Tag Archives: the church

And He Is The Head Of The Body, The Church…

And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

Colossians 1:18 – Scripture of the Day (March 6, 2014)

Some have the wrong idea about the ownership of the church.

Before going further, let me clarify that I’m not one of those radicals who will strain at the gnat of condemning those who refer to their local congregation as “my church” (as in, the church of which they are a member) by shouting at them, “It’s not YOUR church!  It’s Jesus’ church!”  After all, if we want to be consistent, let’s remember that Paul did call the gospel both “the gospel of God” (Rom. 1:1) AND “my gospel” (Rom. 2:16).  What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.  In other words, if it’s inherently wrong to refer to something that the Bible cites as belonging to God as also belonging to oneself, then God should not have inspired Paul to refer to God’s gospel as his own.  Let’s also remember that Paul was inspired to warn about those who have “an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth…” (1 Tim. 6:4-5).  Think about that for a minute…

That said, we must not forget that Jesus is in fact the head of his body, the church.  He purchased the church with his own blood (Acts 20:28).  The church is made up of those who have been spiritually resurrected via baptism into the body of Christ (Rom. 6:3-5; 1 Cor. 12:13), but Christ is “the firstborn from the dead” (cf. 1 Cor. 15:20-23).  Through his death and resurrection he laid the groundwork for our own spiritual death to sin and resurrection to a new life.  Thus, it is fitting and proper that in everything in the church he “be preeminent.”

This is why we are commanded to do everything in his name (Col. 3:17), which is more than just something we say (as in, “In Jesus’ name, Amen.”)  Christ foretold of those who would be condemned who sincerely thought they were doing things in his name but in reality weren’t…because they weren’t obeying the will of his Father (Matt. 7:21-27).  The only true revelation of the will of Christ is found in the New Testament (Heb. 8:7-13).  It is therefore to the New Testament where we must go to find the will of our Leader, the Head of his Body of which we are blessed and privileged to be a part by his grace.

How are we saved?  Go to the New Testament to reveal what the Head says about it (Mark 16:16).

How are we to worship?  The Head says to worship “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24), which refers to spiritual worship based on the commands of the truth found in his Word (John 17:17).  What we read of in the New Testament is what we are to do concerning worship (Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 11:23ff; 1 Cor. 16:1-2; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).

How is the church to be organized?  What does the Head say in his Word?  (Phil. 1:1; Acts 20:28-32; Eph. 4:11-12; 1 Thess. 5:11-13; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; Tit. 1:5-9; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:1-4)

Are we to go beyond what the Head says?  No (Gal. 1:6-9; Rev. 22:18-19).  What if we decide to do so anyway?  Then despite what we might say or even sincerely think, Jesus is not truly the Head of the church of which we are a part.  He is not truly our Lord (Luke 6:46), and we are not truly a part of his church.

“Behold, I Am Making All Things New…”

Happy New Year, everyone!  2014 is here, the beginning of a new year.  As is the case every January 1, many of us are looking at things in a new way.  We have new goals and resolutions.  We are fixated on the fact that it is a new year, a new beginning.  As the film Forrest Gump puts it, we all get a second chance.

However, is that really true from an eternal perspective?  Does the changing of the calendar year really make any sort of difference as far as God is concerned?  Does the ball dropping at midnight on January 1 change the condition of our souls in his sight?  The Bible, God’s message to us which trains us in righteousness so that we may be complete in his sight (2 Tim. 3:16-17), gives no such indication.

What truly gives us a second chance?  What makes us truly new in the sight of God?  Rather than the flipping of a page in a desktop calendar, God tells us it is the blood of his Son which gives us a second chance.  “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:7).  

The One who sits on the throne in heaven said, “Behold, I am making all things new” (Rev. 21:5).  Contextually, he was referring to the holy city, new Jerusalem, the dwelling place of God with man in which he will dwell with us, wipe our tears from our eyes, and eradicate death, mourning, crying, and pain…“for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:2-4).  While many apply these sayings to refer to the eternal reward of heaven, a more immediate and biblical application would be to Christ’s church, “the assembly (ekklesia, church) of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven” which the Hebrew writer calls “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,” and in which is that “sprinkled blood” of Jesus which has freed us from our sins (Heb. 12:22-24; Rev. 1:5).  That same church is called the body of Christ (Col. 1:18).  Do you want Jesus to save you?  If so, you must be a part of his body, the church (Eph. 5:23).  It is the church God was speaking of when he said, “Behold, I make all things new.”  It is only in the church that we find that precious blood of Christ which cleanses us from our sin (1 John 1:7-9).

Do you want to be a child of God?  The Bible says you must be “in Christ Jesus…through faith” for that to happen (Gal. 3:26).  That means you must be in Christ’s church, because the church is the body of Christ.  In fact, the church is said to fill up Christ (Eph. 1:22-23), so it makes sense that conclude that to be “in Christ” means to be in his body, his church.  How does one get into Christ?  How does one get into his church?  Through immersion, the literal meaning of baptism (Gal. 3:27; 1 Cor. 12:13).

ImageNotice what Paul wrote in Rom. 6:3-7:  “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.  We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.  For one who has died has been set free from sin.”

How does God make all things new?  How do we get our second chance?  When we repent of our sins (2 Cor. 7:9-11) and are baptized (Acts 2:38), we die and are born again in a spiritual sense (John 3:3-5).  All things are made new.  Our old self is dead.  We walk in a new life.  A new beginning.  A clean slate.  The baptism washes our sins away (Acts 22:16), for it is at that point that we come in contact with the blood of Christ that cleanses us (Eph. 1:7; Rev. 1:5).  When we come up out of the water, we are in Christ (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3).  We have been baptized into his body (1 Cor. 12:13), his church (Eph. 1:22-23) of which there is only one (Eph. 4:4), the church of which Jesus is Savior (Eph. 5:23).

It’s January 1.  A new year, with many possible new beginnings.  Yet, in eternity all of these new beginnings we associate with a new year will very shortly pass away (James 4:13-17)…but God’s Word will never pass away (Matt. 24:35).  Do you want the REAL clean slate?  Do you want God himself to make all things new concerning you?  Do you want your sins forgiven and washed away?  Do you want to be saved and born again to a new life?  Read and study each of the scriptures previously cited with an honest and open heart (Luke 8:15).  If you believe in God’s Word (Rom. 10:17) and believe with all of your heart in Jesus (Rom. 10:9-10), then prove your faith to be alive rather than dead by your actions (James 2:14-26).  Obey God’s command to repent of your sins and be baptized into his Son’s body (Mark 16:16; Acts 17:30; 1 Pet. 3:21; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Cor. 12:13), and you will rise up out of the water with all things new (Rom. 6:3-7; Rev. 21:5).

THAT, my friends, is how to start the new year off right!