Sermon (Brief) Notes
Sermon # 3
Sermon Title: “Jesus and the Church: Part 2”
*** This is a series of four sermons on the Person, Character, and Work of Jesus Christ
Text: Various Scriptural Passages
Speaker: Dr. Joseph
Date: Sunday, July 16, 2017
Introductory Notes: In this sermon (Part 2), Dr. Joseph continues his four-part series on “Why Jesus Matters?” He considers several biblical passages that discuss Jesus’ relations to the Church. By “relations,” he seeks to convey the manifold functions and roles Jesus as the “Head” exercises toward the Church, His Body. In this third sermon, Pastor Joseph considers four significant roles of Jesus as he relates to His Church.
- Jesus is the “Head” of the Church.
- Jesus is the Great Shepherd to the Church.
- Jesus is the Unifier of the Church.
- Jesus is the Judge of the Church who assesses the life of the Church and evaluates her performance and her loyalty to Him.
- Jesus is the “Head” of the Church
We identity seven major Biblical texts that present Christ as the “Head” (“Kephale” in Greek) of the Church.
- Ephesians 1:22-23: “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”
- 4:15-6: “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
- Ephesians 5:23: “ For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.”
- 1 Corinthians 11:3: “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.”
- Colossians 1:18: “And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.”
- Colossians 2: 10. “and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.” The Church is complete in Christ. That is it has no lack of spiritual resource or is deprived any goods.
- Colossians 2:19: “and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.”
a) What does the term “head” mean?
- It is the Greek word kephale
- “Person in authority over”
- An authoritative source
- In the Greek language, the word “Kephale was applied to many people in authority (when it was used in a metaphorical sense to say that person A was the head of person or persons B), but it was never applied to a person without governing authority” (Grudem, Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth, pp. 202). Hence, “A Person is called the kephale of another person or group and that person is the one in authority over that other person or group” (Grudem, ibid).
- To call Christ the Kephale of the Church simply means that He has authority over His Church and he rules over her supremely. Hence, Christ’s role is that of Kephale of the Church, just like in Colossians 1, Paul affirms that “Christ is the Head of all things.”
- Accordingly, in all these references, the language of rulership, leadership, and authority explain the role of the “kephale” (head) and the language of submission and obedience describes the role of the ‘body” (Grudem, p. 205).
- As the “Head” of the Church, Christ facilitates opportunity for us to grow in grace and cultivate spiritual maturity, which are also grounded in Him. “Every way into him” is a reference to all the spiritual benefits, opportunities, and advantages we have in Christ.
- As the Head, Jesus nourishes each member who is made up of the body of Christ so the Church as a corporate entity could be well-functioned, developed, and effective in its various tasks, ministries, and responsibilities. Christ is the engine that fuels the Church and sustains it. Through him, every member of the body is connected and related to each other.
- As the Head, Jesus through the Spirit, supplies gifts and appoints offices in the church and in the best interest of his people—for the equipping and edification of the people of God. Paul emphasizes that the building up and strengthening of the body of Christ, his church, should be done in love; in other words, love is the very essence of Christian ministry and Church activities (Ephesians 4:11-13).
2. Jesus as the Great Shepherd
- In the New Testament, there are three specific references describing Christ as the Shepherd of the Church:
a) In the Gospel of John, Jesus dubs himself as the “Good Shepherd” (John 10:11).
b) The author of Jesus Hebrews presents Jesus as the “Great Shepherd” (Hebrews 13:20).
c) Apostle Peter rightly names Jesus the “Chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4)
- What has Jesus done to merit the title “the good Shepherd” (John 10:10)? Or what does a good shepherd do?
—He voluntarily lays down his life in order that he may save his sheep. In John Chapter 10, Jesus emphasizes the importance of his self-agency and initiative to die so he could save and protect his sheep/his people/his church (vv. 16, 17, 18). Three times, he states that he lays down his life for his sheep. The notion of death here is relate to both to the redemption and preservation of Jesus’ sheep.
–He protects his sheep from wolves and thieves (v.12).
–He safeguards them from the attacks and threats of the Devil and his demons.
—He knows his sheep and his sheep know Him, which means that he has established an intimate relationship with them (v.14). This is a particular and specific kind of acquaintance and knowledge.
—The relationship is reciprocal. Jesus knows the sheep. The sheep knows Jesus. To express this another way, when Jesus calls his sheep to himself, they hear his voice and come to him.
I. Jesus as the Great Shepherd (Heb. 13:20)
–In the same line of thought with John, the author of Hebrews rightly confirms Jesus as the Great Shepherd who purchased our pardon through his blood. The followers of Christ are sheep with a shepherd unlike those who are lost without a shepherd.
—He is the one who cleanses Church and cleanses her into perfection until the last day (v.20). The notion of purity here is related to God’s holiness, as the people and Church of God are called to follow Jesus’ sacrificial example and live righteously before God by imitating and practicing his holy standards.
—Jesus empowers the Church to produce good works which are pleasing and acceptable to God.
- Similarly, in 1 Peter 5:14, it is strongly recommended that pastors or overseers of the Church of God to imitate and follow Jesus the Chief Shepherd. In verses 1-3, Peter describes what a pastor should do in order to be like Jesus the Chief Shepherd.
*** As John MacArthur has observed:
“As our Shepherd, He nurtures us, cherishes us, and equips us to do His will. He also intercedes as our High Priest on our behalf, making sure that no sin is charged against us. His blood keeps on cleansing us from all sin (1 John 1:9)” (The Masters Plan for the Church, p. 75).
- Chris is the Unifier of various members of the Church, his body.
- From all different nations, ethnic groups, and peoples in the world, God created a new people and new human race for Himself and his Son so that they could spread a passion for his name and his fame, and proclaim the majesty and love of his Jesus Christ.
- The goal of the Church is to image God in the world through the power of the Holy Spirit.
- In Christ, various members of the Church, regardless of their gender and ethnicity, racial and economic background, educational and public status, are united and connected as His Body (Col. 3:19). The warning to this new redeemed people which God treasures and redeems is to therefore hold fast to the Head, to Christ Himself lest you perish. God in Christ grows the Church, makes her healthy, presentable, and keeps her sanctified (Col. 2:19).
- As the Judge of the Church, Jesus assesses the life of the Church and evaluates her performance and her loyalty to Him.
- The Church is accountable only to Jesus because He is his Master, Lord, Ruler, and Supreme authority. In the first two chapters of the Book of Revelation, we are informed about Jesus’ evaluation of the Seven Churches to whom he has ordered his servant Apostle John to write seven letters.
- First of all, Jesus hold these seven churches (Lampstands) in his hands, a gesture that implies that he protects them, safeguards them, and nourishes them (Rev. 1:20).
- Secondly, it is stated that He indwells them, visits them, and walks among them (Re. 2:3). Jesus has the full knowledge of the churches. He knows perfectly their actions and values (2:2). He assumes total sovereignty and exhaustive control over these churches and their Shepherds.
- Jesus could assess these churches because He is their Supreme Judge and bought their redemption through is atoning and cleansing blood.
Some Selected examples of Jesus’ assessment of these churches:
- Rev. 2:2: (Church of Ephesus): “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.”
- Rev. 2:9 (Church of Smyrna): “‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.”
- Rev. 2:13 (Church of Pergamum): “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.”
- Rev. 3:2-3 (Church of Sardis): “Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.”