The Preeminence of Jesus
Why Colossians? Paul wrote this letter while in prison to a group of people he had never met who made up a church he did not plant. The church was under pressure or attack to turn away from Jesus due to a number of heresies or a mixture of heresies. So Paul wrote this letter to the church of Colossae to challenge them (and us) to a greater devotion to Jesus. There is only one subject in Colossians – Jesus. He writes for the purpose of making clear in great detail Jesus is sovereign over all of creation and the church. In doing so he also warns against a number of moral and doctrinal errors from the heresies attacking the preeminence of Jesus.
1:1-2 Paul’s greeting to the church in Colossae.
1:3 Thanksgiving. Paul’s first response is to give thanks for them and his thanks is to God.
1:4 The cause of his thanksgiving is their faith! And their faith is in Jesus Christ. Faith alone cannot save, it must have an object and Christ must be the object! The cause of his thanksgiving is also their love for all of God’s people because love is the outworking of faith – Galatians 5:6b The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
1:5-6 The Gospel. Faith, hope and love … 1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. Love is the only one that remains in heaven. Note Paul does not mention knowledge here. Their hope is in the gospel and the gospel is the good news of Jesus the Christ and involves the truth and Christ is that truth. Also the gospel centers around Christ’s redemptive death and resurrection.
The gospel has the ability to bear fruit … it began to bear fruit in them when they heard and understood the grace of God in truth. The gospel bears fruit constantly in their lives – in our lives – constantly changing us and presenting them/us with opportunity after opportunity to share the gospel.
1:7-8 For Epaphras who had titles. Servant (literally slave or joint-slave and minister. The church learned from him and he told Paul of their love in the Spirit to include Paul
1:9 Foundation of a Worth Walk. Paul and Timothy’s intercessory prayer for the members of the church at Colossae asking God to give them knowledge of God’s will. That they be filled with wisdom and understanding. Wisdom to know what we should believe and understanding to know how we should behave.
1:10-13 Marks of a Worthy Walk
- 1:10 Fruitfulness, Knowledge of God. The fruit is the life of Christ in and through believers – love, joy, peace; patience, kindness, goodness; faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, all resulting in the glorification of God.
- 1:11 Strength. Livelong process, endurance of things imposed by man and patience – literally wrath that is put away. Both resulting in humble endurance of trials “with joy.”
- 1:12-13 Thanksgiving. A worthy walk is a thankful walk having been rescued from the dominion of darkness.
1:14-18 The Proof of Preeminence
- 1:14 In Redemption. Christ is the personal sphere of salvation.
- 1:15a In Revelation. Christ is the image of the invisible God and He represents and manifests God to the world. The Son explains the Father – What is God like? Look at Jesus and you will see what God is like.
- 1:15b-17 In Creation. The first born – not first created – of all creation. He is the originator, the architect, and builder of all creation. All creation.
- 1:18 The Declaration of Preeminence. He is the Creator-Redeemer and is preeminent over the realms of men and of angels.
Christ is preeminent every day. Every single day. All the time. In everything. Everything. In all things He is preeminent.
As Christians – do our lives reflect this truth?