Scripture: Colossians 1:15-20 2018-01-01
Text: Colossians 1:17b
In Him, All Things Hold Together!
Beloved in Christ, as we begin this New Year, we may be asking, ‘will it be blessed? Will it be happy? Will it be good?’ We enter the year with new expectations and new hopes.
Will I be able to hold my life together? What about my marriage, my family, my business, or my health? I think you agree that we don’t have that kind of power. We don’t have ultimate control over whatever circumstances may come our way. We seem to live in an unpredictable world, in unpredictable times.
We come together as believers on the first day of the New Year. We declare our trust in Christ in whom all things hold together. By God’s grace, He holds our lives and our life together as congregation!
In fact, our text this morning reminds us, “in Him, all things hold together” [v.17b]. All things [mentioned six times in verses 15-20]!
- Christ holds all things together
“in Him” says verse 17, “all things consist [hold together].” Who is He in whom all things hold together? Verse 15, “He is the image of the of His Person invisible God…” Christ reveals God, making Him visible. Hebrews 1:2 says that He, the Son, is the “brightness of His glory and the express image.” Jesus says in John 14:9, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”
“In Him, all things hold together.” ‘All things” – all creation and our entire redemption. We see that in verses 15-20. He is “the first born over all creation…” [vv.15-17], and He is “the first born from the dead . . .” [vv. 18-20]. “First born” means first rights or exclusive rights. He is before all things. He is over all things! He is Lord!
A. All creation [vv.15-17]. In verse 17, we read that He was “before all things” [v. 17a]. That’s why all things were made through the Word of His mouth. He was there already. He always was!
In fact, all things were created by the Word of His power. Verse 16 says, “for by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth . . . all things were created through Him and for Him.” “By Him … for through Him … for Him.” According to John 1, Christ is the Word brought forth the universe
“In Him, all things hold together.” He is the center of all things! Without Him holding all things together which He made, all of life would fall apart, even the entire creation. Everything would fly apart and be no more. Everything would be formless and void [Genesis 1:2]. The rising and setting of the sun, the changing of the seasons, the orderly passing of the years show that in Him, all things hold together.
There is more.
B. Our redemption [vv.18-20]. It was He, the Son of His love, who entered into creation, into history as a Baby, when it was falling apart. Sin broke things apart- bringing death, misery and darkness.
By His death on the cross for our sins, He turned the tide. He emerged as the new beginning. He gave the world a new direction. Leaving the tomb and entering glory, He represented a new creation. See verse 18, “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the first born from the dead, that in all things He may have the pre-eminence.”
“In Him, all things hold together” – also our salvation. If He would let you go for one moment, you would lose your salvation. You would be in complete darkness. But He triumphantly arose, never more to die. Jesus says, “Because I live, you too will live” [John 14:19]. He is the Head of the body, the Beginning, the first born from the dead.
“In Christ, all things hold together.” All creation, your entire redemption.
We enter a New Year with Christ, a year of new beginnings. Ah, in Him, all things hold together – your marriage, your home, your work, your life, our congregation! Trust Him.
There is more in these words. In holding all things together,
- Christ governs all things for your good
To hold all things together means governing all things in order to hold all things together. He governs and cares for us in such a way that all who trust Him may say, “leaf and blade, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, food and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty – all things, in fact, come to us not by chance but from His fatherly hand” [QA 27].
1] You hear many saying that all things come by fate, luck, or chance. ‘As fate would have it’, someone says, ‘this happened to me’ or ‘this was my [bad] luck.’ The greater power, whatever it is, is seen as some non-personal force.
There is no rhyme or reason to what happens. In their minds, there is no coherent working together of things. Things happen randomly. There is no purpose or meaning. There is nothing loving or caring about these forces. They don’t hold all things together. They are seen as blind and brute forces.
It’s a fearful way to live, a hard way to live. There is no comfort or confidence in living in a world like that. For those who do not confess Christ, life has no coherence or meaning; life does fall apart and ultimately their life falls apart forever! Even those things Christ has fully under control. He governs their life in such a way that their life falls apart.
2] Others think there are hidden powers that Christ does not govern. They talk about evil powers with an independent existence, outside of Christ’s control. These, not Christ, they say, send sickness and disease.
Sometimes they are desperate for a word. Not trusting in Christ or His Word, they’ll go to their star or to a palm reader or, out of superstition, perform some ritual to control and govern these menaces in their life.
But Christ is Lord over all things! “In Him, all things hold together;” not some things but all things! Verse 16 includes those powers: “All things . . . visible and invisible, whether thrones or principalities or powers.” Christ has completely conquered all the evil powers and “disarmed them” [Colossians 2:15].
In Him, all things hold together. He governs all things, every detail, even using evil, in such a way that it always has a purpose, a design for the good of God’s people. Even when it doesn’t seem good to us; even when it seems life is falling apart; when it seems like chaos.
Think of our airport. Planes are coming and going constantly. It makes you dizzy. It seems so random and chaotic. Yet you don’t need to hold your breath. The man in the control tower directs each take-off and landing.
So, the Lord in every detail, works out all things without making a single mistake. We read in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things [including evil] work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” It’s for your salvation and for His glory!
Consider all the difficult things the apostle Paul faced in his life. Yet he confesses in Philippians 1:12, “But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel.”
Consider a weaving. Look at the bottom. There is no intelligent pattern. But the upper side reveals beauty and design! Likewise, by faith, may we see Jesus, crowned with glory and honor [Hebrews 2:9].
May we by God’s grace live this coming year in the light of this perspective, living in confidence and hope. “In Him, all things hold together.” Trust in Him. When we trust in Him, we see meaning and purpose in both good and difficult times. Even when we don’t understand it, we know whom we can depend upon. All things will work out for good because Christ governs all things.
If He so loved us by giving His life for us, shall we doubt His care over us? Romans 8 asks, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword? [v.35]? The answer is “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” [v.37]. Nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” [v.39].
All things hold together in Him! There is one more thing. He governs all things so that they hold together for one grand and glorious goal.
- Christ is moving all things forward
All of history, all of creation, is moving towards God’s appointed goal, a glorious goal, destination – a new heaven and a new earth when Christ returns. A new creation for all who trust in Christ. Colossians 1:20 says, “ and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.” The goal is the restoration of all things including the fallen creation and all who trust in Christ. Peace and healing come through the cross.
In the meantime He is building His kingdom on earth. May we, this coming New Year, participate in His kingdom by serving Him. May we also share Christ with others whose lives and world are torn apart by sin!
History is not standing still. It is not going around in circles. It may seem like it. One year passes, another year comes. Generations come and generations go. But wheels on a car as they are going round and round also keep moving forward to reach the driver’s destination.
Hebrews 1:3 speaks of God’s Son, “upholding all things by the word of His power.” The word ‘upholding” means ‘carrying” in the sense of ‘moving forward.” God the Son is carrying all things to bring them to their appointed goal. He does this simply by speaking. All things listen in obedience to His voice. His Word is sufficient! He is governing the world for the sake of His people.
Where is it all heading for believers? We see a vision of it in Revelation 21
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. . . . . And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. And He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.”
So we pray, “Come, Lord Jesus. Come quickly.” Then faith will become sight. And hope will be fully realized! No more sin, no more sadness, no more death.
‘in Him all things hold together!” May the comfort of these words be yours in this New Year! Amen.