Beginning this study Derek distinguishes between the head and the body in showing that Jesus is our head and we are His body. He speaks about four functions of the head; it receives input or communication from the body. The head makes decisions, it initiates action, and it coordinates the activity of the other members as they carry out the decisions.
I want to speak tonight for a while on something that I think is radically out of place in the body of Christ. I’m not saying in every part of the body of Christ but in most of the body of Christ there is something that is out of place. And, it’s a very important part of the body, it’s the head.
In Ephesians 1, the last two verses, God says:
“He put all things under the feet of Jesus, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church which is His body.”
There’s an interesting difference in language. God put all things under the feet of Jesus. They were subjected. But when it relates to the position of Christ, He gave Christ. The most wonderful gift He could give. It was not subjection, it was not domination, it was the most precious and wonderful blessing that He could offer to the body, was to have Jesus as head. And He’s head over all things. Not over a few things, not over most things but over all things. I’m going to deal in a moment with the functions of a head. I just want to ask you right now, could you honestly say in the presence of God, “Jesus is head over everything in my life? There’s nothing that’s outside His control? There’s nothing that’s outside the expression of His determined will for me?”
In Ephesians 4:15–16 Paul writes, and it’s in the middle of one of his long sentences, he says:
“...speaking the truth in love [or being honest in love] we may grow up in all things into Him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”
Notice the whole body depends on the head. And it’s only through its relationship to the head that the body derives nourishment and is able to grow and function effectively. If the relationship to the head is impaired, the whole life of the body is automatically impaired.
And then in Colossians 2:18–19, Paul says:
“Let no one defraud you of your reward...”
Or, let no one disqualify you would be a better word. Don’t lose what God intends you to have. But this person who defrauds:
“...takes delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind...”
What I would call a super-spiritual person who claims to be super-spiritual but is actually very carnal. Paul says don’t let such a person deceive you and cheat you out of your rightful inheritance.
And then he says of such a person in the next verse, verse 19:
“...not holding fast to the head, from whom all the body nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments grows with the increase which is from God.”
The NIV says “having lost connection with the head.” As soon as we lose connection with the head we are headed for error, some form of deception, some kind of false teaching, something that is out of line with the truth of God.
The only condition of safety for the body collectively, for each believer individually, is to be rightly related to the head. Every true believer has a divinely prepared direct connection with the head Jesus Christ. Let no one ever interfere with your personal connection with the head.
Pastors are wonderful people but they cannot take the place of Jesus. The function of a pastor is not to be your head, it’s to help you cultivate your relationship with the one who is your head. It’s not to tell you the answers to all your problems, it’s to show you how to find the answer for yourself from Jesus. Some people are lazy, they just want some human being to solve all their problems. It doesn’t work that way. And some leaders are despotic, they want to take control of people. I’ve been through all that and, thank God, I’ve come out of it, and I have no desire to be in it again. You have to have your own personal relationship with Jesus. You have to be able to hear Him speak to you. You have to be able to be directed by Him. You have to have something inside you that tells you when He’s pleased and when He’s not pleased. You have to be sensitive to the head.
Now I want to speak about four functions of the head. This is not a lesson in physiology, I’m not competent to give one. These are just simple, practical perspectives. In my way of thinking, a head or the head has four main functions.
First of all, to receive input. Every part of the body has a right to communicate with the head and the head receives communication.
Number two, to make decisions. The head decides what the body is to do.
Number three, to initiate action. And the key word is initiative because the one who takes the initiative is the head.
And, number four, having taken the initiative, to coordinate the activity of the members carrying out the decision of the head.
I’ll say those just once again because I want you to be considering your own relationship with Jesus and also considering the relationship of the body, the church, as you know it today here in America.
All right. Here are the four functions.
Number one, to receive input.
Number two, to make decisions.
Number three, to initiate action. And again, I want to say the word initiative is a key word.
And number four, to coordinate the activity of the other members as they carry out the decision of the head.
Now in the body of Jesus Christ, the church, the headship of Jesus is effective only through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the only means by which Jesus can communicate with the body, direct the body, control the body and preserve the body. So, we are talking not merely about a relationship with Jesus but what goes with that, a relationship with the Holy Spirit.
I’ll give you just a few of many scriptures along that line. In John 16:12–15 Jesus is taking farewell of His disciples and He says:
“I still have many things to say to you but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth.”
So Jesus is saying I can’t tell you everything you need to know now, you’re not in the condition to receive any more, you’re already overwhelmed by what I’ve told you. But that doesn’t matter because the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, is coming and He will guide you. He will take over for me your direction.
It’s interesting that the translation says “when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come,” because the original text is Greek. And those of you who know anything about genders, there are three genders in Greek: masculine, feminine and neuter. He, she or it. Now the Greek word for spirit, pneuma, is neuter. So, the normal pronoun would be it. But the rules of grammar are broken to put in the pronoun he. Why? To emphasize the Holy Spirit is a person, He’s not just something, He is someone. You can’t relate rightly to the Holy Spirit if you merely relate to Him as an it. He’s a he, He’s a person. God the Father is a person, Jesus Christ the Son is a person and the Holy Spirit is a person. Jesus says from this time forward my relationship with you will be effected through the Holy Spirit.
And then He goes on to say:
“For He will not speak from Himself but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will tell you things to come.”
I believe the church should have direction concerning the future. Supernatural direction from the Holy Spirit. Not everything but the things we need to know. My personal view of the world situation is the church that goes into the future without the Holy Spirit to guide is going into disaster. I think we have only just glimpsed the troubles and the pressures that are coming on the whole world, and not least on the United States of America. We are going to need the Holy Spirit to warn us of things that are going to happen so we won’t be in the wrong place at the wrong time.