SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.
ROBERT >> I want to read again this morning from Ephesians 1:20-23 so we can read where the apostle Paul tells us how that Jesus Christ was made head of the church. Here’s what he says: “Which He worked in Christ Jesus when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come. And 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.”
As we mentioned last week, Jesus Christ is head of the church. But the church is here considered as a body. And so we see the figure of the head and the body. We understand the importance of the head to the human body and how that the body could not do anything without the head. The head will direct it what to do and how it’s supposed to do the things it’s supposed to do. And so in a very similar way, Jesus Christ is head of the church which is his body. But it’s important for us to see what it means for Jesus to be the head of the church.
One thing that I want to emphasize today is that it means we must have authority from him for all that we teach and all that we practice. In other words, we must look to Jesus Christ. We must look to the head of the church for our directions as a church. We must look to what Jesus has revealed for us, what he has given to us in the scriptures so that we can see his will for us, his church, today.
In Matthew 28:18-20 we see Jesus claim this authority over the church. So I want to read it to you this morning. Here in Matthew chapter 28, after his resurrection, just before ascending into heaven to go back to be with the Father there and to begin to rule in his kingdom, he made this claim about himself. Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ”All authority has been given unto Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you. And lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age, amen.”
Jesus Christ says that he has all authority. He has all authority in heaven and he has all authority on earth. No pope, no pastor is the head of the church. The headquarters of the church is not in Rome, it’s not in Salt Lake City, Utah or anywhere on this earth; but it’s in heaven, where the only true head of the church resides. Because Jesus Christ is head of the church and because Jesus Christ is at the right hand of God there on his throne in heaven, so there is the headquarters of the church, and there is where we must look for our authority, not to any man or any group of men when it comes to what God wants for us in his church.
Look with me if you will in Matthew chapter 21. That week that Jesus was going to the cross, he was discussing this matter of authority with some of the religious leaders of his day, and he makes some very important points for us to consider as we think about this today.
In Matthew 21, look at verse 23. “Now when He came into the temple, the chief priest and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?”
Now, those were very important questions. They were asking for authority for what Jesus was doing. We need to ask those same questions. By what authority do we do what we do in the church today? Who gave us the authority for what we’re doing? Now, I want you to notice that Jesus did not avoid this question, but he wants to answer the question. And he tells us something about authority.
He says in verse 24, “But Jesus answered and said to them, I also will ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, where was it from? From heaven or from men?”
He wants them to think about the baptism of John, because most of them had rejected it. These religious leaders did not want to accept John as the one who prepared the way of the Lord. But Jesus asked them by what authority he did what he did. And he gave them two choices. It was a multiple choice question. Was it from heaven or from men? You see, our authority either comes from heaven, that is, from God, from Jesus Christ, or our authority comes from man, from the earth. God or man. Our authority must come from God if it’s to be acceptable to God. And so as we think about this idea of authority, we need to be asking, do we do what we do, do we say what we say, do we teach what we teach, do we practice what we practice by the authority of Jesus Christ? Do we have authority from God, or is it simply what man has said and taught us?
Notice in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 how that God has provided us with all that we need by way of revelation so that we can know his will for us today. We don’t need any creed book from man, we don’t need any church manual written by man or church discipline. No, we need no other revelation from man because we have all that we need in his word, the Bible.
2 Timothy 3:16, the Bible says that, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
I want you to notice here that the scriptures, the Bible are inspired by God. That is, they are literally God breathed. They came from his mouth. And so when we read and we listen to and we believe and obey the scriptures, we know that we have authority from God for the things that we’re believing and that we’re doing. God’s word, the Bible, is all that we need, because he said these things are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped. God has provided us the direction and the guidance we need in his Bible. Let us never put the writings of men or the teachings of men above what God has said in his book.
And make sure that whatever we say or do, we have a thus saith the Lord, that we “speak as the oracles of God,” 1 Peter 4:11.
I think a very good illustration of what we’re talking about today can be found in Luke the 7th chapter. We read about a centurion who called upon Jesus to heal his dear servant. And it’s in the midst of this story that the centurion reveals to us an understanding about what it means to be under authority.
Let’s look at this story, Luke chapter 7 beginning in verse 1. “Now when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. And a certain centurion’s servant who was dear to him was sick and ready to die. And so when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, for he loves our nation and has built us a synagogue. And then Jesus went with them, and when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You; but say the word, and my servant will be healed. Look at the faith of this centurion.”
He believed that all Jesus had to do was say a word, and the servant would be healed. You see, that’s power. That’s authority. And the centurion understood that authority.
Read on in this place. “For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, and he does it.´
You see, the servant, the one under authority only does what he’s commanded to do. He doesn’t go beyond what the authority has declared for him, and neither does he do less. He simply does as he has been commanded. That’s what it means to be under authority.
As we read on in this story, it says in verse 9 that, “When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel. And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.”
Jesus had the power, had the authority to heal that servant. All he had to do was speak that word, and things would happen. And Jesus Christ as head of the church has spoken his word, and we as his church must respond to that in obedience, not doing more, not doing less than what our Lord has told us to do. Let’s remember that we’re under his authority; and out of respect for his authority let all our teaching and practices be in accordance with the words of Jesus Christ.
A final verse on this point, Colossians 3:17. I believe this is exactly what the apostle Paul was trying to get across here. This is what he writes, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
You see, the passage tells us here that whatever we do in word, that is, whatever our teaching, whatever we do in deed, whatever our practice, do all in the name, that is, by the authority of Jesus Christ. Just as somebody might pound on your door and say, Open up in the name of the law, we understand that they have the authority to come through that door. And so the authority of Jesus Christ is wrapped up in the person of Jesus Christ, in the name of Jesus Christ. And our practice and our teaching must be according to his name, that is, by his authority. But now there’s something else that we need to think about it in regards to Jesus Christ being the head of the church. Not only does it mean we must have authority from him for everything that we do, but it means that we must obey him in everything.
Matthew 28:18-20 that we read a number of minutes ago, Jesus claimed all authority in heaven and earth. He told us to “baptize, and then he told us to teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”
The Christian, the one who has given himself to the Lord in baptism, is to be obedient to Jesus Christ in everything. I’m afraid that too many in the church want to pick and to choose which commandments to obey. But the Bible is not like a cafeteria line where you go through and you pick and choose what you want and what you don’t want. You either take the whole Bible or you take none of it at all. Jesus says if you want to be my follower, then you’re going to keep my commandments.
“If you love Me, keep My commandments” he said in John 14:15.
Yes, we must obey him in everything because he is our head. Imagine if your body said well, I’m not going to do that. Well, then we would not be able to function properly as human beings. Everything would be out of whack. It’s only when the body responds to every command that comes from the head that the body can function properly. And it’s only when the church submits to Christ in everything that it’s going to bring glory to God, it’s going to function effectively and properly in this world.
In Luke 6:46, Jesus said, “Why call Me Lord, Lord, and not do the things which I say?”
I’ve seen bumper stickers, I’ve seen T-shirts, I’ve heard many people say Jesus is Lord. But do they obey him? Do they keep his commandments? It’s not enough for us to just say he’s our Lord. We must as servants of Jesus obey him. Just as servants are expected to obey their masters, so Jesus Christ is the master of our soul, he’s the master of our spirit, and we must submit to him in everything. Sometimes what Jesus wants us to do and what the government or other authorities would have us to do are in conflict. I want you to notice a principle that’s given to us in Acts 5:29. When the apostle Peter and John were arrested because of their association with Jesus Christ, they were preaching Jesus, they were healing in his name, and there were those that wanted them to be quiet, quit doing what they were doing, to no longer mention the name of Jesus Christ.
But it’s here that we find this principle in Acts 5:29. “But Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”
Yes, when there’s a conflict between obeying Jesus and obeying any other authority over us, we must obey Jesus. That’s what it means to recognize Jesus Christ as head of the church, the one who has all authority.
Ephesians 5:22-24 also teaches us about responding to the authority of Jesus Christ as our head. These words were written to wives to teach them about their relationship to their husbands in the home. It’s compared to the relationship of Christ to the church. Here’s what Paul writes: “Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord; for the husband is head of the wife as also Christ is head of the church. And He is the savior of the body.”
And therefore just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Here in this passage we see that wives are to submit to their husbands, and they’re to do that as the church submits to Jesus Christ. We honor Jesus as his spiritual bride when we obey him, as Paul said here, in everything. It’s an embarrassment to Christ when we do not obey him. It shows disrespect towards our head, our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. Now there’s a final point I want to leave you with today. To recognize Jesus as head of the church means that we must worship and we must serve him only. Let’s go back to Joshua 24:14-15. This great leader of God’s people was about to leave this earth, and he wanted to leave the people of God with instructions to continue to serve God. He wanted to urge them with his last words to remain faithful to God. He laid before them a choice. He told them that they were going to have to decide. And God’s people today must also decide whom they’re going to serve.
Joshua 24:14-15, the Bible says, “Now therefore fear the Lord. Serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the river and in Egypt. Serve the Lord. And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Yes, Joshua knew who God was. He knew that God was Lord, and he knew that the only true and eternal blessings came from him. And so he had decided that he would serve the Lord. And it was this decision that ruled his household. What an example he sets for us today. As we try to lead our families, as we try to be the people of God today, let’s decide to serve our God. I know that we’re not going after many idols in America today. I know in some places that’s a great temptation. But we do have our other gods, whether it be that box in the living room, the television that begins to control our life, whether it be overeating and allowing food and our fleshly desires to become gluttons, whether it means that we give in to the desires of alcohol or drugs and become addicted to these things where it destroys our lives, maybe it’s money that’s taking control of our life. There are many things that try to get into our heart and get into our life, and we forget that Jesus Christ is our head, that he is our Lord. Every day we must make this decision, and in face of every temptation and desire that’s set before us, we must say Jesus Christ is my Lord, and I’ll let him have control of my life. In Matthew 6:24, Jesus lays this choice out before us in his great Sermon on the Mount. To help us to get our lives where they need to be, we’ve got to make a decision.
Matthew 6:24, Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he’ll be loyal to the one and despise the other.”
You cannot serve God and mammon. You can’t hold onto the world, to the desires and the things of the world and hold onto Christ at the same time. You must make a decision.
As he says in verse 33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”
We cannot serve two masters. Only when God is made the priority in our life will we be truly blessed. Matthew 4:10, Jesus said, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve. Don’t be deceived by the promises of the devil that are never what they appear to be. Give your life to Jesus Christ, and he’ll give you the whole world.
1 John 2:15-17, the Bible says to, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes the pride of life, they’re not of the Father, but of the world.”
And what does he tell us? The world’s passing away. But if we’ll stick to God’s word, we see there what’s lasting. We see there what is eternal. There’s nothing lasting in this world, but eternal blessings are found in recognizing Jesus as head, as Lord.
I’ll leave you with Paul’s words in Romans 12, to, “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.”
What else can we do but give ourselves wholly to the one who gave himself for us?
Won’t you do that?
Won’t you let us know here at The Truth In Love how we can help you towards heaven today?
SINGING>> Jesus, Lamb of God, worthy is your name.
Jesus, Lamb of God, worthy is your name,
worthy is your name, worthy is your name.
ROBERT >> I’d like to thank you for watching the program today. Our interest in each of you with regard to our program is about eternal salvation. It’s not about money, it’s not about anything like that. We’re interested in your soul.
The Bible says that for a person to be saved, they have to first of all believe in Jesus Christ. But not just to believe in him generally; no, you must believe that he is indeed the Son of God.
He said, “Except you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins,” John 8:24.
But he also said that a person must repent of sins. And that means to change your mind about your sinful past and decide to change your action and live for God.
“Except you repent, you will perish,” Jesus said in Luke 13:3.
Paul said, “But God commands all men everywhere to repent” Acts 17:30.
The Bible also teaches us that in order to be saved, we have to be willing to verbally confess to others our faith in Jesus Christ.
Paul wrote to the Romans, Romans 10:10, “With the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
But even that is not enough, because the Bible also teaches that a person must be immersed in water to have their sins washed away by the blood of Christ.
Peter said on the day of Pentecost to those who asked what they must do to be saved, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,” Acts 2:38.
Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved,” Mark 16:16.
When a person does that, they don’t earn their salvation. That’s just the moment at which the blood of Christ washes sins. Revelation 1:5 tells us that it is the blood of Jesus that washes away our sins.
Acts 22:16 tells us, “Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”
That’s when the blood washes. And I hope that you’ll study these things for yourself to see if these be so, and I hope and pray that if you’ve not obeyed the gospel that you will before it’s eternally too late. If you have any questions, comments, or requests, if you’d like a personal home Bible study or special prayers, if you’d like more information about the lesson today, or if you’d like to order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form, let me encourage you to write The Truth In Love at P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053.
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All our materials and services are absolutely free of charge. We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So let us know how we can help you. And please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.
SINGING>> Unto the hills around do I lift up my longing eyes. Oh, whence for me shall my salvation come? From whence arise? From God the Lord doth come my certain aid, from God the Lord whom heaven and earth hath made. From every evil shall he keep thy soul, from every sin. Jehovah shall preserve thy going out, thy coming in. Above thee watching, he whom we adore shall keep thee henceforth, yea for evermore.