Christ is our head

This morning we’re looking at Colossians 1:15-20

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. 19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

This is God’s word.

Lord Jesus we pray that this morning you as our shepherd would nurture us that you would feed us with a good teaching from your word. We ask that your spirit would make these things a reality in our lives. In Jesus name. Amen.

You belong to someone

I want to begin with a reference from the Pixar movie Toy Story. I’m sure many of you have seen it. There’s a particular scene in that movie where Woody, the main toy, is trying to convince the other toys to stay in Andy’s house. At one point he says: „Whose name is on you?” And they look and Andy’s name is on them. And then he says: „You belong to Andy”

I think about that because who you belong to, essentially forms your identity. And we all belong to someone. As Christians we belong to Jesus.

As we begin looking at our value statements as a Church, we begin with that concept that “Christ is our head” as you might see in your booklet we belong to Christ. That is that Jesus has purchased us to God and we are his special possession.

Now, we have about 12 of these statements and we’re not going to go 12 weeks into this. We’re going to clump them together starting next week. But this one is so important, and it sets the tone for the rest of them. Therefore, we’re going to take a whole Sunday to make sure that we understand this as a church that we belong to Christ. Now it’s quite a substantial subject. I found during my study, that we might go quite deep in. If you just look at the passage, that we read, you think wow there’s a lot of stuff there. When you treat the subject of Christ headship, you found that it is a massive one. And that is breathtakingly deep. This week, very often I found myself just pausing and seeking to soak in the wonderful truth of Christ’s headship.

For the sake of what we’re doing in this series. I want to look at it from two angles. I want us to understand it doctrinally, and then I want us to understand this practically. But as I mentioned we have to look at these verses in Colossians and at least appreciate what is being said here when we think about who Jesus is.

First of all we see a reference to his deity. He is the image of God. We’re made in the image of God and he is the image of God. In Him all the fullness of the godhead dwells bodily: the incarnation.

So there’s this deity and then there is his eternality which follows. He is before all things. And there is a reference to his sovereignty: He is the one who has made all things that all things have come through him. They are for him, and he has authority over every single thing in existence. Every single realm in existence! The seen and the unseen. The earthy and the heavenly. All things are through him. And all things are for him. He is the focus of everything!

A few summers ago, one of our elders Martin Briel he preached on this and I remember something that he said “everything is for Jesus”. He went on this little catalog of it all. I remember one thing he said: “every sunset, every sunrise, it’s all for Jesus and in him all things consist” or as we’re told in Hebrews that he upholds all things by the word of his power.

Isn’t Jesus wonderful

So there’s not a single thing that is not inherently connected to Christ and relying on Christ.

Nothing happens apart from Jesus. These are wonderful things, aren’t they? I was thinking of the old maranatha song in the early Calvary Chapel days. In the song it says “Isn’t he wonderful”. You think about it, he is wonderful, isn’t he? You can’t help but read this and say this is a wonderful person.

Our Lord is majestic he is marvelous. He is merciful, isn’t he? Wonderful. He is none other than God himself. What a wonderful person. What a wonderful loving savior! Amazingly wonderful.

The head of the church

In verse 18 we get into more what we’re going to be thinking about together. He is the head of the body. He is the head of the church. The church consists in him.

As I said before the church is the most significant thing on the earth today. That’s an undeniable, inescapable reality. He is the firstborn. Without boring everybody, let’s just understand what we mean when we say: “Jesus is the firstborn”.

The greek word πρωτότοκος (prōtotokos) can of course have several meanings, but chiefly among them is the idea of order as well as rank and preeminence. So, when it comes to order, Christ is before the creation – because he is eternal. In his incarnation obviously among all created things, He has the highest rank! Therefore, he has the preeminence. He is the preeminent one.

Not only that he is the firstborn from the dead. Paul is talking about his resurrection here.

Jesus, being the image of God, being the firstborn from the dead. Paul is inviting us to understand his resurrection in terms of the future of God’s people in God’s world.

Creation is patterned after Jesus

The promise of our resurrection is based on His resurrection. And it is consistent in him. And it will be patterned after his. This is also true of the entire created order. The redeemed world will be patterned after the resurrection of Christ.

Therefore, in his resurrection he has ushered in an entirely new order that is free from sin and that is redeemed and resurrected and pure in God’s eyes

Again, that’s quite a thought isn’t it. We don’t have the time to sit here and think about it but it’s quite a thought. He’s bringing into order a whole new world, filled with a whole new redeemed people and the end or the goal of this is that he would have the preeminence. You see essentially that is what we’re getting at here. The preeminence of Jesus.

Now, Jesus just doesn’t isn’t part of the Christian system of life and teaching he is the entire thing. He’s not part of your salvation, he is your salvation. He’s not part of your life, he is your life.

He’s not part of the church, he is the church. Do you understand what I’m saying? He’s not just a person in the orbit of what’s happening among church life it is all grounded in him. It is all based on him. And apart from him it never could be. Again, you’ve got the books with great characters of the Bible: Abraham, Moses, Paul, and then finally you get to Jesus right? But he’s not just one of the good guys in the bible. the bible’s all about him and he has given us the bible. And that is essentially what we’re saying to today. That is how we understand ourselves as a church.

That it is all about Jesus. That he is the focus. That he is the center of it all. he is the one who fills all in all. As we say Christ is our head and we belong to Christ. and so let us just think about what this means doctrinally. and before we do that did you notice as we were thinking about these things something happening in your heart. did your heart begin to spring a little? I bet it did right?

You can’t hear these truths about Jesus and not have your heart touched, right? Because this is actually a very worshipful subject, isn’t it? the person of Jesus. The lordship of Jesus, The love of Jesus. And whenever we focus on his person it inevitably is going to lead us to worship, isn’t it? It’s going to lead us to joy. It’s going to lead us to and life. It’s going to lead us to liberty. So, in the first place what does this mean doctrinally when we say Christ is our head?

Not trying to bore you sounds smart but one more Greek word the last one I promise. But the word translated head is the greek word κεφαλῇ (kephalē). It’s actually a very important word in theology. And the idea has several meanings. First of all there’s the idea of source right like the head of the river.

Jesus is the source of the Church it comes from him. And the other idea is authority. That Jesus has authority in his Church. We read in Ephesians 5 that he is the head. So you submit to him. I believe that both of these ideas come into play here when we say Christ is our head, he is our source, and he has authority over us.

When you think about him being the source, we’re saying that he gives life to the Church. He is the life of the Church.

Paul says in Ephesians 1:22 that when “he put all things under his feet and gave him to be head over all things to the Church” The Church, which is his body. The fullness of him who fills all in all. That Christ is the source of our life. Again, isn’t this different than viewing Jesus just has a helpful teacher, right? Different, isn’t it?

Jesus himself said what did he say in John 14 goes “I am the way I am the truth and I am the life”. Whereas John says: “in him was life and the life was the light of man.”

Or as Paul says when Christ who is our life appears you see it’s replete in the New Testament. Jesus is the source of our life Jesus is. I suppose we could stop and just think about that word right there. “life” what does that mean? That’s why I was thinking about it in terms of the baby dedication right we’re celebrating life what is life?

Well, first of all, it only comes from God that’s what we’ve said. And particularly spiritual life, true life, only comes from God. And Paul says to the Church in Ephesus he goes: Look you were dead in your sins do you remember that? You lived under the influence in the authority of Satan. But God who is rich in mercy has saved us and made us alive together with Christ.

So, when we say Christ is our head, we’re affirming he is the source of our life.

We’re nothing without him. And as the head of the body, he provides life to the entire system.

There are several other passages Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 that talk about this.

but that as Christ is ahead of the body, he provides the different ministries and gifts that the body has and needs.

Therefore, we’re also affirming the fact that we are a community, right? We’re a body we’re connected to each other.

That we are united to each other we are connected to each other. That’s what we saw last week right? Our mission statement. Three important things: community, discipleship and mission.

Because Christ is our head, we are connected we are united. As we focus on this, we experience that sense of unity and that sense of community even more, right? It’s easy to get into our little circles and go “well I’m this part of the Church” and “they’re that part of the Church” and all that but it’s as we focus on Christ that we’re coming together.

We are deeply and spiritually connected. Doctrinally this also means that Jesus leads the Church. He is the head. Remember when the youth and the teens took over the entire service that Sunday do you guys remember that? how can you forget? I remember what Helmut said he did the illustration of the snowboarder, right?

And he said where the head was looking the body went. You see the head determines the direction that the body goes, it’s inevitable right? that’s why you pull the horse by the head. And so, Jesus is the one who determines the direction of the Church

He is the one who makes the decisions in the Church. He is the one who keeps the Church together. He has all authority in the Church

all authority. Because we belong to him.

That’s what Paul means in Ephesians 5. As he talks about the relationship in marriage and wives and husbands, he connects it to the reality of the Church. He says Christ is the head of the Church. And therefore, the Church is to submit to him. Because it belongs to him. we are his special possession. Or in another verse it says, that he has purchased us by his blood. Purchased us – he bought us. Therefore, we say Christ is our head and we belong to him.

We don’t belong to anybody else other than Jesus. We don’t belong to – let’s say – a network of churches. We don’t belong to a network not in the truest sense. We might affiliate or do ministry with them. But we belong to Jesus. The Church does not belong to a network or a denomination.

The Church does not belong to a man. The Church does not belong to a group of people. The Church does not belong to some council that that makes decisions for everybody. The Church belongs to Christ – to Jesus.

And so, you see that’s the thing that if you get that wrong, you’re going to get a whole lot of other stuff wrong, aren’t you? It’s an anomaly to think that there could be a Church that’s not Christ-centered. that’s not the way that it’s designed. Because the Church belongs to Jesus.

There is no Church apart from Jesus. This means doctrinally, now for us as a Church what does this mean practically?

Well, we come back to what we’ve been saying right? Jesus is the source of our life and he has all authority in his Church. That as a people, as a Church, we want to always be looking at Christ and saying Jesus is the one who has all authority here. He is the chief shepherd he is the Lord he is the life of the Church.

What we’ll be doing with these values is we’ll highlight ministries that we could say find themselves kind of connected to a particular value and obviously this particularly impacts the idea of leadership on the local level of the Church, doesn’t it? Who’s the true leader of the Church? Clearly, it’s Christ. Now this isn’t to say that he doesn’t install and delegate leadership on a local level.

And so here you could say that I as the pastor along with the elders we have the responsibility of leadership in the Church. But it’s not a supreme authority, is it? It’s not like one day I could say well I’m the boss here the buck stops with me and the Bible says this but we’re going to do that! It wouldn’t work would it?

Paul says the holy spirit is the one who appoints the leadership of a local Church right? It’s God himself doing it. But it’s a stewardship it’s a delegated authority. It’s not an inherent authority. And the authority in the Church delegated to shared authority. It’s not an ultimate authority. And therefore, everybody in the Church including the leadership on the local level is called to submit to Christ. We do this while on the one hand submitting ourselves to the authority of the scriptures. This is where the authority is in the Church: In seeking to be led by the holy spirit, right? So, under the authority of the scripture by the leading of the Holy Spirit. That’s what we want to do.

And so, for us as a Church we affirm that the authority of the Church ultimately doesn’t rely in any person or group but in Christ. Therefore this impacts the way that we as the leaders of this Church on a human level lead. Because we find ourselves also and we’re kind of saying let’s all come together and look to Jesus and hear from him and follow him that’s the goal.

We want to look to him we want to listen to him we want to follow him we want to worship him. So again, that’s the point of these values that we’re not just saying hey we got some good ideas for the Church and we’re trying to be hip. We’ve got a cool booklet. It is pretty cool but still by the teaching of scripture what should we focus on? And by the leading of the spirit how do we do it as a Church?

And then of course practically this means that Jesus is our focus, right? Because what you focus on is ultimately what’s going to control you.

It’s funny we live in a day of man worship, don’t we? Actors, political figures, influencers and even in the Church. We live in a day where there’s people called celebrity pastors, imagine that. But just as no Church belongs to a man there’s no person that belongs to any human leader is there? We belong in Christ! And so, we want Jesus to be our focus

When we worship together, we want to be Christ focused. When we preach the scriptures, we want to be Christ focused. When we pray together, we want to be Christ-focused. When we do life and fellowship with each other we want to be Christ focused, so you think what does this look like right? What does it look like for us as a Church? That our focus is centered on Jesus all the time.

That our worship is centered on Jesus all the time. We’re worshiping Christ. That we are trusting Jesus. That we are obeying Jesus. That we are being led by Christ.

And we are finding ourselves ravishingly in love with them. And that the life and the ministry that is done here is done by him through his people. When we pray before Church, we’re constantly saying. “Lord, minister to your Church because I ultimately have nothing to give.

Jesus, speak to your flock, because I have nothing to say. And as you fill the Church with life let the Church minister to each other. But it’s ultimately you doing it. Because you’re the head!”

As Jesus said, “apart from me you can do nothing”. So, we take that serious it has to be Jesus. And I said it last week and I’ll say it again. Jesus didn’t say with a mission statement you can do everything. But he did say apart from me you can do nothing. And that is what we are affirming that apart from Jesus we can do nothing because he is our head.

That is why we have it first and foremost in our values Christ is our head and we can never never get away from that.

So, when we say that we put it here we’re emphasizing that this is a place where the name of Jesus is going to be great and no other name. This is a place where Christ is exalted and no other name. This is a place where Christ is Lord and no other name. That this is a place where his love is strong. This is a place where the word of Christ will be preached. This is a place where his honor and his worth will be recognized and celebrated. That he is the center of it all. He is the focus of it all. He is the reason of it all. And that we love him. Because he first loved us.

And when you understand the love of Christ that has come to you in such a free way you can’t help yourself but to love Jesus, right? You want to worship him!

This is a place where we will serve him because he is worthy. This is a place where we will serve him because he is our Lord. This is a place where we will trust him because he is faithful and true. This is a place where we will follow him because he is our king, and he is our shepherd. And this is a place where we will trust in him for our life because he is our savior, and he is our sufficiency. In other words: it’s all about him.

And guess what? It always has been, and it always will be about him because that’s how Jesus

that’s how God has designed it. Anything about design which many of you do because that’s your field of work right. Unless you follow the design it’s not going to function right, is it? Unless we follow God’s design the Church isn’t going to function right.

He has designed it that Christ is the chief shepherd he is the Lord, and he is the focus at all times. Because he’s the head  and therefore, that is why we say Christ is our head. We belong to Christ. And that sets the tone for everything that happens.

As a community that is growing together in the knowledge and love of Christ as we seek to follow him and make him known

We commit ourselves to you oh Lord and pray that you would give us the grace, to sow you, once we prayed in Christ name our living head. Amen, God’s peace.


Sermon by Keith Fortenberry
26. September 2021

Published On: September 26th, 2021Categories: General0 Comments
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