Jesus is the point from which all things are directed and to which all things are focused. He is supreme, first, the center – we must live accordingly. This must be the reference point from which we understand everything else.
Think ahead five years. Five years from now, what is going on in your life? What is different? Spiritually speaking, what is different about you? As a church, what is be different? Hopefully, we’ll be gaining traction in evangelism, discipleship and missions.
Our starting place to move that direction has been to think about what it means to be part of the church together. We’ve centered this thinking around four questions: Who is Jesus? What is a Christian? What is church? What is a church member? We’ll go through these questions one per week, and this week it’s Who Is Jesus?
Jesus Is the Center
Colossians 1:15-20 teaches that Jesus is the point from which all things are directed and to which all things are focused. The Bible teaches that you can’t understand how to be a human being – much less how to be the church – if you don’t see reality this way. Paul’s overall point is that Jesus is the center of reality, but he points out five specific things that Jesus is.
1) “He is the image of the invisible God” (v. 15a).
This is what we talked about last week (see 4 Ways in Which Jesus Is the Image of God). Jesus is the perfect representation of God.
2) He is “the firstborn of all creation” (v. 15b).
This refers to His position as supreme over all creation, not that He was created first. Everything is beneath Jesus in value and glory, as in verse 16: “For by him all things were created … all things were created through him and for him.” To put anything on the same level with Jesus is folly, sin and insanity. There is no parallel to Jesus.
3) He “is before all things” (v. 17).
Jesus takes precedent over all things both in status and in sequence. He is the rhyme and reason for all things, “and in him all things hold together.” He is the core that all of reality orbits around.
4) “He is the head of the body, the church” (v. 18a).
Jesus is the origin, the source, the commander of the church. Church growth ideas are everywhere. But the secret to getting a church to grow is “holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God” (Colossians 2:19). This is the kind of growth we want.
5) He is “the firstborn from the dead” (v. 18b).
This time “firstborn” refers to sequence. Jesus was the first one to be resurrected, and He is the reason resurrection is possible for all of us.
What is Paul’s point? Verse 18: “that in everything [Jesus] might be preeminent.” Jesus is supreme, first, the center – and we must live accordingly. This must be the reference point from which we understand everything else.
What Is the Center of Your Life?
The Colossians were tempted to seek spiritual nourishment from other spiritual sources, and they were putting those on the same level as Jesus. Now we might be tempted to similar things like consulting horoscopes and mediums or trying types of meditation to open us up to spiritual realities. But for us, more likely the temptation is to just allow something else to become the center of our lives.
If we allow anything to replace Jesus as the center, we will likely blindly follow the American Dream (house, kids, sports, retirement, etc.), reason with the same wisdom that our non-Christian neighbors use and walk in a manner unworthy of the Lord. We’ll likely lack fruit, knowledge of and meaningful relationship with God, the ability to endure spiritual attack, gratitude, and Christian maturity.
So, is Jesus the center of your life? Is He the point from which all things are directed and to which all things are focused? To put Jesus at the center doesn’t mean you have to go be a monk up in the hills and get rid of every other aspect of your life – it means everything in your life begins to orbit around Jesus.
For you is it “Jesus and ___”? Is it “Jesus and motherhood; Jesus and work” or is it “motherhood by, through and for Jesus; work by, through and for Jesus”? What needs to shift to put Jesus at the center?
Five years from now, if we keep Jesus at the center, we will see that we are growing in our knowledge of God’s will, in spiritual wisdom and understanding, walking in a manner worthy of Him and abounding increasingly in fruit; we’ll be growing in our closeness with God, in spiritual strength, in gratitude and in maturity as Christians.
- Where do you see yourself spiritually in five years?
- What are the implications of Jesus being the image of God?
- What does Jesus being “the firstborn of all creation” mean?
- Why does it matter that Jesus is before all things?
- If all things hold together in Christ, how should we live?
- Jesus is the “firstborn from the dead.”
- How does that affect what we believe about Him?
- What does this truth mean for us?
- What are some things that can replace Jesus as the center of our lives?
- What are the consequences of this happening?
- What does it mean for Jesus to be the center?
- Is Jesus the center of your life?
- If so, how can you tell?
- If not, what needs to change?