First In Everything! | Colossians 1:15-20

November 27, 2012

Topic: Christmas

Book: Colossians

Scripture: Colossians 1:15-20


We live in a pluralistic society and thus presenting the uniqueness of Christ is a great challenge. Some see Jesus as a great teacher. Some see Him as a prophet. Others perceive Him as a great example. Many in our culture see Jesus as one among the many gods. Because of the influence of the society around us, Christian leaders and believers can compromise their beliefs and slip into syncretism. Since there are many philosophies and ideas, we need to affirm the preeminence and uniqueness of Christ. Which means that Jesus is first in everything.

First in Everything

Today’s passage talks about the preeminence of Christ in everything.

Would you take God’s Word and turn your Bibles with me to COLOSSIANS 1:15-20 (READ)?

I have entitled today’s sermon as: “FIRST IN EVERYTHING!”

Since Christmas is all about Christ, I was led to share the supremacy of Christ.

As Paul gives thanks to the Father for the salvation that He graciously granted, he even talks about the role of the Son in the plan of redemption.


Apostle Paul teaches the Colossians that Christ is preeminent in creation and redemption.

Paul himself probably did not visit Colossae, but his fellow worker Epaphras seems to have brought the gospel to this city.

Epaphras visited Apostle Paul who was in prison and he probably told him about the false teachings that were circulating in the church at Colossae (1:7-8).

So, Apostle Paul wrote this letter to refute these false teachings.

The essence of the false teachings is debatable.

However, according to N. T. Wright, a New Testament scholar, there were both Jewish and pagan elements in these false teachings.

For instance, they taught the pagan practice of worship of angels (2:18) and ascetic practices which view the material world as evil (2:2ff).

Also, it appears that the false teachers taught the Jewish practice of circumcision (2:11).

Focusing on today’s text, many scholars think that Apostle Paul is quoting an existing hymn that was familiar in the early church.

Others think that Paul himself wrote this.

However, we don’t have conclusive evidence about it.

This is an awesome passage that talks about the glories of Christ.

Normal Geisler, a systematic theologian, says

No comparable listing of so many characteristics of Christ and His deity are found in any other Scripture passage.

THE PURPOSE BRIDGE: To encourage the members of EAGC to give Christ preeminence in their lives.

FALLEN CONDITION FOCUS: Already dealt with above.

Christ is First in Everything

Christ must be first in everything!

I say this based on 2 truths found in today’s passage:

I. Christ is First in creation

Refer to verses 15-17.

He is the image of the invisible God” (Read verse 15a).

“He” refers to the Son in verse 13.

The word for image in Greek is eikon, which could mean likeness, representation, or manifestation.

Likeness: Christ is the exact likeness of God, the Father, as in the image on a coin or the reflection in a mirror; read

Heb. 1:3

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.

Representation: Christ is the representation of God, the Father.

Manifestation: Jesus is the manifestation of the invisible God.

Paul refers to God as “invisible” in 1 Timothy 1:17 as well.

The word ‘invisible’ also has the nuance of unknowable.

God is invisible and unknowable.

But praise God, through Jesus, we can truly know God.

John 1:18

“No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known” (read John 1:18).

Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (read John 14:9).

For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (read Colossians 2:9).

Jesus is the perfect revelation of the Father.

Greek Word Eikon

This Greek word eikon is also significant because of its usage in the Old Testament and inter-testamental books.

In Proverbs 8:27 & 30 (refer), wisdom is seen as something which was co-eternal with God and was with God when He created the world.

In the Wisdom of Solomon 7:26, the word eikon is used for wisdom. Their wisdom is said to be an image of the goodness of God.

In Christ, this wisdom has come in bodily form.

The firstborn of all creation” (read Colossians 1:15b).

Does this phrase mean that Jesus was the first created being?

Based on this verse, the Arians in the past and the Jehovah’s Witnesses of today argue that Jesus is the first being who was created.

Is that what Apostle Paul meant?

It can’t be because Paul unequivocally states that “by him, all things were created” (read Colossians 1:16).

The word firstborn (Gk: prototokos) is packed with power.

The word firstborn describes Jesus’ priority in time (“he is before all things”—verse 17) or supremacy in rank.

But in this context, Apostle Paul is probably emphasizing that Jesus is sovereign and supreme.

Most scholars agree that Paul was talking about the rights and privileges of a firstborn son, especially a monarch’s son who would inherit his father’s throne.

For instance, this word is used for David, who was not a firstborn son.

And I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth” (read Psalm 89:27).

Moreover, even Yahweh was referred to as the “Firstborn of the world” by ancient Rabbis.

The word firstborn refers to rank, authority, and primacy.

So, the term firstborn emphasizes that Jesus is supreme.

But Satan doesn’t want people to see Jesus this way.

That’s why in

2 Cor. 4:4

, Apostle Paul says “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

People have an inadequate view of Christ because Satan blinds them from seeing the light of the gospel.

A. Because Jesus created all things. He created through Him and for Him

Read verse 16—notice the word for.

Paul says that Jesus created all things.

All things in heaven and earth were created using Him.

Jesus is the agent of creation.

All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (read John 1:3)

Paul says that thrones, dominions, rulers, and authorities were created by Jesus.

This probably refers to the angelic hierarchy.

Jesus is far above all the angels.

Paul is saying that the angels which are claimed to be the mediators between God and humans by the Colossian heretics are also created by Jesus.

For him. Jesus is not just the agent of creation, but the goal of creation.

Everything is created for the glory of Jesus!

Jesus is preeminent in creation.

He is the one who created all things!


{The next time you step outside on a starry night and look up into the sky, think about the fact that our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains more than 100 billion (Ten thousand crore) stars.

And there are probably at least 100 billion (Ten thousand crore) other galaxies in the universe, each with billions of stars!

There are more stars than grains of sand on all of Earth’s beaches combined!

Our galaxy, the Milky Way is so big that even at the speed of light (which is fast!), it would take 100,000 (1 lakh) years to travel across it.


Jesus created this entire universe!

B. Because Jesus is before all things

Jesus is before all things.

That’s why Jesus could say to the Jews, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” (read John 8:58)

Before anything came into being, Jesus was there.

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore.” (read Revelation 1:17-18)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (read John 1:1)

C. Because Jesus sustains the entire creation

Christ not only created the universe, but He even sustains it.

“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” (read Hebrews 1:3)

Jesus keeps the creation from disintegrating.


{The earth moves at about 110,000 km/hr (about 30 km/sec) around the sun, but Jesus sustains our earth.

Our earth is tilted at about 23.5-degree angle.

It enables us to have four seasons.

The earth hangs in space due to gravitational force, but gravitational force hangs on Jesus.}

There are at least two implications of the preeminence of Christ in creation:

Verses 15-18 reveal that God is revealed fully in Jesus alone.

While there may be glimpses of truth in other religions, we believe that Jesus alone is the complete revelation of God.

Others may perceive us as narrow-minded, arrogant, and exclusive, but we need to assert that Jesus alone is the way, the truth, and the life (refer to Jn 14:6).

In our pluralistic world, we must continue to affirm that Christ alone reveals God fully.

Also, since Jesus sustains the whole universe, He knows how to order our lives.

Jesus knows how to fix our problems as well.

You can trust Him with your problems.

Jesus deserves the first place because He is the Preeminent in the Creation

II. Preeminent in Redemption

Refer to verses 18-20.

Christ is preeminent in our redemption as well.

A. Jesus is the Head of the church

This metaphor conveys Christ’s leadership over the church.

It probably even suggests Christ’s role in sustaining the church (cf. Col. 2:19).

We are not dependent on angels but on Christ.

Jesus is the source of the church.

B. Jesus is the Beginning of the church

QUOTE: Commenting on this verse, William Barclay, a Scottish Bible scholar, says,

The world is the creation of Christ; and the church is the new creation of Christ.

The early apostles did have an important role in building the church, but Jesus was the source of the church.

The word arche indicates Jesus’ priority in both time and rank.

C. Jesus is the Firstborn from the dead

Jesus is the prototokos from the dead.

Christ was the first to rise from the dead with a glorified body.

First Corinthians 15:20

(read) says “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Since Jesus resurrected from the dead, our resurrection is also guaranteed!

Jesus’ resurrection anticipates our resurrection as well.

The purpose of Christ’s resurrection is that “in everything he might be preeminent.” (read Colossians 1:18)

Since Jesus died on the cross and rose again, the Father exalted Him (refer to Phil. 2:9).

Since Jesus is first in rank in the universe, one who is the agent, goal, and sustainer of creation, one who is the head of the church, and one who is the first to rise from the dead with a resurrected body, He is preeminent in all things.

D. The fullness of God dwells in Christ

Later in Gnostic literature “fullness” (Gr. pleroma) referred to the entire series of angelic emanations that supposedly mediated between God and humankind.

We don’t need any other mediating angels to save us.

Christ is enough.

And Jesus has no rivals.

For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” (read Colossians 2:9)

Paul doesn’t say “fullness,” but he says “all the fullness.”

It’s a tautologous (e.g. adequate) statement, which emphasizes that the fullness of God dwells (permanently) in Christ.

All that God is dwells in Christ.

E. God reconciles all things to Himself through Jesus

Christ will reconcile all things, things on earth, and things in heaven.

This verse doesn’t teach universalism.

At Present, the Believers are reconciled to God.

However, God is in the process of reconciling the whole creation.

1 Corinthians 15:24-25

24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 

People who reject Jesus and the demonic powers will be subdued by the “Prince of peace” (refer to Isa. 9:6).

Christ reconciles all the Universe to God.

The basis for this reconciliation is the “blood of his cross.

Isaiah looks forward to the cross when he prophesies: “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds, we are healed.” (read Isaiah 53:5)

Jesus is sovereign over every sphere of existence!

QUOTE: As C. S. Lewis, a British apologist said,

There is no neutral ground in the universe: every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan.

Christ must have preeminence in everything.

He deserves the first place in all things: in our mission and ministry, in our families, in our time, in our conversation, in our studies, in our decisions, in everything!


Christ must be first in everything!


{In Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous painting of The Last Supper, our Lord’s hands are empty.

And therein lies an inspiring story.

Da Vinci dedicated three years to this painting and determined that it would be his crowning work.

Before the unveiling, he decided to show it to a friend for whose opinion he had the utmost respect.

The friend’s praise was unbounded.

“The cup in Jesus’ hand,” he said, “is especially beautiful.”

Disappointed at once Da Vinci began to paint out the cup.

Astonished, the distinguished friend asked for an explanation.

“Nothing,” Da Vinci explained, “must distract from the figure of Christ.”}

May nothing distract our focus from Christ during this Christmas.

May we say as the Apostle Paul did:

1 Corinthians 2:2

For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

Let us keep Christ first in everything!


For more related sermons

Jesus Christ – The Image of God 

Superseding Grace |John 1; 16-17

The King living in you | Colossians 1: 24 – 29