April 24, 2018
What do you do when the stuff of life starts to weigh you down? Let me get a little vulnerable here. The past couple weeks I’ve realized that I’ve been a little off my game because there’s just been a number of things that have been weighing on me. One, we just got our biggest tax bill ever, and I had to figure out how to pay that at the same time we are trying to pay for this wedding. Two, getting sick a few weeks ago has drained my normal energy capacity. Three, making a recent adjustment to our retirement plan that caused me to fret a bit our future. Four, preparing a message each week is always a challenge. Five, preparing for Courtney’s wedding has added extra stress. And six, leading a Church carries with it enough work, details and challenges – that it can bury you if you let it. So can I be honest with you? That week of vacation Becky and I have scheduled for the end of May – well, that can’t come soon enough for me!
Now, I know you’ve all been there. There are times when there’s just a lot of stuff coming your way. Life gets like that at times. But WHAT DO YOU DO when the stuff of life starts to weigh on you? What do you do? Do you just get up earlier and work harder? Sure. Do you complain to your spouse or even to your friends? Possibly. Do you lay awake at night trying to sort everything out? Sometimes. And do you let all your stress/worries/challenges take you off your game? Sometimes.
But have you ever considered that when life gets OVERWHELMING that God might be trying to get your attention? Or that God PURPOSELY gives you more than you can handle so you’ll turn to Him? I mean, why is it, that when life gets tough, the last person we often turn to is Jesus? Well, if that’s ever been your experience, I’d say you’re in good company this morning. For as we come to God’s Word today we are going to see that we have a God who is BIG ENOUGH to handle anything in life. So, if you brought your Bible with you, let me encourage you to open it to: Colossians 1:15-20, where we’re going to see that when life gets tough, that Jesus IS all you need. Jesus is enough!
In fact, when this letter was written to the Colossian Church, those first Christians had forgotten this truth– so much so, that they’d moved away from their hope in Jesusby embracing other forms of religion. They moved away from their power in Jesus by embracing man-made solutions to life’s challenges. And along the ways they’d moved away from their understanding of Jesus as one who was both fully God and fully man. One who was fully capable to handle whatever they were facing. So as we come to this passage today, we need to recognize that the same thing could potentially happen to us. We can be tempted to buy into a form of religion that minimizes Jesus, or we can diminish Jesus’ power by putting him on the back burner – by thinking that we’re smart enough, resourceful enough, and strong enough, that we don’t need Jesus. So as we come to this passage, Paul wants us to see Jesus in all His glory, so that we may leave here thoroughly convinced that Jesus and Jesus only is enough to handle anything in our lives.
And he begins by reminding us with this big truth about Jesus: 1. Only Jesus is Big Enough to Meet Any Need Needs, boy do we ever have a lot of those. It seems that all of life revolves around meeting needs. We need money. We need money to put food on our tables, clothes on our backs, and a roof over our head. We need money so we can visit our children, pay for their weddings, and enjoy retirement. But that’s not all we need. We need people. We need a spouse who love us and accepts us. We need friends who support and encourage us. Rare is the person who lives in isolation. We need people in our lives to make life meaningful. We also need health. We need energy to think, laugh and create. We need eyes to see, ears to hear, feet to walk, lungs to breath. Without our health, life can be a real struggle. And we need purpose. We need something that captures our imaginations and hearts. We still need significance and meaning. We need hope and love. We need a reason to be alive, other than to “eat, drink and be merry.” Life is more than just that. And the great thing we see in these verses is that Jesus is ENOUGH to meet any of those needs
Only Jesus is big enough to meet any need because He is the Creator of everything, including us who He created with all these needs. Listen to how Paul describes Jesus: The Son is the image of the invisibleGod, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;all things have been createdthrough him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:15-17
Only Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. Only Jesus is God in the flesh. That’s what we celebrate at Christmas. Jesus came in a human body so he could experience life like us, so He could be with us, show us what God is like, and ultimately so He could die for us. This is what we believe. We believe Jesus is God in the flesh.
However, there were those in the first century who did not believe this. They taught that Jesus did not have a “real body.” They taught that all created matter was evil. So they taught that Jesus “only appeared to have a real body.” So Paul gives us this teaching here, so he can demolish this lie that all created matter is evil. So he begins his argument by telling us that “Jesus is the firstborn over all creation.”
Now reading this from our context can confuse us a bit. Our first thought is that Paul is talking about birth order, thinking that Jesus was the firstborn child of God, just like Kayla is my firstborn. But that’s not the point of the word Paul uses here. The word he uses is actually a term that speaks of status or rank. This word, “firstborn” then, is a title for Jesus telling us that Jesus holds the Highest Position in all creation. In other words, Jesus is Lord of all Creation.
And verses 16 and 17 illustrate why Jesus is Lord over creation! It is because Jesus is the Creator. Everything that exists owes its existence to Jesus. If you can think of something that exists: whether galaxies or giraffes, asteroids or angels, oxygen or hydrogen, anything and everything that is – is here because JESUS SPOKE IT INTO EXISTANCE. Only Jesus has this amazing and miraculous power. Every living or none-living thing: the enzymes in your stomach, the nerves in your fingers, the cornea in your eyeball exists today because Jesus created everything. There is nothing in all creation that exists today apart from Jesus. And what’s so cool about this truth is that today is Earth Day, and it’s His earth. He created it in all its splendor. In that way, everyday should be an Earth Day for Christians, for from the very beginning God gave us this earth to steward, to watch over, to care for. Earth Day may have been a holiday created by some environmentalists in the 70’s, but everyday is earth day for God’s people.
But there’s more to it than just that. Jesus didn’t just create everything, wind it up like a clock and then let it go. No, HE IS INTIMATELY LINKED with every single particle of existence today, including you. Only Jesus holds all things together!Jesus Christ is the glue that keeps all things from exploding apart or melting down altogether. Scientists say that 15 pounds of pressure per square inch is what holds us together. Warren Weirsbe tells this story: “A guide took a group of people through an atomic laboratory and explained how all matter was composed of rapidly moving particles. The tourists studied models of molecules and were amazed that matter is made up primarily of space. During the question period, one visitor asked, “If this is the way matter works, what holds it all together?” For that the guide had no answer. But God has revealed the answer: it is Jesus Christ who holds all things together.”
Why? Because all creation wasn’t put here for you or for me. It wasn’t put here for our grandchildren or great grandchildren. It was created for Jesus Christ. Everything exists because of Jesus and everything exists for Jesus. That means every part of you exists for Jesus. Have you ever pondered that? This gives your life INCREDIBLE SIGNIFICANCE.Ever wondered why you exist? Now, you know. You were created by Him and for Him. There is more to life than eat, drink and be merry. We exist for Jesus, to know Him, to walk with Him, to glorify Him, to learn to live & love like Him!
So, if Jesus made everything and you were made for him, that should have some effect on your perception of God. If He is big enough to bring all things into existence, if He made the oceans, set the stars in place, and gave you the capacity to love – don’t you think that He might just want what is best for you? Like Jesus said in the sermon on the Mount: “Therefore I tellyou, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:25-27 Only Jesus can meet your needs. So the next time you get overwhelmed don’t make Jesus your last resort, make him your first. For only Jesus knows your needs and only Jesus holds your life – so turn to him, trust Him, and wait for Him to work. He might not meet your need today, tomorrow or a month from now. And sometimes what you think is a need, He doesn’t. For He knows what’s best for you. But at the end of the day, He is more than able to meet any need you may have, for He is Lord over all Creation. That’s the first big truth in this passage – Only Jesus is Big Enough to Meet Any Need you will ever have. Now the second,
Only Jesus is Big Enough to Overcome Any Obstacle! We face many obstacles in life. And obstacle is a barrier, something that blocks your path. An obstacle might be an illness or injury, an empty bank account an unfortunate circumstance, or it might be a difficult person. When I was pastoring in Canada, I had an elder who decided that I wasn’t his pastor, that the previous pastor was his pastor, so he felt that he didn’t have to support me. But it was worse than that: For one time he decided to write a letter to the rest of the team in opposition to me. At that time this was the hardest challenge I’d ever faced. But Jesus taught me a lot through this. The first thing he taught me was, that this was His Church. So I found myself praying everyday, acknowledging this truth and saying, “Jesus this is your church, either remove me or deal with this elder.” I always prayed with my hands open, “Have your way with me.”
And Jesus answered that prayer. Two things happened. The first was this: Our Elder team met with this man, and told him he was in the wrong, and that he needed to repent and support me. He actually responded to their rebuke and began to support me. The second thing that happened was this: They met with me and told me “not to worry; if this elder gets out of line again, we will deal with him.” What a blessing. I asked Jesus to deal with this obstacle and he did. After all, the church is HIS church. That’s what we see here in this text: And he is the head of the body,the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. Colossians 1:18
You see, just as Jesus is the Lord of the created realm, He is Lord of the Spiritual realm. He is head of the body, the church. The church is not a religious organization. It is a living spiritual organism. It is a living organism composed of members who are joined in a spiritual union with Jesus Christ. Jesus is the head or originator of the church. The church did not come into existence by a creative act, but by a spiritual act – the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. That is why Jesus is called the firstborn from the dead. Jesus’ resurrection marked his triumph over the dark forces that held us in bondage. He triumphed over the grave. He broke the barrier of death.
What an amazing truth. Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of my father’s death. But knowing this truth has set me free from grieving for I know I will see him again. I miss him, but because Jesus defeated the obstacle of death I have this hope.
That makes Jesus Big Enough for anything we might face. For without the resurrection there would be no church – no resurrection for anyone. And because he is firstborn from the dead he possesses the NEW resurrection life that HE imparts to anyone who believes in Him. Once you have His life in you, you become part of this living spiritual organism called the Church. And Jesus is alive with us today, knitting us together as His Church, building us up as His Church, caring for us as His Church and protecting us as His Church. For it was Jesus who said, “the gates of hell will not prevail against us.”
And that has HUGE implications for us. For if Jesus is big enough to throw off life’s greatest enemy, then Jesus can help you overcome any obstacle. Only Jesus can destroy any fear that’s holding you back. Only Jesus can defeat any sin that’s enslaving you. And Only Jesus can remove any hindrance that’s keeping you from bearing fruit for Him. So the next time you face an obstacle that seems impossible, bring it to Jesus, and wait. Let him work. He rose from the dead. He can raise you too.
So Jesus is big enough to meet any need you might have and He’s big enough to overcome any obstacles you might face. But amazingly enough, there’s one more thing that Only Jesus can do for you:
Only Jesus is Big Enough to Mend Any Relationship Jesus could meet all your earthly needs. He could help you overcome every roadblock; but there could still be one thing missing – you could still be alienated from a life with God. So now, Paul reveals to us why Jesus the most significant person ever. He writes: For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:19-20
Jesus has done it all: He has created all things, He holds everything together, He breaks down every barrier… but ultimately He is the Savior of all. God was pleased to live fully in Him, so that as God in the Flesh, Jesus could be the perfect sacrificial offering for you. So He came and lived a sinless life, then He died for you to turn God’s wrath away from you, so He could make you right with God. Only Jesus could reconcile you to God. And he did it by by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
So how great is Jesus? He did it all for you. And if Jesus did it all for you, just imagine what He can do through you when you let Him to rule in your heart? If Jesus can forgive you, if He can make peace between you and God, then He can help you forgive any person who has ever wronged you and make that relationship whole again. That’s why we must never move away from Jesus. That’s why we must always keep Jesus central to everything in our lives. Because at the end of the day, the one thing that matters most to Jesus is making you right with God. And if Jesus is all about making you right with God, then His mission should be our mission.
For the greatest need in our world today is the need for reconciliation. Only Jesus can heal the racial divide in our country. Only Jesus can make friends out of two people who have nothing in common. Only Jesus can heal a failing marriage. Only Jesus can make you friends with God. Only Jesus can mend a broken heart. That’s why we need Jesus everyday and in every way.
For Jesus IS the image of the invisible God
Jesus IS supreme over all Creation
We were created by him and for Him,
And Jesus holds all things together. HE holds you in the palm of His hand! And by His nail scared hands HE brought you home to God!
That’s why Jesus is all we need.
So, if you’re struggling right now with a life challenge…
If you’re facing a barrier or opposition you can’t get past…
Or if there’s a broken relationship you just can’t mend…
Then come to Jesus, give it to Jesus, and trust Him to work for you…
For only Jesus has what it takes to make things right. Only Jesus is enough.
So let me ask you, Is Jesus enough for you?