Program Air Date - 8-29-04



What a wonderful Lord's Day it is, as we again gather together before the throne of God to Worship our Maker! We are so happy that you have chosen to be with us today and to give this time to the Lord. In fact, it is our privilege to be with you every Sunday morning, as we consider together, God's Living Word.

It is my hope and prayer today that we are all uplifted in our fellowship together. Furthermore, I pray that we will glorify and praise our Creator in these acts of Worship which we participate in collectively as those who love God.

As we begin our homage to God on this day, will you bow with me in prayer!


I hope everyone is ready to worship God in song at this time! This morning we will begin by singing a beautiful hymn that reminds us of the need we have for a purer heart. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "Purer in Heart."

(SONG # 1)


In Matthew 28:18, Jesus said, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth." How wonderful it is to know that the very Savior who died for us, is the same Jesus who was given complete authority from the Father! With this in mind, we need to understand that if Jesus was given all authority, then the words He spoke are authoritative.

I remember what our Lord said in John 14:10-11, there we read, "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves." Later in the same book in chapter 17, and verse 17, Jesus further said, "God's Word is truth!" Now if Jesus was given all authority from God, and that which He spoke was of the Father, and the Father's Word is truth - then we can know that Jesus words are truth and thus all authoritative! Furthermore we can know that this truth can give us freedom, just as we read in John 8:32, where Jesus proclaimed, "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

With this in mind, the real question we will begin considering today is, "Do people in our time really respect the authority of God! What a great question this is! Because many in New Testament times did not respect Jesus or His authority and thus were considered to be those who "knew not God." So I hope you will continue with us this day as we begin a new series of study which is entitled, "From Heaven Or Men." As mentioned earlier, our first lesson will deal with God's Authority and is specifically entitled, "True Authority Lies With God!" So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, brother Jerry Sullins will be leading us in the main thoughts of the day. Brother Sullins is the director for the Bible Institute of Missouri, here in Springfield, Missouri. We're glad he has agreed to be with us today

But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "Sinners Jesus Will Received."

(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Jerry Sullins

It's certainly a pleasure to be with you on "The Living Word" broadcast this morning. I want to take this opportunity to invite you to be a part of the Bible study program at the Bible Institute of Missouri. We have an intense college level Bible Study Program which begins actually tomorrow on August 3oth where we train gospel preachers and any others who are interested in studying God's Word. We study over 40 Bible or Bible-related subjects over a period of two academic years and at completion, an Associates Degree of Biblical Studies is given. We want to give you this opportunity to at least talk to us. There are several addresses and also a telephone number that is given at the end of this program. Feel free to contact us and it's not too late for you to get in on this next class. There is room available for you to come. We would enjoy so much at least hearing from you and giving you an opportunity to make application to come to the school.

The subject that we're considering this morning has to do with authority in religion. It's a very important subject because really when you get down and think of it, everything in life really is based upon authority. Every action we have in life is determined by the authority from someone, somehow as to how we are to take that action. When we speak of authority itself, it is the right to be over someone or something. No matter how our society may feel, no matter how liberal their concept may be, everyone is under someone else's authority, and that's not so bad because really we need direction from those who have lived before. We need direction from a moral system that helps us to keep our lives in line. But this morning, we are more interested in authority in religion because it seems like in the religious world today, there is less and less authority even among the churches of Christ for how it should be, as far as the Bible is concerned. And so we want to consider authority in religion. People take their authority from different sources. For instance, the church that you may go to may take it's authority from some place over in Europe, more specifically from Rome. So your authority may be based upon church tradition. That's just the way it might be. You might take your authority from a council of men somewhere or maybe from some church organization that was established years and years ago in the United States or maybe in Europe or some other far off place. That may be what you base your authority in religion on. Maybe a council of men. You may base the authority for your religion on a creed that has been written by man.

Well what is really the way God wants us to look at this? I mean what should we base our authority on? Well the scripture is pretty clear on this and I believe that basically we could make this statement without any fear whatsoever that God the Father should have and basically does have all authority in all matters of faith and religion. Now just consider that for a few moments. Now I know what you're going to say probably. You're going to say, "Well, our creeds are based upon the authority of God." Is that true? Is what is found in your creed book or your manual or maybe your catechism or the book that guides you religiously, is it based upon God's Word? Can you actually find in God's Word... I'm talking about the Bible that we recognize as God's Word. Can you actually find those teachings in the book? Or have because of tradition, those teachings been changed? And maybe your creed book no longer reflects what the Bible says. Someone said one time that if your book, that is the book that you follow in religion, says more than the Bible, then it says too much. If it says less than the Bible, then it says too little. So my friend, what is the answer? Well God the Father has the answer and He has given us the answer in all matters that pertain to authority in the Bible.

Well where is the source of all authority in religion? Where is it to be found? Well certainly in the scripture. The scripture says itself in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that "all scripture is given by inspiration of God is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God might be complete and thoroughly furnished unto all good works." Now that's a wonderful scripture and it certainly points out the fact that we need to look to a source for everything we do in the name of religion and that source is of course, God's Word.

I love the statements made by the apostle Peter in 1 Peter chapter 1 beginning with verse 22 and we're going to read to verse 25. Peter said, "Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible through the Word of God which lives and abides forever." And then he quotes the prophet, Isaiah, chapter 40 where the prophet said, "All flesh is as grass and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass, the grass withers and it's flowers falls away, but the Word of the Lord endures forever." And then Peter closes this section of the scripture by saying, "Now this is the Word which was by the gospel preached to you."

So what is that Word that directs our lives? It's the gospel. Who gave this Word? That is the Father Himself gave this Word.

I've done about, oh, twenty or some odd years of mission work in Africa and it's amazing how people of the third world can simply accept the truth. And what I use is a simple illustration concerning authority or establishing a standard for what we believe. I hold up a Bible. Sometimes that Bible may be a Kikuyu, that is written in the vernacular of the Kikuyu. Sometimes it may be a Swahili Bible or some other vernacular. But I hold it up and I say, "Now how many centimeters..."They work in centimeters over there. "How many centimeters wide is this book?" And one will guess, "Well, it's ten centimeters wide." Another will guess, "It's 15 centimeters wide." Then I say, "Well, how are we to establish exactly how wide this Bible is? And someone will suggest that we need to have a ruler. So the ruler which shows the centimeter is the standard by which we can know exactly how wide this book is. As far as religion is concerned, the Bible is the only standard that we can look into to determine whether or not we are following God's authority or not. The Bible reveals God's Will concerning authority.

No brother Ray mentioned in his introduction to this lesson today a very important truth. How did the Father pass on that authority? Jesus said Himself in Matthew 28 verse 18, He said, "All authority..." The King James Version says, "All power..." but it means all authority. "All authority has been given to me both in heaven and on earth." In saying this statement to His disciples, He then gave them the great commission to "go unto all the world or to go and make disciples in all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you and lo, I am with you always even to the end of the world." He said what now? He says, "I have all authority and I am commanding you to go..." and to do what? "...To preach the gospel..." as He said in Mark 16:15-16. "I want you to go preach the gospel, to teach them to observe all things." Now how were they to know all things? And what were they to teach? Well, we're still dealing with the authority of Jesus and I want to show you in relationship to what they were supposed to teach.

Let's look at John chapter 5, verses 26-27. There God said or Jesus said, "Most assuredly I say to you the hour is coming and now is when the dead will hear the voice of the son of God and those who hear will live, for as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the son to have life in Himself and has given Him authority to execute judgment also because He is the son of man." Now how is Jesus going to execute this judgment?

Well in the days to come, that is the judgment days, He is going to execute that judgment. But how is He going to show His authority to all men? Through what source or by what means? Well, to His disciples, He said in John 16, verse 13, "How be it when He the Holy Spirit has come, He will guide you into all truth and the verse goes on to say that even the Holy Spirit is not speaking the things of Himself, but He's speaking the things that the one who has sent Him has told Him to speak." Now who is the one who sent the Holy Spirit? The Father above. Who sent Jesus to this earth? The Father above. Who did Jesus give the Words of God to? He gave it to His apostles to preach to all the world those things that we just mentioned before where Jesus said, "To observe all things." How were they to know what to teach concerning to observe all things? Because Jesus was going to give that truth to His apostles and that's exactly what He did.

Have you ever considered this? Who guided the early church? Now some of our brethren today and some of our friends in the religious world today do not consider the importance of following the pattern that is set by the apostles in the New Testament. My friend, I want to ask you this question and my brethren, I also want to ask you this question. How in the world are we to know the Will of God in what we are to practice, in matters of religion unless we go to the scripture itself and use the New Testament as a pattern for what we are going to follow in the name of religion. Is it necessary as someone has said in the past that we have book, chapter, and verse for everything we do in the name of religion? Well I want to know one thing for sure, when I stand before Jesus Christ, I want to be able to say why I did what I did according to how I have found it in His Word. Is that not the only way it needs to be done? Is that not the safest way? If you don't consider the definite way we ought to do it, surely you will want to consider the safe way to do it. The safest way and the way that we can be sure of our salvation is that we can give book, chapter and verse for everything we do in the name of religion. These apostles, as Jesus gave them to go into all the world and preach the gospel, guided the early church. "They had the keys to the kingdom of heaven," Matthew 16, Jesus said to Peter. Matthew 18, "Jesus said to the other apostles, I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." They weren't binding things according to their own wisdom. They were binding the things and they were loosing the things according as they were being guided by the Holy Spirit to bind and to loose and the Holy Spirit was bringing them the words of the Father.

Even the apostle Paul claimed that God had revealed the truth to him in 1 Corinthians 2, verse 10. The apostle Paul wasn't teaching things that he just dreamed up himself. NO, he wasn't doing that. He was teaching the things as he was being directed by the Holy Spirit. He instructed the early church in 13 different epistles. James did the same. The apostle Peter did the same. These holy men of God speaking as they were moved by the Holy Spirit were instructing the church in matters that pertained to faith and to godliness.

And so my brethren and my friends today, where are we going to look for that source of authority for what we do? Some people say, "Well, I'm just going to count on the Lord being gracious to me in that day." Oh really? Well what did Paul say in Colossians 3:17? Listen closely to what the apostle Paul said. "Whatever we do in word or deed, do all by the authority of Jesus Christ."

Now what I'm pleading with you today is simply this. I'm pleading with you to do the very same thing that all preachers of the gospel have pleaded with people to do throughout the years and that is simply to not do anything or say anything in matters that pertain to religion that you do not have a directive from the Holy Spirit through the Word of God to do. That's Biblical. That's scriptural. And that's something that the Lord expects us to practice in matters of faith today.

So in religion should we have book, chapter and verse for everything we do? Well certainly I want to. I want to stand before the Lord and be able to say that definitely in that day to come when I know that I will appear before the judgment seat of Christ and I will be judged according to everything that I have done in my body whether it is good or evil. I'm going to be judged according to what? I'm going to be judged according to His Word.

This morning consider in closing these remarks by Jesus in Matthew 7:21. He said, "Not everyone that sayeth unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but He that doeth the Will of my Father who is in Heaven. Many on that day will claim, Lord have we not prophesied in thy name and thy name cast out devils and in thy name did many wondrous works? And I will say unto them, Depart from me, ye that worketh iniquity. I never knew you." I don't want to hear that in the day to come. And in the day to come, the only way I will not hear that is if I seek to follow after the Lord's authority.

My friends, consider this what Isaiah said in Isaiah 5"21. "Woe unto them who are wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own ways."

May God bless us all to do His Will and follow His authority.

(SONG # 3 - "Stepping In The Light!")


Thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in giving this time to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Lord's Day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God!

But for now, let me ask if you have any questions or comments about today's lesson? Maybe, you would like a free transcript or a cassette tape of this program? Possibly, we could assist you with free Bible materials or correspondence courses? No matter what your need is, please contact us at the following address:

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Praise be to God for His Truth and the authority which lies in His Word today, which shows us the right Way! Are you a follower of God's Truth?

(Program closing)