Summary: Exposition on Col 1:15-23 as it relates to the purpose of the existence of the church and to the first part of our vision statement

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Text: Colossians 1:15-23, Title: Exaltation and Transformation, Date/Place: NRBC, 6/8/08, AM

Opening illustration: “But now and then someone tells me frankly that my preaching needs to be less doctrinal and more practical. Practical application is vital. I don’t want to minimize its importance. But the distinction between doctrinal and practical truth is artificial; doctrine is practical! In fact, nothing is more practical than sound doctrine. Too many Christians view doctrine as heady and theoretical. They have dismissed doctrinal passages as unimportant, divisive, threatening, or simply impractical. A best-selling Christian book I just read warns readers to be on guard against preachers whose emphasis is on interpreting Scripture rather than applying it.” –John MacArthur, “Instinctively, most of us follow a leader who has real vision and who can transform that vision into a meaningful and hopeful strategy.”

A. Background to passage: Paul has introduced himself and has prayed for the saints and faithful brethren in Colosse. Then we have one of the great passages on Christ in the NT. And in it, and the following verses, we will see the basis for the first part of our vision statement—the reason for our existence. Over the next five weeks, we will deal with each point in our vision statement with a supporting text. I don’t see my role, nor my right, to stand before you and tell you my opinions and personal wisdom without divine revelation to support such ideas. I strive to let the text speak. Request prayer regarding this issue over the coming six weeks. See the vision statement diagram.

B. Main thought: The church (NRBC) exists to exalt Christ by altering Tifton and the globe…

A. Exaltation of Our Head (v. 18)

1. Paul says here generally in v. 16 that all things were created through Him and for Him. Then in v. 18 very specifically he brings in the church and speaks about Christ being its head, its source, its foundation, its first-born, then he gives a purpose clause—“that in all things He might have preeminence.” So he says that one of the reasons that God made Christ head of the church was so that he might be preeminent everywhere. He is our head so that the whole world might know that He is of infinite worth. The church exists to put on display the perfections and excellencies of Christ, so that the whole world would know of his value and worth. And the church can do it in a way that an individual can’t. This is why exaltation of Christ is first in the statement and on the hand in the diagram—it is our primary reason for existence.

2. Eph 3:10, 21, Philip 2:8-11,

3. Illustration: the conversation that Tory and I had with the lady at the Auto Battery and Electric, about splits and churches that don’t act like churches, and how that is just the norm, and how I smiled, left, and preached a sermon on my way home with fire and righteous indignation at her idea of the church, but also at the reality of what many churches have done to the reputation of Christ through their uncaring actions, “God AIMS to fill the universe with the glory of his Son, Jesus, by making the church the showcase of his perfections. Or, to put it another way, and include the idea of body: God means to fill the universe with the glory of his Son by putting the church on display as the embodiment of his Son…

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