Summary: Colossians tell us Jesus is the "head of the church" - but what does that mean, and how can we make sure that we let Him be just that?
OPEN: In August 1994, a Korean Air jet skidded across a rain soaked runway and rammed a safety barricade while landing in Cheju, Korea. All 160 passengers escaped safely just moments before the plane exploded into flames.
What was the cause of the accident?
According to news reports, the pilot and the co-pilot had gotten into a fist fight… over who was in charge of the landing controls.
APPLY: Who was in charge of those landing controls???? I’d have thought that would have been covered in the flight manual!!!
But the main thing that we see in this story is that NOBODY knew who was in charge…and the confusion that followed resulted in absolute chaos & destruction
I. (pondering…) Who is in charge?
That’s an important question to answer in almost every situation because when we don’t know who’s in charge there can be confusion and frustration.
For Example… who should be in charge in the church???
The Bible very clearly tells us that Look again with me at Colossians 1:16-18
For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
Now every church has a structure to it. Whether it’s the Anglican church, or the Presbyterian, or ours, every congregation has people who are designated to run the day to day affairs.
In Scripture, we find that the early church had:
1. Elders or Presbyters or Bishops – also called Shepherds of Pastors
2. Preachers or evangelists (like me)
5. And all kinds of ministries within the church.
But someone might say:
“That’s all very nice… but who’s IN CHARGE of the church?”
That would be Jesus
“No… I mean, who has the AUTHORITY in the church?”
That would be Jesus
“No, no, no… who has the FINAL SAY in the church?”
That would be Jesus
II. Now, if you were to ask: who makes the day to day decisions in a congregation…
that would be our Elders: Jim Bowman, Dave Marks and Don Allison. And they get input from me… and Brad… and Greg and everyone else within the congregation.
ILLUS: I once had a person ask me for a copy of a Church’s by-laws where I served. Why did they ask? Because they weren’t satisfied with a policy of the church and they wanted to find something in the by-laws that would help them with their cause.
I explained to them that – in all the time I’d been preaching there - I’d never seen the church’s by-laws… but that I could sum the by-laws up in just a few words:
· any policy that wasn’t covered in the Bible was subject to the decisions of the Eldership
· If the Elders approved of something… it was church policy
· If the Elders didn’t – it wasn’t going to happen.
AND - unless there was a compelling Biblical reason not to do so – I would back any decision the Elders made.
You see, God has given Elders have a very important responsibility. Their job is to take care of the Bride of Christ (the church)… and to protect her from heresy and false doctrine and immorality. They are the protectors of God’s family. That’s why God wanted His Elders to be good fathers and husbands. A good husband/ father will have experience in protecting their own family. And so – because they understand how to take loving care of their own families - these Elders will experienced in how to do what is best for God’s people. They’ll know how to love God’s children, and set standards for the family.
Now - Who does the church belong to? (It belongs to Jesus). Thus, Elders must always make their decisions based upon what they think Jesus would want – because the church doesn’t belong to the Elders… it belongs to Jesus. And the Elders (along with preachers, and teachers and other leaders in the church) will be accountable on the day of judgment for how they have treated the bride of Christ. That’s why we need to continually lift up our elders in prayer and encourage them and help them wherever possible.
III. Now, Jesus is the Head of the Church
We’ve talked about the Elders and how important it is for them to keep Jesus as the Head of His church. But, how about the rest of us? How do WE know whether WE have allowed Jesus to be the Head of His Church?