Many have had their world upended by the events of 2020, including believers and church leaders. A key to staying on level ground is having the right perspective, explained Pastor Steve DeWitt of Bethel Church in Crown Point, Ind., during the second general session of the 2020 conference. “We ask the questions, God, what are you doing? God, where is all of this heading?” he remarked. Big-picture answers are found in Colossians 1:15–20, which instills within us a renewed perspective on Christ’s supremacy and glory.
The heart of DeWitt’s message is found in verse 18. Christ is preeminent, or supreme—He is first. “We can read it in this way,” said DeWitt—“‘So that in everything Christ might be treasured; so that in everything Christ might be worshiped; so that in everything Christ might be seen, in all of the world, as number one.” God the Father has a profound plan to magnify Jesus.
Dewitt cautioned against a common misunderstanding of God’s desires and the gospel. “We are not at the center of what God is doing,” he emphasized. Believers must be careful of the pervasive notion that “it’s all about me.” Instead, there is a deeper purpose—“to glorify the Son and display His preeminence.” In doing this, believers will share in God’s abiding purpose.
DeWitt asked why God would go to all the trouble He did to magnify Jesus. Why did there have to be such events as Creation, the flood, the history of Israel, the sufferings of Christ, and on and on, until the turmoil of the present day? One reason is the opportunity they give to display the glory of Christ. Just as a priceless vase has great value even that value is unknown or forgotten, Jesus was worthy of all honor even before Creation. But the events of history have given an opportunity for “the Son to be glorified in all of the qualities and facets of His infinite, perfect beauty.”
From the passage, Pastor DeWitt drew out three answers to the question, “How is Christ supreme?” First, Christ is supremely worthy, an emphasis that grabs the reader upon a brief survey of the text. Verse 15 shows that Christ is the image of God. Though God is spirit, and cannot be seen, in Jesus “we see in flesh exactly what God is like.” Everything in the entire universe was created through Him (verse 16) and is held together by His power (verse 17). Verse 19 shows that the deity of Christ is supreme, and “He is supreme as the Savior of all who call upon Him in faith.”
Second, Christ must also be the supreme focus for believers. Being the head of the church, according to DeWitt, means Christ is the focus of the church as well as its leader. Many churches would affirm that as their goal. But DeWitt brought it home by asking a probing question: “What—or who—is the focus of the GARBC?” He also applied the question to individual churches. “Christ must be the focus,” Dewitt exclaimed, “of the Christian’s life, of the culture of the church, the leadership of the pastor—He must be our supreme focus.”
Finally, Christ must be the supreme affection of the church. This is a small way of sharing in God the Father’s fervent delight in His Son and love for Him. Using the example of people he encountered who were devoted to selling a cosmetics product, Dewitt compared their enthusiasm to the passion and love that believers should have for Jesus. “Would that people in our churches, pastors, congregants, our families, that they would see in us and sense in us that, in the deepest part of who we are, we think Jesus is number one. That we see Him as greater, more worthy, more treasured, more valuable, than anything this world has to offer.”
Through this message, Pastor Dewitt reminded attendees of God’s purpose to magnify Jesus, even in the current events of our world. He challenged believers to have a renewed perspective on our supremely worthy Savior and to join the Father in admiring the Son.