Program Air Date - 11-17-02



Welcome to the Living Word Program on this wondrous Lord’ Day morning. We thank God that you have chosen to be with us today, as we commit this time to our wondrous Creator. What a great privilege we have today to join in this opportunity to praise our God and glorify our Savior. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in His sight and according to His Will. Now, let’s approach our Father’s throne in prayer.


Once again this morning, we have a wonderful privilege as Christians to lift up our voices in praise to God. The Bible proclaims that our worship is a sweet smelling savor to our Creator. So, this morning won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together our first hymn of the morning. The name of the song “Higher Ground!”

(SONG # 1)


One of the hardest lessons that we have to learn as Christians is to put others first. The reason that it is so hard to learn and practice this characteristic, is because our society say just the opposite. When we turn on the T. V., radio, or read the paper, we find plenty of things to keep us from thinking about others, and rather keeping our attention on self. Even the examples and stories that we read always promote and show the successful lives of those who “take care of themselves.” The old idea of “dog eat dog!”

I remember a song that was very popular several years ago that spoke of the greatest love of all. The singer clarified over and over again that the greatest love of all was in self. That’s not what the Bible says. God said that the greatest love is that which is found in the first commandment. In fact, Jesus said, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind,” Matthew 22:37. The greatest love we can have is the love we return to our God, because of all that he is doing and has done for us. The second great commandment is mentioned in verse 39, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Again the greatest love we can have is first for God, second for others, and then we can consider our love for self.

In the Bible, Jesus was always trying to teach His disciples the great lesson of humility. Christ always wanted them to think of others, their needs, and their feelings. Remember the golden rule? The Lord said, “we are to treat others as we want to be treated.” Wouldn’t this require that we think of other first and consider how they will receive or react to, that which we do or say.

All of us have probably seen the acrostic before which is made from the word Joy. The “j” stands for Jesus first, the “o” for others second, and the “y” stands for yourself last. If we want true joy as Christians we must follow God’s plan. Furthermore, the only way God will be happy with us, is when we learn to put Him and others first. Also notice what this scripture tells us, “Let no one seek his own, but each one the other's well-being,” 1 Corinthians 10:24. We are not to look to our own good in a selfish way, but we are to put the good of others even before self. How many times have you made decisions in life that benefit you, but really they harm others? Let’s all try to learn the lesson from God, that we need to put him first, others second and then ourselves last.

And why shouldn’t we want to love God and put others first. Think of what John said in 1 John 4:19, “We love Him because He first loved us.” Are you putting God and the interest of other before self? May we all learn more every day to be greater servants to God and our fellow man. Today we will be concluding our series concerning our “Authority in Religion.” This morning we will be trying to tie everything together and have an overall review of Bible Authority. So please continue with us this morning and after our next song I will return with this lesson from God’s Word. It’s now time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, “I’m Not Ashamed To Own My Lord.”



Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thank you so much for continuing with us this morning as we now go into the pages of God’s Word and look finally at our series and the closing of our series in relationship to religious authority, our authority in religion. We’ve had just a great series together. We’ve had a lot of requests for transcripts. We’ve had a lot of folks who have wanted to have cassette tapes and we do appreciate so much the contact that you have made with us, the questions that we have had and we hope that you’ll continue to show interest in these. Let me always remind you that on the web-page that you can go at any time and collect any of our transcripts from this series or any of our series in the past and simply print those right off or download them from the internet and be able to use those to the best and to the glory of God.

We do also want to thank all of our speakers. We’ve had a lot of good speakers in relationship to this series, a lot of folks who have really looked into God’s Word and spent some time preparing. Today, we want to spend our time as we’ve said just trying to sum up these things, kind of getting everything as you might say in our minds at one time and working through the process from A to Z in a very brief way to remind us again of how we’ve laid down Biblical authority, the principles and the concepts all the way through to some of the applications that we’ve made over the last several weeks together.

Well in relationship to those things then, you’ll remember that in the very beginning we quoted a verse in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning was God.” What did God do? It says there in the same verse that “He created the heavens and the earth.” There was nothing else in the beginning. God only. And this verse here tells us that it was that God who not only created but gave His Will to His creation. On the 6th day, He created man and made the most wondrous of all of His creation, the most magnificent being that He had made because man has the ability to think and to not only breathe but to be able to reason and to logically determine whether he will or will not follow God. Well after making this wondrous being, then God laid out His Will to the patriarchs during that period, to Moses on Mount Sinai and to the Israelites at that time and they were encouraged to follow and to do the Will of the Lord in relationship to those things. And even now today under the New Law, the Christian Age, we find that very same Will has been given to us. But we started as we said with God and looking at who He was, what He was all about, as the One in the beginning who did and through all things this life and world and our lives have been made possible.

Then from the Father we logically would then move to the Son. We know of the Son because of what we find in the Bible, the prophecies of the Old testament. Not only the prophecies but we see clearly the ideas that are given through the New Testament of the outcome of those prophecies when actually Jesus came as the Word and dwelt among men, in John chapter 1, as He came as the Son of God. He came not only as the Son but as God Himself in the flesh, the one who actually was involved in making the creation according to the Will of the Father. Yes, we are introduced to Jesus the Son, “the one,” as we read in Matthew 28:18 “was given all authority,” you might remember as we read that verse that Jesus told them “all authority” or “all power has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” He says, “In both places.” No matter where you consider, He says, “All authority has been given unto me.” From who? Obviously from the Father. It was given by the Father. We’ll look at that in a little bit more detail in just a moment. But even there in these verses we see that as He was given that authority, what did He do with it? Well a little earlier in the book of Matthew He chose twelve men and then He committed over a year, a three year period, that Will or the Word to those men in order that they could be commissioned as we read in verse 19. “Go therefore making disciples baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you and lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age.” Oh, what a beautiful passage this is because it shows us how the Father did give His Will and then passed that authority to the Son, His own beloved Son, “only begotten Son,” John 3:16, that He sent to the earth to fulfill His Will. And as He had done that, we find then that as He had sent the Son, that the Son according to the Will of the Father made known the revelation the things that the Father had intended from the beginning and then chose men who also could carry on that work after the Son then returned to be with the Father in heaven at the right hand of the Father.

I want you to notice with me a few verses that actually help us to clarify these facts. In fact, in the book of John chapter 5, you might find here clearly that Jesus said that He had come not to present His own Will, His own Words, but really came on behalf of the Father to do the work of the Father. But notice with me if you will in verse 30 of chapter 5 again the gospel of John. He says, “I can of Myself do nothing as I hear, I judge, and My judgment is righteous because I do not seek my own Will but the Will of the Father who sent me. You notice He says, “It’s not My Will, it’s the Will of the Father, the Father in heaven.” God gave Him the authority and He came by the authority of God, with the authority of God because He had the Will of the Father. What Jesus said was not of Himself. It was of the Father and then directly given to us through the Son, that is Jesus Christ.

The next chapter, chapter 6, if you’ll notice with me in verse 38, a similar concept was given. He says, “For I have come from heaven not to do My own Will but the Will of Him who sent Me.” Jesus said, “I am not the one who has authority because of self. I have the authority because the Father gave it to Me and He has placed His Will, His Words in Me that I might know right from wrong and have you also to know the Will that He has delivered.”

Again John 7. Read with me if you will verse 17. We find a similar idea. “If anyone wills to do his will, he shall know concerning the doctrine whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.” Then He goes on to really discuss the concept that He who speaks on His own authority really is not righteous but he who speaks on God’s authority is righteous. The Son came and was righteous and had authority because He spoke according to the Will of the Father that which He had been asked and designed to present again before the beginning of creation.

Turn over a few more chapters, chapter 12, verse 49, we find the very same idea there as He says, “Therefore I have not spoken My own authority, but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command of what I should say and what I should speak.” You see again, He says, “The things I presented to you, the authority has been given from the Creator, God the Father Himself to Me as the Son and what I give you is not My own. It’s not My own authority, not to my glory, not to my praise. It’s from and to the Father.” In other words to praise and glorify Him. It’s from Him. He is the one to receive the laud and the magnification from these things, the ability to be praised in all areas and all ways that we can as His creation.

But then we know as we have said that He then passed it to the disciples, the apostles as we call them. He chose twelve men. He trained them for three years and He gave them His Words. He gave them those things that He had received from the Father. We know that also because we can go over to John 16 and we see there beginning in verse 13 that He says that however after telling them that He would not be able to say many things to them that they wouldn’t be able to bear all of them at this point because He was about to leave them, earlier in the passage. In verse 13, He says, “However, when He the spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth for He will not speak of His own authority but whatever He hears He will speak and He will tell you of the things to come.” He says, “Even the Spirit is coming and I will give Him to you so that you will know all things not some but all things.” And He says, “What He tells you will not be His own authority.” Notice who’s it will be in verse 14. “He will glorify Me for He will take of what is mine and declare it to you.” Jesus says, “The Spirit will come and tell you what I have told you and reconfirm those things for you,” because at that time it wasn’t in a written form. But then notice again in verse 15 what He confirms. “All things that the Father has are mine, therefore I said that He will take of mine and declare it to you.” He says again, “Let me remind you that what He will declare is not from Me, is not really of Me because what I have given you is from the Father.”

So again, the Father. The Son. The Son chose the apostles. The apostles then were given the Holy Spirit when the Son returned to the Father. And as we’ve seen then the Holy Spirit guided men of God, men that were holy to not of a private interpretation but according to the Will of the Father who interprets scripture as we read in the book of Peter.

As we read in 2 Timothy 3:16 and 17, “All scripture is from God. It provides and thoroughly and completely furnishes us in every good work. It gives us all that we have need of. We’ve been given all things pertaining to life and godliness,” again Peter tells us.

So again, we have the Bible today. “The perfect law of liberty,” James 1:25. And then God then has brought down to us and revealed to us all that we have need of now today through this book, the Bible. Yes, from the Father to the Son. The Son to the apostles. The Holy Spirit then being given to guide them into all things that they might also be helped to record the Words of the Bible, to pen them actually in the form that we have them today in order that we might have the revelation of God, the revelation that will save men from their sins, the revelation that had been hidden from the beginning of time has now been made known, made manifest through the blood of Jesus Christ and through the Words that He has given to us.

So as we established all of these things and how that the Bible was authoritative then we began to look at the principles of Biblical interpretation in trying to understand how do I understand whether this is mine or for me or about me or about what I should do or how I should live for God? Well we looked at several ideas. One area that we dealt with was in understanding the Bible and which part is for me? Which part is for you? We have the Old Testament. We have a period of really that was directed unto the Israelites. Are we Israelites? Are we Jews? Certainly not. Then we have a part where Christ died and shed His blood for all men. The Christians. The New Testament church. The things that we are a part of. The institutions set up by God. We have the Patriarchal Age that was far before, even before the Law of Moses. Some type of again law that we don’t have a lot of detail about but they were worshipping God in a certain way and doing His Will and following Him.

In all of these things, we then find what is for us? The Galatian letter, Galatians chapter 3 says that “the Old Testament was given as our schoolmaster to bring us up to the time of Christ.” We as the New Testament Christians have been made a covenant, an agreement if you will, with those who are of Christ before God. We have all made an agreement one with another in the fact that we will now commit ourselves holy, collectively and singularly or in a single way, individually to that God, to that Creator in heaven. The once we have done that, as we study and read the New Testament, we must begin to understand how it applies to us. Well I am not a Jew again so I don’t have to offer sacrifices on an altar anymore, but under the New Law I still have to make spiritual sacrifices. I still have to give of my time and efforts and speak for God and teach others about Christ. The many sacrifices that I make in a different sense, a spiritual sense, but not of the literal sacrifices of old. I am under the New agreement, the New Covenant, the New Testament with my Testator Jesus Christ.

But not only that concept of the different periods, but also we looked at the rules of interpretation. We tried to understand that yes, in the Bible we have those things that are direct commands and how that many times God would specifically say, “Do this.” He says, “Love Me. If you love Me, keep My commandments.” A direct command. If we love Him, we will do that. The concept of to love the Lord, our God with all of our heart and mind and strength. Again, if we love Him, we will follow that first and greatest commandment. There are many commands in scripture that we “assemble on the first day of the week.” But there are also many examples. We find the New Testament church that they did certain things and worshipped in certain ways and they were approved of by God. We have those examples that were divinely approved. And let me remind you as it says there in Acts 2:42 that “the New Testament church was continuing daily in the apostle’s doctrine, those things that they had received from Christ through the Holy Spirit” and they were doing what they had learned through the apostles and the Holy Spirit. Therefore if it was divinely approved and they had been told to do it as the New Testament Christians, we also should do the very same thing.

And what about inferences? There were many times that Paul and others maybe spoke about how that they would treat another individual and how that they would be treated and how that God was pleased with this or not pleased. Again inferring to us that God would act the same way if we were to involve ourselves in the situation.

So yes, we need to know that we need to understand the Bible and read it and know that there are commands given directly to us. There are examples that we must follow and certainly there are inferences and there are even areas of expediency, areas that God says, “You might have to decide.” You must go to all the world. Will you take a ship or a plane? Will you walk? Will you take a chariot? Will you drive in a car? We have to make some decisions for ourselves. He doesn’t always give us all the minor details but He instructs us according to His commands, according to His authority.

Then over the past several weeks, we began to apply the principles of these areas of authority in several different parts of the Christian life. First was salvation. We looked at how we go to the Bible and we read the Bible and we see exactly what God has told us to do as far as hearing the Word, confessing that belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, repenting and acknowledging that we are sinners, that we are sorry because of it and we want to leave sin and repent, turn to Christ in order that we might wash away that sin through baptism, as there Ananias told Paul, “Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins.” So we saw that in relationship to salvation, the Lord would add to the church just as He commanded, if we’ll do the things that He commanded in scripture.

We looked at it also in relationship to organization of the church and how that we must organize ourselves as God has designed that we organize ourselves. We looked at last week the concept of how that we must worship God and how important it is that we worship Him in spirit in and in truth according to what He has again said, according to His authority, according to what scriptures have revealed to us, not according to what we think, feel, or according to our own desires.

Then as we bring all these things together, we might ask finally, “Why is it that these things are so important? Why is it that we again have to be reminded that God has the authority that Christ was given and throughout all of these methods, it comes down to us to know exactly what we should do?” All things have been revealed to us. Why is it so important?

I want you to go back to John chapter 12. We read many verses in John earlier, but read there if you will verse 48. Her says, “He who rejects Me and does not receive My Words has that which judges him, the Words that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.” There we have it. The reason this is all so important. The reason that Biblical authority does apply and the Words of Christ that were provided through scripture according to the Holy Spirit, penned by the apostles and to the writers of the Bible. The reason it is so important is because it’s these very words that in the last days, we will be judged by. You see, Bible authority is important. If Jesus said it according to the Will of the Father, not His own Will, the Father’s Will. It does make a difference what we do. It does make a difference what we say, how we say it, how we carry it out, how we react. We better wait and find out the commands that God has given us. We better surely know what those things are as examples given, divinely approved in scripture, and in all things to the glory of God and His praise do what He has asked us to in relationship to Biblical authority.

(SONG # 3 - “I Am Resolved!”)


Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord’s Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.

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As we acknowledge our creator through an obedience to His Word, may we each truly respect His Authority which has been so clearly and fully revealed to us through His Book, the Bible!

(Program closing)