KJV - Luke 20:1-8 And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders, (2) And spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority? (3) And he answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one thing; and answer me: (4) The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? (5) And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not? (6) But and if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet. (7) And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was. (8) And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
NIV - Luke 20:1-8 One day as he was teaching the people in the temple courts and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to him. (2) “Tell us by what authority you are doing these things,” they said. “Who gave you this authority?” (3) He replied, “I will also ask you a question. Tell me, (4) John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or from men?” (5) They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ (6) But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet.” (7) So they answered, “We don’t know where it was from.” (8) Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”
We looked at this same passage yesterday, but from another viewpoint. Yesterday, we examined the question of authority in religion being asked by the Pharisees but not really caring about truth. Today, we want to look at the question itself. “By What Authority do You Do these things? That is an great question. In am glad they asked it.
One of the biggest problems and one of they least discussed issues in religion today is that of Authority in religion. By what authority do we do what we do religiously? We could ask the question a bit differently....What does GOD really want? I am afraid if we gave “truth serum” to many so-called “religious leaders” today and asked them that question, I think they would say they don’t really care what God wants! Some might think that that is a wild and careless accusation. But I feel safe in saying that because in most every issue, we already know what God wants because he has already told us! The fact is, the Bible IS the word of God! It contains the WILL of God, but most religions are getting farther and farther away from what the Bible requires and following the wishes and desires of man instead! Here are some cold hard truths about authority!
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
All authority...not most, not some...All authority is given to Jesus! It was given to Jesus by his father!
Ephesians 1:17, 20-23 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.... (20) Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, (21) Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: (22) And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, (23) Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
God gave Jesus to be HEAD over all things to the church. Period! Jesus is in control of all religious matters. So....if Jesus is in control, and ALL authority is given to him, how much authority do we as humans have? NONE! Zero! That means the CEO of the Catholic religion (known as the Pope) has NO authority or right to make or change laws as it pertains to religious matters and service to God. That also means that any and all other denomination’s councils, conferences or creeds have NO authority at all!
Here is a good example of what I am talking about. Since I have been preaching, at least three (maybe more) religious groups have declared that fornication is no longer a sin because it negatively impacts their attendance and giving. In other words, because so many of their members were participating in that sin, they did not want to run them off by saying it was sin, so they declared it not to be a sin any longer. However, Jesus said it is sin and he has ALL of the authority and man’s religious leaders do not. That is just one of many examples.
So how do we know what God wants? How do we know what Jesus, the head of the church, has dictated?
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
God has given us the Bible for us to follow. It is not just a story book, but rather his WILL for our lives. That first statement tells us that all of the scripture was inspired or God breathed. God, through the Holy Spirit, gave the message to the individual writers to record for him that we might have his will.
Jeremiah 30:2 Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book.
Notice what Paul tells Timothy the benefits of the inspired word is:
1. For Doctrine: There is absolutely no need for a religious group to have a creed book or other kind of manual that they should follow for what they are to do religiously. The reason for it is that Paul says that the inspired word is to be used for that purpose. If you have a creed or articles of faith that says more than what the Bible says, It says too much. If you have a religious doctrine that takes away from what the Bible says, it says to little.
Revelation 22:18-19 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: (19) And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
2. For Reproof: The word reproof simply means to show where wrong. If you see me under the back end of the car, and I tell you that I am trying to fix my carburetor, you would do me a great service by informing me that the carburetor is NOT in the back of the car. By reproving me in that way, you set me on the right course to fixing my problem. The Bible should be used in that way by anyone that wants to follow God. None of us are perfect so we should continually be looking to know what is wrong!
3. For Correction: Telling me that the carburetor is not in the back of the car, is a great help. But the best help would be to open the hood and to show me where the carburetor is and to help me fix it. The Bible does not only tell us when we are wrong, it also sets out for us the ideal path for us to follow
4. For Instruction in Righteousness: Wise people know that life is a constant journey of knowledge and learning. The Bible is not always about right and wrong, sometimes it simply shows us a more perfect way. Love is one of those things that we as humans can always grow in, so by studying the Bible, we can constantly improve on loving like God does.
Following God is not like eating at a salad bar. We cannot pick and choose what commandments that we like and the ones that we don’t. Instead, we must understand that God is our master...a loving master that wants the absolute best for us. And in order to benefit from his love, mercy and grace, we must be willing to submit ourselves wholly to him. That means by definition that we do not have a vote in how that we do things. Because God is in Control and I must simply...lovingly...and totally follow his direction.
One more critically important point on this issue....
John 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
John 8:29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
Also John 8:28 , John 8:38, John 12:50, John 12:49, John 14:10 says the same thing. So if Jesus, the Son of God, the one that has ALL authority, stated on at least 8 occasion that he was unable to do his own thing or teach his own opinion...What makes us think that we are better than Jesus and we can change, disregard, or suspend the will of God? It is the height of arrogance to think that we can make religion fit mankind. Instead, we must teach and promote that mankind MUST repent and conform to the will of God!
Reflecting His SON,
Minister, North Hardin Church of Christ
1804 Sam Stewart Dr.
Radcliff, KY 40160
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