THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 10-16-11
LESSON TITLE: “WHAT GOD HAS JOINED TOGETHER: THE HEAD AND THE BODY”
Stephen once cried out, “…I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God,” Acts 7:56. Wow, how wonderful it is to know that our Lord Jesus Christ is at the right hand of the Father in Heaven!
Let me welcome each of you to the Living Word program on this glorious Lord ’s Day morning! How wonderful it is to know that you have chosen to put God first this day and to assemble for this time of worship before His Mighty Throne!
As always, it will be our privilege to offer sacrifices to God this morning, with the fruit of our lips and the obedience of our actions, may we all be encouraged on this the Lord’s day. However, may we each do our part so that ultimately we will offer praise to God according to His truth as is found in His Precious Will. So as we begin our focus on the Creator, will you bow with me in prayer?
Now let’s join in our first hymn of the day. It reminds us of the great Love of our savior, Jesus Christ. The name of the song, “I Will Sing the Wondrous Story.”
(SONG # 1)
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the one we mentioned earlier, where Stephen boldly stands for the cause of Christ. In Acts 7 we find Stephen giving a defense and proclaiming Jesus as Lord. We also see the angry mob as they hear what he has to say. Their reaction in verse 54 is interesting for it says, “When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth.” They were so angry that they were “chompping at the bits.” And then Stephen said that he looked into the heavens and saw Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father. Well that was all they could take for in verses 57-58 we read, “Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him.” What a horrible reaction this was to the proclamation of God’s Word. Can you believe that people could go to such extremes?
Well the reality is that people still reject God’s Word in similar ways today. Maybe most people aren’t being beaten or loosing their lives in our day, although it still can happen in some parts of the world. However, people are still being persecuted and forced to suffer because of their expression of faith in Jesus. And why, well most of this world still reject His Glorious Name!
The reality is Jesus is the Son of God whether many in the world believe it or not. Furthermore we must face the fact that as the world often hated Jesus for the truth, they will also hate us. I am reminded of this very point being made by our Lord himself, when He said, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you,” John 15:18! But why is this so? Well the next verse goes on to say, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
Are you of this world and thus estranged from Jesus. Or are you hated by this world because of your love and commitment to God. Brethren and friend, may we always put God first and realize that there is nothing in this world which is worth loosing our soul over.
Today we will be continuing our series of study entitled, “What God Has Joined Together.” Our lesson this day will be a discussion on, “The Head and the Body.” So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, I will lead us in the main thoughts of the day. Now it’s time to join in our second song, the name of this hymn, “All The Way My Savior Leads Me.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
I am so thankful you’ve continued with us today as we now return to God’s Word in relationship to another discussion concerning “What God Has Joined Together.” I think so far we’ve had a really good discussion together over the past many weeks and we’ve been able to see many things in the Bible that are intricately tied together so much so that they really cannot be pulled apart. You can’t have one without the other. And this morning will be no different. This morning as we begin to think about our topic, I would like you to remember all of the great examples, all the great analogies and comparisons that Jesus used in His preaching as He spoke to the multitudes. I find it interesting that so many times as He used the examples of the day and He used comparisons of the day that He said things to the people that made clear sense so there would be no confusion and so they would not misunderstand the point that He was making or the implications of what He was trying to clarify.
Such is the case again with what we discuss today, and we might introduce our thoughts as we look together in Ephesians chapter 1 and verse 22. It speaks here about the Word of God and it says here, “And He put all things under His feet (that is Jesus) and gave Him to be head over all things to the church.” Well the first thing we begin to see here is that the Father in Heaven gave the Son to be head over all, not some things, but all things to the church. What is the church described as here? Look at the next verse. Because in the English after it says, “Made Him all things to the church, which is His body.” What does that mean? What does it mean that Christ is the head and the church is the body? It is again that Jesus and His body that is the fullness of the Godhead on this earth as it is the Kingdom of God.
Don’t you find it interesting again as Jesus used such a clear yet simple illustration? Why? Because we all have bodies. You can look at yourself and you can see that you have one body and you have one head. Well that’s the norm. That’s what God designed. That’s what is really found in the standard or principles of life that if you find a body you will find a head and if you find a head you will find a body if you is alive. And that being the case we begin to learn a lot of things about what God the Father wanted for His Son, Jesus in relationship to the church. Yes, the church! You see the body and Jesus would be the head. What does the head do for the body? Well within the head we find not only so many of the senses that are there being clarified or used, but what about even the brain? Is it not the brain that really works all of the body with those things that we have to think about or even those different actions that we never think about and yet the body still does it? What is Jesus? The Head! He’s the brain! He’s the mind! He’s the One who leads us in the things that we should do, which way to go, and He’s the one that gives directive in those things that are common sense because He is the Head, the One that moves the joints, the ligaments, the bones, and even allows the veins and the blood to flow through the veins whether you be a femur, a toe, or a leg or an arm, you are led by your God as the church. Isn’t that a beautiful idea, an idea that says to us that we need to be in the church if it is the church that identifies one as being in the body of Christ? I think all of us would have that desire.
Over in the Colossian letter find more clarity about the one who is in the body of Christ, and again Jesus being the Head of the body. But I want you to notice with me what he actually says there back up in verse 13 of Colossians 1 because it really begins to tell us those steps or that action required in order that we are able to accomplish something through Jesus Christ. And what is that that we accomplish? Verse 13 says, “The Father might deliver us from the power of darkness and convey us into the Kingdom of the dear Son of His love.” And so we’re trying to get out of sin and the world and the things that would cause us to die eternally and we’re trying to get into Christ. Well guess where that is. Guess where being into Christ puts us. Guess what we become when we obey the plan that God has given us of salvation.
Well this text goes on to tell us if you drop down in verse 18 not only was the Word in verse 13 “kingdom” used, but in verse 18 he adds this, “And He (Jesus) is the Head of the body, the church.” Who is head of the church? Jesus! What is the church? The body! And why? Because Jesus alone is worthy of such honor to lead as God, the Son of God, and the One worthy to tell us what we need to know and the direction that we need to go. You see our Jesus, our Lord; our Savior is Head of the church.
Now if you will let’s turn perhaps to one of the best passages and that is found back in Ephesians but in chapter 5 because here we not only have the idea of the body, but we also have the idea of why Jesus was the only one suited to head or lead the church. You will notice, by the way my friends, that there is no earthly heads that are mentioned. There are no men that are called the head of the church. Jesus alone is called the head of His body or the church. We’re going to look at that a little more in just a moment. But look there in Ephesians 5 and 23. It says, “As the husband is head of the wife just as Christ is head of the church.” What else is Jesus? The verse goes on to say, “And Savior of the body.” Why is Jesus Savior of the body? Because He gave His life for us. He is the only one that died. He is the only one that shed His blood that not only the church might be purchased (Acts 20:28) but that also we might through the blood of Jesus be added to the church (Revelation chapter 1 verse 5 also found in Acts chapter 2 and verse 38, as well as verse 47). We are added by God to His church when we obey the plan of salvation to get into the blood of Jesus that washes us as white as snow. It cleans away those crimson stains, that sin that is in our life and makes us presentable before the Father in Heaven. Jesus did that for us!
How do we know that? The verse goes on to clarify that fact. If you drop down with me there in verse 25 it again says, “Husbands love your wives as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” What did Jesus do? He gave Himself for the church. That’s why He is qualified. That’s why He is the only one qualified. That’s why He is the only Head. That’s why He’s the only one we need to look to, and that’s why He gave us His Word, His perfect, complete Word that we might know His Will all things, as Peter said in 1 Peter chapter 1. All things pertaining to life and godliness are given to us in this book that is from our head Jesus Christ to lead the body of which you and I are a part. No wonder we are as it says there in verse 27, “such a glorious church.” No wonder we are presented as a bride in that text not because of us but because our Head is Jesus Christ Himself.
And so what is our reaction then as the body to the Head which is Jesus telling us what to do, showing us what to do? The same text tells us if you’ll go back up to verse 24 in chapter 5 of Ephesians and verse 24 the Bible says, “And therefore just as the church is subject to Christ…” Who are we subject to? No man, no religion, no individual that is of an earthly nature today but Jesus Christ Himself. Brethren, we know that to be the case. We know that to be the case because God’s Will here has determined it. There is but one body and there is but one head.
Another verse that I think helps us a lot with this text is back in chapter 4 in the same book, Ephesians once again. There are those things referred to as the seven parts or ones of unity. And if you’ll notice there are several different things mentioned in relationship to the one Father, or one Son, or one faith and so on and so forth, the one baptism, but guess what he also adds there in that same text. There in verse 4 he says, “There is one body.” Well what did he say back in chapter 1 the body was? The church! What did he say there in Ephesians 5 just afterwards in verse 23 that the body was? The church! So there is one what? One church! There’s only one church that Jesus died for, that He shed His blood for. There might be many members, but there is but one church which makes sense because there’s only one body and there’s but one head. How do we find the church? How do we know the church? The church is that group that is lining itself up and following what this book says. This is the directive from the Head. This is the directive that we receive from the headquarters. This is what God has given us and delivered to us that we might know not “some” faith, but the “one” faith and all of the faith.
Another verse that might help us is a parallel found in Romans 12. But I would like to look together with you in 1 Corinthians chapter 12. Both of these texts talk about not only the plurality of members in the body or the church but the singleness of the body still yet. If you’ll notice there in verse 12 of chapter 12 in 1 Corinthians he said, that is Paul, “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members are of that one body, being many, are one body, so as Christ.” Did you hear that? Three times, three times in one little verse he says, “The body, the church is one, one body, one body, one body and yet there are many members.” Well what does that tell us? It tells us the body represents the many members, that we are all parts of the body, different fingers again, different toes. We all exemplify what we should do for Christ by working together as the body, as the hand works together on a human body, the church as we represent the different parts of the hand and works together because we are one under the head led by the same head and the same leader, Savior, Jesus Christ. What a beautiful picture that is. What a simple picture that is. But how glorious it is to be able to see that that’s what our God wants. He does mention in the same text of 1 Corinthians 12 that again although we have many members (verse 27) we are still individual members. In other words, he says, “When there is one weeping, the rest of the members weep and mourn and encourage and when we rejoice the others rejoice.” Again the unity, the beauty of the body of Christ, that body that is found again in the New Testament, that body that is discovered when we consider what it is that the Bible tells us about the precious church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
So what I am challenging you to think about this day is that Jesus Christ as the only Head is who we should look to for all that we need to know, all that we need to obey, and all that we need to do. If you’re looking somewhere else, my friend, this day, if you’re trying to find Christ and the Will of God in man or religion then you are looking in the wrong place. But if you’re going to the Bible to find out who the Head is and you’re following that Head and you’ve obeyed that Head, you are a part of the church. You are a part of that wondrous and glorious and beautiful body of Jesus Christ, that body that is made up of those wondrous members that are added by her head, Jesus, when we obey the gospel plan of salvation, when we do what they did in Acts chapter 2 and verse 38 when they were told by Peter and the rest to “repent and be baptized.” What did they do? They obeyed. They obeyed and in verse 47 they were added then by God to the church because they had done what they were told to do by the Head to be saved.
Finally, let me remind you and really a reminder asks the question: What man do you know of this earth who is worthy to be followed rather than Jesus? What man of any religion do you know that has died for your sake that has shed their blood, that has suffered as Jesus suffered, that was beaten as Jesus was beaten? Do you know of any? I don’t know of any. And yet many today in the denominational world choose to follow man rather than God. Why not choose to give yourself fully to the Savior? Why not choose to turn to the one body of Jesus Christ who adhere to those things that are found from God Almighty Himself and therefore as we learn in Ephesians chapter 4 later in that text that we are able to be that whole body, all working together, knit together in love, the love of God, encouraged knowing that we are never alone because God is ever with us and our brethren are ever with us and because of that we are blessed on this earth but not just now. The final blessing from God, the final blessing with our brethren is eternal life in Heaven.
So let me ask you: Are you living today in such a way that you will have eternal life with your God? I might also ask: Have you done what is required by Jesus to be a part of His one and only body on this earth?
(SONG # 3 - “Is it For Me Dear Savior.”)
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I know our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God!
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Isn’t it wonderful to know that Christ is the only Head of His Church? May we always look to our savior for guidance and directions, for there is no other place where salvation can be found!