THE GREATNESS OF CHRIST (Colossians 1:15-20)

Colossians 1:15-20

A. Understanding the greatness of Christ is important and essential for us to appreciate if we are going to be faithful followers of Christ
B. Some commentators believe that Colossians 1:15-20 was used as a hymn by Christians in the 1st century
C. Let’s consider Paul’s description of the greatness of Christ – Christ is…
1. “Who is the image of the invisible God,”
a. “Image” come from the Greek word eikon – icon, and means likeness
b. Jesus is the icon of the Father
c. Jesus is the perfect image of the Father because He possesses the completeness of His personality and divine nature – through Christ the fullness of the Father is revealed
1) “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (Jn. 14:9)
2) Hebrews 1:3
d. Jesus is the “Word” (Jn. 1:1) – the true expression of the Father to all people
e. Jesus and the Father are one (Jn. 10:30)
f. Man had some glimpses of the Father but did not have complete revelation of His nature until Jesus came
2. “the firstborn of all creation”
a. “Firstborn” comes from prototokos – akin to the word prototype
b. The firstborn in the Hebrew family had a superior status – receiving superior blessings (received a double portion) and was the respected leader of the clan
c. Being “the firstborn of all creation” means Christ has the prestige and honor of the firstborn in relationship to all that has been created – thus Christ has priority and sovereignty over all creation
d. Revelation 3:14 – the source of all creation
3. Jesus is “the firstborn of all creation” because He is…
1. “For in him all were things created,”
a. The word “for” connects verses 15 & 16 – the reason Jesus is “the firstborn of every creature” is that “in him all things were created”
b. “Created” comes from a Greek word meaning “brought into existence from nothing”
c. Hebrews 3:3b
d. Christ’s position and honor as a firstborn Son are based of His having created all things
e. Hebrews 3:4
f. Jesus created all things…
2. “that are in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible,”
a. As Creator Jesus is superior to all that has been created whether it is discernible to the human eye or hidden from them
b. Thus, all worship and praise must be given God – not to anyone or anything else
3. “whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.”
a. Here we learn that Jesus is over every existing power and that each is dependent on Him
b. All powers are inferior to Jesus
4. “All things have been created through him, and unto him:”
a. Jesus is the reason for the existence of the world – they were created for Him
b. All creation exists for Christ’s glory and honor
5. As creator Jesus is…
1. “And he is before all things,”
a. This means that Jesus was not a part of the things that were created
b. The word “before” (pro) can be used both of priority in time and rank – perhaps Paul intended both ideas – because both are true of Jesus
c. John 1:1
2. “and in him all things consist.” [in him all things hold together – ESV]
a. Christ continues to hold all things together
b. For this reason the world is not in chaos – He continues to maintain the universe
3. Paul now turns from his discussion of Christ’s relationship to the universe to His relationship to the church. Christ is…
1. “And he is the head of the body, the church:”
a. The relationship of the head to the body is an important one
1) The head controls, directs, and governs the activities of the body, while the body submissively responds to the desires of the head
2) Jesus, as the head, acts and accomplished His purposes through the body – the church
3) The body – the church – exists to serve the desires of the Head.
4) The body – the church – is dependent on the Head (Jesus) for its care and well-being
b. Notice that the body and the church are one in the same
1) Ephesians 1:22-23
2) Notice also that Paul said “body” not bodies
3) 1 Corinthians 1:12-13
4) Ephesians 4:4
c. “Body” is used in the sense of a group of people or unit of people, as the phrases “student body” and “legislative body” indicates functioning units of members
d. “Church” (ekklesia) refers to people – not a building – the church is a called out people
1) 1 Peter 2:9
2) Colossians 1:13
2. “who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead”
a. Jesus was not the first one to be raised from the dead
b. Jesus was the first one to be raised from the dead never to die again – this emphasizes the preeminence of Jesus – being raised to a prominent place, the right hand of God
3. “that in all things he might have the preeminence”
a. Christ was raised from the dead never to die again that He might have “preeminence” – to be first in rank:
1) Over the universe which He has formed – as its Creator and Proprietor;
2) As chief among those who shall rise from the dead – since He first rose to die no more, and their resurrection depends on Him;
3) As head of the church – all being subject to him, and He alone having a right to give law to his people; and,
b. Jesus is chief over all things
4. “For it was the good pleasure of the Father that in him should all the fullness dwell;”
a. Again, notice the word “for” – Jesus was raised to such an exalted position because it pleased the Father to do such, for this fulfilled His eternal purpose
b. Ephesians 3:11
c. It was the Father’s will – His pleasure – that “all the fullness” should dwell in Jesus
1) Colossians 2:9
2) In Jesus is salvation, resurrection, all authority, power, and the manifestation of the Father
3) The Father’s divine purpose is fulfilled in Jesus
5. Thus, through Jesus we have everything we need to complete our relationship with the Father… “ye are complete in him” (Col. 2:10)
6. Therefore, Christ is…
1. “and through him to reconcile all things unto himself,”
a. Paul give assurance that through Jesus He has made reconciliation possible. This implies two things:
1) Because sin, man is separated from God (Isa. 59:1-2), and
2) God is the one who makes it possible to be reconciled back to Him
b. To “reconcile” means to remove the barriers that separate two parties so that they can be friends
1) The Father meets man in Christ
2) 2 Corinthians 5:19
3) Thus, to be reconciled to the Father we must be in Christ
4) Galatians 3:27
2. “having made peace through the blood of his cross; through him, I say, whether things upon the earth, or things in the heavens.”
a. Peace with God is made available through the blood of Christ
b. Matthew 26:28
c. Hebrews 9:22
d. How do we contact the blood of Christ?
1) John 19:34
2) Romans 6:34
A. We have seen the:
1. Greatness of Christ
2. Qualities of Christ
3. The work of Christ
B. Christ has done His part – will we do ours and be obedient to the Gospel?

Tom Moore
P. O. Box 107
Hamilton, Texas 76531

About from the Preachers PC

Gospel Preacher for the Park Heights church of Christ in Hamilton, TX. I stand for and defend the truth of God's word. All other degrees and diplomas mean very little in comparison.
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