In 1893 the World’s Columbian Exposition was held in Chicago, among many other things, this exposition hosted what was called the “World Parliament of Religions”. This organization was comprised of leaders from many different religions. Their goal was to meet and to share common beliefs, perhaps even to come up with a new religion. D.L. Moody chose not to take part in this meeting. When Moody’s friends asked him to attack the “World parliament of Religions”, he refused. Moody said “I am going to make Jesus Christ so attractive that men will turn to Him”. Moody decided to appoint preachers at strategic locations to preach the gospel, and he even rented the circus tent to hold revival meetings! Of the over two million people in attendance at the Exposition, many thousands came to Christ under the preaching of D.L. Moody.
While many religions share similarities and common beliefs, no religion offers what Christianity does – Jesus Christ. He does not belong in a world parliament of religions and he does not belong in a comparative religions class. Jesus Christ stands apart as the preeminent son of God, by whom all things were created and consist.
Through these Bible studies we will learn who Jesus Christ is, what position he holds, what he has done for us, and how this affects our lives day to day. I can think of no nobler task then to delve into God’s word seeking to learn all about Jesus and then appropriating and obeying the things learned. For the next few months we will take on this task and I believe it will prove to be a blessing to our church and to us as individuals.
• 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 ______________________________.
This verse tells us that Christ is to have the “preeminence”. The word preeminence means Superior to all others.
There were men and women in Colosse who were attempting to lead the Colossian church astray. These folks were Gnostics. They believed that Christ was simply one of many spirits which came from God, each successive generation of spirits being less godlike then the previous. Paul took the occasion of this letter to set the Colossians straight. Christ was not to be put in a line of succession because he is above all (John 3:31, Eph 1:22). For the remainder of this study we will examine some reasons why Christ should be given all preeminence.
His Nature Displays His Preeminence
• Col 1:15 Who is the __________________ of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
• Col 2:9 For in him dwelleth __________ the _______________ of the _________________ ______________.
Q. With these verses in mind, how would you describe Jesus?
Christ by his very nature is the preeminent one. His preeminence is not something that we give Him, it is simply something that we acknowledge and respond to.
All other major religions may have teachings, tenets, rituals, or regulations but none of them have an originator who claimed to be God and then affirmed his divinity by the resurrection from the dead.
• Romans 1:3-4 Concerning _______ _________ Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the ___________________________ with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the __________________________ from the dead:
Jesus Christ was God clothed in human flesh. He possessed all the power and majesty of God the Father yet he took on human form.
• 1 Timothy 3:16. Q. How was God manifest on earth?
• John 14:9, John 10:30. Q. Who does Jesus claim to be?
Jesus has been given preeminence not because of anything he has done, but because of his very nature. To do anything other than place Jesus in his proper place as preeminent Lord and God is to deny his deity. Any teaching which attempts to place Jesus on the same level as other religious figures ignores the clear teachings of scripture, the testimony of Jesus himself, the historic fact of the resurrection, and the witness of millions of Christians since his death on the cross.
Christ did not claim to be a teacher, philosopher or religious leader; he claimed to be God in the flesh. Jesus’ divine nature makes him preeminent over all of creation. How should his preeminence affect your daily life?
His Works Declare His Preeminence
Not only does Christ have preeminence because of his divine nature, but he declared his superiority over all, by his works.
His Work of Creating
Do you know what the first recorded words of Jesus are in the Bible? In Genesis 1:3 it says And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. According scripture, these words were spoken by Jesus Christ himself!
• Hebrews 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by _____________, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, ______________________ also he ______________________________;
Q. According to that verse by whom were the worlds made?
• Colossians 1:16 For by him were ______________________________, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: ________________ _____________________________, and for him:
When Jesus Christ walked the earth 2000 years ago, he was actually stepping into his own creation. He is the creator of all things.
His Work of Sustaining
Not only did the Lord Jesus Christ create all things, but he actively sustains and upholds all of his creation.
• Colossians 1:17 And he is before all things, and ___________________
• Hebrews 1:3. Q. According to this verse, how are all things upheld?
His Work of Redeeming
• Colossians 1:20 And, having made peace through the _____________ ______________________, by him to ________________ _______ things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
Not only did Jesus create all things, and not only does he uphold all things, but he has also redeemed all things. Jesus has purchased all of creation with his blood, and has redeemed it from the curse of sin. (Rom 8:22-23, Acts 20:28). Jesus’ preeminence is displayed by his works. Can you think of a way that our society has robbed Jesus of his preeminence in creation?
His Position Demands Preeminence
• Colossians 1:18. Q. What is Christ’s position in the church?
Q. For what reason does he hold this position?
Jesus is the head of the church. This means that all that is said and done within the church should be done in recognition that He is in charge! All of our preaching, programs and planning should exalt Jesus Christ into his rightful position as Head of the church.
Q. Whether it is preparing a sermon, planning a program, or setting an agenda how can we operate in a way which recognizes Christ as the head of the church?
Q. According to Colossians 2:10 and Ephesians 1:21, what also is Christ the head of?
All principality and power speaks of the angelic world. Not only is Christ the head of the church, but he is far above all the angelic hosts. Christ position of headship demands preeminence. When we fail to submit to Christ within the church we violate his preeminence and set ourselves up in his place.
In 3 John 1:9 we read of such a case. • 3 John 1:9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the __________________________ among them, _________________________________
We must always beware of men, movements or methods that fail to put Christ first and recognize His preeminence.
John the Baptist said He must increase, but I must decrease. Paul said in 1 Cor 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. Both these men were in submission to Christ’s preeminence. Lastly, let’s consider that…
His Commission Depends on His Preeminence
Speaking of his death, Jesus said in John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. The same is true today in the way in which we present Christ. The church must always lift him up into his proper place of preeminence. Making much of his person and his work on the cross will see men drawn to Him. We must always decrease and make him first in our church, our homes and our lives. Christ displays, declares, and demands the preeminence in all things.
1. What truth did Moody illustrate by remaining separate from the world parliament of religions and holding his own revival services?
2. What does it mean when we say “Christ is preeminent”?
3. What are some things that set Christianity apart from other religions?
4. What affect do you think a belief in evolution might have on the preeminence of Christ?
5. Compare Genesis 1:3 and Hebrews 1:3, what is similar about the way everything was created, and the way it is upheld?
6. How can we keep Christ preeminent in our church?