Stewards of the Kingdom

“Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: and when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, ‘They will reverence my son.’ But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.’ And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
“When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?”

They say unto Him, ‘He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.’ 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: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?’ Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.”  Matthew 21:33-44

Who Is The Image…

Who Is The Image…

Colossians 1:15-18

I. JESUS IS THE VISIBLE OF THE INVISIBLE (v. 15a).

A. God, the Father desired to reveal Himself to the only part of creation which He made in His image and likeness, and lost it.

1. He wanted to do more than reveal Himself.
2. He also desired to have sweet fellowship with us, but there was something which had to be done first – RECONCILIATION.
3. The Father loved us, and sent His Son to pay our sin debt. When we see Jesus Christ we are looking at the Father.

B. Is anything too hard for the LORD?

1. Jesus said, “I and my Father are one.“ John 10:30 (KJV), and “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one” John 17:22 (KJV).
2. Jesus also said, “He that has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

C. He [Jesus] is the ‘exact representation’ (Heb. 1:3; NIV) of the Father.

II. JESUS IS THE IMAGE, THE ‘FIRSTBORN’, THE HEIR OF ALL THINGS (v. 15b).

A. As the ‘Firstborn’ in preeminence He receives all that is the Father’s.

1. He is heir of all things, because the Father has placed all things under His feet.
2. It is because He was completely obedient unto the Father as He walked in human flesh that He was accounted worthy.

B. As the heir of all things, by His death, burial and resurrection; by faith in Him we become joint heirs with Him;

1. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8:16-17 KJV).

III. JESUS, OUR LORD, ALSO THE IMAGE OF THE CREATOR (v. 16).

A. Paul writes, “For by Him were all things created…”.

1. The very one who took on Himself the body of a created being was in fact the Creator Himself.
2. This should blow the mind of the Gnostic “Know-It-Alls”.

B. When we read back in Genesis 1, “In the beginning God created…” it does not appear quite clear that Jesus was there in the creation.

1. However, when we read the gospel of John and verses one through three,
2. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.” we have confirmation that this same Word which is spoken of here is the same Word which went forth in the work of creation, creating, and is the same Word which John tells us ‘became flesh’; “And, the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14); it becomes very clear, to one’s who have sight to see.

C. All things were not only created ‘by Him’, but also, ‘for Him’.

1. We must understand that the Godhead is in need of nothing.
2. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are Self-sufficient, Self-sustaining, and Self-existent.
3. God does desire to be glorified in all that He has created.

D. You will notice that in this verse (16) that even kings and kingdoms, all authorities were created by Him.

IV. JESUS IS THE IMAGE OF THE ETERNAL (v. 17).

A. He is before all things.
B. Jesus is the One who holds all things together, “By Him all things consist”.

Here are the words of John Gill on this portion of the verse, “…and by him all things consist; he upholds all things by the word of his power; the heavens have their stability and continuance from him; the pillars of the earth are bore up by him, otherwise that and the inhabitants of it would be dissolved; the angels in heaven are confirmed in their estate by him, and have their standing and security in him; the elector God are in his hands, and are his peculiar care and charge, and therefore shall never perish; yea, all mankind live and move, and have their being in him; the whole frame of nature would burst asunder and break in pieces, was it not held together by him; every created being has its support from him, and its consistence in him; and all the affairs of Providence relating to all creatures are governed, directed, and managed by him, in conjunction with the Father and the blessed Spirit.”

V. JESUS IS THE IMAGE, THE HEAD, OF THE CHURCH (v. 18a).

A. When we say we are Christian and a member of a church; we are telling the world that we know its Head.

1. What does the Head of the Church look like.
2. To those outside the Church it will resemble the one we are supposed to be following.

B. We as followers of Jesus should be the light in this dark, condemned, crazy, lost, decaying, world of evil societies, and their rulers whose main goal in life is exalting themselves.
C. Exalt the image of Christ as the head of the Church, the body of Christ in the world.

VI. JESUS IS THE IMAGE OF ETERNAL LIFE (v. 18b).

John MacArthur writes concerning the word ‘Beginning’ in this present verse, “Arche (beginning) is used here in the twofold sense of source and primacy. The church has its origins in Jesus. God ‘chose us in Him before the foundation of the world’ (Eph. 1:4). It is He who gives life to His church. His sacrificial death and resurrection on our behalf provided our new life. As head of the Body, Jesus holds the chief position, or highest rank in the church. As the beginning, He is its originator.” pg. 51 of THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY on Colossians and Philemon.

A. Jesus said to John the revelator, “ I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending” (Rev. 1:8; KJV).
B. As the ‘firstborn from the dead’ we see Him as having conquered death, hell, and the grave.

1. Since the resurrection proves the divinity, power, and victory on the cross of our Lord and Savior; He most definitely is the image of eternal life.
2. Eternal life is not just something you may or may not gain later; it is what you can have [present tense] now.
3. In Jesus’s own words of John 3:16 it is quite clear. “…Shall not perish, but have everlasting life”.
4. On that day we will be “Like Him”; “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” 1 John 3:2-3 (KJV).

VII. JESUS IS THE IMAGE OF FIRSTNESS (v. 18c).

A. Remember He is ‘firstborn’ in the promise of inheritance, and because of His work on the cross we become ‘joint heirs’ with Him.
B. The word ‘preeminence’ is used here, meaning, ‘first in rank’ and certainly Jesus fits this category.

1. There are no gods of men, if they could, even become like the creature of their creation.
2. There is no one; god or other wise, who would die for their created being.
3. There is no god or being anywhere that has risen from death and the grave after giving themselves for their created beings.

C. If you want to see an image of ‘Firstness’ you have to look no further than, to the living Son of God – Jesus Christ.

1. Firstborn in creation.
2. Firstborn in life
3. Firstborn in death.
4. Firstborn in eternal life.

D. He is the preeminent One.

1. All things rest on Him.
2. In Him alone is there consistency in life, death, and eternal life. He holds it all together.

SUMMARY –

I. WHEN YOU LOOK AT JESUS YOU SEE THE FATHER.
II. BEING PREEMINENT IN ALL THINGS, JESUS IS HEIR OF ALL THINGS.
III. JESUS, GOD INCARNATE, IS THE CREATOR OF ALL THAT IS.
IV. BEING BEFORE ALL THINGS JESUS IS THE IMAGE OF THE ETERNAL.
V. JESUS, AS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH, IS THE IMAGE FOR OTHERS TO SEE.
VI. JESUS IS THE PHYSICAL IMAGE OF ETERNAL LIFE.
VII. JESUS, AS THE IMAGE OF FIRSTNESS, IS PREEMINENT IN ALL THINGS.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 78 – Paul, the Jew, the Corinthian, and the Christian

My reading today was finishing up Romans, reading chapters 8 – 16, and then beginning the Corinthian letters; reading chapters 1 and 2.

The apostle goes to great lengths in chapter 8 of Romans to show what the Christian has in Christ Jesus.  There is no condemnation.  It is such a wonderful thing to know that because of Christ death, burial and resurrection God does not condemn us.  Jesus said, “God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17).  The human race is already condemned due to sin, but God sent His Son.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”  Romans 8:1 (KJV)

The Christian is “joint-heirs” with Christ, and though it does not sound too pleasant, and it is not to be; that includes suffering with Him-

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”  8:16-18

In chapters 9-11 the apostle speaks of the nation of Israel and where they fit into God’s plan of salvation.  He even asks some questions which were probably being asked concerning Israel, and Jesus.  These chapters basically tell us that God is not finished with the nation of Israel; but that their initial rejection of Jesus and His crucifixion was in part to bring the Gentiles into the faith of Christ.  There is a promise that “Israel will be saved”,

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.   And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, ‘There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.’  As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.  For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Romans 11:25-29 (KJV)

In the First Corinthian Letter we find that the wisdom of the world is not sufficient to know God, nor to understand spiritual things.  In fact those who are hung up on knowledge, understanding, and in unbelief will not believe, because they cannot understand;

“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence.” 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 (KJV)

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.    For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.” 2:14-16

The  only hope for Paul, a Jew; the Jew, and the Corinthian (Gentiles) is to know Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God.  Christian you need to grow more into the image and likeness of Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship