This is Paul. He’s one of the pastors — or teaching elders — at my local church. This is also blurry, because it’s difficult to take photos in a dark small sanctuary room and take notes at the same time. It was an excellent sermon, based on Colossians 1: 13-20, about the supremacy of Christ and His worth in a Christian’s life, and how His people must live in light of that.
So I got to thinking: knowing and loving Christ for His preeminence could, over time and by God’s grace, naturally debunk a lot of Christian myths. Gospel-centered teaching will do that.
Thank God for those He’s gifted with that role. We need them — even more, perhaps, than books and blogs about the lies. So doesn’t it make sense, at least every once in a while, to post my notes from a church sermon on YeHaveHeard?
Continue exposure to God’s truth: the best antidote to myths.
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Colossians 1: 13-20
01.10.2010 — Colossians 1: 13-20 (Paul)
- We exist, and the Church exists, to magnify Jesus, displaying His greatness. This is the testimony of the Word.
- In the passage, Paul presents a series of amazing truths about Jesus — 15 things about Him, among which: all was created by, through and for Him, for His glory.
- We should ask God to give us “affections that correspond to the measures of His greatness.” — John Piper
- Let’s look at verses 16-18, specifically, which repeat the truth that all things are for His glory and for His pleasure. It exists to display His greatness, a huge scope.
- Paul uses the concept of the body to teach the diversity yet unity of the Church (such as in Romans 12: 4-5). But the Body cannot function as a whole unless it has a life-giving Head, Christ, as its source and sustainer. If we focus too much on ourselves, we’ll neglect Him.
- Recall that Paul has deep affections for the church in Colossae. He had heard the people were drifting from their first love in Christ. They were falling into legalisms, and Paul told them: don’t trade the glory of Christ for empty deceit. He encouraged them not to devalue Jesus, but to delight in Him, to stay rock-solid on Him alone. They should not be taken captive or dissuaded by a man-made system.
- How could we become enamored with lies and we have the awesome, merciful Jesus before us?! Paul places the emphasis on a Christ- and cross-centered life.
- Based on that, we should not return to the shadows of man-made traditions, or the Law, that pointed to Him.
- We should exalt and proclaim Jesus alone, not relegate Him to a corner of our religion. He is our only hope. Paul longed for his spiritual siblings to yearn for Him.
- Why be a Christ-centered church? Because He is our Source. Without Him as Head, we are a disjointed and unhealthy group; with Him, we are vibrant and growing naturally.
- Jesus is preeminent — above all — in everything, superior to all, greater than Moses and everyone, with an eternal Kingdom. Nothing has ever been or ever will be greater than Him. So are we living our lives around that truth that He is? We do love talking, preaching, singing about this truth, but applying this in our life is much more difficult. We must reaffirm what we believe, but use these truths in real life.
- Jesus’ preeminence should affect our relationships with people, our priorities, our time, how we spent and more.
- It hurts to see this, but it’s good to be pierced by the Word. We must also be committed to the centrality of the Scriptures, not deemphasizing or devaluing Christ.
- His sovereignty and Grace must be in all our life. That means, for example, we forgive others, and give thanks in persecution, and love our enemies — after all, we ourselves were once enemies of the Cross, and He loved us anyway. And we forgive others as Christ has forgiven us first.
- When trials, especially, break against our faith, we must respond in a way that reflects our Savior — doing what He says, having built our lives on Him as our Rock.
- What keeps us from doing that?
- 1) We become enamored with His created things rather than Him — “counterfeit gods” as Tim Keller calls them. “Whatever controls us is our lord.” Even good things, given as God’s grace, can become idols — food, possessions, sex, family. We must count it all as loss to live in Christ Himself instead.
- 2) We make our faith about performance rather than about Jesus. Baptists can become very entrenched in looking good on the outside, doing good things, rather than obeying because we value and are grateful to Jesus.
- May God give us the grace and strengthen us, as He has promised to do, to value Him above all else, towering above our lives, for He alone is worthy.