Becoming Whole in Christ
Giving Jesus Supremacy in my Life – Colossians 1:15-23
Pastor Doug Klein
What does it mean to really live for God? We speak a great deal about putting him first. But what does it mean to do that every day of our life? When the skeptic doubting Thomas made his great confession “my Lord and my God,” what practical change did it bring about in his life?
When we marry, we make a vow to put our spouses first in everything. How much more, however, when we give our lives over to Jesus Christ. It’s a powerful thing to give Jesus supremacy in our lives.
The first principle is 1.) Putting Jesus first in everything. Colossians 1:15-18.
When God comes into our lives, he makes a huge splash. It’s life a gigantic boulder cascading down a mountain slope from the top of the mountain, making a huge hole in the paved road below. We might even want to call it a “Godquake.” God makes a huge impact wherever and whenever he shows up. What a contrast to a philosopher or guro who has no real claim on our lives. The picture of Jesus painted by Paul in Colossians is one of a grand and great God who is at the center of everything in complete control. He is the sovereign of the universe.
The Greek word for firstborn has often been misunderstood and distorted by cults who fail to see Jesus as an eternal member of the Trinity. Instead, they mistakenly teach that Jesus was a created entity in space and time without prior existence. Hence, He would not be equal with God and would possess an inferior status. That is certainly NOT how Paul is using the word firstborn in this context. Firstborn means preeminent or supreme. In the Old Testament, the firstborn son got the double share of the inheritance. Here, it is used of Jesus to express at once His relation to man and the universe and His difference from them. Jesus is not only prior to all things in time, both above everything in power and authority. The word firstborn denotes His status and character and not His origin.
So only one person can be supreme in our lives and that one person is Jesus Christ. ON a practical level, we can discern from the longings of our heart what is really supreme in our lives. Every one of us holds back our non-negotiables when it comes to God. The language of supremacy sounds like this: I really need this, I can barely survive without it. It is constantly before me every day and drives my motivation. I have to have this. We know at that point that we are dealing with the language of supremacy.
But Jesus can never be another supplement or helpful addition to our lives. We don’t ask Him to become part of our agenda. Rather we join His life and adventure. It’s not about us: it’s about Him. IF all we are left with from our study of this text is an intellectual understanding of Christ’s glory, Jesus is not at all yet supreme in our lives.
How can I encounter and see such a grand God? Colossians 1:15 tells us that Christ is the image of the invisible God. The image refers to His being as the absolute representation of the Father. He becomes the face of God to us. Yet He remains a very big Christ. He is not the kind of God that we should ask to become our consultant.
Colossians tells us in verse 16 that EVERYTHING was created by Him, through Him, and for Him. And He holds together everything in the universe including every aspect of my life. He also holds me in my loneliness and weakness. When I look at the glory of who He truly is and the wonders of what He has done, my only option is to put Him first in everything.
The second principle is 2.) Giving up my right to comfort and security. Colossians 1:19-20.
At first glance, all of us deep down would like a comfortable, easy life with minimal challenges. But upon further reflection, we realize that our soul was created not just for glory but for challenge and adventure. We understand the horrible implications of boredom in our lives. We really want to experience so much more out of our lives. Jesus shows us what it means to leave everything comfortable and secure in the universe to bring us salvation at a terrible cost to Himself. The adventure He involves us in is the reconciling of all things to Himself. It takes place one person at a time and we are a part of it. What makes it all the more spectacular is the fact that all the fullness of the deity resides in Jesus who also lives in me. When I enter the life of Christ, I enter into His glory and His fullness along with His suffering. But to do so, I must give up my right for comfort and security.
Christ alone becomes my comfort and security. But wherever He is, is exactly where I want to be. That’s because He alone is life and glory.
The third principle is 3.) Rejoicing no matter what. Colossians 1:21-23.
Every day, no matter what, I am going to choose joy. And I am going to continually focus on the amazing work He has done for me and in me. His death on the cross has not only reconciled me to me, but now presents me as holy and blameless before Him. That is an incredible turn of events. The last thing you could say about me is that I am holy and blameless. But that’s what happens in Jesus Christ. The only qualification is that I remain steadfast in my relationship with Jesus.
Our first reaction is that I’m never consistently steadfast. But the analogy is one of walking. IF we stop walking with him and fail to keep our relationship, it’s synonymous with walking away from our spouses or children and ceasing to communicate with them. They will still remain family members. But the relationship has been horribly damaged.
We never walk away from the hope of the Gospel. It is always before us, encouraging us in the uncertainties of life. I keep my hope in its proper place: at the feet of Jesus. And if I have to at times, I transfer my hope back to Jesus.
“For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross, scorning its shame.” That alone enables me to overcome self-pity. I repeatedly have to give over to Him the tough things and disappointments in my life. All the things that haven’t gone my way. But here once again is the bottom line: my hope is tied completely to Jesus. As he goes, so do I. He was once dead but now He’s alive forever more. And because He lives, so shall I. Now that’s a hope worth living for.
Faith Presbyterian Church
May 1, 2016