Strength to Strength 10
Study 10 GIVING HIM THE FOREMOST PLACE
KEY-VERSE: “…so that in everything he might have the
supremacy.” (Colossians 1:18)
The day is coming when the Lord Jesus Christ will have the supremacy, when He will be Lord and when “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow” (Philippians 2:10). What a glorious prospect this is for Him – and for us!
But though the prophetic application of these words is important, there is an equally important personal application. The word “supremacy” means “occupying the foremost place”, and here we are not thinking of the supremacy of one doctrine over another, one creed over another or one denomination over another, but of one personality over another. The one personality is the Lord Jesus Christ and the other is you – or me; so when we speak of the supremacy of Christ we mean Christ occupying the foremost place in our life. Does He? Is He first in our life, home, business, friendships, pleasures…? See the warning of 3 John 9.
1. The Lord Jesus Christ alone has the right to occupy the foremost place in human experience
There is only one person in the whole of God’s universe who has the absolute right to occupy the first place in your life and mine. Others may try to take the first place, but it is not their right to seek or to obtain it. If they do so, they are usurpers of the rightful place of Another. The Devil seeks the supremacy in our life, but it is not his right to have it. There are three reasons why the Lord Jesus Christ alone has the right of being first in our life:
(1) Because He made us. Look up Colossians 1:16, and particularly notice that we were not only created “by Him” but also “for Him” – compare Proverbs 16:4 and Isaiah 43:7. He made us in order that He might be first in our hearts and lives.
(2) Because He has redeemed us. Look up Colossians 1:13-14. We belong to Him by legal right, for He has purchased us with His own life’s blood – look up 1 Corinthians 6:20, and compare 1 Peter 1:18-19. Through His infinite sacrifice upon Calvary’s cross, and by the mighty power of His resurrection, God has “rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.” A kingdom must have a king. Once we were in Satan’s kingdom and he was our king; now we are in Christ’s kingdom and it is His right to reign over us. Do you acknowledge Him as King of your life?
(3) Because God has given Him the supremacy. Colossians 1:18 tells us this. So do Ephesians 1:20-22 and Philippians 2:9-11. Compare John 5:23, and then notice again in Colossians 1:15-20 that God has given the Lord Jesus the supremacy:
(1) in likeness (verse 15). (6) in the Church (verse 18).
(2) in authority (verse 15). (7) in the new creation (verse 18).
(3) in creation (verse 16). (8) in riches (verse 19).
(4) in eternity (verse 17). (9) in final victory (verse 20).
(5) in power (verse 17).
Now look up Matthew 12, and see that our Lord declares His supremacy when He says that He is greater than the temple (verse 6), the Sabbath (verse 8), the Devil (verse 29), Jonah (verse 41) and Solomon (verse 42). He is greater than them all!
2. But though it is His right to occupy the foremost place in human experience, He does not always do so
He is not always free to exercise His right. For example: in our life very often self is first – look up Luke 9:59 and 61; notice the words “first let me”! and compare 3 John 9. Sometimes another life is first – look up Matthew 10:38; sometimes personal ambition, pleasure or possessions come first – look up Luke 18:23. How true it is that:
The better often is the foe
That keeps us from God’s best!
3. The Lord Jesus may be PRESENT in our life, yet not PRE-EMINENT
If you are a Christian He is truly present – but is He pre-eminent? It is true to say that He is present in our national, political, commercial and religious life, but He is not by any means pre-eminent. The same may be true in your life or mine. “If He is not Lord of all, then He is not Lord at all!”
4. The Lord Jesus may be PROMINENT, but not PRE-EMINENT
That is, He may hold a very large and important place in our life and yet not hold the place in our life. Ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and show you whether He is truly pre-eminent – or only prominent. Look up Psalm 139:23-24.
5. When the Lord Jesus does occupy the foremost place in a human life the following three things are true:
(1) There is supreme love to His Person. We love Him more than any other person or thing; more than His service, our loved ones, ourselves – “…more than these” (John 21:15).
(2) There is unquestioning obedience to His commands. Look up John 14:15, and compare John 2:5 and Acts 9:6.
(3) There is complete submission to His will. When the Lord Jesus occupies the foremost place in my life I shall be willing to serve Him in the sphere of His choice, should this be His will, and if necessary to die for Him. Indeed, my attitude will be, “Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure” (Matthew 11:26).
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