Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Jesus: The Head of The Church

Here are my notes from a talk given on Jesus as head of the Church:

*You cannot know Christ until you know Him in His relationship to His Church.
The inspired Word repeatedly gives Jesus the exalted title of “head of the church.”

When you hear the title “head of the church,” please do not think of it merely as an honorary or traditional title. Jesus is not the head of the church in the same way that Elizabeth is the “Queen of England.”
Wickepedia says, “She is presently the world's only monarch who is simultaneously Head of State of more than one independent nation. In legal theory she is the most powerful head of state in the world, although in practice she personally exercises very little executive power.”

This title says something about Jesus’ importance, His function, His priorities, and His glory.

The image of the “body of Christ” is used in 2 different senses.
In Romans and 1 Corinthians, the emphasis is on the relationships the members of the body have with each other.
In Ephesians and Colossians, the emphasis is on the role and glory of Christ as the head of the body.

So, lets look at all the references to Jesus as head of the church in Ephesians and Colossians and make some comments about context and meaning.
Then, we will draw out several implications and applications from these texts.

Ephesians 1:20-23 – This is a passage about the glory of Christ. The Father has raised Jesus from the dead, seated Him at His right hand, placed Him far above all things, and gave Him as head over the Church.

Ephesians 4:15-16 – This passage is about the maturity that the church should desire. We are to grow up into our Head and be connected to Him in order to grow.

Ephesians 5:23 – Christ’s headship over the church is the basis for the wives submission to the headship of a loving husband. He is the Church’s Savior.

Colossians 1:18 – Christ’s glory is seen in His relationship to the Church.

Colossians 2:18-19 – The Colossians are urged to hold fast to their Head unlike the false teachers.

What does Christ’s Headship Over The Church Mean?

1. Christ is the supreme authority of His church.
a. Eph. 1:20-23 and Col. 1:18
b. The pastor, elders, or deacons are not the head of the Church.
c. He is the one who says how the church functions, worship, and organizes itself.
d. How well does our structure as a church preserve Christ’s unique authority (theological undergirding for Congregationalism).

2. Christ is inseparably linked to His church.
a. Matt. 16:18 and Acts 9:4
b. If we love Christ, we must also love His church.
c. The church is the preeminent institution/organization in all the world. Only the church will last!

3. Christ provides nourishment to His church.
a. Eph 4:16 and Col. 2:19 (“from whom” = source)
b. We are dependent on our Head (John 15)
c. The power of Christ (our head) is available to us as His body.

4. Christ’s loving headship causes His church to grow to maturity.
a. Eph. 4:15-16
b. Maturity is the goal not numbers. It is not how many people are coming, but what the people are becoming.
c. Our growth as a church comes not from slick programs, aggressive outreach strategies, or plenteous parking. Our growth comes from our Head.
d. Do we rely more on our own wisdom and strategies for growth or do we rely on the power of our Head?

5. Christ is seen in the world through His church.
a. Eph. 1:23 and Eph. 3:10-11
b. Are we an adequate reflection of our head?

Christ laid down His life FOR (on behalf of) the church (Eph. 5:2; 25).
Contrasted with other “heads” who commanded armies to lay down their lives for them.

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