Christian Living – [Christ, the Authority of All]

 

Ephesians 1:22-23

22 And God put all things under Christ’s feet, and gave him to the church as head over all things. 23 Now the church is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (NET)

God put all things under Christ’s feet,”

As creator, God and King, all things are subject to Christ. We live in a world where Christianity is hated — because they hate Jesus, and all that He stands for. They hate the authority that He is recognized for by His followers. They hate the idea that He is their authority too. All over the world, even in America, there’s a growing animosity toward Christianity, where there’s a deliberate attempt to squelch its influence. Our government at all levels – local, state and federal – are becoming more and more anti-Christian. There are laws that require us to be tolerant and supportive of all faiths, except where Christianity is concerned. We are becoming the outcasts, the target of attacks. Some look upon Christians as being as dangerous as terrorists.

However, we shouldn’t wonder that Christians are becoming the dregs of the world, for we cast a bright light upon their sins and lifestyles. Christianity is a faith that requires holiness and righteousness, and it’s a faith that requires us to take a stand against those things that aren’t. When we do, we are silenced. Everyone seems to have a voice that is allowed to be heard, except for Christians.

Again, this animosity isn’t so much against Christians, as it is against our Leader, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself said, “you will be hated by all for My name’s sake” (Matt 10:22). He also said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you (Jn 15:18). We are hated because of our identification with Christ. Jesus represents holiness, power, authority. He taught things nobody else ever has, and people don’t like what He taught. He’s a light that shines upon their darkness and sin. They don’t like the idea that they need to submit to His authority. They don’t like the idea that they’re accountable to Him.

But submit they will, either now or when they stand before Him in judgment:

(Romans 14:11-12) 11 for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. (ESV)

(Philippians 2:10-11) 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (ESV)

We have here in Ephesians 1:22-23, a picture of feet, head and body. “Under Christ’s feet,” gives us a picture of all things being beneath Him, that He is holding everything down in complete subjection to Him. Everything in the universe is under the Rulership of Christ.

As the Creator and Ruler of the universe, He’s been given to the Church as it’s Head (Eph 5:P23). The reference to Christ as the Head, refers to both authority and intelligence. The brain is the control center. It was by His infinite intelligence and wisdom and knowledge and understanding that everything in the universe was created. Everything was designed exactly the way He wanted it. Everything is in subjection, and everything must fulfill the purpose for which it was designed. Everything He created has a specific reason for existence. Everything is working together according to a grand plan.

This is all for the church, or for the benefit of the church:

22 And God has put all things under the authority of Christ, and he gave him this authority for the benefit of the church. (NLT)

God is working in the world and in the universe according to a glorious plan, and in the center of that plan is the Church, which is Christ’s body. He is the head and feet, and we, the Church, are His body. We are literally one with Christ. I mentioned that the Church is the center of God’s plan, and we have this pictured for us here. We, the body, are between the head and feet. That should be a great comfort and encouragement to every one of us. Everything God does is for the benefit of the Church and for His glory. God has chosen to glorify Himself through His people, who has His Son as our Head.

Not only should we be comforted and encourage by all this, but it should also serve as an exhortation, or better still, a warning. Our head (brain) controls our body. Our body can only do what it’s told to do. Our feet can only go where our mind directs. Likewise, with Christ as our Head, we are to be and do and go as He directs. This applies on three different levels: to the Church worldwide, to the local church and to individual Christians. In a general sense, I don’t think that we as individual Christians and as local churches give this concept as much thought as we should. The worldliness and shallowness on both levels is apparent, and is a real concern — especially as it relates to Christianity in America. We have strayed so far from where we were 60 years ago. I believe if Christians from the 1950’s were given the opportunity to return to life in America today, they would be shocked by what they see in churches today.

The line of separation between the world and churches today, are not very distinct. The gap between the lifestyle of the Christian and the non-Christian, is not that great anymore. The line of distinction has become blurred. With every passing decade, the separation between the world and the church has become more and more narrow. The gap is closing fast. So much of what used to be considered worldly, has become the “Christian” norm. With that in mind, what sense does it make to align ourselves with a world that hates our Lord as it does? What sense does it make to align ourselves with a world that is so antagonistic toward those who follow Him? What sense does it make to align ourselves with a world that is but a temporary home for us?

Every church and every Christian should ask, “Is the way we live and carry out ministry, truly in harmony with Christ, who is our Head? Are we functioning as those under the control of our Head? Is our church in harmony with what is patterned for us in the New Testament? Are we really where we would be if Christ were here on earth and reigning visibly as our King?” These are serious questions that require an honest and appropriate response.

When I read the New Testament, I see indications that many churches today are not communicating properly with the Head (Christ). The messages being received are coming out garbled. When I was in the Navy, I was in the communications field. If the messages we received came out garbled, we knew that the problem was one of three things: the transmitter, the receiver or the wrong frequency. The problem is obviously not with the Transmitter (Christ our Head). The problem is with us on the receiving end. Positionally, in Christ, we’re in proper working order to receive clear messages from the Transmitter. However, in practice, we’re often on a different frequency than the Transmitter, causing mixed signals and a garbled message and a garbled life. The mixed signals come from both the Lord and from the world. The more precisely in tune we are to Jesus, the less we will be receiving signals from the world. We, the body, must always be aware of where we are in relation to the Head. We must also be aware of where we are in relation to the world. We must not lose sight of either. We can only be in harmony with one of the two. It can’t be both.

23 Now the church is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

23 And the church is his body; it is filled by Christ, who fills everything everywhere with his presence. (NLT)

The Greek word for “fullness,” has the idea of completeness. Thus the Church is complete in Christ. It has no lack. The Church is filled with the presence and power and riches of Christ. We as individual Christians are a part of that. We have all that we need to fulfill the will of God for our lives. The presence and power of Christ is always available to carry out everything God has called us to be and do.