NTB-12-GEPC-4 - Colossians: The Supremacy of Christ
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Introduction by narrator accompanied by a cappella singing:
THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST. Spreading the soul-saving message of Jesus. And now,
“And Jesus is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from
the dead, that in all things, he may have the preeminence,” Colossians 1:18.
The book of Ephesians is a compliment to Colossians. Ephesians holds up the
church of Christ in every chapter in that book will show that the church, by living, by
acting, by representing what God wants us to represent, can bring glory to the name of
Christ and God, Ephesians 3:21. In complement to that idea, Colossians holds up the
Christ of the church. Each book emphasizes something and now we are looking at
Christ and what makes him preeminent. So Colossians is all about the preeminence of
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
A key verse, Colossians 1:18 notice it with me again, “and he is the head of the
body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he
may have preeminence.” How you have preeminence is first-place; that he may be
supreme. “Jesus is reigning as King of Kings and Lord of Lords,” Revelation 19:16. “He
is still head of the church,” Ephesians 1:22-23. He's reining at the right hand of God
Hebrews 1:4. He's worthy of our honor and glory and praise. Thus, he holds first place.
No man living today can hold first-place. Notice what is said in Colossians
2:9-10, this gives us a little backdrop as to why Jesus deserves first-place. The
Scripture says, “For in him, in Christ, dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily and
you are complete in him, who is the head of all principality and power.” Why is it Jesus
deserves first-place? He is the Godhead in bodily form. Philippians 2:5-11, “He humbled
himself and became obedient to death, took upon himself the form of a man and even
died on the cross.” Jesus is that eternal word. John 1:1-4, Jesus is no doubt divine and
we must give him first-place.
Just as much is that, Colossians 2:10 says that, “I can be complete in Christ.”
There's nothing lacking. In Christ there are no absences, no minuses, everything is
fulfilled in Jesus. Just like the book of Ephesians, in Colossians, we want to know what
idea per chapter that illustrates the preeminence of Christ.
For example, in Colossians chapter 1, we see that Christ is preeminent as
master of creation. Chapter 2, Christ’s doctrine and teaching are preeminent over the
philosophies of men. In chapter 3, Paul now moves to our living and he notes that
Christian living is preeminent over any other way of life. Then of course, Christian
fellowship and friendships are preeminent in chapter 4.
Let's take our attention and turn it to the message of Colossians, as we see from
this great book. Colossians 1:5 teaches us that along with Christ being preeminent,
Christ gives us a hope that should reign supreme in our hearts. Notice Colossians 1:5,
“because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in
the word of the truth of the Gospel.” What makes the Christian hope preeminent? It's the
hope of Heaven. I'm not got the hope of the best life here alone, although I do have that.
John 10:10, I have the hope of heaven. This is what makes living for Christ, being a
Christian, enduring the trials and difficulties we face, worthwhile. One day I can live with
God forever in that beautiful place, where there are absences of sin, sorrow, death,
crying, grief, and pain, Revelation 21:3-4. Jesus said it this way, “let not your heart be
troubled you believe in God, believe also in me, in my father's house are many
mansions, were it not so I would've told you,” and he said this, “I go to prepare a place
for you, and if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to
myself, that where I am there you may be also.”
When I think about the beauty and the splendor of heaven, I think this is what
motivated Paul. Paul said, “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Paul said, I’m
between a rock and a hard place, in essence. I want to stay here and work with you
which is profitable, but I desire to go and be with Christ which is far better. That’s what
every Christian is looking forward to. “That home not made with hands,” 2 Corinthians
5:1-2. But for us to receive that, our walk must be preeminent as well. Notice Colossians
1:10, I've got to walk the right way, notice what this verse teaches us. The Bible says
that, “you may walk worthy of the Lord fully pleasing him, being fruitful in every good
work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” How might I walk in such a way that my
life honors the preeminence of Christ? Well, first of all, three ways are mentioned. First
one is I've got to be fully pleasing to him. That means that I've got to follow and do what
Christ says. Jesus told us how to please him, “If you love me, keep my
commandments,” John 14:15. We’re to love God and we’re to love others, Mark
12:30-35. We are to live it every day for Jesus Christ, Luke 9:23. Is my motto, mindset,
and motivation in life: how would this please the Lord?
Paul mentions being fruitful in every good work. Let's realize that a Christian is
a worker. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Be steadfast, immovable, abounding
in the work of the Lord.” What God's told us to do: evangelism, seeking and saving the
lost, encouraging others, all these things are things we should to do. Then of course,
I've got increase in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in every way.
Jesus said, “You’ll know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” The Bible teaches
we have got to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, 2
Peter 3:18. We think about Colossians, and its message of the preeminence of Christ
Colossians 1:14, teaches us Jesus is preeminent because it's His blood that redeemed
us. Notice Colossians 1:14, “In whom we have redemption through his blood the
forgiveness of sins.” The blood of Christ makes Christ preeminent, because his
sacrifice, that's what in our mind, that's what cleanses us of sin. Ephesians 1:7, “we
have redemption in his blood.” John saw Jesus approaching, and as Christ is coming to
him, and you can just see this picture your mind, here's Jesus approaching John and
John says, “Behold, look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” “He
was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon him. “By his
stripes, we are healed,” Isaiah 53:4-5.
That great scene in Revelation 5 seems as though there's the stress no one is
there to open the seal, and to bring forth its judgment, and weeping begins to occur.
Then men look up; behold the Lamb, who was slain from the foundation of the earth,
he's here, and he’s able to open the seals. It's his blood that brings us back to God.
What a beautiful picture indeed.
As we think about Christ’s preeminence, Christ deserves first-place, because he
is God, and he was the agent of creation. When you think about creation, and when you
think about verses like, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. “God
said let there be light. God created the plants and the trees. God created man.” Usually
you think of the Father. But did you know, Colossians1 teaches, Jesus had a hand in
that. Colossians 1:15-16, the Scripture says, “He, Jesus, is the image of the invisible
God, the firstborn over all creation,” now notice this, “by him all things were created that
are in heaven that are on earth visible and invisible whether thrones or dominions or
principalities or powers all things were created through him and for him.” When I hear
God say, “Let us,” a personal plural pronoun, “Let us, make man in our image.” I don't
have to wonder who was there, I know the spirits in Genesis chapter 1, the spirit of God
was hovering upon the face of the deep and I know Christ was there. Colossians1:15-16
clearly teaches that. So, why does Christ deserve preeminence? My friends, He's our
Creator, as well. He is the Almighty God. He's the one who is worthy of honor and
power and glory. Because He is preeminent, he is first-place in our lives.
Let's now turn our attention to Colossians 2. Notice the preeminence of Christ’s
doctrine over the philosophies of men. As a Christian, I've got to be aware of false
teachers. Notice what the Bible says in Colossians 2:4-5, “now this I say lest anyone
should deceive you with persuasive words, for though I am absent in the flesh, yet I'm
with you and the spirit rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your
faith in Christ.” Some had been promoting empty and vain philosophies, things that
would do no good; there were false teachers then, according to Matthew 7:15, “They
came in sheep's clothing but really they were ravenous wolves.” We need to be careful
today. There is persuasive wisdom of men, philosophies of men, and ideas of men that
on the surface may sound good, but when you look into it, and it's deceptive. It won't
give you what it claims. The philosophy of humanism: instead of God being at the center
of the circle in everything working out from God, take man and put him at the center that
circle. Let's say whatever makes him happy; whenever he wants to do, whatever lust
and pleasure he feels like fulfilling, he's at the center; let him do it. Wait a minute now, is
man at the center? No. God is still in the center, but it's selfish and many times we like
things that make us feel good and are selfish. Evolution is a philosophy, an idea, a
theory of men. The evolutionary theory and philosophy says: men just over millions of
years evolved, that we are no different than animals; we can live like there's no
authority, no real objective moral standard beyond what society and we place on that,
and so as creatures of evolution, we can live and act as we want hand-in-hand with
humanism, relativism, postmodernism, that we are a modern society. We've outgrown
the Bible and all these things.
Friend, those philosophies are persuasive but they’re deceptive. Don't buy into
the idea that it's all about you and it's all about me. Actually, it's all about God. Paul said
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “We’re bought at a price, therefore we must glorify God in our
body and our spirit which is in Jesus Christ.” I want you to notice another very powerful
lesson from Colossians 2:15 and that is this, the death of Jesus is where all spiritual
enemies are conquered; Colossians 2:15 the Bible says, in this verse, “having disarmed
principalities and powers, having made a public spectacle of them triumphing over them
in his death.” Having nailed to the cross, that's where Jesus conquered all the enemies.
He conquered Satan, Hebrews 2:14. He promised it would happen. Genesis 3:15
prophesied that the seed of woman would deal a deathblow to Satan. That did occur
Romans 16:20 Paul said, “God is crushing Satan under your feet shortly at this time
presently.” The enemies of Christianity are conquered at the cross of Jesus. It’s that
pivotal moment in time, in history, when all things come together in the fullness of God's
plan, Galatians 4:4, and it's that moment that makes life worth living for the child of God,
for every Christian who remains true to God.
Now with that in mind, notice Colossians 3. Look at how that makes our focus
and our emphasis in life preeminent. Colossians 3:1, the Scripture says, “If then you
were raised with Christ; seek those things which are above, where Christ is sitting at the
right hand of God. Set your mind on things above not on things in the earth. why? For
you died and your life is hidden with Christ in God when Christ who is our life appears,
then you also will appear with him in glory.” What great words of encouragement these
are! If you've been raised with Christ, if you're a child of God, here's Paul's
encouragement, “seek those things which are above.” The first encouragement is to
seek. I've got to seek heavenly things. I've got a make it my aim to, “seek first the
kingdom of God,” Matthew 6:33. I've got have the mindset to make my soul the most
important and viable possession I have. Jesus asked these two questions, “What will it
profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul or what shall a man give
in exchange for his soul?” Paul already told us, the soul is most important thing. “For to
me to live is Christ to die is gain,” Philippians 1:21. If Christ is preeminent, are we
seeking heavenly things? Then of course, you've got to set your mind on those things.
“If you are praised with Christ then seek those things which are above, where Christ is
set your mind on heavenly things, spiritual things, not on earthly things.”
How do I transform my thinking to really bring out the preeminence of Christ, of
the Christian focus? Not only do I seek the right things, I've got to set. That means to
establish, that means I've got a make firm in my mind, spiritual and heavenly things.
That's what's really important in this life. I've got to be a living sacrifice for Jesus each
and every day. I've got a make sure that I focus on the right things. I'm to think on things
that are above. I'm not to think on things this world and anxieties go along with that,
Philippians 4:6-8. And then of course, I've got to realize when I do that, I am safe and
secure in the arms of Jesus, in the control and power of God. “Set your mind on things
above, not on things of the earth for your life,” listen now, “is hidden with Christ in God.”
What's that mean? God is going to take care of me. Does that mean I can’t fall away?
That’s not what we are saying nor is that what Paul is teaching here, but if I seek, if I
set, if I live faithful, in the end God will see me to that heavenly home that he’s promised
for all his children. So, Colossians 3 is all about making sure that we give Christ
preeminence in our focus.
Now I want you to notice another teaching in Colossians 3. Our worship must
also be a preeminent worship in the sense that, we honor God first and foremost in the
way he wants us to. Let’s relate that to singing. In Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of
Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another in
Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
As a child of God, when we worship God, when it relates to music, how do we do that?
The Bible here tells us, saying, “With grace in our hearts to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:19
complementary book, complementary idea, saying, “And make melody in your heart to
the Lord.” James 5:13, “Is anyone happy? Let him sing psalms.” Every passage in the
New Testament that you find about singing, as it relates to worship here on the earth, is
about vocal music to God. Here's what you don't find, you never find mechanical
instruments made by men to be used in worship to God. You don't find a piano. You
don't find an organ. You don't find a guitar, a seven piece rock band, you don't find
those things. Why? God didn't want them. God's not authorized hem. If I'm not to go
beyond that which is written 1 Corinthians 4:6, if I'm not add to or take away from the
word of God, Revelation 22:18-19, if the warning is, “do not add to his word, lest he
rebuke you and you be found a liar,” Proverbs 30:6.I can't find any pianos or organs or
guitars or drums are bongos anywhere in the New Testament. God specified, sing. Sing
and make melody in your heart. Sing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Teach,
admonish, encourage one another in song. That's preeminent worship because it puts
what God wants first and foremost, not what men want or think is best.
Now let's look to Colossians chapter 4. Notice that our fellowship and our
friendships must also be preeminent in Christ. Colossians 4:5-6, notice we've got to
walk wisely toward those who are outside of Christ, “Walk in wisdom toward those who
are outside, redeeming the time, let your speech always be with grace, season with salt
that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” As a child of God, I've got a
live as an example. The Bible says in 1 Peter 2:21, “that for to this for you call because
Christ also suffered and died, leaving us an example that we should follow in his
footsteps.” I am to imitate the apostle Paul, as Paul imitated Christ, 1 Corinthians 11:1.
Do you remember the example and the encouragement in Matthew 5:16? Jesus said,
“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your
father who is in heaven.” Christian living, our Christian friendship and fellowship with
God and others must be preeminent, in that we walk wisely toward those are outside.
I've got a view my life this way, by asking myself: how will my friends, neighbors,
coworkers, and even my enemies view me as a Christian? Am I representing the
positive influence of Christianity? Do I rejoice in the Lord always? Philippians 4:4. Am I
trying to do well, to bring honor to God? Am I looking for opportunities to teach the lost
about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Paul then says in verse five, not only are we to
walk wisely toward those are outside, we’re to redeem the time, or make the most of our
time. Redeem means to buy back and once time’s gone, you can never really buy it
back, but the real idea is, make the most of your time. Here's the phraseology, I'm to
seize the moment. That's the idea. John 9:4, Jesus said, we must, “work the works of
him who sent us while it is day, for night comes and no man works.” I've got to do my
best as a child of God to take advantage of now. Am I looking for opportunities to
encourage? Am I trying to help the sick and the poor and downtrodden? Am I trying to
really be a good neighbor? Do I love my neighbor as myself? In my looking for
opportunities, evangelism, am I really taking advantage of now? Now is all you’ve got.
“For life is like a vapor, here for a little while and it vanishes away.” James 4:14.
I've got to speak in the right way. Does our speech show we’re Christians? Paul
says, “we’re to have grace, our speech be seasoned with salt always with grace
knowing how we ought to answer each person.” What does your speech say about you
as a Christian? You can tell if someone is trying to follow the Bible by their speech.
Here's how. They don't say some of the four letter words that other people say.
Colossians 3:8 and Ephesians 4:26-29 says, “We’re to let no filthy communication come
out of our mouth.” Does my speech show I'm a Christian? Does my speech have with it
an encouragement for others to hear the gospel? Part of our speech being with salt and
grace, means that we want to speak the truth in love, Ephesians 4:15. It means I
actually have to open my mouth and say something about Jesus. Jesus said, “Go into
all the world teach the gospel to every creature,” Mark 16:15 Matthew 28:18-20.
Then of course, I've got to be ready to give an answer to everyone who asked
the reason for the hope that is within me, 1 Peter 3:15. How do I give that answer? By
letting God's word answer, Jeremiah 37:17 and Romans 4:3 are two of the greatest
questions in the Bible. An evil king asked, ‘is there any word from the Lord’ and Paul
repeated that same idea in Romans 4:3 when he said, “What does the Scripture say?”
How can we be ready to give an answer? By studying, 2 Timothy 2:15 and pointing
people to the word of God, which is God's power to save, Romans 1:16.
Friend, we ask you today, have you made Christ preeminent in your life? Does
he really have first place? Does he come before everything else in your decisions and
your motivation, in what you do? If you haven't made in first place in your life, why not
do that today? You've heard the word of God. Would you believe that message that
Jesus saves? Would you repent of sin and turn to God? Acts 3:19. Would you be willing
to make the great confession and be baptized to be saved? Mark 16:16. If as a child of
God, may be you’ve fallen back. We hope the message of Colossians will encourage
you to dust yourself off, get up, and get back to work in the kingdom of God.
Study Questions for: “Colossians”
1. According to Colossians 2:10, I can be complete in whom?
2. What hope do we have, according to Colossians 1:5?
3. According to 1 Corinthians 15:58, what must we abound in?
4. What redeems us, according to Colossians 1:14?
5. In Matthew 7:15, who was dressed in sheep’s clothing?
6. Where were the spiritual enemies conquered, according to Colossians 2:15?
7. According to Colossians 4:5-6, how should we walk toward people outside of
8. What kind of communication must we rid ourselves of, according to Colossians
9. What great question is asked in Romans 4:3?
10.What must I communicate with people, according to Mark 16:15?