*SERMON TYPE: BOOK SURVEY *Chad Williams Box 147
*Title:* The Supremacy of Christ and the Book of Colossians
*Text:* Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians
*Sub~/Comp: *The reality of Christ’s preeminence in the universe establishes radical implications for the life of the believer.
*Proposition: *Christ must be preeminent in your life.
*Speaker’s Purpose:* I want to challenge my listeners to demonstrate the immeasurable superiority of Christ both in their thinking and their living.
*Interrogative:* How can I make Christ preeminent in my life?
*Transition:* The book of Colossians addresses two primary spheres in which we are to demonstrate the immeasurable superiority of Christ.
* *What do you think the average person in the world thinks about Jesus Christ?
No doubt, many believe he existed.
Among those, most would probably believe that he was at least a good man who did good things for people.
Do you think, however, that there would be some misconceptions regarding the Lord?
In fact, let’s ask the more practical question for us.
What do you think the average Christian believes about Jesus Christ?
Obviously, most would be able to explain an amount of doctrine and probably discuss his role in salvation; however, do you think there could even be some misconceptions among the church – even in ours, regarding the Son of God? * *
The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to a group of believers who may have had such misunderstandings.
The Colossian church was not one that Paul had personally established, as we see in chapter 1:4.
Paul had heard of their faith, which was established through the work of a man named Epaphras (1:7).
Yet, the reason for Paul’s writing this letter to these believers is quite clear.
The church was being oppressed by heretical doctrine and the leaders in the church sought Paul’s council in order to combat this teaching.
In response, Paul does not involve himself in an intellectual debate, but rather counters this teaching with a message that truly is relevant to believers today – /Jesus Christ is preeminent!/
Indeed, the book of Colossians, although written nearly two thousand years ago, is one that proves to be timeless.
Many of the issues that Paul deals with all throughout this book relate to our modern society and culture in remarkable ways.
· This book answers some of the deepest philosophical questions of our day regarding the “first cause” in creation.
· Colossians further speaks to our ecumenical culture by proclaiming that there is but one church whose head is Jesus Christ.
· Colossians answers the common question regarding the true identity of this man called Jesus Christ.
· Colossians addresses our culture of pragmatism by affirming that Christ truly does change lives, give purpose to life, and offer hope.
· For a culture of multi-ethnic integration, Colossians 3:11 proclaims that in the body of Christ, there is neither racial nor social distinction, but complete unity in the sufficiency of Christ.
· Finally, this book speaks to our culture that is plagued with suffering relationships, offering invaluable counsel to husbands, wives, children, employers, and employees.
However, the contemporary issue that Colossians most unashamedly confronts is the pluralistic nature of our society.
In Colossians, Paul confronts a philosophy that dethroned Jesus Christ as Lord as supreme.
No, it did not necessarily remove the Savior from being a /part/ of the Christian life, nor ignore Him completely; it simply dethroned Him as Lord over all.
Likewise, our society, and sadly even our churches are plagued with this kind of philosophy.
Honestly, if the truth be known, even many of us at times exemplify this kind of attitude both in our hearts and through our actions.
Indeed, we profess Jesus Christ as Lord over all, yet we give Him our leftover time.
We place Him under our list of agendas.
Often, we only consider Him as a mere “part” of our lives.
As it has been said before, “It is not even enough for Christ to be prominent; he must be preeminent.”
The entire message of Colossians centers on this single truth and is one to which we ought to give much attention: *Jesus Christ must have preeminence.
He must be the center of your life.
/Arg/*: *Now for most today, this is no shocking, revolutionizing idea.
I have said nothing here that is new.
Yet, this statement should be examined closely.
Certainly, we know that Christ should be the center of our lives; however, many would feel uncomfortable if I were to ask if Christ has preeminence in your entertainment…or if I asked whether Christ had preeminence in your thoughts and attitudes this last week.
At some point, friends, it is essential that we discern beyond the surface level of our lives.
Paul is proclaiming this message to the church, the message of chapter 1:18 – /that in *all *things, He might have preeminence.
* *Some may then ask, “Ok, if I am to make Christ first place in every area of my life, how am I to go about doing this?” *The book of Colossians addresses two primary spheres in which we are to demonstrate the immeasurable superiority of Christ.*
*I. **Meditate on the preeminence of Christ in your thoughts.
/Ill ~/ Exp: /Proverbs 4:23 warns us to literally be a “watchman” over our hearts, for out of our hearts proceed our living.
Without exception, the inward reality of our hearts always becomes outwardly visible in our lifestyle.
This is why it is so crucial that Paul begin in chapter one of the book, not with the explanation of living, but with the core of the issue – the thinking of these believers.
Indeed, if Jesus Christ is not “first place” in their thoughts, it will naturally affect all of life.
The same may be said of us.
When Christ is dethroned in your heart – when He is no longer preeminent, it will inevitably affect your living!
/Trans: /There are *three actions*, found in the doctrine of the first half of the book, which will aid in keeping our minds focused on the preeminence of Jesus Christ.
*A. **Recognize Christ’s universal power.*
/Ill ~/ Exp: /It is not uncommon in our day for people to believe that Jesus Christ is no more than a child of God who loves people and did nice things for them.
While none of this is untrue, the authority of Christ is often discredited.
One needs only pick up the book of Revelation to see the extent of power that the Son of Man wields.
It is said that he will but speak and all of earth and hell will be destroyed.
Yet, Christ’s immeasurable strength does not become apparent just in the last days, but was clearly evident at the beginning of time itself.
Contrary to the misconceptions of secular society and many believers alike, Jesus Christ does not lack supreme authority.
/Exp: /At the very end of Paul’s prayer and thanksgiving in chapter 1, he concludes by referring to the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.
Directly following this reference to Christ, Paul opens up with five verse section that becomes the centerpiece of the entire letter.
1:15-20 is said to be a hymn, expressing the preeminence of Christ.
While the prayer led up to the hymn, everything that follows is either a restatement of the hymn or an application of its doctrine.
Throughout these five verses, Paul centers around the universal power of the Son of God.
**He manifests absolute deity (1:15).
/Ill ~/ Exp: /There are countless cults and religions that believe the person of Jesus Christ was indeed a man, but only a man.
From the days of his contemporaries in Palestine to the present, this has been one of the great questions throughout world religions.
“Who is this man named Jesus Christ?”
/Exp: /Paul goes to great lengths in chapter one to affirm the equality of Christ among the Godhead.
Statements like, “He is the image of the invisible God (1:15); in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell (1:19); who is the head of all rule and authority (2:10)” all clearly endorse the full and absolute deity of Jesus Christ.
*2. **He is the sovereign creator (1:16-17).
/Exp: /Paul also mentions that Christ is not only full deity, but he, in fact, played an active roll in the very creation of the universe.
1:16 says that “by Him all things were created, whether in heaven or earth,” and then concludes, “all things were created by him and through him.”
Christ was not only the source of the creation, but also the focus of the creation.
Paul further notes that “by Him all things are held together.”
/App: /The reality that Christ holds everything together is not only fascinating – in considering the universe being held together by His power, but it is also a reality that ought to play a role in our daily lives.
Paul will soon get to this in chapters 2-4.
Believers, we must remember that the same God who calls for our allegiance is the same one who holds the very universe together.
There should be no question in our mind regarding the supreme authority of God.
What patience He has with stubborn people like us!
*3. **He is the head of the church (1:18).
/Exp: /Paul writes that Christ is not only central to the believers’ lives and the church, but He is, in fact, the actual head of the body (as we see in 1:18), through whom, (as we find in 2:19) the entire body of Christ is “nourished and knit together.”
This, of course, is only a restatement of the general observation Paul makes in 1:17, that through Him, all things are held together.
/App: /We tend to claim our church as our own.
Pastors are often guilty of referring to the flock of God as “their church.”
Peter refers to Christ as the “Chief Shepherd” who is the true owner of the church, whether locally or universally, merely placing pastors as present stewards over the “flock of God.” Paul’s terminology is one of a body, making Christ the head.
/App: /If Christ is truly the head of our church, do we have the liberty to push our own agendas or create strife among the body?
This truth also explains why in our worship, everything we do must be Christ-centered in focus.
In 3:11, Paul shares that in the body there is no racial distinction and then proclaims, “but Christ is all, and in all.”
*B. **Reflect on Christ’s redemptive power.
/Exp: /Many believe that because of the nature of the heretical philosophy that had been taught, Paul found it necessary to establish Christ as the center of salvation.
He even mentions in chapter two that these legalistic demands only represented “a shadow of things to come, but [that] the substance belongs to Christ” (2:16-17).
/Exp: /Thus, in his soteriological treatment, establishing Christ as the center of the gospel, Paul lays out *three* primary, uplifting *realities* – all having taken place in the perfect past tense.
*1. **He has delivered us from utter hopelessness.*