Vol. 29, No. 5 May, 2005 THE PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST

Vol. 29, No. 5   May, 2005

THE PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST

         By Pastor George Mills

“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.”

 (Col. 1:18).

  CHRIST ABOVE ALL OTHERS. CHRIST ABOVE EVERY NAME!

He alone is the Preeminent One. We have just started a study in this great Epistle of Paul to the Colossians. Paul, writing from a Roman prison cell is encouraged at the report of the progress of this Church and commends them for their Faith, Hope, and Love in Ch 1:1-8. Paul assures the Church that he is praying for them. He prays that they will be strengthened, and that they will be very fruitful, and increasing in the knowledge of God. (Ch 1:9-12).

Paul had learned from Epaphras, the Pastor of the Church, that legalism had began to creep into the Church, see Ch. 2:20-23.   There also appears to be the

Teachings of the Gnostics creeping in.

The Gnostics professed to have a “superior knowledge.” The word ,Gnostic, means, “to know.”  Paul reminds the Church that God by-passed he wisdom of man, and  revealed His great plan for this age in “Mysteries” (v26-27) A Mystery is a secret made known by Divine revelation. God revealed to Paul the Mystery of the Church age, which is,  both Jew and Gentile, bond and free, brought together in one body called the Church, (Eph 3:5-6). Christ is the Head, and believers in Christ are the body. Our study in the Book of Colossians just happens to parallel the death of Pope John Paul 2, and the search for his successor. The Pope in Rome is presented as the Head of the Church. In the days since the death of the Pope we have seen the Pomp and pageantry of Rome. We have seen as much of the world is impressed with all the ceremony of this event. Pope John Paul has been referred to as, His Excellency,  or,  “Most Excellency,”   “His Holiness.” “His Highest,”  “His Highness,”  “Holy Father,”  “Most Holy Father,” just to recall a few references. May we be reminded today that the Pope represents a system that held the world in darkness, paganism, ignorance and superstition for about 1500 years, and would continue to do so today if it could. Thank God for men of Faith like Martin Luther and others who dared to make a stand against Catholicism, and boldly preach, “The Just shall live by Faith, and NOT by the teachings of Catholicism.” The great Protestant  Reformation was born.   Although Baptists were never part of the Roman Church in the first place, we have always PROTESTED the teachings of Catholicism. The word of the Pope is taken over the written Word of God. Catholic doctrines like, the perpetual virginity of Mary, Praying to Mary, praying to “saints” burning candles for the dead, the place of Purgatory, Limbo, confessions to “priests”  the doctrine of transubstantiation, just to name a few were passed on to the “church” by various Popes and are accepted as the word of God. You can search the Holy Scriptures for the remainder of time and NOT find these “doctrines.” Just think of the innocent victims who pay priests to pray their loved ones out of   Purgatory?   Billions of dollars have been falsely taken from the innocent during the centuries. The system of Catholicism is alive and well.  Just ask any of the Soul Winning Missionaries who are called to countries   where Catholicism is the dominant religion.   And may I also say that all of this church hierarchy, Arch-bishops, Cardinals, and Popes is NOT Scriptural. God ordained the local Church with a Pastor and program for local and world evangelism. God never ordained a “Higher Church Authority.” I believe that you can read much about this system in the Bible, especially the Book of Revelation, Ch 17:1-9.  When you couple these things along with the untold wealth of this system, it’s secrecy, and secret oaths of the hierarchy, and it’s lordship over the laity, it is no wonder that the Bible calls this system, “Mystery Babylon, Mother of harlots.”  In these last days with all of this “coming together” with this “one world super church”  and the forsaking of sound doctrine, this will probably seem to some more like hate than it sounds  like truth, but I tell the truth. I love the Truth. I love to proclaim the Truth. I Love the Lord Jesus Christ with all my heart. I love people. I love to see those who have been enslaved in sin, or in false religion, or some other bondage, come to a saving knowledge of our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ. To see one saved from paganism, and then watch as the light of Christ begins to open their eyes to the Truth, is a wondrous thing. Thank God for that work of Grace in hearts. If perhaps you think that I may be one sided on this issue, just ask one of the “priests” of this system. Ask him what he thinks of non-catholic Christians. If he is loyal to his code, he will tell you, “there is no such thing.”   They believe that Salvation is only in the church, their church.

May I make this announcement to you today THE POPE IS NOT THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH. CHRIST IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH! The Pope is NOT preeminent, CHRIST IS PREEMINENT.   What happens in Rome, and the search for a New Pope is beyond my ability to affect, or change. My concern is for those that I may affect in some way.  I care about Christ, about His Cause, and about His Church. I care about YOU.  I want to see YOU saved, and serving the Lord Jesus Christ as best you can. Now, with these few lines about Catholicism behind us, let us see today THE PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST, as we study the first chapter of Colossians.

1. CHRIST IS PREEMINENT IN THE CRUCIFIXION. “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of His Dear Son. In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sin.” ( Col 1:13-14) Christ was crucified upon a Roman cross as God’s Supreme Sacrifice in full payment for our sin.( If you have the NIV “bible” you will note “through His blood” is missing from that verse). Why take away the reference to His blood? Satan hates the Blood of Christ. “by His own Blood He entered in once into the Holy Place having obtained Eternal Redemption for us.” (Heb 9:27) His Finished Work on the Cross makes CHRIST PREEMINENT. No Pope, no priest, no preacher, no Buddha, or Mohammed, or Allah, no earthly system, nothing or no one else paid our sin debt for us. Christ alone! PREEMINENT IN HIS CRUCIFIXION.

2. CHRIST IS PREEMINENT AS CONQUERER OVER DEATH  He is  “The firstborn from the dead, that in ALL things HE might have the Preeminence.” ( Col 1:17) Christ  alone went to the Cross. He was buried, and sealed in a borrowed tomb. But as the Scriptures predicted, on the third day, He arose, victorious over death. He is CONQUERER.   The risen Christ stood with keys in His hand and shouted, “I am He that liveth, and was dead,   and behold I am alive for evermore, Amen, and have the keys of hell and of death.” What religious leader  was Crucified for you? And what  religious leader arose Victorious over the Grave? Christ alone! He deserves the place of PREEMINENCE!

3. CHRIST IS PREEMINENT IN HIS CHURCH. The Church is His Body. “And He is the Head of the Body, the Church.” ( Col 1:18)(v24) (Eph 1:22-23)

The Pope is presented to the world a head of the church. He may be the man appointed by man to be the head of a man-made pagan religion, But Christ is the Head of His Church. He bought it with His own blood. Stay with the Bible, (KJV). Christ’s resurrection from the dead gave Him the authority. The Church, which consists of born again believers from all nations. Those who have placed their Faith and trust in His Finished Work alone, that Church is His Body. He sent the Holy Spirit in His place to be the Administrator of the Church.  Christ Alone!   “And you that were sometimes alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled.” ( Col 1:21).   The war is over. Peace with God is settled through Christ. We are now His. Members of His Body, the Church. We bow to no King, but Christ. We march under no banner but His.

4. CHRIST IS PREEMINENT IN CREATION. “For by Him (Christ) 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.”( Col 1:16-17). Read also John 1:1-9, Hebrews 1:1-3. The redemption of our natural body is not yet complete, (Romans 8:23). We have a body like His Glorious Body reserved in Heaven, (2Cor 5:1-10). The redemption of Creation is not yet complete, (Romans 8:21-22). This universe bears the marks of sin and the curse. Prophesies, far too many to mention tell us of the time when creation itself will be made new. Christ is on the job. Creation is His servant. All things consist, or, are held together, by Him. The stars, planets, the sun and moon, and their orbits, the tides, the seasons, kings and kingdoms,   the animal kingdom, time, and even life itself are all in his Hands. He alone is THE PREEMINENT CHRIST.

5. CHRIST IS PREEMINATE IN THE CONSUMMATION OF ALL THINGS.

Meaning, “to complete, to finish” All things were made by Him, and for Him, and He is in control. We are His first, by way of creation, (Gen 2:21-25). We are also His by way of Reconciliation. One day, He will present us holy, and unblameable, and unreprovable in His sight. (v22). This has already been done Spiritually. While we live in this body, Satan cannot bring a charge against us,(Romans 8:31-39). In the future, He will Literally present us (Christians) ” faultless before the presence of His Glory with exceeding joy.” (Jude 24-25).   This, in reality, is a done deal.   I think of the story about a little boy who had made for himself a little boat. One day as he was playing in a roadside ditch, his boat got away from him and went down a drain. He lost his boat. One day the little boy saw his boat in the window of a salvage store. The little boy told the storekeeper about his boat. The man said, “Son, I have only a few pennies invested in the boat. I will let you have the boat for the few pennies that I have in it.” The little boy returned sometime later with the pennies and his boat was returned to him. The storekeeper heard the little boy say as he left the store with his boat, “Little boat, you are twice mine. I made you, and I bought you back again.”    Christ made us, and He bought us back again. He Redeemed us, Cares for us, He Guards us, and is coming back for us. Now, let me ask, What religion, or what religious leader ever did that, or could ever do that? NONE! Christ alone! HE IS THE PREEMINENT ONE. He deserves our affection. In fact, the Bible says, ?Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.? ( Col 3:1-2). The Disciples went with Christ to the Mount of Transfiguration, (Mt 17:1-8). There the Glory of Christ was revealed. There appeared with Him Moses and Elijah. The Disciples were so overwhelmed, they suggested that three tabernacles be made there as a memorial for this occasion. God spoke from Heaven with an audible voice and said, “This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye Him.”   At the voice of God, the Disciples fell on their faces in fear. Then Jesus touched them and said, “be not afraid.”  “And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw NO MAN SAVE JESUS ONLY.” This is the gist of my message; let us see NO MAN, SAVE JESUS ONLY!

Before I can close this message, and of course, there is so much to say on this subject, but I must bring this to a close. Let me say that I am not angry at Catholics, I am angry at Catholicism. I love to see Catholics get saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth. They make great soul winners. I am angry at any religion, or cult, or any group, or any “headquarters”  that keeps men in darkness and ignorance, that blinds the minds of men to the Glorious Liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you are His, and know it, Rejoice in that fact. Now some of you may very well be in some “religion” YOU may be active, and partake of the various,”sacraments” of that religion, but in reality, YOU do not have the real peace and assurance that you are a Child of the Living God. God wants you to have that peace and assurance. Jesus came to earth to pay for our Salvation with His own Blood. He died for YOU, he was buried, and He arose from the dead for YOU. YOU must believe that. YOU must receive Him YOURSELF. Now you may say “I believe all you have said about Christ, but how do I receive Him”?” Just tell Him that you receive Him. He is there, where you are, in the person of His Holy Spirit. He is waiting for you to ask Him in. The Bible says, “Ask, and ye shall receive.” Ask Him in your life today. He will hear the cry of the repentant heart.

Today, right now, apart from any religion, through Faith in Christ alone, begin TODAY to live FOREVER!

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AND THE WORLD IS A WILDERNESS.. It is no friend to the Christian, nor to his Bible. Recently I listened as a reader read, “And the world was made through Him.” Not BY Him, but through Him. Strange how the world takes away the Preeminence of Christ anywhere it can.

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THINK ABOUT IT..Most of the world missed the First Coming of Christ. God had made everything so clear that they could not have missed Him, BUT THEY DID! And so it is with His Second Coming. But this Great Truth is so clouded with different doctrines of men, I am afraid that many will miss this coming also.

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YOUR LETTERS, GIFTS, SUPPORT AND WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT MEAN MORE TO US THAN YOU CAN KNOW. IT IS OUR PRAYER THAT WE CAN CONTINUE TO TOUCH LIVES WITH THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. WE CANNOT WITHOUT YOU. THANKS SO MUCH!

         THE CHURCH VICTORIOUS

              By Pastor George Mills

“But ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the City of the Living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels. To the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn which are written in Heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.”

 (Heb. 12:22-23).

I am proud to be a part of the Church of the Living God. In 1954 I joined with my wife in Holy Matrimony. In 1960 I joined with a local New Testament Church. That?s about all of the “joining” I will ever do. I know that I am on the winning side because I have read the last chapter. We know how everything ends up. I hear some who have various and twisted ideas about the Church. Some say that the Church is dead, or the Church has out-lived it’s usefulness. Some are saying that the Church must go through the great tribulation in order to get cleansed before being presented to Christ without spot or wrinkle. Christ bought the Church with His own blood. He knows every member. He will land every member safe on Heaven’s shore. Let’s not sell the Church short. The Church is alive and well. Man’s ideas about how to fix the Church fall short of God’s plan. Let me share with you five things about the Church Victorious.

1. THE FAMILY OF THE CHURCH. The family of the Church is made up of Born again, blood washed believers in Christ. These have placed their faith in The Finished Work of Christ on the Cross, His Bodily resurrection from the dead, His ascension into Heaven to be our Faithful High Priest. This is the True Church. Christ knows every member. Now, if you include in that great throng of believers everything that calls itself “church”  you have a problem. The Church is alright. If you include the TV, “Show Biz” Hollywood style, money mad evangelists, fake “healers,” if you include that crowd, then I would have to agree that the church is sick. But not so! The Church is alive and well. Not yet perfect, but alive and well.

2.THE FOUNDING OF THE CHURCH. There are many and varied ideas about the founding of the Church. Some say that the Church was founded when Jesus called His Disciples. Others say that the Church was founded at Pentecost. And others say that it was founded somewhere in between the two. Sometime ago I read, or heard this, and I see no fault with it. Quote, “As far as God is concerned, the Church was founded before the foundation of the world, (Eph 1:4, Heb 4:3, 1Pet 1:20).  As far as Jesus is concerned, The Church was founded when He gave His Life for the Church, (John 10:15-18). And as far as the Holy Spirit is concerned, the Church was founded when He, the Holy Spirit baptized all believers into one Body, called the Church. (1Cor 12:13).”  All three are true. Now, that could be dissected, and debated. I realize that. “Preacher, will you explain that?”  I cannot explain the light switch on the wall, but I enjoy the light. Some things I cannot explain. I just accept by faith. Our understanding will grow as we read our Bible and allow the Holy Spirit to teach us.

3. THE FOUNDATION OF THE CHURCH. In Matt. 16:13-18, at the confession of Peter who said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” Jesus said, “Upon this Rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  Peter is NOT that Rock, nor was he the first Pope. Paul said, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid which is Jesus Christ.” Christ is the Foundation, the Rock, the Architect and Builder. “The Foundation of God standeth sure.”

4. THE FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH. While most of us who are Believers in Christ can come to some place of agreement on the FAMILY, FOUNDING, and FOUNDATION of the Church, there are many and varied ideas about the FUNCTION of the Church. Some say that the Church is to “clean up society”so they join various civil organizations and work to that end. Still others say that the Church is to change society through politics, so they set up a political agenda, set up lobbyists, and work to that end. And others say that the Church is to change society through moral reformation. So they join marches, protests, they fight pornography, alcohol, homosexual activities, and various other agenda. NOW, DON’T GET ME WRONG. I AM AGAINST THE MORAL DECAY OF OUR NATION. My stand is clear on all of these issues. I am speaking about the FUNCTION of the Church. What is our main function? Jesus said, “Preach the Gospel to every creature.” When the Church is busy doing that, when we are winning souls to Christ, everything changes. Society is changed, morals are changed, Perversion is changed, Alcoholism, drug addiction, and abortions are stopped when one by one we win our neighbors to Christ. Sometimes we get the cart before the horse. We try to change society. Get people saved, and society will change. That’s the FUNCTION of the Church.

5. THE FUTURE OF THE CHURCH. The future of the Church is Glorious. “Forever with the Lord.” What could be more Glorious than that? According to some, the future of the Church is the Tribulation period. There is no future in that. There is no hope in looking for the Anti-Christ. Ours is a “Blessed Hope.” (Titus 2:13). As I said before in this message, don’t judge the Church by the “Hollywood, show-biz, money mad evangelists, long haired drum beaters, and medicine shows you see on TV. Don’t look for the Church there. Every time I see a soul winner, a Sunday School Teacher, A Church Bus on Sunday morning. Every time I see a Christian School, or a Rescue Mission, or a Prison Ministry. Every time I hear a sound sermon by some good radio preacher, every time I see families together in Church, Every time I see a Christian College that is turning out sound preachers, I say “the Church is alive, and well.” Quite frequently I get a call from some Missionary who is seeking support for his field of service. I say, “The Church is alive, and well.” The problem about the Church with some is that they are looking in the wrong place. I am proud to be part of His Church.   Jesus warned us that wherever He sows Good seed, Satan sows his seed also. Satan plants the false. One day, any day, the Lord Jesus will descend from Heaven and take the REAL with Him and leave the false behind. The FALSE that are left behind will make up the harlot religion of Rev 13, 17, will bow to the Anti-Christ and go with him into perdition. But the future of the CHURCH is Glorious. The future gets brighter every day. This world is a dark place and getting darker. Believers are heading for a City that has no need of the sun neither of the   moon to shine in it, for the Glory of the lord did lighten it, and the Lamb is the Light thereof.( Rev 21:23).

And YOU, are YOU a part of His Church? Not so sure? Jesus Christ is as near as the tip of your tongue. “For whosoever shall CALL upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved.” Ask Him into your life today. He will hear the cry of the repentant heart. He will never knock down the barriers in your heart and come in unbidden. YOU must invite Him in. “How do I receive Him?” The Bible says, “Ask and ye shall receive.”  Begin TODAY to live FOREVER! Child of God, keep your Faith looking up, your redemption draweth near. God Bless you!       (from the WILDERNESS Jan. 1998)

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THINK ABOUT IT

In Exodus 12, the Israelites were commanded to prepare a Lamb for the Passover. The firstborn of every home in all the land will die if the blood of that Lamb is not applied to the door of that home.

In Ex. 12:3 He is described as A LAMB.

In Ex. 12:4 He is THE LAMB.

In Ex. 12:5 He is YOUR LAMB.

Some speak of Christ as A Lamb, or one of many lambs. And some will refer to Him as THE Lamb. But He is of no value to you until He becomes YOUR LAMB.

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THINK ABOUT IT…The only way for Salvation to be available for ALL men is for ALL men to be saved the same way. And that’s the way God has made it. All are saved who trust the Blood, the Finished Work of Christ, alone.

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