Eighth Sunday after Pentecost (C)
July 22, 2007
He’s Everything to Me
This passage of Scripture contains a majestic hymn of praise to Christ. One writer said these words are “a loftier conception of Christ’s person than is found anywhere else in the writings of Paul.” The passage focuses on who He is, what He did, and the response that is required of us. When you can affirm of Christ, “He’s everything to me,” you will discover the fullness of life available from Him.
Christ is everything to me because of who He is (vv.15-19).
He is God. Paul met head-on the Colossian heresy that continues today in a myriad of other forms. Then, like now, some said Christ was only one of many spirit beings between God and His creation. Yet Christ is the “image of the invisible God … the first-born over all creation … in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (vv. 15, 19). The nature and being of God was perfectly revealed in Christ (2 Cor. 4:6). Christ is the visible expression of the invisible God. Jesus said, “He that has seen me has seen the Father.”
Christ is Lord of the universe. Notice the trilogy of phrases that describe His relationship to creation: “All things were created by Him … through Him … for Him” (vv. 16-17). He is the “super glue” by which “all things hold together” (v. 17). None of us need to give up, give in, or throw in the towel thinking the world is falling apart. Remember who Christ is and face life with hope and assurance.
Christ is everything to me because of what He did (vv. 20-22).
During a home visit a man told me, “I can’t believe in God; I’ve seen too much evil. If God is real, why doesn’t He do something?” He has! Through Christ, God has reconciled this sinful world; peace with God has come “through the blood of His cross.” Notice the emphasis on our reconciliation with God; it is never God reconciled to us. He has always loved us, even in our deepest sin. We who have fallen short of God’s image can be restored by Christ, “the image of the invisible God.” His death enables all that come to Him in repentance and faith to one day be presented before God “holy, faultless, and blameless” (v. 22).
Is Christ everything to you (vv. 23-28)?
How have you responded to who Christ is and what He has done? It all happened “so that He might come to have first place in everything” (v. 18). The former slave trader John Newton exclaimed his praise to Christ for the transformation that occurred when Christ became everything to him:
Jesus, my Shepherd, Brother, Friend
My Prophet, Priest, and King
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End
Accept the praise I bring.
Christ must have first place in the church (v. 18). It is never my church or our church; it is always His church. Do church decisions follow His agenda? Does your giving to support Christ’s mission through the church reflect Christ is everything to you? Are you living within the equipping relationships of the church so that you will remain “grounded and steadfast in the faith” (v. 23)?
Christ must have first place in all of life-in and out of the church. In the same issue a newspaper reported that more people go to church in South Carolina than any other state and also carried the news of a woman raped on a Charleston street while people ignored her screams. The preeminence of Christ is not a religious concept; it applies to all things.
When Christ is everything to us, we find the power to go through suffering in the name of Christ, “completing in my flesh what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for His body” (v. 24). Browning said it well:
I tread no path in life to Him unknown
I lift no burden, bear no pain, alone.
When Christ is everything to us, selfishness is replaced with sacrificial service, and we faithfully “proclaim Him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ” (v. 28). (Bill Whittaker)