When the ekklesia gathers together, we are to meet endeavoring to keep Jesus as our mutual & collective Head.
And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. [Eph 1:22-23]
Christ, of course, is head over all things related to His ekklesia, which is His body. (Ekklesia is the Greek word translated “church”.) The interesting thing to note is that it is His body that is the fullness of God!
God has no need of anyone or anything. He has no lack. But by His lovingkindness and grace, it is according to His eternal purpose (Eph. 3:11) that He chooses by His own desires to fill Himself within a called-out people group from among fallen humanity. With Jesus as head does His body experience a portion of the fullness of God.
When the ekklesia gathers together, we are to grow into this fullness by experiencing koinonia with both one another and with Jesus through His Spirit (see previous installments concerning fellowship [koinonia] and “one another”).
Christ gives gifts to men…
to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 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. [Eph 4:12-16]
When the ekklesia gathers together keeping Jesus as its corporate head, the body is made to grow by fellowshipping with both the body & its head.
In order to type this document, my fingers, hands, wrists, elbows, & shoulders are each working together. Not only are the parts of my body working together, but my fingers are working with my head, my hands are working with my head, my wrists are working with my head, etc. Therefore, each part of the body is working with the head as they are working with each other.
So it is with our fellowship. With Jesus Christ as our head and we His body, we are fellowshipping with Him while we fellowship with one another.
Paul’s letter to the Colossians parallels very closely with his letter to the Ephesians. To the Colossians he introduces Christ as the head of the body in 1:18. Beginning with verse 15:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 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. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, [Col 1:15-19]
In 1:19, Paul states that “the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” in Christ. He comes back to that in 2:9 and pretty much restates himself: “For in him (Christ) the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” And then he adds “and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority” (Col 2:10).
The fullness of God was pleased to dwell in Jesus bodily. Likewise, Jesus, as its head, fills His body. Therefore, the fullness of God dwells in Jesus, and the fullness of Jesus dwells in us! We, as His body, are filled in Him, our mutual head. To restate it: the fullness of deity was pleased to dwell in Jesus bodily; the fullness of Jesus dwells in His body. Wow!
Then, moving on down to verse 19 (beginning with verse 18):
Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 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. [Col 2:18-19]
Paul states it negatively, to warn them against not holding fast to the Head. I think we can infer that if we do hold fast to the Head, the whole body will be nourished and knit together, growing with a growth that is from God. This statement is very reminiscent of Ephesians 4, particularly the references to joints & ligaments being knit together, as well as growth of the body.
It is by the body, keeping Jesus as its head, fellowshipping with one another and with Christ that it will “attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God” (Eph. 4:13).
Here is where one anothering, fellowship, and keeping Jesus as head all come together: it’s what grows the body to mature manhood. This is how the body grows to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
The challenge to consider is this: when we gather together with fellow believers, are we holding fast to the Head? Or do we rely on other men to function as our spiritual head? Far too often believers gather in the name of the ministry of fellow men. Not often enough do believers gather holding fast to Jesus as their mutual head. Let this challenge us to consider who is the head of our church gatherings.
We are instructed in Ephesians 4:15 to grow into Christ; the body growing into the head. When we grow as a body into Christ, we are equipped to be joined and held together so that when all the parts are working properly, the body grows by building itself up in love.
The fullness of Christ is something we are to be growing into. We do so via fellowship with Christ while we fellowship with His body by putting into practice the ‘one anothers’, all the while holding fast to Jesus as our Head.
• Headship = the body’s relationship to Christ (a vertical relationship)
• The ‘one anothers’ = the body’s relationship to the body (a horizontal relationship)
• Fellowship = both
By being brought into fellowship with Christ, we have also been brought into fellowship with everyone else who has been brought into fellowship with Christ. That’s because the fellowship of God is a singular corporate fellowship and all who have been brought into it partake in the same fellowship. Thus, our fellowship in Christ is both vertical and horizontal.
So, when His body is in fellowship with one another as a result of abiding in the same fellowship in Christ, in what way is Jesus, our mutual head, in fellowship with us?
Jesus partakes in fellowship with His body by gifting each member through His Spirit…