While it may sound simple to some, It’s a question that confuses many today. Recently, a church member shared a conversation with his mom who wasn’t sure what Easter was all about. That lady isn’t alone. In a 2015 survey, Barna found 5 Popular Perceptions About Jesus 2) 1. The Vast Majority of Americans Believe Jesus Was a Real Person They state in their survey Jesus Christ has made a cameo in hundreds of pop culture places, from The Da Vinci Code to South Park. But, although the character of Jesus has certainly been fictionalized, satirized and mythologized over the centuries, the vast majority of Americans still maintain that he was a historical figure. More than nine out of 10 adults say Jesus Christ was a real person who actually lived (92%). While the percentages dip slightly among younger generations—only 87 percent of Millennials agree Jesus actually lived—Americans are still very likely to believe the man, Jesus Christ, once walked the earth. 3) 2. Younger Generations Are Increasingly Less Likely to Believe Jesus Was God This has been (& still remains) an important tenant in church. Even so, many Christians don’t understand this concept 4) 3. Americans Are Divided on Whether Jesus Was Sinless 5) 4. Most Americans Say They Have Made a Commitment to Jesus Christ 6) 5. People Are Conflicted between “Jesus” and “Good Deeds” as the Way to Heaven People today are confused. They’re confused, b/c they aren’t going to scripture to learn WHO Jesus is. The Church’s role is to provide clarity. We need to show (through scripture) WHO He is. In today’s passage, Paul is writing to Colossian church that was confused by a similar false teaching. In our lesson three weeks ago, we discussed this Gnostic Heresy. This heresy taught that: 7) Because the body is evil, Christ was not human. Therefore, the concept of a personal Savior who -tempted in all ways -faced hardships -like us was NOT understood. That’s why Paul writes about The Supremacy of Christ In Col 1:15-23 As important as this teaching was them, It’s also important to us today. 8) Col 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 1st thing Paul does: Establish Christ’s role at creation. "ALL things were created by him and for him.” People think of Jesus as God’s son. As such, they think of him being created. Scripture says, He has always been. As the Father has always been, so has the Son. so has the Holy Spirit. In Jn 1, John describes Jesus role in creation 9) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. Col 1 & Jn 1 state that, Jesus is not only equal to God, But that He IS God. He is the Creator. 10) Col 1:17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Without Jesus, this world/ this life makes NO sense. Whether people acknowledge Jesus or not, they sense this. In Acts 17, Paul goes before Aeropagus in Athens & shares this message. 11) Acts 17:22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. 24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ In love vs. 28 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ Jesus provides purpose for our lives. That’s what Paul wants the Colossian church to understand. That’s what our world needs to hear. Too many young people are turning to: -materialism -drugs -education to find purpose. We need to point them to TRUTH. 12) Col 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. Jesus is the head of the church….PERIOD. Everything we do, Every decision we make, should glorify HIM. He is the firstborn from among the dead. It takes a God to overcome 3 days in tomb. He was first one to do it. Because he did it, We’re going to do it. vs 19. 13) For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, Paul refutes the heresy that Jesus wasn’t fully divine & fully human. He says: “The two co-existed in Him” 14) 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. People today are conflicted between “Good deeds” & “Jesus” as the way to Heaven. Paul tells the Colossian church, Your good deeds had nothing to do with it. Before Jesus, your sins separated you & God. Jesus made peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Again, your good deeds didn’t accomplish anything. 14) Col 1:21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. This is who Jesus is. He’s bigger than anything we can wrap our minds around. Our world desperately needs Him, but they haven’t figured that out yet. He desperately wants to save them -from themselves -eternal punishment As Paul said: 15) Acts 17:26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.