Sermon #1441


          Title:               Christ Pre-eminent

In The Purpose of God

          Text:            Colossians 1:18

          Reading:      Luke 24:1-32

          Subject:       Christ’s Pre-eminence in the Purpose, of God

          Date:            Sunday Morning – December 10, 2000

          Tape #         W-14a



          I want you to know, trust, adore, worship, and love the Lord Jesus Christ. I want to know him, trust him, adore him, worship him, and love him. I wan us each to be so overwhelmed by his goodness, greatness, glory, and grace, that we will be compelled by him to consecrate ourselves to him in the totality of our beings. Therefore, I am endeavoring in these messages to show you something of his pre-eminence.


          This I know this: -- Christ is the most brilliant diamond in the ring of Holy Scripture. – “Christ is all.” He is all in eternity, all in time, all among all his people, and all in the glory and bliss of heavenly glory. – In the purpose of God Christ is the center of all. – In the creation of God Christ is the Maker and Possessor of all. – In the providence of God Christ is the cause of all, the reason of all, the ruler of all, and the end of all. -- Miss Christ and you miss all!


          The more you think about him, the more you think of him. Therefore, I want you to think much about him. “Christ is lovely,” wrote the puritan Thomas Brooks. “Christ is very lovely. Christ is most lovely. Christ is always lovely. Christ is altogether lovely.”


          My text this morning is Colossians 1:18  "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." The title of my message is Christ Pre-eminent in the Purpose of God.


          In the next verse we read that, in order for the Lord Jesus Christ to have all pre-eminence, “It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.” If it pleased the triune God to put all fulness in Christ, there can be nothing but emptiness outside of Christ. It is my heart’s prayer and desire to God for you that God will make Christ pre-eminent before your souls’ eyes this day and make him all to you by revealing him in you by his grace.


Proposition: In this passage, the Holy Spirit declares that it is the purpose of the triune God concerning the God-man our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ “that in all things he might have the preeminence.”


Obviously, my subject is infinitely bigger than my puny brain. I cannot begin to exhaust it. When I have said all that I can say about it, there will be far more yet to say. But I want to show you from the Word of God three aspects of our Savior’s great and glorious pre-eminence.


Divisions: The Lord Jesus Christ, our great God and Savior has pre-eminence in…

1.     The Purpose of God

2.     The Creation of God

3.     The Providence of God


I.     First, I want you to see that our Lord Jesus Christ is pre-eminent in the purpose of God.


We begin at the beginning. In the sovereign, eternal purpose and decree of God, Christ is pre-eminent.


          Understand this: -- God almighty, the God of the Bible, the only true and living God is a God with an eternal, unalterable, absolute purpose, a purpose which can never be defeated, overturned, frustrated, or hindered to any degree. He has predestined and foreordained everything that comes to pass. The Scriptures are crystal clear in teaching this.


Isaiah 46:9-10  "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, (10) Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:"


Acts 15:18  "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world."


Romans 8:28-31  "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (31) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?"


Ephesians 1:11  "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:"


          According to the Scriptures, in all the purpose and decrees of the Almighty the Lord Jesus Christ is central, primary, and pre-eminent. In other words, everything that God purposed to do and everything he does is for the glory of Christ as our Savior. In Ephesians 3:11 we are told that everything is “According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


A.  Christ was the Father’s Elect, chosen and set up in the Father’s decree from everlasting as our Mediator.


Isaiah 42:1  "Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles."


Proverbs 8:23  "I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was."


B.  In that same sovereign, eternal decree a great multitude of sinners was chosen in him unto salvation.


Ephesians 1:4  "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love."


1 Thessalonians 5:9  "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ."


2 Thessalonians 2:13-14  "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: (14) Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."


1.     All who have been, are, and shall be saved by the grace of God are saved because of God’s election of them unto salvation in Christ before the worlds were made.


The Lord God purposed and resolved to save us by the substitutionary sacrifice of his dear Son. It was appointed and ordained of God that “in the fullness of time” Christ would assume a human body and soul, work out perfect righteousness for his people by his holy life of perfect obedience to God as our Representative, and then lay down his life, pour out his precious blood, as our sin-atoning Substitute, redeeming us from the curse of the law by fully satisfying the justice of God for us. And so, it came to pass.


Hebrews 10:5-7  "Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: (6) In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. (7) Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God."


Galatians 3:13  "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:"


1 Peter 1:18  "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;"


2.     It was also purposed of God from eternity that each of these elect, redeemed sinners would be saved through the “sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth,” by the regenerating power and grace of God the Holy Spirit, through the preaching of the gospel, by which faith is communicated to us (2 Thess. 2:13-14).


3.     But God’s purpose of grace toward us did not end there. He also purposed that all the called would be forever preserved in grace in Christ by his divine power and sealed by his Spirit, so that in the last day Christ would lose nothing.


Isaiah 49:6  "And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth."


John 6:39  "And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day."


Ephesians 1:13-14  "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (14) Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."


          Christ is pre-eminent in all the purpose and decrees of the triune God. Second, I want to show you that...


II. Our Lord Jesus Christ is pre-eminent in all the creation of God.


          I presume that you understand this fact: -- All the vast universe is God’s, and it is God’s by virtue of the fact that he created it all.


Genesis 1:1  "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."


And in all God’s vast creation, Christ is pre-eminent. This is what the Holy Spirit tells us in Colossians 1:16 and 17  "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist."


A.  Jesus Christ is the Creator of all things.


          He is not a creature of God, but the Creator who is God. But remember, this passage is specifically describing his pre-eminence as our Mediator. It is as our Surety that the Apostle tells us that “All things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist."


          Everything that has been made proclaims the wisdom and power of God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He who is our Savior is also our Creator.


John 1:3  "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."


Hebrews 1:10  "And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands."


B.  Christ is also the one for whom all things were made.


Everything in God’s creation was made specifically for Christ, for his glory, for the revelation of God’s goodness, grace, and glory in him. Specifically, the whole world was made for, and revolves around the great work of Christ by which the glory of God is revealed – the redemption and salvation of God’s elect in and by him (John 12:23-33).


John 12:23-33  "And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. {24} Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. {25} He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. {26} If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. {27} Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. {28} Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. {29} The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. {30} Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. {31} Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. {32} And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. {33} This he said, signifying what death he should die."


II. Third, the Scriptures declare that our Lord Jesus Christ is pre-eminent in the providence of God.


Providence is but the unfolding of God’s eternal purpose of grace in predestination.


Romans 8:28-31  "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (31) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?"


Romans 11:33-36  "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! {34} For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? {35} Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? {36} For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen."


Our Savior is the God and King of providence. This universe is not held together and governed by laws of nature, but by the Son of God. “By him all things consist!” He is “over all, God blessed forever” (Rom. 9:5). It is Christ whom the Spirit describes as “upholding all things by the word of his power” (Heb. 1:3).


Revelation 19:16  "And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."


Our Savior’s disposition of all things in his sovereign providence is for the salvation of his people. God the Father has made his Son as our Mediator the Sovereign Monarch of the universe, trusting to his hands the reins of universal government, that he might give unto every chosen, ransomed sinner eternal life.


John 3:35  "The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand."


John 17:2  "As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him."


Revelation 5:1  "And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals."


Revelation 5:6-7  "And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. {7} And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne."


Revelation 10:1-3  "And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: {2} And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, {3} And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices."


“Keep silence all created things, And wait your Maker’s nod;

My soul stands trembling while she sings The honors of her God.


Life, death, and hell, and worlds unknown Hang on His firm decree;

He sits on no precarious throne, Nor borrows leave to be.


Chained to His throne a volume lies, With all the fates of men,

With every angel’s form and size Drawn by the eternal pen.


His providence unfolds the book And makes His counsels shine;

Each opening leaf and every stroke Fulfils some bright design.


Here He exalts neglected worms To sceptres and a crown;

And then, the following page He turns, And treads the monarch down.


Not Gabriel asks the reason why, Nor God the reason gives,

Nor dares the favorite angel pry Between the folded leaves.


My God, I would not long to see My fate with curious eyes,

What gloomy lines are writ for me, Or what bright scenes may rise.


In Thy fair book of life and grace May I but find my name

Recorded by electing grace Beneath my Lord the Lamb!”


Application: Behold the exalted Christ upon the throne of grace. He, by his own blood, entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for poor, needy sinners. And, now, he is reigning as sovereign Lord to give that eternal redemption to needy sinners. Hear his word of grace this hour. May God give us eyes to see him, ears to hear him, and hearts to believe him for the glory of his own great name.