Today’s Reading: Jer 3:1–4:18, Col 1:15–2:5, Prov 11:1–12
Today’s Theme: The Christ Hymn
Today we enter one of the richest passages in the entire New Testament known as the Christ Hymn, where we learn some fascinating things about the person, power, work and position of Christ.
Yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to me with her whole heart, but in pretense, declares the Lord.”(Jeremiah 3:10, ESV)
Is this why Josiah’s reforms had no effect, was it done in pretence? Anything done in pretence will have no lasting impact and has no impact with God at all, because He knows our hearts and mind, so we should be genuine and heartfelt in everything we do.
The teaching Pastor
“ ‘And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.(Jeremiah 3:15, ESV)
A Pastor’s job is to teach and to teach well, not to abuse or neglect the sheep. Give God thanks today for our own Pastors and all good Pastors who seek to feed and teach God’s people.
Sexual sin and worship
Truly the hills are a delusion, the orgies on the mountains. Truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel.(Jeremiah 3:23, ESV)
It seems false worship is always connected to sexual sin. This explains the enemy’s tactic of flooding our culture with sexual deviancy and perversion.
Circumcise your heart
Circumcise yourselves to the Lord; remove the foreskin of your hearts, O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds.”(Jeremiah 4:4, ESV)
Even in the OT circumcision was about the heart. Through the OT we see clear connection to the revelation of the NT.
To circumcise our hearts is to cut away anything that is unclean and seeks only the selfish and destructive pleasures of sin.
O Jerusalem, wash your heart from evil, that you may be saved. How long shall your wicked thoughts lodge within you?(Jeremiah 4:14, ESV)
God calls us to this washing today too. Lord, keep us from having wicked thoughts stuck in our heads.
Jesus, the perfect image of God
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.(Colossians 1:15, ESV)
Verse 15-20 is known as the Christ Hymn and was part of a creed or confession sung by the first church. It is one of the most important passages in scripture because it quite clearly states the divinity of Christ as distinct, yet connected to the Father.
The word used for ‘image’ is the Greek word ‘eikon’, which is also used in Genesis (1:26-27) when God says He will make Man as His image bearers. This connection alone teaches us a number of important truths.
Jesus is the perfect revelation of God’s nature and being, reflected to us as humans in His earthly mission from incarnation to resurrection.
Jesus brings God into our human understanding by making the invisible God visible, He is God’s ultimate self revelation.
We only see what the unspoiled image of God looks like in Christ, the image we should have been but fell short of in sin. He fulfils humanity’s creation role to be the vehicle for God’s own self expression in the earth.
Jesus the Creator
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.(Colossians 1:16, ESV)
Jesus created all things and therefore cannot be Himself created, He has always exited for all eterrnity.
Jesus holds it all
And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.(Colossians 1:17, ESV)
Jesus is the force holding all reality and every atom together, without Him reality and creation itself would not be here and could not be sustained.
Jesus the preeminent
And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.(Colossians 1:18, ESV)
The word ‘firstborn’ and ‘preeminent’ are linked. Christ is unique and preeminent.
The term firstborn means preeminent and has nothing to do with the order of creation, the image here is of the son who is entitled to the inheritance. Jesus is eternal because He is God.
Jesus comes before all creation, is above all creation and is distinguished or set apart from creation.
The watchtower Society and others have perverted the interpretation of this hymn, claiming that Jesus was the first creature created. By this very assertion, Jesus cannot be divine as they blasphemously hold that he is just the greatest creation or the mightiest of all the Angels. This is heresy.
Jesus the incarnate
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,(Colossians 1:19, ESV)
We celebrate this every Christmas, it is in the incarnation that Jesus brings us the fullness of God in bodily form, as the one and only God-Man.
Called to persevere
he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.(Colossians 1:22–23, ESV)
Jesus has reconciled us in order to present us as blameless and above reproach before the Father, however this is not disconnected from our responsibility to persevere in sanctification and holiness. We must continue in the faith.
Suffering for the name of Jesus
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,(Colossians 1:24, ESV)
The suffering of Christ on the cross was complete and sufficient, this verse simply means Paul suffered for the church on Christ’s behalf and so should we all.
Warn and teach
Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.(Colossians 1:28, ESV)
Thank God our Pastors do a lot of warning and teach too, just like Paul and the Apostles.
Use the energy God supplies
For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.(Colossians 1:29, ESV)
We should work hard with the energy God has given.
The lukewarm church
For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face,(Colossians 2:1, ESV)
Laodicea is the church that became lukewarm, this is despite the struggles and work of Paul for them. We must be alive to the danger of lukewarmness despite the efforts of our leaders, it is each of our responsibility as believers, to stay on fire for God.
that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,(Colossians 2:2, ESV)
Understanding and knowledge of God’s mystery should lead the believer to full assurance in Christ. We should not doubt our salvation or Christ because doubt itself is sin.
Go treasure hunting
in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.(Colossians 2:3, ESV)
We should go treasure hunting in the very person of Christ.
I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.(Colossians 2:4, ESV)
The plausible arguments of errant theology can subtly erode our assurance and confidence in the Lord… Paul is writing to combat this.
Guided by integrity
The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.(Proverbs 11:3, ESV)
Thank you Lord that Your integrity guides us this morning.
The bondage of lust
The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the treacherous are taken captive by their lust.(Proverbs 11:6, ESV)
This is true, lust will take you captive at its own will.
Learn to be silent
Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.(Proverbs 11:12, ESV)
This verse talks about the virtue of staying silent. The previous verse is not saying that speaking bad of the city mystically pulls it down, it is alluding to the result of the bad words politically and socially.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
Desiring God on Colossians 1