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The supremacy of Christ
Colossians 1

Intro to the Book of Colossians

-A city once famous for its fine wool
-Church established by Epaphras a fellow worker with Paul
-Epaphras a resident of Colossae
-As the Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul writing to them -from the confines of prison
-Philemon (who bears a Bible book by his name) and Onesimus were members of the church of Colossae
-Had been an important city, reduced because of earthquake activity (AD 17, AD 60 or 62 -just after Paul wrote this letter)
-City abandoned in the 400-500's AD. Never restored
-The tone of Paul's letter is very complimentary. Paul is thrilled at the depth of their faith in Christ and by the love which the Colossian believers had for each other. These two things go together- faith and love!
-While the tone of Paul's letter is gentle he also had an agenda- to call the Colossians to vigilance as it regarded staying true to the Gospel of Christ. As always Paul had concerns about false teachers- who abounded- who were politely and persistently knocking on their doors and trying to convince them that the Gospel of Christ that had been taught them was inadequate and incomplete (see ch.2).

Interesting: The issues of Paul's day are the issues of today. There are those who seek to add or take away from the Bible. There are those who go around denying the Deity of Christ. There are those counsel Jesus plus the law, plus, plus, plus or even advocating a totally different religion and way to God.

READ Colossians 1:1-23

Note as read: faith and love and hope - tie together like a chain. Faith in Christ leads to love, grounded in our hope in Christ

LESSONS, PRINCIPLES, APPLICATIONS OF THE TEXT

1. A "SAINT"- that's what every follower of Christ is

In v. 2,4,12,26 Paul addresses the Colossian believers as "Saints" hagios in GK. In the NIV it says; "God's holy people" "God's people" but the GK term is best translated "Saints"

This is significant for this is what we are in Christ- not apart from Christ, but in Christ because in Christ the righteousness of Christ has been imputed to us (Romans 5:12-21)

Our response to this incredible designation/our legal standing before God? v.10 "Live a life worthy of the Lord, seeking to please him in every way"

Note: Interesting point: The Bible calling us saints is very different than what happens in the Roman Catholicism. To be recognized as a saint in Roman Catholicism you have to dead at least 5 years and you must have 2 miracles attributed to you, additionally you must had led a exemplary life of goodness or died as a martyr. Furthermore, the pope has to chose you- but only after a thorough investigation of your life.

What an amazing thing that the Word of God calls every follower of Christ a SAINT. What a treasure. What an honour to be declared to be a holy one in the sight of God


2. THERE IS ONE TRUE GOSPEL-there is one and only 1 way to be saved V.5

In v.5-6 is a very easy to miss phrase

In the NIV when talking about the Colossians faith in Christ Paul writes; " the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel 6 that has come to you

In the Good News Translation- which actually says it best, says; " When the true message, the Good News, first came to you,"

By this little phrase, which Paul expands on and explains throughout the rest of the letter, we are reminded of one of the core messages of the Scripture- There is one Savior, One Lord, one way to be saved.

The mighty and clear declaration of the Gospel, the Good news is this: Peace with God, the forgiveness of sins, eternal life-- it's all and only found by faith in Jesus Christ who died as a once for all sacrifice for our sins on the cross- rising to life on the third day.

In Paul's day many Gospel's were proclaimed- many ways to God were being declared. Today is no different; Yet the words of Christ remain "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" John 14:6

Additional verses:

1 Timothy 2:5 "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" Note: This particular part of the text emphasizes the full humanity of Christ. Many other texts speak explicitly of his Deity- for Jesus is fully man/fully God

Acts 4:12 says of Jesus "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

Interesting!: Why was Paul so confident in the Gospel message of Jesus? In Galatians 1 Paul tells us why- speaking of how the Gospel is not a man made religion. How did he know this? Paul tells us that the message given to him by direct revelation- this message was then confirmed to him later when he went to Jerusalem and shared with the church leaders what he had been preaching. Paul was assured when he learned that he preaching the exact same message as they had been preaching about Jesus.


3. PRAISE GOD- FOR WE HAVE BEEN RESCUED FROM THE DOMINION OF DARKNESS AND BROUGHT IN THE KINGDOM OF THE SON v.13

"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."

Verse 13 caught my attention because it reminds us that there are 2 Kingdoms. The Kingdom of God and that of Satan's.

Verse 13 reminds us that we are involved in a spiritual conflict, a war that is being waged, a conflict that is ultimately already settled because of the death, resurrection, and supremacy of Christ.

Verse 13 also speaks to us of what our spiritual condition was apart from Christ. We were lost in our sins. We were in a state of rebellion against God. We were spiritually blind. We were eternally doomed and under the judgement of God

Verse 13 also tells us of the mercy, grace and love of God who chose to save us and to bring us by His grace into the Kingdom of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ-- in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins.

Our knowledge of this is meant to lead us to praise, worship and thanks to God for his grace and mercy.

THE EXTRA MILE....

Take some time to contrast the 2 kingdoms noting the differences between the two- the conditions the people live in, the philosophy of the two kingdoms, the differentiating marks between the citizens of both kingdoms, etc

4. JESUS: What makes Him so AMAZING! v.15-20

In v.15-20 we have one of the greatest statements regarding the person and work of Christ

Hear this statement afresh...

"The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through 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."

A critical note: "Firstborn"

In being called the 'firstborn over all creation" and "the firstborn from among the dead" it is critical to note that the term means "pre-eminent", "superior to" "notable above all others"

To be called firstborn does not mean that Jesus was created. The Bible clearly teaches the Deity and eternality of Christ.

Evidence that the term firstborn means pre- eminent and is not a ref to birth order etc;

In Jeremiah 31:9 Ephraim is called the Lord's firstborn even though Manasseh was born first.

In Psalm 89:27 David is appointed the Lord's firstborn even though he was the youngest child in his family

The point: Ephraim was superior to. David was pre-eminent. Here in our text this is the point about Christ. He is Lord over all creation. He, being God, is supreme over this universe. Further, Jesus, while not the first to rise fro the dead is the first to rise and not die again- and as such serving as the pattern for our future resurrection at the last day.


THE DETAILS as it regards why Jesus is so AWESOME

THE EXTRA MILE: Something to think about as we go over these points: How did Jesus example these things in his public ministry?

a. Jesus is the image of the invisible God -He's God!

Jesus is God in the flesh! John 1 tells us that the Word (another name for Jesus) became flesh and dwelt amongst us

b. Jesus is awesome because He is Lord over all creation v.15

In being 'firstborn of all creation" He is supreme over all creation (this is what the phrase means). Jesus is Lord over all. It all belongs to Him. He has final authority over the creation

c. Jesus is awesome, Because He is the Creator

Jesus, along with the Father and the Spirit spoke and brought this world and universe into existence. He also made the angels and Heaven above.

Additional note: All things were created through Jesus and for Jesus v.16

Jesus/God acts and always acts for His glory. It really is all about God. This is hard for us to accept because we would rather everything be about us

We are his handiwork, to Him praise, worship, service, thanks are owed

d. Jesus is awesome because He sustains all things

He's got the whole world in His hands!

Some people think of God as some mysterious being who made the world and universe, wound it up and then walked away to do something else. The Bible portrays Jesus/God as intently interested and concerned about what's going on here and very involved in the moment to moment operation of this world and universe.

Jesus keeps things going. By the grace of Christ we take our every breath. By the grace and power of Christ the sun, moon, earth, stars stay in their orbits and the ocean waves and tides behave.

e. Jesus is awesome, His supremacy is seen in that He is the head of the church

The church is the Church of Jesus Christ. We belong to Him. He is our Lord, our Master, our King. We are to worship Him. We are to serve Him. We are to obey Him. We are to follow His example. We are to love and serve each other, using our gifts for the building up of the body of Christ.

f. What makes Jesus so awesome? His resurrection! v.18

"He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,"

While Jesus is not the first person to rise from the dead (for Jesus raised Lazarus, etc) He is the first person to rise with a glorified body and not die again. As such, Jesus in His resurrection is supreme-- it's also critical to the Christian faith- for if Jesus did not rise as he said he would and as the Scriptures declare and as all the evidence points to- then our faith is in vain.

g. In all things Jesus is pre-eminent v.18

There is nothing in which Jesus is not excellent Why? Because He is fully God v.19

Jesus is not a smaller version of God. Jesus is not a lesser version of God. Jesus is God. Jesus is the Creator. Jesus is all powerful. Jesus is all knowing. Jesus sustains the universe.

h. Lastly, what makes Jesus so awesome? His saving, reconciling mission v.20-22

Jesus came on a Divine rescue mission- to save us from our sins, to save us from the Judgment to come, to reconcile us to Himself

If you haven't responded in faith and repentance to Christ, what's holding you back? Taste and see that the Lord is good.