1 Corinthians 12:27 (ESV) – Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
Jesus is the head of his body, the church. The body has many parts, but it only has one head, Jesus. This means a few things that are important for us to know.
First, nobody else is the “head” of the church. By church, I mean any expression of it whether it be local or universal. This means that a Pope, a pastor, an elder, or even a group of such men cannot be the head of a church. Only Jesus is the head of his body, the church.
We are quick to admit that Jesus is, of course, the head of the invisible, universal body called the Church. But I’m also saying that Jesus is the only rightful head of any visible, physical body called the church. I’m referring to local churches. Jesus Himself is the “head” of each local body, or local church. Nearly 80% of the references to the church in the New Testament refer to a local church body, and nowhere is anybody but Jesus ever mentioned as the head of a church.
Second, each local church is a body of Christ. Jesus is its head, and we are members individually. It is our great privilege and responsibility to fulfill the will of the head. That’s how any healthy body functions. The head attends to the rest of the body as only the head can, but it also directs the rest of the body as only the head can. And in a healthy body, all the members do what the head wants. Can you imagine if the various parts of your physical body did whatever they wanted whenever they wanted? You couldn’t even get out of bed!
As a local church, we as NRBC are the body of Christ. We are not part of the body of Christ. We are the body of Christ. We are not the only visible body of Christ, but we are a fully functioning body with one head, Jesus Christ. It is our responsibility to determine the will of the head and to do the will of the head, Jesus.
This also means that each of us has a part, a privilege and a responsibility, as members, to discern and obey the will of the head. Practically speaking, this means we all need to join in prayerful consideration of the will of the head. None of us alone can know it. No single body part is capable of doing that. But we can together discern it as we all prayerfully and carefully seek the will of Christ.
I say all this to say that everybody, every member, is important in this process. We are not identical in the roles that we play, but we are all important in the process of discerning and obeying the will of the Lord. We need each other if we, as a body, are going to do what the head wants.
I’m honored to be a part of this body, and I’m thankful that we are privileged to celebrate 10 years of discerning and doing the will of our head, Jesus Christ. We’ve not been perfect; that’s for sure. But we are headed in the right direction. So thank you to all of our faithful NRBC members of the body of Christ we call Northern Ridge Baptist Church.