THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 5-27-01
LESSON TITLE: WHAT IS OUR AUTHORITY AS CHRISTIANS IN WORSHIP?
Here we are on another wondrous Lord's Day! Let me welcome each of you to our program this morning. It is always a privilege to have you with us for the Living Word. Thank you for choosing to be with us for this time of offering to God.
As most of you know, it will be our privilege today to sing songs of praise to our God and to study from His perfect Word! What better activity could we together engage in this morning for the sake of our God. I hope each of us will do our part to make this time together acceptable in His sight. Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.
This morning we again want to begin by mentioning one of our sister congregations which help financially to make this program possible. Today, I would like to introduce you to the Bona Church of Christ in Bona, Missouri. This fine congregation of our Lord has been involved in this work for many years now. We really appreciate their continued love and support of this work of our Lord.
If you have opportunity, please take advantage of meeting with these brethren in one of their regularly scheduled weekly services. They come together on Sunday mornings for a Bible study at 9:30. This is followed by a worship service at 10:30 a.m. and another worship assembly is offered at 7:00 on Sunday evenings. A mid-week Bible study is also offered on Wednesday evening at 7:00. If you need further information feel free to contact me or their minister brother Jim Poland at 1-417-995-3032. We again thank this congregation for their continued support!
This morning we want to begin with a song which reminds us of the required commitment which we must have towards our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "Take My Life And Let It Be!"
(SONG # 1)
As we just sang, how many of us are truly willing to give ourselves totally to Jesus? It's not easy is it? However, it is a requirement if we are to be pleasing in His sight.
I really think that the words to our song help us to understand the key to being able to accomplish Christian living as God designed. Notice as we said, "take my life!" The key is giving ourselves to the Lord and letting Him have his way.
I think often we wonder why we fail at trying to do our best or at being the type of Christian we want to. But if we would only realize it, the problem is that we are trying to do it alone or our own way. When will we ever learn that the only right way is God's Way. The way He shows us and teaches to us through His Word.
Isn't this what Paul was talking about as he wrote to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 5:14 & 15. There he said, "For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again." As Christians we are not here to live for self but for the one who died for us - Christ Jesus.
Paul also said, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me," Galatians 2:20. The question is have you learned to give yourself wholly and completely to Christ your Lord? Have you committed yourself to the greatest thing that you can in this life? Why not give yourself to Jesus?
I am really excited to introduce our guest speaker this morning, because we again have my father with us on the program. Jerry Sullins has been involved in missions for many years now. At present he is the director of the Zambia School of Biblical Studies, located in Livingstone, Zambia - which is in the southern part of Africa. I credit this great man of God and my mother for who I am today, so I am eager to hear his presentation from God's Word in just a few minutes.
Our topic today will again focus on our series concerning worship! Our specific study of the day will consider the question, "What is our authority as Christians in Worship?" So stay with us this morning and in a few minutes my father will return and lead us in our thoughts of the Day. Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "How Beautiful Heaven Must Be."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Jerry Sullins
It's a pleasure to come into your home today and to talk about things that pertain to God's word. This morning, we're going to be discussing a very important subject concerning Bible authority in direct relationship to authority in matters pertaining to worship to God.
Let us first of all consider the subject of authority within itself because it seems in this day and time that many people do not respect authority or maybe don't even have any concept concerning the term "authority." But authority is something that must be accepted by everyone in every phase of life, even a child in the home is to learn the concept of authority by it being disciplined by it's parents. If it does not learn this concept, it's hard for that child to continue in life in a good way and to learn to be what it needs to be in society. Authority must be accepted as far as concerning the laws of our land. We're all subject to the laws of our land. Even the president himself has a higher authority. It may not be that of congress, but yet God Himself is that highest authority.
But when it comes to matters of religion, there are some people who think that authority is not very important. Some consider that there are different ways to establish one's authority for what they practice in matters concerning religion, especially worship. For some will feel that they can worship God any way they please. If that be so, then why don't we start sacrificing animals as they did under the Old Law, as we read in the Old Testament. Why is it we can not do anything that we see even the Eastern religions practicing or religions in the Far East? Well, then authority does matter. Doesn't it? Well, some people base their authority on many false concepts, their religious authority, saying that "I am authorized to do this because I feel that it is right." Now human reasoning is okay because we must reason in this life to even live, but yet when it comes to matters of religion, is that a basis for one's authority? Was it not the writer, Solomon, who said in Proverbs 14:12 that "There's a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof is a way of death." And the prophet Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 10 verse 23, "It is not in man that walketh to direct his own footsteps." So human reasoning is really not a basis for one's authority in religion.
Then I've heard people say before that "I feel that this right." Oh, is that a reason for one's authority? Are we to suggest that God would say, "Just because you feel something is right, that it is right." Then the apostle Paul when he was Saul, before he became a Christian, must have been okay. He was a devout Jew. And in Acts 23, verse 1, he said that he "persecuted Christians and he did all he did before he became a Christian in good conscience." That was the authority that he used. The authority of feelings. So just because one feels that he or she is doing what God has authorized or what God wants him or her to do, is that the proper authority? Well, certainly not.
What about human traditions? Well, the Jewish religion changed so much from the way it was originally planned to be. In fact, even Jesus when He was upon this earth, being a Jew Himself, had many discussions with the scribes and the Pharisees and the different sects of the Jews, but mainly the scribes and the Pharisees, and it was Jesus who said, when He was speaking to them concerning matters of their own faith in Matthew chapter 15, verse 9. He said, "But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." So my friend, is it good for us to look to human tradition and to base the authority that we receive in religion upon human tradition? Can we say as some people say, "The tradition of the church is our authority"? Is that really something proper that one should do? Well certainly not. Even Jesus condemned that sort of authority.
And then some people say, "Well, it's important that we follow the leadership in our religious faith. If our religious leadership says that it's okay to do it, then it's okay to do it. And so they don't question that authority. They don't say to those Christians leaders who are leading them and saying, "This is God's will." They're not saying to those leaders that "You need to show us from God's word that what you're doing is actually sanctioned by God Himself." Well, isn't that important for one to consider? Well certainly it is, because we know that man can direct us in a way that God has not directed us. Man can have plans that are not God's plans. Man can do things in ways that are not God's ways. He can direct his own footsteps, and the Bible says, "The end thereof is death." And so we must consider what is God's plan for authority.
Now I would like to discuss with you for just a few moments this morning about God's authority in religion, and that is God's authority itself, because we know the Father as such does not have direct authority upon us today, and that's clearly seen in the word of God. And everything we're going to say this morning as in every morning on this program is going to be based upon what we find in God's word. And if we think about what we refer to as the chain of authority, in other words the pillar of authority, who is first in authority. Was that authority given to someone else? Then let us look into God's word and see how it is, how it actually is.
First of all, let's consider two verses that are found in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, verses 27 and 28. Now this may be difficult to understand, but I'll tell you after it's all over, after we've read these two verses, what is actually said in these verses. It says, "For He has put all things under His feet." (This is speaking of the Father.) "Has put all things under Jesus' feet. But when He says all things are put under His feet..." (That is, when God says are put under the feet of Christ) "It is evident that He who put all things under Him is accepted." That is, the Father Himself is not under the feet of Jesus because the Father has given that authority to whom? To Jesus Himself. Then verse 28. "Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to who? To God Himself. To Him who put all things under Him that God may be all in all." Now this is simply saying as anyone can understand this. It doesn't take a Greek scholar to understand what is being said here. What is simply being said here is that God has put all authority in Jesus Christ, and God Himself, that is God the Father, is not under that authority. He is the exception to that rule. He is the only one who is not under the rule of the Son Himself.
So now, who was given that authority? Jesus Christ. And most of you who have read the Bible any know the verse that is found in Matthew chapter 28, verse 18 where Jesus said, "All authority hath been given to me both in heaven and on earth." Now I want to call your attention to that statement. "All authority has been given to me." It has been what? It has been given to me. Who gave Jesus that authority? We just read in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 that the Father gave Jesus that authority.
Then look at Acts chapter 17, verse 5. Now the first part of that chapter, that is Matthew 17, verse 5. The first part of that chapter reveals the scene at the transfiguration where the inner circle, that is Peter, James and John, were gathered together there with Jesus and they were praying and they fell asleep. But then there came a vision from heaven or something miraculous happened and what appeared before them was Jesus, Moses and Elijah. Then Peter immediately wanted to build an altar to Jesus, to Moses, and also to Elijah and remember the voice from heaven came forth, the voice of the Father, that is God the Father, and said, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye Him." So now that is simply restating what was said about Jesus or what Jesus said in Matthew 28, verse 18, that "all authority has been given to me both in heaven and on earth." All right, so we see that the Father had the authority. Of course He does. Everyone believes that. And everyone would believe that that authority was passed to the Son, those who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who have read the Bible at all, will believe that God has given that authority to the Son.
Then we must also accept the fact that the Son gave that authority to His apostles. Now I want us to read in the Bible concerning this very fact and that is found in Matthew 16 and we're not going to start at verse 18. I want to start at verse 17. "Jesus answered and said to him, (speaking of Simon Peter) 'Blessed are you Simon Barjonah for flesh and blood is not revealed this to you but my Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter and upon this rock..." (That's the confession that Peter made in verse 16 that "thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.") He said, "You are Peter and upon this rock (or this confession) I will build my church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." Then in verse 19, "I will give to you the keys to the kingdom of heaven and whatever you will bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you will loose on earth, will be loosed in heaven." Now I want you to notice carefully here that Jesus said, "I will give to you the keys to the kingdom of heaven." Now these keys are the doctrine of Christ and He said, "With these keys, these keys are the truths that you will teach the people and that's what will be bound on these people in heaven or on earth." Matthew 18:18, Jesus spoke to all of His apostles and said this very same thing.
Now we see very clearly that God the Father has given that authority to Jesus the Son. Jesus the Son has passed that authority on to the apostles. Now where do we find the record written of that authority, or those authoritative words? Well my friend, the only place I know where it is found is in what we refer to as the New Testament today, where Paul and Peter and James and John and other apostles who were inspired of the Holy Spirit spoke forth those words. In fact, Peter even put it this way in the book of 2 Peter chapter 1, verse 3. That God has given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness. Now when I'm in Africa, I will state that verse and quote it and I'll ask these small African children, "When God said He gave all things, does that mean some things? Does that mean maybe one thing when you've got three things?" Those simple-minded African children, as well as any simple-minded person on the face of this earth, will know the answer to that question. God has given all things that pertain unto life and godliness. That's what the apostle Peter said. He hasn't saved some for later revelation is what Peter is referring to. In 2 Timothy 3, verses 16 and 17, Paul said, "All scripture given by inspiration of God is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man might be completely and thoroughly furnished unto all good works." What did he say? All scripture given by inspiration of God. The scripture is given by inspiration of God and it will completely and thoroughly furnish us unto all good works.
Now my grandfather and those of his age and even past his age once said these words, "In religion, I want to have book, chapter and verse for everything I do." Now my friend, that's what we need. Now that is based upon scriptural precedent. Colossians 3, verse 17, the apostle Paul said, "Whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of..." (which means by the authority of Jesus Christ.) Now that's the only authority that we can follow. We claim that Jesus Christ is our Savior. We serve Him as our Lord. And we have to follow His teachings. Some people don't like to talk about the doctrine of Christ. Why? Mainly because they want their own doctrine. If someone comes to you and they can not show you in the scripture what they are doing or authority for what they are doing in the name of religion, then certainly you ought to reject that.
My friend, what is important in worship is the same thing that's important in all things that are religious. And that is this, that we follow the authority of Jesus Christ. When I stand before my King someday, and I am judged, I believe He is going to ask me this, "Did you do what I asked you to? Did you follow the teaching that I wanted you to practice? Did you make sure that all of the principles and the way that you lived were according to my will?"
I simply close in saying this, that authority is important. It's the most important thing and as Paul said, "Whatever you do in word or deed, make sure, very sure, that everything you do is done in the name of, or by the authority of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." And may God bless us in doing that in our lives.
(SONG # 3 - "More About Jesus!")
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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May we all acknowledge and follow the only proper authority in Worshiping God - that is, God and His only inspired Word!