It's About Jesus

by Derek Gentle

Our church has a mission statement and sixteen church principles. The first principle serves to help define our mission statement. The one after that, though they are not numbered, is at heart our first principle: It's about Jesus. We see this same theme throughout the book of Colossians. Over and again we see that it's about Jesus - everything is for Him, from Him, by Him, or to Him.

It's about:

1. The Kingdom of Christ
"He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love" 1:13

We were under the dominion of darkness when by God's mercy we were transferred to the kingdom of Christ everything is now about His reign and rule.

2. Forgiveness in Christ
"In [Him] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins" 1:14

Redemption is when people were bought out of slavery. We were slaves to sin and to its penalty. Christ, at great cost, bought our freedom from sin and for Himself.

3. Being Created for Christ
". . .All things were created through Him and for Him" 1:16 lp

Jesus is the uncreated Creator. Everything that is was made by Him and everything He made exists for His pleasure. If our car does is not running and unable to transport us from one place to another, then it is malfuntioning. It is not carrying out the purpose for which it was created. If we are not pleasing Him then we are malfunctioning. For all of creation, it's about Jesus.

4. The Body of Christ
"And He is the head of the body, the church" 1:18
"His body, which is the church" 1:24 lp

As His people we exist to express the will and life of Christ; He is the head and we are the body. Just as the arms and legs and voice express the will of the head, we have the privilege of expressing the mind of Christ. Our lives are about expressing His life.

5. The Preeminence of Christ
"Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence" 1:18

Christ was the beginning of the resurrection to come; He was the proto-type of the resurrection bodies we will have. That is only right because He is supreme in every way. He is not merely called eminent, but preeminent. He is the first of the first.

6. Being Reconciled by Christ
"To reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled" 1:20-21

Have you ever had two family members - great aunts from the side of the family you married into, of course - that were on the outs with each other, not speaking to each other, alienated? Then perhaps they resolved their differences. It is then we say that they were reconciled. We were by our own rebellion alienated from God. In Christ He took the initiative to bring reconciliation. We have a right relationship with God through Jesus.

7. The Afflictions of Christ
"I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church"1:24

The afflictions of Christ include finished work of Christ on cross on which He paid the penalty of our sin in full. It also includes the unfinished work of spreading the gospel. Not everyone responds well to the gospel. Sometimes Christian witnesses suffer at the hands of those who reject the message. That is the part that is lacking in Christ's sufferings, that suffering done by those who are spreading the word. Paul was prepared to suffer because he understood that it is about Jesus.

8. The Indwelling of Christ
"Christ in you, the hope of glory" 1:27

Jack Taylor tells how that he was at the end of his rope, that he was a success, but depressed. He came to this passage one day and the light came on! It was not about what we do for God, it's about what He does in us. It's about the indwelling Christ living His life in and through us.

9. Being Complete in Christ
NAS: "That we may present every man complete in Christ" 1:28

Jesus is not only necessary; Jesus is enough. Sometimes people want to add extra rules or experiences for someone to be considered a truly strong Christian. But we are complete in Christ.

10. The Empowering of Christ
"To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily" 1:29
NIV: "To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me"

God didn't just throw us into the water and say "Swim!" The power of Christ energizes us and enables to resist temptation, enables our Christian service, and gives us courage for Christian witness. It's about what Christ's power can do through us.

11. Treasures of Wisdom in Christ
". . .Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" 2:2-3

If you need technical support, the place to go is the manufacturer. Christ knows how things work. Not just in religious matters, but in every area of reality.

12. Receiving Christ
"As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord" 2:6

We receive salvation as a free gift. We do not earn it or achieve it, we receive it. In fact, it is not merely an "it" we receive. We receive Him. Salvation is about Jesus.

13. Walking in Christ
"As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him" 2:6

In the same way we received Christ we walk with Him after that. By faith. By His power. In complete dependance upon Him. In relationship with Him. The Christian life isn't where we get saved and then God hands us a list of do's and don'ts, it's about walking and living in relationship with Christ.

14. Being Rooted and Built Up in Christ
"Rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught" 2:6-7

A lot of people drift from one spiritual fad to another. It isn't about the fads, it's about Jesus. In our relationship with Him, we need to be rooted and established in Christ so that we don't get blown around by weird thinking or all enthused over something inferior.

15. The Sufficiency in Christ
"Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ" 2:8 (-23)

I went to seminary with a friend who said one evening that he was a Christian humanist. First of all, he was using the word Christian to describe what kind of humanist he instead of the word humanist to describe what kind of Christian. Secondly, a humanist is not the same thing as a humanitarian. Humanitarians do good things for fellow humans; humanists believe man is the measure of all things and generally atheistic. Third, Christ through the Scriptures offers us a comprehensive world view. It needs no additives.

16. Being Alive with Christ
"And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses" 2:13-14

Before becoming Christians we were dead in sin separated from God, like we are from loved ones who have passed before us and unable to respond to God, just as the dead cannot respond to the living on earth. But Christ made us alive to God. I once had a youth minister in my church who would ask people to whom he was witnessing, "Do you have new life not just a new lifestyle but new life?"

17. Being Dead with Christ
NIV: "Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world" 2:20-23

There is not only new life in Christ, but a death. The old life is over. Christ "lifed it to death" in the new birth.

18. Setting Affections on Christ
"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things" 3:1-2

Have you ever heard the expression, "He's so heavenly minded he's no earthly good?" You know, I haven't met a lot of people in that category. But it seems there are a lot of people who are so worldly minded they are no heavenly good. Because it's about Jesus we set our affections heaven-ward, where Christ is.

19. Appearing in Glory with Christ
"When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory" 3:3-4

When Christ comes back He will share His glory with us. It will be glorious. We will be vindicated. On that day, every word of mockery, every moment of rejection, every time we were looked down upon will all have proven to be worth it. Because on that day all will be made to see that it's about Jesus.

20. The Peace of Christ
NIV: "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts" (KJV & NKJV read "peace of God") 3:15

Inner peace comes from Christ. Have you ever had to make a tough decision and there was no verse for it ("Thou shalt buy the blue car. . . Be thou careful not to take the job in Atlanta")? How do we know? The word for rule is like our word for umpire or referee. The peace of Christ calls things in bounds and out. We are to let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts.

21. The Word of Christ
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly" 3:16

It's the Word of Christ because it is about Christ from Genesis to Revelation, it is about Jesus. It is the Word of Christ because as God it is from Him; it is inspired by the Spirit of Christ. It is the Word of Christ because it enables us to know Him better and because He speaks through it to us.

22. Glorifying Christ
"And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him" 3:17

Because we are Christians, it is our purpose in life to bring glory to Christ. Every part of our life is to do so. There is no part of life left to our private part of life. Because it is all about Jesus.

23. Serving Christ
"And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ" 3:23-24

Even at work, it's about Jesus. Paul tells servants (we can understand the principle to apply this to modern employees as we bring the principle home) that we are to work hard because ultimately, "We serve the Lord Christ."

24. The Message of Christ
NIV: "And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ. . . that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should" 4:3-4

Our message is about Jesus. Christ Himself is our message. He is our message to make clear. This is our message to proclaim boldly. This is the message for which we seek open doors. This is the message we pray to have opportunities to share. Not for us only is it about Jesus. Others need to face that all of time and history are about Jesus. In this sense, it is not a matter of choice nor up for discussion. Many need to experience for themselves that it is about Jesus.