If we can offer help or support to you, in any way, please contact our Pastor,
Chi Wah Chow

Tel: 07511 771647
pastor@lilbourne-evangelical.org.uk

Sunday Services

1st Sunday 10.30am
All-age Family Service
Creche available
All other Sundays 10.30am Worship & Communion
Explorers 7-12yr olds

Incomparable Christ

The Supremacy and Lordship of Christ

Colossians 1:15 – 23

I was so encouraged by reading this passage in Colossians 1:15-23,that I thought I would put some of my thoughts down and trust you will also be blessed by this wonderful passage.

The Colossians had lost sight of the greatness of Christ, as we sometimes do. The believers did not see that Christ was adequate to meet their needs, to help them with problems in life. They did not grasp that their security was complete-ly in Christ.  They needed to be reminded of His majesty. So Paul writes about a comprehensive vision of Christ.  We will see that Christ is the supreme one, Col 1:15; the fullness of God Himself is found in Jesus, 2:9; He has triumphed over all principalities and powers, 2:15.  So the reality of everything is to be found in Him and nowhere else, 2:17.  Christ is seen in the whole letter.  All this is there SO THAT we might be presented perfect (mature, complete) in Christ, 1:28. The theme of Colossians is “who Jesus is”. So let’s draw closer to Him and see who He is!  We are “in Christ” and this phrase comes seven times in the letter. Paul says in 3:3 that our lives are hidden with Christ in God. What a privilege to know that we are united to the One who holds the whole universe together.

We have seen already that our thought life can lead to a prayer life.  Now we can see that our thanksgiving for a personal relationship with the Lord can lead to “thanks-living”.  So thanksgiving leads to thanks-living. Let’s now look at the greatness of Christ in this passage Col 1:15-23, (see also John 1:1-14; Heb 1:2-4).  Some people believe that these verses were a hymn, sung with two verses in the early church, 1:15-17; and then 1:18-23),  but we don’t really know.

We can look at Jesus in three ways.

1.  Jesus in His relationship to God.

2.  Jesus in His relationship to Creation.

3.  Jesus in His relationship to the Church, (the re-creation).

1.  Jesus in His relationship to God.  1:15.  We notice two key phrases here.

First,  Jesus is the image of the invisible God.  How do we know God when we cannot see Him?  The Greek word here is “icon”.  It means an exact representation, an exact copy. To say that Jesus is the image of God is to say he is the exact representation of God on earth.  John 1:18 tells us that no one has ever seen God, but His Son Jesus Christ has made Him known, (Heb1:3).  So if we want to see what God is like, all we need to do is look at Jesus.  That is one of the reasons we are going through John’s Gospel in the morning, so that we can get to know Jesus better.  When we look at Jesus we see what God is like.

Second, Jesus is the firstborn of all creation.  Some false cults have said that they believe Jesus was created.  However verse 17, makes it very clear that He is before all things, and that He holds all things together. What this means is that Jesus has the first place in honour. It has to do with primacy; Jesus was first in rank, prestige, honour and authority.    (See Ex 4:13 regarding Israel’s relationship to God.) You see, NO ONE ranks higher. In verse 19 we see that God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Jesus. See also 2:9 where Paul says that all the Deity lives in Christ in bodily form.

So how do we apply this to ourselves? Chapter 2:10, is an amazing thing for us to grasp if we are in Christ, and that is that you and I have been given fullness in Christ. That’s amazing; we have all we need in Christ. Nothing is missing.

 

Creation of the World2.  Jesus in His relationship to Creation, 1:16-17  We see three phrases in v16 that Creation was, “by Him”,  (literally through Him) and “for Him. So – by Him, through Him and for Him.

First , Jesus is the Architect of Creation,(BY HIM).  He is the Agent of Creation. By Him all things were created, (John 1:3, Gen 1, God spoke).  God created everything through the eternal Son.

Second, Jesus is the Builder, (THROUGH HIMAll things were made by Him, and display His glory and greatness.  See 2:3, “In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” The whole purpose of creation is to glorify God.

Third, Jesus is the Goal of Creation, (FOR HIM) All things were created to glorify Him.  The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks the question: “What is the chief end of man?” The answer is, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever”.   The purpose of the whole creation is to bring Him glory and honour.  From the smallest creature to the greatest star, all things were created to bring Him glory, including you and me

 

Fourth, we see that He is the sustainer of creation,” In Him all things hold together”.  He sustains (holds), all things by His powerful Word, Heb 1:3.

The phrase “all things”, comes five times in this passage and shows that there is nothing outside of the power and authority of Jesus.  That includes all things created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities. All things are under His authority, v16.  The things we see, and the things we can’t see, they are all under His authority. That is what we need to know and that is what we need to hold on to.  Nothing can happen apart from His sovereign control.

 

Lilbourne Chapel window - The church3.  Jesus in relationship to the Church( the new creation) 1:18-23

The Creator is also the Redeemer. His headship over Creation is now seen by His headship over the Church, the new Creation.  He created all things and now we see He gives spiritual life to all who believe. And He will reconcile all things to Himself, v20.

First, we see that He is the head of the body, v18. Paul says that these believers are His, and He is the head. They are ruled over by Him. Paul tells the believers that if they add anything to Christ they have lost connection to the head, 2:19.

Second, v18, He is the first to rise from the dead. His resurrection guarantees our resurrection. Yet it is great now, because He shares His risen life with us now by His Spirit.  So that in everything He may have the preminmance, the supremacy.  We used to say in Papua New Guinea, “He is Namba Wan”, (He is first).  Is He first in your life?   Is He first in everything?

Then ThirdHe is the supreme reconciler, v21-23.  This is a wonderful summary of the Gospel. You see, once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. 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.

We who were separated, alienated from God have been reconciled to Him by His blood shed for us on the Cross.

To be reconciled means, “to exchange”, we have Christ’s righteousness for our unrighteousness.  It involves complete, full restoration. See 1:12-14.

What a wonderful privilege to know we are right with Christ.  We have been reconciled. Martin Luther called this” the great exchange”.  We have Christ’s righteousness in exchange for our unrighteousness.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. — 2 Corinthians 5:21

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way ; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. — Isaiah 53:6

The great message of the Gospel is that we are reconciled to God.

Paul tells us in 3:3-4 you died, and now your life is hidden with Christ in God.

And when Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in Glory.  Nothing can separate us from the love of God.