I have been thinking a lot lately about two more concepts. I have thought about this post for several days, praying about how to communicate it, and asking God to piece it together.
So I feel led to start with Colossians 1:15-23 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 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. 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. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant."
I give the quotes of Scripture because I am trying to give more of the context of things somewhat and not simply the verses that I want. So the bolded part above is what I would like to focus on today. I've been thinking about the truth as the Bible says that, "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 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." Think about the awesomeness and the security that is established because Jesus Christ is in total control of everything. IT ALL MEANS SO MUCH!!! Think about the fact that Christ was and IS the firstborn before all creation-that HE created ALL THINGS-that all things were created by Him and for Him (An awesome statement of truth with incredible implications!) and THAT IN HIM ALL THINGS HOLD TOGETHER! He is so totally in control that the smallest invisible atom is literally held together by Him and would not exist, if it were not for Him! (Wow--and they say it was evolution---what a total insult to Jesus Christ right there!) Everything is held together by Him--no exceptions-He is so in control of every particle of matter on the planet, whether we see it or not!
So let's take that thought of Jesus Christ being in control of all things and Him holding all things together and think about this in the context and mindset of when He returns......His return showing us again that as He said, death is indeed swallowed up in victory!
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 "Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first."
Think of the comfort of these words that we have been given! The verses mention first those that have fallen asleep (died) in Christ Jesus! Every one of us have our stories of those that we have loved that have died in Christ and gone before us. God has not forgotten them.
Before I continue with the 1 Thessalonians passage let me go to another passage first.
2 Corinthians 5:1-9 "Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it."
Think about the fact that we who have trusted Christ alone long to be with Him---God made it clear in the previous verses that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, I believe in Spirit. The body stays in the ground at the time of death , but the spirit of each human being goes on to it's eternal destiny (heaven for believers--hell for unbelievers-at the second and exact moment of death)
Here on earth we are away from Christ-we long to be with Him as stated in the prior previous verses above because our citizenship is in Heaven. Philippians 3:20-21 tells us exactly that "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."
But going back to our Colossians passage that we first looked at for a moment-thinking of those who have died and gone to be with the Lord before us. Their deaths have happened in so many ways (just like the deaths of the unsaved.) fires, drownings, etc. But think about the fact that JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF HAS CONTROL OVER EVERY SPECK OF MATTER IN THE UNIVERSE. We are told in the 1 Thessalonians passage that those who died in Christ will rise first, Their spirits are already WITH HIM in His presence...so therefore from the passage their new glorified bodies will come up from the grave---THINK ABOUT HOW COOL THIS IS GOING TO BE!! He is in control of all matter-all the dust particles and knows exactly which particles belonged to whom! IT WILL BE AMAZING F9OR THOSE OF US THAT ARE STILL ALIVE AT HIS COMING TO BEHOLD!!! WHAT A TESTIMONY OF GOD'S ULTIMATE POWER AND CONTROL TO THE REST OF THE WORLD!!!
And back to the 1st Thessalonians passage, it is after the dead in Christ have risen first in their glorified bodies that, "After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words."
The consolation and awe of all of it will be incredible.
Are you grieving? Don't forget that in Christ, WE HAVE HOPE!! 1 Corinthians 15:50-57 tells us "I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ IS IN CONTROL of ALL, dear friend! Death has no victory or sting for those that have trusted in Him---He has already won the victory when He died willingly in our place on the cross and arose from the grave. So I will close this post with the final verse from 1 Corinthians 15:58 which says,
"Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
BLESSED BE THE NAME OD JESUS CHRIST, OUR SAVIOR AND LORD OVER ALL!!!!