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For the firmness of our faith: A consideration of the greatness of Christ. Colossians 1:1-23
For the firmness of our faith:
A consideration of the greatness and pre-eminence of Christ
Colossians 1:1-23

Scripture Reading: Colossians 1:1-23

This morning we are going to take a look at Colossians 1 together

-Colossians was written by Paul around AD 60-61
-Paul wrote this letter from jail (Rome). We also learn that he was not alone in jail for preaching Christ---Aristarchus was in jail with him
-Paul did not found the church at Colossae (in present day Turkey). Epaphras did
-Paul's intent was that this letter be circulated-- sent to the church at Laodicea
-Paul's purpose in writing was: to encourage the believers in their walk with Jesus, let them know that they were not alone (they part of the wider body of Christ), help them grow in their knowledge of God, to combat some false teaching about who Jesus was, to strengthen the believers in their faith, and to explain more fully what following Jesus is about
-The city was destroyed shortly after Paul wrote this letter. A giant earthquake struck no later than A.D 62. While the city was partially rebuilt, it was never an important city again.
-When Paul sent this letter to the Colossians, he also sent Onesimus (the slave who ran away from his master) whom the Book of Philemon concerns
-The Book of Colossians is all about Jesus. Everything Paul says in Colossians relates directly to Jesus.
-A key statement in Colossians is found in Colossians 1:18. Therein, Paul writes "so that in everything he might have supremacy". The point: Jesus must have the pre-eminence. Jesus will have the pre-eminence. Jesus shall have the pre-eminence. Such is to be evidence in our lives as his followers. Note: This verse just so happens to grace the wall that is behind me.

READ Colossians 1:1-23


For the firmness of our faith let us consider the greatness of Jesus

1. Jesus is great because in him alone is redemption, the forgiveness of sins
. 1:14

Note with me what Paul says starting in Colossians 1:13-14; "For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

Several things to note


-Redemption is one of the great themes of the Bible. The Passover Lamb, the Sacrificial system, the Book of Ruth, the point of Jesus coming to Earth
-To redeem something is to set free. To redeem involves the payment of a price. In the OT a close relative was considered a kinsmen redeemer. They were to help there family out - if they got in trouble-- paying to set them free, paying to get their land back.
-In the work of Redemption, Jesus shed his blood as a once for all sacrifice on the cross and took the punishment that we deserve that we might be released from our bondage to sin, from the judgment to come. Jesus paid the price (his life and blood) that we might have the forgiveness of sins.
-In Christ there is freedom and forgiveness

Jesus is the only one who can forgive sins and make a person right with God the Father.

In John 14:6 it says; "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

In Acts 4:12 it says; "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

There is no other Savior. There is no other way of Salvation. There is only 1 way to Heaven

2. Jesus is great because he is GOD v.15a

In Colossians 1:15a Paul says of Jesus "He is the image of the invisible God." Furthermore, in Colossians 1:19 it says "For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him"- referring to Jesus in his incarnation being fully God and fully man.

This reminds of Jesus' own words "If you have have seen me, you have seen the Father." John 14:9.

Further: In John 1:1,14 it says of Jesus; "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.... The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

Note: Some are confused about Jesus and think that Jesus was created by God-- citing Colossians 1:15b "the firstborn over all creation".

While the term "firstborn" in some contexts means first in order-- the context determines the specific meaning. For instance, when Jesus is spoken of as "firstborn over creation" it doesn't mean that Jesus was the first of God's creation. Such goes against everything else the Bible teaches about the nature of Christ. Rather: Such is a reference to Christ's pre eminence over the creation, his supremacy in rank, his ownership and dominion over the earth-- for this another meaning of the term "firstborn"

As for Jesus' Deity

While here on earth, Jesus gave many convincing proofs that he was God in the flesh: His power and authority over sickness, over death, to forgive sin, over evil spirits, over nature, and His resurrection from the dead.

Here's a verse we don't often think of that affirms the Deity of Christ. Colossians 2:9 "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form"

Since Jesus is God: He is worthy of our worship, praise, obedience, service, devotion, love

3. Jesus is great because He CREATED all things v.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." v.16

Note: The angels were created by Christ to serve Him and us. Some rebelled.

Jesus' power is unlimited. His strength is beyond compare. There's nothing that Jesus cannot do

Genesis 1-2 tells us how Jesus created all things as does Exodus 20:8-11, Hebrews 11:3 (tells us that such is believed by faith)

Jesus made all things. Everything exists by his pleasure and for his pleasure and sovereign use. Everything belongs to Jesus.

Our purpose: To know Christ, to enjoy Christ, to serve Christ, to live for Christ.

Revelation 4:11 "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."

4. Jesus is great because he SUSTAINS all things v.17

"He is before all things, and in him all things hold together" v.17

The world in the universe is not like some giant clock that Jesus made and then walked away from. God- the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit are moment by moment involved in the affairs of the universe-- holding all things together.

"He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."

The assertion of this verse is that Jesus holds everything together, the reason we are here and breathing is because Jesus is sustaining us and not only us, the planets in their courses. This is "heady" stuff, this is God stuff.

You and I would not be, unless Jesus continued to will it

5. Jesus is great. He is the HEAD of the church v.18

"And he is the head of the body, the church" v.18a

The church- being the called out ones-- belongs to Jesus. He is the groom. The church is his bride. He is our commander. He is the Great Shepherd. He is the vine, we are the branches -- apart from Him we can do nothing.

Jesus is our king and Lord-- we have been bought with a price. As such there are certain expectations of us-- that we stand firm in our faith. That we grow in our love for him and each other, that we use the gifts he has given us for the help of each other, that we pursue holiness and righteousness.

6. Jesus is great because he ROSE from the dead v18

At the center of the NT teaching about Jesus is the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Jesus gave many convincing proofs that he rose from dead- appearing many times over the 40 days before he ascended back to Heaven (even performing one miracle-- the catch of fish). His disciples believed it. His disciples went forth and preached it-- staying faithful even to the point of death for it.

The resurrection of Jesus is key to the Christian faith. Because Jesus rose, we will. Resurrection day hinges on Christ's resurrection. He is the resurrection and the life. (John 11:25)

In v.18 Paul writes of Jesus "He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy."

Here again we bump into the phrase the word "firstborn" this time saying of Jesus "firstborn from among the dead".

The term "firstborn from the dead" is different from "firstborn over all creation".

"Firstborn from the dead" has a first in order component. Firstborn over creation does not have an order component. This confuses people. The confusion is cleared up by context. The Scriptures clearly speak of the eternality of Christ, thus firstborn over creation can't refer to Jesus as being the first of God's creations. However, as it regards Jesus' resurrection "firstborn from the dead" does mean 1st as it regards receiving a glorified body. It is also a reference to Christ's pre-eminence and authority over death.

Point: Context determines whether firstborn refers to order or status/eminence of rank

Revelation 1:18; wherein Jesus says "I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades"

We serve a Risen Savior!

7. Jesus is great because by his blood shed on the cross we have can have PEACE with God v.20

Here we return full circle to where we started. Our first point was this "Jesus is great because through him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Here in v.20 Paul circles back and expands upon this theme- speaking of how the work of Christ has been to make peace between us and God.

Note v.21-23 "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.

Peace with God is a big deal. If you die, not having made peace with God on His terms, all that remains is the fearful expectation of judgment- for you will be guilty of rejecting the love, grace, and mercy of God-- as such you will have to face all the consequences for every bad thing you have ever said or done.

Peace with God has been made for by Christ: His once for all death on the cross. His death as a substitute for us. His death as a sacrifice for ours sins. His taking upon himself the judgment we deserve for all ours sins and wrongdoings.

Peace with God can be had: Confess your sinfullness. Acknowledge them. Put your faith in Jesus- as Savior and Lord-- and FOLLOW him

The call of the Scriptures: Be reconciled to God

Romans 5:1 says; "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ"


One of Paul's concerns in writing the letter of Colossians was that the believers there might be strengthened in their faith and inspired to serve Christ are the more passionately. This is why Paul talks about the supremacy and greatness of Jesus so much.

A proper understanding of who Jesus is protects us from the false teaching of others

A proper understanding of Jesus strengthens our faith in Him

A proper understanding of Jesus is meant to lead us to the worship and praise of Christ

A proper understanding of Jesus is also meant to inspire us in our service and devotion to him