What Holds the Universe Together?
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Carrying Jesus is that rest you know, carrying Jesus. I’ve said several times this week that that’s what our life is. Each of you and I, we each carry Jesus. We carry him. We carry him where he does not want to go or where he does want to go but that’s why we’re alive, to carry Jesus. And when you carry Jesus you are in that rest because he is living in you and through you. And it’s very different from believing in Jesus and trying to follow him, you see. It’s very different from that.
We’ve all been taught that that’s the normal Christian life; believe in Jesus and try to follow him and of course that’s a very burdensome life. It’s a life that is always confessing its sin and asking forgiveness, a life that is always falling and failing and being defeated. A life that is full of trying, I’m trying to witness, I’m trying to pray right, I’m trying to be like Jesus. That’s a very different life. It’s, if you like, the lower way, it’s the way that the Bible describes as the carnal way. It’s the way where you say, “The good that I would I cannot do and the very evil that I hate, that’s the very thing I do.” That’s that life where you believe in Jesus and you try to follow him. Very different from the higher way where you carry Jesus within you, where Jesus lives the life and he actually carries you.
And I understand very well that you must wonder in your hearts, “Well, how do you carry Jesus? I mean, I’ve tried during the past few days to do what you say. I’ve tried to remember that I’m carrying Jesus. I’ve tried to do it. Behind the counter there in the Garden Café I’ve tried to remember, ‘Now remember, Jesus is in you,’ and I’ve tried to make it real.” You’ll never do it by concentrating on yourself, by looking into yourself and trying to make it real, you’ll never do it. It’s very difficult to sit on a winter’s day in a cold bus in London and think what it’s like to be in the Florida of the sunshine. But it’s very easy if you can step into the Florida sunshine. The object of reality makes the inside subjective experience right. It’s the objective reality that makes the inside subjective experience right.
And I think that’s what each of us needs to do. We need to see clearly what the objective of reality is and set our eyes upon that and from that will come the reality of Jesus within us. The killer is that each of us have a very contorted view of reality. What I joked about yesterday about “look he’s eating his teddy bear”, that is very much the reality for us, we have been brought up to have our names on our cufflinks, you know. We have been brought up, “This is my suit,” and, “This is my car,” and, “This is my life,” and we really are the big people in our view and we’ve been brought up to think that. And that’s part of why it makes it impossible for us to live reality because we have such a twisted view of what reality is.
We are encouraged to think from we’re little babies that we are the center of the universe and we battle against the fact that other people don’t think we’re the center of the universe all through the rest of our lives and we just cannot understand how they cannot see that we have a view of life that nobody else has and certainly they don’t have and we are quite remarkable little beings and we don’t like the idea that they don’t think that about us and we feel we’re very much the center of things. We’re not. We’re not, we’re not. God had Jesus first. God had Jesus first. Before he had anything he had Jesus.
In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God. Jesus was there
before any of us. Maybe a millisecond but he was there first. He is God’s only begotten son, the only one that was directly begotten by God. That’s Jesus. So there was just God and there was Jesus. That is reality. That’s reality. That’s the heart of everything.
Now I agree with you that if you like to say, “In the next millisecond in eternity God then begot his son as the first-born of creation.” So first he had him as his only begotten son and then the second millisecond if you like he begot him as the first-born of all creation, but he was the first-born. He was at the beginning before everything else and everything that followed was made in him. So Jesus is everything and all the planets came out of him. That’s what John says, he says, “All things were made by him and without him was not anything made that was made.” So Jesus himself is the one that made everything. Everything was made out of him, out of his life. His Spirit became matter, his Spirit became earth, his Spirit became space, his Spirit became oxygen and hydrogen, and all the elements. Everything was made out of Jesus. So there’s nothing around us these bricks, and these lights, and this wood, there is nothing around us that is not made out of Jesus.
And then you remember what Colossians says, “That all things hold together in him.” Everything holds together in him. Not only was everything made in him, but everything holds together in him. So, this table is held together in him, it is his power that holds the table together, the wood that is made up of millions and millions of protons and neutrons flying around like that in space, those are all held together in this shape by him. He has only to will for a billionth of a second and this all would disappear. So everything is held together. This challis is held together by him, everything holds together in Christ.
I think, dare I say that you’re the same as me; we’re not brought up really to grasp that. We think, “Oh yes, Jesus is God’s only Son, you know, and he gave his life so that we all might live.” But we don’t see not just that, he is everything. Jesus is the source of everything. There’s nothing on this earth that was not made by him and through him and out of him, out of him. And all of that is held together by him. And of course, that’s why we preach Jesus so enthusiastically and so committedly. He is far different from Mohammad, far different from Buddha, far different you can’t put them together. He is not just the Savior of the world he is the whole source of everything that is in the universe. He is next to God. He is part of God. God is in him, where Jesus is there is God. Where Jesus is there is the Holy Spirit. Jesus is everything.
So, we are very small minded you see when we glorify Jesus because he’s our Savior. We’re always singing you see, “Oh, we glorify him because he’s our Savior, because he’s died on the cross.” Our Savior, he is us, he is everything because you are God’s workmanship. You too created in Christ Jesus. And so, each of us were created in Jesus, created in him and created out of him, and the Savior has used our mums, and our dads, to manifest us in this world but does it not make you wonder the miracle of even human birth, doesn’t it make you wonder? Alright, we talk about the seeds and the semen and all that stuff but really we do not have a notion how it all comes to be a human being. It’s just still a mystery and a miracle whether it’s an animal being born or a human being being born.
And the fact is that Jesus simply used our mums and our dads, and our grandparents, and our great grandparents as a way of manifesting us in this world. But each of us was made in Christ and any good desires that you or I have are there because of our Father. Our Father Christ the Everlasting Father, you remember, he is described in that piece of Isaiah that Handel uses in his Messiah, the Everlasting Father he shall be called Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince
of Peace. Jesus is our Everlasting Father. We belong to Jesus. Not just because he’s the one who begot us. It is him that runs through our whole being. It is his blood that runs through our blood.
Your very characteristics that make you different from the rest of us in this room, those are the characteristics that Christ has to manifest in this world. They’re from him, you got them from him and not only did you get them from him but you’re still in him. Do you see that? See, I know it’s hard and I know our conscious rebels against it and sometimes our self-righteousness rebels against it, Hitler was in him. Hitler was in Jesus. I know, we feel, “No, no, no, you mean that prostitute that I saw downtown?” Yes, yes. We of course are so nicey nicey and so self-righteous that we cannot imagine connecting people like that with our Lord, but that is what reality is. Jesus holds all of us inside himself even at this present time. And so even though Joe looks to be a person apart from the rest of us, and Marty looks, and I look, and we seem to be different, we’re separate and independent, we’re not we are still in Jesus. We are held inside him. We are part of him.
Of course part of the difficulty you can see that we get into in trying to carry Jesus, we think of ourselves wrongly. We think of ourselves as separate people, independent people who have to be born of God, and have to be justified, and sanctified before we can get into Jesus. Well, we do have to be those things before we’re at peace in him and before we’re at one with him and can live with him forever, but the fact is we’re in him now at this moment. We are in him and what we are doing we are making him do.
But that’s an objective fact. It’s an objective reality that all of us were created in Jesus and we are part of him. That’s why Paul says that so clearly, “You are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” We of course, mutilate the verse. We make it small, we tie it down to our little church games and we say, “Oh yes, it means we’re the actual church of Christ, you know, all of us put together. Marty can sing and Sheila can sing, and Joanne can play the organ, and this person can read and preach, and so we’re all performing the function of Christ’s body.”
And suddenly we’ve lowered the whole thing from the reality that the scripture states, you are the body, the actual body of Christ. You are Christ’s body, his body. You are his fingernail, you are his second finger, you are his leg, you are actually Christ’s body and individually each of you is a different member of that. And we get member, “Oh, I’m a member of this church or that church.” No, member in the sense of limb, you are a limb; you are a part of Jesus himself. At this very moment you are a part of Jesus himself.
And the point is you are, whether you like it or not and whether you believe it or not. You are. That is the way God has made the whole situation. He has made all of us in his Son and his Son has lovingly held onto us whatever we have done. And part of the bearing of our sins comes from the fact that he keeps holding on to us. I don’t know if you’ve seen a mum with one of those little two year olds who is just determining that life should be lived independently and the little two year old is kicking like mad and sometimes kicking the mum. And she holds onto him. That’s what Jesus is doing except that we’re not just kicking, at times we’re stabbing. At times we’re tearing apart his insides but he holds onto us. All the time he holds onto us. So we’re in him whatever we’re like.
But that’s the reality of it, that we are in Jesus and each of us remains in him and he holds onto us. And when he was crucified before the foundation of the world, it was because his Father in that millisecond saw what would take place and asked his Son, “My Son, will you bear this?” And Jesus
said, “I will bear it.” At that moment he was crucified. At that moment you in him were crucified. At that moment he was raised up. At that moment he bore all the pain of the crucifixion and experienced all the joy of the resurrection and us with him. And that is now reality, that each of us in Jesus has been raised up and are beginning to live again. Unless, we fail to see that or fail to believe that and pretend that we are not in Jesus, and pretend that we are what the world thinks it is, independent human beings who maybe will get into Jesus if they believe the right thing, or if they’re born of God’s Spirit.
You are in Jesus. You may not be at peace in Jesus, you may not be in love with Jesus, you may not be willing to live with him after this life, but you are in Jesus. It is no mystery that you are carrying Jesus around. You can do no other because his words apply to all of us when he said, “Apart from me you can do nothing. You could not even curse me without me. You couldn’t even swear at me without me. Apart from me you can do nothing. I am your life. I am your very body and your mind. You have been made out of me and in me you hold together. If for a second I withdrew my love from you, you would explode, or you would disintegrate, or you would just disappear. In you I dwell and I live not in your spirit just, not in your mind just, in every part of your being. In fact, it is me that is there and your name that the world has given you is just a name that they know that being as. But I have a name that I have given you and that is in my heart and that is the name that you will be known forever in eternity. And that name is dearer because it’s part of me.”
And of course the early church was trying to get at that when it gave us Christian names. But there is a being in Jesus that is real forever and that is the being that you are. And can you see clearly what sin is? Sin is living as if that isn’t true. Sin is actually living apart from God. We always think of it as, “Oh yeah, you mean apart from God in an immoral life.” No, no, just living apart from God, just living even as a good person but as if you are not in Christ at all, as if he is not in you, thinking of yourself as your own, as someone that can do good or someone that can do bad. But sin is actually not in itself immoral necessarily. You can see that clearly when Jesus rebuked the Pharisees who were very righteous.
Sin has the meaning of the old Greek and Hebrew word missing the mark. There’s a bull’s eye and you shoot and you miss the bull’s eye. You miss the heart of what you were made for. You miss the center and the full purpose and reality of your origin. That’s what sin is. It’s living as if you’re outside Jesus, as if you’re apart from Jesus. And so when you live in sin you’re living as if you do not carry Jesus and really as if Jesus does not carry you and its just untruth. It’s untruth and that’s why it’s not real and that’s why it brings coldness, and darkness, and loneliness, and frustration, and all the other things. But those are details, you see, all that comes from the fact that the objective reality is that you and I are in Jesus. We’re measured in Jesus; we have no life apart from Jesus. That’s why the Bible says, “He lives and because he lives I live also. If he didn’t live I wouldn’t live.” But we have fallen into the trap of the godless who believe that, “Oh yeah, we do have life apart from him.”
We don’t. The very life that we have at this moment is his life. So, you can see when you get up in the morning, I mean, it’s just craziness to think, “I am Ernest O’Neill,” “I am Marty Poehler.” It’s almost as if the Savior has to whisper, “I don’t know you.” I don’t know the English word to use to get it over but he must answer something like, “You’re Marty Christ I thought? I know you as my finger.” But that’s the reality.
So it’s a total unreality loved ones, that’s why we have trouble with the idea of carrying Jesus, we’re trying to create inside ourselves a feeling that would naturally flow from us if we set our
eyes on these great verses. And I didn’t quote them, I have them all down here but I didn’t – but they’re Ephesians 2:10, “You are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus.” Colossians 1:15, “He was the first-born of all creation and in him all things hold together.” They’re all just those verses that are so plain. Ephesians 1 is clear, “He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ. From before the foundation of the world he destined us in love.” So before the foundation of the world you were created in Jesus. You were made to be God’s sons and daughters. So the reality of it is everywhere. I’d encourage you to look at those verses and to dwell upon it and think about that rather than the other, “I must remember Jesus is in me.” I mean, it’s like saying, “I must remember I’m standing on the earth.” You’re standing on the earth you don’t have to remember it. That’s reality.
So really what I’m saying is the key is to see what is reality and set your eyes on it and fill your mind and your heart with it. And if you say to me, “You mean do that little and I’ll be okay?” It’s reality every second, every second. Every second that’s the reality. Jesus is in you and he has a life to live. Look out and see that the whole world lies before you or to choose your place of rest. The whole life is before you. Jesus has a life, a new life to live in you and through you. He has things to do that he’s interested in. A life that he has planned you to live, that he has designed you specifically for. But the reality of it all comes with our eyes full of Jesus.
But you see the difference? You see the difference between that and our usual attitude, our usual attitude we are the centers and we must set our mind from time-to-time on Jesus. He’s out there somewhere at the right hand of God and we ought to look up to him because he’s our Savior. It’s ridiculous. It’s not reality. Reality is, “Savior, I am in you. You are in me and all around. This is your life Lord, let’s go.” That’s it and that’s what he has for us. Let us pray.
Lord Jesus, we see and glimpse some of what we can see is really obviously true but our eyes become so darkened that we can hardly tell truth from untruth. But Lord Jesus, we do see that in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God. All things were made by him and without him was not anything made that was made. We do see that Lord Jesus, that you had a glory with your Father before the world was and before we were you were with your Father and we thank you. And we thank you for receiving us into yourself and we thank you that your Father made us, we’re his workmanship and we were created in you Lord Jesus. And we thank you for that.
We thank you that before the foundation of the world we were destined to be God’s sons through you. And we thank you Lord that you were the first-born of all creation and that in you all things hold together. So Lord, we see that we are nothing but your body. We’re your outside expression and each of us is individually a part of you that the others aren’t. And this is your life with good works that you have prepared beforehand that we can walk in but that you yourself have done.
Oh Lord Jesus, we would start looking forward to such a holiday. Such holidays, such holy days, as lie before us. Holidays where we dwell in the rest, the second rest, reserved for the people of God where we too rest from all our labors and our false striving and we allow you, Lord God, to work in us that which we work out through our lives. Lord, we thank you for the glory and the wonder of it. And Lord Jesus, we open ourselves to you and Savior, we see not a second can we afford to think apart from you. Not a second can we afford to spend outside you in unreality. And we see that every second, every millisecond is only reality if we are living it inside you where we really are and where we’re seeing you and not the illusion of an independent self that we have so often looked upon.
Lord Jesus, we thank you that as we carry you from place-to-place this afternoon, you in reality are carrying us. You are holding us in your arms and keeping us close to your breast. We thank you Lord. Amen.