Sometimes we get discouraged. This is going to be a VERY encouraging study.
“THAT I MAY KNOW HIM AS LORD.” When I read through our scripture verses today looking at them from a teaching point of view and praying about it.....asking the Lord to open my eyes to what He would have me see. The word IN jumped out at me and for next few days, the Lord kept putting on my heart the word IN. Then I would go back and look at the title of our text and see, “That I May know Him As Lord.” I kept questioning why should I concentrate on one of the smallest words in our English language to teach about “knowing Him as Lord.” Lord of all creation is HUGE......why go to this tiny word?
Our God is truly Lord over amazing spectacular things like the universe and the heavens and all flesh but He is also Lord over the smallest of things. Remember....Jesus used the flower to teach us that if God loves the flowers that wither enough to array them in such incredible beauty, how much more He can and does love us who will live with Him for eternity. He also used the sparrow, one of the smallest of birds, to explain the Father’s love for us.
On Sunday, when Josh, from Jews for Jesus, was telling us about the Seder meal, he brought it all together at the end when he reminded us that Jesus used a piece of unleavened bread (basically what we think of as a large cracker), broke it and said “this is my body, eat ; and then took a simple cup of wine and said, “drink from it...all of you, For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” ....a simple cracker and a cup wine to make the most profound statement ever uttered!
So today, per God’s plan which I’m praying that I heard correctly, we’re going to look at the importance of small words, particularly the word “IN,” There are 85 “IN CHRIST” phrases in the New Testament. THERE ARE 12 “in’s” in the Colossians verses we will cover today.
Small stuff is so easy to pass over, right? Yet, psychologists tell us that it’s actually the small stuff that “gets” to us rather than the big things. We deal with the “big” things readily (usually because we have no choice) but it’s the little things that can really drive us over the edge. Small stuff needs to be dealt with before they become a big thing or a crisis. Many of us have heard the saying, “worry about the nickels and the dimes, and the dollars will take care of themselves.” Small stuff matters and often it’s the small stuff, when taken care of, that keeps the “big” stuff from happening.
Why are small words so important in the Bible??? Two examples of many are: How about the word “will” as in when Jesus said, “I “WILL” return to you rather than I “might” return to you.... or what if the word “some” of your sins are forgiven rather than “all” of your sins are forgiven. Jesus taught that “not one jot or tittle shall pass away before all of the law is fulfilled.” A jot in Hebrew language is the 9th letter of their alphabet and about the size of our apostrophe and the tittle is even smaller....something like the cross part of our small t.....but just the right of the crossing part - not the whole line across......very tiny!
Looking up the word “IN” in the dictionary I found it means “POSITION,” or “PLACEMENT.” So my emphasis today is on the word “IN” as our “PLACEMENT” or “POSITION” in Christ. Jesus sometimes said things that were hard for his apostles to understand such as, “This is my body, eat.” And sometimes it’s hard of us to understand that we are IN Christ and He is IN us.
Now with that....I actually want to start with a different book to lay the groundwork for the “IN’s” in Paul’s writing. There are times, for all of us, when for whatever reason, the words in scripture are not connecting like they should or I just haven’t been reading scripture like I should and invariably, when this happens, I know that I need to go to the “RED” words! That’s right - the RED words are the words spoken by Christ, Himself. How many of you sometimes feel you just have to go to the “RED” words....even though in my Bible, they’re not even actually printed in “RED.” So we’re going to start with the words of Jesus first and I want you to listen for the word “IN.” I’ve given you a print out of it and made it easy for you by highlighting all of the “IN’s” with pink. By the end of my sharing, hopefully you’ll have a whole new concept of the word “IN.” If you have a pen or pencil, you might also want to circle the “IN’s” . I’ve also highlighted a few other small words just to show you how important they are.....but yet easy to skip over. The prayer that Jesus prayed, the night before He died, for his apostles and for us is truly one of my most favorite sections of scripture. Here we are only going to look at three verses of His amazing prayer.
John 17:20-23 (NKJV)
“I do not pray for these (the apostles) alone, but also (for) those (you and I) who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in me, and I am in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given (past tense) them that they may be one just as We are One. I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and I have loved them as (the same as) You have loved Me.” Mind boggling that God, the Father, could love us as much as He loves His Son. The small word “IN” is ever so important here.
... and one more example looking at the tiny word: “IN”
1 John 4:4
“He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world.”
OK.....now that we’re “cued in” (there’s that tiny word again) let’s now move on to our verses in Colossians:
Colossians 1:15-27 (NKJV)
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 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.
21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ Jesus, for the sake of His body, which is the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, 26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. 27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
15 ”He (Jesus, our Lord) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” I have to stop here for just a second. How many of you have heard of the Nikon Camera???? Do you know what the Greek word for image is??? It’s “Eikon.” That’s where Nikon Camera got its name because it photographs exact images. Christ is the exact image of God the Father and all of His characteristics. Of course Nikon named their camera long before computers came along. Today most of us know that we have icons that we click on to get to into whatever computer program we need to. We have an icon for Word, an icon for Explorer, and an icon for Excel, etc. etc. I think that’s kind of cool. Don’t you wish everyone would click on the icon for Christ Jesus? Wouldn’t that be awesome? Wow! God manifested (made visible) Himself so that we could see Him in human form and by seeing Him in human form, it would help us to understand His amazing and unequalled love for mankind. He is the image (icon) of the invisible God, the I AM.
16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
Remember what it says in John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was IN the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”
(When I’m asked to share like I am today, I always try to read at least a couple of commentaries and reading Pastor Chuck’s commentaries before I share is a must. I love how he explains things so simply....I thought this part of his commentary was interesting )
"For by Him were all things were created." The "all things," it does mean just that, to be taken literally for things that are in heaven and things that are on the earth, the whole universe, created by Him. Things that are visible and things that are invisible. So, the visible material universe that you can see, plus the invisible universe that you don't see: the spirit beings, the angels, the various rankings and orders of spirit beings, here referred to as "thrones or dominions or principalities or powers." All things were made by Him and for Him. So, not only is He the Creator, but here, He is the object of creation. They were made by Him, and they were made for Him; all of the angles, all of the universe, all of the things within the universe, were made for Him, and that includes you and me.
He existed before ever there was a world, or stars, or planets, or life forms. Before there were ever angels, He existed. He is eternal; He has always existed. He is self-existent. He is before all things, and by Him, all things consist. The word “consist” in Greek means, “are held together.”
A very interesting statement in the light of the discovery of the atoms and the law of electricity. Coulomb's Law of Electricity declares that like or “positive” charges repel....and opposite poles attract. So, there's an attracting force between a positive and negative power. (interesting - I wonder if this is why it so happens in marriage that opposites attract??? :D) Anyway, that's what we use in our electricity and running our motors and all for instances on our car batteries, you have a positive side and a negative side. These alternating currents fall into Coulomb's Law of Electricity. So there is this repelling force of positive charges.
Pastor Chuck goes on to tell one of his famous true stories.....”There was one man, who received his Ph.D. in science, and his thesis was on why the electrons do not collapse into the nucleus of an atom, the protons, following the Law of Electricity, with the attracting force of opposite poles. This is a double mystery! Why are the protons held together, and why don't the electrons collapse into it? And he wrote his thesis which was lengthy but the basic summary of his thesis was this: "They don't collapse into it, because they don't collapse into it." And he passed and got his doctorate on that thesis. We simply don't know. And by his confession, it is true that we simply do not know! There is no answer except in scripture as written in verse 16. ‘By Him all things were held together.’ If the Lord would just release His hold, just for a second, this whole physical universe would go up in one big gigantic bang. It would all be over. In the nuclei of every atom in the universe, these positive charges would follow their natural bent and they'd just repel each other and the whole universe would just go ‘ka-boom!’ It would be the end of everything in the material universe. ‘By Him all things are held together;’ Lord, hang on.”
In verse 18, Paul now goes on to explain how through Christ’s death and resurrection, we are reconciled in Christ.
18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence .
Aren’t we glad that Christ is the Head of the church??? He is the first born from the dead. Had others risen from the dead before Christ? Yes, Lazarus for one......and in Luke 7 the only son of the widow from Nain Jesus brought back to life...and others....but they would die again. Jesus was the first born to rise from the dead in a glorified body never to die again.
Once again, Jesus manifested Himself to us showing us what He has so mercifully planned for us. He could have lived on earth for 33 years....preached, healed the sick and raised the dead and performed a myriad of miracles for three years, then died on the cross and said, “That should be ENOUGH for them to believe! Either they will believe or they won’t.” But He knew our “weak frame” and came back to show and prove to us what He had planned for us. He came back to give us a glimpse of Heaven! .....and He did. So much so that 11 of his apostles (including Paul) were willing to die horrific deaths to share the gospel with us because they understood that this life was only temporary..... as Diane taught last week, that our citizenship is in Heaven....not here in this fallen world.
Paul goes on to write:
19 For it pleased the Father that in Him ( in Christ Jesus), all the fullness should dwell, 20 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. 21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
*** In Jude we read, "Now, unto Him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy" ( Jude 1:24 ) .
***This is what all of these “IN’s” are about! to keep us from permanently falling....to present us faultless and to be RECONCILED to Christ!****
Oh, do you realize what Jesus Christ has provided for you.....for us? The TOTAL pardon of our sins and our transgressions because we are IN Christ Jesus. God, right now if you’ve given your heart to Jesus, sees us as holy (set apart), pure and righteous, for the righteousness of Christ has been placed on us.....His Righteousness covers us through our faith IN Jesus Christ......NOT through any works on our part, but simply through our faith IN Jesus Christ.....God has accounted we who believe in His Son as righteous. WOW!!! It’s difficult, if not impossible, for me to see myself that way. I see all of my flaws and my failings. But God sees me IN His Son, Jesus, without blame, holy and unblemished . I am so thankful that my Lord Jesus lives IN me and I live IN Him.
Then Paul writes:
24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God,
What could possibly be lacking in the afflictions of Christ???? Jesus, our Lord, finished the sacrifice that was needed to save man by His death on the cross. So what does Paul mean??? He means that as long as God allows men free will, satan will continue to afflict those who are saved IN Christ Jesus especially if we are sharing the gospel and standing firmly on our faith. By afflicting the children of God, satan continues to attack Jesus. He knows the war is won but he also knows that God will not cross the free will of man....so satan attacks all....but especially God’s children because God’s children are IN JESUS.
We mothers know that we can take a lot but our weakest spot is almost always our children. When someone hurts them, it hurts us to the core. If someone were to kidnap them, God forbid, we would be crushed beyond measure. Jesus won the war but the battle continues for the free will of man. Each of us has our own battle to win. That’s why every day we must put on the FULL ARMOR of God.
Paul won his battle; he fulfilled the task that God had given him and finished his race strong. He was persecuted, beaten, stoned and probably emotionally devastated many, many times by those he loved and called friends, those who turned their back on him, yet Paul still writes that he “rejoices” in his sufferings for the church.” We read it and I think most of us tuck it away in our minds and think, well, Paul was stronger or his faith was just more mature but even those two things would not have been enough.
In Hebrews, there are three kinds of rest spoken about. One was the “rest” for the Jews who were finally able to enter into the promised land,
The second “rest” is the rest we enter into when we have FAITH & BELIEVE in Jesus. We can rest knowing we are secure in Jesus. The Jews, after everything they witnessed, should have had total faith and belief in God in the wilderness. Why did God not allow that first generation of Jews to enter into and “rest” in the Promise Land??? Hebrews 3:19 says, “they could not enter in because of their unbelief. ”
The 3rd rest is our forever rest in Heaven. Paul could go through everything he went through because he knew that Christ lived IN him..........and Paul knew that he lived IN Jesus. Paul rested IN Christ.
Paul summarizes this part of his letter by writing, “ the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, 26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. 27 To them (that’s you and I) God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ Jesus in you, the hope of glory.
Paul knew that his stewardship was to share the MYSTERY......which was...... God, the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit - One God - living IN the believer and the believer living IN God reconciled, all IN one. The word IN is really a HUGE WORD. Never forget that as a believer in Christ Jesus, that Jesus lives IN you and you live IN Jesus and that God loves you beyond what our knowledge can begin to comprehend.
One very last thing that I discovered (and I think it’s pretty profound but I’m not sure I can explain it) In my word search of the word “IN” I found that when using the words “IN” and “ON” in conjunction with earth and Heaven, it is always written “IN” Heaven” but “ON” earth. It’s never (with the exception of two places in the Old Testament), “IN” the earth....it’s always “ON” the earth. So what does it mean to be “IN” Heaven as in “position”? I think that when we give our lives to the Lord, we are immediately “IN” Heaven because Heaven is “IN” us. We are not bodily in Heaven but because we are “IN” JESUS and He is “IN” us, we are already “IN” Heaven. It’s for another study but I think Paul was very much already “IN” Heaven. That is where His strength came from. His body was taking a beating but his mind was completely “IN” Heaven with Jesus. I believe the more we decide to live for Jesus, the more we can truly enter INto Heaven and enter INto His rest. Dear loved ones.......
MAY YOU BE IN CHRIST JESUS AND MAY YOU KNOW JESUS AS YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR