Many times people are concerned with if the church is heading in the right direction and who is in charge of the church. Those questions arise from time to time and it is always good to go back to Scripture and be reminded of what is really true about the church.
One of the things that makes Redeemer so beautiful to me is knowing that this is how Jesus sees us as a body: beautiful! Because we are individually in Christ and come together collectively in Christ to exalt him each week, God doesn’t see all of our foibles and flaws. It’s not that he is unaware of them, but when he looks at us, he sees His bride, robed in righteousness. And why are we such? Because the church has a great Savior!
Both the old and new testaments point to the idea of God as savior. In Isaiah 49:26, the prophet writes, “all flesh shall know that I am the Lord your Savior, and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.” The opening pages of the New Testament frames this around the person and work of Jesus. Mary worships the Lord in Luke 1:47 when she declares “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” And then the announcement to the shepherds by the angels was to tell them that this child, Jesus, would save his people from their sins. “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11) And that is good news on the one hand because all of us have hindrances and sins that slow us down in this marathon race of life. Without Jesus life, death, and resurrection, we would still be in our sins. But because he lived the life we couldn’t live, died the death we deserved, and was raised so we could be, we know the salvation of the Lord. Hallelujah what a Savior!
But Jesus is more than the Savior of the church. He is also the Head of the Body which also is what makes Redeemer beautiful. In his book The Loveliest Place, pastor and theologian, Dustin Benge says it this way: “However, perhaps no metaphorical phrase comes close to the gravity of Christ being the head of the church. Uniting himself to us in our nature not only makes Jesus a fit Savior for his bride, but also makes him a fit head.”
This phrase the head of the church is not used to make Christ out to be the head of a company or an organization. In Ephesians 5:23, Paul calls Christ the “head of the church, his body.” This means the church isn’t something made up by human minds and on human terms. The living Christ is the head of a living organism, the church. So just as a body follows the lead and movement of its head, so does the church follow Christ’s leadership. The church gets all of its life from Jesus and in truth, has no life apart from him. The church’s union with Christ is akin to how we need oxygen. Dustin Beige again says, “Christ is consistently filling her lungs with life-giving spiritual breath animating her, gifting he, and empowering her.” This means that those who serve the body of Christ do so only as Christ equips and empowers them to do so.
Charles Spurgeon once described the church in a sermon on November 1, 1868 asking what is the church? His answer:
“The word signifies an assembly. The church of Jesus Christ is an assembly of faithful men, the whole company of God’s chosen, and called out ones, the entire community of true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Wherever true believers are, there is a part of the church; wherever such men are not, whatever organization may be in existence, there is no church of Jesus Christ. The church is no corporation of priests, or confederacy of unconverted men, it is the assembly of those whose names are written in heaven. Any assembly of faithful men is a church. The aggregate of all these assemblies of faithful men makes up the one church with Jesus Christ ahas redeemed with his most precious blood, and of which he is the sole and only Head.”
So how does Christ “head” his church? He does it through qualified leaders that are representatives of Chris’s authority. Jesus delegates his authority in the church but never transfers it. Any authority that we have as pastors, elders, or deacons is delegated to us by Christ. We are not ultimately in charge, Jesus is!
Because the church’s savior is Christ and because the church’s head is Christ, we can all see more and more how beautiful the church really is. And we don’t have to worry if the church is heading in the right direction: Christ has saved his bride and is leading her as her head!
NxTGen is our group for young adults at Redeemer that meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday each month for a time of fellowship, learning, and growth. Contact Pat Howell with questions.
Coming this fall… 2 options for Women’s Bible Study
Click this one to register for the Tuesday afternoon time slot:
Click this one to register for the Thursday evening time:
And also this Fall, our next prospective membership class. Contact Pastor Matt if you are interested or have questions.
Another great opportunity for women to deeply connect with one another all centered around Jesus and His Word. Contact Jen Gurney with questions.
FIRST FRIDAY GAME NIGHTS ARE BACK!
If you have a student (6th-12th grade) who wants to spend more time in fellowship with their peers, pay attention to the details down below.
Finally, small groups at RCC are one of the main ways you can grow in community. Among other things, they primarily provide an outlet for support, encouragement, and accountability. If you are at all interested in visiting and/or joining a small group, refer to the details below.
It was incredible to say the least of how much great joy it gave me and Cole the opportunity to help you all see what real faith and how to live by it looks like. This week, Bob is back and he will be looking at all of us retuning our lives to the simple rhythms of getting poured into and pouring out for others. If you have ever wondered how to do that by God’s grace, we hope you will come and bring a friend on Sunday.
See you in church.
Grace and peace,