This morning I want to talk about Christianity, specifically the essence of Christianity. It might seem simplistic, but the essence of Christianity is Christ. The essence of Messianic Judaism is Messiah.
I say this because there are those who take the focus off of Yeshua and redirect it to other things. For example, the prosperity teachers redirect the focus to prosperity, to getting richer and acquiring more and more things. That’s not Christianity. That’s materialism, greed, worldliness – with a Christian cloak.
Another example of taking the focus off of Messiah and redirecting it to something else is those who focus on a list of dos and don’ts, and for various people and groups, the list of dos and don’t will differ. The list of dos and don’ts becomes more important than Yeshua.
Yeshua is the proper focus of our faith. He must be the focus of our religion, thoughts, our devotion, our passion – He Himself, and nothing else. Why? According to the first two chapters of Paul’s letter to the Colossians, because of who Yeshua is, and He is amazing, and because of all the things Yeshua does – which are amazing.
Messiah must be our focus because in Him all things were created: things in Heaven and on Earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is the Creator of all things, and the One for whom all things have been created. Everything that exists, exists for a purpose, and that purpose is “for Messiah” – for Messiah’s purposes; for Messiah’s pleasure; to bring Him wealth and honor.
Messiah must be our focus because He is the King of a real and eternal kingdom, a kingdom that is characterized by light, which is a symbol for knowledge, wisdom, truth, reality, victory, joy, happiness and life. Those who want to live forever with the King in His glorious kingdom of light need to focus on being loyal to the King of that kingdom.
Messiah must be our focus because He is the beloved Son of God, loved by His Father, the High King of Heaven. We must love what God loves, and what God loves most of all is Messiah.
Messiah must be our focus because He is the Messiah, the ultimate prophet, priest and king. He is the ultimate prophet, who speaks the most clearly and most authoritatively for God. He is the ultimate priest, bringing God and His blessings closer to us, and bring us closer to God. He is the ultimate king, the One who will rule over Israel and the nations forever. He is the Lord, the head over every power and authority – over every angel or archangel, every man, every woman, every Jew, every Gentile, every creature, every force of nature.
Messiah must be our focus because He is the head of His body, which is His Community. United to Him, we are continually supplied with life and strength from Yeshua, our living Leader.
Messiah must be our focus because He is the Firstborn Over All Creation. Just as the eldest son has a special place of honor and authority, and enjoys special privileges in the family, Messiah is the special heir among the other sons and daughters of God. He is preeminent over everyone and everything.
Messiah must be our focus because He is the image of the invisible God. The Third Person of the Trinity, God the Spirit, is invisible. The First Person of the Trinity, God the Father, is likewise invisible to us. But the Second Person of the Trinity, God the Son, made Himself visible to us. The Son is the One who is able to reveal the invisible God to us. Therefore to see Yeshua is to see the Father; to see Yeshua is to see the invisible God. Yeshua reveals God to us, perfectly reveals God to us, enabling us to really know God the way we need to.
Messiah must be our focus because He is the One Who Is Before All Things: Yeshua is older than the oldest. He is before the angels; before Abraham; before Moses; before Buddha; before Mohammad; before the philosophers; before the scientists and psychologists. He is the Ancient of Days- eternal, supremely wise and venerable.
Messiah must be our focus because He is the Sustainer Of All Things. In Him all things hold together. Right now, Messiah is holding together everything that exists. The existence of everyone and everything depends on Him.
Messiah must be our focus because He is the One In Whom The Fullness Of God Lives In Bodily Form. The Son doesn’t have just a little bit of God living in Him. The Son has the totality, the completeness, the fulness of the infinite, all-powerful, all-present, all-wise, all-loving God living in Him. And out of that fullness of God living in Him, Messiah can fill us with the fullness of God living in us.
Messiah must be our focus because He is the Firstborn From Among The Dead. He is the first one who overcame death. Only Messiah has conquered this deadly enemy – and only if we become loyal to Him, can we overcome death.
Messiah must be our focus because He is the Reconciler Of All Things. The world is far from God, alienated from God, estranged from God. Yeshua alone is able to reconcile the world to God, and being reconciled to God is our greatest need. Yeshua made reconciliation with God possible by shedding His blood on the cross. Messiah’s death enables all of all our sins to be completely forgiven. No more spiritual debts. No more legal indebtedness. No more guilt. No more spiritual blemishes. Free from all accusations. Full pardon. Full atonement. Reconciled to God. Peace with God.
Messiah must be our focus because He is the One in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Yeshua is supremely knowledgeable, supremely wise. He is wiser than any of the founders of the world’s religions and philosophies. He is wiser than Israel’s prophets; wiser than Israel’s rabbis. And, the One in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge is able, out of His infinite wisdom and knowledge, give us all the knowledge and wisdom we need for a successful life in this world, followed by eternal life in the world to come.
Messiah must be our focus because He has disarmed the powers and authorities, triumphing over them by the cross. Yeshua vanquished the dark spiritual powers who control humanity – not by exerting overwhelming power, but by allowing Himself to be arrested, judged, humiliated, beaten, spit on, whipped, stripped naked and nailed to a cross.
Messiah is unique! Messiah is amazing! Messiah is so much! Messiah is so central. Messiah is so important! We need to understand who Messiah is. We need to grow in our understanding of Messiah.
In Messiah we are complete, not incomplete. In Messiah we lack nothing. Joined to Messiah we are blessed with every spiritual blessing.
We need to remain close to Messiah, connected to Messiah, drawing life and strength from Him. We need to have Messiah’s Spirit living in us and filling us.
We need to be centered on Messiah; rooted in Messiah; grounded on Messiah. We need to fix our eyes on Messiah. We need to remained focus on Messiah. Any other focus is off-focus, dangerous, destructive.
Patrick (Saint Patrick) was a great Christian. God blessed him and used him tremendously to establish Christianity in Ireland. This is part of one of his prayers:
Messiah with me,
Messiah before me,
Messiah behind me,
Messiah in me,
Messiah beneath me,
Messiah above me,
Messiah on my right,
Messiah on my left,
Messiah when I lie down,
Messiah when I sit down,
Messiah when I arise,
Messiah in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Messiah in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Messiah in every eye that sees me,
Messiah in every ear that hears me.
That prayer expresses the centrality of Messiah. Patrick understood the essence of Christianity. Patrick understood that the focus must be Messiah. May God so work in each one of us so that our focus above all, is Messiah. Amen?