Robert Jeffress - Jesus Christ Creator, Originator, and Reconciler
Now this word is gonna be used twice today, it's very important to understand what it means. Prototokos, that some people like Jehovah's Witnesses, have you ever had one of those knock on your front door, you know and wanna try to convert you? They love this verse because they say, "Look here, it says Jesus Christ wasn't always existent, he was born. He came into existence at Bethlehem. He is the firstborn of all creation". But that word prototokos, firstborn doesn't mean first chronologically, it means first in importance. That's what the word means. Let me prove that to you. In Psalm 89:27 God is talking about his coming Son, the Messiah and he says, "He is my firstborn". And then he goes on to say, "The highest king in all of the earth". Messiah will be my firstborn, the highest king in all the earth. It doesn't refer to his place chronologically but his place in rank. Jesus is the firstborn. He is the highest of all creation.
How do we know Jesus is sufficient? First of all, Christ was pre-existent to the creation. Notice secondly in verse 16, "Christ was the cause of the creation". Look at verse 16, "For by him" talking about Jesus, "For by him all things were created 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. Now whenever we think about creation, Genesis 1, we tend to think of which member of the Godhead doing the creating. We think of God the Father doing all the heavy lifting. Don't we? He's the one we think of who created this world and this universe. That's not what Paul says. It wasn't God the Father, it was Jesus the Son who is the agent of creation. Jesus Christ is the one who created this vast universe.
And notice he says here, "Not only does he create everything that's visible, he created everything that is invisible thrones, dominions rulers and authorities". That is a reference to the spirit realm. Angels and demons. Some Colossae were trying to worship angels. And Paul said that's ridiculous. Why would you worship angels when Jesus is the one who created all of the angels. Jesus Christ was the cause of creation. No wonder disease fled from him, no wonder the winds and the waves obey Jesus. He is the one who created it all. That's how we know Jesus Christ is sufficient.
Not only that, thirdly Christ is the air of creation. Look at verse 16 again, "All these things have been created through him and for him". Now these prepositions through and for, may not seem like much to you but they meant a lot to Paul's audience. You see the Greeks taught that everything that exists, has to have a primary cause that is a plan, an instrumental cause that is the power to execute the plan and a final cause, the purpose of the plan. Paul said Jesus Christ is all three when it comes to this universe. He is the primary cause, he planned it all, he is the agent, he's the one who caused it to happen. He's the instrumental cause and he is the ultimate cause. Everything that he created, he created for himself. And if that seems extremely selfish to you, he created everything for himself and all of those of us who are related to him by faith. You see the moment you trust in Christ as your Savior, you become a joint heir with Jesus Christ. Everything in this universe that exists for him, suddenly becomes yours as well.
He is the one who is the heir of all creation. And then number four, Jesus is the one who sustains the creation. Look at verse 17, "Jesus is before all things, and in him all things are held together". Now, you know from your American history that the majority of our founding fathers were evangelical Christians. You won't hear that from the secular realm but the fact is they were mostly evangelical Christians. However, there were a few who weren't. And among those were Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. They were deists. Now deists believed in God sort of. but their belief about God was, that God did not intervene in the affairs of men on earth. That God created this world, he kind of wounded up like a clock and then he left it to run on its own. So God created the world then he walked away and the world is on its own.
But that's not what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches not only did God create this world but he is the one who holds it and upholds it, that keeps it from spinning into chaos. In Hebrews 1:3 the passage we read just a moment ago, remember what the writer said? Said "He", talking about Jesus, "Upholds all things by the word of his power". We're gonna see how Jesus is sufficient for every needs you have. Look at this next part it says that Jesus Christ is central in the church. Look at verse 18, "Jesus is also the head of the body, the church".
Now though term church, Ekklesia, most of the time in the New Testament, refers to the local church. 90 of the 110 times Ekklesia is used in the Bible, it refers to a local body of believers, like First Baptist Church Dallas. But occasionally, the word refers to all Christians everywhere. The universal church, the church on earth, the church in heaven we're all part of the family of God if we're born again. And that's how he's using the word here. Jesus is the head of the body. That's one of the most common images in the Bible of our relationship to Christ. The body, he is the head we are the parts of the body.
First Corinthians 12:27 says "For your Christ's body and you are individually a part of it". Now that word head sometimes means authority. And that's certainly true. Christ is the authority of the church. But it also can mean source or origin. The center of power. And that's how Paul is using it here. He's saying that Jesus Christ is the head, that is he is the source of all the energy in the body. Just as our human head gives direction to the rest of our body but also provides the energy for our body, so it is with Jesus Christ. The energy that flows from the head Jesus, flows into our life as well, if we are connected to him by faith. All of the power that belongs to Jesus is available to you right now.
And one of the greatest manifestations of the power available to you is seen in the next phrase, "He is the firstborn from the dead, so that he himself will come to have first place in everything". There's that word again firstborn, prototokus. He is the firstborn of the dead. Now what does that mean he is the firstborn of the dead? Does that mean Jesus was the first person who was ever raised from the dead? No, did you know Jesus was not the first person raised from the dead? In the Old Testament, some people were raised from the dead? Lazarus was raised from the dead? Jesus was not the first person chronologically to be raised from the dead.
But here's the difference. Everyone in the Old Testament, Lazarus in the New Testament, when they were raised from the dead, they were raised in their old dilapidated, sin-infected bodies. And guess what, they got sick again and they died again. But Jesus Christ was the first person to be raised in a new resurrection body. A body that was free from sin, a body that would never grow sick again, a body that would never die again. In that sense he was the first born, he was of the first of a new order of resurrection bodies. That word prototokus. First born is the word that we get our English word, prototype from.
I was watching this week a documentary about the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The most advanced jetliner that has ever been built. Boeing delivered the first 787 to its Japanese customer this last week. It cost a $150m, this jetliner. Boeing spent $33b developing this jetliner. They're gonna sell they say 3000 jet liners in the next 10 years. But you know what, before they cranked up the assembly line before they started producing all of these jetliners about 10 a month, the first thing they had to do was to build a prototype. The first airplane. And once they got that first airplane built and all the kinks taken out of it, once they had that perfected, then every other plane on the assembly line was a replica. It matched that first prototype.
Now listen, that's the word Paul uses here to refer to Jesus Christ in his body. Jesus is the first resurrection body on the assembly line. And every one of us who is connected to Jesus Christ by faith, guess what, we're gonna receive one of those bodies as well. His was the first but it certainly wasn't the last. As Paul wrote in 1st Corinthians 15, "As in Adam all die, so in Christ all shall be made alive".
I have people ask me all the time about what our bodies in heaven and on earth are gonna be like after the resurrection. Will we know one another? Will we keep some of our distinctive features or will we all look alike and of course the most pressing theological question, will we be able to eat in our new bodies? You know people really hung up on that one. Well when people ask why are our bodies gonna be like? All I say is look at Jesus. Look at his resurrection body. His was the prototype for the body you're gonna receive and 1st John 3:2 John says, "Brethren it has not appeared yet what we shall be, but we know that when he appears, we shall be like him".
Think about Jesus body. In many ways, it resembled his earthly body. He had distinct characteristics that made him recognizable immediately to his disciples. He even retained the nail prints in his hands. But it also had a supernatural aspect to it. I mean is this cool or not I mean he could go through doors and walls and travel from place to place and yes he was able to eat as well. It was a natural body in once sense that it was recognizable, but it was a supernatural body. And the Bible says if you're a believer in Christ, that's the kind of body you're going to receive as well. He is the firstborn from the dead. So that he himself will come to have first place and everything.
Now here's the point, if Jesus Christ is sufficient to deliver you from the power of death, don't you think he is powerful enough to deliver you through whatever problem you're facing today? I mean if he can take your body out of the grave one day and change it transform it to that new body that will never die, if he is able to do that, can't he see you through that storm you're encountering right now? That's the point of all of this. Jesus Christ is sufficient. He is sufficient for your salvation. He is sufficient to carry you through the storm you're encountering right now. And that is seen in the central role he has in the church.
Number three, Jesus Christ is central in salvation. Look at verse 19, "For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in him". Remember the gnostics said "Oh Jesus Christ couldn't be the Son of God if he were human because God can inhabit humanity the flesh is evil and that would make Jesus sinful therefore Jesus was just a spirit". No Paul said, "It was the Father's good pleasure for all of the fullness of God to dwell in Jesus". God poured all of himself in Jesus. And now look at verse 20, "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".
I want you to underline this word reconcile. He has reconciled all things to himself. That word reconcile, means to change a relationship from hostility to harmony. When Paul uses this term reconciled, that he has reconciled us to God, he uses this term reconcile in a different way. And here is how he's using it. When he talks about reconciliation, he's not talking about two people who agree to part company and then agree to come back together. Instead the word picture here is of one person who makes a unilateral decision to leave a relationship. And the other person, the injured party, decides to try to reconcile that relationship. That is exactly a picture of what God has done for us.
See the decision for our relationship to God to be broken was not a mutual decision. It was a unilateral decision we have made. The Bible says "But God demonstrated his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us". He is the one who has initiated the reconciliation. In 1 Peter 3:18 Peter writes, "For Christ also died for sins, once for all, the just for the unjust so that he might bring us to God having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit". God is the one who reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ.
May I add this important word. There are some people who misinterpret this verse to say well, everyone is automatically reconciled to God by Christ's death on the cross. After all isn't that what the text says, "That he has reconciled all things to himself, having made peace through the blood of his cross"? Everybody is automatically reconciled to God. "Everyone is going to be saved". No that's not what the passage is teaching. Go back to that husband and wife. That husband can make the first step in trying to bring about a reconciliation but the wife has to ultimately agree that she wants to be reconciled to her husband. It has to be a mutual decision. And so it is in our relationship with God. Yes God has taken the first step, he has paid the penalty for our sin by sending Christ to die for us. But God doesn't drag anyone back to himself kicking and screaming.
The Bible says, "We have to agree that we wanna be reconciled to God". We must individually trust in Christ as our Savior. The point of this passage is, Jesus Christ is sufficient for every need that you have. And perhaps the greatest demonstration of his sufficiency is that Jesus did for you and me what we could not do for ourselves. He has made peace with God. He has been the atonement, the payment for our sins. Jesus Christ is sufficient. Jesus Christ is the central issue in this universe he has created. And what you do with him is the central issue in your life and in your eternity.