Get Focused: Christ First

Colossians 1. 1.15-23

What moves you?
Do you have a passion for something? A hobby, sport, …
Do you have something that moves you emotionally: that gets you excited, pumped up, (or triggers disappointment, anger?)

On our way home from a youth event, we stopped at a McDonald’s for dinner. The last 5 minutes of the Penn State game were on. While I walk by the tv making a beeline for the restroom, someone says the Penn State game is on and I do glance and see the score, saying “Umh, we haven’t seen a score like that in a long time. Others of the youth group cannot pull themselves away from the tv – the are entranced.

What moves you? What gives you both the height and depth of emotion? What captures your attention like nothing else?

In this passage … it is Jesus.

The Firsts
Jesus is first, he is the center, the focus, the meaning, the purpose. Jesus is at the center of the Gospel. He is God. He is the firstborn, the head, the first in all things. The only thing he is not is "created", for through him all things were created.

Jesus is the “image of invisible God,” pre-existent one. For everything else there was a time before it existed. With God, he has always been. And Christ being the image of God, God made visible, Christ always was. It is through Christ that God chose to reveal his very nature and character – this so that we could know God better, we could know him more intimately.

Jesus is “firstborn over all creation” – all things were created by him, through him, for him. He is before them and “all things are held together in him.” Their continued existence depends on him.

This discredits any religion that would uplift the worship of nature. As Christians we stand in awe of nature, but nature points us to worship the One who created nature, Christ who is the Creator. (OT – idols are made from wood and then nailed it down so it doesn’t fall over. They are not living; they are made.)

“He is the head of the body, the church” As he holds all things together, he holds the church together. He created the Church, he sustains the Church.

He is “the beginning, the firstborn from among the dead” He is the first to be raised from the dead and to live forevermore. Enoch: never died, but God took him. Elijah: never died, but went in a chariot to be with God forever. King Hezekiah’s life was spared, he was healed but 15 years later he died. Christ’s strength and power was displayed in raising Lazarus from the dead, but he died again. None live in this fleshly form forever. But all who have died shall be raised again. And Jesus Christ is the first. Just the same as he was raised, all shall be raised. Just the same as he lives; all who know Him, believe in him and are in relationship with him, shall live forevermore.

“first in all things”
Christ is never second.

Why is Christ first? “God’s fullness dwells in him” He is God.

All creation suffered separation from God: reconciliation, “making peace, through the blood of his cross”. All things are reconciled. The separation is bridged through the work of Christ on the cross.

Personalizing the Message
Colossians, all Christians, were strangers and enemies.

Look at your pre-Christian past. Even if you grew up in the church, there was a time or must be a time when you give your life to Christ. A time when you recognized your sin, you recognized your need, your humanness, when you realized your reliance upon Christ, his blood, his cross.

Remember from where Christ has brought you. Remember what he has done. Remember the work of the cross. Remember his sacrifice.

See the gravity of what Christ has done for you.

The Test of Faith
Remain. John 15
Remain in the faith
Established and firm
Without shifting from the hope

What moves you?
This is the Gospel that moves Paul. This is the message of Christ that moves Paul and he appeals to the Colossians to once again be moved. It has moved Paul to thanksgiving, praise, humbleness, unworthiness yet acceptance. Paul owes his life and his life he gives as he calls himself a servant of this Gospel.

At the altar offer your prayers of thanksgiving and praise. Prayers of dedication. Repentance. Laying our all. Make Christ first – he is never second.

  • What does Jesus mean to you?
  • What has Jesus done for you? From where has he brought you?
  • Be moved to thanksgiving, praise, humbleness, steadfastness, and to service.

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