Title: The Pre-eminence of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Text: Colossians 1:18
Reading: Colossians 1:1-29
Subject: The Pre-eminence of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Date: Sunday Morning - October 6, 1996
Beth-El Baptist Church - Morgan Hill, CA
My text this morning is Colossians 1:18 "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence." I want to preach to you about The Pre-eminence of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
It was Paul’s purpose in writing this letter to the Colossians to both set forth and defend the glorious Person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ as the incarnate God. In this first chapter he declares Christ to be...
· The Savior in whom God the Father “hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (v. 12).
· The King into whose kingdom we have been translated by the new birth, telling us in verse 13 that it is God almighty "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:"
· The Redeemer through whose blood we have redemption and the forgiveness of all our sins. Colossians 1:14 "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins." Notice: Redemption and forgiveness go hand in hand. All who have been redeemed by Christ’s precious blood have been forgiven by God’s free grace of all their sins, forgiven when redeemed of all sin, past, present, and future!
· God Incarnate and God the Creator of All Things - Colossians 1:15-16 "Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: (16) For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him." He who is “the firstborn of every creature is “the beginning of the creation of God,” not the first creature of God as some heretics say, but “the beginning of the creation of God,” that is to say the One from whom creation sprang! (See Rev. 3:14).
· The Eternal, Self-Existent God who Upholds and Rules All Things in Providence - Colossians 1:17 "And he is before all things, and by him all things consist."
· The Head of His Body, the Church, and the First One to be Risen from the Dead to Die No More - Colossians 1:18 "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."
· The One in Whom All the Fullness God and All the Fullness of Grace Resides - Colossians 1:19 "For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell." Colossians 2:9-10 "For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. (10) And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power."
· And That One in Whom and by Whom we are Reconciled to God - Colossians 1:20-22 "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. (21) And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled (22) In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight."
Proposition: Having declared all these glorious truths about the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior, the Apostle concludes that IT IS THE PURPOSE OF GOD “THAT IN ALL THINGS HE MIGHT HAVE THE PREEMINENCE.”
Pre-eminence belongs to only one person. Two people cannot be pre-eminent. And God the Father, indeed all three of the divine Persons, have determined that the Lord Jesus Christ, as the God-man, our Mediator, Surety, Substitute, and Savior, shall have pre-eminence in all things! It must be stressed that this universal pre-eminence has been given to Christ not as God the Son, the second Person of the holy Trinity, but as Christ our Mediator and Surety. As God it could not be given to him, for he is in every way one with and equal to the Father and the Spirit (1 John 5:7). But as our Mediator and Surety, the One who would become incarnate to save us, our Lord Jesus Christ was given pre-eminence in and over all things as the “appointed heir of all things” (Heb. 1:2).
Christ has this pre-eminence now. He has had it from everlasting. And he shall have it for ever more. It is his by indisputable right! That is what I want to show you in this message. In all things our Lord Jesus Christ is and forever must be pre-eminent.
· His Father Decreed It.
· He Fully Deserves It.
· His Saints Desire It.
· His Satisfaction Demands It.
I hope that, by reminding you of this blessed fact, you who trust him will be inspired with greater confidence in him, led to worship him, and moved of God the Holy Spirit to commit yourselves to him with renewed devotion and zeal. And I pray that you who as yet are without Christ may this day be brought to him in faith, committing yourselves to him who alone is able to save your souls, and who alone is worthy of your trust. Obviously, my subject is infinitely bigger than my puny brain. I cannot begin to exhaust it. When I have said all that I can say about it, there will be far more yet to say. But I want to show you from the Word of God four aspects of our Savior’s great and glorious pre-eminence.
Divisions: I want to show you that our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ is pre-eminent in...
1. The Will of God.
2. The Works of God.
3. The Word of God.
4. The Worship of God.
I. THE THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, OUR SAVIOR, IS PRE-EMINENT IN THE WILL OF GOD.
When I speak about the will of God, I am talking now about that which is decribed in Holy Scripture as the will of God, his eternal purpose and decree, the determination of his Being, that which he has purposed to come to pass, that which he brings to pass, and that which must come to pass. Christ is pre-eminent in the eternal purpose and decrees of God.
God almighty, the God of the Bible, the only true and living God is a God with an eternal, unalterable, absolute purpose, a purpose which can never be defeated, overturned, frustrated, or hindered to any degree. That which God has purposed is his will. And his will shall be done everywhere, at all times, in all things, and by all things. Our God has predestined and foreordained everything that comes to pass. The Scriptures are crystal clear in teaching this.
Isaiah 46:9-10 "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, (10) Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:"
Acts 15:18 "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world."
Romans 8:28-31 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (31) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?"
Ephesians 1:11 "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will."
According to the Scriptures, in all the purpose and decrees of the Almighty the Lord Jesus Christ is central, primary, and pre-eminent. In other words, everything that God purposed to do and everything he does is for the glory of Christ as our Savior. In Ephesians 3:11 we are told that everything is "According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:"
A. Christ was the Father’s Elect, chosen and set up in the Father’s decree from everlasting as our Mediator.
Isaiah 42:1 "Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles."
Proverbs 8:23 "I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was."
Christ was His first Elect, He said,
Then chose us in His Son, our Head.
B. In that same sovereign, eternal decree a great multitude of sinners was chosen in him unto salvation.
Ephesians 1:4 "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:"
1 Thessalonians 5:9 "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,"
2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: (14) Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."
All who have been, are, and shall be saved by the grace of God are saved because of God’s election of them unto salvation in Christ before the worlds were made. The Lord God purposed and resolved to save us by the substitutionary sacrifice of his dear Son. It was appointed and ordained of God that “in the fullness of time” Christ would assume a human body and soul, work out perfect righteousness for his people by his holy life of perfect obedience to God as our Representative, and then lay down his life, pour out his precious blood, as our sin-atoning Substitute, redeeming us from the curse of the law by fully satisfying the justice of God for us. And so, it came to pass.
Hebrews 10:5-7 "Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: (6) In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. (7) Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God."
Galatians 3:13 "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:"
1 Peter 1:18 "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;"
It was also purposed of God from eternity that each of these elect, redeemed sinners would be saved through the “sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth,” by the regenerating power and grace of God the Holy Spirit, through the preaching of the gospel, by which faith is communicated to us (2 Thess. 2:13-14).
But God’s purpose of grace toward us did not end there. He also purposed that all the called would be forever preserved in grace in Christ by his divine power and sealed by his Spirit, so that in the last day Christ would lose nothing.
Isaiah 49:6 "And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth."
John 6:39 "And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day."
Ephesians 1:13-14 "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (14) Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."
Christ is pre-eminent in all the purpose and decrees of the triune God. Second, I want to show you that...
II. OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS PRE-EMINENT IN ALL THE WORKS OF GOD.
In all those divine works of creation, grace, and providence which cause us to adore and stand in awe of God, Christ is pre-eminent. This is what the Holy Spirit tells us in Colossians 1:16 and 17 "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist."
A. Jesus Christ is the Creator of all things.
He is not a creature of God, but the Creator who is God. But remember, this passage is specifically describing his pre-eminence as our Mediator. It is as our Surety that the Apostle tells us that “All things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist."
Everything that has been made proclaims the wisdom and power of God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He who is our Savior is also our Creator.
John 1:3 "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."
Hebrews 1:10 "And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:"
B. Our Savior is also the God and King of providence.
This universe is not held together and governed by laws of nature, but by the Son of God. “By him all things consist!” He is “over all, God blessed forever” (Rom. 9:5). It is Christ whom the Spirit describes as “upholding all things by the word of his power” (Heb. 1:3).
Revelation 19:16 "And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."
Our Savior’s disposition of all things in his sovereign providence is for the salvation of his people. God the Father has made his Son as our Mediator the Sovereign Monarch of the universe, trusting to his hands the reins of universal government, that he might give unto every chosen, ransomed sinner eternal life.
John 3:35 "The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand."
John 17:2 "As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him."
1. Christ is pre-eminent in the purpose and decrees of God.
2. He is pre-eminent in the works of creation and providence. And...
C. And Christ is pre-eminent in that which is the greatest and most glorious of all God’s works, the salvation of his elect, unto the praise of the glory of his grace.
Everything in salvation is of him, through him, in him, by him, and for him (Eph. 1:3-14).
1 Corinthians 1:30-31 "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (31) That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
III. OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS PRE-EMINENT IN THE WORD OF GOD.
How I wish I could get every man who claims to be a preacher to see this! The Bible is not a book about science, but the Book about Christ. This is not a book about morality, but the Book about Christ. This is not a book about history, politics, philosophy, or law. It is not even a book about prophecy, church dogma, or theology. This is a HIM-BOOK. It is all about HIM, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not enough just to preach the Book, we are sent of God to preach the message of the Book, and the message of this Book is Jesus Christ and him crucified. There is not a page in this Book that does not speak of Christ, not a page!
The Son of God tells us plainly that he is the message and theme of Holy Scripture, that he is the living Word of whom the written Word speaks.
John 5:39 "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."
Luke 24:27 "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself."
Luke 24:44-47 "And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. (45) Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, (46) And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: (47) And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."
The Apostle Paul considered the preaching of Christ to be synonymous with preaching all the counsel of God, for Christ is all the counsel of God!
Acts 20:26-27 "Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. (27) For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God."
1 Corinthians 2:2 "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified."
I want you to see this clearly. The Bible, the Word of God is a Book with one message, and that one message is redemption, righteousness, and eternal life in Christ.
A. The Old Testament Scriptures speak of Christ, point us to Christ, and call us to faith in Christ.
From the moment that God announced in the Garden of Eden that the Seed of the woman would crush the serpent’s head (Gen. 3:15), Christ was the central fact and figure of Old Testament prophecy. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, Solomon, and all the prophets spoke of him. Here are a few of the many prophetic statements that pointed directly to the coming of Christ, his glorious Person, and his redemptive work.
Genesis 22:13-14 "And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. (14) And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen."
Genesis 49:10 "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be."
Deuteronomy 18:15-18 "The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; (16) According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. (17) And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. (18) I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him."
Psalms 2:7-8 "I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. (8) Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession."
Psalms 45:6-7 "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. (7) Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."
Psalms 110:3 "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth."
Proverbs 8:22-23 "The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. (23) I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was."
Song of Songs 1:2-4 "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine. (3) Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee. (4) Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee."
Isaiah 53:8-11 "He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. (9) And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. (10) Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. (11) He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities."
Micah 5:2 "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."
Zechariah 12:10 "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn."
Malachi 3:1 "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts."
In addition to the direct prophecies about the coming of Christ, God gave numerous types and pictures to foreshadow his coming. The types are so numerous that I cannot begin to name them But let me mention just a few. They may be divided into three different categories.
Typical People - Adam (Rom 5:14), Noah (Heb. 11:7), Melchizedec (Heb. 7:1-3), Moses (Deut. 18:15-18), Aaron (Heb. 5:1-5), Joshua (Heb. 4:1-9), Boaz (Ruth 2:1; 3:18), David (Acts 2:25-36), Solomon (1 Kgs. 10:1-24).
Typical Things - The Ram Caught in a Thicket (Gen. 22:8-13), Jacob’s Ladder (John 1:51), The Brazen Serpent (John 3:14-16), The Paschal Lamb (1 Cor. 5:7), The Scapegoat (Lev. 16:21), The Manna (John 6:32-33), The Smitten Rock (1 Cor. 10:4), The Altar of Sacrifice (Heb. 13:10), The Mercy-Seat (1 John 2:1-2).
Typical Places - The Tabernacle (John 1:14), The Temple (John 2:18-20), The Cities of Refuge (Heb. 6:18).
The lists could go on and on. I have not even mentioned all the instituted, ceremonial types, the sabbath days, and the many other instituted types of the Old Testament, all of which pointed to the Person and work of Christ as our Mediator.
Colossians 2:16-17 "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: (17) Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ."
B. I do not need to remind this congregation that in the doctrine and message of the entire New Testament is the Lord Jesus Christ.
As he was pre-eminent in all the types and prophecies of the Old Testament, so he is pre-eminent in all the New Testament.
1. The four Gospels give us four views of Christ.
· Matthew presents him as the promised King.
· Mark presents him as the Servant of God.
· Luke presents him as the Son of Man.
· John presents him as the Son of God.
2. The Book of Acts demonstrates that our Lord Jesus Christ was the singular subject of preaching in the earliest days of Christianity.
The words “preach,” “preached,” and “preaching” are used thirty-seven times in the Book of Acts. It is not insignificant that every time they are used the subject preached was Jesus Christ and the resurrection! If the Book of Acts is to be taken for our standard, it must be concluded that unless Christ has been preached no preaching has been done. That man who pretends to be a preacher but does not preach Christ and him crucified mocks the people who hear him, and rather than serving their souls he destroys them!
3. The Epistles reveal and explain the mysteries of Christ and his gospel.
· Romans 5:1-21 - Justification by His Obedience.
· Hebrews 10:1-14 - Sanctification by His Blood.
· Ephesians 3:1-21 - The Universality of God’s Mercy, Love, and Grace in Christ - Grace is for chosen sinners out of every nation, kindred, tribe, and tongue, not just for Jews.
4. The Book of Revelation is a declaration of the sure triumph of Christ and his church by the gospel.
Revelation 1:7 "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen."
Revelation 5:9-14 "And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; (10) And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (11) And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; (12) Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. (13) And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. (14) And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever."
Revelation 19:6 "And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."
IV. THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, OUR SAVIOR, IS PRE-EMINENT IN THE WORSHIP OF GOD.
God almighty cannot be known, worshipped or served in any way, to any decree, except as he is known, worshipped, and served by faith in and through the merits of Christ, the Mediator.
A. In the preaching of the Word Christ is pre-eminent.
1 Peter 1:25 "But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you."
B. In all our songs of praise Christ must be pre-eminent.
We do not gather to sing the praises of men, but the praises of the triune God in Christ.
C. The only two ordinances of worship prescribed in the New Testament are designed to focus our hearts upon Christ.
1. Baptism is a symbolic burial and resurrection with him (Rom. 6:3-6).
2. The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic remembrance of Christ and his great work of redemption as our Substitute (1 Cor. 11:24-26).
Let us now and evermore be in harmony with God by giving Christ the pre-eminence in all things.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 "Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: (24) But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD." AMEN.
 See Sermon #1244 for a Simmilar Message Preached At...
· Danville August 11, 1996
· Rock Creek Baptist Church - N. Wilkesbore, NC August 13 - 14, !996