Summary: Christ deserves the first place in all things: in our lives, in our families, in our time, in our conversations, in our studies, in our mission and ministry, in our jobs and businesses, in our decisions, and in everything! I would be delighted if you could rate this sermon and give brief feedback.
INTRODUCTION (SECURE ATTENTION) & BACKGROUND OF THE PASSAGE:
PRAY before starting the sermon.
We live in a pluralistic society and thus presenting the uniqueness of Christ is a great challenge.
Some see Jesus as a great teacher.
Some see Him as a prophet.
Others perceive Him as a great example.
Many in our culture see Jesus as one among the many gods.
Because of the influence of the society around us, it is possible for Christian leaders and believers to compromise their beliefs and slip into syncretism.
Since we are surrounded by different philosophies and ideas, we need to affirm the preeminence and uniqueness of Christ.
Today’s passage talks about the preeminence of Christ in everything.
Would you take God’s Word and turn your Bibles with me to COLOSSIANS 1:15-20 (READ)?
I have entitled today’s sermon as: “FIRST IN EVERYTHING!”
Since Christmas is all about Christ, I was led to share about the supremacy of Christ.
As Paul gives thanks to the Father for the salvation that He graciously granted, he even talks about the role of the Son in the plan of redemption.
CENTRAL PROPOSITION OF THE TEXT: Apostle Paul teaches the Colossians that Christ is preeminent in creation and redemption.
Paul himself probably did not visit Colossae, but his fellow-worker Epaphras seems to have brought the gospel to this city.
Epaphras visited Apostle Paul who was in prison and he probably told him about the false teachings that were circulating in the church at Colossae (1:7-8).
So, Apostle Paul writes this letter to refute these false teachings.
The essence of the false teachings is debated.
But according to N. T. Wright, a New Testament scholar, there were both Jewish and pagan elements in these false teachings.
For instance, the pagan practice of worship of angels (2:18) and ascetic practices which views material world as evil (2:2ff) were taught.
Also, it appears that the Jewish practice of circumcision was taught by these false teachers (2:11).
Focusing on today’s text, many scholars think that Apostle Paul is quoting an existing hymn which was familiar in the early church.
Others think that Paul himself wrote this.
However, we don’t have conclusive evidence about it.
This is an awesome passage which talks about the glories of Christ.
Normal Geisler, a systematic theologian, says “No comparable listing of so many characteristics of Christ and His deity are found in any other Scripture passage.”
THE PURPOSE BRIDGE: To encourage the members of EAGC to give Christ the preeminence in their lives.
FALLEN CONDITION FOCUS: Already dealt with above.
CENTRAL PROPOSITION OF THE SERMON: Christ must be first in everything!
I say this on the basis of 2 truths found in today’s passage:
I. CHRIST IS PREEMINENT IN CREATION. (Slide# 4)
Refer verses 15-17.
“He is the image of the invisible God” (Read verse 15a).
“He” refers to the Son in verse 13.
The word for image in Greek is eikon, which could mean likeness, representation, or manifestation.
Likeness: Christ is the exact likeness of God, the Father, as in the image on a coin or the reflection in a mirror; read Heb. 1:3a—"He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.”
Representation: Christ is the representation of God, the Father.
Manifestation: Jesus is the manifestation of the invisible God.
Paul refers to God as “invisible” in 1 Timothy 1:17 as well.
The word ‘invisible’ also has the nuance of unknowable.
God is invisible and unknowable.
But praise God, through Jesus, we can truly know God.
“No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known” (read John 1:18).
“Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (read John 14:9).
“For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (read Colossians 2:9).
Jesus is the perfect revelation of the Father.
This Greek word eikon is also significant because of its usage in the Old Testament and inter-testamental books.
In Proverbs 8:27 & 30 (refer), wisdom is seen as something which was co-eternal with God and was with God when He created the world.
In the Wisdom of Solomon 7:26, the word eikon is used of wisdom. There wisdom is said to be an image of the goodness of God.
In Christ, this wisdom has come in bodily form.
“The firstborn of all creation” (read Colossians 1:15b).
Does this phrase mean that Jesus was the first created being?
On the basis of this verse, the Arians in the past and the Jehovah’s Witnesses of today argue that Jesus is the first being who was created.
Is that what Apostle Paul meant?
It can’t be because Paul unequivocally states that “by him all things were created” (read Colossians 1:16).
The word firstborn (Gk: prototokos) is packed with power.
The word firstborn describes Jesus’ priority in time (“he is before all things”—verse 17) or supremacy in rank.