes to Christ? Well, in a word…everything! First, we must remember that people do not reconcile themselves with God. God reconciles Himself to people, through His own initiative in His love and grace, God sent His Son to die on the cross that sinful people might have peace with God. Second, we must remember that Christ was fully human, and it is through the death of His fleshly body that we have peace with God.

The sinful person then moves from a hostile mind, filed with evil thoughts and doing evil deeds to having personal holiness. This is important – God doesn’t make peace to allow us to continue to be rebels! He made peace with us that we might share His life and His holiness, thus we are holy and blameless, beyond reproach. The person who comes to Christ and accepts His work on the cross moves from sinner to saint – set apart and devoted to God; they move from a hostile mind to blameless – to be without blemish; sinful people move from doing evil deeds to being above reproach – to being free from accusation.

For the faithful believer, The Fullness of Christ means He is the beginning, creator of all things and the One who is proclaimed to all creation under heaven.

In this new series from the book of Colossians we are examining the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ. The church at Colossae was a young church with still developing convictions and like many young believers they were facing a challenge.

In our passage today, Paul examined The Fullness of Christ and what it meant for the young believers then and for those who read his words today. Paul reminds them, and us, to remember who Christ is!

What must we do now? First, if you have not yet accepted the free gift of Christ by His completed work on the cross – now is the time. Repent and confess you are a sinner in need of a Savior. Turn from your sinful ways and fully face Jesus and run to Him. If you know someone who professes Christ, ask them to help you as you turn from your former life, and trust me, you will need help. Find a solid biblical church and meet with others who claim the name of Jesus.

If you do know Christ and have accepted His free gift by the work completed on the cross, there are things for you to do as well. First, ask yourself if Christ is first in everything, including and most importantly, in your life. The you must remember that Jesus has taken care of all things. All things, in heaven and on earth, have been created by Him and for Him. He existed before all things, and He holds all things together. Through His completed work on the cross, He alone has brought peace for all things – in heaven and on earth.

Now, remember that you need Jesus and Jesus is all you need! In Christ we have the fullness of God and in Christ we are fully filled – complete in Him. There is nothing we can or need to add to the person or work of Jesus Christ. He must have the highest place of honor in your life! Which leads us to the final thing you must remember. God is pleased when His Son is honored and given preeminence – the highest place of honor in your life. You cannot tell others you are a Christian and ignore or deny Jesus, it just doesn’t work that way. If you do not honor the Son, you cannot honor the Father. Is Jesus preeminent in your life?

We do all things for the glory of God through Christ our Lord.

Amen and Amen.

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