Vol. 14 No. 38
The Headship of Jesus Christ Over His Body.
- The Royal Family of God is one organic body with the Lord Jesus Christ as the head. There are three concepts of Christ as the head.
a) Christ is the “Head of the Corner,” which means He has two crowns. Jesus Christ as the son of David is the ruler of Israel. He is also the ruler of the Church because of His victory on the Cross, Eph 2; Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:7.
b) Christ is the supreme ruler over the Church as the body of Christ, Eph 1:22-23, 4:4, 15, 5:23.
c) Christ is the ruler over angels, Col 2:10. Jesus Christ is the victor of the Angelic Conflict.
2. Therefore, the Lord has an authority over us. We can recognize it and have great blessing, or we can reject it and be the most miserable people in life.
3. The role of the Trinity in forming the Body of Christ.
a) God the Father appointed the Lord Jesus Christ as the Head of the Body, Eph 1:22.
b) God the Holy Spirit is the active agent in the formation of the Body, 1 Cor 12:12-13. After salvation, the body is sustained by the Holy Spirit, 1 Cor 6:16, cf. 1 Cor 6:19-20.
c) Jesus Christ is the Savior of the Body, Eph 5:23, 25, 30, the sanctifier of the body, Heb 2:11, 13:12, as He is Head of the body, Eph 1:22-23, 5:23-25. So the function of Christ in the formation of the body is not as an active agent, but as the source of its life and as its ruler.
4. Jesus Christ as the head of the body refers to the integral relationship between our Lord and each member of the Royal Family. The head and body analogy indicates relationship. The Royal Family of God is one organic body with the Lord Jesus Christ as the head. Jesus Christ is the supreme ruler over the Church as His body, Eph 1:22-23, 4:4, 15, 5:23.
5. There is only one head to the body, and that head is the Lord Jesus Christ, Eph 4:4-6.
6. All precedence for the Church Age originates from Christ as the Head of the Church, and not from Israel and not from the Mosaic Law. This means that the analogy of Christ as the Head and the royal Family as the body emphasizes the life and activity of the Church Age believer as a new spiritual species, 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15, one of the results of the Baptism of the Spirit, cf. Mark 1:8; Acts 1:5; 11:16.
7. The analogy of Christ as the Head of the Body emphasizes the importance of the mystery doctrine of the Church Age, where the believer receives his thought pattern, mental attitude, and motivation from Bible doctrine, described in 1 Cor 2:16 as the mind or thinking of Christ.
8. Just as the function of the body is based on the mentality of the soul, so the way of life for the Church Age believer is based on the thinking of the head, which is our lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, all precedence comes from the hypostatic union of Jesus Christ and not from the dispensation of Israel.
9. Therefore, all Church Age believers have a common life based on the Plan of God provided for us. We also have a common purpose, which is to become spiritually mature and being invisible heroes. Though we have a common life and a common purpose, we all have different spiritual gifts, Rom 12:6.
10. All Church Age believers have a common life which is eternal life, received at the moment of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. John 3:16b, “For whosoever believes in Him shall never perish but have eternal life.”
a) The Holy Spirit in regeneration created a human spirit for the imputation of eternal life.
b) Eternal life is the life of Jesus Christ.
1 John 5:11-13, “And the witness (MATURIA – testimony) is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. 13These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.
1) The body derives its life from thinking. The body is not dead until the brain stops working.
John 10:28, “And I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.”
11. The source of our motivation and direction comes from the head, Jesus Christ, just as the real you is your soul.
Summary of the body and head analogy:
The analogy of the body of Christ emphasizes the organic union of the Royal Family, and therefore its common life and common purpose. Being in union with Christ, we are interrelated with Him just as the human body is interrelated with the head. In the analogy, the body is totally dependent upon the head to provide the thinking, motivation, decisions, and execution of the Plan. We have a common purpose; we have a common plan; and we have a common life being members of the Body of Christ of which He is the Head of.
Next we will note that Christ being the “Head of the Church, His body” is one of seven titles He has been given in relationship to the Church. From each of these analogies, certain things are taught about your relationship with Jesus Christ and your personal life as a Church Age believer.
The Head and Body is one of Seven Figures used of Christ in Relation to the Church.
1. The Head and the Body, with its many members. In the head and the body analogy, Christ is the head and the Royal Family of God is the body. This speaks of Christ’s authority. The body emphasizes our differences in personality and spiritual gifts, Eph 1:22‑23, 2:16, 4:4‑5, 5:23; 1 Cor 12; Col 1:17‑18, 24, 2:19.
Eph 4:15, “But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.”
2. The Shepherd and the Sheep. The shepherd and the sheep analogy is found in John 10:1-18; Heb 13:20-21; 1 Peter 2:25; 5:4. Christ is the shepherd and Christians are the sheep of His pasture.
This speaks to His care for us, and the helplessness of His sheep. The analogy connotes the security and great blessings that come to us as members of the Royal Family of God. For like us, sheep have no sense of direction, cannot fend for themselves, are helpless, and therefore need the guidance, sustenance and protection of the shepherd. The sheep must be guarded and fed by the under-shepherd, the Pastor of the local church who teaches the Word of the Great Shepherd.
1 Peter 2:25, “For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.”
Heb 13:20-21, “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
3. The Vine and the Branches. The vine and the branches analogy is taught in John 15:1‑8. Jesus Christ is the vine; we are the branches. This analogy speaks to our union with Christ, i.e., positional truth and/or positional sanctification as well as experiential sanctification resulting in Divine good production, i.e., the fruit of the Spirit. The vine represents stimulation and the supply of sustenance. The production of the branches is your advance to maturity in three categories; fruit, more fruit and much fruit. God the Father, as the gentleman farmer, protects the Church by separating the barren believer who produces no fruit from those willing to advance in the Plan of God.
4. The Chief Cornerstone and the Stones of the Building. The concept of Christ as the chief cornerstone, and the stones of the building as the Church was first taught by Christ in Mat 16:16‑18 when He told Peter, “Note: The change to pitch (12) and font (2) must be converted manually.You are blessed, Simon, Son of Jonas. And on this rock (PETRA, giant rock, Lord Jesus Christ) I will build my Church (the Royal Family of God). Therefore, your name is now PETROSNote: The change to pitch (12) and font (1) must be converted manually. (part or chip of a rock).” This reference to Christ as the chief cornerstone is found in Eph 2:20; 1 Peter 2:4‑8. Peter recognized that Christ, not himself or the Church, is the rock. The Church did not even exist in Mat 16. In addition, this analogy depicts Christ as the link between the two walls, Israel and the Church. He is the ruler of both. Christ is the chief cornerstone and Christians are the building, Zech 10:3-4, Psa 118:22 w/ Mat 21:42, 1 Peter 2:6-10, Eph 2:20-21.
Psa 118:22, “The stone which the builders rejected, has become the chief corner stone.”
5. The High Priest and the Kingdom of Priests. The rulership of Jesus Christ over the Church includes the fact that He is a ruler with another special title. He is our Royal High Priest, Heb 2:17; 3:1; 5:6, 10.
Heb 3:1, “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.”
Heb 2:17, “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”
When the God‑Man ascended and was seated at the right hand of the Father He became a high priest, Heb 7:25, 10:10‑14.
As our High Priest in like form as man, He is qualified to be our advocate, Heb 2:18.
Heb 2:18, “For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.”
Because He is a Royal High Priest, every believer in the Church Age is a royal priest. Every believer in union with Christ is a royal priest. The analogy of the high priest and the royal priesthood is found in, 1 Peter 2:5, 9; Rev 1:6; 5:10, as we are called a kingdom of priests.
1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen race, A royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession.”
In 1 Peter 2:5, we are called “holy priests” in the sense of being separated unto God for a special purpose.
And as royal people we are commanded to uphold the Royal Family Honor Code, grounded in impersonal unconditional love, James 2:8.
James 2:8, “If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.”
6. The Last Adam and the New Creation. Jesus Christ is called the last Adam as the ruler of the Church, and the believers, the Church universal, is called the “new creation”, i.e., a new spiritual species, as found in 1 Cor 15:45‑47; cf. 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15. The last Adam is Jesus Christ Himself, emphasizing His humanity. The “new creation” is important because it focuses attention on the Church during the intensified stage of the Angelic Conflict.
2 Cor. 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in (union with) Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
Gal 6:15, “For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.”
The Plan of God provided a bride for the first Adam. The first Adam had his right woman. She was made into a body from his rib. He fulfilled her and she completed him. God the Father said, “It is not good that Adam should be alone,” so He created a helpmate for him.
Likewise, the Plan of God provides a bride for the last Adam. So if the first Adam had a right woman, so should the last Adam. The right woman of the last Adam is the Church, “his body.” The rib in this analogy is the believers in union with Christ. On the Cross the last Adam was alone. The Father says, “It is not good that Adam should be alone.” Therefore, the Plan of God calls for the last Adam to have a body on the earth, a bride.
As such, Christ is the Head of a new creation and Christians are with Him in that creation as its vital members. We have a unique position and standing that had never occurred before. And based on our new creature status, we have not an earthly citizenship but a heavenly one, Phil 3:20.
Philp 3:20, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The first Adam was provided a woman by the Lord Jesus Christ. The last Adam, Jesus Christ, was provided by God the Father a body.
7. The Bridegroom and the Bride. The groom and the bride analogy is found in 2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:25‑27; Rev 19:6‑8.
2 Cor 11:2, “For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.”
This eschatological analogy speaks of the future of the Church as Royal Family of God. This will not be fulfilled until the wedding feast of the Lamb, just before the Second Advent. It takes seven years for the bride, the Church, to be prepared, including the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Rev 19:7, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.”
And as His bride we will be displayed in our perfection and glory.
Rev 21:9, “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, ‘Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb’.”
As the “Body of Christ” we are one body made up of many parts and members, which speaks to the variety and utilization of spiritual gifts, Rom 12:4-5; 1 Cor 12-14; Eph 2:16; 4:4; Col 3:15; 1 Tim 4:14, Cf. Rom 11:29; Eph 4:7-8; Heb 2:4.
Eph 2:16, “And might reconcile them both (Jews and Gentiles) in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity (sin).”
Eph 4:4, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling.”
Col 3:15, “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.”
1 Timothy 4:14, “Do not neglect the spiritual gift (found) within you.”
Rom 12:4-5, “For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”
1 Cor 12:12, “For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.”
Lists of spiritual gifts are given in Rom 12:6-8 and 1 Cor 12:28. A spiritual gift is a supernatural endowment of the Holy Spirit, whereby every Christian is empowered to perform a certain function which edifies the Church and glorifies God.
The distribution of spiritual gifts occurs at the moment of salvation and is necessary for the function of the Royal Family of God. They are utilized by the believer under the Filling ministry of God the Holy Spirit, 1 Cor 12:11.
1 Cor 12-14 tells us of the ordinances regarding the use of spiritual gifts, as Paul had to correct the church at Corinth for its abuse and misapplication of the gifts. In addition, 1 Cor 13:8-10 tells us that some of the gifts were temporary and only meant for the early church. When the “perfect comes,” meaning the complete canon of Scriptures, (i.e., the New Test.), many of the early gifts would cease to function as God’s Word would replace them. These temporary gifts are also called “sign” gifts, as they were a sign both to the early church and the Jews of God’s new administration called the Church Age.
1 Cor 13:8‑10 explains the temporary function of certain Spiritual Gifts, “Love is never phased out; but if the gift of prophecies, it will be cancelled out (KATARGEO – made idle, rendered inoperative, abolished, phased out, withdrawn); if the gift of tongues, it will be discontinued (PAUO – stop, cause to cease, rest from); if the gift of knowledge, it will be cancelled (KATARGEO). For we know in part (gift of knowledge), and we prophesy in part (gift of prophecy), but when the completed has come (New Testament canon), what is temporary (the temporary Spiritual Gifts) will be cancelled (KATARGEO).”
Therefore, there are two categories of Spiritual Gifts:
1. Temporary Spiritual Gifts that were operational during the pre-canon period of the Church Age, i.e., from A. D. 30, the day of Pentecost when the Church Age began, to approximately A. D. 96 or sooner. On the day the Church Age began there was no New Testament. So temporary Spiritual Gifts were designed to take up the slack in the Church Age until the New Testament canon was completed and circulated, i.e., when the mystery doctrine of the Church Age was written down and able to be circulated.
The temporary gifts include the “sign gifts” of miracles, healings, tongues, interpretation of tongues and discerning spirits that are not found in the Body of Christ today, except in the counterfeit. In addition the teaching / administration gifts of apostleship and prophet/prophecy no longer exist.
For example, it is significant that after the close of the “Acts” period, even at the end of the Apostle Paul’s earthly career, he wrote concerning a faithful saint in 2 Tim 4:20, “Trophimus I left sick at Miletus.” Apparently, Paul was not able to heal his close friend and companion later in his ministry. He wrote to Timothy in 1 Tim 5:23, “No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.” In addition, he wrote in Phil 2:26-27 about his companion Epaphroditus, “he was longing for you all and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. 27For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.” Therefore, we see that even the great apostle Paul was not able to apply the gift of healing in the later part of his ministry.
Furthermore, James 5:14 does not instruct the sick to look for a healer or for someone with the ability to heal. Rather it instructs the sick to call for the elders and they are to pray for him. This is basically in accordance with the procedure in noncharismatic churches, but is in direct contrast to what would be expected if the gift of healing were available for believers. Either the gift was not to be used to heal believers, or the only other option is that it had ceased.
2. Permanent Spiritual Gifts that also functioned from the day of Pentecost and will continue until the Rapture of the Church, whenever that occurs. There are many permanent spiritual gifts still in full operation today and every believer of the Church Age receives one of these gifts, and maybe more, at the moment of their salvation.
The Permanent Gifts include: the gift of Pastor and Teacher, Evangelism, Administration/government/ruling, Ministering or Service, Helps, Exhortation, Giving, Showing Mercy, and Faith.
Before we understand the various gifts that are functioning today, I want to note the important passages of 1 Cor 12:4-7 that tell us of the use and application of our gifts.
1 Cor 12:4-7, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
First note that all three members of the Trinity are actively functioning in the application of our spiritual gifts. As vs. 4 and 7 tell us, God the Holy Spirit is the giver and active agent in the application of our gifts as they are a manifestation of Him. In vs. 5, we see that the Lord Jesus Christ is actively involved in the ministry in which we apply our gift. And In vs. 6, we see that God the Father is involved in the effect (impact) of our ministry when we apply our spiritual gift. This also speaks to the Plan of God the Father for our lives.
“Varieties” is the Greek noun DIARIRESEIS, διαίρεσις that means “differences or distinctions,” and is a compound word from DIA meaning “through or because of” and AHIREO that means, “choose or prefer.” So we could say “through or because of preferences.” It means that which is divided and distributed on the basis of certain implied distinctions or differences.
This difference or distinction is not only in the spiritual gifts that we receive, but in the ministry and effect we have. So here we see that there are varieties of:
1. “Gifts,” CHARISMA, χάρισμα meaning, “a gift, grace or favor,” that speaks to the “spiritual gift” that is given to each believer that is a special ability, (not just a ministry or function), God gives to believers to strengthen the church so that it accomplishes His will in the world. It emphasizes God’s gracious role in the assigning of these gifts, Rom 12:3-8.
2. “Ministries,” DIAKONIA, διακονία meaning, “service, ministry, administrations, etc.” This too differs according to God’s decisions. It describes the tangible acts of service rendered to others as believers use their gifts. It is the functions and services of those having the “gifts” in the spiritual manifestation of God to help others and strengthen the Church. It is a useful service. Notice, it is always “the same Lord” who is served so it indicates the application of our spiritual gifts to build up the body of Christ, Rom 12:9-21; Col 4:17.
Col 4:17, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”
3. “Effects,” ENERGEMA, ἐνέργημα that means, “workings or operations.” It means the accomplishment of an act with an emphasis on the power to do it. All of the gifts, not just the miraculous ones, are graciously given, are intended to serve others and are accomplished by means of Divine power. “Workings” reveals both the availability and the effect of Divine power. It also speaks to the final results or “impact” of the application of your spiritual gift in a specific ministry by means of the power of God, (GPS) functioning within you, 2 Tim 4:5.
2 Tim 4:5, “But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
Therefore, the gift is the spiritual ability God has given to you in a specific area to use in a specific service or ministry that will have a specific outcome by means of the power of God to build and edify the body of Christ.
In 1 Cor 12:12-31 we have the analogy of body parts related to the application of our spiritual gifts, ministries and effects. It is likened to the team concept of sports teams. In comparison we see:
- Our spirit gift is like having a specific skill that qualifies us for a position on the team.
- Our service or ministry is like the position we have on the team to perform.
- Our operation or effect is like the responsibilities we have to be performed on the field or court.
Each variation has a different empowerment from the Godhead.
Gifts – the Holy Spirit, the giver and enabler. He gave us our gift; the skills needed to play on the team. (Using American football as an example: a person having good hands to catch the ball.)
Ministries – the Lord Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of the humble servant in the prototype spiritual life. He determines the position we will play on the team. (For example a wide receiver.)
Effects – God the Father, the planner and designer, determines what the responsibilities of our position will be. (For example will this receiver be a deep threat or run short patterns over the middle.)
Overall, as noted in vs. 7, the indwelling Holy Spirit empowers each to perform to the fullest the task at hand in the position he has been given.
As such, the person with good hands will be a wide receiver and run short routes as ordained by God. Our job is then to use what we have been given, where we have been placed, in the manner in which we have been instructed with all the effort we can muster, body, soul and spirit, to do our job!
If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson #’s:
15-117, 15-118, 15-119
A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore our sins will never be held against us. Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life.
To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!