The Body of Christ, Jesus Is The Head Of The Church, Part 1
Intro: In doing research on the subject of Christ as the Head of the Church, I came across a sermon by a very well known Bible teacher (John McArthur, Jr.). In his introduction he gave some history of this doctrine and gave numerous accounts of Christians who were persecuted and condemned by the Church in Rome for teaching that Jesus was the Head of the Church. Sadly, the Church in Rome believed the Pope was the Head of the Church and not Jesus. There have also been times that the Church of England has declared that the King or Queen of England was the head of the Church.
You need to know that a lot of Christians have lost their lives defending this biblical teaching.
We might sit here today and say that declaring the Pope or the King or even the pastor to be the head of the church is just plain silly, but people today tend to forget whose church this is.
I have a pastor friend who had to make some changes concerning which Sunday School classes met where. They needed to move two of their adult classes to swap rooms. One class had a large room and small attendance and the other class had a small room with large attendance. The group of adults in the large room said they wouldn’t move because it was their room. The pastor drew up a deed and in front of the class signed the church back over to Jesus. The good news is that the class chose to do the right thing and switch places with the larger class.
Recently I met with one of the churches in the Yavapai Baptist Association and I realized that one of the problems they had was that very few in that group really understood their place in the Body of Christ. As I thought about that I began to think that this is a subject we need to address in our church. So today I’m beginning a short series on the subject of the Body of Christ and I’m beginning with the Head of the Church, Jesus.
The specific language of Jesus as the Head of the church comes directly from the Apostle Paul’s writings. There are several things that he teaches us about Jesus as the Head of the Body, the Church.
I. Jesus saves us.
Look at two verses from Ephesians 5:
NAS Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body…25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her;
As Paul taught on the subject of living a Spirit filled life, he addressed the Christian family and as he did he compared the husband/wife relationship with the relationship of Christ and his Church.
Notice what he says here:
Jesus is the head of the church because he is the Savior of the body. Every person in the world is in need of a Savior. We are all born with a sin nature and as a result live as sinners.
How did Jesus become the Savior? Verse 25 tells us that he became the Savior by giving himself on the cross for his body, the church. He was willing to take the punishment we deserve in order to purchase forgiveness and salvation for us.
II. Jesus leads us.
Look at another verse:
NAS Colossians 1:18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.
What is the job of the head as relates to the body? Isn’t it to do the thinking and to give orders to the rest of the body and cause it to function?
Many years ago I knew a young pastor who had Multiple Sclerosis (MS). One day we were having a Pastors’ Fellowship in a restaurant. He got up to go to the restroom and fell flat on his face and bloodied his nose. What I’m about to say is something he shared. He said that his physical body was a parable of the church, the body of Christ. He fell and hurt himself because his brain sent signals to his body, but his body wouldn’t do what the brain told it to. Likewise many churches are struggling because the members of Christ’s body are not willing to listen to what Jesus says to them.
Jesus is supposed to have “first place in everything” according to the verse we just read. He’s supposed to be calling the shots. We’re supposed to be listening to him.
Where does my personal preference come in? In a very real sense, it shouldn’t be a factor at all. The question we should be asking ourselves is, “What is the Lord telling us to do?”
III. Jesus holds us together.
Recently (October 2017) I was taking one of the men from the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention (Keith Durham) on a partial tour of our Association. We drove into the little town of Mayer and saw where the church was and talked about it and where it is and what some of their needs are. When we drove into the community I noticed a little store just off of the highway called “The 70’s Store”. It looked like it had a lot of hippie type stuff. As we were driving out I just had to stop and take a look at it. Keith and I went in and saw that they sold a lot of leather goods and tie dyed clothing and other items. I engaged the young lady behind the counter in conversation and shared my testimony of being a hippie and how I got saved and clean and sober. Then I began to talk to her about how some of the ideals of the hippie movement were great, but couldn’t be accomplished in human strength. For example, Jesus is able to unite people from very different backgrounds. I used the example of two of the disciples, Simon the Zealot and Matthew the Tax Collector. Simon was a freedom fighter before he met Jesus and was trying to kick the Romans out of Israel. Matthew was a collaborator who worked for the Romans who were occupying his country. What brought them together? They both met Jesus.
NAS Ephesians 4:15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
NAS Colossians 2:19 and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.
Did you notice that? Jesus, the Head of the Body, provides everything we need to hold all of the parts together.
Jesus helps every member of the body to function properly.
Jesus causes the church to grow with a growth that comes from God.
What is happening in most churches in America today? Churches are splitting over the style of music they use to praise and worship Jesus. Church members are splitting because someone or something rubbed them the wrong way.
What should be happening? We should recognize that the one thing all of us have in common is our faith in Christ. We are saved by his blood and all have the same Father.
A lot of Christians treat the church like it’s a Burger King fast food restaurant – they believe they can have it their way and if it isn’t their way they’ll take off and find a church that does.
Jesus isn’t number two:
On Saturday, April 11, 2009, Carolyn and I were helping Camp Verde Baptist Church with a “Free Garage Sale”. I trained their witnessing team and was helping to witness to people. I was witnessing to one Hispanic man by the name of Mario. We used a “Community Opinion Survey” to begin the witnessing conversation. After asking the opinion questions we moved to asking questions about spiritual matters. Mario said he believed Jesus was the Son of God. The second question was “Who is Jesus to you?” Mario said, “After the Virgin of Guadalupe, he is the second person I need to talk to.” I had never had anyone tell me Jesus was second to anyone like that before. As we moved further in our conversation, it became apparent that Mario was counting on his good works to get him to heaven. At the end of the survey, Mario did pray to receive Christ because he wanted to know for certain he was going to heaven.
Before that man prayed to receive Christ, he said Jesus was number two; the Virgin of Guadalupe was number one.
Jesus will not be number two to anyone. His rightful place in your life is to be number one and the only one to whom you pledge your eternal loyalty. And his rightful place in the church is as the Head. He is the one we should seek to hear from. He is the one who should bind our hearts together. He is the one we should be following.
How will we know him and hear from him? We need to spend time in his word listening to what he has said and observing what he has done. When we do that, we will be able to know which the direction the Head is leading us.
©Copyright Rik Danielsen 2017
For personal use only. If you want to use any or all of this material for group Bible Study or Sermons, please give credit where credit is due. No part of this material may be republished either in print or electronically without the written permission of Dr. Rik Danielsen. firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Body of Christ, Jesus Is The Head Of The Church, Part 1