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General Conference Bulletin, vol. 1

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    THE special phase of this subject which we will consider this evening will be Christ, our living Head. We may speak of this under three divisions of the subject: First, Christ as the head of the whole human family; second; Christ as the head of the church; third, Christ as the head of the individual. But we have been studying at considerable length Christ as the head of humanity. I do not think it necessary to take time to dwell upon that phase of the subject, because that is the subject which we have been studying. — Christ the second Father of humanity, the second Adam, — Christ becoming ourselves, all humanity meeting in Christ, and Christ as humanity meeting all the claims of God’s law for humanity; and Christ as humanity dead, raised from the dead, ascended on high, sitting at the right hand of God, and humanity, — we doing all that in him; and Christ is the head of all humanity, and he is so closely associated with all humanity, that the figure of his being the head of humanity is very literally true, not simply as an illustration, but as a literal principle, a blessed truth. The real head of humanity, — and as the head of humanity, all humanity, repentant or unrepentant, — Christ sympathizes with every one, suffers with every one; and so, as we have learned, we are to see him in every one, and every one a brother in him, and hence the true idea of the brotherhood of man.GCB February 27, 1895, page 383.2

    I found a brief extract in the The Review and Herald, October 16, 1894, that seems to me to express this whole thought very forcibly:—GCB February 27, 1895, page 383.3

    Christ is our substitute and surety; he stands before God in the place of humanity, and he is affected as his weakest follower is affected. The sympathy of Christ is such that he cannot be an indifferent spectator of his children’s suffering. The heart of Him who gave his life for humanity is touched by the wound, however slight, that is given to one of his followers by the spirit revealed in the word or action of another. Let us bear in mind that Christ is the great central heart from which the life blood flows to every part of the great body of humanity. He is the head from which extends the nerves that reach even to the most minute and most remote part of the body. When one member of the body with which Christ is so mystically connected, suffers, the throb of pain is felt by our Saviour.GCB February 27, 1895, page 383.4

    But we will give the hour’s study to these two thoughts: Christ as the head of the church, Christ as the head of the individual. And we will begin with the latter.GCB February 27, 1895, page 383.5

    1 Corinthians 11:3: “I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” First, the head of every man is Christ, and the head of Christ is God. Now to understand what it means that Christ is the head of every individual, we only have to study what it meant to Christ in his humanity that God was his head. That is the relation which exists between the individual and Christ. So Christ is the head of every individual. We will not take time to turn to Scriptures so familiar, and which have been so recently studied, but only to call them to your minds. So completely was God the head of Christ in his humanity that it is said that the words that he spoke he spoke not of himself; that the work that he did he did not of himself; that the Father that dwelt in him, he did the works; that he came not to do his own will, but the will of him who sent him; that it was his meat and his drink to do his Father’s will, and so completely was Christ emptied of self, and so completely did the Father rule in him, that in that supreme test, when he knew that submission meant death, then he said, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt.” So complete was this submission to God that Christ’s self as of himself, appeared in nothing that he did, so that in no act of Christ can we see the self; he was so completely swallowed up in the Father, self so completely sunk in the Father, and the Father so completely possessing every power of his being, that whatever he said, whatever he did, every manifestation, was simply a manifestation of God the Father, through Christ.GCB February 27, 1895, page 383.6

    It may be well to notice how it was that the Father was thus so completely manifested in Christ, because there is a very important and a very practical lesson for us in our relation to Christ. Now when we say that Christ’s self was completely sunk in the Father, so that self did not appear at all, it is not to be understood in any sense as that Christ was a mere machine here. He had the privilege of choice all the time; he was not simply a machine in the Father’s hands. His own privilege of choice was with him all the time, and the temptation which Christ had to endure during his whole earthly life was exactly the same temptation that we have to endure. He was tempted all the time to make a display of himself. To be sure it would have been all righteousness, and it would have been a display of divinity; it would not have been sin, as it is in us when self does appear. When in our experience self appears, that is always sin, because humanity, the carnal mind, is enmity against God, and every manifestation of that humanity is contrary to God’s will.GCB February 27, 1895, page 383.7

    Now the carnal mind, that self, is simply a manifestation of something different from what God is, and every manifestation of something different from what God is, is sin. Holiness is agreement with God, and sin is simply the contrary of that. It is simply being different from what God really is. Whether it manifests itself in the outward acts or not, it is the same with God. It is a character different from God’s character.GCB February 27, 1895, page 384.1

    But Christ’s character was not of that kind. Of itself, his character was all righteousness, and if he had displayed himself, it would have been his righteous self. But he had come here to reveal to all created intelligences on this earth, and on all inhabited worlds, this idea, — that the grace of God was able to reveal in sinful flesh the character of God, and that even in sinful flesh there could be by the grace of God a revelation of the divine character not marred by sin.GCB February 27, 1895, page 384.2

    The charge made against God in his relation to man was that God in an arbitrary way had required of humanity what it was impossible to render. And not only did Christ come to meet the claims of the law in behalf of humanity, but also to demonstrate that God’s government was founded upon justice. That God is love, and that the divine grace and the power of divine love are such that it is possible not simply for humanity as humanity was first created, but for humanity after the fall, — that is, in sinful flesh, — to reveal perfectly the character of God in a life completely in harmony with God’s law. So while it would have been a revelation of righteousness if his own self had appeared, his work here would have failed, and we, poor lost humanity, would have been utterly without hope; but as it is, we have “good hope through grace.”GCB February 27, 1895, page 384.3

    So Christ’s temptation was exactly the temptation that we have all the while - the temptation to let that self rise up and display itself, — and although he was divinity in humanity, in order to show God’s plan of salvation, and in order to reveal the justice and the love of God, and that God did not require of humanity, even of sinful flesh, any more than could be rendered through the grace of God in Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ declined to use any power of his own, and it is a blessed, a grand, a most encouraging truth, that Jesus Christ, when here in our flesh, did not use any power in his conflict with evil that is not at the command of weakest saint to day. It is a grand truth, because it shows that the power which kept Jesus in his life in sinful flesh, is for you and for me.GCB February 27, 1895, page 384.4

    But how was this character of God thus revealed in Jesus Christ? Let us read first in John 3:34: “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.” This speaking of words is the test of the whole character, for “by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned,” because the words are simply an expression of the thought, and the thought is the character. So when it says of Christ that he speaks the words of God, it shows that he was a revelation of God, and that the character of God dwells in him, and the reason given is: “For God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.”GCB February 27, 1895, page 384.5

    Now read in Colossians 1:19: “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell.” And second chapter, ninth verse: “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” But if we read in Ephesians 3 the inspired prayer, fourteenth verse and onward, it will connect these two statements in our experience, and throw light upon the whole:—GCB February 27, 1895, page 384.6

    For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.GCB February 27, 1895, page 384.7

    That is the first desire, now all the others follow as a consequence of that, as when we receive the blessing of the Holy Spirit, all other blessings follow in its train. Now see what follows here:—GCB February 27, 1895, page 384.8

    That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith [because the Holy Spirit is the actual representative of Christ]; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height: and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.GCB February 27, 1895, page 384.9

    God gave not the Spirit by measure to Jesus Christ, and so it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell, and in him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; but this prayer is that we might be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man, that so Christ might dwell in our hearts by faith, and that so we might be filled with all the fullness of God. So God dwelt in Christ, and revealed himself in Christ in that fullness by the spirit. When, as recorded in the fourth chapter of Luke, he entered upon his ministry at his home in Nazareth, and found the place where it was written in the Scriptures, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,” then he said, “This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears.” So it was by the Spirit and by the fullness of this Spirit that God dwelt in Christ, and that the fullness of the Godhead bodily was in him; and so God was revealed in Christ in all that he said, in all that he did, in all his life. We can make the application at once; Christ dwells in our hearts by the same means, and he is to be manifested in our life.GCB February 27, 1895, page 384.10

    And yet all the time there is this perfect freedom to choose some one else for a master, and there is where the temptation will all the time come, — that we shall refuse to submit to the righteousness of God, that we shall refuse to discard self; that is to say, that we shall allow the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience to work in us. For our choice is whether Christ shall be our head, or whether Satan shall be our head.GCB February 27, 1895, page 385.1

    When man sinned, and by sinning, he gave over his will into the hands of Satan, and it would always have remained there, and man would have always been the helpless slave of Satan without power in any way to be released from that service, had not God given Jesus Christ, and by the gift of Jesus Christ to humanity made it possible that the will of man should be set free; but that in itself does free the individual from the service of Satan, until he chooses for himself to avail himself of the privilege granted in Christ Jesus; but it made the choice possible. So we find ourselves under the service of Satan, but God has by the gift of Jesus Christ to humanity given to every human being the privilege and the power of choosing to be released from the service of Satan. But until we choose of ourselves that God’s grace shall work in us, and until we choose of ourselves to take that will away from Satan, and put it in God’s power and keep it there, we remain the slaves of sin.GCB February 27, 1895, page 385.2

    Shall we remain under the service and bondage of sin? or shall we choose to be delivered from that, and set free in Christ Jesus? But the agent which God would use will be the same. His Holy Spirit is the agent by which he will expel sin from the heart. His Holy Spirit is the actual representative of Christ, which brings Christ himself to us, so that Christ in us expels all sin from us. And by the same means by which God dwelt in Jesus Christ, and revealed himself in Christ, Christ all the time consenting and choosing that it should be so, Christ would be revealed completely in us, and we shall be filled in the same way with the fullness of God, it being done all the time by our constant choice and willing submission.GCB February 27, 1895, page 385.3

    Now let us consider in the case of the individual what it means that Christ shall be his head, and how this union is brought about. Having studied together the idea of membership in the divine human family, it is not necessary that we should take so much time upon this thought, only to call to your minds this idea, that the connection between the head and the body must be a living connection, which can be made only by birth. It is not enough that a body should have a head upon it, but it must have a living connection with the body, such a connection as can be given only by birth union. Remove entirely the head from an individual; you might take another head, and join it with all care, and you might deftly conceal all trace that there had been any such operation performed; and there would be a body, and there would be a head upon that body, but the union is simply mechanical, simply outward. It is such a union as human power and human skill could make. But such an operation never could make that body a living body, and that body never will respond to the command and to the will of the head. In order that the union shall be effected so that the body shall be under perfect control of the head, that union must be a life connection, a life union, and that kind of connection can only be made by birth. So, exactly, when Christ is the head of the individual, it must be a life connection, and so all connection without the life is but a formal connection, and that living connection can only be made by birth. “Except ye be born again, ye cannot see the kingdom of God.”GCB February 27, 1895, page 385.4

    When this connection is thus made by birth spiritually, the parallel is very complete between the head of the body physically, — the head which is a part of the body by natural birth, — and the head of the body by spiritual birth. Perhaps you have thought of it in this way, that what the hands do, the head always does first. It is the head that plans the act, and it is the head that gives command to the hands; and there is simply manifested through the hands what the hands have already done in the head; because the hands are inseparably connected with the head, and what the head does first, in its thought, the hands, which are an inseparable part of this whole organism, as being in the head, have already done.GCB February 27, 1895, page 385.5

    The hands are an inseparable part of the body by birth, but just as the hand is joined to the body, so the body is joined to the head; and being thus inseparably connected with the head, that which is manifested through the hands is simply that which the hands have already done in the head, and you see that is but a further illustration of the thought that we have been studying so long, that what he did, we did in him. But the hands are to be obedient to the head, and the body is simply the means which the head uses to express that which is in the head, and every part of the body is necessary for that complete expression of what is in the head. Every part of the body is necessary, and every part of the body is to be in complete and perfect accord with the head. Then there is harmony.GCB February 27, 1895, page 385.6

    Now if we could conceive of the idea that the hands had a will of their own, and the feet had a will of their own, the head says: “Now let us go here.” The hands say, “No, I am going to stay here.” There is a manifestation of self. The head says: “Let us go here on this errand of mercy.” The feet say: “No, I am tired; I am going to sit down here and rest.” The feet manifest their own self, and are not in submission. The hands, if we may so represent it, manifest themselves; they are not in complete submission to the head.GCB February 27, 1895, page 386.1

    Yet the hands should not only be submissive to the head, but trained to service for the head, so that when the player sits down to the instrument, the hands shall not only be willing to be used, but shall be so trained to service for the head that they can express the thought of the head. It is just so in our Christian experience. We may at once perfectly submit, but it takes time to be trained for service, so that one who is perfectly willing, can be used by the Head in expressing the thought of the Head.GCB February 27, 1895, page 386.2

    This thought expresses in principle the whole idea; that when Christ is the head of the individual in the sense of the Scriptures, his relation to Christ is just what Christ’s relation to God in his humanity is, since God is the head of Christ.GCB February 27, 1895, page 386.3

    Now when you bring together a company of individuals, the head of each one of whom is Christ, when they come together, Christ is not only the head of each individual, but he is the head of all associated together. That is to say, he is the head of the church. Let us read three or four scriptures simply stating this. Ephesians 1:22, 23:—GCB February 27, 1895, page 386.4

    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.GCB February 27, 1895, page 386.5

    Ephesians 5:23:— For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the Saviour of the body.GCB February 27, 1895, page 386.6

    Colossians 1:18:— And he is the head of the body, the church.GCB February 27, 1895, page 386.7

    That is sufficient. Those are the simple, direct statements of the facts. Now for a further illustration of this fact, let us read in 1 Corinthians 12:12, and onward:—GCB February 27, 1895, page 386.8

    For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not of the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. 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. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: and those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked: that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.GCB February 27, 1895, page 386.9

    Under this figure of the human body and the relation of its members, a most wonderful lesson is taught. Time will not permit that we should draw out from it all the lessons that are there; but some general suggestions may open up the subject, so that you will be able to follow the lesson more fully.GCB February 27, 1895, page 386.10

    The church is the body, and ye are all members one of another; and if one member suffer, all suffer; if one is exalted, they all rejoice. Now see the application to the illustration of the human body. All parts are necessary. It might seem to us that eyes were very much more important than finger nails; but who would want to change his finger nails for another eye, and have three eyes, and no finger nails? Do you think that it would be an improvement? We might think that ears were more important than fingers; but who would want to exchange even his little finger for another ear? Each member in its place, and every member necessary for perfection.
    (Continued on page 389.)
    GCB February 27, 1895, page 386.11

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