Here’s a link to one of my preachings a few Sundays ago about the preeminence of Christ.
If you can’t seem to watch it for whatever reason, I’ve published my preaching notes below.
God bless you all!
Text: Colossians 1:15-18 (ESV)
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
INTRO: Leonardo da Vinci took a friend to criticize his masterpiece of the ‘Last Supper,’ and the remark of the friend was, ‘The most striking thing in the picture is the cup!’ The artist took his brush and wiped out the cup as he said, ‘Nothing in my painting shall attract more attention than the face of my Master!’1
20th century Observation : Many put other people on a pedestal of preeminence or put themselves.
Christ isn’t often first.
Observation: In the church of Colosse, a heresy called Gnosticism had crept into the church and was trying to marginalize Christ. It was a combination of mysticism, Jewish legalism, and Greek philosophy. The heresy taught that Christ could not be God. This belief was based on Greek philosophy which taught the spirit was good and the body was evil, and therefore God could not have become a human because God cannot mix with evil.
It also taught Jesus was an angel and that receiving him was not enough for salvation. One needed new revelation to be saved. That is where the name “Gnostic” comes from. The Greek word gnosko means “to know.” In order to be saved, one needed secret knowledge that only the Gnostics had experienced.
Like Leonardo da Vinci, we must take our brush and wipe away anything that detracts from his preeminence in our lives. But in order for us to sincerely declare this, we must answer the question..
Tension: Why should Christ be preeminent lives?
1. He is the image of God. -V. 15
Tension: He is not God. Just a good person, one of the gods, a good prophet, a carved image made to be a lucky charm, a genie… HE IS GOD!
The concept of “image” involves three things:
A. LIKENESS – Christ is the exact likeness of God, a mirror image (Hebrews 1:3a -He is the radiance of the glory of God)
B. REPRESENTATION – (Christ represents God to us),
C. MANIFESTATION – (Christ makes God known to us)
Statement for point 1: While God made man in the image of God, Christ is the image of God
Application for point 1 – Jesus is God, He is worthy of our worship.
2. He is the Creator and Sustainer of all things.- v. 16-17
Story for point 2. Some years ago a South American company purchased a fine printing press from a firm in the United States. After it had been shipped and completely assembled, the workmen could not get it to operate properly. The most knowledgeable personnel tried to remedy the difficulty and bring it into proper adjustment, but to no avail. Finally the company wired a message to the manufacturer, asking that the company send a representative immediately to fix it. Sensing the urgency of the request, the U.S. firm chose the person who had designed the press. When he arrived on the scene, the South American officials were skeptical—the young man was obviously wet behind the ears. After some discussion, they sent this cable to the manufacturer: ‘Your man is too young; send a more experienced person.’ The reply came back: ‘He made the machine. He can fix it!’6
Tension: If we think we are the ultimate creator of things, then we bear a burden that we fail to carry.
2.1 ( Creator )
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” (Acts 17:25).
Application – Because Christ is the Creator, we should seek him for wisdom about everything.
– Because Christ is the Creator, we should seek to fulfill his purposes for our lives. (Design – made to glorify God Col 1:16 by him and for him.)
17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together
The writer of Hebrews says something similar: “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Heb. 1:3).
Tension: Thinking that we are the sustainer of our lives brings us anxiety and insecurity knowing that we are imperfect.
– Christ is still speaking and working in the earth. Christ is not a clockmaker that makes the clock and allows it to run on its own. Though Christ is the one that has implemented scientific laws like gravity, he is the one who keeps those things running.
He is the battery, the power, and at the same time the power switch
The fact that Christ is our sustainer means we should depend on Him for everything.
Illustration : Laminin – cell adhesion protein molecule – show pic after
3. He is the Head of the Church. v.18
a) Leadership – It is the brain, which is part of the head, that directs every part of the body. It is the control center of the body. Similarly, the church must stay dynamically connected to Christ in order to discern his will.
* We should not be self centered
*We are Christ Centered, Spirit Empowered.
Stop chasing after prominence, be captivated by Christ’s preeminence.
b) Life – without being connected to the head there can be no fruit of the Spirit: no joy, peace, self–control, longsuffering, or even salvation. Christ said, “I came that they may have life and life more abundantly” (John 10:10).
Application: Stay connected to the church as it finds its leadership and life in Christ.
4. He is the First born from the dead. v.18
Questions : What does the phrase “firstborn of the dead” mean when referring to Christ? What does this imply for the believer?
4.1 Firstborn From The Dead Means Christ Is The First Part Of The New Creation.
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep – 1 Corinthians 15:20
However, firstborn does not just mean “first in time” in this context…
4.2: Firstborn From The Dead Also Means He Is The Supreme One Of All The Resurrected
Phelps story – felt like his life was a mess despite the gold medals. Thought of commuting suicide. In the midst of being the “superior” one in swimming- what saved him is reveled in this statement …
In a recent interview with ESPN Magazine, “Phelps explained that the Christian book “turned me into believing there is a power greater than myself and there is a purpose for me on this planet.”
Paul said this in 1 Corinthians 15:14: “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”
If Christ had not been raised, then the Christian faith is a hoax and our faith is in vain. The resurrection of Christ is the crux of the Christian faith and therefore this resurrection makes Christ the priority—the supreme one of all those who will be raised.
This implies that IF we put our faith first in Christ being our Lord and Savior, we could look forward to an eternity under His rule with glorified bodies in a glorified world.
22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:22-23
Jesus is God, He is the Creator and the Sustainer of all things, the head of the Church and the redeemer of our souls.
Main Point: A revelation of Christ’s preeminence leads us to reverence, builds our confidence, and strengthens our dependence.