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Description: Christmas service
Look up into Reality
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
The verse is Colossians 1: 15: He is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all
creation.” It baffles you at first doesn’t it? “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn
of all creation.” It’s hard to think what it does mean. But obviously it means that when God
conceived his own son, in that millisecond, and this is the part of the parallel worlds that
physicists know nothing of, in a millisecond, way before there was any world, when God conceived his
own son he conceived of him being his own divine son and also of being the person who became a man
He conceived of him being the first man. He conceived way at the beginning in a millisecond, his own
divine son, he conceived of him being a human being, being the first human being, being the human
being that actually appeared to Abraham early on as Melchizedek which means “king of righteousness.”
And that strange figure in Abrahams’ time when Abraham had fought with those Kings that we’ve
talked of before against a common enemy at a time when spoils were offered to Abraham and he
rejected them, at that same time because of the victory over the Kings he presented a tithe to
Melchizedek, a strange figure that appears in Old Testament history and then is gone. But he is
well known, Melchizedek, and is looked upon as one of those epiphanies of Jesus.
This was a time when Jesus appeared in Old Testament times because he was the first born; he existed
then with his Father, he also existed as a man and was probably the man everyone recons was seen in
the fiery furnace; when the King looked in the fire there were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and
there was a fourth person and then it says like unto the son of man. So Jesus himself was in
existence long before we were, long before the creation of the world, long before the universe
itself he was in existence and he was the first born, he was begotten of God. He’s really God’s
only son. We all talk about being sons and daughters, but we’re adopted and we are no less
valuable, obviously, than his own son whom he gave for us, but Jesus himself is the only begotten of
the Father, full of grace and truth, and was the first born therefore of all creation because we
were all made in him, for we are all God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus. But Christ Jesus
already existed as the first human being, he was the first Adam, so he existed from way at the
beginning and he appeared at different times. Often they’ll say that when angels appeared it was
Jesus, but the epiphanies are pretty obvious and there are several of them in the Old Testament. So
Jesus was the first born of all creation and we were created in him and therefore we share his
Then I shared with you that his uncreated life is received by us when we are driven to despair when
the tire gets another puncture – as we go through and face the powerful enemies that we have here;
the principalities and powers. We’re not fighting against flesh and blood when we deal with these
people who shoot up children and schools, or with the many powers and forces that make us all
preoccupied with things, things, things. We’re not fighting flesh and blood, we’re fighting
principalities and powers and those principalities and powers are what Christ deals with when we are
driven to those by despair, by things we cannot control, by societies that are increasingly
bewildering in their chaos. As we’re driven to Jesus then he begins to give his uncreated life to
us, the life of his Holy Spirit, his own heart, his own life that he has received from God the
Father. And that’s why he was slain from before the foundation of the world, because at that same
moment God conceived of his son, he conceived of everything in a moment. He saw his son’s life; he
saw the things that have happened to you today. He saw those things. He saw the death of our
friend Margaret. He saw everything back then; he saw all the wars, he saw all the difficulties. He
saw all the problems you will meet tomorrow and saw all the difficulties that you and I will meet
next year. And he and his son reconciled all of those in the death that took place before the
foundation of the world and was expressed in Calvary in 29 A.D. God conceived all of those things.
That why Jesus said, “I have overcome the world.” He already overcame the world. He saw all those
things, he faced all those things. What we see in Gethsemane is not the first time he cried; he
cried thousands and millions of years before that. So he has overcome the world and when you
receive his uncreated life, it is something that is already done. The city of Jericho has already
been given into your hands. When you face a screw that will not go in, he has already got it in.
And when you take that to your heart a strange power goes through your personality and you think,
this can be done and you have a different attitude. Until then, it’s all uphill! You think “no way
can I get this thing in.” So it happens; it’s a miracle of his uncreated life that comes down to us
every day of our lives. In that way he was the first born of all creation. So he is the one of whom
we are part. And really what we’re doing is doing what that verse says; we are made for works that
he has already prepared beforehand, he has already met those works, he has already done them in his
That’s why fellows like Barth say that from Calvary it’s all downhill. That is, it’s all achieved
so it’s all kind of freewheeling. We make a big thing of it “oh how hard this is” but that’s
because of the deception in our minds, it is no harder than when we overcome it. But at that moment
we lose sight of things and live in our poky little world. But he is the first born of all creation
and we are created in him and so this day is our birth. We always talk about it as the birth of
Jesus, but it is our birth, it is the birth of humanity.
It is the birth of the new humanity that God created in his son after the old humanity had been
crucified. So it is a glorious day for us too. And it only makes sense if you see the reality that
you and I are part of that dear son of God. We do not ourselves have the only begotten life, but we
can receive his only begotten life day by day though the power of his Holy Spirit who takes of the
things of Jesus and imparts them to us.
So the whole thing that we face is you might say, a setup; it’s all done, it’s all arranged.
All we need to do is to walk in the confidence of that and then if you say “then everything will be
wonderful?” Not in our way wonderful, because Jesus himself as they nailed his hands said ‘this is
wonderful’, so it’s wonderful in his eyes. Wonderful according to how he judges things. So yes, you
could die in pain, you could, he died in pain, so you could die in pain but you would be in the
center of his will and he would give you grace for it and he would glorify himself through it.
Would you know exactly how you’re life has been used mightily for God? No, you may not, you may be
like Eric Liddel who didn’t see it clearly and who died feeling he was a bit of a failure in the
Japanese prison camp because of the brain tumor. There is no guarantee that your life outwardly
will be wonderful or happy, but it will be what God has planned and therefore you are safe in his
arms and you know that it is well and that things are victorious.
It is a very real truth and I don’t know, they may run out of meaning for the parallel universe.
They may, as science often does, reorganize the whole thing and come out with a new theory, but for
us it does set forth some of the truth “a dwelling not made with hands, eternal in the heavens “
that is, we have a new self that exists at this very moment in Christ with the others in God’s
presence. And that new self is shared by Jesus with us every day as needed. So every day in life
we can expect challenges, they’re not real difficulties that have not been foreseen by our Father or
have not already been overcome. They’re challenges and the challenge is simply for us “I lift my
eyes, the cloud grows thin, I see the blue above it and day by day this pathway smooth’s since first
I learned to love it.” That’s it – it’s the challenge to look up and see reality; that he is the
first born of all creation and we are part of him.
Let us pray.
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