THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 5-25-03

LESSON TITLE: PAUL'S LETTER TO THE COLOSSIANS: CHAPTER 1: "JESUS IS THE CHRIST AND HEAD OF HIS CHURCH"

WELCOME

Welcome to the Living Word program on this wondrous Lord's Day. What a privilege it is to have you with us today, as we together give this time to God. I know that we will all be encouraged and uplifted by our time together this morning. So, let's give our best to God so that He may be pleased with our offering. Furthermore, let's do all things according to His will - so that our worship will be received by Him in a good and perfect way. Now, let's approach His throne in prayer!

(Prayer)

We all need friends don't we. However, sometimes it hard to make friends or to find people that we can really get close to. Our first song of the morning reminds us of a friend, who is always there. Furthermore, this friend is dependable, trustworthy, and will help us to be more of what we need to be before our God in heaven. So, won't you join in with the congregation as we sing about this greatest of friends together. The name of the song, "There's Not a Friend Like Jesus!"

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

Today, It will be our privilege to start another study from an important book in God's Word. Once again a unique book and one which was written with specific purpose and intention on the part of this great Apostle. Like two other books we have studied thus far, this book was most likely written by Paul when he was imprisoned at Rome, as we have confirmed in Acts 28. This would have been around 60 a.d. or just thereafter!

In other letters to his beloved brethren we have seen that Paul very personally encouraged the brethren to be better servants for their God. We saw the importance of exalting Christ as Head of the Church in the book of Ephesians. To the Philippians, Paul seemed to help us understand the true mind and nature of Christ. However, now to the Colossian brethren, Paul begins to focus on the supremacy of Jesus. As the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and the Son of God, Jesus is one to be exalted!

In this beautifully Christ centered book we will learn lesson after lesson about this Jesus that we serve. Idea's will be presented like God is His Father, Jesus is the Father's dear Son, Christ is the image of the invisible God, and confirmation that He is God's Firstborn, over all creation. Our Lord is further depicted as the Head of all things, the originator of all things, and the beginning of all things. Thus, He has the preeminence, as all fullness dwells in Him, all treasures, all wisdom, and all knowledge. In fact, Paul summarizes that in Christ, the fullness of the Godhead dwelt as He was on this earth! Yes, our Jesus certainly is the Christ, Lord God of all creation. So, I look forward to our discussion over the next several weeks as we consider Paul's letter to the Church at Colossae. Together, I know we all will be encouraged as well as benefited from this discussion from God's Word.

It's great to have a guest speaker with us this morning. In a few minutes brother Jerry Sullins will return and lead our lesson thoughts of the day, as we consider our new series entitled, "Paul's Letter To The Colossians." More specifically, "Chapter 1: Jesus is the Christ and Head of His Church." Now it's time to join in our second song of the morning. Won't you join in with the congregation as we sing the hymn, "Savior From Old Galilee."

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Jerry Sullins

I would certainly like to welcome you to today's program. Thank you so much for listening in. Everywhere I go in Springfield and in the Springfield area, I meet people who watch us on a Sunday basis, that is every Sunday they watch this program. This may be the first time that you are listening in and watching and we hope that you find it a great encouragement to you as well as learning more about God's Word. I'm excited about the study for the next few weeks because we're studying in one of the best books in the New Testament because it personifies and builds up Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

This morning we're going to be considering specifically Colossians chapter 1. We know that as it was said in the introductory remarks by Ray this morning that this book was written to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ. That is found in verse 2 of chapter 1. The apostle Paul addressed faithful people. He was not writing to people whom he considered to be unfaithful. But he knew that these people were being subjected to certain doctrines of men like gnosticism and other types of Asiatic religions that were coming in that were attacking the brethren. And so for that reason, he was writing to them to try to strengthen them. He also was giving thanks for their faith and their love and the fruit of their labor. As you see in verse 3, it says, "As we give thanks to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ praying always for you since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints." So he commends them also for their great labor and the fruit of their labor which we see in verse 6.

Now it's evident here that Paul was interested in trying to give these Christians some type of teaching that would help them endure the false teaching that was coming their way. And we see this developing, even beginning in the earlier parts of Colossians chapter 1. He seeks to encourage these Christians by teaching them as you see in verse 18 of this chapter, that "in all things Christ should be held in preeminence." And that if they would live with this idea or concept foremost in their minds, which actually is one of the meanings of being or holding something preeminent, then as he revealed to them Christ's true nature, then they would be able to withstand the teachings that were coming their way that would actually be against Christ and cause them to fall away from Christ.

As we enter our study this morning, we see that Paul is revealing to these people, to these brethren, the very nature of Christ. What better way can you actually strengthen yourself against those things that are not right than to know Christ's nature, to actually know Him. We're going to see throughout chapter 1 reference after reference as to the knowledge of the nature of Christ Himself.

For instance let's look first of all at verse 3. We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, that is the Father, is the Father of Jesus Christ, the Son. Now that may not mean too much to us these days, but there were people in the days of Jesus that were running around and had the name Jesus and there were people who were claiming to be Jesus, probably before Jesus came and after Jesus came. But Paul here is attesting to the fact, being inspired of the Holy Spirit, that this Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you, whom I follow, whom I obey is the Son of God Himself, that is God the Father.

This is stated also in verse 13 where it says that "the kingdom that we would be conveyed into, the kingdom of the Son of His love." Whose son of whose love? That is God's Son of His love. So it was Jesus who was called the Son of God's love. Why? Because "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whoever believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life." As Ray pointed out in the introduction, He was the firstborn or would have preeminence over every creation. Verse 17 of chapter 1 says, "He is before all things." That is He has always been in existence, and in Him all things consist. Now what does that mean? Well, if you go right back up to the verse previous to that, you will see that "it was by Jesus Christ that all things were created for by Him all things were created that are in heaven, that are on earth, visible and invisible whether thrones or dominions or principalities of powers. All things were created through Him for Him." It also says in verse 19 that "in Jesus Christ all of the fullness would dwell." And we know what fullness it's talking about. When you go to chapter 2, verse 20, I believe it's chapter 2, verse 9 where it simply says, "For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." So when someone saw Jesus Christ on the face of this earth, when they walked in His midst, they could see actually and literally within Him the complete fullness of the Godhead. Some have said in times past that Jesus was 100% physical or that is in material existence and He was also 100% divine. Now you'd have to have an infant mind to understand something like that. But He was fully human and He was fully divine. That's simply what we are seeing as is revealed to us in this text today.

Now for our special attention this morning, I want us to turn to Colossians 1, verse 18 for it says concerning Christ that "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." Is this the way God intended it to be? Well certainly that is true.

If you turn to Matthew 16, verse 18, Jesus said, "Thou art Peter and upon this rock, I will build My church." Jesus built the church so who should be preeminent in the church? Should it be the name of some man? Should it be an organization? Should that be the thing we're always thinking about when you ask someone, "Are you a Christian?" And what kind of a Christian you are. They can come up with many different kind of answers which actually put Christ down and put maybe organization ahead, and put the name of some man ahead or some term ahead other than Jesus Christ Himself. I ask you my friend, "Who built the church and whose name should be personified?" Well we know who built the church. Jesus Christ built the church. When someone asks me what kind of a Christian I am, I say, "I'm just simply a Christian." Isn't that what we should call ourselves? Shouldn't we personify Christ rather than some manmade organizational name? Sometimes we search throughout the scripture to find where is our name found because many people in religious groups are being called by many different names and so I simply ask them sometimes, "Search the scripture to see where your name can be found." Aren't names important? Listen, Jesus built His church. Does He not deserve the honor enough for the church itself to be called after Him? I don't just think so. I know so. For what other name could there be given among men whereby we would be saved other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God?

Jesus Christ built His church. In fact actually when we look at the text in Acts 20, verse 28, the apostle Paul when he was about to leave Ephesus encouraged the elders in the church there as they were called overseers in this text, he told them to feed the church of God which He has purchased with His own blood. Which He has what? He has purchased with His own blood.

My friends, if you are indeed in Christ, you have been purchased with the blood of Christ. Who therefore should be your head? Who should be head over all things to you? Should it not be Jesus Christ Himself? Well certainly it should.

The apostle Paul said in Ephesians chapter 1, verses 22 and 23, "And hath put all things under His feet and gave Him to be head over all things to the church which is His body, the fullness that filleth all in all." Now who is putting all things under His feet? That is God the Father. In Jesus dwells all the fullness of the Godhead. But God the Father authorized that all things be put under the feet of Jesus Christ. Should He not be honored? Should He not be held up and personified? Should He not have the preeminence to at least be under Him and to consider Him to be the head and call ourselves after Him? Well certainly He should.

Now I ask you simply this. Some might say, "Well brother Sullins, I understand that Christ is the head of the church and He should have the preeminence but Christ died and all authority was given to Him so to whom did He give that authority?" Well the scripture answers that question for us. Jesus said right after He said, "And thou art Peter and upon this rock, I will build MY church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." He said, "I will give unto thee the keys to the kingdom of heaven and whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Now we know as we look back in the Greek language that when He said, "Thou art Peter and upon this rock, I will build My church..." the rock He was talking about was the confession that Peter had just made, "Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God." Some might question in return, "Well He said it to Peter that I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. He gave Peter the authority." Well that's true but in Matthew 18 verse 18, just two chapters later when all of the disciples had gathered before Him, He said to them all, "And I will give unto you the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you shall bound on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." So my friend, the truth is evident. The authority that Jesus had He passed to His apostles. He said, "When the Holy Spirit comes, He will guide you into all truth," John 16:13, which simply meant this: that Jesus was going to send the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit would guide the apostles into all truth and that truth and that authority that we use in religion today must be founded and based upon the New Testament of God's Word. N

Now as Paul went on to say in the 1st chapter Colossians 1:19-23, "We have been reconciled to God in Christ. We were once enemies." Paul was talking about the Colossian brethren. You were once enemies because you were what? Because of your wicked work, you were once enemies. But what has happened? You have been reconciled. You have been brought back by the blood of Christ and now you have a new relationship, a relationship man once enjoyed before sin came into the world. You have that relationship again because of who? Is it because of some man or some manmade institution? Is it because of someone any other than the one that we refer to as Jesus Christ, the Son of God? Certainly not. Jesus Christ is the Son of God who has reconciled us to God. And when will this reconciliation take place? In verse 23 of that same chapter, it will take place as and when we continue in the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

So you can be a Christian and by your wicked works you can lose your reconciliation or your salvation. You can be reconciled to God through the blood of Jesus Christ once again and enjoy that relationship in and through the gospel. But understand this: that it takes faithfulness to live the life that God wants you to live.

Now as we consider these last words this morning, the apostle Paul said in verses 28 and 29, "Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man perfect, that is mature in Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily." So what was the apostle Paul trying to accomplish? He was trying to tell these brethren, these faithful brethren that you need to understand the preeminence of Christ. Isn't that what we need to do today? Call ourselves after Christ. Recognize Him as the true and the living representative of God the Father. Understand His Will. Love Him. Strive to serve Him in every way that we can and pray and know that if we do that, we will enjoy heaven together.

(SONG # 3 - "A Wonderful Savior!")

CLOSING COMMENTS

Thanks for putting God first and choosing to be with us this morning. I hope you have benefited from our time together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God.

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How wondrous it is to know that our Savior is the very Son of God. Praise be to God for the gift of our Lord Jesus Christ!

(Program closing)