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Judges 20. The second appendix: The Benjamite War; Coming to know Christ fully through complete devotion.

JUDGES-20-171122
length: 65:34 - taught on Nov, 22 2017
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Title: Judges 20. The second appendix: The Benjamite War; Coming to know Christ fully through complete devotion.

 

Complete and ultimate devotion to Christ doesn't come primarily from being commanded, but from being enraptured by the beauty and profound love of Jesus. He has turned the world upside down just for you.

 

COL 1:15-20 is actually a poem written by Paul in honor of the Lord of glory. It is important to note the background of the letter. Paul was imprisoned in Rome when a man by the name of Epaphras visited Paul and shared with him the successful growth of a church in Colossae, which he had begun. He also shared with Paul the many pressures that were upon the church that tempted them to turn from the way of Christ. Paul never met the believers at Colossae, and he decided to write them a letter encouraging them to stay in the faith, and to increase even more in their walk with Christ. The first thing that comes to Paul's mind as he writes, inspired by God the Holy Spirit, is the magnificence of the person of Christ.

 

The reason we haven't seen this as a poem is because the translators haven't written it in the fashion of one.   

 

And He is the image of the invisible God,

the first-born 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 by Him and for Him.

And He is before all things,

and in Him all things hold together.

 

COL 1:15 And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation.

 

COL 1:16 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 by Him and for Him.

 

COL 1:17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

 

Jesus is shown as God, the exact image of the Father, and so in authority and ownership of all the universe (first-born - prototokos = preeminence).

 

Jesus is not created. He has the right of the firstborn or preeminence. Israel is called by God His firstborn, but this is not in reference to their creation, but their preeminence among the nations, which will be fulfilled during the Millennial reign of Christ.

 

Let's not let theological arguments over Christ's title of firstborn curb us from the beauty of the poem. This is one of the reasons Satan uses the pride of men who love to argue. We get caught up in argument and debate and we miss the whole message.

 

Jesus is the creator and He is the owner of all things. All things were created by Him, and here is the next thing of wonder. He is not only the one creating, but He is also the end result of that creation. All things were created by Him and for Him.

 

Jesus is not only the agent of creation. He is its goal. Paul conveys the biblical storyline from the beginning by Jesus and finding its termination in Jesus.

 

Poetry should be full of meaningful imagery, and Paul understands this well. We find the words: "the image of the invisible God, created, heavens, and earth," and these all take our minds back to Gen 1. But Paul wants us to see Gen 1 through the eyes of our Husband Jesus, for He is the creator in Gen 1. And when He created, He had Himself in mind as the finale or terminal. Everything He had done was for Him, but only in Him is this not egotistical. He is the alpha and omega, beginning and end. All comes to His glory. And all throughout the story, there are many sons whom He is calling to glory.

 

Jesus is the beginning and end. All ultimately comes to His glory. Throughout the story He is calling many sons to glory. Can we see that keeping any part of our lives for ourselves is nonsensical?

 

However, can we also see that in this plan for creation, is our ultimate joy.

 

Jesus has turned the world upside down. He has done everything for Himself, but this is not egotistical, but rather full of love and grace. We completely lose our lives to Him, but this is not a loss, but rather the greatest of gains; our joy will be made full. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…

 

The poor, meek, peacemakers, mourners, merciful, pure, those who hunger for righteousness do not seem to be the most blessed on the earth, but the believer in Christ who has chosen the life of being His disciple is the most blessed in the history of the earth.  

 

COL 1:15 And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation.

 

COL 1:16 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 by Him and for Him.

 

COL 1:17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

 

Creation itself was made, and you and I were made, in order to magnify the beloved Son of God. Reality is His heartbeat. While it is true, there is much evil and sin in this world, but these have all arisen from creatures who have chosen independence from Him, yet He still preserves them, He still holds their world together, He remains patient with them, for He wishes all to come to repentance.

 

Jesus brought heaven and earth together, and by His power holds them together, even as an infant in a manger in Bethlehem.

 

The first movement of the poem is Jesus as creator. The second movement is Jesus as redeemer.

 

He is also head of the body, the church;

and He is the beginning,

the first-born from the dead;

so that He Himself might come to have

first place in everything.

For it was the Father's good pleasure

for all the fulness 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.

 

COL 1:18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.

 

COL 1:19 For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him,

 

COL 1:20 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.

 

Jesus is not only the author of creation, but He is the author of the new creation, the church. He is not only the firstborn of creation but also of the resurrection. He is the rightful ruler of the age to come.

 

The Colossians were the target of Gnostic teaching that the man Jesus and the Christ were two different beings. Paul presents Him and creator and redeemer in which all the fullness dwells, in other words, nothing is missing and nothing is in conflict. He is the fullness of deity. He is the fullness of humanity. He is the fullness of creator with all divine attributes. He is the fullness of redeemer, with all the qualifications of Messiah and the willingness to offer Himself.

 

He is the end result of His own creation, and through Himself He reconciled all things, either in salvation or in judgment, through His victory on the cross.

 

In light of this wonderful poem by the apostle, is there any good reason for any of us to hold apart from Him, any part of our lives?

 

He invites each believer to know and see Him fully, and for this, we must learn, apply, strive, diligently grope, and not quit.

 

Last night, we ended with the call upon each believer to suffer for Jesus' sake. We are to suffer as He did and in this is a portion of our inheritance in Him.

 

When Paul writes to the Colossians, he is in prison, suffering for preaching that Jesus was the Lord and Messiah of all men. But rather than being shamed by this suffering, he rejoiced in it, and by saying something astounding; that he was "filling up that which is lacking in Christ's afflictions."

 

COL 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body (which is the church) in filling up that which is lacking in Christ's afflictions.

 

Afflictions is the same Greek word that is translated "tribulations" in ROM 5:3, where we were last night, "tribulation brings about perseverance, and perseverance, proven character or testability."

 

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