ArticleBible & Theology

Prayer Focus: Is Christ Preeminent?

Jesus created his church to include all people groups—but many have never heard his name.
“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.” (Colossians 1:18 ESV)

Colossians builds a case for the preeminence of Christ. He is the creator and sustainer of all creation (1:15-17). But he is also the creator and sustainer of the new creation called the church (1:18-20). Verse 18 adds three more descriptors of Christ: the head of the church, the beginning, and the firstborn from the dead.

As the head of the church, Jesus is the leader. This includes both the “big C” universal Church and little “c” local churches. The true leader of the church isn’t the pastors or the elders, and it’s most definitely not the deacons. It’s Jesus. He is the head of his body.

As the beginning, Jesus is the originator of the church. He birthed it through the Holy Spirit in Acts chapter two. As the firstborn from the dead, Jesus is first in rank and priority over the others who rose from the dead before him. He was the only one raised from the dead with an incorruptible and immortal body.

Paul revealed the reason for these descriptors, that in everything he might be preeminent.

So, how does this translate to missions?

Consider the global landscape. Christ is not preeminent among all people groups.

Thirteen million Syrian Muslims have fled from their homes due to the violence of civil war and a collapsed infrastructure. They live in poverty in refugee camps spread across Europe and the Middle East. These folks need help physically and spiritually. Christ is not preeminent among them as many have never heard his name.

As the head of the church, Jesus commanded his people to make disciples of peoples—including Syrian refugees—so that in everything he might be preeminent.

Christ’s preeminence is the focus of worship. However, as John Piper has said, “Missions exists because worship doesn’t.”1 There is work to be done.

This week, let’s pray:

“Father in Heaven, I want to make Christ preeminent in my life today. Help me to do that. Lord, please show me how I can make a difference in seeing Syrian refugees come to know Christ.”


Prayer requests for reaching unreached Syrian refugees:

  1. Pray that God will raise up laborers to reach Syrian refugees in Europe, the Middle East, and within Syria itself.
  2. Pray that God will use these difficult circumstances to soften their hearts to the truth of the gospel.
  3. Pray that churches in Europe will have a burden to reach the refugees around them, and that they will be culturally sensitive and able to communicate effectively.

1. John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad, Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010, 9.

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About the Author

Bobby Hile is ABWE’s Director of Long-Term Mobilization. Prior to that, he served for 9 years as a senior pastor in Ohio and for almost 20 years with ABWE as a missionary in South Africa.

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