The neck of the Church is that which attaches her to her Head, the Lord Jesus Christ. And what is it that brings us into union with the Lord? Is it not our faith? Living and evangelical faith is therefore the neck of the bride, without which there can be no bride at all.
We are told that the just shall live by faith (Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17). By this, of course it is meant that we live day-to-day trusting in God—we live our lives by faith. But it also means that we stay alive by faith. Without connection to the Head, we would all simply die. The Head is that which supplies the spiritual nourishment necessary for us to flourish. “And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.” (Col. 2:19). That connection is our life, our source of life.
But of course faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God proclaimed. We may therefore say in a figure that the necklace of the bride of Christ is the preaching of the gospel. “Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, Whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men” (Song of Solomon 4:4).
The Church is beautiful in the world, terrible as an army with banners, when the neck is joined to the Head, when the Head is thereby lifted up, and the necklace of the Word is proudly displayed like the shields of warriors, arrayed around the tower.
From Chrysostom to Spurgeon, from Knox to Whitefield, from Augustine to Edwards, the Word has been proclaimed in truth. There are many shields on the tower. Precisely because it has been faithfully proclaimed for two thousand years, precisely because the Word which defines the sacrament has been faithfully preached, you may come to be nourished by it now.
So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.