Bible-based | Christ-centered | Family-focused | Mission-minded
Last week we discussed the importance of authority. We established that it originated with God. He created the universe and all things of the world belong to Him, so it makes sense that He would be the one who makes the rules (Revelation 4:11). We do not have the right to alter the dictates of heaven regarding how to live in this world. He is the Owner, Builder, and Sustainer of this wonderful and marvelous creation (Psalm 95:3-5). Therefore, He has the authority to govern the affairs of man as He sees fit for He is all powerful; we, quite simply, are not.
So, what do we mean by the word “authority”? One great example for illustrating the significance of the word is found in Matthew 8:9, where a Roman centurion said (fill in the blanks from your Bible), “For I also am a man __________ authority, having soldiers __________ me. And I say to this one, ‘______,’ and he ________; and to another, ‘________,’ and he ________; and to my servant, ‘______ ________,’ and he ________ it.” Notice here that authority involves the right to command others and it implies submission by the one receiving the command. The root of the word is “author”, which makes reference to a person who creates or gives existence to something. That is certainly an appropriate description for God!
When Jesus was on the earth, He taught that all must conform to the will of God (Matthew 7:21-23). He did it through the authority of His spoken word. Through His preaching and teaching, He commanded that the people submit themselves to the sovereignty of heaven itself (Matthew 6:33). He had divine authority bestowed upon Him (Matthew 28:18). But, that was while Christ was living here on earth, does He still exercise that power today? Or, since Jesus is no longer with us in bodily form, who or what is our authority? To answer that question, let’s read what His apostles taught about the origin and authorship of their writings. In Galatians 1:11-12, Paul says he neither received nor learned the Gospel through man. In Revelation 1:10-11, we see where the apostle John was instructed, “What you see, write in a book … ” He was receiving visions directly from the Spirit, the book did not originate with John. Simon Peter expresses rather clearly, “… that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit,” (2 Peter 1:20-21). Consider also what the writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 1:1-2.
These verses, and many others like them, show us that which is written in the Bible are not mere words of mortal men, but rather, the divine words and will of the Father which the Holy Spirit revealed through inspiration. So, the answer is “yes,” Jesus is still exercising His authority since He is part of the Godhead, (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). The New Testament is the singular authoritative document of the Lord that we must observe and follow! The Lord has given us His written Word to guide us during His physical absence. It governs our actions and guides our steps.
From all of this, we may conclude that there exists only one source of authority within the church, the body of Christ, and that is the Bible. How can we make such a claim? Please read these verse carefully: Deuteronomy 4:2; Revelation 22:18-19; and 1 Peter 4:11. In addition and according to John 16:13, Jesus told the apostles that they would be guided into ALL truth. If the apostles were guided into all truth, then must we wait to receive some new revelation today? The answer is no and Peter confirms it by telling us, “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,” (2 Peter 1:3). This is the very reason we often use the maxim, “Let us speak where the Bible speaks, and be silent where the Bible is silent”. It means that we must simply submit ourselves to God and His word. Nothing more! Since God is the Creator and gave all authority to Christ. His Word is the final authority! There is no other! Let’s pray that we all have the attitude that fosters placing the Bible at the center of all our spiritual decisions.