The unity of the church depends on her continuous submission to Christ the head not on our biblical literacy and ecclesiological knowledge.
Published November 2nd, 2022
Main point summary
Christ the author of creation is preserving creation and heading his church for his glory.
καὶ αὐτός ἐστιν πρὸ πάντων
he himself (with reference to time, rank and priority) is before all things
καὶ τὰ πάντα ἐν αὐτῷ συνέστηκεν,
and in him all things have been held together
καὶ αὐτός ἐστιν ἡ κεφαλὴ τοῦ σώματος τῆς ἐκκλησίας· ὅς ⸀ ἐστιν ἀρχή, πρωτότοκος ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν,
and he himself is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
ἵνα γένηται ἐν πᾶσιν αὐτὸς πρωτεύων,
in order that he might become in all things himself preeminent
We are looking forward to May 13 th 2023, the day of our graduation from seminary. Some of us are already dreaming, longing, and praying to plant churches. Where and when the Lord will send us to go and plant a church or churches we do not know. Between now and the approaching time we are asking for Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I pray that God will give each of us the measure of grace, mercy, and peace that we need to represent him well in our public and private lives. Brothers, this morning I invite us to drink from the well spring of Paul’s letter to the Colossians. I want to draw our attention to Colossians1:17-18. Paul asserts that Christ himself is before all things and all things are held together in him. He is the head of the body, the church, as well as the beginning, the firstborn from among the dead, in order that he may become in all things himself preeminent. These two verses expand Paul’s argument about the supremacy of Christ from v. 15. In v.15 Paul ranks Jesus over and above creation. In v.16 Christ is the only perfect representation of God. In what ways is Christ supreme? First of all he is supreme in creation. He is described as the firstborn of all creation. What does this mean? Does it not mean Christ is the climax of creation and he is a created being? No. That is not the meaning because context shows us that Paul is describing Christ in his eternal being not Christ in his incarnate being. Besides the prepositional phrase “by him” in 16a shows that Christ is the agent by whom all creation came into being. The superiority of Christ extends to the invisible world. The prepositional phrase “for him” at the end of v.16 shows that Christ is not just the author of creation but the very goal of creation. Creation exists for the glory of Christ. In v.17 Paul underlines the supremacy of Christ by stating that creation owes its preservation to Christ. In v.18 we read that Christ who is supreme over creation is equally the supreme Lord of the church. In this verse, the phrase “the firstborn from the dead” shows us Paul’s shift from dealing with Christ in his eternal being to the incarnate Christ in his present glorified state. This Christ who is the perfect representation of God, this Christ who is the agent by whom all creation came into being, this Christ who is the one preserving creation, this Christ whose superiority cuts across the visible and invisible world, this Christ shares an organic relationship with the church. Paul says he is the head of the body. Just as our hands, legs, and other body parts share a common life with the head, so does the church share a common life with Christ. Christ as the head directs and controls how his church must function for his glory. Before we receive our diplomas on May 13 th let us not forget that we and our diplomas are part of creation and that we with our diplomas exist for the glory of Christ. Christ is foremost not us. Before we plant a church Paul wants us to know that Jesus is the head of the church not us. Jesus is the one who holds all things together including his church. The unity of the church depends on her continuous submission to Christ the head not on our biblical literacy and ecclesiological knowledge. This understanding should feed our fight against our self-seeking nature. Brothers, we need to learn from Paul, the great theologian and church planter who never saw himself as the founder and head of the churches he planted and pastored. O for the humility to sincerely affirm that we are but servants through whom Jesus the head of the church is building his church.