The Excellency of Christ - Colossians 1:15-20

Islam teaches that Jesus was a great prophet, but not even the last or greatest of the prophets. The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Jesus is a god, but not the God. Mormons teach that Jesus was the first being born in heaven and that Lucifer is His brother, obviously not believing that Jesus is the God of all eternity. Buddhism says that Jesus was a great person, but surely rejects the Biblical Jesus. Do we truly have a response to these things? Do we believe what the world says or do we believe what the Bible says?

Internal Preview:
The Bible gives us much doctrine on who Jesus is and it cannot be discussed briefly, but we will look at a passage today that teaches on the excellency of Christ, specifically dealing with His preeminence. The English definition of one that is preeminent is one who has paramount rank, dignity, or importance; outstanding and supreme are English synonyms. Our main text today will teach us that Jesus is far above, He is first in everything, and that it is His divine work on the cross that makes peace of all things. It is believed by most commentators that Colossians 1:15-20 was probably a first century Christian hymn that is rich with doctrine of who Jesus, our Lord, really is.

READ SCRIPTURE- This is the Word of God

Point 1: Jesus Stands as the Beginning of the First Creation
A. The He of verses 15 and 18 is “the Son of His love” from verse 13.
B. Jesus is the image of the invisible God.
a. Jesus IS (eternally) the image, we were merely created IN the image.
b. Jesus, the Son, has always been the image of God.
C. Firstborn over all creation
a. Despite our view of the word “born” this teaches that Christ is first in rank.
b. It also means that He has priority in time.
c. You know that in Hebrew culture that the idea of firstborn privileges did not always go to
the firstborn in terms of time. Sometimes it was one that was chosen.
d. The one chosen, whether first or second or last, was the one that carried the firstborn status
of being the heir of the father and enjoying highest rank.
e. It is also a title that belongs to Christ as a descendant of David.
D. All things came to be “by Him,” “through Him,” and “for Him.” <-His creative activity. a. By Him or In Him- Christ is the originating center of creation. b. Through Him- He is the mediating agent through whom it actually came to be. c. For Him- Christ is the end. He is the goal of creation. aa. Proverbs 16:4 “The LORD has made all for Himself.” bb. Isaiah 44:24 “I am the LORD, who makes all things.” E. He has created all things. a. Dualistic false teachers, probably in Colosse, taught that angelic beings created the earth. The Apostle thwarts that idea and undoubtedly states that Christ is truly the Lord of heaven and earth. b. One cannot ignore the sharp distinction of Christ from creation. aa. Some non-Christians try to make Him part of creation. bb. He stands outside of creation- By, Through, and For. c. Visible and Invisible- Christ has created it. d. Whether it be earthly thrones and dominions or heavenly powers and authorities, it is Christ that created, permits, and sovereignly rules over. Christ created the angelic beings. F. Verse 17 summarizes what has been said thus far about the first creation. a. All things consist in Him- He keeps everything in command and not in chaos. b. He is the sustainer and also the unifier. He holds all things together. Connective: Now we move from Christ’s superiority over the first creation to His superiority over the new creation.

Point 2: Jesus Stands as the Beginning of the New Creation
A. He is the Head of the Body, the church
a. Since is over all things, it is also true of the church.
b. He is the Head of His own Body.
c. The church (Body) is a living organism and the means for Christ to work.
B. The “He” here is emphatic. In the Greek it is repeated for that emphasis.
a. Christ alone is the Head of the church.
b. He, as in distinction from all others, is the Head of His body (church).
C. The beginning, the firstborn from the dead
a. He again takes preeminence in time and rank of the new creation.
b. Christ does the same in resurrection that He did in the beginning.
aa. He is the first of a new kingdom and creation. We also will be raised.
bb. His creative activity has always been intimate and real.
D. All things He may have the preeminence-
a. Whether it be old or new, He is first.
b. No matter what He stands as the beginning.

Connective: Finally we will transition into verses 19 and 20 which conclude this hymn.

Point 3: Divinity and Divine Work
A. The glory of the Lord filled Jesus, but not just glory, but all that God is filled Jesus.
B. Colossians 2:9 explains this in more depth.
a. “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”
b. All of the fullness of the Deity.
c. John 1:16 “And of His fullness we have all received.”
C. Jesus, the Messiah, is the Prince of Peace- Isaiah 9:6
“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”


Christ’s preeminence extends to the first creation as well as the new creation.

All things are under God’s control, for it has been bought with Christ’s blood.