This sermon is part of our Inescapable series. Inescapable is a 3 part series that studies the Colossians in the run up to Christmas 2023. You can watch all 3 here.
This morning we are celebrating the moment God stepped onto the stage of human history. His name is Jesus. Listen to me, Jesus is eternal God. Jesus is creator of heavens and earth and yet Jesus did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped but emptied Himself in the form of an infant. (Philippians 2). That’s Christmas!
We are so thankful we get to gather this morning. We are so thankful for friends and family who are visiting. We are so thankful for the people that are here for the first time. Merry Christmas!
Isn’t it fun to celebrate Christmas? It’s not too late to put up Christmas decorations. Who here is early on Christmas decorations? Who here waits as long as possible? Who here is trying to avoid Christmas decorations as much as possible?
Our family are early decorators. Sometimes the 2nd week in November we are pulling out the decorations. We put on the movie Christmas Vacation. Our kids are now old enough to judge us for watching the movie Christmas Vacation.
We have a fake tree that is almost 20 years. We love it! Our ornaments are from places we have traveled around the world so every year is a reminder of family trips, celebrations, far away locations and some that are just right down the road.
Now that our kids are older we usually remind them, “Hey these ornaments mean a lot to us, but one day we are going to die, you can just throw them away?” Our kids usually gasp, “We would never!”
But we tell them because we know realistically many of the things we hold dear will eventually get boxed up, sold, given away, little depressing, Merry Christmas. Maybe a few things they will be kept for memories but even those things will eventually fade after 2-3 generations. Right?
It’s because the whole of our life isn’t about Christmas decorations. The whole of our life isn’t about preparing the Christmas meal tomorrow. The whole of our life isn’t about getting or giving the perfect Christmas present. The whole of our purpose in life is found in Jesus and that’s why we celebrate Christmas.
Last Sunday we did a deep dive into Colossians 1, verse 15. We see Jesus is the image of the invisible God, firstborn of all creation. This morning we will focus on Colossians 1, verse 16 to see our purpose in life is found in Jesus. Let’s look at verse 16:
Colossians 1:16, “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 through Him and for Him.”
Isn’t that good? We’re just looking at one verse this morning. Colossians is written by the Apostle Paul. The church in Colossians are regular men and women who have come to faith in Jesus but there are false teachers who are implying Jesus isn’t enough.
Therefore, the Apostle Paul writes, “Not enough? ALL THINGS were created by Jesus!” In fact, there is nothing in this world that doesn’t have Jesus’ finger prints all over it. The stars are made by Jesus, planets, sunsets, the sea, our hobbies, past, present, future, spiritual, physical all find their origin in Jesus. Take that in for a second. (Pause)
I know our culture will teach us that all of life is a random collection of atoms, spontaneously combusted into existence. Our culture will teach us that humanity is the center of the universe, humanity is the most important, and as result, we all grow up with this self-centered focus, “What am I supposed to do with my life?” What’s my purpose in life?
Do you find yourself asking this question? What am I going to be when I grow up? What great things am I going to accomplish? What great job am I going to have? Most of humanity primarily thought about finding their next meal but today we have this weird compulsion to have this great purpose in life.
In verse 16 God’s Word is teaching us our purpose in life isn’t the most important. It’s not that humanity doesn’t matter. It’s not that our story isn’t important but that the key to our story is to understand His story. Does that make sense?
We’re not the most important. Jesus is the most important and we want to find our purpose in Jesus, so let’s break down verse 16 to see our purpose in Jesus. Let’s start with the first part.
Colossians 1:16, “16 For by Him all things were created…”
I know some of us are thinking, “Aren’t we going to talk about Christmas?” We are. The more we understand Jesus the more we understand Christmas. Verse 16 is a bold claim. If ALL things were created by Jesus then our primary outlook on life is gratitude, right?
The air that we are breathing right now is because of Jesus, the room we are in right now, the chairs we are sitting in, the electronics to create an HVAC to keep us warm, the clothes we are wearing, the throat we have right now to swallow so that the right things go down the trachea and the right things go down the esophagus is all because of Jesus.
Every part of our day is because of Jesus. Every resource we have in life is because of Jesus. Every talent we possess, every strength, every gift, every relationship is because of Jesus, therefore, how can we not be thankful to Jesus? Merry Christmas!
It’s possible that some of us are thinking, “If Jesus created everything then why is everything so messed up?” Why does food go down the wrong pipe and people choke? Why do people not have clothes to wear? Right?
Just to be clear, Jesus created everything to be perfect. Genesis 1, God created everything and said it was good but in Genesis 3 sin enters into the story so that everything we see today is broken. Everything we see today is a fraction of glory made in Jesus but that doesn’t mean Jesus is done with creating.
Right now, we see a fraction of His glory but the glory of Christmas is that Jesus has come to take on flesh. Jesus lived a perfect life. Jesus laid down that life at the cross for our sin, so that through the resurrection death is defeated and a promise is made that one-day Jesus will return, and Jesus will finish His work in creation and make all things new, so that our primary purpose in life is gratitude toward Jesus. Let’s look at our next chunk of words. (For by Him all things were created.)
Colossians 1:16, “16…both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible…”
This morning we are asking the question, “What’s my purpose in life?” The first part of verse 16 teaches us to be thankful. We might not accomplish these amazing dreams in life, it doesn’t matter. At base level our purpose in life is to be thankful Jesus created.
Next, we see the words “heaven and earth, visible and invisible” and in those words we see God’s Word talking about the physical world and the spiritual world like angels and demons.
We will talk about physical world in a minute but you need to know Jesus fingers prints are all over physical creation and the supernatural, invisible parts of creation. It’s possible that might make some of us uncomfortable to think about the supernatural world, angels and demons but we need to remember ALL THINGS are for Jesus’ intended purpose and glory.
The entire universe, heaven and earth, visible and invisible, material and immaterial, so that our purpose in life is not only of gratitude but also of courage because even the invisible, supernatural parts of life belong to Jesus.
How many of us can be overcome with fear? Right now, how many of us are running with layers of fears and anxiety throughout the day? Especially when it comes to the supernatural, invisible parts of life and verse 16 is teaching us why Christmas is glorious because visible and invisible are under His rule and authority.
What a wonderful truth for us to take in on Christmas eve? Despite the forces of darkness working against the virgin birth, God takes on flesh and breaks into humanity. Despite Herod trying to put Jesus to death, Jesus’ life is preserved. Despite the temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4 that we looked at last month, Jesus accomplishes His purpose. Jesus hand is over the visible and the invisible.
Colossians 2 teaches us that Jesus has disarmed the power and authorities of the supernatural. He has put them to shame. Jesus has triumphed over the supernatural forces at work.
Therefore, when layers of fear creep into our thinking, especially around the holidays, when whispers of lies from the evil one, lies about our purpose, our future, our value in life, lies about the character of God, lies about our relationships with one another.
We can know, when we are in Christ, we get to take that courage into every day and throughout the day. That’s why we celebrate Christmas! Let’s look at our next chunk of words: (For by Him all things were created, heaven and earth, visible and invisible…)
Colossians 1:16, “16…whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities…”
Thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities is talking about levels of authority in the spiritual world and the physical world, so that Jesus’ rule and authority is over the nations, governments, and leaders throughout all of human history. Take that in for a second.
Consider the nations and empires that have come and gone over time. Babylonian Empire, Persian, Roman, United Kingdom, United States all in existence because of Jesus. This is true at the state level, city level, tribes, clans, employer at work, teacher at school are in that role by Jesus, through Jesus and for Jesus.
What does that mean for us? If Jesus is in control of all those areas of life at every level of life, then we would do well to ask ourselves, “What’s my role?” If this country doesn’t exist for its glory but for Jesus, then what’s my role in this country? Maybe that’s too broad?
If our city doesn’t exist for its glory but for His glory, then what’s our role in this city? This city is His city. Jesus has determined that Austin would be the city it is today, so as followers of Jesus we are asking ourselves, “What’s our role in this city for His glory?”
Our work, Apple, IBM, Samsung, school districts, hospitals, restaurants, hotels all exist by Jesus, through Jesus and for Jesus, therefore, we need to be asking, “As a follower of Jesus, what’s my role?”
In our heads we might think this is impossible but every person in Christ has been given physical abilities, personalities, strengths and talents, not for our purpose and our glory but for Jesus’ purpose and His glory, so that our primary purpose in life is gratitude toward Jesus, courage in Jesus, and clarity that in Christ, every part of our life is for His glory.
Let’s look at our next chunk of words: (For by Him all things were created, heaven and earth, visible and invisible, thrones, dominions, rulers and authorities…)
Colossians 1:16, “16…all things have been created through Him and for Him.”
The first part of verse 16 teaches us to be thankful, the next to be courageous, the next to have clarity and I call this last part curiosity. If all things are created by Jesus, through Jesus and for Jesus, then wouldn’t we who are in Christ be incredibly curious about all of life?
Illustration: Right now, we have been battling rats in our house. My wife did not want me to share this information but rats are all over Austin. In Austin, we call them Tree Rats! I was at the Domain one night and the Domain has outside seating for restaurants all over and one night there was a couple having dinner at the Domain and right above them was the biggest rat ever and they never saw it!
About a month ago, my wife and I woke up with a rat in our house gnawing on something and we couldn’t find him. I started banging on the wall, eventually banged in the right place and the biggest rat came lunging at my face and at the same time trying to get away from me. It was horrible.
Eventually we crawled into our attic and it’s like rat city up there so that these giant rats have become so curious they are working their way into our house! In the same way, imagine if we approached all of life with the curiosity of a rat!
Curiosity about space. Isn’t it glorious to look at those pictures of space? It’s possible we might think, “I’m not an astronaut. I am not planning to travel through space. Why would I care about space?”
But verse 16 teaches us to care about space because Jesus is the creator of all space. When we focus on ourselves we focus on our plans, our failures, our frustrations but when we focus on Jesus and all of His creation then we realize our life is just one drop in the bucket.
At first glance that could make us feel insignificant or unimportant but the One who created all of space and wants to have relationship with us, therefore, the vastness of space only brings greater glory to Jesus.
Curiosity about creation. One of the best parts of travel is to see the beauty of creation. Again, it’s possible we could say, “I am not going to hike up Mt. Everest. I am not an outdoors person. I hate allergies!”
But verse 16 teaches us to be curious about all of creation because Jesus is the creator of all creation. In creation we see seeds sprout forth trees, we see variety and complexity in animals, we see seasons and cycles; it’s glorious! The One who created all those details created you, cares about you and wants to know you!
Curiosity about people. One of the most interesting parts of life is people. You don’t have to travel to space for people. You don’t have to farm land for people. We just need to continue in our curiosity with people.
When you are young you are curious about people? We wanted to make friends. We wanted to be around other people. We wanted to grow up and help people or entertain people as firefighters, doctors, and Rockstar’s.
But then a friend hurt our feelings, a boy or girl broke our heart, an adult let us down and slowly we started to withdrawal from people. But all people have been created by Jesus, through Jesus and for Jesus, therefore, as a people who are in Christ, how can we not grow in our curiosity of people? Especially this time of the year.
This is a time of the year to reach out to people. This is the time of the year to call people we haven’t called in a long time. This is the time of the year to set up our new year and ask Jesus to help us become a people who are grateful because of Him, courageous because of Him, clarity of focus because of Him and incredibly curious because of Him.
As we close I want to invite the worship team to the front. Let’s lower the lights. Let’s consider the truth of God’s Word this morning. Can you imagine anyone or anything in life more glorious than Jesus?
Our culture will teach you that you need to be grateful, courageous, clear focus and curious but the focus is because of you. Our culture is human centered. All the pressure is on you to achieve, accomplish and impress.
You need to know God’s Word loves you, created you but designed so that He would be the center of your life. If you have never believed in Jesus, you need to do that this morning. There are people at the back to talk to you, pray with, begin a relationship with God this morning through faith in Jesus.
But don’t just stop there. Jesus is worthy of the whole of our lives. Let this Christmas be a Christmas that we re-ordered our life in Christ. I imagine that looks different for every person here this morning but God’s Word is teaching us that Jesus is supreme over all creation.
Our purpose in life is not on our own but our purpose in life is in Christ, so what areas of our life need to be re-ordered in Him? I want to ask us to stand up as a posture of aligning our lives in Christ.
If you are a follower of Jesus, then stand up and you can hold out your hands, you can get on your knees but God’s Word teaches us that All things have been created by Jesus, through Jesus, and for Jesus, therefore, what area of our life needs to be aligned with Jesus?
Maybe it’s our finances that need to be re-ordered? It’s not fun to have those conversations but Jesus is worthy of the work it takes to make those steps. Maybe there is some re-ordering that needs to happen with our health? Not fun around the holidays, but Jesus is worthy of re-ordering how we take care of our bodies. Maybe there are some relationships that need to be mended, conversations that need to be had? Jesus is worthy! Will you pray with me?
North Village Church
This sermon is brought to you by North Village Church, a non-denominational church in Austin. established in 2009 and built around Jesus and Bible teaching.
Are you looking for a church in Austin? At North Village Church we put Jesus at the center of our church family. We worship together every Sunday at 10:30am, encourage Christ centered fellowship through groups, and host special events such as Bible studies and Theological Training, to ensure that we are rooted in in God’s Word. We also serve our local community in association with several Austin based organizations.
North Village Church is made up of professionals, married couples, singles, and families who are wanting to experience the life-transforming power of Jesus. If you are a family with children or teens, we can support you with either or both our Kids Ministry and Youth Ministry.
You are welcome to contact us if you would like more information.
Unable to attend this Christian Church in Austin? Don’t worry, because, through God’s provision, we have created NVC online, an Online Church streaming a worship service every Sunday from 10:30am Central Time. You can also watch our short, powerful sermons on demand and follow us on Instagram for daily Christ centered content.