by Dave Miller
Jesus the Head of the church exercises his authority through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
When we are discipling communities of Jesus into healthy churches we teach there is 1 Head Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23) and 2 Authorities, The Holy Spirit (John 14:26) and the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). These doctrines are more than facts with which we agree. These are the fundamental DNA that must be embedded into a church in order to move towards the priesthood of every believer and local ownership of the core missionary task.
Just 2 weeks ago, the Holy Spirit led our church to discover a truth about following Jesus in the Word. In Mark 2:18-28 Jesus clashes with the pharisees over two issues.
Jesus’ disciples didn’t fast.
Jesus disciples were picking grain on the Sabbath and eating it as they walked through a field.
In the first, the pharisees wanted to know why Jesus disciples didn’t fast. Jesus ‘response?
Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
In the second the pharisees asked , “Look why are [the disciples] doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” Jesus’ response?
Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry; he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him? The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
In both cases, the pharisees missed the point of the command and instead focused on keeping the command. Yes the pharisees fasted and yes they kept the Sabbath, but in doing so they missed the point!
Both fasting and the Sabbath were meant to focus God’s people on God’s presence. Oh the irony! The pharisees are asking why the disciples don’t fast. Why would they when Jesus is standing right next to them? The pharisees ask why the disciples are working on the Sabbath. Why does it matters since picking grain for a snack isn’t distracting them from spending time with their God walking and talking right next to them.
In the same way, we must be extremely cautious we don't make the switch from teaching obedience to the commands so our disciples learn to know and follow Jesus, to teaching obedience to the command sets so disciples will reproduce the command sets. We cannot follow Jesus apart from his commands, for in the commands we learn HOW to abide. We cannot let the HOW become the WHY. We must intentionally make disciples by teaching them to obey all Jesus commanded so they may know the head of the church and respond to his authoritative leadership in the Word of God through the Holy Spirit.
What a great tragedy, if after teaching our disciples the commands of Jesus, we find that we missed Jesus and moved on to teaching the commands of Jesus.
Jesus is the head of the Church. He exercises his authority through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. That means following Jesus requires we obey His commands. It also means that teaching disciples to obey all Jesus commanded implants a non-negotiable DNA for movement. The point is not to obey the commands. The point is to follow Jesus, to know him, be directed by him, and become like him, so his guidance and direction by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God multiplies the kingdom in His time and in His ways.
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