Christ Is Preeminent

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Christ Is Preeminent is a topical sermon by Mark Hollingsworth.

Colossians 1:18

"And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."

INTRODUCTION:

George Macdonald asked "What is your creed?" "Jesus Christ." Lavater said, "Jesus Christ, or Despair." As in the Bible, "The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy." So here, where we quote many authorities, His Name is to be above every name.

In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." All that man needs to know, all that man seeks to know, are hid in Him. A man may be learned in every department of knowledge, and yet, apart from Jesus Christ, he will know nothing as he ought to know. He must be Preeminent here as in everything.

I. Christ is Preeminent in Revealing the Father.

This is a point of the utmost consequence, to be noted in these days of Agnosticism. Philosophy aims at knowing God by abstract reasoning. It wants to get at the bottom of things, and know the "why" and the "wherefore" of them in its own way. It has all along tried to find out God by its own light; and all along the line it has signally failed.

And in these last days it has honestly given the result of the past centuries of abstract speculation and thought in the now familiar Agnostic declaration: "Touching the Almighty, we cannot find Him out." This confession of failure is perhaps the beginning of their wisdom. Certainly it is the exact position accorded them in the Scriptures:

  • "God is unknowable." Yes. "No one knoweth the Son save the Father; neither doth any know the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal Him." (Matt.11:27)
  • "God is invisible." Yes. And when the disciples, with similar longing and incapacity, asked, "Lord, show us the Father and it sufficeth us." "Let us have a Theophany." Jesus answered, "Have I been so long time with you, and dost thou not know Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father." (John 14:9). "I am the Theophany;" "I am the invisible God made visible;" your hands can handle Me; your eyes can see Me; your ears can hear Me.I am the image of the invisible God, God manifest in the flesh, so that mortal men (men whose capacities are limited by earthly conditions) may have a knowledge of God. In this way Jesus Christ is preeminent as the revealer of the Father. And no man will ever know God apart from Him.Philosophy may, as it has done, teach man his blindness and incapacity, but it can do no more. It may take him to the shore of the great ocean of the Unknown, but it cannot carry him over. Christ is preeminent in revealing the Father.

II. Christ is Preeminent in Creation.

Natural Science also aims at getting to the bottom of things, and of explaining everything in the Physical World. It has become the fashion to talk about "Cosmic gas," as if that were the "Beginning" from which everything has sprung, and which contained the potency of all else.

It goes on investigating, analyzing, weighing, comparing, classifying, and arranging, hoping eventually to have everything correctly ticketed, labeled, and assigned to it's rightful place, so that a scientific explanation may be arrived at concerning everything that appeals to our senses.

In other words, it wants to know by indisputable scientific proof and precision, what things are, and how they came to be. Here again, the inspired Scriptures are in advance of Science. They tell us that Jesus Christ, and not "cosmic gas" or the "big bang" is at the beginning of things.

He "is the Firstborn of all Creation; for in Him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible...all things have been created through Him, and unto Him; and He is before all things, and in Him all things consist." (Col.1:15-17).

"All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that hath been made." (John 1:3). That is, "In Him" all Creation is, and apart from Him, it is not at all. All Creation is included in Jesus Christ, Himself the Firstborn of all Creation. Creation came into being in Him.

Just as, afterwards, it is said that the Church of Christ is included in Him, and without Him is not at all; so Creation is included in Him, and without Him is not at all. Or, as the invisible God became visible in Jesus Christ, so the invisible universe became a visible creation in Him. Christ is preeminent in Creation.

III. Christ is Preeminent as Redeemer.

"And He is the Head of the body, the Church: who is the Beginning, the Firstborn from the dead." (Col.1:18)

Before, we noticed that He was described as "the Firstborn of Creation." Now He is described as "the Firstborn from the dead;" and, as such, the Head of the Church, the Beginning of it. Here we have a New Beginning. Death had hitherto claimed everything and every one. It is the inevitable law of Nature, that everything succumbs to Death.

This tyrant is the spoiler of every earthly happiness. Who hath resisted him? Who hath been down into the regions of this tyrant, and plucked the poisoned arrow from his hand? Who shall deliver us from this remorseless Conqueror, Death and the hideous birth of Sin?

"Death!
Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sighed
From all his caves, and back resounded, Death" (Milton).

His captives have been the entire human race. The Prison-house is barred and locked, so that none can return to tell its awful secrets. "Death and Despair," might be an appropriate epitaph over the whole human family, so hopeless seems their lot. Is there, we ask, no Savior, no Redemption from this tyranny? For more than four thousand years this question was asked and answered in silence.

And then One, preeminent here, as elsewhere, visited those captives in their prison; One who had the "Keys of Hades and of Death." He released the captives, and led captivity captive. He vanquished the tyrant in his own territory; He abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light, drove away Despair, and gave men Hope.

In His own right He came back from the grave, because it was "not possible that He should be holden of it." And in Him was included His Church, which is His Body, the blessed company of all faithful people.

These are they who come back from death, and whom the grave cannot keep; it is now no more possible that they should be "holden of it" than that the "Firstborn from the dead" should. He included them. The Body follows the Head in due order, and in its own time. This is Redemption; and in this He is preeminent.

There is, however, a condition to be noticed. He gives a pledge to the participants in this great victory. There is no comfortable assurance of Redemption from Death without it. The pledge is called the "earnest of the Spirit."

We must be born members of His Church now, by the New Birth of the Spirit; for without that we have no title to the inheritance. In other words, the present possession of that "earnest" is the evidence of our being included in Him who is the Firstborn from the dead. Christ is preeminent in Redemption.

IV. Christ is Preeminent at Death.

If He is not, the King of Terrors will be master of the situation, claiming us for his prey. If He is not, Giant Despair will be there with his Anti-Gospel of Hopelessness, saying, "It is too late for Repentance."

If we are to die in peace, in hope, in comfortable assurance of Salvation, Jesus Christ must be preeminent at our death bed. His Omnipotent arm alone can bring us salvation. His hand alone can pluck the sting from death. His voice alone can silence Despair, and say, "Today thou shalt be with Me in paradise."

None other can. "For it hath pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell." And though, in life and in death, we may go to other fountains and to other sources for living waters and for consolation, we shall get nothing, for they have nothing. Christ is preeminent at death.

CONCLUSION:

"Jesus Christ is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption," that is, everything! Jesus Christ, then, in Life and in Death, or Despair! Our science is Jesus Christ, Jesus and Him crucified. And this is the best of all sciences.

Our theme is Jesus Christ, the theme of the Holy Scriptures, "To Him give all the prophets witness." The Name we invoke is that of Jesus. That Name is the rod in the prophet's hand, which, when uplifted, will work miracles, "Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

Truly, Christ is preeminent in all things.


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