Rooted in Christ Week 3
"He is Supreme"
Pastor Terry Inman
Management consultant Laurie Beth Jones wrote a book several years ago titled Jesus CEO. She explores leadership principles in the life of Jesus. She offers Jesus’ management style as a less top-down and more bottom-up approach for the corporate world.
According to the Apostle Paul Jesus is the CEO of heaven and earth. He is supreme. He is more than the spiritual icon of a religion. He is the highest-ranking, premier spiritual authority in the universe.
Paul refutes the Gnostic idea that Jesus was just one of many higher powers—like any guru will do. In today’s segment of Paul’s letter to the Colossians he categorically lays out the total Supremacy of Christ! Verse 18 of this opening chapter says, “In everything he has supremacy.”
I love stories about CEO’s who start at the bottom sweeping the parking lot. Hard working loyalty helped them work made it to the top. Jesus Christ earned supremacy from the bottom up.
Paul told the Philippian believers that Jesus shares God’s nature and stature but willingly “made himself nothing”. He became a servant—God
in human skin. He is like the ultimate, “Undercover Boss”. He took the lowest position on the planet. He was totally humiliated by crucifixion.
This is not exactly a success story! Jesus was no corporate climber. His ladder to success actually descended from heaven to earth.
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Phil. 2.9-11 NIV
Every religion has their holy heroes some human some mythical but none of them claim to be God and none of them died for us. Jesus is supreme!
Gnosticism the pseudo-philosophy plaguing the early church denied that Jesus Christ was Immanuel “God with us”. They reduced him to a mere human who attained a higher state of divinity through “gnosis”, secret knowledge or enlightenment. At best he was one of many higher spirits.
It was much like the self-help religions of today that encourage realization of the god within by some sort of ego gymnastics. Paul contends for a higher view of Jesus Christ. “In everything he has supremacy.” (v.18)
Burger King used to have a supreme burger. Somewhere along the line it got downgraded to a Whooper. There’s a big difference between the Supreme Being and a supreme burger. There also used to be a member of the Supreme Court named Warren Burger. No connection to burger king!
The only similarity between a supreme burger and the Supreme Being is that they are both multi-layered. Paul builds on the identity and divinity of Christ with incredible veneration. So let’s see how Jesus stacks up!
First Paul says Jesus “is the image of the invisible God”, (Col. 1.15) They say, “image is everything”. When you’re more impressed with your own image it’s difficult to see who Jesus really is. This was the problem with these self-aggrandized “know-it-all” Gnostics.
Speaking of illumination, Paul says, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Cor. 4.4 NIV)
There are loads of idols, material and immaterial, in our world. The most deceptive and destructive one is the little god called “me”. When we are impressed with your own image it obscures the image of God.
Now Jesus is not necessarily the “image of God” in a physical sense. Jesus was pre-existent with the Father before he came as a human being. Furthermore the ascended and exalted Lord in the book of Revelation looks very different than the carpenter son from Nazareth.
John’s vision of the Son of God was so overwhelming he passed out.
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. (Rev. 1.17 NIV)
He had a long robe with a golden band that crossed his chest. He had woolen snow-white hair. His eyes and his feet were like a blazing fire.
His voice was like roaring waters. He held seven stars in his hand and a double-edged sword in his mouth. His face was as bright as the sun.
Sounds like Wrestle Mania! Can you imagine a Martian trying to explain humans for the first time? John is receiving a revelation of the supreme Son of God. It is very close to Daniel’s vision of the Ancient of Days!
“Image” in the Greek language expresses two ideas. One is “likeness”. Jesus is like God in every respect. Jesus is the Son of God, but He is not a Junior God. He said, “I and the Father are one”.
Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us." Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14.8-9 NIV)
Like father like son!
“Likeness” is one meaning of image the other is “manifestation”. We look at the Son and see God who cannot be seen. “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.”
John 1.18 NIV
Jesus made God visible and tangible. Christ is the image of God in the sense that the nature and character of God are revealed in him.
The Gnostics thought with enough enlightenment hocus pocus they could become little gods. The truth is that when we are ROOTED in CHRIST we are given the light of life.
We who reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Cor. 3.18 NIV) We’re definitely not shiny little angels, but when His spirit lives in us we do glow in the dark! We also reflect His image!
Secondly Paul says, He (Jesus Christ) is the “firstborn over all creation.” Being the first born in the ancient eastern culture had a lot of rights and responsibilities. They were typically given the family inheritance with the responsibility of managing it to benefit all.
Everything was created by and for Jesus Christ. Paul elaborates on this…
“For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Col. 1.16-17 NIV
As pre-existent with the Father Christ was a co-creator of everything—what we see and what we don’t see. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1.3 NIV)
To emphasize the centrality of Christ in all creation Paul uses three prepositional phrases. (1.)“By him” all things were created, (2.) all things were created “for him” (3.) and “In” him all things hold together.
He has supremacy over everything in the created universe this includes all “thrones” (seats of power) or “powers” (regimes or governments) “rulers” (ranks and positions) “authorities” (forces and influences).
Gnostics believed there was a hierarchy of non-visible spirit beings. Many speculate on these territorial spirits. Whether they exist or not, Paul asserts that they are created and dominated by the Lord Jesus Christ
Another idea in “firstborn” is position. Paul says he was here first. He is before all things. Jesus says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Rev 22.13 NIV)
He is not only the creator but also the sustainer. “in him all things hold together”. This reflects Paul’s words to the philosophers of Mar’s hill in Athens. “in Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17.28 NIV)
Christ is the core, the cohesive center of all creation! He is supreme!
Next Paul tells us how his supremacy is administrated in the earth. “And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.” (Col.1.18)
He runs a global community called the church. (ekklesia) The assembly or congregation. It is more than a religious organization. It is a living growing body of the Lord Jesus Christ. We don’t go to church we are the church.
We can’t join the church we have to be spiritually born into it. We must have a vital connection to its members. This is how Jesus carries out his administration’s plans and purposes. This is how he gets the work done.
He is the head, because he is the beginning, the source, the originator. Jesus told Peter, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it.” (Matt. 16.18 NIV)
He is also the “firstborn from among the dead”. His resurrection makes him the initiator of the church.
Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” 1 Cor. 15.20 NIV
Christ death, resurrection and exaltation to the right hand of God gives him sole supremacy over all creation. “so that in everything he might have the supremacy.” (Col.1.18) Any claim Satan might have because of our sin and separation from God has now been canceled. He is sovereign!
Finally Paul tells us what the supremacy of Christ does for us.
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
(Col. 1.19-20 NIV)
God was delighted to give Jesus supremacy and total equality. Jesus is not just part God He is all God! He was given the complete nature of God.
Again the Gnostics thought Jesus was just one of many mediating spirits.
Because Jesus is fully God, we can be reconciled to God. Jesus paid the price with his own blood. He spilled holy blood so we can be restored and reunited with the Father. He made peace with God for us!
Paul makes this personal and practical. He says, “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation” (Col. 1.21-22 NIV)
Wow anybody that would die for me I would gladly give the right to rule over me! He didn’t just die for us bad guys—He makes us good guys! We are now presented holy in God’s sight, no blemishes and no accusations.
(slide 11) There is only one condition. Paul adds, “—if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
(Col. 1. 23 9 NIV)
Let me put this final verse into one short phrase stay ROOTED in CHRIST!
Jesus Christ is Supreme! He is the full image of God. He looks like him and acts like him because He is God. He is supreme!
He has the right to rule because he is the firstborn and the first raised from the dead. He was before us and He is above us. Everything was created by him, for him and we totally exist in him. He is the glue that holds the universe all together! He is supreme!
He is the head of the church. We are his body. We are connected with each other to fulfill his plans and purposes in the earth. He is supreme!
It totally pleases the Father to give the Son everything He has. Jesus is fully God, no more no less. He is supreme.
Jesus gave blood, his own lifeblood to reconcile us with our Father. We are no longer evil enemies. We are redeemed sons and daughters. He sees Jesus in us. We are flawless and cleared of all accusations. He is supreme!
So will continue to put our faith in our Supreme being, the Lord Jesus Christ. We will stay established, firm and not moved from the hope of the Gospel. We are ROOTED in CHRIST!