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Colossians 1:15-23


Intro: The book of Colossians was written to a church that was embroiled in heresy. The problem in the Colossian church has come to be known as the Colossian Heresy.

      Basically, there were people in Colossae teaching that God is good, but that all matter is evil. This was a part of the Gnostic movement in the early church.

      These false teachers said that, since all matter is evil, Jesus Christ could not have had a human body. According to their theory, if Jesus had possessed a real body, He would have been evil too. As part of their false teaching, they denied His incarnation. They denied the fact that God was born into the world in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. They believed that Jesus was merely a spirit being Who only appeared to be real. To the Gnostics, Jesus was not the Creator. He was not God in human flesh.

      In the minds of the Gnostics, Jesus was not enough for salvation. The Gnostics also believed that deeper spiritual knowledge was the path to salvation. They believed they could actually become gods themselves by obtaining greater spiritual knowledge and by separating from the physical world, which they viewed as evil. This is a great oversimplification of what the Gnostics were teaching in Colossae, but this tiny glimpse of their false teaching reveals that some members of the church had left the path of orthodoxy and was walking in heresy.  

      One of the members of the Colossian church, a man by the name of Epaphras, brought this alarming news to Paul while he was in prison in Rome. So Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote to the Colossian church to correct their error. Above all, Paul wanted to correct their false teachings concerning the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

      In the passage before us today, Paul clearly refutes their heretical teachings about Jesus Christ. Paul shows us that Jesus is the superior Savior.

      I would like to spend our time in these verses today. I want to show you the ways in which Jesus Christ is superior. I want to preach on the thought of Our Superior Savior.



(Ill. Paul wants His readers to know that there is no One just like Jesus. He is vastly superior to and different from anyone else who has ever lived on this earth.)

A.  v. 15  His Superior Identity – This verse makes two great claims about Jesus. We are told first that Jesus “is the image of the invisible God”. The word “image” comes from a word that gives us our word “icon”. It means “a copy, or a likeness”. Paul is saying that when you see Jesus Christ, you also see Almighty God. That was what Jesus told His disciples, John 14:9. That was the declaration of John in John 1:18. The writer of Hebrews said that Jesus was “the express image of His person”, Heb. 1:3. That phrase means that Jesus is the “precise reproduction of God in every respect”.

      The Gnostics in Colossae were trying to make Jesus less than God. Paul counters that and reminds us that Jesus is God. He always has been and He always will be! (Ill. He was God when….)

      Verse 15 also says that “He is the Firstborn of every creature”. The word “firstborn” can refer to “chronological order.” It could be saying that Jesus was the “first being that was created”. That cannot possibly be the right meaning.

      Most often, the word refers to “that which is first in rank”. This places Jesus Christ at the head of creation. As verse 16 will clarify, He is the Creator! The Lord Jesus is first in rank, standing over all created beings, because He is their Creator. Jesus is called the “firstborn” here because He is preeminent over His creation and He is the One Who possess the right on inheritance over it. Simply stated, Jesus is superior in His identity because He is God!

B.  v. 17a  His Superior Importance – We are told that “He is before all things”. The word means “to be in front”. This reminds us that Jesus Christ is “in front” of everything and everyone in the universe.

      Nothing is as important as Jesus. Nothing is to come before Jesus. Nothing is to outshine Jesus. Nothing is to eclipse Jesus. He is to be out in front in our lives, in our families, in our priorities, in our churches, in our dreams, in our worship, in everything; He is to be all-important One we follow after. He is superior in His importance because He is in first place!

C.  v. 18  His Superior Influence – We are told that Jesus is “the head of the body, the church”. The word “head” means “to be supreme, chief, master, Lord”.

      He is the head of the church in the sense that He has all the authority in the church. I would remind us that the church is not ours; it is His! He died for the church. He purchased the church with His Own blood. The church is His.

      He is the “head of the body”. Your head controls your body. Every movement, every action, every start and stop is determined by the head. Your body responds only to commands from your head. Your body does not listen to my head, not mine to yours. The same is to be true with the church, the body of Christ.

      We are to take our marching orders from Jesus alone. Only He has the right to control the direction of the church. Only he has the right to command the church. Only He has the right to lead us to where He wants us to be.

      As the Head, Jesus is responsible for His church. He is responsible for its protection, for its reproduction, for it growth, for its provision, and for its continuation. The church is not our responsibility; it is His! My responsibility and yours is to submit to the Head and fulfill the place within the body that He has assigned to us. He is superior in His influence because He is in control of His church!


  I.  His Is Superior In his Station


 II.               HE IS SUPERIOR

               IN HIS SOVEREIGNTY

A.  v. 16  He Is Sovereign Over His Creation – Jesus Christ is the Creator. Everything that exists in the universe was made by Him, and for Him, John 1:3. Every rock, every river, every plant, every animal, every person, every government, everything you can see with your eyes, and everything that is invisible to the naked eye, was brought into being by Him. If it exists, He made it!

      I am simply reminding you Who He is. He is the One Who stepped out of nowhere onto nothing and spoke it all into being. Eight times in Genesis 1 God said “Let”. Each time He uttered that word something else came into existence. What is so amazing about creation is that He made it all out of nothing. Gen. 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The word “created” means “to make something out of nothing”.

      You and I cannot create. We take the things God made and we combine them, shape them and form them to make our inventions, but only God can create! I would just remind you that the One Who said “Let there be…” is your Savior and mine today!

B.  v. 17  He Is Sovereign Over His Creatures – Not only did He make this world and all that exists within it, this verses says that “by Him all things consist”. The word “consist” means “to put together”. This literally means that Jesus is the power that binds the universe together.

            The only reason the planets and stars follow their prescribed orbit is because He holds them in place. The only reason the molecules that make up our bodies, and the world around us don’t fly off into space is because He holds it all together! Don’t think for a minute that we don’t need Him! He is sovereign over the entire universe which He has created!

C.  v. 18  He Is Sovereign Over His Church – I have already touched on this, but it bears repeating that He is the “head” of the church. It does not belong to me or to you; it belongs to Him alone. It does not exist to benefit you or me the church exists to bring glory to Jesus Christ.

      In the church, He is to have “the preeminence”. That is, He is to “have the first place”. He is to be the focus of all we do in the church. He is to be the centerpiece. He is to be the hub around which the church revolves. The only reason the church exists is because He died to redeem it.

      I have been in this church 7 years. Most of you have been here much longer, and some less than me. None of us have the right to say that we have invested anything in the church. The only investment that matters is the one Jesus made when He gave His life and shed His precious blood on Calvary to redeem to Himself a bride.

      Thus, Jesus has Jesus alone I to be exalted. Jesus and Jesus alone is to be worshiped. Jesus and Jesus alone is to receive all the glory. Jesus and Jesus alone is to be the center of attention in the church. Every song, every sermon, every prayer, every lesson, every testimony, everything we do and allow in this place must serve to exalt Him, or it has not place in the church!


  I.  He Is Superior In His Station

 II.  He Is Superior In His Sovereignty


III.              HE IS SUPERIOR

                 IN HIS SALVATION

(Ill. The Gnostics in Colossae were guilty of undermining biblical salvation. I mentioned the Colossian Heresy in the introduction. Let me flesh out what they were teaching just a little.

      Col. 2:8-23 provide a commentary on the false system of worship that had taken hold in Colossae.

1.  Col. 2:9 – They denied that the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily within Christ. They denied that He was God in the flesh.

2.  Col. 2:10 – They denied that Jesus was enough for salvation. They denied the truth that the believer is complete in Christ.

3.  They sought to supplement faith in Jesus with legalistic practices, pagan worship and works of the flesh. All this was in an effort to achieve a higher level of spirituality than they believed was possible through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Among the spiritual supplements were:

a.  Circumcision – vv. 11-14

b. Regulations involving eating, drinking, new moons and the Sabbaths, vv. 16-17

c.  Angel worship, v. 18

d. Practicing self-denial and a means of pleasing God, vv. 19-23

      In contrast to that, Paul tells them that everything we need for salvation is ours in the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, He is vastly superior in salvation.

A.  v. 14  The Price Of His Salvation – Our salvation came “through His blood”. This reminds us that the salvation we enjoy in Jesus came to us because of His death on the cross. We are free today because He died for us. We have the hope of Heaven because He died for us. Our sins are forgiven because He died for us. We have the ability to live a holy life now because He died for us.

      The redemption we enjoy day was free, Rev. 22:17; Isa. 55:1. It was free, but it was not cheap. It cost the Lamb of God His life. He willingly laid down His life on the cross to redeem us from our sins and to purchase us unto Himself. (Ill. What He suffered to accomplish our salvation – Isa. 53; Psa. 22; Isa. 50:6; Psa. 129:3. He did it because He loved His bride, Rom. 5:8.)

B.  The Power Of His Salvation – Jesus is superior in His salvation because His salvation has power. This passage reveals three powerful provisions that are ours through His salvation.)

1.  v. 14  It Provides Redemption – His salvation purchased us from the bondage of sin and set us free to live a holy life to His glory. We were all trapped in the deadness, darkness, depravity and doom of our sins, Eph. 2:1-3, but Jesus Christ paid the redemption price in His blood, 1 Pet. 1:18-19. He delivered us from the cruel bondage of our old master and brought us into His Kingdom, Col. 1:13, to live there as saints and sons of Almighty God. Now, we are His because He had redeemed us, 1 Cor. 6:19-20. We should praise him for the redemption we enjoy in Jesus, Psa. 107:2.

2.  v. 20-21  It Provides Reconciliation – Not only has He redeemed us to God; He has also reconciled us to God. Before we came to Jesus, we are “alienated” from God. That word means “to be cut off”, and our former condition is vividly described in Eph. 2:13.

            We were also “enemies”. That word means “to be hateful”. Our fallen natures were hateful toward the Lord. We had no use for Him and wanted nothing to do with Him, Rom. 8:7.

      When Jesus came, He “reconciled” us to God. That word means “to change, or to exchange”. Jesus exchanged our old nature for His perfect nature. He exchanged our old, lost condition for His perfectly righteous condition. He exchanged our separation for His closeness.

      In Him, we who were afar off are brought near. We who were hateful toward God are caused to love God. Peace had been declared between us and God.

      He changed us and He changed our circumstances. He made us to be at peace with God “through the blood of His cross”. That’s a powerful salvation!

3.  v. 22  It Provides Restoration – The power of His salvation is so complete that He is able to present us before God “holy, unblameable, and unreproveable in His sight.” “holy” means “a sacred thing.” “Unblameable” means “spotless”. “Unreproveable” means “unaccuseable”.

            The blood of Jesus is so powerful that it can take the vilest of sinners and wash them so clean that “in His sight”, that is in the sight of God, they are viewed as a sacred thing, spotless and beyond accusation.

            You talk about power! Thank God, when He saves a soul, He does it completely, Rom. 8:33. In Jesus Christ, fallen humanity is restored to a place of rightness with God!

C.  v. 23  The Proof Of His Salvation – The power of His salvation is revealed in the greatest change it affects in the lives of believers. Those who know the Lord persevere in their faith. Those who know the Lord are “grounded and settled”. That is, they are built on a “firm foundation” and they are “steadfast”. They cannot be turned away from their faith in Jesus, or the “hope” that He gives them in the Gospel.

      In other words, the power of His salvation is that it produces an unshakeable commitment to, and resolve in, following Jesus Christ. That is power!

      The fact that God could take us, nothing more than a bunch of old sinners who ought to be in Hell, save us by His grace, set us free from the bondage of sin, put us on a new path following Jesus, and then for us to stay on that path year after year, proves that Jesus Christ is superior in His salvation. For most us of, if we could have turned back, we would have turned back. But, those who are truly saved never defect from the Gospel. That is the power of His salvation!


Conc: The Colossian believers were guilty of hiding Jesus Christ behind a bunch of manmade rules, regulations and foolish ideas. As a result, they fell into error and had to be rebuked by Paul.

      It is easy for us to do the same thing. We might not go off into heresy and false worship, but we do allow others things to hide His face. My whole point in preaching this message was to remind you Who Jesus is, to remind you that He is worthy to be worshiped, and to call you to fall before Him in love, adoration and thanksgiving. He is the superior Savior and we should love Him, follow Him and worship Him as such.

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