CHRIST IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH
Today our lesson aim is to recognize Christ as the true head of the church. The church is an assembly of baptized believers called together to accomplish the work of God as prescribed by the Word of God. The focus of Colossians 1:18 shifts from the physical to the spiritual. Notice Colossians 1:18-19:
"And He is the head of the body, the church: Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. 19 For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell."
This part of the Bible is one of the great pictures of Christ and of the church. It pictures in clear terms what the relationship is between Christ and the church. It is a passage that should be studied by every church member time and again.
Five truths are found in these two verses, they are:
1. Christ is the head of the church - vs. 18.
Three ideas are understood as one recognizes Christ as the head of the church:
There is the idea of life: A body cannot live apart from the head, and a head cannot live apart from the body. Both the head and the body are necessary for there to be life. Without Jesus Christ, the church does not exist; and without the church the life of Christ would not be known. Christ is made known through the lives of His people, the church. This is His chosen method to make Himself known.
There is the idea of activity and its source. It is the body that acts, but it is the head that tells the body to act.
There is the idea of control. The head is to rule and reign over the body. The body is to be controlled by the head. The body is not to act apart from the head. When Christ does not control the church body, it is because there is some problem within the body.
2. Christ is the beginning of the church - vs. 18.
The word translated "beginning" has the sense of ‘origin.’
3. Christ was the first to arise from the dead - vs. 18.
The reference to the “firstborn from the dead” points clearly to His resurrection. He indeed has “become the firstfruits of them that slept” (I Corinthians 15:20). In other words, Jesus Christ is not only the Creator, He also is the originator of the resurrection.
4. Christ is supreme in all things - vs. 18.
The word preeminence is of interest. It is translated from a word which has the idea of being ‘first’ or being in ‘first place.’ The greater thought is that in all things, Jesus Christ might have first place. He indeed is number one.
5. Christ is filled with all the fullness of God Himself - vs. 19.
God the Father is pleased that in His Son “should all fullness dwell.” The thought likely is that in Jesus all fullness of Deity dwells. The fullness of the Godhead in Him is manifested. He is the personification of the perfect God.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER
1. What sort of relationship should be between the head and the body? What is the implication if the body does not respond to commands from the head?
2. When you need to eat, rest, sit, work, etc., your head is what tells you to do these things. They are automatic to you. When the head of the church, Jesus Christ, tells you to do something (witness, worship, pray, or serve someplace), do you do it automatically? Do you hesitate? Do you waiver in your obedience?
3. Why did Jesus Christ create the Church?
4. How do you think God feels about those who claim to be founders of a church or denomination? Why do you suppose some Christians want the title of founder?
5. The resurrection of Christ and the Church are vitally linked together. What difference should this make in a church's life?
6. As a Church member, what sort of attitude are you to have about Christ?
7. What does Colossians 1:19 teach about the deity of Christ? What does it mean "to dwell"? Why is it important that Christ is filled with all the fullness of God Himself?
May we all rejoice in knowing that we are part of a body of which Christ is its head!!! There is nothing like the church, which is His body.
Your Friend and HIS,