Save Time and Preach Like Never Before. Try the new
Intro: There was an article in a national news paper a few years ago that featured a denomination that wanted to radically reach those who feel alienated from church. Using market research and focus groups, this denomination has designed weekly services that deliberately de-emphasize Jesus Christ. One of the founders of the church has said, “The sad fact is the name of Jesus Christ has become for many people exclusionary.” Using Hindu and Zen, intermingled with a few verses from the Bible and recorded music by Willie Nelson, the leader of this group is quoted as saying, “We’re enabling people to discover God themselves, maybe through Jesus, maybe through Buddha, maybe through any number of ways.”

Most of us think that sounds crazy and some may even feel anger hearing that. I want to make you aware of something just as deadly that is infiltrating into the church, our church even today. It seems pretty harmless and most would brush it off and not give it another thought, but it is deadly to a church and even a whole community.

I’m talking about practicality. I have found myself infected with this disease at times and I’m sure you have had it too. Here is how it works. Instead of calling people to faith, repentance and submission to the supremacy of Christ, many of us tell people that Jesus wants to give them a happy marriage or a stress-free life. While Jesus will certainly change our lives, our marriages, and our stress levels when we bow before His preeminence, we must move away from “What Jesus can do for me” to “Am I living in light of His lordship?” We don’t simply “add” Jesus to our lives; we adore Him with our lives through our obedience. We must face the question and answer it honestly – Is Jesus 1st place in your life?

In addition, more recently the National Geographic Society released information about an ancient Coptic manuscript USA Today called “The Gospel of Judas.” Of course, even the National Geographic scholars admit Judas didn’t write it: He committed suicide soon after he betrayed Jesus. It was written by someone two hundred years after Judas died. In addition, this is not some “lost gospel” that’s going to change the Bible. In the first 300 years of the church, there were many documents written telling strange and unusual stories about Jesus not found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. But again, this front page story makes people consider the question: Who is Jesus Christ?

Let’s see how these questions relate to our text this morning in Col 1: 15-20. Much of the false teaching taking place in Colosse had to do with the minimizing of Jesus. Many people thought He was important but not essential. They had given Him a place in their lives, without recognizing that He demands first place. Jesus was prominent to them, but certainly not preeminent.

Paul refutes at least three misconceptions in Colossians 1:
• The false teachers taught that God did not create the world because in their view matter was evil and logically,