2014.01.01_Jesus, the Head of the Church/in 2014, Ki Dong Kim /by Helen Nam
is the Father.
The Only Begotten One whom He gave to the world
Is the Son of God (John 1:18)
Jesus is the head of the church (Col 1:18).
The church is His body and we are its members.
Since the one who made us know
about this truth is the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 2:10-11),
The Holy Spirit is the One
proceeding from God even today (John 15:25).
The success of the church is the victory of Jesus Christ,
And when Jesus triumphs,
the church revival happens (Acts 2:1-4).
The church is the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
The saints’ volunteer service for the church
is one’s victory with the Lord (Rev 2:17).
Causing the church to stagnate
is to cause the laziness of one’s soul,
And when the soul sleeps, it cannot be but defeated.
Therefore on must stand mightily through the Holy Spirit
To make oneself and the church to live.
○ If we want the prosperity for our souls,
then we must bring revival to the church.
This is the Gospel with the promise.
○ God gave us a spirit of revelation,
which promised to each one
the prosperity of the soul in all things.
○ Do not forget this fact:
The church is the body of the Lord Jesus Christ
* As we have understood what we should do,
The prosperity of our souls and
all things is the very task of the church.
The Father’s gift
God is the Father. Jesus said, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13). God’s greatest gift to His children is the Holy Spirit. Many people who have received the Holy Spirit do not acknowledge that they have received the greatest gift of God. There are even some who experienced the gifts of the Holy Spirit and rejoiced at first, but later on say, “There was nothing so special about receiving the Holy Spirit. It turned out that just about anyone can receive it,” and they devalue God’s gift.
A branch of a grape vine continues to grow when it is fed the sap provided from the roots. But if the branch is no longer supplied with sap for some reason, it will wither, and the farmer will cut it down, cast it out and people will gather it and throw it into the fire. “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame” (Heb 6:4-6). “Fall away” refers to a branch that had budded but ceased to grow further, when it should have budded, formed leaves, produced flowers and then fruits. A branch can no longer grow if it is not supplied with sap for even one day, and becomes a dead branch. Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:5- 6).
God is our Father (Matt 23:9). Just as every father wants to give what is good to his child, God does all the more (Matt 7:9-11). He sent us Jesus Christ, and through Him we have witnessed the working of God. Jesus said, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matt 20:28). He was crucified, and before taking His last breath He declared, “it is finished” (John 19:30). God’s will was fulfilled on the earth through the Son, just as it was in Heaven.
Jesus died according to the Father’s will, but the Father’s name which He has made known and the work He accomplished in that name have been entrusted to the saints who have been saved, namely the church, to preach to the world. He has sent the Holy Spirit for this task. The New Testament is composed of letters written to the churches such as the church in Rome, Corinth, Galatia, and so on. We can see that even the book of Revelation consists of the words spoken by the Holy Spirit to the churches, like the church in Ephesus, Smyrna and Pergamum.
The Lord’s Body
The church is the body of Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ is the head of the church. In ecclesiastical authoritarian denominations, there is a general assembly or an ecclesiastical court above the church. The problem is that once a decision is made and legalized by the court, restrictions could even be imposed on God’s word as a result. We need to keep in mind that the church’s lawmaker is Jesus Christ only. There cannot exist another legislator above Him in the church.
To diagnose a patient, the doctor places his or her hand on the patient’s forehead and examines the patient’s eyes because the human head and body are connected organically. Where there is a problem with the inner organs, sometimes the cause is found in the brain and not the organ itself. What is more, the concept of death used to be determined by a person’s heartbeat, but with advanced medical technology today, brain death is considered to be an indicator of death. Even if the patient’s heart is still beating, the doctor may say, “s/he passed away this morning”, because the patient has become brain dead. We have been united with Jesus Christ through baptism. If our head, Jesus Christ died then we have also died though we are still breathing; if He rose to life, we have also been raised to life.
We have a task to carry out as the body of Jesus Christ. The Lord broke the bread and gave to His disciples saying, “This is my body which is given for you” (Luke 22:19). What is the meaning of Holy Communion? “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Cor 11:26). The church which is the Lord’s body, must become the broken pieces of bread that goes out into the world and preaches the Gospel. Paul’s confession concerning this was, “I fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church” (Col 1:24). By His death on the cross, the Lord fulfilled His duty, and now the church has been entrusted with the task of preaching what He has done. The members of the church have many weaknesses. Although the original sin has been resolved, the personal sin still remains. However the personal sin is not a sin for which the Lord has to carry the cross again, for by His forgiveness it is resolved (John 13:10). The Lord not only forgives us our iniquity, but even now He prays for our weaknesses night and day.
Ephesians 1:23 says, “(The church) is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all”. When a person is physically unwell, his or her complexion changes. So it is possible to know a person’s health condition by observing his or her complexion. A glowing complexion indicates the body is in a state of well-being. Similarly the Lord, as the Head of the church, desires the church to be filled with His joy. He even petitioned to the Father, “Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are” (John 17:11).
Why we dwell on the earth
While many Christians say ‘the church is the body of Christ’, in reality they are engrossed in the matters of the flesh which cannot inherit God’s kingdom. However it was not for the sake of our flesh that God sent us Jesus Christ. For the flesh God gave the sun and the rain. We do not know when the life in our flesh will end. Jesus said in Matthew 6:33-34, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” The church, that is the body of Jesus Christ is a member of God’s kingdom. We ought to seek God’s kingdom first before we seek the things for our flesh, which could end at any time.
Age does not matter when it comes to human death, and even a young person could suddenly pass away. Our spirit has to be well in order for us to be active and lively up to the day we die.
King Hezekiah was ill and facing death, yet God extended his life by fifteen years (2 Kings 20:1-11). If the spirit has work to do, it is not yet time to depart this world. On the contrary, a person does not have the justification to remain in the world any longer if his or her spirit has nothing to do. As Revelation 2:10 says, “be faithful until death”, it is not the spirit that dies but the flesh. ‘Be faithful until death’ means the spirit should have work to do until the day one’s flesh dies. Hence 3 John 1:2 says, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers”.
Jesus Christ came to the land of the Jews, fulfilled His work through His death on the cross and has risen to the throne of Heaven. Now, we ought to carry what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ. We need to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth. People say the end of the world has come when they hear news of wars, earthquakes and famines. However Jesus said, “And this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matt 24:14). The church’s task is to preach the Gospel to all the nations and make disciples of them, to the end of the age.
God’s Son came to the earth as the body of the Father and accomplished the will that was fulfilled in Heaven. He prayed to the Father, “Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled” (John 17:11-12). Jesus’ name has come within us by the Holy Spirit. It is now the church’s duty to rely on the Holy Spirit and preach Jesus’ name.
The role of the church
The Holy Spirit did not come to be crucified but to testify about the works of Jesus Christ, through the church. The church must receive the comfort of the Holy Spirit. “Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied” (Acts 9:31). The heart of the church revival lies in the comfort of the Holy Spirit. The church that receives the comfort of the Holy Spirit is the fullness of Him who fills all in all (Eph 1:23). Such a church has the Word given by the Holy Spirit, services and worship done by the Holy Spirit, as well as the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Revival takes place when the church is filled with the Holy Spirit. Therefore the church revival serves as a touchstone that indicates the health of the church and whether or not the church is following Christ’s will.
Some people say, “I’ll give tithe later on because my faith is not great at the moment”. Others say, “I’ll do the Bible study next time because I still lack in faith”. However the Bible never spoke of faith as being good or bad. One either has faith or does not have faith. If one has faith, he is saved; if one does not have faith, he perishes (Mark 16:16). If one has faith, he can walk on water, otherwise he will drown. What the Bible is asking us is not “do you have good faith or bad faith?” or “do you believe more or less?” The question is, “do you have faith or not?” A person with faith will obey but a person without faith will disobey. Regardless of how much offering one gives, without obedience, s/he does not have faith (1 Sam 15:22-23). The Holy Spirit’s teaching about the reality of sin was also concerned with our faith status (John 16:7-11). Bargaining away one’s own spirit by creating some concept not even in the Bible is very dangerous.
The church is the Lord’s body. When the church is healthy the Lord will also have a glowing complexion as the head of the church. Thus the church must not ever disobey or interfere with the Holy Spirit, grieve or quench the Holy Spirit. Jesus also warned us, “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come (Matt 12:31-32).
Just as God extended King Hezekiah’s life we, who have been saved, are left to stay on the earth still because there remains the suffering of Christ for His body to carry. The Lord fulfilled God’s will on the earth through His death on the cross. Now His body, the church must carry His afflictions by preaching the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Likewise those who fill up in their flesh the afflictions of Jesus Christ are the body of Christ. We should not think that the church has done its duty just because the church members gather in fellowship and help one another.
The true body
Jesus spoke of Himself as the Way (John 14:6). Although people prefer to take the wide and easy path, the church has to follow the Lord even if that is taking a narrow and difficult path. The Lord suffered many hardships as he was growing up in Nazareth. This was as prophesied before He appeared in the world. “For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him” (Isa 53:2-3). Since He was baptized in the Jordan River until His crucifixion, the Lord endured many suffering and even told His disciples, “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matt 10:38).
Jesus said, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Matt 8:20). Our time on the earth is our golden opportunity to serve the body of the Lord, who has no place to lay His head on the earth. We need to take a keen interest in the Lord when He is hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked and in prison, as least of all. The Lord will say hereafter, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt 25:34). The church is the Lord’s body. At present the world despises and assails the church without reason, but Jesus, the head of the church is the King of kings seated on the throne of Heaven.
As Jesus Christ suffered afflictions on the earth, it is a matter of course for His body, the church to undergo suffering. It is also a matter of course that the members of the church are aware of the church’s afflictions. The church’s agony and sorrow, difficulties, struggles, hunger and thirst are precisely ours. It is not our dream to live eternally on this earth, rather it is to carry the rest of the Lord’s suffering and greet Him when He returns.
Whether or not a person has faith is indicated by whether or not he or she has love for the church. Some people wish to be praised by others for their service in the church. However the Lord has already warned that this is futile for the spirit (Matt 6:2). Certain individuals grumble that the church members do not commend them, while some people belittle others in order to magnify their own virtues. However we have to realize that each member of the
church is precious, just as every single part of the body is essentially important (1 Cor 12:12- 27). We must remember that every one of the church members and ourselves of course, form the Lord’s body as its constituents. There are some who leave the church saying, “It’s so hard to attend this church!” because they felt burdened by the dedication proposed by the church. We have to be certain whether we truly are a member of the Lord’s body, or a prosthetic leg that can be fitted and removed as needs be.
For the church
Presently, there is hardly a place throughout the world where the Gospel has not reached. The number of those who are sealed of Israel could even be 139, 990. If that is true, the gate of the Gospel will be shut as soon as ten more disciples emerge from among the Israelites (Rev 7:4). Once the gate is shut on that day, there will be no more chances to serve the Lord’s body, no matter how hard one struggles. God is not someone who forces human beings to love Him. It is a golden opportunity for us to express our love for God while the church exists on the earth. The church, the body of Christ must be revived. In most cases, people who are shorter in height than average due to deficient physical development tend to have a sense of inferiority. The Lord’s body should not be treated as an inferior being. The church has to grow day by day with the help of the Holy Spirit. We must revive the church by following the example of the Bereans who studied the Scriptures daily (Acts 17:11-12). We ought to carry out the task left to us by the Lord who carried the cross.
We cannot abandon our interest in the church for the sake of the body that will spoil. We must leave tomorrow’s trouble to tomorrow and seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness. The Lord will be pleased when we dedicate for the church revival, and when the Lord is pleased, everything we put our hand to will prosper. Certain individuals come to church only to be healed of their sickness but are not interested in dedicating for the Lord’s body as its member. Such a person would leave the church and even go after fortune-tellers as long as he or she can be healed. We need to stay awake and think about the day we will stand before the Lord, who is going to judge us based on whether or not we have faith, not if we have good or bad faith.
Dedicating for the church’s revival is a way to be blessed in our spirit. When the spirit is blessed, whatever we put our hands to will be successful. We who have been saved still remain in this world because there is work to do in our spirit. Our life’s purpose is not in the betterment of the flesh but contributing for the kingdom of God. We ought to love the church with a heart longing for the Lord. Dedicating for the church must become our spirit’s goal.
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Outline translated by Sam Park
Summary translated by Sarah Nam
Letter translated by Jada Shim
Revisions and Interpretations by Sam Park
Chief Editor: Helen Nam
Korean Summary by Ki-Taek Lee