Christ first, Family second, Church third – Really?

 

priorities

 

Christian, what  place does the Lord Jesus Christ have in your life? Many have given a common answer indicating the order of priority, “Christ is first” and then they add, “my family is second, and the church is third”. Now I understand what most people mean they say that, but I want to make an important point. For the Christian, Christ is to be first, second, third and so on. What do I mean by this?

In his letter to the Colossians Paul wrote, “so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything” ()  or as the New King James Version translates it, “in all things He may have the pre-eminence“. Notice that the pre-eminence and priority of Christ is not limited to a single place in life, it is  seen “in everything“. The pre-eminence of Christ in everything is a reality and it is His right. Why? Because of who He is.  Much can be said concenring who the Lord Jesus Christ is, but consider one profound title, He is the Head of the Church. As the Head of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ is supreme. He is supreme over the church because of who He is. There are many things we could talk about here, but I will limit myself to one text. In  Paul writes, “he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything“. In addition to being referred to as the head, the Lord Jesus Christ is given two Divine designations in this text. These titles provide us with a profound description of who Jesus Christ is and affirms His supremacy.

The Beginning
The first designation in given to Christ affirming His supremacy is, “He is the beginning.” The apostle Paul pointed out earlier in this epislte that Jesus Christ was God’s Agent in creating the world (), and in this verse we see that He is God’s Agent in salvation. The church exists because of Christ, and it is only in Him does the church find life. The Father “…chose us in Him (Christ) before the foundation of the world” (), and it is “in Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (; cf. ). Jesus is the originator of the church. The church is in existence because of Jesus Christ. He is Supreme in the Church because He is the Beginning of the Church.

The Firstborn
The final designation given to Jesus Christ in this verse is “the firstborn from the dead.” The term “firstborn” can mean first in the sense of chronological order (; ), or first in the sense of rank ( LXX). But the entire context of this passage affirms the second rendering. In this passage He is called the “the firstborn from the dead” in the sense that His resurrection from the dead is superior to any other. Clearly this is not referring to Christ being the first (in a chronological sense) to be raised from the dead. The Scripture contains accounts prior to His (; ; and ). Instead, this is saying that His resurrection from the dead is superior and that He is supreme over death. How? Death could not hold Him down, for He rose from the grave and continues to live. It was His resurrection that made our future resurrection possible. The purpose of His resurrection was, “so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.” The purpose is His supremacy and pre-eminence.

How do we respond to this? Because the Lord Jesus Christ is the church’s head, the church is to submit to Him. This ought to be an assumed reality. In after making mention of the wife’s role in relation to her husband (), he goes on to say that Christ is the head of the church (). Then in the next verse simply states, “now as the church submits to Christ…” (). Recognizing the headship of Christ must result in the submission of the church. 

A practical question we need to ask ourselves is, knowing that Christ is the pre-eminent One, do you submit to and acknowledge the pre-eminence of Christ in all areas of your life? It is not enough to say that He is first. He must be first, second, third and so on. In other words, in every aspect of our lives He is to be pre-eminent. First in our personal life, first in our marriages, first in our family, first in our church, first in our jobs. In all things He is to have first place. When it comes to the way we relate to our family members, Christ must have the first place. When it comes to how minister and serve in the church, Christ must have the first place. When it comes to how to how we function at work, Christ must have the first place. What does this mean? Whatever we do, public or private, Christ must be our priority. This will change they way we perform tasks and relate to people.

We need to get it out of our thinking that serving Christ is limited to one area of life. Serving Him is to be done in all areas of our life. What  place does the Lord Jesus Christ have in your life?

18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,

14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

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11 Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. 12 As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14 Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.”

41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement.

43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.

24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

Published by

Andrew Courtis

Andrew Courtis

ANDREW - Serves as Pastor of Hills Bible Church. I am married to Dianne and we have three children (Kate, Emma and Jack). I was born and raised in Melbourne, moved to Adelaide to undertake theological studies (BMin.), and have completed additional studies with the Australian College of Theology (MATh.). I have served in pastoral ministry in both Melbourne and Sydney and am a qualified school teacher. I am committed to expository preaching and making the word of God known and understood.