In Him: Part 3

January 3, 2024

Series: In Him

Book: Colossians

This sermon is part of our In Him series. In Him is a 3 part series that studies the Colossians in the run up to Christmas 2023. You can watch all 3 here.


Sermon Manuscript:

Merry Christmas!  Welcome to North Village Church Candlelight Worship Service. My name is Michael.  We are really excited to celebrate the glory of Christmas as God enters into human history as an infant.

The glory of God coming in the gentlest way we can imagine and yet Jesus grows up to live a perfect life, willingly lays down His life at the cross to the point of death, conquers death in the resurrection, so that all who trust in Jesus are reconciled to God.  That’s Christmas!

We typically go verse-by-verse through God’s Word, but in light of this special occasion I wanted to ask all the children to come to the front and have them help me go through our passage today.

It doesn’t matter what age you are, or where you are seated, but I want to ask little ones, elementary, teenagers to come to the front. (Encourage kids to circle around on the floor, and I will sit on the edge of the stage. Maybe ask questions about excitement for Christmas / presents they are wanting.) As the kids get seated, ask one of them to read the verse on the screen for us:

Colossians 1:17, “17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

Who can read that verse on the screen for me?  Who is the He?  Jesus.  What is Jesus holding together?  (Earth, sea, trees, cars, family, us, space, universe, oxygen, atoms, airplanes, Christmas, buildings, toys.).

How does Jesus hold ALL those things together?  How many things can you hold together?  The bible teaches us that Jesus is so big and so powerful that He is holding all of the universe in His hands.  You can return to your seats.

Last Sunday we did a deep dive into Colossians 1, verse 15.  We see Jesus is the image of the invisible God, firstborn of all creation.  This morning we focused on Colossians 1, verse 16 that all things were created through Jesus and by Jesus and in verse 17 we see the focus is that Jesus holds ALL THINGS together.

Can you think of a greater way to celebrate Christmas than to remember that Jesus is holding all of life together?  Let’s take a few minutes to walk through what verse 17 means at the COSMIC level, the HISTORICAL level and the PERSONAL level.

Colossians 1:17, “17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

  • Cosmic level:
  • Historical level:
  • Personal level:

Let’s start with the cosmic level.  It’s possible that some of us are thinking, “I thought we were celebrating Christmas?”  We are.  But you don’t know the joy Christmas if you don’t know the glory of Jesus.

If Jesus’ birth is equivalent to your nephews’ birth with a few extra bonuses then Christmas isn’t that big of a deal but when you take in the glory of God made known in Jesus then celebrating Jesus’ birth is awe-inspiring.

God’s Word teaches us that all things find their origin in Jesus.  The reason the sun exists is because of Jesus.  The reason there is a water cycle of condensation, evaporation and precipitation is because of Jesus.  The reason there is food to eat is because of Jesus holding all things together.

Yes, there are natural disasters, there are snow-pocalypses, there are unforgiving parts of creation but that’s not because of Jesus.  Jesus created everything to be perfect.  The disasters of creation are because of our sin and Jesus is so big and so powerful that Jesus is working in the midst of our sin to accomplish His purposes.

In fact, the only reason we don’t look out on the cosmos and see more disasters is because of Jesus holding back disasters.  We look at the disasters and we think, “Why are these disasters so horrible?”  But Jesus is thinking, ‘It could be so much worse.”  God’s Word teaches us that Jesus is literally holding back the darkness of our sin as a means of grace and mercy. (2 Thessalonians; restrainer.)

And, Romans 8 teaches us the cosmos that we see today is groaning in the pain of sin and longing for the day when Jesus will return to make all the cosmos perfect again, and it’s all possible because Jesus is holding the cosmos together.

Illustration:  I remember when my 19-year-old daughter was 6 months old and I would hold her whole life in my arms and her little hands would grip my shirt, which at the time I thought was a little rude.  She only weighed 15 pounds.

But from her perspective I am sure it was scary being catapulted up to 6 feet in the air, so that her natural response was to hold on tight with her little hands gripped around my shirt.

In the same way, all of humanity is gripping on to something for security; it might be a relationship, it might be our careers, it might be our health and we are hoping our little hands can hold on tight enough.  But the glory of verse 17 is that Jesus is holding all of humanity, all the universe together for His glory.

Jesus is not only holding all the cosmos together but Jesus is also holding all of history together.  We touched on this a little this morning.  All of creation was spoken into existence.  Jesus is the chief architect in Genesis 1 and throughout all of human history Jesus is holding all of life together.  Isn’t that amazing?

We read about these ancient empires in history books like Israel, Babylonian, Persian, Assyrian, Roman but behind every one of those empires, every one of those kings and queens, every tribe, every clan is Jesus holding all of history together for His glory.

Illustration:  For you and I reading about history this can be confusing.  It can be unsettling to think about the violence, chaos and pain that has taken place in our past, maybe in our present and possibly in our future, so that we might find this truth a little odd.

We think about the history of the United States and the history our nation with the Native American, fighting against the British, the history of the American slave, so that we might think, “Where was Jesus in those moments?”

Verse 17 is teaching us that Jesus is there.  Jesus is working.  Jesus is holding all of history together for His glory.  It doesn’t mean Jesus approves of those events.  It doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t care.  Jesus created everything to be perfect but, in our sin, we see everything He created to be good is fractured and broken and still Jesus is holding all of history together to accomplish His purpose for His glory.

Illustration:  Take the city of Austin for example; I remember when we moved to Austin in 2006 and in Austin 2006 was lovely.  It was a big city and a little town all mushed together and over the last 15 years it could feel like Austin is out of control.

My daughter attends university in Denton, TX and she says when people find out she grew up in Austin they say, “I am sorry.  What a horrible place?”  Isn’t that funny?  Think about that for a second.  Is Austin outside of verse 17 for Jesus?

Do we think Jesus said to Himself, “I tried to work with those people in Austin but I better see if I can do some work in places like Burleson or Longview, because Austin is too horrible?”  Child, please!

This city is His city.  Are there things happening in our city, in our history, around the world that is not of His glory?  Yes, but that doesn’t mean Jesus isn’t working in those moments to accomplish His purposes for His glory.

Jesus is not only holding all the cosmos together, all of history together but also our personal lives.  Do you see how our understanding of Jesus shapes our celebration of Christmas?

The story of Jesus born in the little town of Bethlehem is a nice story but if Jesus’ birth is just like every other birth then the celebration of Christmas is swallowed up with presents, lights and trees.

But if Jesus’ birth is eternal God holding all things together and yet humbling Himself to the form of an infant in a manger, then the celebration of Christmas is different, right?  If we have a small view of Jesus we have a small celebration of Christmas but if we have a glorious view of Jesus then we have a glorious view of Christmas.

Jesus is not only holding all the cosmos together, all of history together, but Jesus holding the very smallest detail of our personal lives.  Can you imagine?  Every human being throughout all of humanity, today and going forward, and Jesus is holding every little piece together for His glory.

When you are born, where you are born, the parents we have are the exact parents Jesus wanted us to have, with all their strengths and all their weaknesses the glory of Jesus is working in all those moments to accomplish our good and His glory.  That might be a bit much for a candlelight worship but consider Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

In Genesis 2 and 3 we see Adam and Eve placed in the garden with perfect relationship with one another and perfect relationship with God.  Yet the day unfolds with the serpent whispering into Eve’s ear, “Did God really say?”

In that moment everything begins to fall apart.  Eve misunderstands the relationship with God.  Adam misunderstands his relationship with Eve and doesn’t say anything to stop the serpent, so that Adam and Eve both fall into sin and all of creation breaks down in toil and frustration that we see today.

In that moment it looks like all hope is lost.  In that moment it looks like the enemy has prevailed.  In that moment it looks like only darkness and death can come forward but imbedded in that moment is this promise in Genesis 3:15.

Genesis 3:15, “He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise Him on the heel.”

It’s not obvious in verse 15 all by itself but verse 15 is referred to as the first gospel.  The “he” is a reference to the promise of a savior, this is why we celebrate Christmas, he who will come to bruise Satan on the head with a crushing blow.

In fact, the blow to the head shall land so hard and so powerful that it will bruise the heal of the One who is coming to bring rescue and reconciliation to all of creation.  Verse 15 is talking about Jesus!

It’s possible you are thinking, “Why are we talking about this on Christmas Eve?”  It’s because there are moments in our life that look dark.  Christmas is sometimes referred to as the “most wonderful time of the year” but for a lot of people there can be really horrible memories.

The hope of Christmas is that in the darkness moments of death, when it looks like all of creation was lost we see this little glimmer of a flickering light in Genesis 3:15, the promise of Savior to come and in Colossians 1 we see that Savior is Jesus!

Jesus isn’t limited to specific geographical location.  Jesus isn’t limited to a specific point in history.  Jesus ascended to the heavens.  Jesus is available to all people, at all times and all places.  Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father where all authority in heaven and earth has been given to Him for His glory.  That’s why we celebrate Christmas.  Will you pray with me?

Colossians 1:17, “17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” 

Candle Light: 

Wasn’t that wonderful.  We’re going to move into a time of lighting our candles and signing. We have people who can pass out the candles and I want to explain why we do this at Christmas Eve.

I will remind us to please be careful with these candles. Please don’t get too close to the people in front of you with these candles. The lit candles always stay facing up. We light the unlit candle by turning on its side.

But, we are going to light these candles on the first row, and we are going to slowly see these candles light up this room as a reminder of the hope we have in Jesus and every flicker of light is a reminder to ask Jesus for His help to trust that He is holding all of creation together for His glory.

Just in our church family alone we have had family members in the hospital and some progress is taking place but there are still questions the doctors can’t answer.  There are marriages that are struggling, and in the movies, they always work through those marital rifts in two-hours with a nice red bow at the end but in real life, marriage can be difficult.

How many of us have encountered difficulty of mental health?  Trying to get your hands around mental health is like trying to get your hands around jello, and we can get discouraged.  There are challenges in parenting, shifts in our career, and sometimes life can be overwhelming.

We have moments when we feel like God is distant and moments we aren’t sure if God is real, so as we light these candles and sing together I want us to all to pray to ourselves, “Jesus help me to trust that you ARE holding all things together.”

We fail, we doubt, we quit, we get scared and tonight we ask the Holy Spirit to take all those fears.  Fix our eyes on Jesus, the ultimate architect holding every piece of life together for our good and His glory.


North Village Church

This sermon is brought to you by North Village Church, a non-denominational church in Austin. established in 2009 and built around Jesus and Bible teaching.

Are you looking for a church in Austin? At North Village Church we put Jesus at the center of our church family. We worship together every Sunday at 10:30am, encourage Christ centered fellowship through groups, and host special events such as Bible studies and Theological Training, to ensure that we are rooted in in God’s Word. We also serve our local community in association with several Austin based organizations.

North Village Church is made up of professionals, married couples, singles, and families who are wanting to experience the life-transforming power of Jesus. If you are a family with children or teens, we can support you with either or both our Kids Ministry and Youth Ministry.

Check out our North Village Church calendar highlights such as our Christmas Eve Service and Easter Sunday Service.

You are welcome to contact us if you would like more information.


NVC Online

Unable to attend this Christian Church in Austin? Don’t worry, because, through God’s provision, we have created NVC online, an Online Church streaming a worship service every Sunday from 10:30am Central Time. You can also watch our short, powerful sermons on demand and follow us on Instagram for daily Christ centered content.