Friday, August 13, 2010

The Head of the Church

The very first verse of the book of Acts gives us a very important concept for the church. It is foundational to the proper understanding of what the church is and how it is to operate. In that verse Luke refers back to that first book that he wrote; he refers to it as the account of that which Jesus began to do and teach. The implication is that this second volume contains the account of what Jesus continues to do and teach. Luke then proceeds to give a purposeful and detailed account of how our Lord forms and builds His church. This is perhaps the simplest, and yet the most important building block on which to build our thinking about the church; namely, it is His church. Of all the problems that the church has today they could probably be traced back to a failure to recognize in some way or another the proper position of Christ as head of the church.
I believe it would be expedient for us at this point to line up our hearts to this principle, to submit every thought we have concerning the church to His headship. We ought to be thoroughly convinced that Christ’s plan for the church is perfect in every respect. We would probably all agree on this point if we were asked; nevertheless, there are two common tendencies among believers that show that this truth has not fully inundated our hearts. We must be aware of these tendencies and guard against them. The first is to circumvent (or in some cases blatantly oppose) some aspect of Christ’s plan that we do not understand. The wisdom of God is unsearchable, and we cannot enter in to every aspect of His plan. It may be that God will ask us to do something as a part of His plan, the full purpose of which is beyond us. If we truly believe that God’s plan is perfect we will believe and obey. The second tendency is to add things to God’s plan of our own construction. If God’s plan really is perfect why do we sometimes think we can improve on it? We think that if we put Christ in the center of our program we are honoring Him, but I beg to suggest a different perspective. (I credit my father with this statement) It is not enough to put Christ in the center of our program; we must see to it that we are in the center of Christ’s program.
It is important as we consider the headship of Christ that we get our thinking right concerning what it means to submit to Him. We are not just talking about the commands of Christ. Sometimes we are tempted to say things like, “Well the Bible doesn’t say I have to do it this way,” or “It doesn’t say I can’t do this.” But that is really the wrong sort of question to ask. John in his first general epistle gives us a progression of maturity as regards our relationship with Christ. 1 John 2:3-6 says,
“Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, I know Him, and does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”
Here is the progression, keeping His commandments is good, but if we really love Him we will want to go beyond that. We will want to do everything that He says regardless of whether it is stated as a command or not. We will act on the principles found in His word. As we progress even further in our relationship we will want to walk just as He walked. We will want to do everything that He does, and remember the things found in the gospel accounts are only the things which He began to do and teach.
There are many practical things that I believe the Lord has incorporated into His pattern for the church that help us to keep thinking rightly of Christ in His place as head. We will begin to discuss these in next month’s article.

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