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The Supremacy of Jesus Christ

By William Cunningham
December 23, 2006

 

Introduction

The morals of the world are decaying.  The morality that is promoted by the Christian faith is being abandoned for a more palatable sense of political correctness, situational ethics, and relative morals.  Even people’s idea of God is becoming more and more corrupt and far from the truth that is given to us in the Bible.

Even the church (the religious institutions—not to be confused with the universal church or body of Christ) has departed from the truth in regards to Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God.  Pastors and ministers are increasingly accepting those things that are considered contrary to God’s way from the perspective of the Bible.  People are finding Christianity more acceptable not because of a change in heart, but because of a change in how Christianity is revealed to them.  This neo-revelation of the Christian faith isn’t the true Christian faith at all, but a mere palatable facsimile of it.

Christianity is becoming more a religion than it is a faith.  People are coming to terms with the false doctrines that are labeled as Christian so that they would have a notion that they are accepted by God.  Even other religions seem to be holding hands so to speak with the Christian faith.  However, people don’t realize that what the world has labeled as Christian is not Christian at all.

People don’t realize that Christianity transcends religion because it is centered on Christ and not man-made rules and regulations.  The true Christian faith isn’t a system of philosophy, but of faith.  We have come a long way from the truth only to go to bed with a lie so that we would feel better about ourselves.

We need to get back to the truth and to promote that truth to others so that the world would not be able to hide in the closet of their own lies about the Kingdom of God.  The Truth needs to prevail so that darkness would not be an excuse for ignorance.  We need to get back to Jesus.  Jesus said,

John 14:6 (NKJV) -- {6} Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

We need to get back to the basics and tell the world that Jesus is Lord!

This sermon is about just that.  We are going to discuss the supremacy of Jesus Christ from the perspective of Paul’s letter to the Colossian church.

 

Background

Paul wrote the letter to the Colossians to oppose a doctrinal heresy that had arisen their.  Colossae was in Phrygia about 100 miles east of Ephesus and was an insignificant city by this time.  This area was very vigorous with regards to religion.  Even the Christians were vigorous, but had unorthodox tendencies due to heresies that were being spread in the area.  These heresies were similar to what we learn in Paul’s letter to the Galatians.  Some were teaching the observance of Jewish rules about food, the Sabbath, and special festivals would help someone earn salvation. 

There also appeared to be some mystical teachings regarding the identity and deity of Jesus Christ.  Though some would say this was Gnosticism, however, Gnosticism had not developed at this early date (Some believe that Paul wrote this letter prior to A.D. 61 when Colossae suffered a major earthquake).

So Paul was basically opposing a heresy in the church that was contrary to the very fabric of the Christian faith, namely the supremacy of Jesus Christ.

 

Scripture Lesson

Colossians 1:12-13 (NKJV) -- {12} giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. {13} He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
Paul gave thanks to the Father who qualified them to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.  Darkness and light were used to represent the Kingdoms of Satan and of God respectively.

  • John 1:4-9 (NKJV) -- {4} In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. {5} And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. {6} There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. {7} This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. {8} He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. {9} That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
  • Ephesians 5:8 (NKJV) -- {8} For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:5 (NKJV) -- {5} You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.
  • 1 John 1:5 (NKJV) -- {5} This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

So Paul was saying that God had qualified them to partake of this inheritance.

Consider the importance of the fact that God qualified them.  They didn’t qualify themselves by obeying a set of rules or regulations or participating in any qualifying rituals.  God qualified them in regards to the Kingdom of God.

God delivered them (and us) from the power of darkness and delivered us to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (the Kingdom of God).

We are redeemed (ransomed) because of the blood of Christ.  We have been qualified by God through Jesus Christ’s shedding of his blood.  We put our faith in Christ and become justified and therefore qualified for the inheritance, which is eternal life.

We come to salvation with nothing to offer accept our life to submit to God.  We cannot qualify ourselves to partake in the gift of eternal life nor can we in any way earn it.  We come to salvation receiving what Jesus Christ has already done.  Salvation is not what I can do, but rather what Jesus Christ has already done, which is to shed his blood on the Cross for you and me so that we would be redeemed by his blood and have forgiveness of our sins.

Colossians 1:15-18 (NKJV) -- {15} He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. {16} For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. {17} And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. {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 may have the preeminence.

Jesus Christ is the image of God and the firstborn of all creation (See Hebrews 1:3).  Jesus Christ was the first to experience the resurrection of the dead to an immortal body.  We have this hope that we would one day put on a new body that would be imperishable.  Jesus as the first born was an indication of his rank and not position in a series.

How can Jesus be the image of the invisible God?  How can something invisible have an image (replica)?  Well the image referred to here isn’t physical such as an idol God.  Jesus embodies the fullness of God as we will see later.  Jesus is the image of God in regards to his nature and who he is and not what his body was like.

All things were made through Jesus Christ.  There apparently was a teaching that was contrary to this.  We do know that Gnosticism believes in demigods who emanate from the primary God.  They believe that Jesus was created from the demigod that created the universe.  It is unlikely that Paul was disputing a Gnostic belief since Gnosticism doesn’t date this far back, but it is very possible that the seeds of Gnosticism may have existed here.

Jesus is at the top.  He is the head of the church.  All things were created through him.  In all things Jesus has preeminence.

Here we see Paul promote the deity and supremacy of Jesus Christ, which must have been in direct contrast or opposition to a particular false teaching at the time.  People must have been putting Jesus in a lower position within their false doctrine.  Perhaps they were putting rules of men above the supremacy of Jesus Christ.  Perhaps they were worshipping and serving other God or developed strange doctrines regarding the deity of Jesus Christ.

We do know that many false doctrines about the nature, person, and deity of Jesus Christ arose fairly quickly in Christian history.  Other churches had the same issues when dealing with a gentile culture and one that was much into other religions.  People perhaps put their faith in God or perhaps ascended to faith in Christ in their minds, but they still attempted to bring their former rituals and rites into Christian practice, which Paul refutes.

Colossians 1:19-22 (NKJV) -- {19} For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, {20} and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. {21} And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled {22} in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—

The fullness of God exists in Jesus Christ.  This is a fundamental belief of the Christian faith and assures us that Jesus Christ is deity.  Some like to say that Jesus is God, but I don’t like to say that because it does give the impression of multiple Gods.  I like to say that Jesus is deity, which means that Jesus has the fullness of God within him.

We are reconciled to God by Jesus Christ through the shedding of his blood on the cross (See 2 Corinthians 5:18-19).  Jesus paid the penalty for our sins and died for us so that we could be reconciled to God if we would simply put our faith in him.

We were once separated from God and enemies in our minds due to the wicked things we did (our wicked and unrighteous behavior).  Jesus Christ died so that we could be presented holy and blameless and above reproach in the site of God.  Jesus died so that we could stand before God as if we never sinned.  All we have to do is put our faith in him and realize that there is nothing that we can do to earn salvation in any way.

Colossians 1:23 (NKJV) -- {23} if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

The fact that Jesus died for us and he alone reconciles us to the father in no way precludes us from living righteously.  We have to persevere in our faith and remain steadfast in the truth.

The hope of the gospel is that we would have eternal life.

Colossians 2:6-7 (NKJV) -- {6} As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, {7} rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

Those who are saved have received Jesus Christ the Lord.  The word “Lord” refers to someone who has considerable power, authority, or influence over others.  This means that Christians profess that Jesus is the authority of their lives.  That must be the central theme throughout our lives.  We must hold steadfast to serving the Lord and pleasing him and not allow any other false doctrines to deceive us and take us away from the truth of Jesus’ lordship.

Colossians 2:8-9 (NKJV) -- {8} Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. {9} For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;

Be on your guard against teachings based on the philosophies and traditions of men.  They may sound good, appealing, or even logical, but if they are not based on Jesus Christ then they are heresy.  It doesn’t matter how good something sounds or even how much sense it makes (not that the Bible or the truth of Christ doesn’t make sense), but that it is founded upon the principles given to us in the Bible in regards to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the head of the church and Jesus is the head of all.  He has all authority in heaven and in earth (See Matthew 28:18).  If we are not careful then we could allow someone to deceive us into believing the tenants of a false religion where Jesus Christ is not supreme and where Jesus Christ is not the head. 

 

Final Remarks

Jesus came into this world to save God’s people from their sins.  Jesus alone is the savior.  We cannot save ourselves.  We cannot do anything to persuade God to save us.  We cannot earn salvation.  Jesus has done all that is required for us to be reconciled to God.  All we need to do is to put our faith in him and persist in that faith else we may fall for a false doctrine.

Jesus is supreme in the Christian faith.  If anyone preaches to you anything other than what we have learned from the Holy Scriptures then let it be a lie to you and discard it less you be persuaded to believe a lie and live contrary to the way of God.  Always discern the place of Jesus in any teaching that you hear and from that alone you may be able to disqualify many.  Amen.

 

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