May 20th 2018: Owen Jones

Owen Jones-May18.jpg‘He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.’ Ephesians 1:22-23

Here we have an aspect or our union with Christ – organic union – Christ is the head, you and I are the limbs. We read of the mystery of our union with Christ in Ephesians 5. As the Bridegroom, Christ is incomplete without the Bride. John Calvin comments, “This is the highest honour of the church that, unless He is united to us, the Son of God reckons Himself in some measure imperfect. What an encouragement it is for us to hear, that not until He has us as one with Himself is He complete in all His parts, or does He wish to be regarded as whole.” Calvin’s statement is gloriously audacious – but it is right. Jesus is incomplete without us. He is the head in heaven, we’re the limbs on earth. We are joined to Christ now, but it will be seen more evidently on the great, glorious matrimonial day when we meet.

How can we see this organic unison?
1. Christ is head of all things in heaven and on earth
2. Christ is the head and we are the members.
3.  We are joined together in unity and diversity.

1. Christ is head of all things in heaven and on earth.
How is Christ’s headship described? We read in Ephesians 1:15-23 Paul’s prayer that we may bask in confidence in Christ. Are you confident God has called you from darkness to light? Do you know what it us to be born again? I’m not talking about coming to chapel, but coming to Jesus. Are you confident He has called you? Do you know the enlightenment of the eyes of your heart? (Ephesians 1:18). Paul also says in this verse that our inheritance is guaranteed, it can’t be stolen. In verse 19 we read of ‘the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe.’ It is like the same power that raised Christ from the dead. Do you know the power of new life in Christ? We should be the most confident people on earth.

In Ephesians 1:20-12 we read that Jesus is seated in glory, power and authority, might and majesty. He has gained the victory. He is far above all, no-one can surpass Him. The holy power of angels, the authority of kings, will never get to where He is and will never rob Him of His divine dignity. God appointed Him. Christ is head, seated in the heavenly realms.

In Ecclesiastes 3 and 4 our Head is described as a means of encouragement. He is your Saviour, your head. Here is Paul’s encouragement to the Church at Ephesus and you and me.

2.Christ is the head and we are the members.
This is the One we are joined to, we are united to. The Church is like a human body. Generally, every human being has one head, two arms, two legs etc. Of course, due to the Fall, there are certain deformities. We need everything we’ve been given. The Psalmist says in Psalm 139, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” We started out as dust of the ground being breathed into a body, created in His image.

 In the head is the brain that controls the movement of the members, which respond and react. When the head is severed from the body, life ceases. Sometimes, the church appears as if it has had a stroke and it sometimes can look ugly and dead. The message from the head is not getting to the members and being obeyed. The local church, in disobedience, can appear as if it’s had a stroke and is immobilised. We are to be obedient people.

The body grows in love. Pauls add to his theme; in chapter 4:15-16 we see how we’ve to grow and what makes us grow in love. The love of God. We can hide behind sentimentality. There are times when we show the love of God when firm words and actions are called for. Generally, a local fellowship thrives on agape.

The body feeds and nourishes on everything the head sends it. All things are held together in one head, to bring all things together (Colossians 2:19). How many individuals are running around like headless chickens, having lost connection with the head? Sin cuts us off from the head. Some churches try to do their own thing but we are here to do it God’s way, Christ’s way. Be listeners, obedient, growing with the love of God.

3.We are joined to Jesus in unity and diversity.
The church is one body in conflict – it’s a contradiction. Men give the church different names as if there are different churches. That’s the visible church as the world sees it. There is only one true ecclesia. Satan seeks to segment, fragment and conquer. The more names there are, the better for Satan.

Paul wrote to the Corinthians that the body is one made up of many parts – an innumerable multitude (1 Corinthians 12:12-14). Sometimes the body of Christ can give the impression it consists of only one member – being dominated by one member. Paul says the body is not made up of one part. Sometimes, we are not listening to God. In the local church we need all our members and faculties. God arranges the different parts for different uses (1 Corinthians 12:18). God has arranged the parts of the body. Every true believer needs each other. Some may say, ‘I have no need of you’ (1 Corinthians 12:21), but Paul calls the members of the body to its senses. You cannot do without the different Christians, the body won’t be the same without them (1 Corinthians 12:22). The body of Christ consists of members who wouldn’t be accepted anywhere else in the world. Unity and diversity, equality, one in unity. No division (1 Corinthians 12:25-27).

We can thanks God we’re not lookalikes. Instead, look like Him. There is diversity. How boring if we are all the same type, out of the same mould. Sometimes we feel others are not as important or careful as we are, but here in the body we are equal.

The members suffer and have difficulties but there is unity, equality and mutuality. Christ is the head, we are the members. We are one in unity, joined to Christ.

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