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                                             Are You Drinking From the Fountain?

Text: Colossians 1:13-20


   The Amazon River is the largest river in the world. The mouth is 90 miles across. There is enough water to exceed the combined flow of the Yangtze, Mississippi and Nile Rivers. So much water comes from the Amazon that they can detect its currents 200 miles out in the Atlantic Ocean. One irony of ancient navigation is that sailors in ancient times died for lack of water... caught in windless waters of the South Atlantic. They were adrift, helpless, dying of thirst. Sometimes other ships from South America who knew the area would come alongside and call out, "What is your problem?" And they would exclaim, "Can you spare us some water? Our sailors are dying of thirst!" And from the other ship would come the cry, "Just lower your buckets. You are in the mouth of the mighty Amazon River." The irony of ancient Israel and the tragedy around us today is that God, the fountain of living water, is right here and people don't draw from Him.  (See:  Eph 3:11‑12; Col 1:17‑23; Col 2:9‑19 )

Christ is our source.  If we do not draw from him we will die.  It is from him that we get life, because:

I. Christ is the source of creation

A).  All the earth is from His creative power (V.16).  By him all things were created.  It is in Him and by His grace that you have your being, and that you have life.  All that you enjoy on earth; the sky, the birds, the trees are from the God through Jesus Christ. 

***  There is no God. All of the wonders around us are accidental. No almighty hand made a thousand billion stars. They made themselves. No power keeps them on their steady course. The earth spins itself to keep the oceans from falling off toward the sun. Infants teach themselves to cry when they are hungry or hurt. A small flower invented itself so that we could extract digitalis for sick hearts.

   The earth gave itself day and night, tilted itself so that we get seasons. Without the magnetic poles man would be unable to navigate the trackless oceans of water and air, but they just grew there.

   How about the sugar thermostat in the pancreas? It maintains a level of sugar in the blood sufficient for energy. Without it, all of us would fall into a coma and die.

   Why does snow sit on mountain‑tops waiting for the warm spring sun to melt it at just the right time for the young crops in farms below to drink? A very lovely accident.

   The human heart will beat for 70 or 80 years without faltering. How does it get sufficient rest between beats? A kidney will filter poison from the blood, and leave good things alone. How does it know one from the other?

   Who gave the human tongue flexibility to form words, and a brain to understand them, but denied it to all animals?

   Who showed a womb how to take the love of two persons and keep splitting a tiny ovum until, in time, a baby would have the proper number of fingers, eyes and ears and hair in the right places, and come into the world when it is strong enough to sustain life?

   There is no God?    ‑‑ 1966 by Jim Bishop, Miami Herald, July 27, 1987.

All creation gives glorious testimony to the King of Creation, Jesus.  But it is not only the creation we see on earth that gives testimony to the divine hand that wrought it.  B). Unseen things in heaven of which glory we can only imagine have Him as their source.  It has been said that Heaven will only be heaven because Jesus is there.  All the gold, jewels and amazing things yet to be seen will mean nothing apart from Him.  It is in Him they have their source and it is only of His Royalty and grandeur that they testify.

***   A child of God who was seriously ill and lacked assurance of salvation said to his physician, "Doctor, although I'm a Christian, I'm afraid to die. Exactly what happens to us in the hour of death?" The surgeon, who was also a believer, thought for a moment and then replied, "I'm afraid I can't give you an exact answer to that question!" As he walked across the room to leave, he desperately wished he could say something comforting. Pausing briefly before opening the door, he heard the sound of scratching and whining on the other side. Suddenly he realized that he had left his car window open and his little dog had jumped out. With the patient's permission he let in his pet poodle who leaped on him with an eager show of gladness. In a flash the doctor's mind was awakened to a scriptural truth he had never before put into words. Turning to the sick man, he said, "Did you see how my dog acted? He's never been in this room before. He had no idea what was inside; yet when I opened the door, he sprang in without fear, for he knew his master was here! As Christians we have not been told about the glories that await us on the other side of death. But one thing we do know; our Master is there, and that is enough!  (See:  Phil 1:23 )

All that is seen, and all that is unseen have Christ at the source, and all life finds its beginning in Him.  That is a wonderful thought in itself, but not only is Christ the source of all creation, but:

II.  Christ is the source of all preservation.

This can be seen in the fact that He Himself is preserved.  In the grave where corruption and decay would reign we see Christ as conqueror.  The fact of his own resurrection gives testimony to His Power to sustain and preserve life. 

(Acts 17:24-31 NASB)  "The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; {25} neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things; {26} and He made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation, {27} that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; {28} for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are His offspring.' {29} "Being then the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. {30} "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, {31} because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."

It is in Christ that we move and exist, and if we are preserved, it will only be by Him; the proof being that He himself is preserved; being raised from the dead.

Even today, your very life has Him as its source.  In Him all things hold together (v.17), and they exist by his power.  If we are to be preserved after our life on earth is done, it will be by His preserving Hand.  Listen to the following letter.

***Dear Ann Landers:

   The enclosed  appeared in the Schenectady Gazette. It was written by a teenage boy who died from cancer. His parents were divorced and he and his sisters were being raised by grandparents. Please try to find room for this farewell message in your column. We went to school with Kevin, and he was truly one in a million.

   A Very Special Thank You

   If I were back on earth, I would want to express my thanks:

   To the doctors and nurses at Ellis Hospital who attended me and made sure I did not suffer any unnecessary pain during my illness.

   To all my school friends for your concern and kindness; for the many visits you made to the chapels and churches to pray for me; for the many hours you spent at the hospital helping to cheer me up and lift the spirits of my family. For the memorial services you held on the steps of Draper High School the day I left this earth.

   To all who came by the funeral home to pay their last respects. I stopped counting when the number reached 400.

   To all who sent cards and sympathy letters. They were so helpful.

   To you dear friends and neighbors who cooked all that delicious food and baked those wonderful pastries. Your goodies just about covered every flat surface in our home. How I wish I could have tasted some of them.

   To the thoughtful friends, relatives and neighbors who sent donations to charities in my name ‑‑ and, oh, those gorgeous flowers! What a beautiful array! It was almost as if I was back in the Hawaiian islands again ‑‑ a place I truly loved. Many of the plants and flowers are now in our home, being tenderly cared for by my grandmother.

   To those who made up the funeral cortege. What a sight that was! There were over 30 vehicles ‑‑ one after the other, all with their lights on. What a great send off. I loved it!

   To my family ‑‑ Kelly, Celia, Gina and Katie. I am proud to have been your one and only brother. I'm sorry I had to leave you, but I know you will all grow up to be good citizens and a credit to our grandparents.

   To Gram and Grandpa. Thanks for everything. Too bad God called me just when I was reaching the age when I could have been of help to you. I realized a long time ago that you were exceptional people. I was a lucky guy to be your grandson.

   To all: This isn't the end. We are sure to meet again. I'll be on hand waiting when you arrive, and we'll take up where we left off.

   ‑‑ Kevin Dolan, 1964‑1981.

   Dear Friend in Schenectady: Thank you for sharing that extraordinary message. For those who may be wondering how Kevin knew the number of vehicles in the funeral cortege and the fact that more than 400 passed his coffin, his farewell message was written several days before he passed away. He left blank spaces for his older sister to fill in after his death.  (See:  Psa 116:15; John 5:24 )

The point is that the boy realized that even if he was to die of cancer, he would be finally and eternally preserved. If there is any hope that we will be among those preserved in heaven, that hope must have Christ as its source, or it is a false hope indeed.  It is only in Christ that we will find ourselves preserved and eternally alive.  That preservation comes to us by His hand through His reconciliation.  The only way we can have Him as the source of our preservation is to have him as the source of our reconciliation.  Only:

III.  Christ is the source of reconciliation.

A).  By the work of the cross, we who are alienated from God by sin are reconciled and find peace with God through the blood shed on Calvary. 

***   The story is told of a young dockworker who heard a minister named Henderson deliver a sermon based on Romans 5:1. Although impressed with the truth that one can have peace with God only through the merits of the Lord Jesus, he did not trust Him as his personal Savior.

   The next day that man joined the crew and sailed on the steamship London. A short time later it met with disaster on the high seas. Several months passed, and a sailor came to the clergyman and inquired, "Are you Pastor Henderson?" "Yes, I am," he replied. "I've come to tell you that I talked and prayed with a young man on board the London who had heard you preach on Romans 5:1. He was concerned about his soul but didn't quite understand the plan of salvation. I finished what you began and led him to the Savior. Only a few minutes later we were shipwrecked, and he and I were told to launch one of the lifeboats. While doing so, he said to me, 'Mate, if you get to shore, be sure and tell Pastor Henderson that I've been saved.' Somehow he failed to get into the lifeboat in time, and we had to row away immediately to keep from being capsized by the suction of the sinking ship. The last I saw of him, he was up in the rigging of the doomed vessel, waving his hat and shouting to me above the noise of the waters, 'Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ!'"

Only Christ is the source of or reconciliation, only Christ is the source of our preservation, but just as He is the also the source of our creation:

IV.  Christ is the source of our destination.

It is in Christ that we find both our beginning and our end.  In the end, all things will be resolved by Christ.  If we are not reconciled by the cross of Christ, we will reckon with the judgement of Christ.  Their is no higher authority that we may appeal to.  God has put A). Christ in authority over all earthly powers (v. 16), and there is no higher authority to which we can appeal than Christ. 

Not only has God put first Christ in authority, but He has put first, B). Christ in priority.  We would do well to do the same thing.  Too often we allow material concerns, personal embarrassment, and selfish desires to be placed before Christ.  We can not afford to give Christ lower priority than our earthly concerns.  Christ is the source of our own creation, our very life.  He is the source of present and permanent preservation and the source of reconciliation, and He is the source of our destination as we travel through time to the day when we will come face to face with Him. 

   Early one morning fire broke out in a house on a narrow street. The alarm was sounded by a policeman on duty. Before the fire engines could get to the scene, however, flames were leaping high into the air. Suddenly a young man appeared at an upper window in his pajamas. Firemen quickly placed a ladder against the burning building. But to the consternation of all, he refused to come down, shouting back that he had to get dressed first. The firemen pleaded, "Come as you are! Come as you are!" but to no avail. From below they tried to ascend the stairs, but were turned back as the wind fanned the flames into fury. When a rescuer tried to enter through a window, the heat and smoke forced him away. Suddenly the stairs gave way and the roof fell in. The man had waited too long and was buried beneath the ruins.

   How much greater tragedy awaits all who refuse to "flee from the wrath to come." Many reject God's provision of salvation and safety in Christ because they want to get dressed up in the clothes of self‑righteousness or religion. Their delay could cost them their souls.  (See:  Matt 3:5‑10 ).

Don’t let embarrassment or earthly cares keep you back from Christ.  There will be a judgement, but the way of the cross leads home.  We need to drink from the waters of salvation which flow from Christ.

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