0-9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
To Find Lyric Alphabetical Category Click On The First Letter Of The Title

<< Previous | Index | Next >>
                     "THE EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS"

                     The Pre-Eminent Christ (1:13-20)

INTRODUCTION

1. When Paul first met Jesus on the road to Damascus, he did not know at
   that time who Jesus really was ("Who are you, lord?" - Ac 9:3-5)

2. But when we come to Paul's epistle to the Colossians, we learn that
   Paul had come to a much fuller understanding of exactly who Jesus
   was!

3. In this lesson, we shall look at Co 1:13-20, and notice Paul's
   description of "The Pre-Eminent Christ"

4. In so doing, I hope we will be impressed with the fact that Christ is
   certainly our ALL-SUFFICIENT and PRE-EMINENT SAVIOR, who is worthy of
   our love, adoration, and obedience

[Who is this Jesus called "Christ"?  Our first point can be gleaned from
a comment made in verse 13, where Paul was giving reasons why we ought
to be giving thanks to the Father.

That is, Jesus is...]

I. THE KING OVER HIS KINGDOM (13)

   A. JESUS HIMSELF PROCLAIMED TO BE A KING...
      1. He claimed to have a kingdom, and even came into this world to
         proclaim the truth that He is a king - Jn 18:36-37
      2. After his resurrection, He claimed the extent of His rule: 
         authority over all heaven and earth! - Mt 28:18; cf. Ep 1:20-23

   B. HIS KINGSHIP AND KINGDOM PROCLAIMED IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION...
      1. He is "the ruler over the kings of the earth" - Re 1:5
      2. He has made His disciples "kings and priest" (or, "a kingdom of
         priests") to His God and Father - Re 1:6
      3. Those in Christ Jesus are in His kingdom - Re 1:9
      4. Those who persevere to the end will rule with Him even as He
         now reigns! - Re 2:26-27; Re 3:21
      5. He is truly "Lord of lords and King of kings!" - Re 17:14;
         19:16

["King of kings"...certainly an indication of "The Pre-Eminent Christ"!  
But notice that He is also...]

II. THE SAVIOR FROM OUR SINS (14)

   A. BY VIRTUE OF HIS BLOOD WE HAVE "REDEMPTION"...
      1. The word "redemption" (Greek, apolutrosis) means "a releasing
         effected by payment of ransom"
      2. I.e., we have been "released" from the bondage of sin through
         the payment of Jesus' blood shed on the cross - cf. Mt 20:28

   B. BY VIRTUE OF HIS BLOOD WE HAVE "FORGIVENESS"...
      1. "Forgiveness" (Greek, aphesis) means "release from bondage or
         imprisonment"
      2. In Christ, we have "forgiveness or pardon, of sins (letting
         them go as if they had never been committed), remission of the
         penalty"

[As pronounced by the Angel to Joseph, "you shall call His name JESUS, 
for He will save His people from their sins." (Mt 1:21)

A "king" capable of providing "redemption" and "forgiveness" from sins;
truly indications of pre-eminence!  But there is more, for He is
also...]

III. THE IMAGE OF THE INVISIBLE GOD (15)

   A. THE WORD "IMAGE"...
      1. Comes from the Greek eikon {i-kone'}
      2. Meaning "an image, figure, likeness"

   B. JESUS IS THE "IMAGE" OF GOD WHO IS INVISIBLE!
      1. No man has ever seen God, but Jesus has "declared" (made
         manifest) Him - Jn 1:18
      2. As Jesus Himself said, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father"
         - Jn 14:7-9
      3. As expressed by the writer to the Hebrews, Jesus is:
         a. The brightness of God's Glory
         b. The express image of His Person - He 1:3
      4. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians...
         a. Jesus is the "image of God" - 2 Co 4:4
         b. In the "face of Jesus Christ" is "the knowledge of the glory
            of God" - 2 Co 4:6
      5. From these passages, we learn that Jesus accurately and fully
         expresses the being and perfection of God!
      6. I.e., by looking at Jesus (as He is revealed in the Word of
         God), we can see and know the Father, who is invisible!

[The next description of "The Pre-Eminent Christ" is one that confused 
many and caused some to draw erroneous conclusions.  We observe that 
Jesus is also...]

IV. THE FIRSTBORN OVER ALL CREATION (15)

   A. CONCERNING THE TERM "FIRSTBORN"...
      1. It can mean "the first one born" (or created)
         a. Some have therefore concluded from this passage that Jesus
            is a created being, the first of all God's creations
         b. For example, those led by the Watchtower Society (who call
            themselves "Jehovah's Witnesses")
      2. But it is also used in the Scriptures as a metaphor to describe
         one who occupies the rank and privilege of being firstborn
         (without literally being "firstborn")
         a. Used by God in this way to refer to the nation of Israel 
            - Exo 4:22
         b. Used by God in this way to refer to David, who was the
            youngest of eight brothers - Ps 89:20,27
      3. Therefore, any interpretation of this term must be in harmony
         with what is taught about Christ elsewhere...
         a. And Jesus is clearly proclaimed to be the creator of ALL
            things - Jn 1:1-3; Co 1:16
         b. It could not be stated that He is the creator of ALL things
            if He Himself was a created being!
         c. Which is why the JW's try to get around these passages by
            inserting the modifier "OTHER" four times in their NWT
            translation of Co 1:16-17!
            1) To let it read as written by Paul, it destroys their
               doctrine that Christ is a created being
            2) So they must "add" to the Word of God...

   B. THE PURPOSE IN USING THE PHRASE "FIRSTBORN OVER ALL CREATION"
      1. To stress that Jesus is pre-eminent over all creation, He has
         all the rights of one as IF He were a "firstborn"
      2. Just as God...
         a. Declared Israel to be His "firstborn" over the nations of
            the earth (though certainly not the first nation to exist)
         b. Declared David to be His "firstborn" over the kings of the
            earth (though certainly not the first king either)
         ...so God has declared Jesus to be the "firstborn" over all
            creation (though He  Himself was not a created being!)

[As already touched upon above, we learn from Paul that Jesus is
also...]

V. THE CREATOR OF ALL THINGS (16-17a)

   A. THIS AMAZING TRUTH CONCERNING JESUS IS ALSO CONFIRMED BY...
      1. John in his gospel - Jn 1:3
      2. The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews - He 1:3

   B. FROM THESE VERSES WE LEARN THAT WHEN THE WORLD WAS CREATED...
      1. Jesus was the CREATIVE AGENT by which everything came into
         being!
      2. Everything was created FOR Him also!

   C. AS THE CREATOR OF ALL THINGS...
      1. It only follows that He existed before anything that was
         created
      2. Which seems to be the idea of 17a ("He is before all things")

[In addition to being the CREATOR of all things, as we continue in 
verse 17 we learn that Jesus is also...]

VI. THE SUSTAINER OF ALL THINGS (17b)

   A. "IN HIM ALL THINGS CONSIST"
      1. That is, in Him all things are kept in their present state
      2. Their existence, order, and arrangement are continued in the
         present form by HIS power! - cf. He 1:3

   B. WHAT IF JESUS CHOSE TO REMOVE HIS POWER?
      1. Every created thing would fall into disorder!
      2. Or sink back into nothingness!

[Truly in regards to CREATION, Jesus is "The Pre-Eminent Christ!"  But
His preeminence also extends to the realm of REDEMPTION, as suggested
earlier in verses 13-14, and now developed further in verses 18-20]

VII. THE HEAD OF THE BODY, THE CHURCH (18a)

   A. THE CHURCH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST...
      1. The word "church" comes from ekklesia {ek-klay-see'-ah},
         meaning a congregation or assembly made up of people who have
         been "called out"
      2. Those called out by the gospel of Christ into His kingdom form
         a great assembly or congregation
      3. The term "church" is used in two senses:
         a. Universal - the body of saved believers throughout the world
         b. Local - a congregation of saved believers in one locality
      4. In the context of Co 1:18, Paul is speaking of the church
         "universal" (though what we are about to say in the next point
         would be true in a "local" church as well)

   B. AS THE HEAD, JESUS IS OVER THE CHURCH...
      1. As we have already seen, He has all authority in heaven and
         earth - Mt 28:18
      2. How much more so, should He hold the rank of preeminence in His
         Church!
      3. He is the One, therefore, who controls the destiny of those in
         His church! - cf. Rev 2 & 3

[Jesus is also...]

VIII. THE BEGINNING, THE FIRSTBORN FROM THE DEAD (18b)

   A. THE WORD "BEGINNING"...
      1. Comes from the Greek, arche {ar-khay'}
      2. Various shades of meaning include...
         a. Beginning, origin
         b. The person or thing that commences, the first person or
            thing in a series, the leader
         c. That by which anything begins to be, the origin, the active
            cause
         d. The first place, principality, rule, magistracy

   B. REMEMBER THE USE OF THE WORD "FIRSTBORN"...
      1. It does not necessarily mean the FIRST one, but can refer to
         the PRE-EMINENT one
      2. Jesus was not the first person to rise from the dead (cf.
         Jairus' daughter, the son of the widow of Nain, and Lazarus)
      3. But He is the first to rise, never to die again, and is
         declared elsewhere to be the "FIRSTFRUITS" of the resurrection 
         - cf. 1 Co 15:20,23
      4. The term "firstfruits" suggests "the cream of the crop", i.e.,
         that which is pre-eminent

   C. THUS, IN REGARDS TO THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD...
      1. Jesus is BOTH the "origin, active cause" (the beginning) and
         the "firstborn from the dead"
      2. He is the "active cause" of the resurrection:  "in Christ all
         shall be made alive" - 1 Co 15:22
      3. By His own resurrection, never to die again, He is the 
         "firstborn from the dead", the "firstfruits", i.e., the pre-
         eminent one!

[Two more points are made by Paul in regards to "The Pre-Eminent Christ"
in this passage.  The first is that in Jesus dwells...]

IX. THE FULLNESS OF ALL THINGS (19)

   A. JESUS IS CLEARLY THE "FULLNESS" OF DEITY...
      1. We have seen that He is "the image of the invisible God" - Co
         1:15
      2. Paul later declares that in Jesus "dwells all the fullness of
         the Godhead bodily" - Co 2:9

   B. JESUS IS ALSO OUR "FULLNESS"...
      1. In Him we have "redemption through His blood, the forgiveness
         of sins" - Co 1:14
      2. In Him we have "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" 
         - Co 2:3
      3. Yes, we are "complete in Him" - Co 2:10

[Finally, we learn that Jesus is...]

X. THE RECONCILER OF ALL THINGS TO GOD (20)

   A. THE FATHER'S DESIRE IS TO RECONCILE TO HIMSELF...
      1. "things on earth"
         a. Which includes sinful man - cf. 2 Co 5:18-20
         b. Both Jews and Gentiles - cf. Ep 2:14-18
      2. "things in heaven"
         a. Admittedly, a difficult phrase
         b. It would be easy to fall into vain speculation as to what
            this means (e.g., what things in heaven need reconciliation
            to God?)
         c. Whatever Paul may be alluding to, the point is clear:  Jesus
            is to be the reconciler of ALL things to God!

   B. GOD IS ABLE TO RECONCILE ALL THINGS BY JESUS TO HIMSELF...
      1. "having made peace through the blood of His cross"
      2. Through the death of His Son, it is now possible for sinful man
         to be reconciled to God! - Ro 5:10; Co 1:21-22

CONCLUSION

1. Paul had certainly come a long way in his understanding of Jesus
   since that day he met Him on the road to Damascus!
   a. From saying "Who are you, lord?"
   b. To proclaiming Jesus to be:
      1) The king over His kingdom
      2) The savior from our sins
      3) The image of the invisible God
      4) The firstborn over all creation
      5) The creator of all things
      6) The sustainer of all things
      7) The head of the body, the church
      8) The beginning, the firstborn from the dead
      9) The fullness of all things
     10) The reconciler of all things to God

2. I trust that our own understanding and appreciation of Jesus has
   increased as a result of studying this passage!

3. Perhaps we can also appreciate why Jesus received so much praise and
   adoration in heaven - cf. Re 5:11-12

4. What are WE doing to show our appreciation to Jesus, our "pre-eminent
   and all-sufficient Savior?"

5. Consider the words of Jesus in Luke 6:46...implying that the best
   way we can praise Him is by obeying Him

Have you obeyed Jesus in responding to His Gospel (Mk 16:16; Ac 2:38)?
Are you obeying Jesus by living a faithful life as His disciple (Re 2:
10)?
<< Previous | Index | Next >>







Higher Praise™

Higher Praise Christian Center™
higherpraise.com™ higherpraise.org™

© Copyright 1999, Higher Praise™ HigherPraise™,Inc. All rights reserved. Terms of Use

Enjoy A Life Changing Experience