But I Would Have You Know
There is a message to which the Holy Spirit is calling the attention of every one in the Body of Christ today. That message is that Jesus Christ is indeed Who the Scriptures say He is - He is the "Head" - the Ruler over all. He is "...the head of every man..." and "the head over all things to the church." That means that - without excuse - we, as the members of His Body, have a responsibility to do exactly what He says and to conduct our affairs according to His plan and not according to our own agenda.
In 1 Corinthians 11:3, the Apostle Paul said to the Corinthian Church - "But I would have you know..." What was it that the Corinthian Church needed so desperately to know? The message that Paul was calling their attention to was - "that the head of every man is Christ..."
You might ask - Didn't the Corinthians already know that? After all, they were a Christian Church.
In glancing through the Epistles to the Corinthians, we can readily see that Jesus Christ was certainly not the "head of every man." If He was, then there wouldn't have been so much carnality - envy, strife, division - or confusion and blatant sin in their midst.
Like them, many today have a head-knowledge that Jesus is the "head" - Master, Ruler, or Chief - but experientially, the truth of the matter is that they are still in control of their own lives.
This message that Paul stressed to the Church was to be regarded in all phases of living and to never be forgotten.
Somehow in the Churches today, we have gotten away from this message that Jesus Christ is the "Head" of every Christian man, woman, boy, or girl and that He, especially, is to be "the head over all things to the church" (Ephesians 1:22).
Is He the "Head"?
Is He Lord and Sovereign?
Look around you and see the goings on in some of the Churches, and you will have to quickly attest that Man is the ruler and director, and the people are more in subordination to Denominational Leaders than they are to Christ.
Besides the reference in the Book of Corinthians, we find other Scriptures which emphasize this message -
Ephesians 1:22 says - "And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church."
Ephesians 4:15 says - "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, Which is the head, even Christ."
Ephesians 5:23 says - "...even as Christ is the head of the church..."
Colossians 1:18 says - "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."
The Lord Jesus had been appointed by God to be the chief and supreme ruler over all "things" - whether it be His physical works such as the winds, waves, seas, or rivers, etc....earthly kings or rulers...angelic hosts...or His very own purchased Church. He - Who has all power in heaven and earth - is in total control over all. He is highly exalted above all. Hence, He has every right to govern and direct - especially the affairs of His own people.
The Scriptures attest that - because He is in total control over all - He brings His own into account.
Romans 14:12 says - "So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."
Every man, woman, boy, or girl is accountable before God. One day, they will all answer for what they had done for the Lord Jesus and how they did it. They will explain the use of their time and the many opportunities that were given to them.
The true picture of the "world" is that "all" - outside of or without Christ - stand in "guilty" silence "before God"(Romans 3:19). The charge has been given. They are convicted before the Holy One and are deserving of His just punishment and judgment. No boasting, argument, or objection can be heard. They are guilty as charged!
Each man's accountability and responsibility before God can be seen in His righteous statement, as given by the Prophet Ezekiel - "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him"(Ezekiel 18:20).
In other words, every one shall give an account for his own character, conduct, words, actions, plans, and purposes. They shall answer for whether or not they fulfilled their duty to God. The faithful will be rewarded. Those who were ignorant and "knew not" His will - had comparatively little knowledge or little "light"...fewer opportunities for improvement...fewer teachers...or less gifts at their disposal - will suffer "few stripes." In other words, their punishment will be mitigated or lessened.
On the other hand, those who knew their duty before God - had exposure to more learning and knowledge and had greater opportunities for advancement - and did not perform it, will suffer the consequences of "many stripes."
What is the difference between a "few stripes" and "many stripes"? The Jews never exceeded 40 stripes for a crime. Nonetheless, a crime on a smaller scale called for only 4-6 stripes.
Luke 12:47-48 explains - "And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes..."
We need to stop at this moment and ask - How many in God's Church know His will and are performing it? How many - through carelessness and neglect - are ignorant of their duty before Him?
"...every one of us shall give account of himself to God"(Romans 14:12) For those who neglect their duty willfully or through ignorance, they will suffer the consequences - "many stripes" or "few stripes."
Luke 12:48 concludes - "...For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more."
1 Peter 4:17 adds - "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?"
God has given each of His children "money" with which to trade (Luke 19:15). In other words, they have business or a service to do for Him in this world. They must "occupy," labor, or be busy with His Kingdom work before He comes back to call them into account.
They are to be sincere in their labors - always working from pure motives, issuing from a pure heart. They will give account for "every idle word" - vain, empty, useless, wicked, false, injurious words - which indicate that their hearts are not in right standing with Him (Matthew 12:36-37).
Those who are "faithful in that which is least" will be rewarded with "much" (Luke 16:10). He that squanders his opportunities will have that which he has taken from him. And "...there is no respect of persons with God" (Romans 2:11).
The message today which the Holy Spirit is proclaiming to His Church is that the Lord Jesus is indeed the "head of every man" and "the head over all things to the church." Because He is the supreme ruler over all, we are accountable to perform our assigned duties before Him. If not - due to carelessness, neglect, or blatant disobedience - we shall suffer punishment and "judgment" - "few stripes" or "many."
"...every one of us shall give account of himself to God" (Roman 14:12)
We won't be able to play the "Blame Game" like Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden after they sinned before God - "And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat...And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat" (Genesis 3:12-13).
If we neglect our duties before God, we won't be able to accuse Him, our spouses, families, children, friends, Pastor, Teachers, employers, co-workers, etc. The only one we will have to blame is ourselves.
The Church must ask herself today - Is the Lord Jesus the "head" over each individual Christian? Is He "the head over all things" that are occurring in the particular congregations?
If He is not, then now is the time to make the necessary changes to bring Him to the place where He, and He alone, "might have the preeminence" (Colossians 1:18). Or He will have no other recourse than to send forth His "stripes" in order to bring His own back to Himself.
May we all hear and fear at the message the Holy Spirit is pronouncing to the churches of today.