Summary: Jesus Christ has supreme authority over everything in heaven and on earth.
Jesus Christ is Supreme
Last week we began our study of the Book of Colossians and we received the blessing that Paul gave to the Colossians when he said his standard greeting of “Grace and peace to you from God our Father.” It was not Paul’s grace and peace that he offered but God’s grace which we can never earn or deserve and a peace that flows out of God’s grace that surpasses everything we could ever imagine. We also saw in the first 14 verses that Paul thanked God for what He was doing in the lives of the Christians at Colosse. We also discussed the context of the culture and events that were taking place at the time Paul wrote this letter. If you remember, one of the reasons Paul wrote this letter was to refute the idea of the Essenes and what was later going to become Gnosticism which promoted the idea that everything that was spiritual was good, everything that was physical matter was evil, and that you could only get to heaven by “special knowledge” not through Jesus Christ. Today’s text will refute Gnosticism and every other false teaching in much the same way that the Secret Service refutes counterfeit money. I went to the Secret Service website and looked at the information they have to battle counterfeit money. The majority of the information on the site relates to actual, genuine currency. They don’t study all the different kinds and makes of counterfeit money so that they can identify the counterfeit. Instead, they study the real thing so that when they come across something that is not the real thing then they know that what they are looking at is a counterfeit. They give us pointers on how to identify the counterfeit. First, they recommend that you are familiar with and know the US currency. You and I need to know Jesus Christ personally and be intimately familiar with His Word. We do that by reading the Bible on a regular basis, studying His Word, prayer and praising and worshipping our risen Savior.
They always recommend comparing the suspected counterfeit to the genuine item. Here is another interesting point; they say to examine the portrait because the original appears lifelike and the counterfeit appears lifeless.
Paul writes in this passage regarding the Supremacy of Christ. He spells out very clearly for the Colossian believers then and for us today who Jesus Christ IS. I say IS because Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, He lives today. He is risen and is active in our lives today through the Holy spirit who is Christ in us, He sits at the right hand of the Father and is coming again. Paul does not refute Gnosticism or any other false belief directly other than by refuting all of them by reminding us that Jesus Christ is supreme, that He is Lord of the heavens and earth and all that is in them.
Turn in your Bibles to Colossians 1:15-23 and follow along as I read the text:
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation-23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
The Word of God tells us very clearly in this passage who Jesus Christ is, who we are in relation to God and what Jesus Christ did. These are the three areas we are going to investigate today.
Let’s look first at who Scripture says that Jesus Christ is. First of all, the text says that Jesus Christ is THE image of the invisible God. Adam, the first human, was created in the image of God and so are we. This means that we reflect some of the attributes of God. We are created in God’s likeness which means we reflect God in part. But Scripture says that Jesus IS the image of God which means that He is the complete manifestation of God, not in part but in His entirety. Jesus is referred to in John 1:1 as being with God in the beginning as the Word when John writes “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Later John tells us that Jesus took on flesh and dwelt among us. This is the incarnation, God in the flesh. Then after his crucifixion He rose again, ascended to heaven and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Jesus IS and always will be the complete image of God.