Colossians 1:15-20, “The Glory of Christ (Pt. 1)”
Passage: Colossians 1:15–20
Text: Colossians 1:15-16
Intro: Colossians 1:15-20 is likely the most dense, beautiful and rich description of Jesus in the Bible. The truth it contains is staggering. Our aim in unpacking these verses is that it would stir our affection for Jesus so that we might worship Him more passionately and fully.
1. The point of today is that we see and savor Jesus and that our affections are stirred for Him so that we might worship Him.
2. Notice the flow of thought—that after this great and glorious truth of salvation from Colossians 1:13-14, Paul’s mind seems to naturally float to the supremacy of Christ, the glory of Christ in all things. He just gets done unpacking to them a prayer in which he is pleading that they see Christ and what He is done, and then he breaks into a hymn of worship of who Christ is. This is very important. Theology and doctrine should never be a clinical exercise but should rather move us into worship. Theology should always lead to doxology. Paul interrupts his theological thought about the Gospel to break out in this hymn about Jesus.
3. The supremacy of Jesus. This is huge. Paul was combating some sort of false argument that evidently was trying to minimize Jesus. We see the same today. We live in a culture that wants to minimize Jesus.
JESUS IS LORD (v.15)
The Trinity is an unexplainable mystery. But, the Bible affirms for us clearly that God is One in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each person of the Godhead is fully God. The Scriptures clearly attest to the Lordship and deity of Christ. In Jesus, we have all the fullness of God.
- Hebrews 1:1-3; 2 Corinthians 4:6
1. He is knowable.
- John 1:14-18; John 14:9
- What does this look like in our culture?
1—Super spirituality that creates various levels of Christianity.
2—The lie that says the Bible is confusing and impossible to understand.
2. He is sufficient and supreme.
3. He is able to save us.
JESUS IS THE CREATOR (v.16)
1. Everything exists to serve Jesus’ glory.
- “Whatever is—is—that he might be glorified and praised and enjoyed forever. He is the reason, the goal, the aim, the intent, the point, the purpose, the end, the terminus, the consummation and culmination of every molecule that moves. Does that please you? Do you find unparalleled joy in knowing that it’s about him and not you? Do find delight in knowing that God didn’t create the world so that he could have you, but so that you could have him?” –Sam Storms, The Hope of Glory: 100 Daily Meditations on Colossians.
2. Jesus’ glory is not at odds with our joy.
- “If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” -C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory.
3. Jesus is sovereign over sin and evil.
In verse 16 Paul says that Jesus created everything that exists. He then gets more specific and mentions four things in particular that Jesus created—thrones, dominions, rulers and authorities. Why did Paul feel a need to mention these four things in particular?
In Ephesians 6:10-12, another letter from Paul, we get a little clearer picture of what Paul means by rulers and authorities. Clearly, the context is evil and the domain of darkness. Therefore, of all the things Paul is wanting the Colossians to know, he in particular wants them to know that Jesus stands over and is in control of all things—to include evil forces and sin.
- Ephesians 6:10-12; Proverbs 16:4; Isaiah 45:5-7; Ephesians 1:11; Romans 8:28
This is a difficult but very important truth to see
a). Jesus created everything good.
b). Creation willfully rebelled against God.
c). The Bible is clear that God knew this would happen, but is not culpable for sin & evil. He is not the author of evil, but in a way that we cannot fully understand He ordains all that comes to pass.
d). The intersection of God’s providence and foreknowledge is a mystery that the Bible does not fully reveal to us.
- Isaiah 55:8-10
- Romans 11:33 – his ways are inscrutable.
e). God works all things—even evil—for his universal purpose. Nothing is outside of his control.
f). To go deeper on this issue I highly recommend the book Spectacular Sins and their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ by John Piper. Additionally, the book If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil by Randy Alcorn is a very helpful, extensive and biblical look at the whole issue of how God's goodness and sovereignty intersects with sin, suffering and evil.
4. Therefore, we have nothing to fear!
- Romans 8:31-38
1. Is your view of Jesus too small?
2. Is your response to Jesus in line with who He is?