by Pastor Keith Knight
Eph. 1:22-23 “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.”
The amazing thing about following Jesus, is that you’re constantly met by the reality that He exceeds anything your mind could imagine Him to be. Too many times, our lives are not hampered because Christ is not powerful enough to help us, but because our hearts are too weak to acknowledge the truth of who He is.
Working in youth ministry for well over a decade, I would assert that part of our modern fear of young people leaving the church can be traced to a theology of Christ that is much too small, including the importance of Christ’s body, the church. As we have just journeyed through ‘Body Building’ as a congregation, we hope that you have seen the importance of being an active part of Christ’s body, and encouraging young people to do the same.
As a Youth Minister, I never want to guilt families into participation, but I do think there is much that is missed when families see church as something they do, and not the reality that because of Christ, church is the primary expression of Christ on earth. I never want young people to think that attendance is the measure of discipleship, but Jesus makes it clear that discipleship is built on common participation in His mission to spread the Gospel. I think that, when we don’t understand that the church exists as the physical representation of Christ’s work on earth, we will be prone to see it as ‘part’ of who we are in Christ. Here are just a couple helpful things theologically for families to consider as we continue to ponder authentic community here at Stonebridge.
- Christ is actively ruling over everything.
- Paul says that ‘all things are under his feet.’ This means that there is nothing that happens that Christ isn’t ruling over. Nothing is ‘out of control’ no matter how much it may seem that way. Christ isn’t struggling to maintain His position, but He holds it with absolute surety and power.
- How encouraging could this be for our teenagers, who often feel like life is spinning out of control, and struggle with the concept of a personal God. We can assure them that Jesus is not oblivious to their lives, and in fact has promised that through tough times we can come to trust Him more, because He has everything under control.
- The expression of Christ’s victory is the church’s activity.
- While one major obstacle for young people might be doubt that things are under control, another obstacle is that participation in the local fellowship is actually meaningful. What is the point of getting together to talk about Jesus a couple times a week when the real world doesn’t seem to care?
- Christ’s body is ‘the fullness of him who fills all in all.’ As crazy as it seems, Jesus ascended to the Father, and sent the Holy Spirit to indwell His people, that His body might do ‘greater things.’ But how many of us actually see the church as the representation of Christ in our community? How many of our teens actually see the church as the primary way in which the Kingdom of God is expressed on earth now?
I’ve only scratched the surface of these two verses, but hopefully we can begin to encourage our young people that God has promised He will do His work on the earth. And the way He has promised to do it now, is through His church. Do we see the joy in the mission we’ve been given, and are we modeling that joy in our families?