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.
A chief reason Jesus is preeminent is because of his unique role in reconciliation.
v21 “you, who were once alienated and hostile of mind, doing evil deeds…”
v22 “he has now reconciled”
vv19-20 “… through him to reconcile all things… making peace by the blood of his cross”
v23 “continue in the faith… not shifting from the hope…”
v22 “he has reconciled… in order to present you…”
Questions for Reflection
Where do you see alienation in our world? In what ways do you experience alienation?
How do alienation, a hostile mind, and evil deeds relate? How do these three work together?
The Bible presents alienation from God as the foundational source of alienation. How does alienation from God lead to alienation in all other spheres?
How can alienation from God be addressed? The message Paul proclaimed is that Jesus has overcome this alienation through reconciling all things – how does Jesus coming and suffering death bring reconciliation between God and people?
How do you live a new reality of being reconciled, having peace, and doing good deeds? What is needed to sustain this new way of life?
How can faith that Jesus has reconciled you to God help you in experiences of aloneness? What does it look like to trust that God is with you if you are feeling disconnected?
How can hope that Jesus will present you one future day as holy, blameless and above reproach reframe how you understand yourself? Where can you find strength in this to seek peace and good deeds, and not fall into the trap of a hostile mind and all that flows from it?
What can you do to live this new reality pictured in this passage (Jesus has radically changed our standing and situation)? What changes will you work on?
Prayer of Confession
O Lord, we have been hostile in mind, and are guilty of evil deeds. We have further alienated ourselves from you and others, and have suffered the hostility that arises from our alienation. We do not have the strength or ability to overcome our estrangement, but we thank you that you have pursued us, and that Jesus has made reconciliation possible through the blood on his cross. We trust you, and not ourselves; we hope in you, and not in ourselves. We thank you that you offer us peace, and we receive it. Amen.