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.
He is described as the “head of the body,” “the beginning,” and “the firstborn from the dead.” In all of these three, we see the supremacy of Christ over the church. As the “head of the body,” He is the leader of the church. As “the beginning,” He is the source of the church. As “the firstborn from the dead,” He is Highest in rank!
What right does He have to rule the church?
- He Died for the Church, Ephesians 5:22ff
- He is the Foundation of the Church, Matthew 16:13-18; Ephesians 2:19-22
How does Jesus exercise His authority in the church? He still governs and guides the church.
- He Still Governs the Church
There are many divisions among denominations on the basis of church government. Some churches are episcopal, meaning a series of bishops provides direction for their churches. Other churches are presbyterian, where a group of elders are the rulers. Still other churches, like our own, believe the N.T. teaches a congregational form of government, where the people themselves elect their own pastors and make other important decisions. But regardless of the human form of government, we must be sure that we acknowledge that Christ alone is the head of the church. He alone governs us. He does this through the ministry of the Holy Spirit and His Word and we must obey Him!
- He Still Guides the Church, John 15:26; 16:12-14
When there are important decisions to be made, we must ask this question “What does Christ say to us through His Word? Many times there are not clear answers in Scripture about, for example, what color of carpet should we have. But where there is clear direction, we must be obedient. He has commanded us to take the gospel to the world. He has commanded us to preach the Word. He has commanded those who believe and repent to be baptized. He has commanded His church to observe the Lord’s supper. Whatever else we become or seek to do, we must never depart from this basic principles of Guidance that we find in the Word of God, which are nothing less than Christ’s guidance of the church!
The head determines the direction of the body. Where there is no head there is no bodily functions for long! Anything with two heads is a freak, a monstrosity! We must seek to avoid two dangers: rejection of the authority of Christ and competition to Christ’s authority by a human board or individual.