THE PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST
(Col 1:18) 05/28/17
Grace Bible Church, Gillette, Wyoming
Pastor Daryl Hilbert
I. CHRIST RULES THE CHURCH
A. He Himself (autos)
1. There are three times that the emphatic use of the pronoun “He” (autos) is observed in vss. 17-18. The interpretation then is not just “He” pertaining to Christ, but “He Himself.”
2. They are 1) “He Himself’ is before all things” (Col 1:17), 2) “He Himself’ is the head of the body” (Col 1:18), 3) “He Himself’ will come to have first place” (Col 1:18).
3. So, Christ, in and of Himself, is before all things, Christ Himself is alone the head of the church, and Christ Himself has first place and preeminence.
B. Head of the body
1. The word for “head” is the Greek word kephalê. It can mean, of course, a literal head (Mat 6:17). But it also has a figurative meaning which can refer to the source, rank, and goal of a person or thing.
2. In reference to Christ the Scriptures portray certain aspects of Christ headship.
a. Christ is “head” over the church, being the Savior of the body (Eph 5:23).
b. Christ is “head” and source of the body (Col 2:19).
c. Christ is “head” and goal of the body (Eph 1:23; Eph 4:15).
d. The church incidentally, is called the body of Christ. It's not called the body of Christians. And the reason for that is very simple because the church is his. Ownership is expressed by that. Authority is suggested by head. Control is suggested by head. He's the head of the body. He's the head of the church. And consequently he controls the church. He owns the church. He has authority over the church. The head of the body of the church is the Lord Jesus Christ. (SLJ)
3. The word “body” (sōma) reveals that at the moment of faith the Holy Spirit spiritually baptized all believers into the body of Christ. Furthermore, as members of the body of Christ, believers are empowered by the head through the Spirit (1Co 12:13-14).
C. His Body is the Church
1. Paul previously portrayed Christ as the source of the natural creation, now He is portrayed as the source of the new spiritual creation.
a. Christ purchased His church with His blood (Act 20:28).
b. Christ is the source and builder of His church (Mat 16:18).
c. Christ is the foundation of the church based on His person and work (Mat 16:16-18).
d. Christ is over the church and the church is subject to Him (Eph 1:22; Eph 5:24).
e. Christ is the bridegroom to whom the church will be presented (Eph 5:27).
f. Christ’s relationship with His church is a great NT revelation (Eph 5:32).
II. CHRIST IS ORIGINATOR OF THE CHURCH
A. It was previously stated that Christ “is before all things,” which taught His eternality and explained how He could create all things (Col 1:17).
B. Now Christ is being called the “beginning” (archê - relation to rank, Eng. archetype) which in one sense refers to Christ as the highest rank (Eph 1:21 - “far above all (other) “rule (archê). Christ is the beginning and highest rank of the church.
C. In another sense, as the “beginning,” Christ is the originator of the church, having provided salvation through His death and resurrection. That is the sense of Rev 3:14 where it states that Christ is the “archê (source and originator) of the creation of God” both the physical creation as well as the spiritual creation of the church.
1. Arche (beginning) is used here in the twofold sense of source and primacy. The church has its origins in Jesus. God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). It is He who gives life to His church. His sacrificial death and resurrection on our behalf provided our new life. As head of the Body, Jesus holds the chief position, or highest rank in the church. As the beginning, He is its originator. MacArthur
III. CHRIST RANKS HIGHEST IN THE RESURRECTION
A. The word “firstborn” (prōtotokos) was used in Col 1:15 where Paul wrote that Christ was “firstborn [over] all creation.” Though the word can have the natural meaning of firstborn child (Luk 2:7), it also can mean rank and the right to an inheritance.
B. This second meaning was given to vs. 15 and should also be applied here in vs. 18. Certainly, there is the implication that Christ had to be the first one raised from the dead before there could be a future resurrection (1Co 15:17-20).
C. However, Christ, who is the head of the church and the beginning, ranks highest among those who will be raised from the dead to eternal life, namely the church.
1. He is called the first-begotten from the dead, not merely because he was the first that rose again, but because he has also restored life to others, as he is elsewhere called the first-fruits of those that rise again. (1Co 15:20.) Calvin
IV. CHRIST HAS FIRST PLACE IN ALL THINGS
A. Purpose for Christ
1. In this last phrase, we find God’s purpose for Christ and a summation of the Person of Christ.
2. “So that” (hina - purpose clause) shows that God’s purpose is that Christ “Himself” (autos) will have full and total pre-eminence in everything.
3. Because Christ accomplished redemption, He has been exalted by God, His enemies are being subdued, He is to be acknowledged as Lord, and be subject to by all (Heb 10:11-13; Php 2:8-11).
B. Summation of the Person of Christ
1. The summation of the Person Christ is that He is first in rank above all others and in every category.
2. “First place” is the Greek word prōteuō means to be first in rank, foremost, chief, most important of all in regard to things (Mat 22:38 - “foremost”) or persons (Mar 6:21 - “leading”).
3. The English word “pre-eminent” is a suitable description for prōtueō because it literally means to “project forward” or “rise above.” It has come to mean surpassing all others in superiority.
4. Its synonyms are incomparable, surpassing, towering, transcendent, unmatchable, unsurpassable, and supreme.
5. The Gnostic view was that the Invisible Spirit (Gnostic god) was Supreme, that Christ was a mere intermediary, and the way to the Gnostic god was through gnosis.
6. Christ is pre-eminent because He is God, Creator, Sustainer, Source of His new creation (the church), Savior, Resurrected Lord, and Head. The way to God is through the Christ Himself (Joh 14:6).
7. Paul’s description of the Person of Christ is as lofty as human words can express. Christ has, is to have, and will have first place in everything. Christ is preeminent.
8. He's head over the first creation because he created it. He's head over the new creation of the church because he's the first born from the dead, and he's redeemed the church in order that he might be preeminent in all things. And by what he did on the cross, he has become preeminent in both the old and the new creation. SLJ
V. OBSERVATIONS AND APPLICATIONS
A. Christ has all rule over the church
1. The head of the body of the church is the Lord Jesus Christ. That is a most practical doctrine. Do not think for one moment that we're simply talking about something that is only a theological truth. It is of the greatest practical importance. The head of the church is not in Rome…The head of the church is not in any denominational headquarters of any church upon this earth. The head of the church is in heaven, and consequently, we are responsible to heaven directly. SLJ
a. Christ is the source, originator, and Head over the church
b. The Pastor is not head of the church
1) I don’t get to use the pulpit as a soap box.
2) I must preach His Word and His truth uncompromisingly
c. The elders are not the head of the church
1) The elders do make up their own rules, rather they must follow clear principles of the Word, or its implications through godly wisdom.
d. Not even is the congregation is the head of the church
e. Christ is the head of the church, He is in heaven, consequently Grace Bible Church and each member of it are responsible directly to Him.
B. Christ has all pre-eminence over the believer
1. Gods settled purpose is that He Himself will come to have first place in everything (Col. 1:18b). But, does He have first place in your life? Does He have first place over your thought life? Does He have first place over your words? Does He have first place over how you use your time? Does He have first place over your finances? Does He have first place over your entertainment choices? Does He have first place in everything in your life? As Charles Simeon so forcefully put it, He must have it! He will have it! He shall have it! Cole
a. Is Christ absolute first in your life?
1) When we don’t do what He says in His Word, He is not first.
2) When we fail to pray, He is not first.
3) When we sin, He is not first.
4) When we forsake the assembling together, He is not first.
5) When we choose entertainment over worship, He is not first.
6) When we encourage our children more in secular pursuits than in spiritual ones, He is not first.
7) When we do not include Christ in your worldview, morals, and ethics, He is not first.
8) When we don’t at least attempt to put Him first, He is not first.
1) Confess not putting Him completely first in your life.
2) Dedicate your life to Him
3) Through faith in the indwelling Christ
a) As you have received Christ Jess as Lord, so walk in Him. Col 2:6.
Grace Bible Church · 4000 E. Collins Rd · PO Box #3762 · Gillette, WY · (307) 686-1516