Christ Over All: The Supremacy of Christ

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Each Monday I’ll be putting up my sermon notes and audio file for the sermon series from Forest Hills Baptist Church “Christ Over All: A Study from Colossians”. This is an edited copy of my sermon notes, not a transcript of the sermon. You can listen to the sermon audio above or directly for at the church’s website

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1:15–20, ESV)

Christ is Lord over all as the preeminent Creator God who reconciles us by his blood. We must recognize that Jesus is Lord Over All, which includes your life.

Today we will look at 3 life changing truths that are foundational if we want to understand the supremacy of Christ.

1. Jesus is the Creator God

Jesus is the image of an invisible God. God is spirit. He is the unseen mover of all that happens. How can we know who God is? How can we know what God is like? If we were to look around the universe we could infer some things about him. He is a creative. He is intentional. He is logical and consistent. But there is a lot we would not know. Thankfully God has chosen to reveal himself to us. God has chosen to tell us about himself. One of the ways God does this is through his Word. God inspired the biblical writers to write His words.

Although God’s word is great, profitable, and good. God does us one better. God becomes a man. He sends Jesus to be the image of the invisible God.

This is like getting to know someone online whom you’ve never met in person. Internet dating has become a big thing here recently and a lot of people are finding spouses through connecting online. There is nothing wrong with doing that, but you can pick a spouse through an online dating profile. You might be able to read about them. You can read their interests, their likes, and such. You can even message back and forth and converse via email. But how do you really get to know someone? You’ve got to meet face to face! You can’t just read about them, you have to meet them!

God in his grace does this for us. Not only is he gracious in speaking to us about himself, but he also comes to meet us. This is who Jesus is – He is God in the flesh.

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Hebrews 1:1–3, ESV)

Do you want to know God? Do you want to know what he’s like? Then get to know Jesus. He is the image of the invisible God.

He is the first born of all creation. This is first born in a positional sense, not a created sense. The first born came with a lot of rights and privileges. Usually this was held by the first born son, but often others receive the positional privilege of the first born.

Jehovah Witnesses (Arians) deny the full deity of Jesus and believe that Jesus was the first created by God. In other words, they deny that Jesus is fully God.

How do we know that jesus being the “First born” doesn’t mean he was created? Well look at the next sentence, “For by him all things were created”. If Jesus was a creature how could he create all things? Wouldn’t he then have to create himself? Paul is not teaching here that Jesus is a creature, that is to grossly and heretically and wrongly misinterpret this passage. Rather, Paul is making the opposite point. Jesus is the Creator God!

  • In Heaven and Earth - The whole universe
  • Visible and Invisible – Both the material and spiritual worlds
  • Kingdoms of Earth – Thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities

Jesus isn’t a creature, rather he is the creator. All that exists from the smallest electrons in an atom to the gigantic masses of the galaxies Jesus created by the Word of his power.

How else does this Christ hymn show us that Jesus is fully and completely God? Well look at v. 19. All the fullness of God was pleased to dwell. Jesus isn’t a quarter god. He isn’t half god. He isn’t 99% god. Rather he is 100% divine. All the fullness of God is in Jesus. He isn’t a half human half God hybrid, rather Jesus is fully divine. This means Jesus is the all powerful and all knowing God. He is God of love and compassion and the God of judgement and justice. Do not let anyone tell you the Bible doesn’t say Jesus is God. Just take them right here to Colossians 1, you can’t get any clearer than this passage on Jesus’ deity.

“Through Him all things hold together”. Not only is Jesus the creator God, but he is the sustainer of it all. Without Jesus’ continual active involvement in sustaining the world, it would collapse into nothingness.

We have a high view of our progress as a society don’t we. We look back over just the past 100 years and all that has been accomplished. I think of Richard Ward, our 101 year old man who went to be with Jesus a week ago today. Imagine all that he’s seen in his life? From cars to telephones to aviation to computers to the internet to smart phones, it seems like we are completely sustaining ourselves doesn’t it? Who needs Jesus when you have an iPhone? Who needs answers when you have Google? We have become so self-sufficient in our technological progress that we think Jesus is obsolete. We can sustain ourselves so we think. Yet, we forget that the whole universe is only in existence this very day because Jesus allowed it to be. He holds it all together.

“He’s has the Whole World in His Hands” – A simple song but a powerful truth if we grasp it.

This goes contrary to the way we think of Jesus doesn’t it? The world pictures him as a ordinary guy weak and powerless. We think of him as weak and impotent unable to defend himself. The world thinks of him as a poor sap who found himself martyred unjustly.

Yet, even Christians worship a tiny Christ. We talk about Jesus as our friend or buddy. We treat him as a therapist to help us with our problems or a comforter in need. We pray to Jesus unsure if he can help and often just to make ourselves feel better. We sing to him with eyes glazed over, apathetic and unconcerned.

Church, do you realize who it is you worship? Do you realize just who Jesus is? He is the creator God! He is the Great I AM! He is the King over All, Lord of the Universe! He rules the world by the Word of his power. He brings his will to pass and accomplishes all that he sets out to do! He is the image of the invisible God, the creator of all that is and the sustainer of it all. When we come here to worship and treasure Christ, we are worshiping God himself! Do you get that? Do you understand this? Because based off the glazed over expression on some of your faces it doesn’t seem that way.

Not only is Jesus the Creator God, Secondly, Jesus is also Preeminent.

2. Jesus is Supreme Over All

So if Jesus is the creator? Why did he create it? What’s its purpose? Mankind has struggled and debated especially these last few centuries over the purpose of the universe. Why does the Universe even exist at all?

Creation Has a Purpose – through him and for him. There is great power in these little prepositions. They are powerful little words. Paul tells us through this Hymn that the world was not only created through Jesus, but for Him. In other words he is the reason it exists. Jesus is the purpose of it all. He is the reason all that is, is. Paul says that God does all that he does in Jesus so that he might be “Preeminent”.

What does this word mean? It means he is first. He is supreme. He is of first importance. It means to have the highest of status. There is no one greater and there is no on more exalted. Jesus is Supreme over all, he is preeminent over the universe.

You, me, the universe ALL of it exists so that Christ might be made supreme over all!

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1, ESV)

“Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!” (Psalm 57:11, ESV)

“everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”” (Isaiah 43:7, ESV)

“I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.” (Isaiah 42:8, ESV)

Jesus is Supreme Over All

If Jesus is preeminent. If he is the purpose of the universe. If rules over all, shouldn’t he rule over our own lives? Should we be living every area of our life under his authority?

He is Supreme in your marriage. As the husband sacrificially leads his wife and as the wife submits to her husband, picturing and displaying the Gospel of Christ. Jesus is Lord of the marriage both in defining the roles each plays as the two grow together in sweet love. Both man and woman are in union together and friends and companions together. Both husband and wife seek to live together in submission to the will of Jesus.

He is supreme in your family. You love and raise your children for the purpose of Christ. You parent and disciple and do family devotions so that your kids might come to be saved by Jesus. He is the priority of your home and comes first before academics and athletics, entertainment and lifestyle. Your first and foremost priority in your home is to display Christ as supreme over all to your family.

He is supreme in your friendships. You seek to serve the friends in your life. You pray for them, encourage them, correct them, and love them as Christ has loved you. You love your brothers and your sisters in Christ because Christ is Lord Over All, even your friendships.

He is supreme in your church. Not seeking what you can gain from the body but rather seeking how you can serve Christ’s people. You come, active engaged, with humility and a servants heart so that you might demonstrate Christ as supreme in your service to His body.

He is supreme in your calendar. He’s the priority in your time. Putting him before any and other activity you may have. From church attendance to time in prayer your relationship with Jesus comes before any other demand or any other responsibility.

He is supreme in your work. Your not working merely to make money but to show Christ as supreme. You work diligently and hard doing all for his glory. Yet you work with contentment knowing your identity is not found in your job but in in Jesus.

He is supreme in your sexuality. As you submit your sexual desires to him. You channel God’s good gift in the way he has directed, in the covenant of marriage or your deny yourself. He is Lord of your bedroom, for you are not your own. You were bought with a price therefore honor God with your body. He is supreme over your sexuality.

He is supreme in your money. You recognize that every penny you own isn’t yours, but given to you by Jesus. He owns it all, and you are but a steward. Every financial decision is made with Jesus’ Lordship in mind, as we use the money God has given us for provision and our wealth for generosity towards others for their good. He is supreme over our bank accounts.

He is supreme in your speech. You guard your your mouth and bridle your malicious tongue. You are careful in what you speak making sure whatever you say is beneficial for building others up. You submit your tongue to Christ, because he is first and preeminent in your speech.

He is supreme in your passions. There is nothing you love more than Jesus. He is your chief love, your highest treasure, your all consuming passion. He is your hope, your peace, your joy, and your song. Anything else you may care about is secondary compared to the love you have for Christ. He is Lord over your passions.

He is supreme in your hobbies. He is supreme over your hobbies. Not allowing sport or dance or tv or golf get in the way of living your life for the glory of God. You are careful not to participate in hobbies that are either dishonoring to God nor distracting from your pursuit of him. Recreation is secondary compared to your primary purpose of living for Christ. He is Lord over your hobbies.

He is supreme in your purpose. He is the beginning and the end of why you exist. You live for his glory and you live for his name. With the Gospel on your lips and holiness displayed in your life you are living for God and God alone. He is why you exist and he is why you breathe. Every beat of the heart is another gift from God to live your life for his glory. Jesus is preeminent, he is supreme over all, and he is primary over EVERY area of your life.

“There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!” – Abraham Kuyper

So if Jesus is so preeminent, why is it? What is it about Jesus that makes him so great? Why should I make him Lord of my life?

3. Jesus is the Reconciler

  • He is the head of the Church as he purchased the church by his own blood.
  • He makes peace by the blood of his cross and was raised as the firstborn from the dead.
  • Have you been reconciled to the father by Jesus?

Application Questions

  • Do you worship Jesus as the Creator God?
  • Is Jesus Supreme Over You Life? Is he preeminent?
  • Have you been reconciled to Jesus?

Sermon on the Mount Roundup

This past Sunday I finished preaching through the Sermon on the Mount.  It was by far one of my favorite series I have done.  Teaching and preparing for this series was a great challenge but also a great joy.  It was convicting yet encouraging all at the same time.  Within this sermon series not only was I amazed at the message of the sermon on the mount, I was even more amazed at the messenger.  Jesus is the great teacher and preacher, but he is also my savior and my God.

Below is the links to the audio files at foresthillsbaptist.org.  I preached every sermon except the one on the Lord's Prayer which was preached by Chris Dunn.  The audio file from this past Sunday was corrupted, and as a result we do not have that audio file available.

I pray these messages will be used for your spiritual growth.  Feel free to share with others.  In addition, you can subscribe to the Forest Hills Baptist Church audio podcast in iTunes.

To say goodbye to this Sermon on the Mount is bitter sweet.  I will miss it, but I'm excited to start preaching through Jonah in September!

Sermon on the Mount Sermons

Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes Part 1

The Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes Part 2

The Sermon on the Mount: “Salt and Light”

The Sermon on the Mount: “Christ Fulfills the Law"

The Sermon on the Mount: “Anger”

Sermon on the Mount: “Lust”

Sermon on the Mount: Divorce

The Sermon on the Mount: Oaths

The Sermon on the Mount: Retaliation

The Sermon on the Mount: Love Your Enemies

The Sermon on the Mount: Religious Hypocrisy

The Sermon on the Mount: The Lords Prayer

The Sermon on the Mount: Treasure

The Sermon on the Mount: Trust

The Sermon on the Mount: Judging

The Sermon on the Mount: Persistence and the Golden Rule

The Sermon on the Mount: Two Gates

The Sermon on the Mount: I Never Knew You

The Sermon on the Mount: The Two Foundations

The Sermon on the Mount: Jesus' Authority

We Belong to One Another

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The following are selected excerpts from my sermon yesterday I preached at Forest Hills Baptist Church titled "We Belong to One Another" from Ephesians 2:11-22.

Our Relationship was broken with God and His People (v. 11-12)

Ephesians 2:11-22 describes the unity of the church through the cross of Christ.  The text can be broken down into three primary sections. Paul commands the church to  remember that they were once alienated.  There was once a rod of tension between Jews and Gentiles, the circumcision and the uncircumcision.  Once Gentiles were outcasted and separate from the People of God and had no hope.  A practical appellation to this section is that we all start off this way.  Each and every one of us were alienated from God.  However we were not only alienated from God, but we are alienated from the community of faith.  We were strangers to the people of God.  However through the miracle of the cross that will change.

We are Brought Together through Jesus (v.13-18)

Ephesians 2:13-18 describes how the walls of hostilities between the Jews and Gentiles were destroyed.  In Christ, those who were far from God have now been brought near.  How? Through the blood of Christ.  It is through the death of Jesus that those who are alienated from God and the people of God come nearer.  Through the cross, Jesus has made peace and has taken the two hostile parties, Jew and Gentile, and has brought them together and made them one.  He does this by removing the wall of hostility, which is the law and commandments.  Jesus fulfilled the commandments of the Law, so therefore the one who has faith in Jesus, whether Jew or Gentile, can now be brought into reconciliation with God and with one another.  Peace has been made through the death of Christ. God has created a brand new humanity.  He has created a new people, the church.  He has created "one new man in place of the two".  Therefore it does not matter what our racial background is.  It does not matter about our religious background.  It does not matter about our social-economic background.  It doesn't matter who we were, through Christ we have been made together as a new people, unified through the blood of Jesus.  In Christ, we are one.  Peace has been made. Therefore in church we have been from all sorts of background.  A church surely ought to be a melting pot of people.  People of different ethnicities, different education levels, different age groups, different tax brackets. Why does this happen?  Because we are a new people, created through Jesus. Despite all our differences we now have something far more in common than our skin color or check books.  We have salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.  

We are Built Together by the Holy Spirit (v.19-22)

Ephesians 2:19-22. Therefore since we who are alienated have been brought together as a new people, we now belong to one another. We are fellow citizens of the people of God. We are members of the same household. However in this unity what is our foundation as a community? Paul tells us in this passage, our foundation is the teachings of the apostles and the prophets with Jesus himself as the cornerstone. Jesus is our foundation, he has the one who has brought us together in unity. However the framework for this structure is the teaching of the apostles and the prophets. Our church must be built and structured around the Word of God. The whole structure is being joined together. You and I are coming together, and through the power of the Holy Spirit you and I are being created as a holy temple unto the Lord. An outpost for the World to see God. Therefore the world should be able to look at us as Forest Hills Baptist Church and see God in our midst. When our community talks about us it shouldn't be negative. They should think those people love God's word and the love each other. I see the presence of God in their midst.

We must Take Serious our Commitment to One Another

When you join our church, you are not just putting your name on the church rolls. You are committing yourself to this people. You are declaring that I belong to these people and I am committed to them. Why? Because we have been brought together by the blood of Jesus Christ. This is why in our non committal culture, where if your marriage is getting difficult we give up and quit and get a divorce. Where when things start getting tough we decide to quit and find something else. That same lack of commitment and dedication has been carried over into how you think about church. Listen carefully, many of you think way to lightly about church membership. The reason so many of us take church membership so lightly is because we fail to realize that our unity with one another has been purchased through the blood of Christ. When you leave and go to another church just because you are frustrated and irritated you walk out on your family. You abandon the people God has called you too. You leave behind your brothers and sisters to fend for themselves. You leave the comrades in arms that you are fighting along side in the trenches. However most of us do not think this way about belonging to a church. As a result we have a generation of church hoppers who jump ship when community together gets difficult. It is a disgrace and it is mocks the supernatural work God has done in bringing us together as his people.

As a result, rather than visiting from church to church never getting committed, I would much rather you find one church, invest yourself in that community and belong there and be committed, even if that is not Forest Hills Baptist Church. I hope you want to be belong to our church. I pray that you want to be apart of what God is doing in us and through us. I pray that you will commit with us to make much of Jesus in this community. But if your not going to do it here, than at least go and do it at another congregation. Don't sit on the side lines, get involved and get invested.

Younger Generation, this is where the older generation has much to teach us. They know the meaning of commitment. We have several couples in this church who have been married 60 plus years. We have several seniors in our church who have literally spent their entire lives as members of this church. Why? Because they understand that this is my people. Christ has purchased my deliverance through the cross and has brought us together. Therefore I'm not going to give up when hard times come on our congregation. Therefore I'm not going to find another church just because it is a tough season, I'm committed! Why? Because I belong to these people and they belong to me.

We Must Act in such a Way in which We are Building up One Another

As a member of this church, you are given the responsibility and privilege of building up your brothers and sisters.  Therefore speak and act and serve in such away in which you are adding to the spiritual maturity of the people around you.  We must use our gifting and abilities to feed one another the Word of God.  We must encourage one another, grab each others hands and pray for one another.  This is not just the job of pastors.  This is not just the job of deacons, but every person who is a member of our church.  The Scripture commands you to build up your brother and sister, why? Because we belong to one another.

Paul tells us all throughout the book of Ephesians to build up one another.  It is a common theme that runs throughout the book:

  • Ephesians 2:22 - You also are being built together
  • Ephesians 4:12 - “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the son of God”
  • Ephesians 4:16 - “When each part is working properly makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love”.  
  • Ephesians 4:29 - “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up.

Therefore, when we tear each other down, we hinder God's work as a church.

We Must Not Grieve the Spirit's Work in Our Congregation

In Ephesians 4:30 Paul gives the church the warning not to "grieve the Holy Spirit"  What does Paul mean by this?

Ephesians 4:30 is in the context of church comminity. This passage is written about how church members should interact with one another. We are not to slander one another. We must not tear each other down. Why? Because we do not want to grieve this spirit of God. What does Paul mean when he warns us not to grieve the Spirit? Well in the context of the whole book of Ephesians it is quite simple. We grieve the Spirit when we tear down the body of Christ rather than building up the body of Christ. This comminity the Spirit is building is hindered when you harbor bitterness to the person in the next pew. The Spirits work is hindered when we do not forgive one another. Some of us strongly dislike each other. We avoid each other. When we do that we are grieving the Holy Spirit.

God is doing a miraculous work in our church as he builds us up as his people.  Remember that you were once broken from fellowship with God and his people.  You were brought near by Jesus Christ, and we are now being built together as a holy temple for the glory of the Lord. Therefore lets continue to hold fast our commitment to one another, build each other up, and watch the Spirit work in the life of our congregation.  May God do this for the sake of His magnificent glory and for our good!

 

Youth Week Sermon Videos

This week in Wilson, NC churches from across the city have brought their youth groups to worship Jesus.  The theme for this year is faith in action, and that is our heart behind this week.  We want to see teenagers from across our city rise to the challenge of sharing the glorious Gospel of Jesus.  Each night, different youth pastors in Wilson preached God's Word.  As the week progresses, the sermon videos will be uploaded on Youtube, but I will compile them and add them to this blog as they come out for easy reference.  Hope you are blessed by them!

Night 1 - Faith in Jesus - Justin Deeter

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pjt05qUixO4&feature=youtu.be

Night 2 - Faith in God's Plan - Daniel Ritchie

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EeDvODuZ0w

Night 3 - Faith that Works - Joe Strange

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nG8Qd8sIaVo&feature=youtu.be

Night 4 - Faith that Shares - Brad Perry

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B7bKJVMFXU&feature=youtu.be

Night 5 - Faith that Hopes - Justin Deeter

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEe3yCqcRfM&feature=youtu.be