Saturday, September 22, 2018

Thursday Thoughts: The Standard of Authority

July 7, 2011 by  
Filed under Articles, Thursday Thoughts

In the fall of this year I will attend my 50th High School Reunion. Because of that there has been a lot of talk between classmates about how things have changed from that time till this time. Setting aside all the natural changes and changes in technology I look at the changes in how people serve God or don’t serve God in today’s society. The religious world is confusing and difficult for people to know how to serve God because they present so many different ways that it can be done. They can’t all be right or else we must conclude that it simply doesn’t matter what we believe or how we serve God.

I am reminded of a time when the children of Israel, after the death of Joshua, brought up a generation that did not know God and the scriptures tell us that they did evil in the sight of the Lord.

When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel. Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals

Judges 2:10-11 (NKJV)

Later we are told that the people did what seemed right in their own eyes.

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Judges 17:6 (NKJV)

How do I know what is right? How can I be sure that what I am doing is what God would want me to do? In the letter to the Colossians, Paul gives instructions to this church as he had done to other churches to do the things that God has authorized.

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Colossians 3:17 (NKJV)

It seems to be important to do things the way God wants them to be done. Do we have a standard of authority? Can we know what is right in God’s eyes? Consider the exchange between Jesus and the chief priest and the elders at the temple.

Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?”

But Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things: The baptism of John — where was it from? From heaven or from men?”

And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet.” So they answered Jesus and said, “We do not know.”

And He said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

Matthew 21:23-27 (NKJV)

First, it was clear that the Jews needed to know by what authority Jesus was doing what he was doing and teaching what He was teaching. Secondly, not only did they want to know by what authority but they also needed to know who gave Him this authority.

The idea of authority suggests the right to command or direct and enforce obedience or administer punishment. Not just anyone could come into the temple and state the things that Jesus was teaching without having the right to say such things from a recognized source of authority. That right to command had to be given by the one who had all authority to make the claims that Jesus made. Jesus had stated that He was the Son of God and that He had all authority in Heaven and earth.

In this passage Jesus makes it clear that there are only two sources of authority. Authority comes either from Heaven (from God) or from man. This narrows the idea down about how we should serve God. We will either follow what God says or we will follow what man says.

The Bible is God’s standard of authority. What is contained within God’s word is what God wants me to know about how to serve Him. We should not be so presumptuous to think that whatever pleases me surely will please God when He has already told us what pleases Him.

All authority is inherent with God. (Gen. 1:1; Rev. 1:8)  In Hebrews 1:1-2 we are told that God now speaks to us through His Son and in Matt. 28:18 Jesus said that all authority had been given to Him in Heaven and earth. In John 16:7-15 Jesus tells us that He will send a comforter or the Spirit of truth who will guide the apostles unto all the truth. In Eph. 3:1-6 Paul tells us that the mystery of God had been revealed unto the apostles and they wrote it down so that everyone who read what they wrote down would know what God wanted them to know. When the Spirit of truth finished revealing God’s will and the apostles finished writing it down we have the Bible or God’s Word.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV)

All Scripture (the Bible) is given by inspiration of God (God breathed) that the man of God may be perfect. When we read our Bibles we are reading the very words of God. If we want to know how to serve Him, read His word, accept it and obey it. The Bible is God’s standard of authority because it is His word. What does God want me to know?

  • That I have sinned. (Rom. 3:23)
  • That I am separated from God. (Isa. 59:1-2)
  • That I cannot save myself. (Eph. 2:8-9)
  • That by the Grace of God – Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins. (Heb. 10:10-12)
  • That Christ rose from the grave. (1 Cor. 15:3-4, 20)
  • That when I obey the gospel I take advantage of the blood sacrifice made by Christ and my sins are washed away. That I am clean from the stain of sin, the guilt of sin and the condemnation of sin and am reconciled unto God. (Rom. 6:17-18
  • That if I am faithful to the end, Heaven will be my home. (Rev. 2:10)

That is what God wants me to know and it is in His word, His standard of authority.

I encourage you neither to follow man’s authority nor to satisfy self in our efforts to serve God. If you want to know how to serve God, look into His word. Read it, believe it and follow it and you will be pleasing to Him. Let His word be the standard by which you live your life.

– Don Davenport

 

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