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Is Jesus Worth It? – 11/24/13

Colossians 1:13-20 (GW)God has rescued us from the power of darkness and has brought us into the kingdom of His Son, whom He loves.  His Son paid the price to free us, which means that our sins are forgiven.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
He created all things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible.  Whether they are kings or lords, rulers or powers – everything has been created through Him and for Him.
He existed before everything and holds everything together.
He is also the head of the church, which is His body.  He is the beginning, the first to come back to life so that He would have first place in everything.
God was pleased to have all of Himself live in Christ.  God was also pleased to bring everything on earth and in heaven back to Himself through Christ.  He did this by making peace through Christ’s blood sacrificed on the Cross.
Many might say that we are an odd group of people here today.  Here you are on a day when you are not working, and instead of using your time off to relax at home, you are here.  What an odd group we are.  Some of us have inconvenienced ourselves driving all the way here.  We have gathered here to sing and to talk about a person named Jesus – someone we have never met.  And as we gather here, we pray and pray, even when many prayers are not answered the way that we would like.  What an odd group of people we are.  Later in the service, a number of us are going to make sacrifices to God in the form of an offering.  How strange – we could put that money aside for retirement.  Or we could use that money to remodel a part of our house.  But instead, we put the money into an offering basket, and never see it again.
What are you doing here?  You are worshiping Jesus Christ.  All the things we do here in our service are forms of worship.  But why?  Why do you Jesus?  Is He really worth worshiping?  Today is the Last Sunday of the Christian Church Year.  On this day, we especially focus on who Jesus is, and why we go through all this trouble of worshiping Him.  He is worth it.  So let us think a little bit about why.
In the Gospel Reading for today, we remember a part of what happened on Good Friday.  There were many there who did not believe that Jesus was worth worshiping.  They talked about Him in a mocking way, and how He claimed to be the King of the Jews, how He should save Himself if He really was the Chosen One of God.  They mocked Him.
We live in a time that has similar views about Jesus.  When we go home, you may notice that your next door neighbor did not go to church this morning, or last night.  That neighbor is basically saying to you, “Jesus is not worth worshiping.  You should stay home.”  When some of the local sports teams set up their events so that you cannot attend church on Sunday, they are basically saying to you, “Jesus is not worth worshiping.  You should play sports instead.”  When you go to the store after church, you may be surrounded by people who did not worship Christ this morning or last night.  Those people are basically saying to you, “Jesus is not worth worshiping.  You should go shopping instead.”
Are they right?  Is Jesus really not worth going through all the trouble of worship?  Let us notice how Jesus is described in the passage from Paul’s letter to the Colossians.  There we find reasons why we worship Jesus Christ.
We worship him, first of all, because He is our God.  Verse 15 describes Him as the image of the invisible God.  Verse 19 says, All the fulness of God dwells in Him.  Jesus is not just LIKE God or one who teaches ABOUT God.  Jesus IS God.  Everything you ever wanted to know about God – what He is like, what things He would say and do – everything can be found in Jesus.  He is God, through and through.  That is why we worship Him.
He is also our Maker.  Verse 16 tells us that He created all things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible.  Whether they are kings or lords, rulers or powers – everything has been created through Him and for Him.  Have you ever pictured Jesus as the creator of everything you see?  When you look at a beautiful sunset, do you say to yourself, “Jesus made that sunset”?  When you are looking out over the lake, do you take into account that Jesus made that beautiful lake?  All things were created by Him, and for Him.  The materials that make up our houses; the food we eat; the medicine we take – all things were created by Him and for Him.  Verse 17 says: He existed before everything and holds everything together.  According to these words, Jesus holds together our world.  Without Him, everything would fall apart.  That is why we worship Him.
Have you ever had your identity stolen?  Someone claims to be you, and takes your money.  Jesus has had His identity stolen.  Here we learn that He is the reason our world exists.  But someone has stolen His identity.  The someone is named ‘evolution.’  Evolution says, “Jesus did not make the world.  I did.  God is a far-away mystery in the sky.  As far as the world is concerned, everything has happened by chance.  Gorillas have evolved into people.  Yes, the earth is the exact distance it needs to be from the sun – but that is all by accident.  The world keeps going – that is all by chance.  I am evolution.  Believe me.  Do not believe Jesus.  He is not your Maker.  He does not hold the world together, and He is not worth worshiping.  Believe me, and then you can stay home on Sunday.”
We Christians, do not believe that.  We believe that all things were created by Christ and for Christ.  That is why we worship Him.  And that is not the only reason.  Verse 18 tells us that Christ is the head of the Church.  That is comforting to know.  The Christian Church always looks like it is on the verge of falling apart.  Some denominations are riddled with scandal.  Others have financial problems.  Churches all over the country are trying to figure out how to keep there attendance up.  It always look like the Christian Church is in the process of falling apart.  But Christ is the head of the Church, the first to come back to life.  In spite of all its problems, Christianity will continue to exist, all the way until Judgment Day, when Jesus raises His people from the dead.  That is why we worship Him.  He is our God, our Creator and He is also the head of the Church.
And most importantly, we believe that Jesus Christ is worth worshiping because He is our ‘peace-maker’.  Verse 20 talks about how God the Father was also pleased to bring everything on earth and in heaven back to Himself through Christ.  He did this by making peace through Christ’s blood sacrificed on the cross.  There is no other king like Jesus in this way.  People are always striving to make peace in this world.  Some world leaders try to make peace through the use of force – like we see it tried in the world today.  If there are people causing trouble, disturbing the peace, we use force to stop them.  Sometimes that works in this world.  But that is not what Jesus did when He came into this world.  As King of Heaven, He has at His disposal thousands of angels, the most powerful army that ever existed.  But Jesus did not use force to make peace between us and God.
Some world leaders try to make peace by influencing and negotiating.  We have seen that in our day also.  Let us make peace.  You can have that land, and we will take this land.  Let us negotiate.  But when Jesus came, that is not what He did.  There was nothing to negotiate.  Our world was sinful, and that was not going to change.  And God is holy and always punishes sin, and that is not going to change either.  Negotiating would not work.
So how does one make peace?  People in our world are recognized for their efforts at making peace.  The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to those who stand up for human rights, who negotiate.  But the biggest and the hardest thing to do is to somehow make peace between a sinful world and a holy God.  How could this be accomplished?  Jesus did it.  It is mentioned in verse 20: He did this by making peace through Christ’s blood sacrificed on the cross.  As we heard in the Gospel Reading, the world mocked Him as He did this.  He did not receive any type of worldly award.
But what He did worked.  On the third day, Jesus was raised from the dead, a sign that His sacrificed was accepted.  The sins of the world were paid for.  God’s holy judgment was carried out.  And forgiveness became available to all who repent and believe.  Unlike any other  king or world leader in history, Jesus did what was impossible by anyone else.  God the Father no longer plans to punish us for our sins.  All that has been completed at the Cross.  We are forgiven.
That is why we worship Him.  Yes, He is God – all the fullness of God dwells in Jesus.  Yes, Jesus is our Maker.  Everything we see and have comes from Him, He is Head of the Church.  But most importantly, Jesus is our Peace-maker, and He is our Savior.  He is the reason we can close our eyes at night and pray to God, and be comforted knowing that God is listening.  Jesus is the reason we do not have to be afraid to die.  He is the reason God blesses our life, guides us, and takes care of us.  There is peace between us and God, Jesus has given that to us, through His blood shed on the Cross.  So we worship Him.
Every single person in the world worships someone or something as king.  For some it is money.  For others it is entertainment.  For many it is themselves.  Our king is greater than all of that.  Our king is Jesus Christ.  What He has done, what He is doing, and what He will do someday – these are the reasons we worship Him.  Let us be glad to do it.  There is nothing more blessed we can do in Jesus’ name.

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