The Head of the Church
Speaker: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: The Preeminence of Christ
Colossians 1:15-23 (ESV)
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Jesus is presented as preeminent in order that we would recognize it and benefit from responding accordingly.
1. The Head
v18 “he is the head of the body”
2. The Firstborn
v18 “he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead”
3. The Church
v18 “the body, the church”
Questions for Reflection
Do you gravitate towards good leadership? What criteria helps you to discern who or what is worth following? What criteria best helps evaluate the claim that Jesus is to be first above all?
Are you skeptical of leadership? Are you suspicious, or otherwise resist claims of authority? Why? What has influenced you in this regard?
The bible gives various images to help us understand the nature of the church and the relationship of the church to Jesus. Reflect on the analogy of the head (Jesus) and a human body (Christians). What insights or implications are there?
How is Jesus’ preeminence tied to his death and resurrection? What is it about his death (why he died, what it accomplished, what it means) that should convince us of the greatness of Jesus? What are some implications of the claim that Jesus has been raised from the dead, particularly as it applies to the theme of his preeminence?
What challenges are there to believing Jesus is preeminent in all things?
How does Jesus rule in the church by the Word and Spirit? What practices are essential for those who would follow Jesus?
How can Christians live in this world by faith in the new and unseen reality that has been made known by Jesus? In what ways do Christians get this wrong, and what are some results? What are the possibilities and opportunities of engaging our world as those who now live as though we are citizens of a new kingdom?
Prayer of Confession
We acknowledge you, Lord, as first. Jesus is the firstborn of all creation, and the firstborn of the dead, and so we have been fools for living as though we are first. We have erred in ascribing preeminence to persons or things. We have not believed the thorough goodness of Jesus or been convinced of his power. As such, we have not submitted to his leadership. Forgive our fear, pride, folly, mistrust and misplaced faith. Forgive our disobedience. Show us mercy, and lead us in the way of life. Amen.