The Preeminence of Christ in the Church and its ministry: Col. 1:18-29
Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been exploring the preeminence of Jesus Christ. We’ve established the importance of Christ being not just prominent but preeminent in our lives. But this is not just some theological or philosophical exercise. When we truly make Christ preeminent in our lives, it should have a realizable, recognizable impact on how we live our lives. So, what are the evidences of Christ’s preeminence in our lives?
- A sacrificial love for the Church. If Christ is preeminent in our lives, it is only natural for us to value what He values and love what He loves. Ephesians 5:25 tells that Christ loves the Church and gave Himself up for her. Thus, for Paul it was only natural for him to do the same. In this age of consumerism, where we are encouraged to “look out for number one,” we have a higher calling. We are to exhibit a sacrificial love and care for one another, putting the needs of the other first.
- A stewardship of ministry. God has equipped each of us with a gift to be used to minister to others, both inside and outside the Church. The question is not whether you have a gift; the question is what are you doing with your gift? Jesus emphasizes the importance of our stewardship of His gifts to us in Matt. 25:14-30. In this parable Jesus makes a couple of things abundantly clear. First, though our giftings are different, they are all important in the eyes of God. He is just as interested in the work of the servant to whom he’s given 1 talent as he is the work of the servant to whom he’s given 5. Second, it is not enough for us to acknowledge our gifts—God expects us to put them to good work. We cannot claim that Christ is preeminent in our lives and fail to use his precious gifts to impact others for Christ.
- A spirit empowered ministry. Christ doesn’t just give us gifts to be used to impact our world and send us on our way. He also supernaturally empowers us. God knows the work to which He calls us is difficult. That’s kind of the point—if we can do the work without Him, then it’s all about us. In fact, Scripture tells us in 2 Cor. 12:9 that God’s power is perfected in our weakness. When we are weak, we are dependent on Him. When we are incapable of completing the task, then Christ’s preeminence is on display. On the other hand, when we work in our own strength, we feel the toil and struggle, and Christ moves from being preeminent to being merely prominent.
- How’s your love quotient? If you were to ask others, would they say that you are known for your love and self-sacrifice?
- What are your spiritual gifts? Do you feel like you are stewarding those gifts and resources effectively? What are you doing well? How can you employ those gifts more effectively for God’s kingdom?
- Do you ever feel burned out in ministry? Based on this passage of Scripture, what might be the source of this burn out? According to the passage, what’s the key to enduring in ministry even in difficult circumstances?