Sabbath, July 23, 2005
“And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.” Ephesians 1:22, 23.
• To understand the important position and mission of the church in the work of salvation by considering the relationship between Christ and the church.
• To grasp that the church and Christ are inseparable in the plan of salvation, as the head is inseparable from the body.
HEAD AND BODY
1. How is the relationship between the church and Christ represented in the Scriptures?
Ephesians 1:22, 23 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
“ ‘The head of every man is Christ.’ God, who put all things under the Saviour’s feet, ‘gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.’ The church is built upon Christ as its foundation; it is to obey Christ as its head. It is not to depend upon man, or be controlled by man.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 414.
“He has all power, both in heaven and upon earth; but He respects the means which He has ordained for the enlightenment and salvation of men. He directs Saul to the church, thus acknowledging the power that He has invested in it as a channel of light to the world. It is Christ’s organized body upon the earth, and respect is required to be paid to His ordinances.” –Testimony Treasures, vol. 1, p. 395.
2. What does it mean for us all to be regular members of the same body?
1 Corinthians 12:27, 21 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular… And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
“Christ and His church are inseparable.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 418.
“Very close and sacred is the relation between Christ and His church—He the bridegroom, and the church the bride; He the head, and the church the body. Connection with Christ, then, involves connection with His church. “The church is organized for service; and in a life of service to Christ, connection with the church is one of the first steps. Loyalty to Christ demands the faithful performance of church duties.” –Education, pp. 268, 269.
THE PLAN OF SALVATION
3. After the fall of man, what did God declare and what work would the seed of the woman fulfill?
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
“To man the first intimation of redemption was communicated in the sentence pronounced upon Satan in the garden. The Lord declared, ‘I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.’ Genesis 3:15. This sentence, uttered in the hearing of our first parents, was to them a promise. While it foretold war between man and Satan, it declared that the power of the great adversary would finally be broken.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 65, 66.
“In the wilderness of temptation, in the Garden of Gethsemane, and on the cross, our Saviour measured weapons with the prince of darkness. His wounds became the trophies of His victory in behalf of the race. When Christ hung in agony upon the cross, while evil spirits rejoiced and evil men reviled, then indeed His heel was bruised by Satan. But that very act was crushing the serpent’s head.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 701.
4. By the crucifixion of Christ, the head of Satan was morally bruised. How will this prophecy be fulfilled again?
Romans 16:20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
“The church will yet see troublous times. She will prophesy in sackcloth. But although she must meet heresies and persecutions, although she must battle with the infidel and the apostate, yet by the help of God she is bruising the head of Satan. The Lord will have a people as true as steel, and with faith as firm as the granite rock. They are to be His witnesses in the world, His instrumentalities to do a special, a glorious work in the day of His preparation.” –Testimony Treasures, vol. 1, p. 590.
“Clad in the armor of Christ’s righteousness, the church is to enter upon her final conflict. ‘Fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners’ (Song of Solomon 6:10), she is to go forth into all the world, conquering and to conquer.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 725.
5. How should the members of the church, who will bruise the head of Satan, unite with the body of Christ?
John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
John 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
“There are both believers and unbelievers in the church. Christ represents these two classes in His parable of the vine and its branches. He exhorts His followers: ‘Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the Vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.’ ” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 228.
6. What is the experience of the believers who are not truly united with Christ?
Ezekiel 33:31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.
Matthew 15:7, 8 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
“How amazed is heaven at the present condition of the church that could be so much to the world if every stone were in its proper place, a living stone to emit light! A stone that does not shine is worthless. That which constitutes the value of our churches is not dead, luster less stones, but living stones, stones that catch the bright beams from the Chief Cornerstone, even the Sun of Righteousness — the bright glory in which are combined the beams of mercy and truth that have met together.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1116.
“Many, from worldly policy, endeavor, by their own efforts, to become as polished stones, but cannot be living stones, because they are not built upon the true foundation. The day of God will reveal that they are, in reality, only hay, wood, and stubble.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, p. 1154.
7. What is the experience of the united believers by the true unity with Christ?
Mark 4:27, 28 And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.
“Those who, having heard the word, keep it, will bring forth fruit in obedience. The word of God, received into the soul, will be manifest in good works. Its results will be seen in a Christ like character and life.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 60.
“His holy profession and the truth of God should have blended with all his thoughts, feelings, words, and actions…We gain activity and strength by walking in the light, that we may have energy to run in the way of God’s commandments. We may gain an increase of strength at every step we advance heavenward. God will bless His people only when they try to be a blessing to others. Our graces are matured and developed by exercise.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pp. 436, 437.
8. What has to be experienced by those people who will bruise the head of Satan?
John 14:20, 21 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
John 13:34, 35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
“It is not the opposition of the world that most endangers the church of Christ. It is the evil cherished in the hearts of believers that works their most grievous disaster and most surely retards the progress of God’s cause. There is no surer way of weakening spirituality than by cherishing envy, suspicion, faultfinding, and evil surmising. On the other hand, the strongest witness that God has sent His Son into the world is the existence of harmony and union among men of varied dispositions who form His church. This witness it is the privilege of the followers of Christ to bear. But in order to do this, they must place themselves under Christ’s command. Their characters must be conformed to His character and their wills to His will.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 549.
FOR OUR THOUGHTS
• Considering the connection existing between head and body, consider the parallel relationship which should exist between the church and Christ.
• Remembering that the seed of the woman, who bruised Satan’s head, is Christ, where is the prophecy that the church will bruise Satan’s head once again?
• Discuss why the church has to unite with Christ and consider how the true unity could be fulfilled.
• Analyzing our situation, what do we have to achieve in order to be a powerful church?