Crown Him Lord of All – 3

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Scripture References – Colossians 1:13-20

Christ Is the Head of the Church

And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. – Colossians 1:18.

There are many images of the church in the New Testament, and the body is one of the most important (Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:14; Ephesians 4:8–16). No denomination or local assembly can claim to be “the body of Christ,” for that body is composed of all true believers. When a person trusts Christ, he is immediately baptized by the Holy Spirit into this body (1 Corinthians 12:12–13). The baptism of the Spirit is not a post-conversion experience, for it occurs the instant a person believes in Jesus Christ.

Each Christian is a member of this spiritual body, and Jesus Christ is the Head. In Greek usage, the word “head” meant “source” and “origin” as well as “leader, ruler.” Jesus Christ is the Source of the church, His body, and the Leader. Paul called Him “the beginning” which tells us that Jesus Christ has priority in time as far as His church is concerned. The term beginning can be translated “originator.”

No matter which name you select, it will affirm the preeminence of Jesus Christ in the church. The church had its origin in Him, and today it has its operation in Him. As the Head of the church, Jesus Christ supplies it with life through His Spirit. He gives gifts to men, and then places these gifted people in His church that they might serve Him where they are needed. Through His Word, Jesus Christ nourishes and cleanses the church (Ephesians 5:25–30).

No believer on earth is the head of the church. This position is reserved exclusively for Jesus Christ. Various religious leaders may have founded churches, or denominations; but only Jesus Christ is the Founder of the church which is His body. This church is composed of all true believers, and it was born at Pentecost. It was then that the Holy Spirit came and baptized the believers into one spiritual body.

The fact that there is “one body” in this world (Ephesians 4:4) does not eliminate or minimize the need for local bodies of believers. The fact that I belong to the universal church does not release me from my responsibilities to the local church. I cannot minister to the whole church, but I can strengthen and build the church by ministering to God’s people in a local assembly.

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Jesus Christ is the Head of the church, and the Beginning of the church; and He is also the Firstborn from the dead. We saw this word firstborn” earlier in Colossians 1:15. Paul did not say that Jesus was the first person to be raised from the dead, for He was not. But He is the most important of all who have been raised from the dead; for without His resurrection, there could be no resurrection for others (1 Corinthians 15:20-28).

It seems odd that Paul used the word born in connection with death, for the two concepts seem opposed to each other. But the tomb was a womb from which Christ came forth in victory, for death could not hold Him (Acts 2:24). The Son was begotten in resurrection glory (Psalm 2:7; Acts 13:33).

This brings us to the theme of this entire section: “That in all things He may have the preeminence.” This was God’s purpose in making His Son the Savior, Creator, and Head of the church. The word translated “preeminence” is used nowhere else in the New Testament. It is related to the word translated “firstborn,” and it magnifies the unique position of Jesus Christ. “Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:11).

In 1893, the World’s Columbian Exposition was held in Chicago, and more than 21 million people visited the exhibits. Among the features was a “World Parliament of Religions,” with representatives of the world’s religions, meeting to share their “best points” and perhaps come up with a new religion for the world.

Evangelist D.L. Moody saw this as a great opportunity for evangelism. He used churches, rented theaters, and even rented a circus tent (when the show was not on) to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His friends wanted Moody to attack the “Parliament of Religions,” but he refused. “I am going to make Jesus Christ so attractive,” he said, “that men will turn to Him.” Moody knew that Jesus Christ was the preeminent Savior, not just one of many “religious leaders” of history. The “Chicago Campaign” of 1893 was probably the greatest evangelistic endeavor in D.L. Moody’s life, and thousands came to Christ.

But the false teachers of Colossae could never give Jesus Christ the place of preeminence; for, according to their philosophy, Jesus Christ was only one of many “emanations” from God. He was not the only way to God (John 14:6); rather, He was but one rung on the ladder! It has well been said, “If Jesus Christ is not Lord of all, He cannot be Lord at all.”

We have now studied three arguments for the preeminence of Jesus Christ: He is the Savior, He is the Creator, and He is the Head of the church. These arguments reveal His relationship with lost sinners, with the universe, and with believers. But what about His relationship with God the Father?

To Be Continued

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Adaptation of excerpts from Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary Volume 2.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of teaching, encouragement and intercessory prayer from the Holy Bible, the written Word of God and author of the ministry website, For The Love of God. He lives in Delta, Colorado with his beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom they affectionately call Bella.
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