Summary: The preeminence of Christ should not only be our dogma, but it should also be our practice. If we truly practice the preemeninence of Christ, it will affect every area of our life.
PRACTICING CHRIST’S PREEMINENCE
Text: Col.1: 18; Col.3: 17
Intro: Paul wrote the letter to the Colossians while a prisoner at Rome. The church, located in the city of Colossae, actually began and met in the home of a man whose name you may recognize—Philemon (Phil.2). You may recall that Philemon’s servant, Onesimus, ran away at one point, and was eventually won to faith in Christ by Paul. As a result, Paul penned a letter to Philemon, asking him to forgive Onesimus and to receive him back as a brother in Christ.
It was about this time however, that a man by the name of Epaphras, a member of the church in Colossae, showed up asking for Paul’s help with problems being created in the church by some new doctrines being propagated among them. The problems stemmed from a mixture of “Eastern philosophy and Jewish legalism, with elements of what Bible scholars call Gnosticism” (Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Complete: Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois, pg. 10). In essence, this heresy promised that one could attain spiritual perfection by following its teachings. It fostered the idea that faith in Christ was not enough to make the believer spiritually complete. Paul’s letter to the Colossians refuted this heresy, and emphatically stated that the believer is complete in Christ. The only thing that was needed was making Christ first and foremost in one’s life, which is the meaning of the word translated “preeminence” in Colossians 1: 18. Christ is the first and last word in sanctification, as well as salvation.
This heretical philosophy is still alive and well today. There are those that push the idea that Christ is okay, but in order to become one of the spiritual elite one must do this or do that. The requirements vary according to which group to which one may be listening. However, as was true in Paul’s day, we do not need addendums to Christ. We simply need to practice Christ’s preeminence in our life.
Theme: We practice Christ’s preeminence by:
I. SEEKING THE HEAVENLY
A. We Should Entertain Heavenly Desires.
Col.3: 1 “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.”
NOTE:  Paul says that one reason we should entertain heavenly desires is because of our relationship to Christ. We are “risen with Christ,” Paul says. The word translated “if” doesn’t imply doubt, but actually carries the idea of an accomplished fact. The word means, “in view of the fact” (Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies, Vol. I: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan; Ephesians and Colossians In The Greek New Testament, pg. 217). “The word since gives the truer meaning of the word” (Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Complete: Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois; pg. 100).
 The point that Paul makes here is that since the believer, by his identification with Christ, has been raised with Him, they should “seek” or “strive for earnestly,” heavenly things (John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament edition, published by Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois; pg. 680). Just as Christ possessed a new quality of life after His resurrection, even so should the saint exhibit a new quality of life after salvation. The whole idea here is that believers should be “…centering their lives on the ascended…glorified…Christ, who is seated at the right hand of God…” (Ibid, pg. 680).
B. We Should Exercise A Heavenly Disposition.
Col.3: 2 “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
NOTE:  The words, “set your affection” mean, “to direct one’s mind to a thing” (Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies, Vol. I: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan; Ephesians and Colossians In The Greek New Testament, pg. 217).
 That which commands our attention also controls our action. As Bro. Wiersbe says, “Our feet must be on earth, but our minds must be in heaven…It means that the practical everyday affairs of life get their direction from Christ in heaven. It means further that we look at earth from heaven’s point of view” (Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Complete: Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois; pg. 101).
 Please understand that Paul is not condemning our thinking upon the normal, everyday affairs of life. He is however, advocating that our earthly affairs be governed by a heavenly mindset.
1. Paul reasons that the saint should exercise a heavenly disposition due to his identification with Christ.
Col.3: 3 “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”
NOTE:  The words, “for ye are dead,” are emphatic in the Greek, reading, “Ye died” (Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies, Vol. I: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan; Ephesians and Colossians In The Greek New Testament, pg. 218).