This Week's Gospel Sermons
March 6 - 11, 2011 Gospel Meeting At Jackson Drive.
Speaker: Jerry Curry
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February 27, 2011
What does this word, preeminent, mean? It looks kind of funny on paper to most people’s eyes, but most people, even if we don’t see it often, have heard it and have some idea of a meaning. The New Oxford American Dictionary defines it this way: “surpassing all others; ORIGIN late Middle English : from Latin praeeminent- ‘towering above, excelling,’ from the verb praeeminere, from prae ‘before’ + eminere ‘stand out.’” The dictionary is a good place to find the definition, but the best way to really understand the meaning is to look at the epitome of preeminence, Christ.
There are those who claim to be religious and to believe in God, yet try to approach Christ in a minimalistic way. You’ve heard the statements: “He was just a man,” “He was a great moral teacher,” “He was a created being,” “He is an angel”; even a man who claims to be a Christian said recently, “Christ is not the point, just the pointer.” This kind of mis-assessment is obvious. What is not always so obvious is that sometimes we may be guilty of minimizing Christ, too. What if we don’t listen to what He says? What if we live without Him in front of everything? What if we don’t build on the Solid Rock? When we don’t hold Christ in our hearts in the place He belongs, we are making Him less than He is. Certainly, we are not literally making Christ less (no one can change Christ), but we are changing our relationship with Him, our perception of Him, and our reverence of Him. We better understand preeminence.
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
In Hebrews 1:1-3, we find the fullest and most concise statement describing Christ, whose name we wear and whose word we follow. Look at all of the things in just these few verses that give us the very definition of preeminence, “surpassing all others.”
Christ is divine,“in His Son” — He is the Son of God. In addition, we are of His house. “Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.” (Hebrews 3:6). What a blessing!
Christ is God’s spokesman for these last days,“in these last days has spoken to us” — John also made this clear: “For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17). From the very Son of God on high we receive our instructions. Surely, we ought to listen and follow.
Christ is heir of all things,“whom He appointed heir of all things” — He is Lord of all (Acts 10:36). He has supreme dominion over all, now. “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.” (Acts 2:36). He said that all authority had been given to him in heaven and in earth (Matthew 28:18). He reigns! He is king! “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1Timothy 1:17). “He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.” (1Timothy 6:15-16).
Christ is the creator of all things,“through whom also He made the world” — Also, remember John’s words in John 1:1‑14. Especially notice verse 3: “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” Surely, this surpasses all else!
Christ is the radiance of His glory,“He is the radiance of His glory” — The divine perfection of God showed in Christ, even while he was in the flesh. This to be stated again for emphasis by saying that Christ is “the exact representation of His nature.” Jesus said if one has seen Christ, he has seen God: Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’”? (John 14:9)
Christ upholds all things by the word of his power,“and upholds all things by the word of His power” — He had but to speak and the earth and heavens came into being: “by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water” (2Peter 3:5) and He will have but to speak and end them: “by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” (2Peter 3:7). This ought to get the attention of all of us.
Christ purged our sins,“When He had made purification of sins” — He is the Savior (Matthew 1:21); He came to save (Luke 19:10); He paid the price for sins: “knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” (1Peter 1:18,19).
Christ has sat down on the right hand of God,“He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” — He has been highly exalted above all. “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11). The very definition of preeminence.
The Preeminent has spoken. He has spoken all we need to know. “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” (2Peter 1:1-4). Will you minimize Christ or will you hear Him?
—S. Scott Richardson Sr.