THE PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST Print E-mail

 

Bet Amante                                                                       Eastgate Ministries

Sermon from the Heart of Colossians                                                    April 15, 2018

The Preeminence of Christ

 

 

I ‘ve been feasting on the book of Colossians for the past few weeks and may I tell you that I just can’t seem to get enough of God’s boundless provision in this small epistle of only 4 chapters.  Now….. I’m not going to even try to share the entire Book  this morning…. it ‘s so gloriously full of great truths pertaining to the  pre-eminence of Christ, His identity, His, essence, His deity, Sovereignty and the perfect  love of God…which is  very crux of His divine nature. Hallelujah!!!!!!!We have eternity to learn and meditate upon all the facets of  the magnitude Christ’s authority, supremacy, and power.    I have found that the overwhelming desire to portray our Lord as He truly is…..is  at the very heart and center of all that I am called to teach,  and proclaim. So with every opportunity  and  upon every occasion I have to teach and to preach….I pray that the words of my lips might reflect the contents of my heart……as I share the greatness and goodness of all that is Christ . 

 

Last week we sang the song “Come and Dine” taken from   John 21:12

This one chapter in the bible speaks to us far more than just one brief  message on God’s provision. The mysteries hidden within each verse would easily give us enough  bread and fish for many feasts, but isn’t that the way it is with the eternal Word of God? There is no end and there are no boundaries. It is all sufficient.

My focus on John 21 is three fold today

1.     The disciples who were once filled with great hope, zeal and joy in the Lord…had now become hopeless, …they had become discouraged and disheartened fishermen. ( Christ is our hope)

2.     In all their self efforts, they had struggled all night and caught nothing. They were professional fishermen….and yet their own  efforts failed!!!!  (In  Christ we overcome our failures)

3.     In the hearing and obeying of their Lord’s instructions, not only were their needs met but their hope,  purpose, and joy in the Lord was restored  .  (As the living word of truth  is  revealed  to us……we are restored

 In  Isaiah 55: We read  “Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
    and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
    listen, that you may live.

 

Well the Lord has prepared for us another breakfast ”  to share this morning and I am excited to have been asked to serve you today.

 

I realize that most Eastgate members are well acquainted with the menu, ( At Willowfork) but sometimes the Lord will reemphasize the need for certain elements in our diet that we may be lacking……..or as in my case last week dangerously exceeding ….or overdosing  last week….. Short testimony on the importance of watching our diet.   Potassium….is good and it is necessary …but a blood count of 6.5 is not good and is lethal if not controlled.  Thank the Lord for taking care of me…..I had no clue and had I not gone to the doc for another issue…I would not have known.

 

Anyyyy waaaaaaaaayy.  It occurred to me the other day that our God is not interested in providing  a fancy diet of epicurean delicacies or gourmet  delights. He takes pleasure in offering to His children food that will satisfy and cause us to benefit, to be strengthened and nurtured and built up in our spirit man…rather than catering to the fleshly cravings…of our old carnal nature.

Do not get me wrong here I’m not preaching a food gospel, nutritional legalism, or vegetarianism. Far from it

 

Col.2:16 says

“Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. 1They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, (the less comely…but necessary) parts grows as God causes it to grow.

20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

In a nutshell…Paul is saying Drawing attention to ourselves and pontificating over how many chapters of the bible we read daily…or need to announce to the world exactly  how many hours we spend in prayer and intercession or instructing  angels…….how much we  deny ourselves, don’t eat meat….or…pork…or  bacon???? Maybe we just…. let it be known that  we are fasting…..ice cream or  desserts …or letting it be known that we eat certain things…or  refrain from food or drink… period (brag about fasting),  or that we suffer the loss of certain earthly comforts ……These things may appear to make us look really spiritual…. Jesus plainly said, “Don’t do that!!!! The need to do or not do all these things is coming from the carnal nature…..and wearing a hair shirt….or cutting , or not cutting our hair  ..or women  wearing pants…or skirts ..or clerical colors or long robes   (ad infi nauseum )  profits us nothing .

A strict diet……Might help us to loose weight…..but somehow we seem to  gain it all back….don’t we? (big smile)  Notice I’m using the first person plural   …. WE!!!. 

 

 

We must remember,( contrary to the opinions of many), the scripture is not writtenfor or to convert nonbelievers. And the bible is not   just  a book of rules and regulations for SELF RIGHTEOUS people to follow…..IT IS THE VERY  BREAD of LIFE, written for BELIEVERS to feed  upon AND LIVE!!!  

 

Jesus said to the Scribes and Pharisees in  John 5:39-40 39You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40yet you refuse to come to me to have life. ( HE IS THE BREAD OF LIFE)

 

And in John 14:6

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. You may read and memorize the entire bible…..but if you are not yielded to the Holy Spirit of Christ….you will not understand a word of it…. And simple knowledge of the CONTENTS alone …puffs up the human mind.  We are reminded daily by “intellectuals” who have been educated beyond their capacity to understand and cannot discern spiritual truth.

The old testament and all that it states, promises, assures, guarantees, and declares to be absolute truth….  is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the LIVING WORD OF GOD INCARNATE.

 

……2 Timothy 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

 

The theme of Colossians is the preeminence of Christ, who is the eternal word which proceeds from the mind and the mouth of God the Father, ……became flesh   (took upon Himself the form of man…  in order to reconcile fallen mankind unto Himself ……through the death of His body …….and has now become head of the body, the church…….. as supreme creator and sustainer of all things that exist and the mind of Christ as the basis of all wisdom, knowledge and salvation especially as opposed to human philosophies.

 

Establishing God’s Sovereignty and His word as completely infallible,  unalterable, inerrant and irrreversable, now imbedded in the flesh of His only begotten Son……..

In His letter to the saints at Colossae , the Apostle Paul begins by commending the Colossians for their faith  in Christ and continues in thanksgiving and prayer for them. As one called to the ministry of intercession  for the saints, I have benefitted greatly  by these powerful  prayers in scripture as a guideline…. knowing that as I pray according to God’s will…He hears  me and the Lord watches over His word to perform it Amen!

 

Col 1:3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your (great works????) NO! Brilliant minds??? NO! Your Superiority  above others? NO!!!!  FAITH  in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people—

 

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[e] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[f] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

 

Please note that all of the works of Christ are “past tense” meaning that His work is all fulfilled, finished,  complete. There is nothing more that Jesus has to accomplish……….either on earth, in heaven or under the earth. It’s a done deal!!! And we are now complete in Him. We do not have to work to fulfill God’s law. 2 Corinthians 5:21 New King James Version (NKJV)

21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Romans 10 New International Version (NIV)

10 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the culmination (conclusion, finale) of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

 

But now…. having established this truth in our hearts, the children of God are now free to …..do what? Go into all  the world and convince people to see and do things as we do? NO! To Say and do whatever we please…when and if we “feel” like it? NO! Force our personal opinions on others? NO! Discussssss the failings of some….. with others who are equally as spiritual…so that we can pray for the less spiritual? NO! That is still gossip, folks and God hates it. So do I.  But…..It happens…. Every…… single…..day, It’s as common in the church as it is in the world. People trying to control the lives of other people….or attempt to make themselves feel good about themselves by talking down about another sister or brother…or church???? !!!!!And it it’s no more of God than witchcraft is of God. It is man manipulating others in order to gain self satisfaction. It has nothing to do with glorifying the Lord.

 

 

Well????? It’s a fact is it not? And those of us who are mature….. should know better, but we are all maturing at different levels and the fact is some of us will choose to remain  new babes or toddlers in the faith  for their entire life.  But the scriptures teach us differently.

 

Hebrews 6

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

We are to know and practice these basic things and not  forget them,……. AND we are also to MATURE IN CHRIST…NOT IN OURSELVES. You see, the problem we have…. is not that we are imperfect. God is well aware of our imperfections, but He is more aware of the holy and overcoming deposit which He placed within us…who  is none other than “Christ in us, our hope of glory.” The overcomer Himself!!!! The problem we have is that while we love the Lord , we believe His word, and we want so much to be pleasing and acceptable in His sight……………we still want to do it all our way!!!! As spoiled little TOYS ARE US KIDS..we do not wanna grow up!!!! So often, we want God to do His  will …OUR WAY!  by leaning to our own limited and flawed understanding and continuing to suit up in  the same old soiled carnal minded attitudes of  every day thinking rather than clothing ourselves with the  New Man Who Has the very  Mind Of Christ… with all wisdom and knowledge and understanding,  equipped  to walk in His ways of power in love and complete soundness of mind. How could we refuse such a marvelous opportunity?

Just consider these words….and as much as you can….try to  envision….The absolute and sovereign  Supremacy of the Son of God????? His omnipotence, omniscience and the omnipresence of His Holy Spirit

Col. 1:15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

 

21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of[g] your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

24 Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.

People of God…what Does this mean???? If we cannot add to or subtract from the completion of the works of Jesus Christ?????? What is Paul saying here????

From Internet bible study “Teaching the Word Ministries”, I quote,

Jesus Christ was demonstrated to be qualified to be the spotless Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, by the fact the He endured afflictions, persecutions, sufferings, the insults of men, their physical abuse, their blasphemies, their threats, all manner of physical and emotion and spiritual tribulation - He endured it all without once thinking a sinful thought, committing a sinful act, or speaking a sinful word.

Now, what does this mean for you as a Christian? When you suffer for the sake of righteousness, when you endure afflictions, when you endure persecutions, when you suffer the insults of the unsaved, (or the saved)when you are grieved by their blasphemies against Christ, when you endure any kind of physical, emotional, or spiritual tribulation imaginable - does that add one thing to the sufferings of Christ on the cross? Does that help to pay for your redemption? Absolutely not.

It simply means that you are a member of the Body of Christ, and the Body of Christ suffers for the sake of righteousness in this world, just as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself suffered for the sake of righteousness when He was in this world.

Paul is speaking here of the sufferings that Jesus endured during His earthly ministry. And those sufferings were necessarily for a limited period of time, because He then went to the Cross. But Paul is saying that those sufferings continue in the servants of Christ, in the body of Christ, as the Church fulfills the Great Commission to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, and to make disciples from among all nations. All the saints down through the centuries are partakers of these sufferings, when we are faithful to our calling to proclaim the Gospel and seek to win men for Christ.

The sufferings of which Paul is speaking in Colossians 1:24 are not the vicarious sufferings of Christ for sin. The word that Paul uses for the "afflictions" of Christ is the Greek word thlipsis. The word means, literally, "to be pressed together." It is used forty-six times in the New Testament. It is always translated as "tribulation" or "affliction" or being "burdened" or having "trouble." The word that is used here never denotes that, anywhere in the Bible. An entirely different word is used in the Greek. When Paul speaks here of that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ, he is speaking of the continuation of the Lord Jesus Christ's ministerial sufferings in His body, the Church, as the Church lives for Him in a world in which we are now aliens, a world that is under the sway of the wicked one, the Devil. These sufferings have been going on in every generation of Christians that has continued to carry out the Lord's work on earth.

1 Peter 4:13 (AMPC) "But insofar as you are sharing Christ's sufferings, rejoice, so that when His glory [full of radiance and splendor] is revealed, you may also rejoice with triumph [exultant

Does this help you to understand that we are in no way to be required to add to Christ’s completed work for our salvation through personal suffering??? That is false doctrine and while I know that it is being taught in other churches…..it is conflicting and contrary to the teachings of the Living Word…..the Lord Himself.

Continuing …..

 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

28 He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. 29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.

WOW!!!!!!!

It is then no wonder that Paul could say to the Ephesians

Ephesians 4 New International Version (NIV)

 

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it[a] says:

“When he ascended on high,
    he took many captives
    and gave gifts to his people.”[
b]

(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles (or heathen…or non believers)  do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”[d]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

 

Col 3

1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

6 For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:

7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.

8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

(The remaining  verses of chapter 3 speak on how we are to conduct  ourselves as family members and in business according to God ordained order. That is another necessary  teaching within in itself…. So I pick up with chapter 4….and verse 2

Col. 4

2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;

3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:

4 That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

 

 

And the remainder of the 55th chapter of Isaiah reads”

Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.

Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.

Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

13 Instead of the thorn  (the curse)shall come up the fir tree, (the blessing) and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

 

Matthew Henry’s commentary, in my estimation cannot be improved upon and certainly not by this preacher……… so I quote.

 

Commentary on Isaiah 55:6-13

(Read Isaiah 55:6-13)

Here is a gracious offer of pardon, and peace, and of all happiness. It shall not be in vain to seek God, now his word is calling to us, and his Spirit is striving with us. But there is a day coming when he will not be found. There may come such a time in this life; it is certain that at death and judgment the door will be shut. There must be not only a change of the way, but a change of the mind. We must alter our judgments about persons and things. It is not enough to break off from evil practices, we must strive against evil thoughts. To repent is to return to our Lord, against whom we have rebelled. If we do so, God will multiply to pardon, as we have multiplied to offend. But let none trifle with this plenteous mercy, or use it as an occasion to sin. Men's thoughts concerning sin, Christ, and holiness, concerning this world and the other, vastly differ from God's; but in nothing more than in the matter of pardon. We forgive, and cannot forget; but when God forgives sin, he remembers it no more. The power of his word in the kingdoms of providence and grace, is as certain as in that of nature. Sacred truth produces a spiritual change in the mind of men, which neither rain nor snow can make on the earth. It shall not return to the Lord without producing important effects. If we take a special view of the church, we shall find what great things God has done, and will do for it. The Jews shall come to their own land; this shall represent the blessings promised. Gospel grace will make a great change in men. Delivered from the wrath to come, the converted sinner finds peace in his conscience; and love constrains him to devote himself to the service of his Redeemer. Instead of being profane, contentious, selfish, or sensual, behold him patient, humble, kind, and peaceable. The hope of helping in such a work should urge us to spread the gospel of salvation. And do thou help us, O Spirit of all truth, to have such views of the fulness, freeness, and greatness of the rich mercy in Christ, as may remove from us all narrow views of sovereign grace.

 

 

Amen and amen.

 
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