The Image of the Invisible God
Speaker: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: The Preeminence of Christ
Colossians 1:15-23 (ESV)
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 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. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 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. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 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, 23 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.
Life in the presence of an invisible God has challenges.
1. The instinct for an image betrays us.
2nd commandment (Exodus 20:4-5)
2. Jesus, the image, restores.
the manifestation of God – “all the fullness of God” (v19)
Questions for Reflection
What do you find challenging about not being able to see God?
Why does God prohibit us from making images or representations of Him (in the 2nd commandment)? What can go wrong?
In what ways can things we see become idols? How do we adore, devote ourselves to, hope or trust in things we can see in ways that are problematic? What do we do about this?
How do you engage the true God, and avoid simply creating an idea of God that suits your desires or is shaped by your fears? Is it possible to come to know God? How?
Reflect on the statement that Jesus “is the image of the invisible God”. What does this mean? What are some implications of this?
Is it true that we can learn what God is like by looking to Jesus? What are the most important things we can learn about God by looking to Jesus? Are there things we can’t learn this way?
How does a study of who Jesus is and what he has done shape how we read the rest of the Bible? Does the whole of Scripture tie into Jesus? How?
In Jesus we learn of God’s mercy, compassion, love, justice, etc. When you are struggling (in whatever way), what are ways looking to Jesus can help you? How is the goodness of God most fully revealed in Christ?
Prayer of Confession
Our Father, forgive us for the ways in which we have looked to other things instead of looking to you. We admit we have loved things we can see, understand and control more than we have loved you, the one greater than what our minds can conceive of. We have given our admiration and devotion to created things. We have constructed false images in our minds that misrepresent you. We have sought to confirm what we already believe; we have not been quick to believe what you have made known. Pardon our sin, and open our eyes to the ways you have manifested yourself in Jesus Christ. Thank you that in him we have the forgiveness of sins. We look to Christ for hope in all things. Amen.