Text: Col 2:1-23
Last week, we spent most of our time on one verse. Col 1:18 [READ]
If you recall, the main point of last Sunday’s sermon was rather simple–Jesus is first place. We worked our way backward through v18. First, as a summary statement, we read that Jesus is first place in everything. Next, Jesus is the firstborn, or he is first place from the dead. This means, Jesus is not only first place in the present creation because He is the agent of creation and everything in the universe was created through Him and by Him and for Him, but on top of that, in the future, Jesus is going to be first place in the new creation when we reach the new heaven and new earth. Continuing backwards through v18, next we have, Jesus is the beginning, meaning, He is literally the First, the first one, first place. Finally, we reached the beginning of v18 – He/Jesus is the head of the body, the church.
Unlike some interpretations I’ve heard, this doesn’t mean that Jesus is connected to the church the way that heads are connected to bodies. While this is true, this is not the point Paul is trying to convey here. Christians, we are interconnected, we are connected as parts of the body, we belong to one another, but the way we are connected with one another is different from the way we are connected to Christ. We have a unique connection to Christ. I think we’d all agree, the head is the most important part of the entire body. It’s the head vs. the rest of the body. It’s not like my pinky toe is equal to the head. No, the Head is in charge.
Paul reinforces this point in Col 2:9-10 [READ].
Paul uses the word “head” here again. Is he saying that Christ is connected to every ruler and authority. No, he is saying, he is head over every ruler and authority, he is in charge, he is the top dog, he is the one calling the shots when it comes to every ruler and authority. It’s the same word that Paul uses in Col 1:18 to say that Jesus is head of the body, the church. Jesus is first place in the church.
Now, the key verses for today are Col 2:18-19.
18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on ascetic practices and the worship of angels, claiming access to a visionary realm and inflated without cause by his unspiritual mind. 19 He doesn’t hold on to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and tendons, develops with growth from God.
The main point for today is “Don’t Lose Your Head.” Who’s the Head, who’s first, who’s first place in everything? Jesus. Don’t lose Jesus. Don’t lose sight of Jesus. Hold onto Jesus always.
The head of something is very important. I think that’s why there are so many expressions about the head. The expression “keep your head” means that while everyone around you is panicking, you, stay calm. If you are an athlete, you’ve heard the expression, “keep your head in the game.” Stay focused. If you are struggling financially, but barely getting by paycheck to paycheck, then you are “keeping your head above water.”
Probably the most famous expression is used to describe a person who is “like a chicken with it’s head cut off.” That’s an odd statement. Have you ever wondered where that statement came from? With the help of google, I found the source. Did you know there was a famous chicken named Mike who lived for 18 months without its head between April 1945 to March 1947. His name was Miracle Mike and he was a beheaded chicken who lived in Colorado.
I’m not a chicken farmer but I guess it has been documented that a chicken can stay alive and stagger around without a head for up to a day or two. This is because when you chop off the head, it’s possible for part of the brain stem to remain intact and if it happens to be the part that controls the chicken’s reflexes, then the chicken can still move around and act as if everything is normal. Without the head.
This is what happened with Miracle Mike. When its owner was getting ready to serve chicken dinner, he apparently missed the jugular vein, leaving one ear and most of the brain stem intact. Seeing that the chicken was still alive, the owner I guess thought it was cool and he wanted to make money so he kept Mike alive by feeding it a mixture of milk and water and small grains of corn via an eyedropper. So Mike the miraculous chicken with it’s head cut off continued to walk around clumsily and he tried to crow, though obviously, it was more of a gurgling sound. And Mike’s body would continue to peck for food with its neck. This is sick, I know. This chicken farmer needs therapy. Something is not right in HIS head. Imagine waking up in the middle of the night and you hear this gurgling sound and it’s Mike the headless chicken stumbling down a dark hallway toward your bedroom. I don’t think you would be thinking, I’m hungry, I think I want some chicken. I’d be locking myself in the closet and crying for help.
If, for the Christian, we need to keep our Head, keep Jesus as first place, what do you think Satan’s strategy is? He wants you to lose your Head. He wants Christians to be like chickens with our heads cut off. He wants the church to be a Headless body. Chasing after everything, being busy, serving, going on missions, doing it all without Jesus being first place. This is Satan’s end game.
Col 2:18-19 describe a false teacher who has lost his Head, lost Christ as first place.
The chicken without a head may have the semblance of life. For 18 months, it can still stagger around and peck at the ground with it’s neck, but make no mistake, the chicken is dead. Christians, without our Head, Jesus Christ, we may work really hard for the Lord for 18 months, 18 years, for the rest of our lives, but if we are not connected to our Head, Jesus Christ, we’re spiritually dead. Why? Because without the Head, there is no life. No growth. Because the whole body is nourished by the Head. Jesus holds us together. Without Jesus, we are just as dead as Miracle Mike because we are disconnected from the source of life, the Author of Life, Jesus Christ.
Churchgoers and even spiritual leaders may have the appearance of life and growth, but it could be nothing more than a freak of nature. Like the headless chicken. This is not Foster Farms, this is Freaky Farms. Would you want to eat Miracle Mike? Not me. Because Mike is a zombie chicken. The living dead. Let me stick to KFC or Popeyes but not Miracle Mike.
There is an account of freakish growth when Jesus curses a figless fig tree. Jesus is hungry and he goes up to a fig tree because he wants to eat a fig for a snack. I bet Jesus would’ve loved Fig Newtons. I love Fig Newtons. I love figs. They make great snacks. They’re healthy, chewy, sweet. Jesus, expecting to find figs, doesn’t find any. Only leaves with no figs. Angered by this deception, Jesus curses the fig tree.
You have to know a little botany to understand why Jesus is so upset. The fig fruit grows BEFORE the leaves. So the fact that leaves were present was like having a flashing neon sign–Figs here, come get your fruit! The tree that Jesus went up to was full of leaves, meaning it should have been full of fruit. But there were no figs, yet there was plenty of leaves. This means there was growth but it was unhealthy growth.
Likewise, there are many things that can pass for healthy, spiritual growth at churches. Like numbers. More and more people attending a particular church so that it becomes a megachurch or a movement. Is this healthy, godly growth? Perhaps, but not necessarily. You can have an obese child and he is growing, but this is not healthy growth. Same with church. Larger numbers can pass for healthy growth, but it might just well be a freak of nature or unhealthy growth because Jesus is not the Head. Meaning, the church is being nourished by some other person or some other charismatic figure or a philosophy or some ideology other than the gospel of Jesus Christ.