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Head of the Church


When Father Christmas entered Narnia in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, he brought gifts. For Peter, there was a sword and a shield emblazoned with a red lion. For Susan, there was a bow, a quiver of arrows, and a magical horn. For Lucy, there was a small dagger and a bottle of healing cordial.

These gifts were not on their wish lists. They were not given for personal enjoyment. They had purposes within the larger story. The same is true of spiritual gifts in the Body of Christ. They are given to believers for the purpose of serving one another and mutual edification (vv. 11–12). The goal is maturity in both doctrine and practice, “attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (vv. 13–16). All of God’s people are to use their spiritual gifts in this way, not just those in professional or vocational ministry.

The Head of the Body is Christ Himself (v. 15; Col. 1:18). As we know from our own experience, a body without a head will no longer function. The head is the brains of the operation. The head runs the show. The same is true in this metaphor: Christ has complete authority over the church, including both local churches and the church universal. Whereas human beings tend to exercise their authority for prideful or self-centered ends, Christ exercises His authority for our good and His glory.

Paul wrote here that Christ gives spiritual gifts (v. 11), whereas elsewhere he said the Holy Spirit distributes them (1 Cor. 12:4). This, as with being the Creator (see December 3), is another both/and situation. Since both the Son and the Spirit are God, they can both be said to be the One who gives spiritual gifts.

Apply the Word

Are you using your spiritual gift(s) to serve in your church? If not, ask God where you might get involved. If you’re not sure what your spiritual gift is, we encourage you to talk to your pastor or a church leader. If you think you’re too busy to serve, we suggest re-reading today’s passage from Ephesians. Church is not a spectator sport!

BY Brad Baurain

Dr. Brad Baurain has worked as a writer and editor for Today in the Word since 1993. Currently, he serves as associate professor and TESOL program head at Moody Bible Institute. Brad has the unique privilege of holding a degree from four different universities (including Moody). He has also taught in China, Vietnam, the United States, and Canada. Brad and his wife, Julia, have four children and reside in Munster, Indiana.

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