Holding the Head
With the Apostle Paul, Christ was all. He was his constant subject.
If he preached — he preached Christ.
If he boasted — it was in the cross of Christ.
If he lived — it was by faith in Christ.
He was concerned to bring all to Christ, and then to keep them near Christ. He would not have them allow anything to divert their attention, or draw them away from Jesus. Therefore he cautions the Colossians to beware of false philosophy, superstition, and Jewish ceremonies, lest they should be taken up with them; and warns them of some, who are vainly puffed up by the fleshly mind, "Not holding the head." Coloss. 2:19.
JESUS IS THE HEAD OF HIS CHURCH. As such, all authority centers in him, all its laws proceed from him. He rules his church, and every individual member of it. He alone has a right to make its laws, and regulate all its actions. He is the head of influence, as well as of authority. All the grace of the church is in Christ. The life of the church is Christ. He quickens all its members, and keeps every one alive. All their supplies are from Jesus, as all their springs are in him. The whole family is united to him, its head.
He rules it,
he supplies it,
he defends it,
and he will glorify it.
As head of the church, he sympathizes with it in prosperity and adversity; and he will get great glory through it.
BELIEVERS HOLD THE HEAD. They hold the doctrine of Christ's headship, and rejoice in it. They are connected with Christ's person, and this is their glory. Each one knows Christ for himself. Knows him as a Savior, and as the Son of God. Knows him as the only help, and source of supply to the sinner. Knows him, so as to attach themselves unto him. As the limpet attaches itself to the rock — so the believer attaches himself to Christ. As the ivy attaches itself to the oak — so does the believer to Jesus. As one loving heart becomes attached to another — so does the heart of the Christian to the Savior.
The sense of need felt,
the beauty and glory of Christ discovered,
and the love of Christ experienced —
brings about a union between the soul and the Savior, which neither life nor death can sever. They adhere to Christ, or cleave to him with full purpose of heart.
They hold to his doctrine,
they cleave to his people,
and they hold fast by himself.
As well may the member live without the head, as the believer in a state of separation from Christ.
SOME DO NOT HOLD THE HEAD. They put something between the soul and Christ — it may be the priest, or the sacraments, or feelings, or religious services. But between the soul and Christ, nothing should be allowed to come.
Or, they expect help through some other medium. Whereas Christ alone conveys everything from God to us, and from us to God. It is not duties or works, it is not experience whether painful or pleasant — but it is Christ through whom all our blessings comes to us.
Or, they cut themselves off from the church, whereas all that are in union with Christ, should be in union with his saints. For while every good gift and every perfect gift comes down from above, he uses the different members of his church as means to impart to them. We read therefore of Christ the Head, "From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love — as each part does its work." Ephesians 4:16.
Without close union, and intimate communion with Christ — we cannot thrive spiritually. Without union and communion with the church, we have no right to expect to thrive either. If we have no hold of the head, in the way of a living union, and experimental communion, our profession will end in confusion, and we shall expose ourselves to shame, and everlasting contempt.
Let us then, look to Christ as his Church's head, the source of her life, dignity, and supplies. Let us lay hold on Christ, and ever look to Christ as the great source of supply. Let us hold on to Christ, let what will happen; and the fiercer the opposition, the heavier the cross, the greater our trials — the closer let us cling to him!
Let us expect all we need from Christ, to whom we are united, and who loves to give good things unto all his members. Let us draw all we need from Christ — by simple faith and fervent prayer. These are the means we should constantly employ, and employing them aright we are sure to succeed. Let us live and die cleaving to Christ, to his doctrines, to his cause, and his person.
The doctrine that does not center in Christ, radiate from Christ, and lead unto fellowship with Christ — is not the doctrine of Christ; such we may discard. The cause that does not honor Christ, spread the truth of Christ, is not the cause of Christ — to such we may not be united. But above all things let us cleave to the person of Christ. What Christ is in himself — is the cause of all that Christ is to his people; what Christ is to his people — is the source of all their holiness and happiness. Let us see to it then that we are in union with Christ, let us hold to Christ, hold with Christ, and live as members of Christ evermore.