Colossians: The Preeminence of Christ

preeeminence of christSermon Series Intro

  • Last week we started a study on the book of Colossians
  • We looked at how Paul did not start the church there
    • Instead he rejoiced to hear that someone else took the message there
    • Starting new churches and spreading the gospel is not just for superstars, but for all believers
    • Today we are looking at the preeminence of Jesus

Public Reading: Colossians 1:15-23

An audio recording of this sermon can be found here.

A Hymn

  • Some Bible’s indent these verses
  • They are poetic – as in it is thought that Paul is quoting an early hymn or creed of Jesus followers
  • Others think that the hymn came into being through Paul
  • Either way, verses 15 through 20 provided us with an amazing look at who Jesus is
    • As well as the nature of God Himself

The Image

He is the image of the invisible God,  

  • Jesus is the “image” of God
  • Jesus said in John 14
    • Verse 7

If you had known me, you would have known my Father also”

  • Verse 9b-11

Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.”

  • To take this seriously, is to read the entire Bible through the lens of Jesus
  • Jesus is God; if you want to know God, know and follow Jesus
    • You want to know how God would act, look at Jesus
    • You want to know what God said, look at Jesus

Firstborn of Creation

the firstborn over all creation,

  • Some folks have used this verse to say that Jesus was created
  • That He was simply the first thing that God made
  • This is a heresy called “Arianism
    • Jesus was not really God, but a man created and used by God
    • This is false as the Scriptures are very clear on the fact that Jesus and the Father are one
      • John 1:1-2 is one of the best examples of this:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.

  • To understand the term that Paul is using here (Firstborn), you have to understand the culture of the times
    • To the ancient Jews as well as to a lot of cultures still today
    • To be the “firstborn” was to have everything your father had
      • It was a title, and ranking of such
      • To be the “firstborn of creation” is to be the ruler, the boss, over everything
      • It was also an echo of Psalm 89:27
        • A Davidic Messiah Psalm

I will appoint him to be my firstborn son,
the most exalted of the earth’s kings.

All Was Created

for all things in heaven and on earth were created in him—all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or powers—all things were created through him and for him.

  • Earlier we referenced John 1:1 were John calls Jesus the “Word”
    • While these carries with it a lot of cool stuff
    • Most of which is outside of our study today
    • The point for today is this
      • Jesus is the Word of God
      • We have a tendency to call the Bible the “Word of the Lord”
        • I understand why
        • The Bible is the written word – a book that records what God has told us
        • Yet the Bible refers to itself as the “Scriptures”
        • In the OT, when it refers to the “word of the Lord” it is an active word
          • God was telling someone something
          • In the NT, the “Word of the Lord” refers to Jesus
          • This is important because how does God create the heavens and the earth?
            • He speaks
            • And if Jesus is the Word of God
              • Then it was through Jesus – the spoken Word of God – that created everything!

Held By Jesus

He himself is before all things and all things are held together in him.

  • Jesus is before all things
  • He is the King of Kings, the ruler of everything
  • He is before – as in He is always at work around us before we get there
    • We just join with Him
    • All things are held together in Him
      • There reason we have an earth is because of Jesus
      • If He removes His hand, we are gone
      • Here’s a cool scientific fact
        • The world is made up of atoms
        • Atoms are made up of quarks and gluons
        • Quarks and gluons have a strange behavior
          • They tend to vanish
          • Only showing up with looked at
          • This has opened up theories of an open universe
            • I.e. that we are not alone in the world
            • Multiple universes – that the quarks and such are Jumping between two different places
            • Quarks and gluons also have wave properties
              • theories suggest that they might be vibrations of a multi-dimensional space
              • While the vibration of the quarks are not sound as we know it (vibrations of air molecules)
                • God is above us
                • Perhaps his spoken word created the vibrations….
                • If so, then the Word of God, i.e. Jesus, is the thing that holds the universe together!!

The Head of the Body

He is the head of the body, the church,

  • This is another very important face
  • Jesus is the leaders of the church
  • Each local body, each global body – they are all under Jesus
  • This is why we are going to join together tonight and next week
    • To ask Jesus what He is doing
    • Help us Lord to discern what you are doing among us

Firstborn of the Dead

as well as the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he himself may become first in all things.

  • Just like before, Paul is using the term “firstborn” to tell us that Jesus is first among all things
  • Jesus wasn’t the first person to be raised from the dead
    • That honor, as far as we know, was an unnamed man in 2 Kings 13:20-22

One day some men were burying a man when they spotted a raiding party. So they threw the dead man into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the dead man came to life and stood on his feet.

  • God took on the flesh and nature of humanity so that he could destroy death
  • In dying and coming back, Jesus created away for us
  • He was the first of the new creation
    • When we die, we will be resurrected at the end of the age
    • Jesus did this first
    • We can know that we will live with Jesus forever with a new body because of Jesus

The Fullness of God

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in the Son

  • This goes back to the first verse we looked at
  • Jesus is God and God is Jesus
  • The tense of the Greek verb tells us that this is a permanent dwelling, not a temporary one
  • Powerful fact!!
  • The next part hinges upon this fact

Reconcile

and through him to reconcile all things to himself by making peace through the blood of his cross—through him, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

  • We can go directly to God because of Jesus
  • Jesus is the ONLY way to God
    • Humans can not earn our way to God
    • We cannot go through any of the other gods out there
    • We can only go THROUGH Jesus
      • Period!!
      • Not only is Jesus redeeming humans
        • But, as Romans 8 states, all of creation is awaiting the redemption of Jesus
        • Everything will be set right through the blood of Jesus

Strangers No More

And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 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,  

  • Because of Jesus, we who were “alienated and hostile” toward God are now “holy and blameless”
  • We have a new life in Jesus

A Warning

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 creationunder heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

  • We have to “continue in the faith”
  • We are not to stop following Jesus
  • We have to continue to walk after Him.

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