Posted by Robb Goodell Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 7:45 PM
On tonight's show (May 6, 2010), we are discussing four verses that are of specific value to the founding and establishment of the church and the foundation of our faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ.The passage that I have been assigned to discuss is that of Ephesians chapter 1, verses twenty-twoand twenty-three, in which we find the Father crowning Christ as the head of the church, ruler and chief executive of all things pertaining to ministry, doctrine, fellowship, and the like. I'd like to discuss what this passage means to us, both as a corporate body of believers, and also as individuals who seek to honor Jesus Christ as King of Heaven and Earth.
And he (being the Father) put all things under his (being Christ) feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
Ephesians 1:22-23 ESV
Before I get into what this verse means, in particular, to the church, I'd like to give a little context to the passage in order to enlighten you to the full magnitude of what the Apostle Paul is saying. Paul, here, is writing to the church at Ephesus and, in a very Pauline way, he introduces his intent for writing this letter with a series of exhortations to the church. In this passage, Paul is giving credit to the Ephesian church members for their faith as well as qualifying their faith by making the above statements.
In the surrounding verses, we see that Paul is building a case that the power and authority of Jesus Christ originates in God, the Father himself. Beginning in verse seventeen, we see Paul unpack the idea that it is the Father through whom all wisdom, knowledge, enlightenment, hope, and power is derived. Even that power, Paul says, that raise Christ from the dead, was from the Father. Therefore, the Father, being authority embodied and power personified, has given to Christ that very same authority and power, and has named him, as verses 22 and 23 state, head over all things to the church.
So, believer, what does that mean for you? What does that mean for us, as a body of believers? Well its simple, Jesus Christ is in charge. "Well, of course he is," I'm certain you're saying or at least murmuring in your mind. But how many times have you stopped to think about the magnitude of that statement? How many times have you contemplated the full capacity as to what Paul is saying here?
Let's look at what this means to the corporate body, the church as a whole. There are many levels of authority in the church. Beginning at the bottom, there are those who have been given the stewardship of being a 'deacon' or a servant of the assembly. These men answer to elders, and elders, depending on the organization of the church, to the pastor. The pastor then, on behalf of all of the people in the congregation, answers directly to Christ himself, on all things, and especially on the issue of teaching. The pastor is recognized by God as an under shepherd, and is responsible for the stewardship of his 'flock'. That means that the pastor will answer to Heaven for his own sins, as well as those sins committed by others that he has not confronted biblically, and for the solidity of his teaching and doctrine. This a huge responsibility, and answering to the King is much like answering to the President of the United States or the C.E.O of any large company.
Now, that may sound largely negative, and, if the church is acting as the church should, it is a negative. Yet, on the individual level, there is a great comfort in knowing that Jesus is the coach, he's in charge, and nothing goes on without either his approval, or his chastisement. Remember that this is the same Christ who humbled himself, took on the flesh of a man, and willingly went to the cross to die. This is the same Christ that heals the sick and casts out demons, and again, all of this power is given by the Father himself. Unlike the President or the head of some multi-billion dollar corporation, Jesus Christ cares about and loves each individual deeply and has given to us the very power he's been given through the Holy Spirit and through the divinely inspired Word of God. With that, we can speak and live with the authority and power of the Father himself.
Finally, let me say that the authority of Jesus as being the head of the church is not some magical, spiritualistic, ethereal fairy dust that falls upon the shoulders of a few men in certain positions. He is the King and he governs by a divine decree which is, as a matter of fact, written down for our benefit and his glory. The Word of God is the standard by which all things, living or dead, true or false, good and evil, are judged. It is God's Word that sustains the long reaching arm of God, and through the purity and righteousness of Christ, it remains the very backbone of his authority. Test every spirit to see whether it is from God or Satan. It is your responsibility as an individual to check, double check, and triple check whether what any pastor, elder, or deacon says or teaches is truth or heresy. If it cannot be backed by scripture and is not compatible with the nature of the One True God, it should be regarded as filth and cast aside. That is the power and authority given to you through Christ, the head over all things to the church.
Your brother in Christ,