Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
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The Pre-eminence of Christ
Col 1:15-17

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities -- all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. NASU

1. The Pre-eminence of Christ and the Characteristics of God. v 15

2. The Pre-eminence of Christ and the . . Creation of God. v 16-17
 
 

1.    The Pre-eminence of Christ and the Characteristics of God. v 15 


15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  NASU

15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:  KJV

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.   NIV
 

A.    The Characteristics of God Made . . Visible. v 1 a
            " He is the image of the invisible God, . . . "

Intro: Jesus Is the . . Visible Image of God.
        Strong's GREEK Number 1504
eikon (i-kone'); from NT:1503; a likeness, i.e. (literally) statue, profile, or (figuratively) representation, resemblance: KJV-image.

        1.    Visible in His . . Person
        John 12:45 "He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me. NASU

        John 14:9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know
        Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, "Show us the Father'?

        John 8:58 Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am."

        2.    Visible In His . .Performance.

            a.    Visible In His . .Performance In Creation.
Rom 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 

Illustration POEM

The man whispered "God, speak to me"
And a meadowlark sang but the man did not hear.
So the man yelled "God, speak to me!"

And the thunder rolled across the sky.
But the man did not listen.
The man looked around and said "God, let me see you"

And a star shone brightly.
But the man did not notice.
And the man shouted "God show me a miracle"

And a life was born.
But the man did not know.
So, the man cried out in despair.

"Touch me God and let me know that you are here!"
"Whereupon God reached down and touched the man.
But the man brushed the butterfly away and walked on.

~Moral:~     Don't miss out on a blessing because it isn't packaged the way you expected.
 

                    JESUS IS THE IMAGE of the INVISIBLE.

Illustration
A little boy drew a picture and his mother asked what he was drawing. He said I am drawing a picture of God. His mother said  "no one knows what God looks like." The boy answered "they will when I am finished."

In Jesus we know what God looks like.

        b. Visible In His . .Performance In Conduct
John 7:31 But many of the crowd believed in Him; and they were saying, "When the Christ comes, He will not perform more signs than those which this man has, will He?" NASU

        c. Visible In His . .Performance In Conversion.
Col 3:10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to he image of the One who created him -- NASU

Rom 8:29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; NASU
 

B.    The Characteristics of God Made . . Vulnerable. v 1 a`

vulnerable adj. 1.a. Susceptible to physical injury. b. Susceptible to attack. c. Open to censure or criticism; assailable. 2.a. Liable to succumb, as to persuasion or temptation

Heb. 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. NAS

Phil 2:5-10 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, NASU
 

C. The First Born
    These words are wrongly interpreted by several. They must be interpreted by looking at the context and not just this one verse. Let me sight some commentaries.

Frederick Broke Westcott said: "Really two ideas should be in it: first the priority of the Son to any
    creation; next the heirship of the Son over all created things. . . .
    ". . . begotten before all creation. . . " (1)

Warren Wiersbe said: First born simply means "of
    first importance of first rank. . . . "priority to all creation." (2)

Dr Jack Van Impe said ". . . first begotten (or firstborn) refers to His resurrection." (3)
 


First Born does not always literally mean First Born.

NT:4416 prototokos (pro-tot-ok'-os); from NT:4413 and the alternate of NT:5088; first-born (usually as noun, literally or figuratively): KJV-firstbegotten (-born).
 


This where we get our word Prototype


 


Application

Jesus displayed the Characteristics of God when He was on this earth. Today the Bible tells us how He revealed God.
 
 

2.   The Pre-eminence of Christ and the . . Creation of God. v 16-17


16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities -- all things have been created through Him and for Him
17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. NASU

A.    Creation By . . Design. v 16 a & 16 b (ARCHITECT)
            16 a " For by Him all things were created, . . . "
            16 b " . . .all things have been created through Him. . . "

            1.    In Heaven.
            2.    On Earth.
            3.    Angels.
            4.    Authorities.

All things 144 in NAS; 220 in the KJV

Illustration Creation, Defended: It's Your Belief
The noted agnostic, Robert Ingersol, during a visit with Henry Ward Beecher, noted a beautiful globe portraying the constellations and stars of the heavens. "This is just what I'm looking for," he said after examining it. "Who made it?"

"Who made it?" repeated Beecher in simulated astonishment. "Why Colonel, nobody made it, it just happened."

B.    Creation By . . Desire. v 16 c (BUILDER)
            ". . . and for Him."

        1.    He supplied all the Materials.
        2.    He wrote the Maintenance Manuals.

Illustration
Imagine a family of mice who lived all their lives in a large piano. To them in their piano-world came the music of the instrument, filling all the dark spaces with sound and harmony.

At first the mice were impressed by it. They drew comfort and wonder from the thought that there was An All Powerful Player who made the music -- though invisible to them -- above, yet  close to them. They loved to think of the Great Player whom they could not see. Then one day a daring "MODERATE Mouse" climbed up part of the piano and returned very thoughtful. He arrogantly announced he had found how the music was made. Wires were the secret; tightly stretched wires of graduated lengths which trembled and vibrated.

The Moderate Mouse decided they must revise all their old beliefs: surely none could any longer believe in the Unseen Player. Later, Mr and Mrs "Mainstream Mouse" explored the strings. Mrs Mainstream Mouse felt "the call" to really investigate the matter further. She discovered Hammers were now the secret, numbers of hammers dancing and leaping on the wires.

This was a more complicated (or enlightened) theory, but it all went to show that they lived in a purely mechanical and mathematical world.

The Unseen Player came to be thought of as an out dated theory and only the most conservative and "Fundamental" believed any longer in the unseen piano player.

But the Unseen Pianist smiled and just continued to faithfully play.
 

C.    Creation By . . Decree. v 17 a (RESIDENT)
            "He is before all things. . . "

Illustration Creator: Creation,
The Only Explanation For Order At a 1981 symposium, Sir Fred Hoyle said: "The chance that higher life forms might have emerged in this way (through evolutionary processes) is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein." Hoyle further said that "he was at a loss to understand" the compulsion of evolutionary biologists "to deny what seems to me to be obvious (i.e., that evolution is not tenable)."

D.    Creation By . . Discipline. v 17 b (MAINTAINS)
            ". . . and in Him all things hold together."

Illustration Creator: Who Can Fix Us?
In the early days of the automobile a man's Model-T Ford stalled in the middle of the road. He couldn't get it started no matter how hard he cranked nor how much he tried to advance the spark or adjust things under the hood. Just then a chauffeured limousine pulled up behind him, and a wiry, energetic man stepped out from the back seat and offered his assistance. After tinkering for a few moments the stranger said, "Now try it!"

Immediately the engine leaped to life. The well-dressed individual then identified himself as Henry Ford. "I designed and built these cars," he said, "so I know what to do when something goes wrong." God, as our creator knows how to "fix" us when our lives are broken by sin.

Conclusion.
I heard this story as a boy 55 years ago in my Primary Sunday School Class. A boy made a little sail boat and he took it to the lake. The string came loose and the boat floated away. Several days latter the boy saw his boat in a pawn shop window. He went in and told the man he wanted to see the boat and when he held it he saw his name carved on the under side of the boat. He told the man this is my boat but them man said no I bought it. The boy had to give the owner some money to purchase his boat. As he walked down the street he said to his boat "you are mine because I made you and I bought you back".

I want to tell you the Pre-eminent Christ made in the process He designed and bought me back from sin through His payment on Calvary.
 

1. The Pre-eminence of Christ and the Characteristics of God.

2.    The Pre-eminence of Christ and the Creation of God.
 


Is he pre-eminent in your life


 


Footnotes

1.    Colossians A Letter to Asia Frederick Broke Westcott
        Klock & Klock Christian Publishers, Inc. p 47

2.    Be Complete Warren Wiersbe
       Chariot Victor Publishing p 48

3.    Revelation Revealed Dr Jack Van Impe
        Jack Van Impe Ministries p 13