And he is the head of the body, the church:
who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead;
that in all things he might have the preeminence.
Call to Worship: Luke 24:44-48
Scripture Reading: Colossians 1
Today we are going to take a break from the series we have been involved in on 1 Corinthians. We are at a juncture between two major sections of that book, and before we begin considering chapters 12-14 I thought it would be a good time to direct our attention elsewhere. I very seldom preach topical messages, and though this sermon may seem topical in the way it is presented, I think you may understand that it does serve by way of exposition to answer the following question: “What is meant in Colossians 1:18 by the words, “that in all things he might have the preeminence”?
I was provoked to consider this subject by the following article:
Ken Langley, "When Christ Replaces God at the Center of Preaching", Journal of the Evangelical Homiletics Society 9:1 (March 2009), pp. 53-84.
My response to the premise of this article is preliminary so some overlap in the points may be noted, and some refining could no doubt be done. Other points could be made, and the points themselves could certainly be expanded further.
My purpose in bringing this to your attention today is to reinforce something you should already know. This should have a direct bearing on our ministries, our worship, and our lives while we await the return of our Lord.
1. The Revelation of the Son is Central in the Scriptures and should be Central in our Testimony
To know Christ is to know the Father
To see Christ is to see the Father
John 8:19 - Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.
John 10:37-38 -  If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.  But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.
John 14:6-11 -  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.  Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.  Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?  Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.  Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.
Is the revelation of Jesus Christ central in your testimony?
2. The Exposition of the Son is Central in the Scriptures and should be Central in our Exposition
The Scriptures must be Expounded concerning and are Fulfilled by Christ
The Scriptures are to be Preached in His Name by His Witnesses
Luke 24:25-27 -  Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:  Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?  And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
Luke 24:44-48 -  And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.  Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,  And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:  And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And ye are witnesses of these things.
Are you seeing Christ in all the Scriptures, and speaking His Word in His Name to others so that they may see Him as well?
3. The Preaching of the Son is Central in the Scriptures and should be Central in our Preaching
The Power and Wisdom of God is Christ Crucified
The Testimony of God is Christ Crucified
1 Cor. 1:23-24 -  But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;  But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
1 Cor. 2:1-2 -  And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.  For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
Are you experiencing the power of God based on the crucifixion of Jesus Christ?
Do you appreciate the wisdom of God in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ?
As you minister the Word of God is Christ crucified at the center of our message?
4. The Worship of the Son is Central in the Scriptures and should be Central in our Worship
The Father is honored when the Son is honored
The Father is glorified when the Son is confessed
John 5:23 - That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.
Phil. 2:9-11 -  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Eph. 2:18 - For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Heb. 1:6 - And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.
Do you honor the Son in your worship?
Do you honor the Son in your confession?
It is utterly and certainly Biblically impossible for Christ to "replace God at the center of preaching", or for God to be preached where Christ is not the center!
See "The Catechism of the Couplets of Christ", in Answers to Questions (blog post 21 APR 2010) on Wayside Gospel Chapel at http://waysidegospelchapel.blogspot.com/2010/04/answers-to-questions.html.
[Sermon preached by Pastor John T. "Jack" Jeffery at Wayside Gospel Chapel, Greentown, PA on July 25, 2010.]