AUTHORITY IN RELIGION
A. Definition of "Authority"; "Legal or rightful power, dominion, a right to command." (Webster)
1. W. E. Vine, in his book, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, under Authority;
I. EXOUSIA denotes authority (from the impersonal verb 'exesti', "it is Lawful"),
From the meaning of leave or permission, or liberty of doing as one pleases, it passed to that of the ability or strength with which one is endued, then to that of the power of authority, the right to exercise power;
Matt. 9:6: "But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"- then He said to the paralytic, 'Get up, pick up your bed and go home."
II Cor. 10:8: "For even if I boast somewhat further about our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be put to shame"
The power of rule or government, the power of one whose will and commands must be obeyed by others:
Matt. 28:18: "And Jesus came up and spoke to them saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and earth."
John 17:1, 2: "Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, 2 even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life."
Jude 25: "to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen."
B. We all understand that there must be authority in all realms of life:
1. The Community
2. The Army
3. The School
4. The Home
C. Think of the confusion that would take place if we had no Standards of Authority in areas such as:
1. Quality in food and Drugs
2. Monetary value
3. Weights and measures
5. Traffic speed and direction
II. In religion, there are only TWO sources of Authority, one is right, the other is wrong:
"When He entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him while He was teaching, and said, "By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?" 24 "Jesus said to them, "I will also ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 "The baptism of John was from what source, from heaven or from men?" And they began reasoning among themselves, saying, "If we say, 'From heaven,' He will say to us, 'Then why did you not believe him?' 26 "But if we say, 'From men,' we fear the people; for they all regard John as a prophet." 27 And answering Jesus, they said, "We do not know." He also said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things."
1. If it is from Heaven, it is from God the Father:
JAMES l:l7, l8
"Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation of shifting shadow. 18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures."
2. If it is from Heaven, it is from God the Father, and it is through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ:
HEBREWS 1:1, 2
"God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world."
A. CHRIST - ALL AUTHORITY:
MATTHEW 7:28, 29; 17:1-5; 28:l8
COLOSSIANS l:l8; 3:17
ACTS 3:19-26; 4:10-12
B. CHRIST'S ALL AUTHORITY IN HIS WORD:
ACTS 17:30, 31
ROMANS 2:16 (cf. GALATIANS 1:11, 12)
1. We will not be judged by:
a. Feelings, opinions, think-so’s.
b. Pastors, preachers, teachers.
c. The church.
d. Synods, Councils, Assemblies, Associations.
e. Parents, families, friends, loved ones.
f. Creeds, Catechisms, Manuals, Disciplines.
C. CHRIST'S ALL AUTHORITATIVE WORD TO THE APOSTLES:
HEAVEN - FATHER
THE HOLY SPIRIT GIVEN TO THE APOSTLES ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST
ACTS 1:1-11; 2:1ff; 15:26, 27; 16:12-14
WRITTEN WORD – THE NEW TESTAMENT
John 17: 6-8, 14, 18; 14:16, 17, 25, 26; 12:48-50
(‘VERBAL’ INSPIRATION) — I CORINTHIANS 2:10-13
(NOT ‘THOUGHT’ INSPIRATION!)
D. CHRIST'S ALL AUTHORITATIVE WRITTEN WORD IS ALL SUFFICIENT:
II TIMOTHY 3:16, 17
II PETER 1:3
1. The Scriptures (II Timothy 3:16, 17)
a. Origin - God
b. Purpose - Profitable for
(1) Doctrine (teaching)
(2) Reproof (proving, testing)
(3) Correction (improvement of life and character)
(4) Instruction in Righteousness (training in right action)
c. Results - Man of God is
(1) Complete (fitted right)
(2) Furnished completely unto every good work (fitted exactly right to do God's works):
2. (II Peter 1:3) ALL things granted to us that pertain unto life and godliness THROUGH the knowledge of Him that called us...
a. Where is the authority from Christ for latter-day revelations?
(Beyond the New Testament)
3. MAN CANNOT DESTROY GOD'S INSPIRED WORD: I PETER 1:22-25
a. Where is the authority from Christ to teach that the translators have destroyed God's Word? (See ISAIAH 55:11)
E. RESPECT FOR GOD'S WORD DEMANDED:
1. I CORINTHIANS 4:6: Must not go beyond God's written Word.
Notice how the Corinthians were doing this; I Corinthians 1:10-13.
2. I PETER 4:11: Speak only as the Oracles of God. Speak where the Bible speaks; remain silent where the Bible is silent!
3. II JOHN 9: Go onward and abide not in the teaching of Christ (the doctrine of Christ, New Testament), you do not have God.
4. REVELATION 22:18, 19: Must not add to, nor take away from God's Holy Word!
5. GALATIANS 1:6-9: Follow only the Gospel in order to please God: vs. 10. We cannot change God's Word! We cannot, we dare not, add to, or take away!
6. MATTHEW 15:3, 8, 9: Cannot follow the commandments of men.
Even if we are sincere, our hearts are still far from God when we try to worship Him after the authority of men!
7. MATTHEW 7:21-23: We must do only God's will, not men's! These people in the Day of Judgment will have done many religious works, which they thought were done by the authority of Jesus (in His Name), but Jesus will tell them that He never knew them (they were never true worshippers) Why? Because they acted religiously without Divine authority, without law from God! Therefore, they are involved in Iniquity, lawlessness; acting without Divine law."
8. JOHN 4:23, 24: "True Worshippers" The only kind of worshipper God will accept, must worship Him in spirit (inward man, not simply the outward) and Truth (according to the authority of God for us today, the New Testament).
a. These principles seen from the beginning, in the Old Testament:
Deuteronomy 4:l, 2
(a) Adam & Eve - Genesis 3:1-6
(b) Nadab & Abihu - Leviticus 10:1, 2
(c) Moses & Aaron - Numbers 20:7-12
(d) King Saul - I Samuel 15:22, 23
(e) Uzzah - II Samuel 6:6, 7
(f) Men of Beth-shemesh – I Samuel 6:19
b. MANY TODAY DO NOT UNDERSTAND THEIR CREATOR:
ROMANS 11:22 - The Goodness AND SEVERITY of God!
HEBREWS 2:1-4; 10:26-31; 12:25-29
F. CHRIST'S LAW EFFECTED AFTER HIS DEATH:
HEBREWS 9:15-17; 5:8, 9
1. The Old Law done away:
HEBREWS 10:1-22; 8:6-13
2. Christ's Will was probated:
3. CONFIRMATION: God's Plan of Salvation to become christians
a. ACTS 2:1-8:3: Jews (Acts 2:37, 38, 41)
b. ACTS 8:5-13: Samaritans (Acts 8:12, 13)
c. ACTS 8:26-40: Ethiopian (Acts 8:35-38)
d. ACTS 9:1-18; 22:1-16: Saul (Acts 22:16)
e. ACTS 1O:1-48: Cornelius (Acts 10:47, 48; 11:14)
f. ACTS 16:13-15:
g. ACTS 16:25-34: Jailor (Acts 16:31-33)
h. ACTS 18:1-17: Corinthians (Acts 18:8)
i. ACTS 19: 1-7: Ephesians (Acts 19:5)
For those who are seeking God’s Truth, it can easily be seen that there are more steps, than ‘faith’, in order to be saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. ‘Faith Only’, that is, just accepting Truth, and asking Jesus to come into your heart, and save you (commonly known as the ‘sinner's prayer’), was never taught by any of the inspired Apostles or Prophets in the New Testament! You cannot find the 'sinner's prayer' in the New Testament!
THEN WHAT MUST WE DO TO BE SAVED?
THE INSPIRED NEW TESTAMENT REVEALS WHAT WE MUST DO:
4. IN ORDER TO BE SAVED FROM PAST SINS, AND BECOME CHILDREN OF GOD,
MARK 16:15, l6
LUKE 13:3, 5
ACTS 2:38; 17:30
c. CONFESS CHRIST:
MATTHEW 10:32, 33
ROMANS 10:9, 10
d. BE BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST:
Immersed in water for (UNTO, IN ORDER TO)the forgiveness of your sins!
ACTS 2:38; 8:38, 39; 10:47, 48; 11:14
(1) This is where we are buried with Christ into His death:
(2) This is where we meet His soul saving blood (figurative)
which washes away our sins:
(3) Thus, when we are baptized into Christ, we "put on" Christ:
GALATIANS 3:26, 27
(4) This is the "one baptism" spoken of in -
(5) This is the ONLY way we can get into the "Body of Christ"
I CORINTHIANS 12:13
which is His church
EPHESIANS 1:22, 23
of which He is the Saviour!
(6) Water baptism SAVES us, because GOD TELLS us it does:
I PETER 3:20, 21
There is not any power in the water (water salvation), but it is DOING what God commands us to do, in His way, according to His Truth!
DOES THIS MEAN WE CAN BOAST OR GLORY IN WHAT WE HAVE DONE TO PLEASE GOD?
HAVE YOU YET DONE THESE THINGS ACCORDING TO THE AUTHORITY OF GOD?
IF NOT, ARE YOU NOT YET SAVED IN GOD’S SIGHT?
Notice the examples of conversion in the book of Acts:
But, being a christian doesn’t stop there!
It STARTS there! We must be faithful unto death, doing all that God wants us to do as He has outlined in the New Testament! What are we to be doing in serving Him as we assemble together?
G. CHRIST'S AUTHORITY CONCERNING WORSHIP:
JOHN 4:23, 24
1. ASSEMBLING WITH THE SAINTS:
ACTS 2:42, 46
a. Where is the authority from Christ to believe that you can go to heaven without "going to church (assembling)"?
2. PARTAKING OF THE LORD'S SUPPER: (COMMUNION):
I CORINTHIANS 10:16; 11:20-30
a. Day and frequency:
The first day of each Week!
(1) Where, in the New Testament, is the authority from Christ to keep the Sabbath day religiously? (Saturday, the 7th day)
(2) Where, in the New Testament, is the authority from Christ to take the Lord's Supper only once a month, or on Thursday, Saturday, etc., other than the First day of the week, Sunday?
EPHESIANS 5:18, 19
Vocal music is specifically authorized by God!
a. Where is the authority from Christ to use an additional type of music, Instrumental (mechanical) music in worship?
I THESSALONIANS 5:17, 18
I TIMOTHY 2:1-6
a. Where is the authority from Christ to pray to, or through Mary,
to use her as a Mediatrix?
I CORINTHIANS 16:1, 2
II CORINTHIANS 9:6, 7
a. Where is the authority from Christ to Tithe in the New Testament?
I TIMOTHY 3:15
a. Where is the authority from Christ to teach anything other than the New Testament Gospel?
(What about a Social gospel, Politics, etc.)
7. DOES CHRIST GIVE MAN
THE AUTHORITY TO WORSHIP HIM
a. Counting beads religiously?
b. Walking on hot coals religiously?
c. Withdrawing from society (Monks)?
d. Forbidding to marry? (See I TIMOTHY 4:1-5)
e. Forbidding to eat certain meats? (See I TIMOTHY 4:1-5)
f. Burning candles religiously?
g. Being called "Father" religiously? (See MATTHEW 23:9)
h. Burning incense religiously?
i. Being called "Reverend"? (See PSALMS 111:9)
j. Ringing bells religiously?
k. Wearing "long robes" (religious garb), (clergy-laity distinction) ETC. ETC.
H. CHRIST'S AUTHORITY CONCERNING THE NAME OF HIS CHURCH:
a. Only terms of Deity used:
I CORINTHIANS 1:1
I CORINTHIANS 1:10-13
b. Where is the authority from Christ to use human names and designations for His blood bought church?
I. CHRIST'S AUTHORITY CONCERNING THE ORGANIZATION OF HIS CHURCH:
1. Local congregational organization ONLY:
I PETER 5:1-4; 2:25
ACTS 20:17, 28
a. Local self-government, organically independent of every other local church!
b. Where is the authority from Christ for the church to organize on a universal level, with a headquarters, and human ecclesiastical organization?
J. CHRIST'S AUTHORITY CONCERNING THE WORK OF HIS CHURCH
I TIMOTHY 3:15
1. Preaching the Gospel:
I THESSALONIANS 1:2-8
II CORINTHIANS 11:8, 9
I CORINTHIANS 9:7-14
PHILIPPIANS 4:15, 16
2. Providing for its needy:
ACTS 4:34, 35; 6:1-7
I TIMOTHY 5:l6
3. Edifying itself:
4. Where is the authority from Christ for the church to have works in the social, political, or recreational areas?
Please study I Corinthians 11:22, 34, with the context!
Social activities are NOT to be a part of our religious assembling together!
Notice that the inspired apostle Paul did NOT tell the brethren to share their common food, and/or to keep the common food separate from the Lord's Supper!
No, he told them to eat at home (elsewhere), NOT in the religious assembly!
Look at the religious assemblies around us today. Their main functions seem to involve social activities, eating common meals, and all kinds of entertainment; many things the New Testament church did NOT engage in when they assembled!
Dear reader, God did not send His Son to die on the cross for a glorified YMCA!
K. CHRIST'S AUTHORITY CONCERNING THE UNITY OF HIS CHURCH -
1. Jesus prayed for it: JOHN 17:20, 21
2. The Inspired Apostles pled for it: I CORINTHIANS 1:10
3. The plan for it: EPHESIANS 4:3-6
a. Denominationalism destroys Christ's authority for unity!
I CORINTHIANS 1:10-13
b. Where in the New Testament, is the authority from
Christ for the Denominational concept of religion?
ARE YOU FOLLOWING THE PROPER STANDARD OF AUTHORITY IN
ARE YOUR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS AND PRACTICES BASED SOLELY UPON THE
AUTHORITY FROM HEAVEN FOR US TODAY, WHICH IS FOUND ONLY IN THE
WHEN YOU STAND BEFORE THE JUDGMENT-SEAT OF CHRIST ON THAT GREAT DAY, WILL YOU BE ABLE TO GIVE CHAPTER AND VERSE FOR ALL THAT YOU HAVE DONE RELIGIOUSLY UPON THIS EARTH?
II CORINTHIANS 5:10
I PETER 4:11
REMEMBER, WE CAN ONLY WALK BY FAITH:
II CORINTHIANS 5: 7
AND FAITH COMES ONLY FROM GOD THROUGH HIS WORD:
THUS IF WE ARE PRACTICING ANYTHING THAT CANNOT BE FOUND AUTHORIZED IN THE WORD OF GOD, WE ARE WRONG IN THE SIGHT OF GOD:
II JOHN 9
I CORINTHIANS 4:6
IF WE FOLLOW THE DOCTRINES AND COMMANDMENTS OF MEN, AND MIX THEM IN WITH THE WORD OF GOD WE WILL FAIL IN PROPERLY LOVING OUR CREATOR AND SAVIOUR:
MATTHEW 15:8, 9
WE WILL BE DENIED ENTRANCE INTO HIS
IF WE DO NOT BECOME OBEDIENT TO HIS TEACHING, WE CANNOT BECOME SERVANTS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS:
ROMANS 6:16-23, 3-6
JOHN 8:31, 32
I WOULD ENCOURAGE YOU TO FOLLOW ONLY JESUS CHRIST, BY FOLLOWING HIS AUTHORITY ONLY.
HE AND HE ALONE, CAN BECOME THE AUTHOR OF YOUR ETERNAL SALVATION, IF YOU ONLY OBEY HIM:
HEBREWS 5:8, 9
GOD BLESS YOU IN YOUR SEARCH FOR GOD’S ABSOLUTE TRUTH
ALONE, TO BE A ‘TRUE WORSHIPPER’ IN HIS SIGHT, TO BE A
‘CHRISTIAN’ ONLY, AS HE WOULD WANT YOU TO BE, NOT
ADDING TO, OR TAKING AWAY FROM HIS GOD-BREATHED