Christocentricism #5 – Ephesians 1:22-23 – Jesus Christ is the Center of the Church

Free files for youth pastors:
I wasn’t able to sleep. I couldn’t get the images out of my head, and the anticipation was building daily. That’s what happened the time I watched the show “LOST” on NBC. I only watched it once. Because the suspense of waiting for the next’s week episode was killing me, I never watched it again. Shows like this are a huge hit because everyone connects with a conspiracy. Conspiracy theories are even filling our country about the AIDS virus, the 1969 moon landing, and many more. Everyone connects with an idea of conspiracy because deep down they know conspiracies are true. The reason why movies like “The Da Vinci Code” and “The Golden Compass” attract so much attention is because of their plots of conspiracy.
In Ephesians 1:15-23, Paul is walking the local church of Ephesus through the climaxing chapter of the true-cosmic conspiracy. This conspiracy started with Adam as God created him, placed all things under his feet, and charged him to rule the cosmos. Adam failed by rebelling against God, and Satan became the ruler of the world (2 Cor 4:4) much like Jacob stole Esau’s birthright. Paul says that the conspiracy of Satan ruling over God’s creation is being overturned by the death and resurrection of Christ through which God placed all the cosmos under Christ’s feet. We understand this language as we have watched boys play King of the Hill…pushing and shoving their enemies beneath them so that they have the top position of triumph. We understand this language of God giving Christ as the head over all things in nearly every area of life. Teams have their captains, militaries have their generals, and corporations have their CEO’s. The world may be rebelling against God, but it is also reflecting His kingdom design. God has given Christ as King over the cosmos! This means we ought not to think of Jesus as a hippy who is just apathetic to sin. Jesus is a loving-victorious King which means we have power over sin, we have boldness to preach Him, and we have nothing to fear…not death or anyone. Yet I must say, the reason we don’t follow Christ, is because we love our sin more than Him.
If it’s amazing to think that God has placed all of the cosmos under Christ’s feet and He has given Christ as the head over everything. It’s ever more amazing to realize to whom God has given Christ. Not to the “world” and not even to “Christians,” but God has given Christ to the CHURCH! What is the church? Later, Paul speaks of the church as being gifted by God with pastors, teachers, etc. Paul is talking about the local church (Eph. 4): the committed group of believers who have pastors, deacons, and people serving each other daily as the body of Christ. Each local church is to fully represent God’s kingdom. Paul says that the church is the body of Christ (Eph 1:23). Is that an important image? Head-body imagery is very common to us. If I showed you a picture of three famous men dressed up in a suit but with their heads blanked out, you couldn’t tell me who they were. But if I showed you a picture with the faces of three men, you could tell they were Lebron James, Tim McGraw, or Will Smith. Have you ever heard someone say that they love Jesus but they hate the church? That would be like a man whispering to you how much he loves his wife but he’s just disgusted with her body. You would gasp at such an offense and suggest counseling…or a beat down. Love the church as Christ’s body!
Paul lastly says that God has made the church the fullness of Christ (Eph 1:23). Christ filling the church is very important to understand. Just as God filled the OT temple with His Spirit, so is Christ filling the church with His Spirit (Acts 2:33). We shouldn’t think of ourselves as individuals who are filled, but the church filled as the temple. This has great significance when thinking about how involved we should be with our local church. We should join our local church. We should heavily participate in our local church. We should find a place of service in our local church. If the church is the fullness of Christ, then it only makes sense that we experience Christ most fully in the church. We only love Christ as much as we love our church. Jesus, be the center of our lives as we worship You with Your body, Your bride, Your fullness.

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