|Vol. 15 No. 7 July 2013||
Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor
Recently, Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation as head of the Catholic Church effective February 28, 2013. Interestingly, the Bible does not teach the doctrine of the Papacy. Mankind formed this office without any biblical authority. Thus, it is purely a manmade doctrine. The Catholic Church has its head and Christ’s church has its Head as well. Biblically, there is just one Head to the church, and that belongs to Jesus Christ alone. “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:22). Christ possesses “all authority” in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). Christ never nor will He ever delegate His Headship to another. In fact, “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” (Colossians 1:18). Consider three important declarations regarding the Head of the church from this passage.
Firstly, Christ is Head because He is the designer; “…he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning…” The word for “beginning” here refers to captain, creator or author. Jesus is the “captain of salvation” (Hebrews 2:10) in that He is the leader, commander and chief. Jesus is “the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2) in that He began the story, wrote the story and showed us personally how to finish! “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Hebrews 5:9).
Secondly, Christ is Head because He is delivered; “…the firstborn from the dead…” Christ is the first one to rise from the dead to never die again! Surely this is one of the most prominent points regarding the Head of Christ’s church compared to the head of manmade churches. The church of Christ’s founder came back from the dead to never die again! The resurrection from the dead “declared him to be the son of God with power” (Romans 1:4). Death could not stop the building of His church (Matthew 16:18-19). Catholicism has had many heads (popes) because they each eventually aged and died. However, the head of Christ’s church neither ages nor dies. In fact, at this very moment, Christ is at “…the right hand of God exalted…” (Acts 2:33), “…upholding all things by the word of his power…” (Hebrews 1:3) and making “…intercession for us…” (Romans 8:34)! Dear readers, praise God, “…he rose again the third day according to the scriptures…” (1 Corinthians 15:4).
Thirdly, Christ is Head because He is dominant; “…that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Christ alone deserves the number one seat in the church! No man can sit anywhere close to where Christ sits. There is no man alive or dead that is worthy to have preeminence. Remember Diotrephes tried but was condemned for taking this role (3 John 9). How could any man even claim such a place or prominence? In A.D. 606, the Catholic Church authorized a universal pope to sit in the place of “God on earth.” Some years later (A.D. 1870), the Catholic Church declared the pope to be infallible. Sadly, no man or number of men can either declare or authorize such things! There has only ever been one who could sit as God on earth, and that One was “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Only One ever was or ever will be infallible (Hebrews 4:15).
We implore the religious world to consider carefully. The papacy exists without biblical authority. The real Head of the church is Christ and Christ alone! “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” (Colossians 1:18)!
God said unto him, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou has provided?” I would ask that you read Luke 12:15-21. Here we find the parable of the foolish rich man.
Here we find a rich man who had lived by a philosophy of life that many have unfortunately adopted today. It is as follows, “I am not concerned about the future from the standpoint of the wellbeing of my soul. I am going to live for the satisfaction of my fleshly passions today. I am going to live for self. I will eat, drink and be merry. My belly is full. I have enjoyed an abundant harvest. I will continue to build to have room for my material blessings.” One can readily see this man showed absolutely no interest in spiritual matters. As worldly people look at things, they would have deemed him a wise and a successful man. God called such a man a fool. His lack of concern about his soul came home to haunt him, as it will for all who follow in his steps.
This parable is a challenge to all of us to examine our purposes and goals in life. All opportunities to correct the wrongs in his life were about to come to a sudden and tragic end. God said to him, “This night shall thy soul be required of thee” (Luke 12:20). What a sobering reality! Do we seek to make a modern day application to our own lives? Yes, one of these days each of us will answer to God for our own individual choices and actions (2 Corinthians 5:10; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). What if your soul was required of you this very day? Would you be prepared for death, the judgment and eternity?
My friends, a man’s wealth accumulated in this life cannot buy him any favor in the next! No amount of wealth can take away the stain of one single sin. Only the blood of Christ can do that (John 1:29; Revelation 1:5; Romans 5:9; Ephesians 1:7). This man in Luke 12 was concerned only with living. It is unfortunate that he had not pondered the question, “Am I ready to die?” In a single moment, all his earthly plans and hopes came to an end. His soul was about to make a solemn journey to the unseen world beyond, to meet as Barnes says, “his long forgotten God.” Wealth cannot keep us from the grave (Hebrews 9:27). It cannot buy the forgiveness of sin. One cannot buy his way into the heavenly mansions. Friend, material possessions can give no comfort in the hour of death, but they can serve to condemn the one who misused them (1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 1 Timothy 6:7-19).
The man who trusts in material things and who neglects his soul and who fails to obey God is a foolish man. Death can come with shocking suddenness. Most men die before they intend to die, and many die before they are prepared to die. As death finds us so shall the judgment find us (Luke 16:19-31). What if God called you to account today? My friends, we cannot afford to follow the rich man’s footsteps. Are you prepared for death and the judgment? Have you obeyed the Gospel of Christ? Read about what is going to happen to those who do not obey the Gospel (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10).
Are you laying up treasures here on earth, or are you laying up treasures in Heaven (Matthew 6:19-21)? Is there room for God in your life? If not, then God says you are a fool. Are you wise or foolish in God’s eyes? Do you put your job ahead of the church? Are you more interested in things than in your soul? “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). Do not be a fool!