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Discovering Who Jesus Is, Part 1

From the series Trusting Jesus No Matter What

What’s the toughest, most painful circumstance you’re facing right now? In this program, Chip will tell us how we can overcome it, as he picks up in his series, Trusting Jesus No Matter What. Discover the steps to building an unshakeable faith that begins with getting a more accurate picture of the object of our faith, which is Jesus.

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Message Transcript

You know, trusting Jesus when everything is great, it’s not too difficult. Trusting Jesus is difficult when circumstances or relationships are really, really hard and either you don’t know what to do or you know what? Trusting God looks like this but, boy, the implications or who you might disappoint or the cost is really high.

You know, I love a quote by Francis Chan I read recently. He said, “Our greatest fear should not be that we fail.” He said, “Our greatest fear should be that we might be successful at things that are a complete waste of time.”

In other words what he’s saying is it’s so easy to be successful or to cop out or not trust God in order to be, like, “Hey, I want this to happen,” only to realize that’s not very important. At the end of the day, walking with God, trusting Jesus means we have to have a clear, high, accurate picture of who He is.

And so, let me just ask you, right now, what relationship or circumstance is the biggest challenge in your life? Maybe you’re not ready to think about that too deeply, but right now, what is the biggest challenge that you’re facing?

And then the second question is: what is your best sense of what Jesus is saying, “This is what it looks like to trust Me in this relationship or in your finances or at work or stepping up and speaking the truth in love,” or to do what He has called you to do, to take the next step to minister to someone. I don’t know what it is, but I want you to really think about that.

And then the other thing I want you to ponder is: where is it possible that the enemy is casting doubt? Where is it maybe that you sort of sense that Jesus doesn’t have your best interest at heart? That He’s not going to come through. Or He’s not really good or He doesn’t have a good plan and you better hang on to this one and do it yourself.

See, those doubts, they begin to erode our faith. And so, that’s why it’s so important. And this is what this whole series is about. An unshakable faith is not about how much you have, it’s about a clear, crystal clear object of our faith, seeing Jesus for who He is.

And so, what I want to suggest is that as we go into the epistles and we are going to look at Colossians chapter 1, if there’s any way you can pull that out right now, either Bible or on your phone to follow along, it’ll really help.

But in Colossians chapter 1, we are going to get perhaps the absolute clearest picture of who Jesus is and what He has done.

Yes, the gospels were wonderful and fantastic and they have the stories and His heart, His compassion, and His miracles – awesome.

Now we are going to get thirty years later, the Apostle Paul, led by the Spirit of God is helping us see, he is going to write to a church to correct a problem, because what has happened is some false teachers have come and they are now mixing a little Judaism over here and a little mystic thinking over here and a little Eastern religion. And they didn’t get rid of Jesus, they just said He’s not God, He’s not all that important, and we have sort of the secret sauce. We know like no one else, we have this higher knowledge.

And so, it began to take people off into, are you ready for this? Spirituality. Does that sound familiar? I’m really, really spiritual but not Jesus-focused.

So, open your Bible if you’ve got it, but if not, just listen carefully as I read Colossians chapter 1. And my focus is verses 15 to 20, but let me give you a little bit of a running start, because it is so powerful. It talks about what God has done for all of us who are followers of Jesus.

Verse 13, “For He,” God, “delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins.” And then verse 15 begins to describe, well, who is this Jesus? “And He,” Jesus, “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn from creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and the 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. He is also head of the body, the Church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.”

And then there’s this great purpose clause. Why? “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness,” the fullness of deity, “to dwell in Him, and through Him,” Jesus, “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.”

Now, that is a boatload of content and that is what we would call deep, rich, clear theology. And so, the apostle Paul is correcting what a group of people have begun to believe about Jesus. And before I dig in and ask kind of four very basic questions about His identity and what His goals are and what He has accomplished, kind of what we would in any kind of relationship, I just want to pause for a moment and give you why this is important.

You know, a lot of people have gone to Bible school or you might be where you have really studied things. But the problem is we often miss the connection between this truth about Jesus and how it actually applies to our life. I would say most Christians, you know, Orthodox followers of Jesus, they believe that or at least by “believe” they intellectually agree that what that says is true. But the Jesus that they trust or not trust is a bit different.

And here’s what I want you to get. We are going to find ourselves more and more in a world that challenges our faith. And not just in the arena of morals. It’s going to happen in relationships, it’s going to happen with: what do we believe about life in general? What matters, what doesn’t, what is true, who can you trust, who can’t you trust?

And so, the apostle Paul is writing to the Colossian church, but he’s going to help us understand, “This is who I am.” Right? I mean, I guess right now I could tell you off the top of my head of five people I completely trust, I mean, with my life.

Well, why? I’ve got history with them, they have literally made huge sacrifice for me, they have told me good things about me, they have told me hard, difficult things about me.

In other words, we trust people that are authentic, we trust people that we have a track record with, we trust people who what they say and what they do tells the same story and they come through for us. And we trust people who have the ability to help us.

And so, what we are going to get is the Jesus that comes through, that always tells the truth, that has all power. So, let’s look and find out: who is He actually? And then, I mean, it’s majestic, it’s powerful. And then we are going to talk about an invitation that this almighty God makes to ordinary people like you and me.

And so, where are you from, Jesus?

Answer: He’s the image of the invisible God. Answer: He’s the firstborn over all creation.

Now, for us, we get our word, that word “image,” we get the word “icon.” And in the early Roman world, there was a coin and the coins would have Caesar’s picture on it. And to get what he’s really saying here is if you took a piece of clay and you took that coin and you pressed it in and then you removed the coin, you would have the exact representation of Caesar in the clay.

And what Jesus is saying and what the apostle Paul, filled by the Holy Spirit is saying here in this passage, is that God is invisible but if you took the clay of humanity and you pressed the invisible God into it, it would be Jesus. All that there is of God is now in Jesus. He is the exact image. Now, not the external body, of course. But who He is.

And then He’s the firstborn of creation. Don’t get tripped up on that. I remember as a young Christian, I mean, I read this passage and I thought, Wait a second, I thought Jesus was God and I thought He was eternal and how did He get born? And this is a word that means first in rank. A good illustration in the Old Testament, David will call Solomon his firstborn. Well, I mean, Solomon was one of many sons but he wasn’t the first one born. But Solomon was the first in rank who followed David and later became the king.

And so, the truth is, Jesus is the physical revelation of the invisible God. Let that sink in. Jesus is the physical representation of the invisible God.

And here’s our response, are you ready? We can know Him personally. Is that awesome? You can actually know God personally because Jesus would say, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.”

And so, the application for me is I want to talk with Him. I want to get to know Him.

The second question we might ask to discover who Jesus is is: So, what do you do?

Listen to this, “By Him all things were created.” Well, where? “Things in heaven and things on earth, things that are visible that we can see, things that are invisible.”

And then this very interesting, “Whether thrones or dominions or powers or authorities, all things were created by Him and through Him.”

And so, what he’s saying is Jesus has created all that there is, the things that we see, the things that we can’t. And, you know, I don’t know about you but, you know, Genesis chapter 1, “In the beginning God created…” right? Did you realize that Jesus was the instrumental means? You know, you have God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. They are in unison; they are one essence. But it says Jesus was the part of the Godhead that created, that all that there is was created by Him, but notice this, for Him.

See, the apostle Paul, led by the Spirit of God is helping us see there is no one in Jesus’ class. He’s the exact image of God, but more, He’s the Creator, He’s all-powerful. The text here says He existed before all things. Literally, in the Greek text, it’s literally He is before all things. Not He was. He just is before all things. And in Him He holds all things together.

At this very moment, the molecules, the atoms in all the galaxies, in the billions of galaxies, in the stars, down to microscopic things that you can’t see, Jesus, the power of the Son of God is holding all those things by the word of His power.

The truth: Jesus is the Creator and Sustainer of everything. Response: We can trust Him completely. Think of that. Jesus created everything. At this moment, Jesus holds all things by the word of His power.

I want to take you back just for a moment before we get back in the text and I want to ask you: What is that challenge? What is that thing that, Lord, I just don’t know. You certainly don’t really expect me to do this or if I do this, you know, what about this and what about that and what will they think? And, you know, that’s a lot of money or if she responds badly or… Pause.

Faith is believing in the character of God and the promises of God to the point of acting.

Obedience is the evidence where you say, God, I trust You. I’m going to step out. God, I trust You. I’m going to put You first in this. God, I trust You. I’m going to have the hard conversation. God, I trust You. My priorities on money are going to get aligned the way I know that You want me to instead of how I have been living. I trust You.

And here’s the thing: You think the God that spoke everything into existence and holds it together right now, if He holds the whole earth, do you think He can handle your stuff?

Do you see what happens? See, that’s not some vague Jesus. That’s not Jesus who is just the loving Jesus. That’s not just the Jesus that if you, you know, read your Bible in the morning, give at least ten percent, and try to be a really nice person, He always does whatever you want Him to. This is the Creator, man, right? This is the Jesus that will take you through thick and thin.

This is the Jesus that you can say, “I’m trusting Him no matter what.” Why? Because of who He is, what He has done, and what He is currently doing.

And our response is: Obey. Trust Him completely. Because I’ve got news for you. I’m probably older than most of you and I have been through challenges with family, financial breakdown, personal betrayal, cancer with my wife, ministry situations that were just absolutely crazy, finding myself in other countries after tsunamis and wondering whether I was going to live or die.

And the Jesus who holds all things in His power who is the Creator and Sustainer of the world, I can bank on that. And He has come through and He has come through and He has come through. The way I want all the time? That it works out for me? Hardly. But, see, there’s one good thing about getting older. I tell all my friends, “I’m not old. I’m older.” Old is people that are decaying and stop living. Older is a lot more miles in your spiritual journey where my rearview mirror, I’ve got mile marker after mile marker after mile marker.

The God that I serve comes through. He just flat out comes through. And He has asked me to do all kind of things. And people that I know and I love that I admire, He will test us. He will allow challenges to come and you don’t know what kind of faith you have until you get a test. And it’s in the test. I mean, we read this Book through these glasses that were never intended. We read this Book through the lens of: What can God do for me?

Jesus wanted the disciples to grow in their faith. So, what did He do? He takes them out on a boat and they think they are going to die. He takes them where there’s a legion of demons and He casts it out. He throws them out on their own two-by-two and they wonder what is going to happen.

He tells them after all, “I’m leaving. Good luck.” Except He doesn’t say, “Good luck.” He says, “You can bank on,” – what? “I am preparing a place for you. I’m going to send you another Comforter. I’ll never let you down, I won’t leave you as orphans. It’s going to be even better for Me to leave.”

Here's my question: Do you believe and trust in that Jesus? That’s what this is all about. It’s putting on new glasses and saying, “What does the Bible actually say? Who is this Jesus that I’m trusting?”

Third question is: What is your role? He’s the head of the body, the Church. The word “head” there means He is the authority and He’s also the source. When He died, He purchased us for the Father. And by His blood we have been forgiven. And now that He doesn’t walk around in a physical body, but we are the extension, we are His body.

And notice it says He’s the firstborn from the dead. In other words, He blazed the trail and if He rose, the apostle Paul teaches us, we also shall rise. And then He’s the supremacy, He has first place in everything.

So, what He did is, yes, He is God. Yes, He has created everything. Yes, He sustains everything. But He was also human and He had to be human to die. And what He did is He came and He lived this perfect life and then He died and He rose from the dead and then He modeled for us, “I am going to overcome death.” You’ll overcome death if you’re a follower of Jesus. “I overcame sin.” You can overcome sin if you’re a follower of Jesus. He overcame Satan and He says to us, “Greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world.”

Are you starting to get a grasp of the Jesus that You can say, “I’m going to trust Him no matter what."